I am having a great time on a much-needed vacation. I am sitting on the deck of my cruise ship in Barcelona, Spain while I am writing this. I know I know, I shouldn’t be working, but I wanted to get this new blog out to you for this week and I didn’t get it finished before I left.
The Internet has been sketchy overseas but I saw some of the great dialogue on Angela’s blog post on peace. Thank you for responding.
Today’s Question: What do I do when my husband hurts my feelings but does not apologize?
When I tell him what the facts are and what caused him to hurt me, he either denies something was said or done or says to me I am sorry you are feeling that way. I do not know how to respond. I do not know what to do or to feel or think.
Answer: I chose this question for this week because I think this problem is pretty typical in many marriages as well as other relationships.
Our pride is powerful and makes it hard for us to admit that our behaviors or words harmed another person. Click To Tweet
|Pride is exactly what causes our downfall, personally, relationally and spiritually. Even with God, it’s difficult for people to admit they are sinners, confess that they did wrong, and ask God for forgiveness.
Ideally in any relationship, when you express to someone that he or she has hurt or harmed you in some way, that person shows concern. Even if he or she did not mean to cause harm, concern, and compassion should be expressed. For example, if I accidentally step on someone’s toe, I don't make excuses for my actions, even though they were not intended to cause that person harm. I demonstrate care for that other person’s hurt toe and apologize.
Your husband’s apology, when he does give it seems backhanded. He’s sorry that you feel upset, but not because of anything he’s actually done to cause you to feel hurt but just because you are overreacting or misinterpreting. By doing this he appears to care about your feelings, but not because those feelings are linked to anything he’s actually done to cause them.
Therefore, for you to gain clarity on what is going on, think over the general pattern of your marriage over the past months, past year, past 5 years. Does he generally demonstrate genuine concern for you as a person and for your well-being and overall welfare? Is he compassionate when he unintentionally causes harm to you or others in your family? Are there times when he intentionally causes harm? Harsh words, physical abuse, reckless driving or financial mismanagement? Are these the kinds of things he denies happened?
You don’t share a lot about what’s going on in your relationship but I do sense confusion. When you say “ouch, that hurt me,” you say his pattern is to deny what he did to hurt you. You say, “Here are the facts. When you walked by me just now you stepped on my toe. That hurt.” And he says, “No, I didn’t. That never happened.” When that pattern happens repeatedly in a relationship, it’s called crazy-making. You begin to doubt what happened. You start to question your own reality.
But here is something else you said that may add to the confusion. You said when you share the facts and what caused him to hurt you he denies it. What I wonder is whether or not he is denying the second part. For example. “You stepped on my toe right now and I know you did it because you were angry with me.”
The first part states what happened, the second part is your interpretation of why he did what he did. “He did it to purposely hurt me because he was angry at me.”
This is where (in normal relationships) we get into trouble because we are firmly convinced that our interpretation of why someone did what he or she did is accurate. Let’s put the shoe on the other foot. If you forgot to do something that was important to someone, he or she would probably feel upset or hurt. But if they added something like, “You’re passive aggressive and that’s why you forgot,” you might not be so willing to admit to or apologize for that part.
Is he denying the facts of what he did or your interpretation of his motives?
The second part of your confusion is that you don’t know how to feel or think when he denies his behaviors or tells you he’s sorry you feel that way but he doesn’t take any responsibility for contributing to why you feel that way.
If this pattern had been happening to your daughter or a dear girlfriend of yours how would you think or feel about it? Sometimes asking yourself that question helps you see how disconnected you are from how you really DO think and feel about things but are afraid to face our own honest feelings.
It sounds as if you feel dismissed and uncared for. It sounds like you feel confused because the man who promised to love and cherish you doesn’t seem to care that he has done things that have hurt you whether intentionally or unintentionally. It also may be that you feel angry because when he does apologize, it feels false and insincere to you. That he’s not sorry he hurt you but is sorry that you feel hurt about something that never happened and it’s all in your own head.
So here’s your dilemma. If your husband evidences a general pattern of showing care and compassion towards you and your welfare but has a hard time specifically apologizing to you, perhaps it’s his immaturity and pride at work, and for now, you can work on forbearing this weakness in his character, knowing that he is a caring husband.
However, if the opposite is true and his history shows a pattern of not caring about your feelings or your well-being, let’s look at what your next steps might look like.
Trying to wrangle an apology out of him won’t help you feel better about what’s going on. Your problem isn’t that he doesn’t apologize. Your problem is that he doesn’t care that he hurt you. He doesn’t care about you the way you want him to. And you can’t order someone to care about you. So what does that mean to you?
It may mean that instead of telling him he hurt you and asking for an apology, you need to have a much tougher conversation with him about the state of your marriage and where it’s going. Here are two different sample versions of what you might say next. First, “I am not happy in our relationship. I feel unheard and dismissed. I feel uncared for. When you do things that hurt me you deny them or make it seem like I’m imagining them. That’s not okay with me. Not only do you do things that hurt me, you do very little to show me you care about who I am, how I think, what’s important to me, or how I feel. I had hoped our marriage would be a loving partnership where both of us feel cherished, protected, and connected. I don’t feel that with you and haven’t for some time. Does that matter to you?”
“I’ve come to understand that you don’t care about me the way I want you to. You don’t want to hear me when I talk to you about things you have done that have caused harm to me and to our marriage. You don't want to look at those things and apologize nor have you changed them. I can’t change you. I can’t make you feel love for me. Nor can I make you feel sorrow or compassion when you hurt me. But I do know that I cannot feel close to a person who shows no care for my welfare, my feelings or my personhood. I have some tough decisions to make about what I’m going to do from here, but I’m done trying to get you to apologize or to care.”
Friends, when you have come to understand that your husband doesn’t care if he hurts you, doesn’t care if you feel unloved or dismissed, what has helped you get strong enough to take the next steps forward?
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Great picture! Glad you are enjoying your lovely vacation 🙂
After I had ‘the big talk’ with my h and separated from our marriage (emotionally and physically), when he would do something hurtful, I would just tell him my experience, with no expectations. Then I’d carry on with my daily tasks.
This was very healthy for me because I was:
1) speaking truth without waiting for him to validate my experience.
2) leaving the ‘ball in his court’ as to what he would (or would not do) about it. It was between he and The Lord.
If he would come back to apologize, I relied on my feelings to know if he was sincere, and would not accept ‘half-hearted apologies’. If I felt at all uneasy about his demeanour, or words, I trusted that uneasiness, told him so, and continued on my way. ( praying and worshipping like never before!)
I did my best to be ‘true to me’ by speaking truth, and maintaining these new high standards for the way I was treated.
The rest was between he and God.
This question is for Nancy,
Just wondering how you separated from your marriage “physically”? Did you move out of the house? I was recently diagnosed with cancer and feel like I can’t put up with my husband’s blame games anymore.
I’m sorry to hear about your recent diagnosis.
I should have written emotionally and ‘sexually’. No geographical separation was needed.
God bless you as you discern what steps to take as you increase your self-care.
Kate, I am so sorry for the cancer diagnosis. You have a rough road ahead of you and you need all the support you can gather around you. We all would hope that this is a treatable condition, but it will be hard, nevertheless.
It would seem that this is a time for you to set some very firm boundaries along with expectations for your husband’s behavior as you go through this. The boundaries to protect your heart (and body), and the expectations of what you will need from him. If he cannot or will not honor those, then perhaps separation during this time will be needed. Do whatever you need to do to provide for yourself an environment in which you can fight this cancer and heal. Lean on the Lord like never before. Take good care of yourself. We stand with you.
You are in a rough position. You need both physical AND emotional support. If your H has been abusive, unsupportive, and crappy towards you up til now, then a cancer diagnosis won’t transform him into something he’s never been: compassionate, patient, self-aware, or unselfish.
Is this your first cancer diagnosis or a return from remission?
I’m going to tell you what my focus would be if I was in your situation while I was seeking treatment – I would tell my H that the toxicity of dealing with our marriage issues was a battle that takes too much strength for now. That I am going to to focus on fighting the cancer and seeking the Lord, but the marital issues have to be put on the back burner. Due to the stress of the marriage, one of us would move to a separate bedroom. That’s assuming our marriage was in a bad place. Kate, of course, let the Lord lead you,but I just wanted to throw that out there as an idea to contemplate. I hate to think of good women putting up with abuse and crapola while they’re healthy but it’s infuriating to think of cancer patients dealing with ***hole husbands (pardon my choice of words but that’s the best descriptor IMO)
What a fantastic example of having peace even when still in the situation. You found your voice, truth and care for yourself while relying on God, what fantastic encouragement.
Narcissists don’t care. And actually become more fully armed when we reveal our hurt and our feelings, so I think it’s dangerous, at least for me, to reveal the deep wounds of my heart. I think narcissists are diabolical.
Annie, the Lord knows the deep wounds of your heart. I do agree with what you said about narcissists, and I wonder how you are managing.
I agree, Annie.
I have been married for 24 years to a Narcissist and have been to hell and back. Just when I think he’s changed, he goes right back to his defensive, toxic behavior. There is no reasoning. They know just the right thing to say, YES, he apologizes, cries and even prays and goes to counseling but his wounded self lashes at me. It’s a roller coaster. Today he clenched his teeth at me and said to get the F*** out when I said I don’t need apologies, I need change. I finally mustered enough courage to sign the retainer and sent it off to my attorney. Life is too short to wait for so long for someone to change. Need God’s grace and direction to help me through.
Being married to a narcissist is hell. Mine does apologize and cry and go to counseling and pray and read the bible but his behavior is unpredictably toxic and explosive. Today I told him I didn’t need anymore apologizes, I needed change. His reply with clenched teeth was, ‘get the f*** out of here.” It is a roller coaster and has been for 24 years. I have tolerated such dismissive, cold and disrespectful, angry behavior that has damaged our children as well because of the fighting. There’s no reasoning with him. Just when I think he’s changed, the bottom falls out. Today I signed the divorce retainer and sent it to my attorney. He is begging for me to take him back. I dread what is coming when he finds out.
Last Straw, I am so sorry for what you are dealing with. Good for you to take the first steps out of such a destructive situation. I hope that you have been documenting his behavior in some way. That will help a lot when it comes time to establish custody issues. Lots of ducks to line up from this time on, so do seek help from a counselor and lawyer and godly friends. We are here with you in this journey. Be safe.
Stand strong. Good work. Have you read Don Hennessy’s boo, “How he gets into her head?” I can’t stop underlining sections of it
From page 185.
The abuser have learned that sympathy and forgiveness can be very useful responses. As the relationship deepens, the forgiveness becomes less important because they no longer accept blame. But they hold on to their ability to evoke sympathy. Many abusers find their ability to take on the role of victim is one of the better ways of avoiding sanction.
That’s good Free. He does the ownership thing and apologies and bible talk but angry reactions persist. It doesn’t make sense with all the self-deprecation and false humility. Yes I need to stand strong but it is so hard when you are hearing and seeing all the right behaviors that is so deceptive. He may just be unable to change.
Goodness I feel for you and all the more when you have a very broken person taking responsibility yet will do it all over again as if it’s ground-hogs day?
This certainly can play into crazy making and it lacks peace because the behavior is somewhat predictable via a cycle but also inconsistent.
Talk about anxiety ‘forming’.
I guess my first thoughts would be since you say he’s getting interventions etc with counseling, studying scripture etc might point to not enough treatment for whatever it is he’s battling against?
He might need additional accountability with men or with mental health issues via the professional counseling.
By the way getting distance and safety is doing the right thing in my opinion, when he begs to keep the relationship it’s reasonable that you keep your distance and challenge him on your requirements of increasing his ‘care’ so that he can better understand his responses are not healthy and damage relationship.
I think many people who do those things you describe have a deep immaturity of reacting and allowing their emotions to decide their behavior and this ultimately will push ‘healthier’ people away from them and the consequences of then not dealing with their pattern will grow.
It is a part of Narcissism? Yes probably but it probably is a combination of many things and that’s why once a week with counselor even one who specializes isn’t enough for someone like this.
Multiple interventions are key.
Last Straw, a person like you describe has a stronghold of anger deep inside. It’s like a pressure cooker, or volcano, that is just waiting to erupt, because it has to for the person’s survival, so any little thing can trigger the release. “Anger management” is really not what’s needed, though it might help. He needs a therapist who will help him get to the root of the anger and resolve it. Meanwhile, you need to make a way to be safe from his angry outbursts. It might even be possible for the two of you to have a calm talk and decide together a strategy for you to exit the situation when he blows up. Is he aware enough and concerned enough that you could talk about how unsafe you feel when he blows? This could even be done in the presence of his therapist, which would allow you to share your concern.
Man this blog in particular is helpful with all the talk about narcissists. It helps me to hear that other people feel the same hurt at the same behavior (it just helps me to actually learn that it is NOT just the “way you hear things” or that “you hear what you want to hear”, etc. because I sometimes wonder if I am too sensitive or judgmental, etc). But that false deprecation and humility are so evident along with the sudden anger.
Right now he is reading a lot of spiritual books about breaking generational curses and demonic strongholds, which I agree about, but not without admitting to your alliance with them, not as a way to displace blame once again for your own bad behavior. It’s so hard to see him seem like he is really trying to figure it out yet I am reminded that he is still refusing counseling, refusing accountability, and he will do it on his own and on his own terms, so I see the more hidden signs that nothing in his heart has actually changed.
BTW the more good books like these that you all can reference the more it helps people like me. Thanks.
Leslie’s books helped me. Another book that really helped was ‘Why Does He Do That, Inside the Mind of Angry and Controlling Men’ by Lundy Bancroft. It opened my eyes. It explained why my husband behaves the way he does.
Yes my husband bought and started many books, told me how to fix myself, left them lying around the house so kids would see them, copied pages and stuck them in my Bible…….meanwhile systematically continuing on his selfish, narcissistic, flirtatious way.
This post is really good because it focuses on facts of behavior.
When you mention what your husband is reading, it’s a fine line discussing demonic strongholds to the old saying ‘ the devil made me do it’ posture.
I didn’t grow up in a home that talked like that or made much emphasis about evil things, but some of the most deceiving people are people who grew up in homes where they were taught ‘never’ to take accountability.
Yes this is a ‘Narc trait’ but also mixed with spiritual blame is dangerous for that kind of individual to grow in the process.
Often it’s just another new invention of blame shifting that is hard to disarm.
Keep your distance and pray for more discernment because Peace and freedom is the your right to pursue as Gods daughter!
Yeah, the funny part is I don’t know if he thinks their just my demonic strongholds and generational curses or if he even recognizes his. Even after the event we had the other night, he refuses counseling. The mention of it during his fight (I refused to fight) is what made him the most angry even. I even mentioned that it was his mean words that he seems unaware of that would be why he needs to go. For an objective person that he might listen to that could help him understand how his words are coming out. Even then he insists this is not a problem and refuses. I don’t think these books are going to do a darn thing but boost his ego into thinking he can control me by breaking “my demons”.
Sadly, the spiritual abuse is still very real
I’ve been talked to like that. Those words hit like a poison dart out of nowhere.
Annie, I agree as well. Seems like whenever I give feedback he becomes more emotionally destructive – it feels like intentionally doing things to try to “hook” me into behaving badly and he is very persistent. So doubting my decision to be in couples therapy because it seems to be making things worse. I wonder too how you are managing, Annie?
Couples counseling isn’t recommended by Leslie and many others in the field if you are in a destructive relationship.
Individual counseling YES (essential), and often depending on the situation it’s possible and can be helpful to have the same counselor but that professional should be well equipped in dealing with abusive mindsets, especially covert and ‘hook’ type of people like you mentioned above.
The hook is the tactic for a reaction, think of it as someone trying to provok another and the more that you don’t take the bait, the more they up their bad behavior ‘hoping’ you don’t recognize the pattern.
It’s torture trying to reason with someone who is behaving at such a low level of relationship and often there is a lot more going on in their way of thinking that is pretty chaotic inside.
So getting you to react or not feel as even-keel as you might otherwise be, is a high for them and it distracts them from their own pain and anxieties within.
Sorry, I didn’t mean to expand this much, but I’ve experienced something similar to what you speak of and it’s really hard to break not being the target.
When they see that things have changed ‘for you’ it does seem to get worse from their instability of not having an outcome to blame.
Have you heard of the concept, ‘gray rock’?
The biggest help area is having a counselor who can help you individually.
I’m sorry your h is persistent but the more you can walk in the true in reality of how unhealthy the behavior is, the better off you are.
Having additional strong support around you is key to processing what you are being treated like and will help you not give ‘him the reaction’ he is counting on.
Remember this is done to distract him from looking at himself and that he fears the most.
Love him well by continuing to hand him back to reality and the true love of the Father as an invitation for him to find peace, acceptance and significance.
His inner wounds are serious and he will need a lot of interventions to see his ‘patterns’ and most important the opportunity for him to see that he sabatoges relationships, when he could be much more productive about healing and repairing!
Annie, what are your next steps forward?
I love this article, Leslie. And yes, great picture. You’re darling.
I appreciate the way you “break things down”. Motives, intent, the way our spouses phrase their responses and the way we phrase our responses – it can all feel rather squirrelly, confusing – trying to untangle it and determine the truth. It also causes me to check my heart and intent when I respond to him. I appreciate Nancy’s comment. It reflects healthy detachment (as explained in the book Codependent No More) I’m slowly taking steps to gain tools to learn how to “move forward” and am thankful for this site that helps me navigate situations within my own marriage….this and other tools like the Boundaries book, a healthy mentor and the Holy Spirit.
Is that what I have been doing the past 3 months? Healthy detachment, it sure sounds like what Nancy described as far as not offering my emotions and self up to my husband. I am keeping a safe distance. Who wrote the book Codependent No More, I want to look into it, thank-you.
Codependent No More – I think by Melody Beattie (?). Used a lot in Alanon. My marraige doesnt include substance abuse issues, but I’ve learned a lot of how I function as a codependent and how to change that behavior.
Sounds like a good book!
I totally can relate to this dear sister. As you may remember, my ex-h died at the end of March, and I was his caretaker for six months, along with Hospice home-care. During our marriage he committed adultery, was verbally abusive, especially after drinking (often) and unable to express love, (other than sexually — which to him was “showing love”). He never admitted any wrong, nor apologized. I believe Pride was one of his major problems, which is why he could never repent of his sins to receive Jesus as Savior. His ending was very sad.
Sandra, I agree that his ending was very sad, and you managed to take care of him even so. Well done. But now, you have a new beginning, so I’d like to hear what you are doing to heal from his abuses and move on toward a better life.
Yes Sandra, I agree with JoAnn. We would love to hear how you’re doing now that you’re widowed. You have such a compassionate heart. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Lord uses you to minister to other ladies.
I would like to hear too.
Thank you, Leslie for answering this question.
When I began confronting my husband with our dysfunctional marriage, he too, would either blow up at me, didn’t want to discuss anything, would shred any letters, or delete emails I sent to him, not wanting to get down to the question at hand, or would deny things right to my face.
Then I realized he was actually not a believer, as his actions didn’t fit how a believer normally would respond to trying to repair breaches of confidence or conflict in the marriage.
Which, until and if, he ever accepts Christ as his Savior, I think for now, I have to let go of the confrontation, as he is not going to ‘get it’ if he can’t relate to repentance via the conviction of the Holy Spirit, which has been at work already in his heart for his entire life, and there has been no change yet, through that venue. And since my husband has not listened to the still, small, voice of God, then he will not be inclined to listen to his wife, because his heart is still darkened by the deceitfulness of sin, and you nailed it about Pride, as it is one of the things which keeps people from coming to Jesus. Which is ‘The Pride of Life’ or the pride of self-sufficency, which can blind a person to their own sins, so that there will be no accountability unless they realize they need to confess and repent and forsake through Jesus atoning blood.
And God knows how many times my husband has heard the gospel over his life time. So, I do feel like Abigail with her unrepentant husband Nabal, at times, but Abigail did speak truth to her husband, and she did confront him, and God did the rest. Only the Holy Spirit can do the work in the heart of man. But when we speak our truth, and it is not heard, it is then not our responsibility at that point to confront our husbands anymore. We can have peace that we have done what we can, and have done our part to resolve issues without any change in the marriage dilemma on the part of our husband.
We can only do so much. We have spoken our truth which is what God wants us to do; and it is up to the person listening whether they make a choice to respond, and repent, or reject what we have to say in the way of admonishing with a means to an end in order to get to the bottom of the dilemma in our own heart and mind so we can move forward if the other person won’t, or is not going to listen to us, and change.
Thanks, helpful words, very freeing
Interesting conversation on apologizing. My emotionally abusive, narc wife has always been very quick to apologize about everything… that doesn’t really matter, or something that there is no reason to apologize for. It wasn’t until more recently that I realized that she really never apologizes for things that are actually her fault, or for hurting others, or for anything that would make her look “bad” She has no problem saying she is sorry for her desert not looking perfect, But she just cant bring herself to truly apologize for multiple affairs, decades of emotional abuse, and manipulating everyone close to her.
Oh that! Those aren’t apologies, those are attempts to manipulate for compliments. “What? No the desert is beautiful and tastes amazing?” “Oh, what do you mean, your house is immaculate!” Etc. False insecurity, false humility. Yes narcs are good at seeking positive comments even by using false self deprecation. And your right- THAT is not an apology. I pray you have found a way to protect yourself in this relationship. I am really just starting down this path myself.
Good morning sheep!
Brother Sheep! We haven’t heard from you in a while. How about an update? Last we heard, I think you were moving forward with a separation/divorce. How is it going?
Hi JoAnn, Nancy, Jane, and others
Jane, you are absolutely right, that is simply manipulation, fishing for compliments, and trying to get others to tell them they are good. And yes, I have found a way to protect myself.
As the others know, this has been a long road for me. First to even admit that emotional abuse is and actual “thing” and then come to the realization that she is emotionally abusive, learning about narcissism, coming to acceptance that she isn’t/can’t change. All the while trying to deal (by myself) with her adultery. In all of this I have really had to search what I actually believe about marriage, divorce, and what God truly thinks of them. Having grown up with “God hates all divorce”, it was a difficult journey to come to the realization that God loves and cares more for the 2 individuals in the marriage, than he cares about the institution of marriage. That sometimes, it actually is better for everyone involved if there is a divorce.
This has all been squished into the last year and a half (since I discovered her affairs). Our whole marriage the kids and I have had to walk on eggshells around her but the last 3 years have been worse. All this time she is living in a fantasy world, pretending that everything is fine. (gag)
But we are finally moving on to the next step. I asked her months ago to move out. After a lot of excuses, she has finally rented a house and she is moving out this Saturday. Even though I would have liked for this to happen quite awhile back, I was trying to get this done as peacefully as possible because I have read a lot on separating/divorcing a narc. I felt the divorce process would go a lot better if she were already out of the house and we establish separate houses. I have already cut off her access to the money that I make in my jobs. She has a job, but also has her own bank accounts that she has never let me see, nor does she contribute to the needs of the family. I could tell that she was “stocking up” on things to take to her new house, paying for them from our account, so I had to end that to protect myself and the kids.
One of the main things I have done to protect myself, was to (for the most part) close myself off emotionally to her. I don’t volunteer light conversation, I try to give brief replies to all light conversation. I don’t respond to manipulation (when she tells me she is going to miss me I don’t reply because I know she is fishing for an emotional boost) When she tells me she wants me (sexually) I don’t respond. When she asks what I will miss about her, I don’t really reply. I just don’t know what to say. This is really hard for me because I am a very open person, I trust easily, and I long for emotional connection. But I know it isn’t going to be with her.
Now, I am realizing that I have come to terms with the emotional abuse and she will never even recognize it, let alone admit and repent. I’m quite sure that I will be re-learning a lot of things in the coming weeks and months once I am out from under all the manipulation and lies, and I welcome this. I am afraid that I will have a lot to deal with from her affairs. I know that I just buried a lot of the pain from that because there was no way for me to deal with it when she wouldn’t do or say anything about it and I couldn’t deal with it while living under the same roof.
I am anxious (be anxious for nothing) for all the details that will have to be worked out in the coming days and months, but I am also looking forward to being free.
This is rather rough for me because, growing up, I was never one of those guys that didn’t want to be married. I always wanted to be married, because I always wanted that closeness, that connection and intimacy with someone. Now, I am realizing that even though I was married for 25 years, I never had that. I would try to share and be intimate, but she never really opened up. Because she cant. You can’t open up and still be in control. You cant be close to someone you manipulate. And you cant have real intimacy with someone you believe you are better than.
Wow! Thank-you for sharing your experience. These feelings and thoughts are so helpful for me- 25 yrs married to a narcissist sociopath. Hearing these words in my head are painful truths that I need. These last few lines in particular have struck a chord and I think will sing in my head for a couple of weeks or months as I process.
I have been aware of the narcissism for about 18mo, but the abuse acceptance and sociopath truth for only 3 mo so I am very new in this arena. If you don’t mind continuing to share as you go through this difficult process, what your experience is and what it teaches you, it will probably help me a lot as I go through my own process. I fee selfish asking you to do this but also feel desperate for more of these kind of words that help keep my eyes open to the truth and help prepare me for the events to come.
I’m so sorry for what you are going through, and you know I can totally relate. I am more than happy to share and help in any way I can. If my journey can help someone else, it makes a little bit of good come out of a lot of bad. If you have anything specific you want to talk about, please let me know. It sounds like we are on the same path, I’m just a few steps further down the road.
I still wish things could change for the better, that he may one day be willing to face truth… from what I see this is a pipe dream because God can’t force change on someone. I really worry about how it will all affect the kids. Can you tell me about how they have experienced the separation. What general age are the kids? Has it been negative to this point? positive? have they understood the truth? has the master manipulator alienated them from you?
I applaud your wisdom with your accounts too by the way! Strong catch. Is there anything you wish you had done to be more prepared for the separation?
Right now I am wondering if change is ever possible in these circumstances (some say it is, most say its not), and if change is possible how do you know when the change is legitimate? I doubt the current calm, I can’t say there is real change vs. calm because I have distanced myself so much. I do see him desperately trying to be nice because he is afraid he is losing me. If change happens, how do I believe it. I feel like I am going to read something into the motivation of everything he does, even if it is real, because he has had twisted motives with me since we started dating and has manipulated and gas lighted me to crazy over and over. How long do you give it before you are convinced the fruit is real or you know it is not, provided you see any fruit?
I so appreciate your honesty, thank-you
I have wished things would change for the better for a long time. There is still a very small part of me that wishes that, but I think in my case, that is just avoiding reality. There has been absolutely nothing to even hint at her accepting responsibility for her adultery, manipulation, emotional abuse, and yes a little physical abuse. She will admit to the affairs and a little manipulation, but that is it. Without admission, there can be no accepting of responsibility, without accepting of responsibility, there can be no work toward reconciliation. The affairs and manipulation are easily explained away, minimized or laughed off with a “everybody does it” She won’t even vow to to be faithful. Short of a miracle from God, she is not going to see herself in that light because she can’t. For a narc to see themselves as they truly are, it would destroy them. Have you ever read the Eragon books? It is kind like how the bad guy is defeated in the end. This magician was too powerful to be defeated by force or cunning and in the end the good guy did a simple spell that opened the bad guy’s eyes to the truth about himself and that truth destroyed him. He could not face what he had become.
That being said, I firmly believe in the power and sovereignty of God. I believe He can change someone against their will, but that He rarely does. There aren’t very many “road to Damascus” experiences in scripture.
I have to go, but I will write more later.
This conversation, right here, is why I love this blog community.
The kids haven’t yet experienced the separation. That starts on Saturday. They didn’t even know what was actually going on until not all that long ago. It was like there was this giant dead elephant in the room, we are all walking around it and the stench of the rotting carcass is making us all sick. But mom us just pretending everything is fine, I was an emotional basket case letting her blame me for her issues because I was hoping for a miracle and not wanting to rock the narcissists boat and end up paying for it. The kids were walking around the room with this horrible feeling that everything is wrong, but not having a clue why.
I let things go this way because I knew that if I told the kids what was happening, I would pay for it. Going to church and acting like “that” family, the one that has it all together, because we don’t want to pop the narcissist’s well constructed bubble of perfection. Continuing to “love her like Christ loved the church” because that is what a good husband does. And like some of the books say, just quietly loving her until she is won over by my love, not calling out her sin, continuing to tolerate intolerable behavior because this was the “right” thing to do, right? No. I have read the stories and I believe that in “normal” marital issues between two people that love each other and actually want the best for each other, that these things might work. But in the reality of my situation and many of those that come to this blog, that is exactly the wrong approach.
When dealing with emotional abuse and narcissism, those things don’t make a difference because the other person is not a normal person of good will. Though they could never admit it, they first, last, and always have an equation going on in their head to figure out how they get what is best for them. Everything passes through that filter. They don’t have a conscience to speak of, therefore they will never be able to feel the pain they have caused others. That pain is justifiable because they have gotten what they wanted.
When I confronted my wife on her adultery, I said something about all the lies she had told to keep the affair going for a year. She just got a puzzled look on her face and said “of course I lied, I was having an affair” like that somehow excuses it. That same night she flat out said that she knew that she would eventually get caught. But it didn’t even enter her mind to care about it. She didn’t care what the consequences of her affair would do to all of our kids. It was worth it because she was getting what she wanted.
Wow, I really went on a rabbit trail there. Anyway, the kids. The older three are seeing things as they are. It is difficult because I want to give them the information they need to process while at the same time not giving them gory details. The youngers are having a harder time. A lot of that is because they haven’t seen this coming as much as the older have. Once we are separated, I will be able to talk to them more about what is going on. It is just hard now because mom make everything look great. She concentrates on being “nice” but makes no real changes. Some of the olders are seeing her hypocrisy and one in particular is having problems wanting to even be around her.
I wish I would have done more with the bank accounts sooner, but I didn’t want the accusations that would have come with it.
I wish I wouldn’t have taken so long to come to the realization that she wasn’t lying when she said over and over that she didn’t love me.
I wish I hadn’t allowed her to blame me for her sin issues.
sometimes I wish that I could have been righteously, screaming angry when I found out about her affair. But that isn’t me. I look for a way to make it work, I take more on myself to make it work, I persevere.
I wish I hadn’t been such a wimp all those years when I let her manipulate me into whatever she wanted.
I wish I wouldn’t have married the “pretty girl” Meaning… I should have paid a whole lot more attention to her character and walk with Jesus than to how pretty she was on the outside. I wish that I wouldn’t have let her tell me how spiritual she was, but instead observed how she truly treated others.
I actually don’t regret marring her. I would’t be the man I am today without that . I wouldn’t have the relationship I have with Jesus if it weren’t for all I’ve been through. I wouldn’t have my wonderful children without her.
I’m just saying that if I had it to do over again, I would pay a whole lot more attention to character than looks.
How do you know if there is real change? Time and Pressure. They both have to be there. A narc can pretend change for a long time when there is no pressure. They can also pretend under pressure if it isn’t very long. But real change can withstand both.
You said ” I doubt the current calm, I can’t say there is real change vs. calm because I have distanced myself so much. I do see him desperately trying to be nice because he is afraid he is losing me. ”
I felt like I had written that. I keep saying that she is “nice” but it just feels smarmy. Nice without anything else is just manipulation. Is there serious taking of responsibility? Is there deep introspection of wrongs committed? Is there empathy for the hurts caused? Is there a willingness and action to give you what YOU need to heal from his hurts? Is there massive change that effects actions and attitudes? A radio host used to always say, “show me the pivot point” When someone claims they have changed, They should be able to articulate what the pivot point was. When did I go from being about self, to being about others, and why?
I do agree that distance does put a damper on being able to see change. For me it is because I am no longer looking for change. If she wants to change and wants to reconcile, it is up to her to make that happen. I have tried and tried to make that happen, but have finally accepted that I cant and won’t do it by myself.
How do you know if the fruit is real? Tell me what fruit you see. You said he is being nice. Nice, by itself is not fruit, it is manipulation. It is giving you what you want to get what he wants. Start with the fruit of the spirit. Love, Joy, Peace, Long-suffering, Gentleness, Goodness, and Grace. Is this what characterizes his life? Or is it being nice, manipulating, controlling, selfishness, secrecy, pride, anger? Is his life an open book to you even though you have distanced yourself from him? Is he willing to open every area of his life to you even if you are distant and it looks like there is no chance you will accept him back? Real change would be willing to do whatever you need him to do (don’t take advantage of that or you become him) even if you never take him back, because it is the RIGHT thing to do. Real change does what is right because it is right, not because they are going to get something for it.
I gave it a long time waiting to see fruit even though I was seeing none. My reasons started with fear (of her, divorce, the unknown, problems for kids, problems in ministry) Then it Loving as Christ loved the church, then it moved to God hates divorce, and it was giving God enough time to work (I particularly don’t like that one anymore. God does not need me to give Him time to work) But really, I wanted to be able to look back on this time and know that I had done everything possible to reconcile our marriage. I didn’t want to look back with regret that I had rushed to end our marriage. I believe I can now proceed with a clear conscience, knowing that I did everything possible, but she made her choice, now she will have to live with the consequences of those choices.
You are welcome on the honesty. Without honesty, we are nothing.
I feel like you are me in husband form with what you are saying (minus the affair but there has been other trust betrayal I am not comfortable speaking of that he will not take culpability for). My heart resonates with all the fears, the “responsibilities”, the desires, and hopes. Your last one, “I wanted to be able to look back on this time and know that I had done everything possible to reconcile our marriage. I didn’t want to look back with regret that I had rushed to end our marriage”, is right where I am. I believe if I don’t confront the sin in godly love first then I didn’t do everything. I am working on doing that safely, figuring it out.
I did have to walk out tonight for emotional safety. I have several blogs on this on the last blog post. I am not sure of what comes next, but God does, I have to trust Him and borrow His strength right now.
I am still very worried about how it will effect the kids (I did have one of my children become suicidal due to the tension between my husband and I so I don’t know what this will do to him, again having to trust God)
I am praying for you.
Sheep, I applaud your courage to move forward with the separation and ultimately the divorce. Something I’d like to share with you regarding the fact that your children are going to have to live on “both sides of the fence.” My husband and I “rescued” a family from an abusive husband and father several years ago. We have become “grandparents” to the children, and when they first came here, they lived with us for several months while the mother got a job and a place to live. One of the first things we did when we brought them here was to have a conversation to tell them that (1) they could talk with us about anything at all that they needed to talk about; (2) we promised to always tell them the truth–no lies, ever; (3) we might not always be able to tell them the whole truth (they were too young at that time to understand some things), but we would never lie. The whole family has received counseling and much care through the church, and they are all growing in the Lord. It is wonderful to watch. We have had to deal with some demonic oppression, and there has been much prayer, but in the midst of all that, the mother has been so faithful to be one with the Lord.
I tell you all of that to say that your kids will need to be able to come to you for many questions and concerns, and making this kind of promise outright will help them to feel that you are their advocate. You don’t have to “fix” their life, but you can be their rock and safe haven, and that’s going to be what they need most. May the Lord continue to be a rich supply to you as you move forward on this journey.
Thanks Nancy and JoAnn,
Thank you for you attention, your advice, your prodding questions that make me think. And thank you for just talking to me, talking helps.
JoAnn, I was already planning on having that conversation with the kids. I already have with some of them. They have had to live in a dark room for too long now. They need truth with love, openness, and the light of day to illuminate everything around them.
Sheep, I was touched by your “wish list,” that you have learned a lot through all of this, but please remember that you were doing the best you could for reasons that were important to you AT THAT TIME. Don’t let the wishes turn into regrets. The enemy will beat you over the head with those. At the same time, I do believe that by sharing your wishes here, it can be an encouragement to others who perhaps are still on the fence about a few issues. You are in an especially vulnerable place right now, so guard your heart strenuously. If you haven’t been seeing a counselor, find one, someone you can be comfortable with to deal with all the buried pain and grief. I think the others here will agree that this will be very important as you move forward.
Tomorrow is moving day. (!) Be watchful that she doesn’t empty the house, take things that you need. Protect your home and your children from her final manipulations.
Grace be with you.
Your post is full of wisdom. I am going to read it again and save a copy.
You’ve been down a very long road – especially these last few months. You’ve been patient yet determined. I will be continuing to pray for you as this new phase of your life unfolds.
May our God of comfort be with you as you ‘thaw out’ and journey further into healing and wholeness.
I’m sorry for all that you have been through up to now. Yes, you are correct she has serious issues and self deception from what you describe.
When you gave your example above it’s as if her ‘false self’ gets in the way of the broken authentic self, which is necessary for true heart change.
Saying sorry about ‘dessert’ is a good example of just how disproportional things are for her and should validate the emotional chaos you have been victimized by in a sacred place of marriage.
Sheep, has she moved out yet?
Sorry for my question, I was able to read other posts and get caught up.
I’m sorry for the pain but I’m also grateful and anticipating your new journey as you take your next steps!
Please Remember God keeps His promises and He will comfort you in all of it.
This has probably been the most difficult morning of my life. It is done, the truck just left the drive, and there goes 26 years of my life driving down the road. Though I’m finding it hard to stop crying, I do know this is the only option that was left to me. I am at peace.
They are just so odd. She tells me she doesn’t want this and as we were finishing loading the truck she started crying and saying how she hates this. I hate this also, but it means something totally different to each of us. What is the purpose of saying that you don’t want something and you hate it, but you won’t do what is necessary to change it?
Well, I have to go pick up the kids.
Day 1. The rest of my life…
I’m praying for you! It’s really hard and I’m sorry for this. Really really cry cry cry. Let all those tears come.
Please stay connect to safe people who can comfort and give support for your loss.
What you wrote is true about how different this means to each of you.
From my own losses with my family/parents I thought my heart was being ripped from within.
But, it’s helpful to remember that their version of things are twisted and distorted.
Your question is reasonable! What’s the purpose of saying they don’t want something? I had the same issue and the difference is that…
You say one thing ‘wife’ but your behavior reveals what your willing or not willing to repair.
I believe your behavior wife over your words and it’s painful for me also to say goodbye but it’s the necessary thing to do.
What you say wife, isn’t what you do! This is your duplicity wife and this has reaped these consequences for our outcome.
And yes Sheep!
Grieve and live, grieve and live.
You will be comforted 💜
Yes, cry. Let it all out. And it’s ok to let the kids see you grieve – in fact it’s healthy for them.
I am away at a church camp this week. We start each morning with a service. I will be praying for you.
May God comfort you in your pain. I am so sorry, yet so proud of your faithfulness to God in all of this.
You hate the destruction because of the sin, you have a heart tuned to Gods.
She hates the loss of the comfort and control she has had all of these years.
You are wise to be leery of her words. They are “true” but do not mean the same thing at all.
Thank-you for your transparency and humbleness. As I read this my heart breaks for you (and truthfully for me as I see this and wonder if this is also my future.) I will continue to pray for you, that God’s peace would fill your home and His Spirit would be the Great Comforter for days to come.
What’s the purpose of saying that ? Manipulation and blame shifting. That’s my guess.
If she couldn’t have her way, she can at least make you feel guilty and 2nd guess your choices. (HER WAY of course being keeping the two worlds: the stability & respectability of christian married life AND the excitement & escape of seeking forbidden fruit)
Sheep, she probably didn’t think you’d stick to your guns this time. Maybe you would be mesmerized by the show of emotion and call it all off…so last ditch effort, she pulls out the words: “I hate this”.
But we know that words are cheap.
Its not like this move came ex nihilo. She has had years to be broken and show true repentance. If she’s like most unfaithful people she had hundreds if not thousands of opportunities to DO something different, so yeah, its a bit late for words to count much.
Praying for you during this next phase. Lean into Gods comfort and Please do not find a replacement abuser, its so easy to do.
In the past, my husband would sometimes deflect his feelings of shame from being found lacking in some way by saying I was much too sensitive, discontent, or overly whatever. But most often he would go into a self pitying shame spiral when I revealed some pain or damage he had caused: “I’m no good, never been any good, never gonna’ be any good…” He would somehow turn the tables on me and I would end up apologizing for taking offence!
He is getting better at hearing my pain. So instead of fleeing his shame by blame shifting or wallowing in self contempt, he tries to fully feel the “godly sorrow” that promises to bring about repentance, and know that there is grace even for this (whatever it is). He can then see more clearly to find those things he actually did that caused the hurt and make a sincere apology.
It’s part of learning to practice empathy, making amends, and taking responsibility for the real damage he causes in this world.
I had no idea so much of our relational and family dysfunction was connected to his use of pornography and secret double life. When his addiction was addressed, a lot of other character issues began to make sense.
It’s been a long road on this front. I do want things resolved, so I have trouble practicing “healthy detachment”, but I did embrace the concept as an ideal, so at least I know when I’m doing it wrong! lol. .
Wow, Caroline! That sounds like real progress. There is a great web site called Pure Life Ministries that is a very effective program for helping people with porn addiction. It sounds like your h is already getting some help, and this might add to what he is getting already.
I am glad that things are moving in a positive direction for you.
I was just perusing Leslie’s blog for scriptures about contemplation of separating from a destructive spouse, and found the May 13th, 2015 post, along with the comment section too.
Here is the link: https://leslievernick.com/scripture-support-for-separation-from-destructive-spouse/
I am sure others will benefit from these verses which are confirmation and affirmation and guidance from God in the direction He will point you, and will also bless you and keep you in His everlasting love.
“Friends, when you have come to understand that your husband doesn’t care if he hurts you, doesn’t care if you feel unloved or dismissed, what has helped you get strong enough to take the next steps forward?”
Thank God I don’t have that at home. While this is a very important thing to say: “I am not happy in our relationship. I feel unheard and dismissed. I feel uncared for. When you do things that hurt me you deny them or make it seem like I’m imagining them. That’s not okay with me. Not only do you do things that hurt me, you do very little to show me you care about who I am, how I think, what’s important to me, or how I feel. I had hoped our marriage would be a loving partnership where both of us feel cherished, protected, and connected. I don’t feel that with you and haven’t for some time. Does that matter to you?” . . .I guess part of me wonders why even say it at this point??? — If I knew that. If I really felt that, it doesn’t seem like anything much is left. . . .
. . .Un-cherished, un-protected, un-connected, un-loved, —dismissed and have been for a long time. . . .At that point, what is the use of even saying any of that? If the husband doesn’t understand, it seems even worse, —far worse. . . .Sans the Bible’s texts, that’s the place where you stop the story. Why not just recognize that the relationship was over —a long time ago??? —and let it go. It is only an end if we assume the story is about us. I don’t know, maybe I don’t understand the technique.
It seems that emotions do lie, they lie all the time but anxiety seems a huge tell. Anxiety w/physical symptoms seems the effect that does not lie. The anxiety holds a truth.
“Our pride is powerful and makes it hard for us to admit that our behaviors or words harmed another person.” . . . Absolutely true✅💯❗ . . .And even when we want to do the right thing, the good thing, if we are doing it in our own strength, we are fighting not with our husbands, but with God and Christ Himself.
. . .Life is suffering and that suffering is extremely real. I think about Jesus’ life and this is what I see there: If you have reasons to love someone, you don’t love them. Real love is a total, baffling mystery. . . . .Only love that continues to flow in the face of anger, blame, indifference, et.al. can be called love. All else are simply complex, nauanced transactions . . .I’ll do this and that, if and only if, you do this, that, et.al. . . . —And who is going to measure the compliance with the expectations? Are all these expectations Christ’s way? Counselors always tell me “have no expectations.” But try as I might, I just don’t understand that. I do understand this: Stop expecting others to show you love, acceptance, commitment, and respect when you don’t even show that to yourself. I get that, kind of. . . .But Christ’s way: love that continues to flow in the face of anger, blame, indifference, et.al. may not even be workable; Christ sure looks like He is talking about something completely, utterly different.✅💯❗ I never understand this “no expectations” . . .I don’t understand it at all. To even hope is to wish, is to expect; otherwise, what is even being talked about? Expect more, get less and feel sadness –OR- expect absolutely nothing get more and feel ________ . . .Blessed is she who expects nothing, for she shall never be disappointed??? That reduces marriage to a submission competition—a race to the back of the line. Counselors talk about having “no expectations” but. . . .I’m not able do that. How is that even possible? How do we do it, sans double talk? We all have expectations. We not only have them, we need them. They fuel our dreams, our hopes, and our lives. . . .but maybe they don’t in a way I don’t understand. Christ basically says peace begins when expectations end; people who don’t expect justice don’t have to suffer disappointment. . . .but I don’t understand that. Christ shows that it is by loving and not by being loved that one can come nearest to the soul of another💬↺✈
. . .Anyways, thank you Leslie for providing all this wonderful content consistently and this space❣😊 (nothing just happens without lots of effort and costs) where we can think and work through our issues and give them voice. . .
Ah, you understand how I can still love my abusive spouse. Because I love him. Period. I don’t love what he does. Ok, now that you explained one thing I haven’t been able to in the last blog, lets look at expectation. No one HERE is saying have no expectations! I am sorry this has been your counsel. Expectations are best placed on God for Him to fulfill His promises for your life, not on man. You can use expectation as part of boundaries setting, I expect you to go to counseling or I will have to move out, etc. It does not mean that your heart expects this to happen and should be disappointed when it doesn’t because you know it is not likely to happen anyway.
I kind of addressed this concept in a prior blog. Sometimes God gives me clear direction, but if I put my expectation of what obedience to that is going to lead to in my life, I am often devastated because what I think should lead to one outcome does not, and I can not see the long term picture. But I have learned to expect that God is going to use the situations and directions to develop my life, soul, and character and He will use the situation to lead to the outcomes that He needs for my life AND for the lives around me.
I have found this excercise to be very helpful. Think of something that ‘bugs’ you about a family member, or a recurring problem with an individual. And run it through the following checklist.
Here’s a checklist that can tell us if our expectations are reasonable: ( a reasonable expectation is one that is mutually agreed upon)
1) is my expectation even conscious ( we have lots of these – ie.) we discover our hidden expectation that ‘family should spend equal amounts on Christmas presents’. We only discover this about ourselves when we spent 40$ on our sister in law and she gave us something from the dollar store!)
2) is my expectation realistic ( this one is big ! Someone with a narc h expects him to behave differently than he has for the past 15 years. Or on a much smaller scale I expect my brother to tell me in advance when he comes into town, when he’s never done that before) unrealistic expectations are a major contributor to depression.
3) is my expectation communicated ( it may be both conscious and realistic but it is my responsibility to verbalized it)
4) is my expectation agreed upon ( I may have communicated that I would like to meet with all the volunteers 15 minutes prior to an event, but if they have not agreed to it, my expectation is unreasonable)
This past year there was an incident where my brother came into town at Christmas time, and only contacted me after he was in. I was angry that he expected us to just drop everything to see them..
But when I did this excercise, I was humbled. I realized that I had a completely unrealistic expectation that he would behave different,y than he had over the past 18 years. He has never contacted us in advance. And of course, if my expectation was unrealistic then it was neither communicated nor agreed upon.
I need to have a conversation with him, where I ask that if he would like to spend any time with us when he comes to town, that he agree to contact us a month in advance of arriving.
Thank you so much Jane❣😊,
I think I understand what you are saying. . . .
“Re: Sometimes God gives me clear direction, but if I put my expectation of what obedience to that is going to lead to in my life, I am often devastated because what I think should lead to one outcome does not, and I can not see the long term picture.”
. . .Jane, when God is giving you clear direction, how are you receiving it? . . .So, for me, God and I have had this ongoing conversational relationship like most of my life. I wake up and I start talking to God and all through the day and I usually fall asleep talking to Him. . . .and even saying that makes me realize how much I love Him. . . .So, sans the times I am praying for people and myself (requests), I am usually talking to Him about the meaning of words in the Bible and specifically the N.T. . . .So, I assume He talks with me through His word
A women asked me in one of my marriage classes last week: “What does it mean if you don’t hear God’s voice?”
I had no idea, I know she didn’t mean audibly. I told her I didn’t really know how God would be speaking outside of His Word. I told her I don’t search for God’s voice outside the Bible, but that maybe that was not correct. I said if I want to hear my favorite Christian groups sing, I check their tour dates and you go to the correct venue on the correct night. I don’t say . . .well, they might play at this particular church tonight so I will go there. I use the published tour dates. I assume it is similar with God. He promises to speak to us in the Bible and He has told us that the Bible is “living and active” (Hebrews 4:12). . .
. . .But I do hear God all day (or it is my own internal voice. . .I just don’t know): “Aleea, please check the amount of profanity you are using” (. . .life is really, really frustrating; especially transportation systems: planes, rail-systems, et.al.) “Aleea, go sit next to that woman and ask her what she believes and why?” . . .So, for me, I assume God is speaking to me when I read the bible. So the most important thing I can do when I read the bible is to ask God to speak to me through it 💬
I remember your brother did that at Christmas and so you set a boundary and said “no” to him coming over.
“But when I did this exercise, I was humbled. I realized that I had a completely unrealistic expectation that he would behave differently. . . . .it was neither communicated nor agreed upon. I need to have a conversation with him, where I ask that if he would like to spend any time with us when he comes to town, that he agree to contact us a month in advance of arriving.” . . .Absolutely, like your checklist too!
In my marriage classes, each class I go over ground rules before we even start: I expect people to stay inside their circles and not blast their husbands or wives. I expect them to focus inside where real healing takes place. . .et.al. . . .People drift outside themselves and their circles almost immediately. . . .but I expect that, so I don’t get disappointed, I stop and go back over the ground rules, especially when I catch myself doing it. —I’m like the worst of the group. . .💬
—Thank you Lord God for not giving up on us!!! I think the goal is to create a space within oneself in which God’s voice can clearly be heard and that requires getting all the other junk out of there. . . .Until we make the unconscious conscious, it will direct our lives and we will just keep calling it fate. Most people will do anything, no matter how absurd, to avoid facing their our own souls. The most terrifying thing is to accept ourselves completely. But there’s no coming to consciousness without serious pain. . . .re:expectations
Don’t forget that the Bible has three words for love, while we have only one. Understanding that we are called to agape…love with God’s love, is different from eros (natural love) and phileo, brotherly love. It is unfortunate that we don’t have these distinctions in our English language. God calls us to love others with His agape, and in my experience, when my own natural love for my husband ran out, I was able to tap into God’s divine love for him, and our relationship grew deeper and more loving. God’s love is unconditional, whereas we often put conditions on our eros, and indeed, when we are mistreated rather than loved in return, it is difficult if not impossible to love back. Lord, fill our hearts with Your divine love.
Yes. And I would add to ‘that when we are mistreated rather than loved in return, it is difficult if not impossible to love back’
This: if this mistreatment is a pattern, and we think we are drawing on God’s agape love without taking responsibility for ourselves (by guarding our heart) then we are not, in fact, loving with Agape at all.
We cannot give to another, that which we do not first possess.
The words have unbelievable amounts of combinations and permutations. . . .agape-eros; agape-eros-philia; agape-platonic-eros; et.al. . . . You may already know the unbelievable amount of nuances. . . .Think for example about parental love. That is it’s own category of love, which is so clearly unlike any of the other three categories of love.
I see early scribes substitute agape for eros to prevent the weak and uninformed from thinking about carnal desire and passion…But the love described is really fluid. Sometimes, agape just means (helpful); eros (just self-absorption) pragma (respect), storge (similarity). I often see: agape-eros-storge—An all giving, selfless love that implies an obligation to action and commitment to stay, love and care for our husbands without any expectation of reciprocity or reward. . . .
. . .Here is what I am trying to work on: 1) Going deeper with Christ; 2) Stopping the people pleasing; 3) Being more positive. . . .But even at home and in my church, it turns out I am a vast people-pleasing operation (re: I am more concerned with making other people like me than with being holy, etc.) . . . But it even gets worse as I also realize I am a Debbie Downer, Negative Nancy and Pessimistic Patty all rolled into one. . . .So, lots to work on: 1) Going deeper with Christ; 2) Stopping the people pleasing; 3) Being more positive. . . . .I am always, a-l-w-a-y-s amazed at how Paul never developed a negative attitude. In city after city, he would pick his bloody body up out of the dirt and go back into the city where he had just almost been stoned to death; been nearly whipped to death, et.al. and he would said, “Hey, about that sermon I didn’t finish preaching —here it is!” . . .No one can gain Christ without having lost all. Self-seeking is the gate by which our souls depart from peace and total abandonment to the will of God, that by which they return. Very easy to say . . .but Christianity is not saying, it is a way of acting in the world. . . .re: Godpleaser vs. peoplepleaser re:Proverbs 14:12, Ephesians 6:6, Galatians 1:10, 1 Thessalonians 4:1, Matthew 6:2, 25:23 and Colossians 3:23 💬
This is really hard to read. I wrote a seven page letter to my husband about how he has hurt me over the last 30 years of our marriage. He can’t acknowledge my pain, he refuses to go to counseling and told the counselor that I need to “change my reality”. This has been such a surreal experience!
I don’t know where to go from here. My daughter is getting married next summer. My husband and I are living separate lives, but I don’t want to destroy our family.
Becky, I have tolerated the year before the wedding with detachment. I did the wedding and two weeks later I left. It would be good to have the year to get all your ducks in a row. He can change without you being around. He doesn’t need or want your letter. Mine skimmed the letter, laughed and threw it in the trash.
I would add, don’t think about getting back with him until he writes YOU a seven page letter about all the things he has done to you!
Get your finances straightened out. Make a plan, get legal advice, counseling. That would be the best thing to do for your family. Speak the truth after the wedding. They already know it anyway, but they might like the fantasy for a bit longer due to the wedding. Let the bride be the focus.
Another thought might be:
Over all these years of marriage ~ how many letters or pleas have you wrote to get his attention to the big issue at hand?
This is for Becky (July 19, 2.35pm). After explaining why you feel stuck (trapped) by your husband’s destructiveness, you write that you don’t want to destroy your family. Becky, think prayerfully and carefully about who is responsible for the damage to the marriage and the family in this regard. You state that your husband has been behaving this way to you for 30 years, and that he disregards any effort you have made to express that hurt, to invite him to change, to work toward learning new insights with a counsellor. You even state that he shifts the blame on to you when he has deigned to be in counselling. Becky……the destructive one is this marriage is not you. If you are needing to make choices for safety, life and change, that is not an action of you destroying the family. Be wise about the responsibilities the Lord does ask you to carry; don’t accept responsibility for things He does not lay upon you. In this case, your husband has you convinced that to make healthy changes for your self is to ‘destroy’ something that he has already pulverized to smithereens, then blamed you for. Be wise and prayerful dear sister.
Sorry I couldn’t approve these earlier. I’m on a cruise off the South of France and internet is spotty.
I hope you are having a great time, Leslie, and that you are being refreshed, body, soul and spirit. We also appreciate that you are checking in from time to time.
I have been on one cruise and would love to do another. someday….
Would it be reasonable and Godly to destroy a family that IS living separate lives and not living in a marital dynamic that is desiring to bring Glory to the Lord for his purposes?
Maybe you actually do with good intent want to destroy the pretend family that’s been growing or being built all these years?
Another way to say this is that it is wise for Becky to stop pretending that this family hasn’t already been destroyed by this man.
The C from CORE is being committed to truth. It’s time to stop pretending and covering up for his destructive ways.
Becky, I think that, based on what you wrote, it’s your husband who has been destroying your family, not you. Please stop thinking of divorce as “destroying” anything. Read Leslie’s book, stay with us here, and you will get lots of help to change the way you have been taught to think. some things we have learned just aren’t true. Find the Truth.
I echo JoAnn. I am a baby in this journey and struggle still with these emotions but I am growing in strength and wisdom and understanding, both about myself and about God’s true word and desire for us. I know the pain is intense. Lean on God fully and hang in there. I also recommend you find a counselor in your area that has experience in abuse/domestic violence (not a marriage counselor). You can probably check with your local domestic violence hotline for a good name, even if he has not been physically violent the emotional and spiritual violence is just as destructive and these same people can help you.
There has been no physical violence. However, ithe more subtle emotional stuff is harder to deal with and would be so much more cut and dry regarding how to respond. He emailed me (that is the way he mostly communicates, it’s much more time efficient and he never has time to call me from work) about possibly going on a trip together in the future. I emailed back that I can’t do that if he won’t apologize for the hurt that I outlined in the seven page letter I wrote regarding the last thirty years of marriage. He then, via text, got very defensive and said, “no good deed goes unpunished”. I then explained that I had said I appreciated the offer, how his actions had hurt me and expressed what I had heard the counselor reflect back to me that my husband had told him over the phone (he won’t go to counseling with me). Basically my h feels he has the right to spend his time how he wants – which usually doesn’t include me – unless it’s sex and meals. My h did apologize over email about the letter, but my sense is that the apology is not necessarily that he did anything wrong, but that I was hurt by it. Since he won’t go to counseling and it is very difficult to talk about our relationship because of his defensiveness and gaslighting, I would appreciate prayers and wisdom on where to go from here. I am basically trying to forge a life on my own. Since living with him has been sooooo lonely and our youngest is just about to leave the nest.
Stick to your gut, the apology may or may not be real but true repentance will bear fruit. Wait for the fruit.
Please pray for me. My husband is in a very agitated state since I refused to be physically intimate with him last night. He yelled at me for a good half hour, and my four young children came to me this morning to tell me they heard everything. He said there is no advantage for him to be married to me at this point. He refuses to “be a slave” to me [this man might take the trash out a couple times a week, but other than that, he does NOTHING —no helping kids with homework, no picking his laundry up off the floor, not even taking his plate to the sink. NOTHING.]. He said I am not entitled to a livelihood supplied by him (basic food and shelter!), it’s HIS paycheck. We are in a foreign country for his job and I cannot work. Even if I could, I have a serious chronic medical condition that costs insurance $20K a month to treat. If he divorces me, I will have nothing, and no health coverage. We have no assets other than a vehicle. He has spent us into the ground buying $800 shoes and $1200 suits, while I clothe the kids and I at Kmart.
He has never apologized for anything, ever. I have kept a journal of how he treats me, but I doubt a judge will care from what I have heard. He works in high level law enforcement. It’s his word against mine. I feel as if I have little chance.
I know the Lord will fight for me, and I need to be still. Pray I can be still. Pray for the protection of a thousand angels over my children and me.
And it’s nearly the weekend. He will be home all day, and the weather just drains me to keep the kids outside. Lord, help us.
Lord, we lift up Jolene and her children. You are The God Who Sees. You are there with her, beside her step by step. Be her strength, her wisdom, her guide. God grant her discernment right now to pick people that will be safe for her. Grant her people in her life that can help her through this process. Send angels to keep watch over them, to protect them from each fiery dart. Lord, let your peace rest in this house at all times so that there is calm for her within the storm.
Jolene, you are cared for and will be prayed for. Stay safe, I wish I had more to offer you
Thank you so much.
This is scary. I think this is how we end up prostituting ourselves to keep the peace. I know I forced myself to have sex to get my husband to stop screaming. The tactic elevate and advance worse and worse because as he said, he only wants you for sex.
You know he won’t get better, right? Have you made any contact with domestic violence shelters? Have you saught legal advice? Do you have an escape plan?
You are in danger. You already know that. I will pray for your protection. Money concerns are scary. If you get back to you home country you can work and there will be more resources.
Scared for you and your kids, yet I trust the spirit within you. Be wise and make an exit plan.
Prostitution is right. I know it won’t get better and I want out, and soon. I can leave the country, but I can’t take my children because he threatens charges of international kidnapping. I have to wait until we all go together at the end of the tour. I am not leaving without them. He also has custody of all our possessions in storage with his employer. And there is the matter of me having absolutely nowhere to go and not a penny to my name.
My comment didn’t post as a reply, but down below. I asked about how soon your whole family can leave the country. Your situation grieves and sickens me. I am praying for you.
Check the legality of his claims about international kidnapping. If you are both Americans that doesn’t apply. His scenarios are designed to control you rather being correct.
According to the official guidebook, I must have either written consent from the other parent, or a court order stating custody, for my children to leave with me. The expense for flying back to the US will be covered by the employer, but reimbursed directly to the employee, who has to release the funds (like that would happen!). I also need several documents signed stating my access to property and pension. If I don’t get this before I leave, I have been told by other spouses that attorneys have successfully argued “abandonment” and “forfeiture”, and while I may have to do that, I would rather not seeing as how I have no retirement having been a SAHM, and my health issue will eventually prevent me from working altogether. I don’t want to be a burden to my children, or worse, make them even more dependent on their father. And no, I have already looked into it about insurance. I have the option to retain it, and to pay the premiums myself for three years, and it is astronomical. I am not confident that Medicaid would be a good solution given other patient experiences I have heard. And hey, if I have any trouble with this at all, the employer advises that I call the very office that my husband works for, so that they can intervene. A three person team.
Lord, give Jolene wisdom, give her strength, give her a clear perspective on what she needs to do to get herself and her children to safety. Lord, stop her husband’s destructive path. Bring consequences on his head that will get his attention and wake him up. Lord, be with Jolene over this weekend so that she knows you are her God.
Amen and continued prayers for her safety and her options.
Jolene, you are making many assumptions about what the results would be if you were to divorce. You need to learn the facts about divorce; for instance, in most states, the husband would have to pay child support, and in your case, probably have to continue to provide health insurance. Are you US citizens? If so, when will you be coming back? Does his job provide services that you could tap into? Where you are, is there a domestic violence agency that you can get some counseling from? Learn the facts, and don’t think you know what the outcome will be. The heavens do rule, and God is on your side as your defender and provider. Lean on Him. Also, I can’t help but wonder how much your medical condition might improve once you are out from under the stress of this marriage. In the US, there are social services that provide health insurance. Most European countries have good health coverage. Learn what’s available, then decide what you need to do.
US citizens. We have a year left. The services all have to go through him, unfortunately. Not sure about DV counseling. I stick out like a sore thumb here, and anonymity is essential, so I am hesitant. My medical condition will certainly improve, but I have had it my entire life, so it’s unlikely to be cured. Child support…he has threatened to quit his job and go to work for his parents who will pay him under the table and indicate minimum wage on his check stub, or so he threatens. He has smeared my name to them in order to make himself look like a victim. They are all pretty crooked, so it wouldn’t surprise me if they helped him. They are also very, very wealthy, and he would have endless attorney fees at his disposal, and he threatens to take the children. Whatever happens, it will not be easy to deal with him. This, I know. But this marriage has to end, and I have to be smart and prepared in order to secure my children’s future with me. I must consider all threats as real, and have a Plan B for everything. I know the Lord will fight for me, I know leaving is the safe and correct thing to do. It will happen in time. One way or another, within a year, changes will happen. In the meantime, I am actively waiting and preparing as best I can.
Thank you all for the prayers. He has acted like nothing happened, since throwing his last tantrum. That’s the best I can hope for right now.
My heart breaks for you. Keep living in the truth and reality. I pray for discernment and wisdom as to when to move and how to prepare. God bless you and keep you and your family safe.
You need to be privately recording your conversations. Voice memo on iPhone will work even if it is in your pocket.
I would think that Judges would take a very dim view of people that threaten to quit their job and take money under the table to avoid child support.
Good advice. I am recording, and have several recorded, going back years. He caught on the other night. The argument happened in the bedroom and he “state[d] for the record” that I did not have his permission to record, and that he felt violated because it was recording in the bedroom, and that I was a pervert. The porn addict who has asked awful things of me, called ME a pervert. Projection at its finest.
The fact that projection is clear, consider this a blessing. Sort of in ways I guess… versus second guessing and being manipulated.
I love how you say:
Projection at its finest.
It’s good to see it when it’s happening because it leaves crazy making at the curb!
Projection is a nice word for denial of accuracy.
Hoping that you might eat what they dish.
Thankful that you see it and can call it out!
Takes the power away.
Continue holding your head high!
Jolene it sound like you are a smart woman. I have confidence in you. In my state the court looked at wages for two years prior to the separation/divorce request. So, if your H tried to go for cash under the table, they would hold him to his previous wage. They look at what he is capable of earning and his recent history.
Your situation sounds very complex, yet I believe you can make your moves wisely. Sometimes exits take time, just stay the course. Slow and steady will win the race. Thanks for sharing your situation with us. We understand all too well the nightmare you are living.
Good to know about the two year review. I didn’t know that. Thank you!
This is special to me, “I think the goal is to create a space within oneself in which God’s voice can be heard..”
Wow. Yes. The Lord has been speaking to me for a couple of years about ‘space’. Just recently I learned that I am a highly sensitive person, which means that I have a highly-developed nervous system ( about 15% of population is this way). I have to constantly work to create ‘space’ in my life so that my 5 senses don’t become overwhelmed.
Creating ‘space’ in my environment is a high priority. Some call me a minimalist. That’s because visual clutter overwhelms me. So does loud music, or smells, crowds etc…All of that can develop into various anxieties if I don’t respect these very real boundaries.
Growing up with people who are, frankly, insensitive, sent me the message that I had to ‘suck it up’ and ‘power through’. I have tried this all my life and usually end up in a dark room with the covers over my head to re-cooperate from whatever situation I’ve tried to ‘power through’. Recently I pushed myself over the edge by not setting boundaries with a new ( lovely) friend who has ADHD. When I got home, my h googled ‘sensory person’ or something like that. We were amazed to read the description of a HSP person!
What a relief to know that The Lord created me this way!
So, yes….I think that our Lord encourages us to create a ‘space’ where He can work!
Nancy, good to know that about yourself, and also about others. Do any or your kids have the same sensitivity? Now to shed the accumulated guilt over not being able to “power through” your whole life.
Re: “Creating ‘space’ in my environment is a high priority. Some call me a minimalist. That’s because visual clutter overwhelms me. So does loud music, or smells, crowds etc…All of that can develop into various anxieties if I don’t respect these very real boundaries.
Growing up with people who are, frankly, insensitive, sent me the message that I had to ‘suck it up’ and ‘power through’.”
. . .Absolutely, Nancy . . .we don’t “power through” we POWER UP✝💖 (. . . by going deeper and deeper and deeper with Christ) . . .and that requires PEACE. . . .real peace, —serious peaceツ✞
We are all *highly* limited cognitive processeors (I know I am) and have to filter and screen to even get on in the world (in your case visual clutter, etc.)
—Peace and Calm. . . . Mark 6:31: [a] solitary place, and ἀναπαύσασθε✝💖 (—rest, deeply rest) . . .Peace comes from within. We can never, ever find it without. . . .I think that is one of the greatest lessons to achieve inner peace and enter into that rest. Pleasure is always derived from something outside you Nancy, whereas joy & peace arises from within —where Christ lives. Mark 6:31: And He said to them, “Come with Me privately to a solitary place (a desolate (a minimalist) place; a desert place), and let us rest there. . . . “Welcome to the Desert of the Real!”
JoAnn’s point is also really helpful: Maybe you can help your children, if they have this issue too, by modeling: —Modeling tranquillity wrapped in Christ’s Love released from desire and fear, —from both❣
Interestingly our youngest daughter has the same sensitivities – and she is adopted 🙂
She is also partially sighted and so is especially sensitive to visual chaos ( events with unorganized crowds).
We both have many limits. Since she has come into our family, I have learned to slow down,for her sake – what a gift!
Adopting her was terrifying and forced me to begin to dig deep, and search for The Lord. Thankfully, He met me in the midst of it!
And yes, Aleea…”by modelling tranquility…”
When I respect my limits, I am that….tranquil 🙂
And that is what creates the ‘space’ that allows me to hear Him.
How much longer until the end of the tour? (If you don’t want to be too specific, can you just give a general idea? A few months? More than a year?) I am praying for you – fervently.
A year. Thank you.
Jolene, it’s still important for you to find out what they do in your state. Each state has its own regulations regarding divorce and even separation. When we know the facts, we can move forward with confidence.
Sheep and Jane,
This is my first post but have been on this blog for a while. I recently separated and filed for divorce (in January) from my emotionally abusive husband. I too have had said many words to myself and God “why did I stay in this so long” “Lord, I begged you” “how could i have done this to my kids” But my wise friend reminded me “the Lord’s timing is perfect” The minute the Lord released me I left. The Lord told me for a long time to stay but I look back and it was to grow me and my strength in Him to prepare me for this battle. As bad as it was in it, it is worse getting out BUT I have hope now. I had lost my hope but at least now there is truth and light. My kids are 12 and 9 and it has been hard on them. Everyday i have to give it all up to Him b/c it is literally a day by day process. But I can attest to His faithfulness in little details and in big – it is crazy how He has protected me. I turned my h’s closet into my prayer closet and I go in there to be cloaked by the Lord’s wings. It is tough getting out – but I would have lost my life staying in.
thank-you, much help
It is very difficult in so many ways. I want encourage you that if you continue to keep the course, life will get so much better. Better is a morsal of bread in peace than a banquet with a fool. Your morsal of bread will taste like prime rib and along the way, fruit, cheese and desert will be added to your morsal. It will be a delightful nourishing meal. God hears you.
Dear Leslie, Thank you for answering my question. Your response was spot on! I want to share with you where I believe the Lord led me in my reading this morning in the Bible. I’m doing one of Beth Moore’s studies at the moment (the Quest) and haven’t picked it up in quit some time. But this morning the Quest bible study led me to the story of Hagar (Genesis 16:13) and to Genesis 15:1-6. Though I have a very heavy heart, I felt hopeful that the Lord sees what has been happening; that He sees and hears my cries; however, where He is leading me I have no idea. And when I read Genesis 15:1-6, that evoked in me a prayer, sort of copying Abram’s response to the Lord after the Lord told Abram “not to fear; I am your shield”. Abram’s response was a question, “Oh Lord what will you give me since I am childless …” My prayer to the Lord this morning–no my deep cry to the Lord this morning–was to please grant me His favor with my husband and sons. I also reminded the Lord that when we delight in Him, He gives us the desires of our heart. My desire is to be loved by my husband and sons.
Just be careful that your desire doesn’t become your source for your well-being. I believe God was showing Hagar that HE WOULD BE HER SOURCE for love and protection, even when Abram and Sarai rejected her.
You are quoting psalm 37. where God has been really speaking to me the past 48 hours.
“Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desire of your heart.”
Yesterday AM I was really praying on this and letting God work through this with me. I thought, what are my desires IF I am delighting in the Lord (which also means delighting in His heart and His goodness).
I got three important things, but this is what I got when it came to my family:
I desire for my children and husband to truly know You, whether it is with me or without me.
I realized that I want so much what God wants. Intimate relationship between God and my family. If our marriage is getting in the way of this, I am finally willing to lay down that idol if it means that my husband might have a better chance at a genuine relationship with God.
God has also been revealing the God Who Sees to me! This is my name for God as well. He has seen all this mess and His heart breaks for it. Notice, when the angel spoke to Hagar, he told her she needed to go back but he did not command it, but that if she did, there was a promise of blessing. Also, Hagar was warned that this blessing was not going to look like she expected and she was told of the awful behavior of her son but that God was still going to use him to make many nations.
God will empower you to do what He needs done. Be open to being able to delight in God (even when it looks different than you expect). If you delight in Him, your hearts desires change. I thought my hearts desire was for a healthy marriage. It’s not, though this would be great still if God works it out, my desires have changed as I “Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness”.
I hear Him so many ways. Sometimes as the still small voice, sometimes more as an unction, you just know what you should do in the depths of your soul. Sometimes and especially today, through His word, anywhere in it. Often in worship. In closed eye visions that sometimes I have interpretation for and other times I don’t so I just report what I saw and God handles the rest. Sometimes in dreams. It must line up in scripture somewhere as God never changes, but he also doesn’t ask everyone to do the same thing, everyone is given a different measure and asked to do different things. You are hearing Him all day and that is beyond special, my daughter has that and always has even as a tiny kid.
After last night God has been speaking to me so clearly today through visions, His word and His voice. I am amazed how they are lining up together too, its crazy amazing. I have such peace and I even feel I have gained part of myself back, it is amazing. I still don’t know what to expect but I feel that I have finally laid the idols down, now to just not pick them up again!
Aleea, may I offer an answer to the woman who asked about “hearing God’s voice”? First, you were right about the Lord speaking to us through His word. That’s the best way to get to know Him, especially when it’s a new believer. Along with that, however, it is important to have a clear conscience. Anger, resentment, unforgiveness, bitterness…these things make it impossible for us to have open communication with Him. I wish that in Christian teachings there was more emphasis on these things as insulators in our relationship with the Lord.
Where God can speak to all of us:
Psalm 37 hitting me deep today, super blessing
One thing I have noticed is that my h, if he apologises at all, will say, “I apologize for…” but will not say, I am sorry. ” There is a world of difference between what you do or what you are or feel. It’s the difference between the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. It has been brought to his attention yet he won’t or can’t do it. For me, that is one thing I’m waiting for before I start to believe that there is real change.
I have never received an apology in any way, shape or form. I was told how I made him do it or caused the problem. There was a well crafted reply about how he was right to do what he did. Furthermore, don’t dare bring that again, ever….or else. If I did bring a banned subject up at another time. I was punished.
Need some input. So after I walked out last night, I continued with my boundary asking for space and that my husband respect this. He finally texted back stating this would be the last word from him until I reached out.
This evening in comes a text giving me a heads up about something remotely of importance for my general job and is not applicable until the end of the year. Just as an FYI.
Is this him making sure I hear about it now, so he doesn’t forget, or is this him testing the boundary?? Those with knowledge of narcs I need some input. I don’t want to get annoyed with something that I shouldn’t be.
Jane, while we can’t know for sure what’s going on in your hsbnd’s thinking, (whether he is being ‘memory helpful’ or whether he is testing your boundary), it might be helpful for you to think about which of his behaviours this evening’s text is most consistent with. Has your husband, in the past, demonstrated long pattern of being helpful, letting you know important information ahead of time? Is he typically concerned that you have important details so nothing gets ‘lost in the gap’? Or does he typically ignore your clear boundaries, even when you have expressed them recently and repeatedly? Look to his patterns in order to figure out which way this evening’s text leans. And, keep in mind that now you have this important tidbit of information. You already know that it will be important 6 months from now……..so, you do whatever you need to in order to stay on top of your own details (note on bulletin board, reminder in phone/calendar, string around your finger). That way, you won’t be second guessing yourself about whether you need to rely on his ‘reminding’..
Given that last night he texted a “final word” message until you take a specific action, but this evening he’s ‘helpfully’ sending a heads up………….seems like a bit of a fishing expedition. Be wise. Be consistent. Be respectfully firm and honour your own boundaries!!
This is a really good response ‘K’!
It’s factual and also helps to be wise about how to best interpret a person’s pattern in my opinion given one is dealing with a highly destructive individual.
He is testing you, Jane. He is trying too see if he can control you.
Now my daughter is texting asking if I am coming home soon. I told her I don’t know, I am still getting work done (which is true). but she doesn’t usually do this, especially this early at night. So I asked if she needed me (it seems suspect). She said no just wondering. I told her you never ask, what’s up. She tells me she was wondering if she should go ahead and eat without me or if I would be home soon. She never does this so I told her to eat if she was hungry and asked her if she was sure she was ok. She never asks about this. I got yes I’m ok.
I can just see her dad on the other end either telling her what to do or doing it himself, and he is tricky enough to be sure to put in her learning disability typos, but at the same time I wonder if I am just being paranoid, but it feels so wrong. I guess my spidey senses are tingling, aka: the Holy Spirit might be warning me.
I really think he is not respecting the boundary and now I don’t feel that it will be ok to go home tonight but I feel I am abandoning my kids by not going home to see them, plus I need a shower and a change of clothes. I want to leave my go bag for a physically dangerous situation. I am just concerned that if I go home he is just going to reengage in a fight that is pointless to have. Darn it this part is hard.
To lighten the mood, I have that stupid song should I stay or should I go (just that line) playing in my head. It’s kinda funny.
He is manipulating your daughter to get to you. Stay strong. Make your yes, yes and your no, no. This is the real stuff we are talking about. You can not waiver or you lose credibility.
It may take a series of leaving. Sounds like you didn’t plan this well enough. You have to protect your kids from him and either kick him out or take the kids with you. Hold tight as long as you can, but you need to organize for a real departure. Right now you left your daughter with a dangerous man.
Do your kids go to school. Let them sleep tonight. Make a point. Get your emergency stuff with a police officer present.
If you go home and he erupts tonight, call the police. File a temporary restraining order. That will keep you and the kids safe. The order will force him to leave the house. Unfortunately he has to act out to get caught. Use your phone to record him.
Home schooled daughter and the boys work at various hours so no. No safe time to go home and let it blow up. I can’t call the police just because he is angry and arguing and making me feel like garbage. I have to feel physically threatened and though he made intentional posturing to intimidate last night he did not threaten my physical safety.
The phone would not stay in my hand and would quickly be broken, of that I feel fairly certain. I would have to hide the phone and have it on continuous vocal recording I guess.
I am wondering if there could be any trouble later for custody (if you divorce), if you leave without taking the kids with you. Couldn’t it be used against you that you felt that it was safe to leave them with him? Perhaps someone else has an idea about this.
I was thinking the same, but didn’t want to add to Jane’s burden. Jane, I think it’s important to seek legal counsel.
Maybe Aleea can offer some advice.
. . .I am an IRS corp. tax law attorney (corporate acquisitions, dispositions, spin-offs, joint ventures, reorganizations and restructurings Section 355 – Section 7428, et.al. of the IRS Corp. tax code). . . .I only know what is on the family law sections of the bar exams in the states where I am licensed to practice law. . . .California; Florida; Virginia; New York; et.al. Every place the IRS is filing suits I have to be licensed. . . .But those are just academic exam questions. . .
Anyways, Lord God help me, my opinion is the same: you could be in trouble (compromised) later for custody if you leave without taking the kids with you. It could easily be used against you. . . .God have mercy, everything gets used against everyone these days. In the state bar trade magazines I get each month, I sometimes see lawyers get disbarred for repeatedly making the most tenuous connections between spousal actions in the family courts. . . .but they will go for it.
. . .maybe go to the Section of Family Law – American Bar Association https://www.americanbar.org/groups/family_law.html and use those resources to find a good Family Law Attorney in your state. Lots of those issues involve mediation so find someone who also has all the mediator certifications and lots of experience doing family law, —successfully! Note, mediators are certified for different courts, General District Court (GDC), Circuit Court-Civil (CCC), —you want someone with Circuit Court-Family (CCF)/ Domestic Relations District Court (DRDC) mediation certifications. Find someone with hundreds and hundreds of hours of Circuit Court-Family mediation and advanced family mediation training. Also, who has demonstrable experience in screening for and dealing with domestic abuse in the mediation context. . . .this applies to all those cases because they can help you with all of it i.e. tax returns, credit histories, background checks that are multi-state, that look for “devices”; strings of undercapitalized partnerships; any type of an “active business” and it could do lots of things but layered entities allowing declaring bankruptcy but keeping the assets, etc. Also, revolving lines of credit can accomplish the same. Any kind of fraudulent conveyances used to hide assets where a cause of action exists is material because movement of assets is almost always to avoid claims, especially in divorce, lawsuits, and many times it is criminal.
Longer, long-term, I would find someone who is a CPA, a CFP and a CFA (Certified Financial Planner and Certified Financial Analyst) to talk over these matters with. Those designations signal individuals that have the training and expertise in tax, financial planning and asset management to protect your interests longer term. They can run all the Tax, Credit, Financial Projections, etc. reports. Longer-term, I would say you need a financial plan, a solid financial planner and someone who can file your taxes separately.
Thank-you for your advice. I will check it out. The big hang up will be finances, I will have to save up enough and I have no idea how long it will take me to squirrel away $5 here and $10 there. It has taken everything to find the cash money for counseling weekly and I am sure he was going to confront me soon on this, fortunately my church is now helping out.
If it also takes a CPA to pay, it will be a while before I can safely change anything. I will have to keep praying and trust God over the finances that I can access.
. . .if it starts going really badly. . . .a good Family Law Attorney in your state is far, far more important than counseling (at that time). And again, lots of those issues involve mediation so find someone who also has all the mediator certifications and lots of experience doing family law, —successfully! . . .the CPA, et.al. is for longer-term (for your future). I’m praying for you Jane. . . .Do your homework well. Most solid attorneys really respect that and will meet you at your level of preparation. That keeps the costs as low as possible. . . .Keep Christ in your heart; —listen to others but do what He tells you to do. Anything under Christ’s control is never out of control. . . .I know you know that!ツ✞💌
I should think that the local battered women’s shelter will have much of the legal information you would need, and might even have a list of attorneys who are willing to help by offering pro bono services or sliding scale rates. Every woman here who is in trouble should look for such a shelter or victim services in your area. They will have counseling services and know about what is available. First stop…check it out. Even a suicide helpline might be able to direct you. Your local phone book usually has a directory in the front for social services.
Absolutely check that out, for sure. . . .But whomever you use, for-the-love-of-God, be results oriented. . . .pro bono services or sliding scale rates are fine as long as that person has solid qualifications and *most importantly* a demonstrable, proven track record of getting real results. So often those issues involve serious mediation so find someone who also has all the mediator certifications and lots of experience doing family law, —successfully! Again, note, mediators are certified for different courts, General District Court (GDC), Circuit Court-Civil (CCC), —you want someone with Circuit Court-Family (CCF)/ Domestic Relations District Court (DRDC) mediation certifications. Again, find someone with hundreds and hundreds of hours of Circuit Court-Family mediation and advanced family mediation training and demonstrable experience in screening for and dealing with domestic abuse in the mediation context. . . .Ask them lots and lots of questions. That involves doing lots of reading/ research.
Jane —take care of you. Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping (as a full-time job), because that is your full-time job. Jesus IS about *radical*, sweeping, encompassing empowerment. We never lose by deeply loving. . . .but I’m just saying that if/ when we are harmless, we are not virtuous at all, we are just harmless. By becoming courageous we increase our potential for being virtuous too.
Treat yourself like you would someone you are responsible for helping; Make friends with people who want the best for you (God will show you); Compare yourself with who you were yesterday, not with who someone else is today; Pursue what is meaningful in God’s Kingdom (not what is expedient). Re: Bible Series IX: The Call to Abraham.
I believe it is designed to keep you hooked.
When I felt unsafe I would tell him that so and so was alerted that I was feeling unsafe, and I also told him if he acted out I would call the police. He would just posture and I still blocked the door. I read somewhere during these situations to be “like a grey rock”, in other words, be calm, boring, non -confrontational, while quietly getting yourself ready.
Telling my husband I felt unsafe made him laugh. He would mock me. There is evil at work in some, pure evil.
I agree with the grey rock suggestion. One can do it 24/7. It takes a terrible toll on our pysche but we survive.
The point is that we are to thrive, not just survive. One can not stay well in these situations.
Possibly, and if it wasn’t a ‘work fyi’ it Might be something else to try to feel your response out.
See you are the one Changing Jane, and the changes are not going to fuel or reinforce the dynamic of relationship he is so so comfortable in!
Superior vs inferior.
And yes my thoughts are you don’t leave a child with a parent who is this unstable, take them or find a safe place for them to be even if it’s a a Friends house (where your h doesn’t know) if you can’t take her with you to work etc.
Again if you have no support here then you are too isolated with resources and those you need to get lined up.
I think the ages of the ‘children’ is important. I remember reading that only one is a minor. If these are adults, then I would think legally, things will be quite different. ( I’m not talking about safety – that’s another matter).
Jane, do you think it might be time to sit down with your ‘kids’ and have a frank discussion…?
I think the ages of the ‘children’ is important. I remember reading that only one is a minor. If these are adults, then I would think legally, things will be quite different. ( I’m not talking about safety – that’s another matter).
Jane, do you think it might be time to sit down with your ‘kids’ and have a frank discussion…?
The truth sets us free. It may not feel good, but it sets us free
I think he’s testing the boundary.
Yes, he eventually texted me directly to ask what the plan was. He did not maintain even 24hrs.
I consulted my counselor and reinforced the boundary that I needed space and I returned home with caution. I do not have things in place for longer separation right now, I need to work on that.
I am not sure about the kids. My middle knows its a problem and he unfortunately is often the one in the middle. He tries to be a fixer and even wants to be a counselor (which he will be very good at). Unfortunately he does have some of my husbands traits and even he sees that they are unhealthy. One time his girlfriend asked him to stop during an argument and he would not. He felt so bad afterwards and recognized the behavior. I am doing my best to show him these traits and help him where he is. But having said this, I am not sure, and neither is my doc, that he wouldn’t sympathize more with my husband in the end (he tries to stay Switzerland). My oldest, he has some significant anxiety issues because he has sensory processing disorder and because he has more of my temperament and growing up with my husband hasn’t helped. He is afraid of my husband overall and does want to get out of the house. I am hoping he can go to college away next year, but this means living with my husbands brother who is currently in the middle of a yucky divorce because he married a version of his own narc sociopath mother (this is where my husband got it). This is also a whole year away when my middle will also hopefully go away to college. Telling my oldest will stress him out way too much, potentially dangerous to his mental health.
The one I have to worry about is my baby who is old enough to have a permit but not her own license. The struggle here is that she is very close to both of us but closer to her dad because of the father-daughter dynamic and because I work too much and at least he is around (though usually checked out into the TV or a computer/phone game). She is very sensitive emotionally and spiritually but has been quite poisoned by his words and attitude- I see his thinking come out of her the most even though her genuine spirit is the sweetest of anyone. I am afraid she would go to him with any plan or idea, and that if she didn’t it would eat her alive!
This is why I keep asking about how different things people have done have effected their kids. I am concerned, not just about what separation will do, but even to let them in on the problem. I struggle with guilt that I let it get this far and how it has effected them, but now that we are this far in, what’s the best way out for them. Any thoughts here?
I don’t have any specific ideas in this regard because me experience was so different than yours is. I hope others will chime in.
I guess what I see in your post is a desire to control the outcome with your kids – how they will react and who they side with. While I can imagine that this is TOTALLY normal, it feels to me that you are not trusting God.
I’m going to share a bit about my childhood – others have heard this, here, before.
My mother has many borderline traits and my father was very immature – if anyone could have stood up and told the truth, it was him. But he didn’t, he chose to have multiple affairs instead.
I’m a very sensitive person. During my childhood ( especially starting around 6 or 7) I knew something was seriously wrong. The problem was that no one told the truth. We went to church and were seen as the ‘perfect’ family.
Let me tell you something unbelievable: whenever anyone asked me about my childhood – when I was a young adult- I’d say that I was very lucky, I had a stay at home mom who poured everything into us, and a dad that provided. I had been conditioned to focus on the surface. ( all this while going to church… Very. Confusing)
It wasn’t until years later (about 32 years old) that I began having serious emotional problems. The bottom line was that living in an environment where NO ONE validated the experience of living with multiple massive earthquakes, led me not trust my own basic instincts. I had no idea how to live in truth. I learned to distrust my own experience. When infertility persisted, I had no coping skills, and ended up having a psychotic break from reality.
My counsellor said it like this “you did not grow up with an elephant that no one talked about, you grew up with the rotting corpse of an elephant – that no one talked about.”
This is disgusting, but the most accurate description of what I lived with. I grew up denying all my senses that were SCREAMING at me that it REAKED, and that it was CROWDED ( elephants are enormous!). Somewhere, in myself, I made a decision that it must be me that was crazy.
Jane, what I needed more than ANYTHING else in the world was truth. Truth is painful but it HEALS. It might take years, but it is absolutely necessary to basic mental health.
You are his mom, Jane, not me. And you are very connected to God. Is it possible that your eldest needs the truth? On some level we can say that generally, yes, we all need truth. The timing though, needs to be right. Especially given how fragile he is.
Here’s the thing. Your kids know the truth anyways. They may not be able to articulate it. But they know it. I imagine that there would be tremendous relief actually hearing someone actually speaking it.
I’m totally coming from my own experience here and from that place am imploring you to begin leaning into truth with them.
Words I need to hear. And your right, if I am so worried about the outcome and letting fear continue to control me, I am not trusting God. Always call me out please when you see this, it reminds me to push in and let go and just let God hold on.
I am sorry you went through this, all of this. Thank-you for your openness. I love the rotting elephant corpse analogy it is definitely correct. It’s exactly how I felt growing up, and now I have done this to my kids. I will pray and let God lead me when to speak the truth, especially with my oldest.
I think my concerns of speaking the truth with my youngest are grounded in truth. She is likely to take it back to my husband, even if unintentionally. My husband goes to a different church because he is angry that the pastors confronted him about some abusive misogynistic things he said to the teens. I chose to continue being involved in the teen group after he was told he could not. My daughter went to church with her dad one Sunday instead because she slept in. I am fine with this, it is a fine church, just a big one that will let my husband hide who he is. I’ve even gone with him twice to show my support and love. I asked her how was church. Somehow this led her to telling me that she asked her dad why he stopped going to our church. He told her it was because I hurt him there. She saw the look on my face when she told me this. (I was shocked at the accusation and disgusted that he would say that to my daughter). My daughter was now concerned that she had created a problem and said quickly, mom its ok, I know he hurts you too. Double edged sword there. She believes I hurt him! Now she is worried she has said something that is going to cause a fight or something. She wasn’t trying to tell me what he said, it just happened. She didn’t seem to understand that it was something not to say to me. I think this would happen if I talked to her about any potential of needing to leave and the situation would escalate faster than I am emotionally and physically set up to handle. And on top of it, she will blame herself. I will try to start planting seeds of truth about his words being hurtful maybe, but don’t know that I can safely do more.
I am so grateful for this blog, Leslie Vernick, and all of you that continue to post, share, encourage and pray.
Is your daughter connected to the youth group at your church? I’m just wondering if there would be a way that she could find out the truth about her dad’s inappropriate statement from someone there?
This is similar to him scaring your employees. It would be very good for her to find these things out from other people.
Just a thought…!
Yes they all know the truth, but have varying abilities to FACE the truth. My 5 all took /are different in how they cope, they are all 17-21 yrs old. (Several adopted) Eight months out, one of mine says he is healthier mentally and physically than he has been for a long time. One has no contact with their dad. One went away to military and wants to be left alone. One is living with me but seeing him for several hours every 2-4 weeks. One is slowly facing the truth and is leaving the state soon for college. I had to give that up to God to sort out with them. Husband targeted one in particular for his lies, so I had to let time show him truth.
thank-you, hearing the truth of what others went through will help prepare me. While I do need to work on trusting God, hearing the various outcomes and possibilities helps me feel prepared.
She was there with us! She has grown up hearing the twisting of the scriptures already and how wives are to be submissive (which isn’t all wrong when husbands are doing their part it works the way God intended) and how women need to respect their husbands (also true, we all need to respect each other, but respect to him means no difference in opinion, even opinion of what color the grass seems to be).
We have a very small group because we are a church plant. He frankly frightened three of the girls and full well upset the one boy. All of them spoke to their parents afterwards (guess he can’t blame me for twisting his words that time, yet somehow I hurt him!) The only person not shaken was my daughter because his aggressive and down talking, hurtful speech is the norm. She still doesn’t get what happened even though she was there. Can’t blame her, I didn’t get it was abuse because I grew up with it. It took me 25yrs of marriage to get it. I pray it doesn’t take her as much time to understand it is wrong and it is not God’s will.
She thinks my husband knows everything about the bible and that everything he says is fact. Being open to hearing where each person is coming from and what God is showing them in the word and then checking it against God’s character revealed throughout the word is one of the key things we are working on in the teen bible study group I proctor. I pray this helps her learn truth!
Oh Boy Jane, your daughter is Good Girl holding the whole world together ! Praying for you to have the courage of Daniel.
I don’t mean to heap extra worry on you right now but what he has done to your girl is sounding more like emotional incest and trauma bonding than a close “daddy’s little girl” attachment. May she begin to hear a different view of those twisted passages of scripture.
I am so proud of you Jane, for opening your heart to the truth.Wise as a serpent harmless as a dove, may you make your bold move in the strength and timing of the Lord.
God always provides a way for us to obey Him. Sometimes He lets us steal away silently in the dark of night, sometimes He asks us to stand up and fight in broad daylight.
My sister had to load her 7 kids in a van and bust through a locked farm gate while the dogs yapped their heads off and hubs ran cussing down the driveway in his underwear. Sometimes its like that.
Thank-you. Sounds like your sister has quite the story, I pray she is now safe with her kids and that she has experienced the miraculous provisions of God.
Yes Jane, totally miraculous provisions.
One could NEVER have planned or prepared or “claimed” all that has happened. And no one ever thought she would/could leave, especially the hubs.
Its been nine years. Almost a decade of watching her follow God and see Him come through for her again and again, above and beyond her prayers. And yes, she is as safe as anyone can be in this world, and her story is not wasted.
She does not live in hiding. She has helped other woman to see the truth in the crazy way they live. She is able to encourage them to DO something before things get desperate.
She left her home, and security(?!?) and they flew away like birds. She moved back to her home state where she had plenty of family (myself and others) who would take them in, and where her husband was afraid to return (because of past legal troubles here we think).
She has also chosen not to divorce or legally separate, mainly so her minor kids could not be given to him by the courts. They lived in Hawaii and their radical judges have been known to sometimes award custody to wicked fathers. He did not initiate divorce either, maybe because he is afraid of his abuse coming out, who knows.
Anyway, the youngest is now over 12 and could choose which parent to live with in case of a divorce, so she is out of the last shadow of danger which haunted her.
Our Father owns every beast in the forest and the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10) We needn’t be stopped by fear of lack and scarcity. He does take care of His children.
It may take a series of leaving. Sounds like you didn’t plan this well enough. You have to protect your kids from him and either kick him out or take the kids with you. Hold tight as long as you can, but you need to organize for a real departure. Right now you left your daughter with a dangerous man.
She is safer by far, she is his positive in put. Not good either but with the level of escalation of emotional abuse last night the only option was straight out the door. The kids aren’t targets. I don’t know that she would go with me anyway as we have not discussed this and I can’t safely discuss it with her and I can’t force her, she is too old.
This was not a planned departure at all. We went from honeymoon to tension to escalation to full out verbal abuse in 4hrs time. That has never happened before so I am in uncharted waters for me. If I am to truly leave leave that would be different and would be planned. Can someone tell me how to “kick out” someone who has just as much legal right to the house as you do and are physically very large as well. Were you dealing with a narcissist or a different type of abuser? there are different types that need to be dealt with differently. Then add sociopath. I am staying emotionally and physically safe and figuring out the next step. I appreciate the idea but that would actually cause unsafe escalation right now.
The cycles get quicker. Honeymoon to abuse. Ok, where can you stay tonight. Can you sleep in the office or the car? You can get an adult escort tomorrow to get a few things. You were right to leave. I would call the 1-800 national donedtic violence number. They be able to give you more direction.
I get the escalation. I get the danger. My husband wouldn’t leave either. He had to beat me for me to get the police and a restraining order. You need help here. Keep asking people. Tell, tell, tell.
You can’t last long without your safety stuff, a place to live and money.
I didn’t mean to try to kick him out now. I understand I have run out the door barefoot in the winter with no coat. I get it.
Go to Verizon tommorow and get your own emergency phone and phone number for $34. Tell them DV. Anonymous. I was Jane Doe.
Thx for the advice. I didn’t know about the phone. Is it like getting a prepaid? I will have to look into it.
After consulting with my counselor and feeling out the situation I did return home later last night with expectations that space was still needed. He respected that last night. This am, maybe he doesn’t understand this also means physically, he decided to rub my back while I was getting stuff out of my dresser and he was getting ready to take my daughter out for the day to do stuff since I needed to go to work and get a ton done. I just stayed tightly to myself and didn’t say anything. I know he is afraid he is losing me and in a way he is, he is losing control of me.
Not sure the next step but finally ok if God takes it direction of permanent separation if that is what God needs for my family to be healthiest and help them draw near to Him. It may be the only way God will be able to get my husbands attention.
Today I am safe, thank-you for the love and support. I am sorry you had to go through some much. I pray you are totally safe now.
re: “. . . .through His word, anywhere in it. . . .Often in worship. In closed eye visions that sometimes I have interpretation[s] . . . . Sometimes in dreams. It must line up in scripture somewhere as God never changes, but he also doesn’t ask everyone to do the same thing, everyone is given a different measure and asked to do different things.”
That is really, deeply beautiful Jane. Thank you for sharing that with me. It is so healpful to hear that. . . .You know what? Don’t waste your life on the vain, worthless things of the world which will soon pass away. Dwell on Christ and His Word and bring it forth into this lost world. . . .Spend everyday filling your mind AND your heart with God’s Word and may it reform and conform your entire life.
“I have such peace and I even feel I have gained part of myself back, it is amazing. I still don’t know what to expect but I feel that I have finally laid the idols down, now to just not pick them up again!” . . .And for those here whose husbands are totally resistant, keep trying BUT don’t let them take away from, hinder you, or deprive you from real life in Christ. . . .So, it is something like this: —Husband, I am going to Zion (the city of God) with or without you. I invite you to come and join me. —Come and join me in the Sunlight! But if you refuse —or say you will but then isolate, if you become emotional distant, abusive, have no interest in really following the Lord, want to be a carnal “Christian” (whatever that even is); I will go to Zion without you. . . .I will still love you, forgive you and pray for you but. . . Marriage is not: I will take care of your heart and you take care of mine. We never lose responsibility for our own hearts! Only Jesus gets our hearts and we are responsible to parent ourselves —and parent ourselves well (where I totally so often fail 😪) —applying God’s love to all those broken parts of ourselves that need to healed —so we find our identity in Christ.
re:“I feel that I have finally laid the idols down, now to just not pick them up again!”. . . . Jane, again, that is really, deeply beautiful. Thank you for sharing that with me. It is so helpful to hear things like that.
JoAnn, I don’t always have a clean conscience. . . .Often I have anger, resentment, unforgiveness, bitterness, hate, murder in my heart. . . .I know God’s love is always there, just shining like the sun on us all: always and abundant and all we have to do is not block it —ἁμαρτία (hamartia) in the New Testament is blocking that love by missing the mark. . . .But it isn’t just “I have sinned”, it is the forfeiture of God’s love because I have. *Not* because God withholds His love but because my heart is sometimes covered with black smudges that keep His love/light out. —So, I work very hard to make conscious and repent of even little patterns of sin in my life but I have them and it is like unclogging a pipe. We want that pipe to God’s love as clear and clean as possible (—or Lord if I really don’t want that but am just saying that, please change me so that I do really want that, —please!) . . .Lord, change me so I can experience as much of your love as possible. God’s love transforms everything it shines into. The cleaner we keep our hearts, the more of Christ’s love and joy will flow into them. —The cleaning of our hearts (—again, making conscious and repenting of) even little patterns of peoplepleasing and selfpleasing; that missing the mark —sin, equals the forfeiture of God’s love.
Re:“…these things make it impossible for us to have open communication with Him. I wish that in Christian teachings there was more emphasis on these things as insulators in our relationship with the Lord.” . . .Absolutely, I know, I know JoAnn. . . .🙏 Lord God help me not to just speak it, but please make it a reality in my life. . . .✞ Help us all to be continuously transformed 💟 💜 into the likeness of You (Psalm 17:15) . . . And if we don’t really want to be transformed, transform us anyway —just like Paul, —he certainly didn’t want to be transformed. Lord God you are the “light of the world” but I am often covered in dark, black smudges (—gossip, jealousy, bitterness, resentment, arrested development) and I am in need of Your light and healing-transformation. Lord God, may the darkness be broken into by inescapable light from You (Psalm 18:1-6, Psalm 31). —my rock, my fortress, my shield, my comfort, my peace, my salvation, my refuge, —my God!
Time with God was so cool this am. In Psalm 37. “Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”
I really sought out, if I am delighting in the Lord, what are my desires?
1. I desire to worship You and love You all of eternity with the throngs.
2. I desire for my children and husband to truly know You, whether it is with me or not.
3. I desire for the church, the community and the world to fall madly and truthfully in passionate love with You.
These are my deepest heart desires. If it means I have to separate from my husband for him to find true salvation, that is ok, because that is my heart cry, not a happy little marriage.
God’s cool huh? This realization today has given me great joy. I am still struggling with figuring out my next step, but I am in a wonderful peace overall.
Would you all help me decipher if I am overreacting? My H goes back and forth between verbal abuse and Being Mr. nice. He then blames me and he plays the victim . Yesterday my car was in a hit and run in a parking lot at the class I was at. It was badly damaged, piece fell off, front bumper hanging off, definity looked undriveable for the 20 mile trip home. Called the H and asked if he would come and pick me up. I do not like to ask him for anything but saw bo other option. The PD was called so I could make the report. Took almost 2 hours for them to arrive due to shift change. The H was totally impatient and pissed off over waiting for PD. Kept saying he is not waiting around all night. Told him I felt it was unsafe to drive the car and that I want to call a tow truck once the police take a report. The H said no tow truck as he is not waiting around all night for that and he will drive it. Told him it does not matter who drives it as it is unsafe and if another piece falls off it could create an accident for us and other cars. He is so angry that the policehave not arrived and starts ranting on how they are lazy,etc. Teachers and classmates come out and over and he turns into Mr. Patient- adjusting the bumper- saying accidents happen and everyone thought he displayed such a good attitude. He had me turn my whells to make sure they turned. They leave, rants continue telling me to forget making a report that the insurance will have to deal with it. Advised otherwise. Police arriveand he is Mr. policeman supporter and empathizing with their work load and no problem it took so long. Told officer he will bungee cord the bumper to exterior mirrow and will drive slow on back road. Now I have the case # and call insurance to make a claim before they closed and to coordinate rental car. While I am writing claim numbers and speaking on the recorded call he starts honking the horn. He pulled up mear me while I was on the call and screamed at me that he was giving me 5 more minutes on that call and then he is leaving. I waived him on as the call would be much longer. He drove away and left me in the parking lot with a bungeed cord tied to my mirror and stuff dragging off my car. I was stunned. I finished my call and started down the road and got cut off and ended up on the highway with the bumper held by a card and plastic shield bouncung and scraping road. Drove all the way home like that. Very scary. Made it home and he was bot even home and should have been home 1/2 hour before me. He soon pulls up with a large can of beer and said he had to stop and get gasoline. Argument continued today. My bodyshop said that car should never have been driven. Husband said he knew that I would make it home safe as I was in the Lord’s hands. He said the devil used this accident and used me to spiritually attck him as he is trying to get closer to the Lord. Said he is only feeling bad for telling me to get off the phone- not for leaving me there because he knew i would make it home safe. He said I should have told the claims person that i will call later as my husband wanted to fet home. I flipped out on that state,ent. He then said the accident happened because I am in the flesh and not in the spirit. Reminded him it was a hit and run while i was in class. I tiold him he left me in an unsafe situation and that I let him sway my better judgement as I wanted a tow truck and he convinced himself that the cop said it was safe to drive. This is crazy making? Thoughts please as he is now playing the victim saying he has had a hard week at work . I had to do all of the paperwork, file the claim, deal w autobody and get my own rental car and still make it to work today. Am I overreacting to my feeling that hus behvior in this is inexcusible ??
It is abuse. He’s clever and a great actor – with the police and others. That is not his true self. That is his false self. He knows he can’t get away with acting like that with other people. The problem is with you, he feels he’s entitled. That you will suck it up and somehow make excuses or allowances or just let him pass without any negative consequences because you will question your own experience, just like you are now. “Am I overreacting” NO WAY. You are not overacting. You are underreacting but he has trained you to do so so that “he doesn’t overreact”. Plus, you are responsible for managing his emotions – which is how he has taught you to feel about it. But as you saw with the police, he is perfectly capable of managing his own emotions when it suits him. You are in a destructive/abusive marriage. You don’t deserve to be treated this way and you need to start getting strong enough not to question your own reality.
Love this statement, Leslie.
“You need to get strong enough not to question your own reality”.
Developing CORE strength will really help with that. Pray, pray, pray. And trust your insticts. God gave us intincts for our protection – physical protection, yes….but emotional and mental protection, too!
Excellent response Leslie!
This is so spot on and what abusers are so distorted about. In moments like these where there is tangible evidence of the situation and his behavior, consider it a huge wake up call to what he’s been doing for such a long time.
There are things as clear boundaries for your sanity and safety, they are called no tolerance!
He might be in a man’s body but inside he is functioning at a destructive ingrained pattern.
Get safe, find safety and begin your recovery work apart from him. He will keep trying to muddy the waters with making you doubt.
You have strength and courage and God will give you clear wisdom as to draw a hard line, by the way this is loving him well (at a distance).
He clearly isn’t a man who has healthy emotions that are processed in a safe way, he’s unregulated and unstable. It’s abuse layered on with more abuse over and over.
These types of people are ‘land minds’ unless they get intense interventions and often even that is a stretch! You do not need to be his lightening rod and he has not an ounce of safety emotionally.
As Christians and especially as wives, we are not required to sit in an unsafe place with an unsafe person to live out the gospel!
I learned I can live out the gospel by walking away from these types of crazy making and not tolerating ‘such disregard’ regardless of a marital covenant (which yours is clearly broken) or even in family of origin issues.
You are NOT crazy nor overreacting!! I have been living with this for at least 28 yrs and this sounds like a page out of my life. Don’t let him make you think you are overreacting, that you are twisting his words, that he is actually getting closer to God and that you are spiritually off, that he is the victim, that you are not worth making feel safe and cared for, etc. He is abusive, crazy making. May be a narcissist, I don’t know but some of the behaviors look like it. I encourage you to research this as you will realize you are not alone and not crazy.
You have come to a good place to receive support and love and to help open your eyes and gain a bit of wisdom. It sounds like you are in an emotionally and spiritually abusive marriage. As you come to grips with this I encourage you to find a counselor in your area that specializes in domestic violence and trauma. They will help you get to whatever next step you need to take and will help you grow in who you are and gain the strength and confidence you need to build your CORE.
If you haven’t done it yet, read Leslie’s book The Emotionally Destructive Marriage.
His behavior is ridiculous. Please tell me you don’t have children with this terrible man. Hopefully he’ll never have children at all
What a wacko!
re: “God’s cool huh?”
God is so, so, so cool. The t-o-t-a-l ground of being! Reason is powerless against the expression of God’s Love. Re:Psalm 37.
I don’t even have the words for it (—and I have lots and lots and lots of words) . . . God is —✞❣— . . .I can only express it symbolically, because symbolic language alone is able to express the ultimate and God is beyond even the ultimate.
. . .Jane, your deepest heart desires are just so beautiful.
. . .Christ’s Love makes everybody rich and we make each other rich by truly, really, deeply loving each other. Reason IS powerless against the expression of God’s Love. Christ has given us wings and yet we often prefer to crawl through life.
. . .And let us never be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others, we need these experiences for ourselves. —He’s our Great Reward!!!!!
Many prayers❣ Aleeaツ✞—I always pray for all of us here to be constantly transformed, especially me —I am in need of constant transformation💬
Can you go to a friend ( or pastor’s) house for a shower and to borrow clothes?
Thank-you. I could have I guess. I have a hard time feeling like a burden on others, something I am working on. I would do the same for them and go out of my way for sure, but I feel like I am a bother and not worth helping (just part of the after math of growing up in an abusive house).
After consulting with my counselor, prayer, and establishing with my spouse further that I need my space, I did go home last night.
I am okay today, clean and in new clothes. I realized I am not sure if my clothes in my go bag even still fit as I have lost a ton of weight in the past several months since the abuse became an understood problem. I probably need to further question what long term safety looks like. I have the 24hr situation covered in case it is physical so I can stay safe until I can get a TRO the next day, but if something like this happens again and I need length of space… I need to pray about it and discuss further with my counselor. I struggle because I would not stay with family or friends because I would fear for their safety in these cases. Besides, my dad doesn’t want to hear about it. He doesn’t know who to believe because my husband is a great sympathy maker and because, if my dad hears me, my dad will have to face the abuse he dealt out (my mom is fine with it, she’s a narc so she doesn’t think she is any part of the problem anyway). I do not think I could afford a hotel for more than a night so I need to keep procuring and hiding money I guess.
You are all so kind to care and look out for me as best you can
Glad you can access your counsellor in such situations!
Me too, didn’t know I could and felt bad about doing it so late in the day but I thought I would try. She is wonderful, supportive, and definitely is pushing me to be stronger, builds my CORE, encourages boundaries, and accepts me where I am while still being insistent on making certain of my safety and being honest with myself about my safety.
I share your joy, Jane, and with those “heart desires,” I am sure that the Lord will honor that. Praise him!
When you have a destructive/sociopath/ narc— it’s not the time to coddle words like, I don’t want to bother anyone. I kept a suitcase in trunk with enough clothes to last a week. I often left for a evening, but eventually I left for longer. I setup a support team ready to help me with one call. I setup staying with friends who were prepared to face a sociopath as the husband was a trained counselor. As far as the children goes- when children become young adults who have been raised in a destructive home , it’s obvious they have been damaged. You can’t really help them right now because first priority is helping yourself. YOU get healthy, you see the counselors you need. I had a Christian counselor well versed in abusive spouses and I went to the women’s shelter and had another counselor. While I was getting prepared to leave I took many steps to ensure my safety. Please, it’s definitely not time to not want to burden people. I contacted 3 pastors who were my prayer warriors around the clock. I’ve been out for 3 years and am living a very peaceful and safe life. I waited on the Lord and He whispered every step I was to take next………
wise words. thank-you.
Weaknesses like being too strong to ask for help and fear of putting others in danger, whether it be pride, fear of burdening, or wherever it stems from, are real hindrances and issues in my own heart that God is working on.
When we were trying the marriage counseling route (actually so helpful because that’s where I learned he was a narc- excellent male counselor), I was particularly upset after the one on one session that revealed that to me. The counselor was far from my home but our church and pastors house was half way between. I had the urge to go see if the pastor’s wife was home so I could speak to her and felt embarrassed that I would be a bother and almost didn’t, but God… He speaks softly and says, “It’s ok to need people.” So clear into my mind and my heart. So I went to their home and I am so glad I did.
That was a year and a half ago and I am still working on this. I grew up feeling like a constant burden, emotions should never be shared because they upset people, and that I wasn’t worth the time or resources needed to properly be cared for, and that whenever I couldn’t have something it was because I wasn’t good enough. Those insecurities and issues don’t just poof away, but God keeps working on them with me.
I finally let one more person in on my life yesterday. Someone I have a real spiritual connection with but don’t spend a lot of physical time with. I now have a safe place to go that my husband would not know about nor even consider. I like the idea of a weeks worth of clothes in one suitcase, but I don’t even own an extra weeks worth of clothes to put aside. Much of what I have is hand me down, and right now little of what I own fits anymore. I don’t have money, but I guess a few dollars at a well located Goodwill may go a long way, and rather than keeping it in my trunk where my husband would find it, I can keep it at this person’s home since that is likely where I would go.
I would have to ditch my car for a rental anyway as one of the first things I do. Spending his day driving around looking for my car is how he has found me before, he is very good at finding me! He told me while we were dating one time when he frightened me because he kept showing up at places where I was, events that I had not told him about, “I can find you anywhere.” When I asked him how. “Because I’m me, and I’m just that good.” Was this the narc that is clueless that the look on my face is terror or was this the sociopath that gets off on the fear (I actually now vote on the sociopath side).
Totally agree about the prayer warriors. This is why I finally let this other person in. She is already one of mine and gets words that are dead on but doesn’t understand what they mean til now. God is also so good that other people in my life that I have more irregular but meaningful spiritual relationship with are being keyed in to pray. Thursday before it all blew up, two people without any knowledge of this were praying. One texted me to tell me I was heavy on her heart and she was praying, the other had word to guard my words and saw an angel guarding me fiercely. So accurate for the events that night. My God is The God Who Sees… even before it happens, and He is in the midst of all that is happening. He does continue to whisper every step…
I am glad to know that several short leaves of absence came first. I feel led this direction right now, though the next leave may need to be a bit longer, I need to be better prepared for it.
Someone wrote on this blog that a friend let them keep their car in the garage of their safe house, displacing the owner’s car. That action kept the fleeing victim’s car well hidden.
I agree with others that you should get your children in counseling and tell the truth.
I found truth telling needed to be moderated until I was safe. As h would badger kids (and anyone else) for information. Eventually they move on to other targets. They need to control someone and/or something to feel alive. Control is like oxyyen to them. They can not function without it. That is why many abusers threaten with suicide or murder. Control is that vital to their pysche.
Oh, and the behavior you describe, June. Is called stalking. You can get a restraining order for that. Get the temporary first, then the stalking behavior can help get you a longer order, usually three years. When I was in court a heard a woman get awarded restraining order against her boyfriend. He wasn’t paying rent and she didn’t want he coming near her. Restraining orders can be easier to get than you think. Just ask.
I’m sorry to hear about your daughter and how ‘insensitive’ to abuse, she has become 🙁
I agree that you need to get yourself healthy first. You can’t help her, until your eyes are completely open to who he is, and all your own trauma bonds have been severed and healed. Then you’ll be able to respond to her in wisdom and strength. Unless you sense her in physical danger, you may need to wait a while.
I’m so glad that you have a ‘safe house’ that your h knows nothing about. Does she have a garage where you can park your car, inside? Jane, does he know computers / devices? Do you access this site on any device that he has ANY access to? Is ‘Jane’ your real name? ( you don’t have to answer this last one, just thinking that his stalking is really scary!)
Getting a network and a plan set up in advance will, I believe, alleviate your guilt about asking people for help. This way, you have the conversations in advance…but when the time comes you only need to use one word to communicate your need to set your plan in motion. Plus the more you communicate truth to others, the stronger you will become. As the pretense is shed ( in safe places), more and more of YOU will emerge 🙂
I think you should go to goodwill for more clothes that can be put in your ‘go’ bag. You won’t care too much what you look like at that point, anyways.
I am off for the next week. I will be praying for you, Jane.
Thank-you all again.
Moon beam: yes it is stalking and can be scary yet has never threatened my safety and he can rationally argue that he was worried for my safety, I am “so tired” because of my hours with work that maybe I’m wrecked in a ditch somewhere. The man knows if I am too tired I won’t drive but the cops and judge won’t.
And yes I worry about him badgering the kids, my oldest would fearfully crack, then feel guilty and truthfully if anything happened to me because of it, he may hurt himself. The middle could handle it but its not fair to put him through my husbands interrogation line. The young lady wouldn’t know what is or is not safe to say, she is very innocent and does not understand my husbands heart has an underlying sickness.
I agree counseling would be helpful but never agreed on by my husband and if I use our insurance he will know about it and cash wise there is no way. This will have to come later, but trust me it will come.
Nancy: She is physically safe. He is actually the most gentle with her because she went through a phase when she was a toddler when she wanted nothing to do with her dad or my dad because of the underlying anger issues. She does have a very sensitive spirit, it has just been covered for a time by blinders in regards to her dad.
Yes, hiding car in their garage, thank-you! Now no expensive rental! He is only soso computer savvy, but one day he came to my office to do some handy man work that he didn’t need to do and it took longer than it should. When I got to the office he was in my personal office room. NO reason, he claimed he was leaving something on my desk but had that sheepish look like kid with hand in cookie jar. I am 99% certain he was on my computer/tablet thing. I have changed security settings and passwords so he will no longer be able to access it. I have also implemented another safety measure that I do not want to be specific about because I mention enough specifics that I may still get found out if he ever finds this site.
Since I learned about the narc stuff 18mo ago, everything is searched in private browser if it is remotely related and I have learned how to use incognito on phone and delete that history. I have become minorly better at computer tech stuff since this started. He about flipped his wig when I changed my personal email password. He was checking my email daily to “help me”. I knew since he set up the account that he could change it back, this is when I set up the unknown account that everything private goes to. Back when we were trying the marriage counseling he even fussed to the counselor that I had done that. The guy had a look like, “and?”. The counselor knew it was bad but accurately felt out how not ready I was to see the truth. The narc thing was shock enough, he set me to reading Boundaries in Marriage which took me 6months to get through due to lack of time and readiness. I don’t want to say how long it has taken to even start setting some, kind of embarrassing really.
I only access this device at work (so you can see my lame hours) and he is not allowed here any more, though sometimes he makes an appearance briefly, just to demonstrate he can. This is one place I have set a boundary and stuck to it as far as his level of involvement. Can’t get him out all the way yet but working on it.
I wish I could safely access facebook but when I set up a dummy account with my new email it still somehow links it to me and my phone number history and other history which automatically starts linking to possible friends! No one else needs to know who I am or what my “name” is, nor what I am accessing on facebook, so unfortunately I shut that account off completely because no amount of safety setting changes on the account, nor removal of numbers, etc fixed it. It terrified me when it did that! The wrong someone will figure it out, maybe his family and they are some warped sicko’s. Blood has always been thicker than spouse, even in the beginning.
If anyone knows how to truly trick facebook let me know as I love Leslie’s webcasts, especially the live ones.
I love all the care and concern being shared. You are all wonderful with beautiful hearts, real compassion and different depths of wisdom, all of which are helping me. Thank-you so much.
Sorry, I seem to talk too much, but it so helps me to just speak it out like this.
You can create another Facebook account to access Leslie’s live events.
I tried and somehow it linked everything! I don’t trust it now.
You probably need a new email.
this was with a new email, so I will have to ask the IT guys at my church, they’re good at this stuff
What is interesting is how similar our “stalking” experiences are and how my friends would never have “put up with”, or even be subjected to like behaviors.
. . .you know JoAnn, the other day when I was replying I failed to mention that chasing agape (and all its other little variants with all the other kinds of loves) across the entire N.T. . . .agape it has to do with the mind: it is not simply an emotion which rises unbidden in our hearts. It is a principle by which we deliberately live. . . .agape has supremely to do with the will. It is a conquest, a victory, and achievement!!! No one ever naturally loved his enemies or in a lot of cases here, their husbands. To love one’s enemies is a conquest of all our natural inclinations and emotions. This agape, this Christian love, is not merely an emotional experience which comes to us unbidden and unsought. . . it is totally deliberate principle of the mind, and a deliberate conquest and achievement of the will. It is in fact the power to love the unlovable, to love people whom we absolutely hate (husbands).
. . .But here is the real thing I think is important: . . .In the N.T., (I know you know this) agape✨💖🌠 is just impossible for anyone except a Christian woman or man. No way to perform the meaning of that command in context until we become a Christian. We can easily see the desirability (health benefits; emotional and psychical) . . .but we cannot live it, until Christ lives in us.
. . all that (agape), is the product of the Holy Spirit. Where else would it come from? The NT is quite clear about that (Galatians 5:22; Romans: 15:30; Colossians: 1.8, et.al.) . . . Christian agape is totally unnatural in the sense that it is *not possible* for us naturally. We can’t get rid (cleansed, in the N.T.) from husband hatred and husband bitterness and the natural human reaction to husbands (emotional injury and dislike, et.al.) until/ unless the Holy Spirit 💯❗ takes possession of us and sheds abroad the love of God in ours hearts.
That may be like, hellfire & brimstone . . . no kidding Aleea, that is so, so obvious (Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha) but every single time I read all those agape passages it hits me like a freight train. . . .My experience is that it is in no way obvious to most💬 . . .okay coffee ☕🌠
Aleea, I totally agree with you, and while I was not aware of all the nuances of agape as you have outlined, all of that has been my experience. Only “Christ in me, the hope of glory” is able to love like that, because He is love. We don’t need to pray for more love, more patience, more anything….we just need more Christ! But in the case of agape, yes, we must have a direct transaction with the Lord: “Lord, I can’t but you can. I can’t love, but You are in me and You can.” The Christ in each of us is the One who conquers. Praise Him!
Re: “We don’t need to pray for more love, more patience, more anything….we just need more Christ!”
Absolutely . . .so, so true.
. . .Way, way more Jesus
Less (w-a-y less) of me. . . ✅
Re: “But in the case of agape, yes, we must have a direct transaction with the Lord: “Lord, I can’t but you can. I can’t love, but You are in me and You can.” The Christ in each of us is the One who conquers. Praise Him!”
Absolutely . . .so, so true and that is exactly the concept: a transaction with the Lord Jesus.
The University of Glasgow; New Testament words. Greek language, Biblical—Dictionaries ISBN 0-664-24761-X “New Testament Words: Chapter One: AGAPE AND AGAPAN, Our Salvation”ރ ✞ރ✝❣😊
Thanks for this, Aleea. And to Sheep, and JoAnn:
The Lord knows we can’t ‘do’ agape love in our own strength, that it is ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ And what that agape love does to the human heart and mind, is, it cuts deeply, like the Word of God should. The love of God changes us!
Hebrews 4:12 & 13 nails it. “For the Word of God is quick (or living) and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of the soul and spirit, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature (including demons, and devils) that are not manifest in HIS sight: but all things are naked and OPENED unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” He created us, He knows us, he tries us, and when we surrender to His will, ‘Not my will, but thine own Lord’ like Jesus cried unto the Father in the Garden.
Interesting that it was in a Garden, in the beginning which caused the fall of man, and it was in a Garden in Jerusalem which put things right on the hill of Golgotha.
And to sheep: Praying for you and your family, and continued prayers for your estranged wife, that her heart will be melted by the Holy Spirit. “It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the Living God.’
Praise the Lord for his merciful kindness to the children of men!
And we, in our puny understanding, have our hearts changed by faith.
The book of Hebrews is full of some of the deepest truths about Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit. We fall so short from even coming close to the power we have within us. To harness the power of God is blinding to our enemies, yet God says to: ‘Feed your enemies’ and ‘Be kind to those who despitefully use you.’ Yet he also hates the sin that so easily besets us.
I was quoting from the Kings James.
The book of Hebrews slays our human natures, so that we HAVE to come to Jesus for redemption. There is no other way.
πολλά χρόνια (pollá chrónia . . .many years),
“The Lord knows we can’t ‘do’ agape love in our own strength, that it is ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ And what that agape love does to the human heart and mind, is, it cuts deeply, like the Word of God should. The love of God changes us!”
A-b-s-o-l-u-t-e-l-y, . . .and when it does happen it means a miracle is taking place. . . . If you have reasons to love someone, you don’t love them. Real love is a total, complete baffling mystery. . . .Only love that continues to flow in the face of anger, blame, indifference, et.al. can be called love. All else are simply complex, nuanced transactions . . .
“Interesting that it was in a Garden, in the beginning which caused the fall of man, and it was in a Garden in Jerusalem which put things right on the hill of Golgotha.” . . .probably because it is integrated. You see that everywhere in the Bible. . .
Revelation . . .and among the lampstands was One like the Son of Man, dressed in a long robe, with a golden sash around His chest. 14The hair of His head was white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes were like a blazing fire. 15His feet were like polished bronze refined in a furnace, and His voice was like the roar of many waters. . .
As I continued to watch: Thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took His seat. His clothing was white as snow, and the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze.
His body was like beryl, his face like the brilliance of lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of polished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a multitude.
To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like a blazing fire and whose feet are like polished bronze.
He has eyes like blazing fire, and many royal crowns on His head. He has a name written on Him that only He Himself knows.
The whole thing is 🔃 integrated♻. . . .They have it in front of them when they are writing it!!!
“It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the Living God.” . . . A-b-s-o-l-u-t-e-l-y, when that happens it is so, so bad we would never, ever wish it on another —unless we are some kind of psychotic monster. —God is always so, so, so, so extreme. The great thing about that is how extreme His love is too. . . . εἰςτοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων (to the ages and ages). One extreme *always* holds the other extreme within it. I really believe that is what we must remember with our malfunctioning husbands! . . .and they with us!!! One extreme *always* holds the other extreme within it.
“We fall so short from even coming close to the power we have within us. To harness the power of God is blinding to our enemies, yet God says to: ‘Feed your enemies’ and ‘Be kind to those who despitefully use you.’ Yet he also hates the sin that so easily besets us.”
. . . A-b-s-o-l-u-t-e-l-y, in Christ, our fear is 💯❗ dependent on us for its survival. . . .If we could kick the person in the pleated skirt responsible for most of our trouble, we wouldn’t sit for a month. . . .Our deepest fear should be that through Christ ✞💖🌠 we are powerful beyond measure. Our light, not our darkness, should most frightens us. . . .Lord may our darkness be broken into by inescapable light from You. Be with us in the times of flooding unbearable emotions, painful memories (—for me, my childhood) for many here their primary relationship.
God’s love is always there, just shining like the sun on us all: always and abundant and all we have to do is not block it —ἁμαρτία (hamartia) in the New Testament is blocking that love by missing the mark. . . .But it isn’t just “I have sinned”, it is the forfeiture of God’s love because I have. *Not* because God withholds His love but because my heart is sometimes covered with black smudges that keep His love/light out. —So, we work very hard to make conscious and repent of even little patterns of sin in our lives. . . .We want that pipe to God’s love ✞ރ✞❣😊 as clear and clean as possible.
I have been married less than 5 years. My husband is normally a sweet person but with me he is very controlling. I’ve tried to challenge him, to stand up for myself but it isn’t working. He constantly reminds me of mistakes I’ve made. He uses this as his reasoning for doing everything for me. Everything from controlling money to telling me how often I can get up while we are watching TV. I’m afraid because it is getting worse. I’m losing a little control every day. People in my life are telling me something is wrong but facing that is overwhelming.
Get out while you can. I hope it is easier at 5 yrs in than at 25 with 3 kids together. Do you have any children. You are not losing control you are losing your soul. Trust me, I am just coming to grips with this reality and yet I keep feeling like I just need to keep trying to make it work, God will work on his heart. NO NO NO! I have to tell myself I know the truth! The reality is my husband has no intention of changing and after allowing it without boundaries for over 25 yrs why would anything change. If your situation is escalating like you are saying, you need a good domestic violence counselor in your area to help you!
It sounds like you do have supportive people around you that are not oblivious to the abuse and hopefully are not just telling you to submit (believe me I went that route fully and this just fuels the control, that was one of the worst times I had with my husband). I pray that your eyes open to the truth of your situation and that you would have Godly people in your life to support you, pray with you, and provide you protection when needed. This is the most important thing right now where I am in my journey. I pray you will find what you need (God in your midst!)
Also want to add that it’s really important to understand that you said he ‘treats’ you differently ‘specifically’ This is often a big sign that he might think he’s entitled to you and you are more a possession than a person.
What happens when you stand up for yourself and differentiate?
All you said is it’s not working.
What does he do when you challenge him?
He usually yells or gets really sarcastic when confronted. My father was a yeller too. If I can get past the temper he will sometimes listen and admit he is being crazy by not allowing me to cook unsupervised (for example). The problem is that all of this takes so much effort. The control just starts up again and I lose a little ground.
Jane you are freaking me out! 🙂 I’m not sure I’m ready for this.
Tonight he promised to go to a psychiatrist. I really think it will help a lot.
People can change, the bible tells us so. But they usually wont change until they lose everything, or are about to lose everything.
My husband did choose change over loss, but my sister’s husband did not. He was happy to stay crazy and alone. Everybody must choose for themselves.
I think Jane is saying we cant help anyone by lowering our standards and tolerating the crazy, so we might as well take a stand early on.
But its never to late to follow God.
I will say after being in support groups for 5+ years and meeting well over a thousand women married to addicts, cheaters, abusers, and less than desirable mates, t seems there is never a “good” time to make a bold move.
Older women say: “If I were young I would feel better about staring over from scratch.” and younger women say “If I were older and had more resources and didn’t have all this debt to pay off Id go in a heartbeat.”
“If my kids were still little…”
“If my kids were more grown up…”
“My kids are in college now…”
“Maybe if we had kids I would leave…”
“I have a house to think of …”
“I don’t have a house to live in…”
I have heard all sorts of contradicting reasons to avoid dealing with mess. And I’ve also seen women Thrive in all kinds of vulnerable situations when they stand up and follow God. Pregnancy, cancer, bankruptcy, foreclosure, sick parents, sick children, God is not ignorant of our sifficulties
The best time to wax bold is right after God shows us that quietly staying put is to participate in sin that will only grow over time.
Mindy, there are many voices of experience here. When you work on your CORE, the C stands for “committed to truth.” Let’s start with a few baby steps. First, get a journal and begin to write about the things that are happening. Keep it in a VERY safe place, so he won’t find it. Also, read Leslie’s book “The Emotionally Destructive Marriage” if you haven’t yet.
My second warning would be to please avoid getting pregnant at this time, until you can sort things out with a therapist and learn more about what is happening. Denial is your enemy right now, so listen to your friends and the therapist. Be sure that the one you go to is trained in dealing with domestic violence. My question would be: what does he do if you violate one of his rules? You get up one too many times while watching TV…what happens? Keep your eyes open. You are early in your marriage, and perhaps with counseling he can change, but time is on your side, and patience will be rewarded. Stay here with us and learn. Lean into the Lord, for He is your life and protector.
To be honest the behavior does not always bother me. Sometimes I just see it as part of him. People around me find it more serious.
It’s not unusual for you to identify with the abuser whom you love, so you look past it. This is not a part of him as a person, this is SIN and is in no way ok. I am so glad he is willing to see a psychiatrist, however most controlling men will manipulate even a counselor or psychiatrist, and often the abuser will be able to make himself look like the victim. If this happens, don’t buy it. None of this, if she would just submit more, respect more, have sex more, etc. Most importantly you need a counselor that specializes in domestic control or abuse. Please, do not get pulled in to marriage counseling until you have started your own counseling and they agree that you are safe for this.
You will rationalize and excuse and go back and forth. Well maybe I ‘m making too much out of it, or maybe its not that bad, or he doesn’t mean to do it, or he’s just insecure about himself…. the list goes on. NO, don’t let your mind go there.
I am not trying to freak you out, I’m very sorry. I see a young woman that has the opportunity to ensure a healthy future, strengthen herself and become the woman she was born to be. Read Leslie Vernick’s book The Emotionally Destructive Marriage. Just make sure you do not keep it where he can find it. Read it privately, cry, have your eyes opened. Leslie can put it in a way that is so well understood and truthful. Don’t be afraid of the truth, be more afraid of not seeing the truth and ending up under more oppressive control. Pray that God will open your eyes to the truth and that the Holy Spirit will be your comforter.
This is really well articulated!
Thank you my sister in Christ.
I had a friend a long time ago that was in an abusive destructive marriage. There were subtle signs and some clear obvious ones.
Once she told me that she can only get her haircut if ‘he’ allows itand thinks is a reasonable time to spend $ on something like that.
I was appalled that she didn’t have a choice in the matter and I was shocked that it seemed normal and she was so not disturbed by it… she kind of shrugged it off like oh well that’s just how he is.
She had been chipped away and for survival decided to ‘not feel’ or quickly accept his position on all things, since she had picked him as a spouse she thought that meant that she made her decision and that’s that kind of thinking.
Bottom line, he took robbed stole all the power and then convinced her that only one person in the marriage gets to decide the value and importance of things. Him.
It was an ugly situation because it got worse with kids.
He thought he has a money issue because he grew up poor and so somehow that entitled him to abuse their money and certainly he could do what he wanted with the money as long as he wanted to. He justified this often Because it looked like he had a real idol thing going on when it came to being a tight-money clencher.
Mindy, typically, this kind of behavior on his part will escalate. Be watchful. It is not normal for him to control you so much.
Was he like this when you were dating?
I think Jane is trying to say that given it’s been 5 years there are some clear warning signs that sometimes when your in it .., you don’t see them when it’s safest to find safety.
I’m curious about the psychiatrist and his willingness, how did that come about and are you going to go with him?
It is probably very confusing because there are times when his behavior is normal/charming. As you continue to accept the way he treats you, you will become desensitized to his abuse. It usually gets worse over time. Have you read Leslie’s book on emotionally destructive marriages?
He agreed to the psychiatrist because I refused to concede he was right about our last fight (that lasted an entire weekend). He eventually felt bad about some things he had done. He felt unable to change without medication. We know he has a serious anxiety problem. If he is manipulating me he is doing a great job.
Yes he was like this when we were dating but it seemed like a non issue. It was mildly annoying. After a year of my support group talking to me, I can see why they see it as abusive. (Sorry if I sound crazy). I guess I thought it was normal.
I think it is probably a good thing he is willing to see a psychiatrist however anxiety from what I understand is treatable and also needs behavioral therapy along side.
Otherwise you are at the mercy of him taking meds to assist.
I can relate to a week end of fighting only for it to repeat itself another weekend or another situational challenge.
My h would go weeks sometimes. It was horrible and I believe it caused a lot of anxiety and unnecessary stress on me.
If he is willing to get help for his issues now would be the ideal time to set up multiple interventions for him to be accountable to.
Thank you all for your kind advice. I will definitely stick around here and finish the book. I will pray for each of you!
He was so upset with himself over the things that happened last weekend. It makes me feel so guilty to even remember it let alone talk about it. I can’t figure out if I’m overreacting. I want this to be an over reaction.
I sympathize with you. I still do this in my relationship even though I know darn well better. This behavior you have been exposed to will make you question yourself, your own mind and sanity even, its called “crazy making” and is a real thing.
I did not mean to tell you to leave. I don’t appreciate it when people do that to me either. Whether you stay or go is not the issue as much as whether you are able to be healthy and safe.
This guilt is from the enemy. His upsetness may be true, or it may be what I run into. A play for sympathy and control, for you to excuse it away so he doesn’t have to follow through with getting help, etc. I still struggle every day because I don’t want to “hurt” my husband. But telling a two year old NO you can’t eat 5 bags of candy is not hurting them, it is helping them, even if they get upset, pout and cry. I have to remind myself of this daily.
You have so wisely recognized something is not normal, listen to that, seek out these resources and grow in strength and discernment. It is not an overreaction. My husband is also very controlling but he doesn’t stand over me in the kitchen (he just tells me everything I did wrong in the kitchen), I have endured a lot but I would probably say something if he though he had to look over my shoulder in the kitchen. The funny part, there are so many things my husband does to me that are just the way it is, when other people see it they are floored that I just let him speak to me that way, etc. Each of us has ways that we are controllable and ways that the abuser might lose control if he violates. They are good at learning which tactics keep us quiet and under their thumb.
Thank you Jane. Your wise counsel is greatly appreciated. I will ask the Lord to pay you back for me. I feel like the anxiety of navigating this is too much. I did start writing things down in a journal. I wrote in another language so he couldn’t read over my shoulder or see it when he takes my phone. ( I also changed the password to my phone. This time I won’t cave and give it to him).
Please, you are worth every second and word that is given to you. You do not need to have God pay me back, however your prayers are wonderful. God gives to us because He loves us. I am learning, I can’t earn His goodness anyway, I just need to accept His love and the love that others are showing me (I used to not accept that love because I felt unworthy of anyone’s love and I know I will just disappoint them).
Another language is a great idea. I actually opened an email account that my husband knows nothing about and I just email myself! It’s working out great but I am at work a lot and have freedom to type when I am there, though it is taking me from getting all my work done it has been much needed.
I am having a tough morning and need prayers lifted up. Some new tactics are in play and I am actually hoping God will be able to use them to get to the heart of my husband. Again I don’t want to share but so much for fear of my husband finding this blog, but my counselor gave me some difficult direction and asked me a painfully tough question and now I am spinning and shaking.
I was discussing with her that anyone that sees my situation or hears my story fears for my safety (not just you guys- thank-you all for caring). Yet somehow I really fear for the safety of those helping me and doubt that I would ever be harmed. It seems ridiculous that I still feel this way after the level of physical threat without actual harm that happened the other night!
My counselor told me I need to pray and ask God if I was safe at home. Then she paused and followed with the question, are you sure you want to know? This threw me. No, I am not sure I want to know! I will be committed to the truth about my heart here, I don’t think I want to know but I know I need to know! This whole thing is physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting. God is my strength through it, but I don’t know that I am ready to hear the truth. Of course, hearing that I am safe would be reassuring, but you all and I know that in the depths of me I know better and that God wouldn’t lie, and if He tells me that I am not, then I have to believe it then. (yet he still asks me to stay, I ask him every day now to get regular direction).
My counselor agrees, we are not worried about the safety of the kids, this is not the direction of his aggression and hostility. They will be safe if I have to leave again like I did the other night. As far as custody and the like, we aren’t even close to having to have that discussion and my counselor wants me to focus on the next step in front of me because of where I am in this whole thing. Also, where I live you have to have legal separation for a year anyway so by the time things change enough making me have to leave, then the required time to separate, my daughter will be considered an adult to the courts. Custody will not be a concern so I need to not focus on this but focus on my safety and health, only then can I be well enough to help my kids hear the truth.
And Caroline, you are so right! There is always an excuse. Right now I feel like, well if I had realized this when the kids were young, or before kids, or before marriage… Believe me, I kick myself regularly for not recognizing the abuse when we were dating, it was very much present and evil! I know I shouldn’t be upset with myself as many people experience this and especially those of us that grew up in abusive homes, this kind of tension and fear in “loving” relationships is normal. I am getting pretty old and I am just now learning, yet having a hard time believing, that loving relationships feel safe and there is not fear.
I appreciate everyone’s love and care. Thank God daily for Leslie, her work, her blog, and all of you wonderful individuals in this community.
Oh, how I love the way you expound upon things!
“Our light, not our darkness, should most frighten us.”
I love the verse, “In Him is light and there is no darkness at all.”
I was just on another site with the blog article title being: ‘When Your Husband’s Heart Is Hard.’
I am going to quote one of the comments from the blog originator, in answer to one of the blog commentors:
“It sounds like you are directed by wisdom and not your emotions. This is so key as we are to take every thought captive continually pointing our hearts to truth, (which is also what Leslie stresses with clarity here on her blog too, to take ever thought captive to the obedience to Christ). God’s Word will never fail you when seeking direction. (and a note to myself was ‘even when it feels like a knife in my heart!). The Holy Spirit will be faithful to direct you. I would continue to pray, asking the Lord to give you His wisdom and discernment. (another note to myself: ‘I am fighting for my entire being here, and my spiritual sanity.) Love hopes! It prevails. While you do not have any guarantee of any change in your husband, you will know from a contrite and humble heart when he has surrendered. But it can also be wise to wait allowing trust to be regained. Past wounds can creep up into a relationship so it must be guarded but first of all CLEANSED from past (grievances?) if you are to reconcile.” ( I would say here that past grievances need to be faced and confronted in order to move forward whether to separate or reconcile, and most here are dealing with destructive relationships, so this is not an easy matter to deal with.).
(More) “God will be faithful to create a new (refreshed/renewed) marriage as hearts are surrounded and are bent on a walk in obedience to Christ (that is the key). And it is imperative to seek (I am seeking, Lord! I am seeking!) godly wisdom and counsel when making ANY decision and upon ANY reconciliation. Grace abounds as does mercy. In the mean time, continue to seek the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. Continuing to allow the Lord to work in his life; pursue Christ, remind yourself that your identity is (in) Him in the coming days.If your husband surrenders and if you see the heart of a repentant heart, God will give you joy, and each of you the grace to move forward. You’re not there yet, so concentrate on your walk in Him. He will be your joy, your rock, your ‘steady’, your peace! Grace to you!” and the blog link to the article and more comments on that blog post is: https://www.reviveourhearts.com/true-woman/blog/when-your-husbands-heart-is-hard/
With me, I appreciate all the help and encouragement I can get, so I am passing on that link to others here.
So sorry for what you are going through. The process of not only realizing but admitting abuse and how bad things actually are is very difficult. We have knowledge, feelings, wisdom, advice from others, lies from the one that vowed to love, honer and cherish, and yes lies that we have told ourselves for a long time just so we could cope. All these things are waging war within us and we are pulled so many different directions. Personally I think I made an idol out of marriage and that is easy for us as christians to do. Save the marriage at all costs! but I had to examine that statement. To say Save the marriage, would mean that I have exclusive control over what the other person does. But I don’t, I haven’t ever, and I never will. Frankly, taking a little deeper look at that, why would I want to make the other person (love, honor, and cherish) me? I don’t want someone to love me because I made them do it, what kind of love is that? As christians, we are fond of saying how marriage is a picture of Christ and the church, but does Christ ever make the church or us love him? No. And look at the churches in Revelation. Does God make them love him? No, In fact, he “removes their lamp stand” God simply stated that those relationships were over. Did God end them? NO! the apostate church ended those relationships.
What about “at all costs”? This would imply that there is some sort of price that we, as victims, need to pay to get our spouse to stay. What price are we supposed to pay? Suffer abuse in silence the rest of our lives? Continue to live with an Adulterer that isn’t repentant and won’t commit to purity? Catch a disease from them? Live a pretend life in a pretend family all so the other can keep lying to themselves and others about who they are? Teaching our children that this is marriage and it is the best they can hope for? I think not.
This weekend started out really hard for me. Watching 26 years of my life drive off down the road in a Uhaul was really difficult, but I knew it was for the best. As the weekend has gone on I have felt more and more at peace. Last night I was thinking about this and realized how the terrible feeling of oppression I have felt for so long, was leaving. My home “felt” a lot more joyful. Things are just more relaxed. I’m sure there are still a lot of bad days to come, but I am more convinced than ever that this is right, and it is good (considering the options)
Thank-you sheep. Your words are very meaningful. Last week, when I walked out for a day after he would not honor a boundary I set during abuse, I feel I laid that idol down finally. I truly feel I have at least a piece of me back.
I know the truth I think. I was on the phone with a client a few weeks ago when I called her about something else and heard an interaction between her and her fiancé. Not good! I confronted her about the situation and it is frankly emotionally and physically abusive, cops to the house and all. He pushes her emotionally intentionally until she reacts and at that point she gets in his face and won’t back down (not good on her part). As I was trying to help her figure out how to get some safety as she does not live nearby and the resources I know aren’t available to her, my mind was pestering me. Imagine if I didn’t back down so very quickly and openly disagreed with my husband. What if I legitimately argued with him? I worry about that and I realized if I was reactionary like she was, it would get physical, he would never put up with this.
My husband trained me while we were dating. Women get hit because they won’t let a man walk away when he is getting too angry. (While he might be right that those women need to let him walk away, it does not justify the beating and this is what he was insinuating). There were several comments to that effect. He warned me to never come and see him before he participated in a sporting event, the way he psyches himself up to be violent would terrify me (I think he is right). The proud stories he would tell me of spinning a girl off the road because she cut him off, stupid female driver! He put a guy in the hospital in high school football because he was cheating and would potentially blow his knee so my husband got mad and focused his anger and took the kid out. He does not know if the kid ever regained consciousness, nor does he care. He did hit me once. Open handed slap on the thigh in response to a playful slap I used to do to everyone all the time (bad habit, it annoyed people to no end and me). I was shocked. It left a red welt in the shape of his hand. I said, “You hit me!” He said, “You hit me first!” That was the end of that. I have never again fallen into that bad habit!
I guess I am easily trained and contained which is why it has never gotten physical. Now that I am setting boundaries I am not sure what will happen. I don’t know if anyone else would consider this a problem, it ticked me off at the time but I didn’t understand how wrong it was. In our first year of marriage there were two times I tried to sleep on the couch because we had such an ugly fight that I just did not want to be near him (300sq ft apt. your always near 🙂 ). He came out to the couch, picked me up and threw me across onto my side of the bed and told me we were not going to live like that, that is not how marriages do well and I was not allowed to let the sun go down on my anger and needed to stop and be with him! He physically forced me, I get that now. My side of the bed was up against a wall so its not like I could get out without climbing around him so I was pretty much stuck.
He is terrifying in the car and I will not ride with him anymore, I have set this boundary without him knowing it. I always make an excuse to not ride with him, I need to flat out tell him why without being mean but just say that his aggressive driving frightens me, he knows that it does and he is angry when I get scared in the car with him driving and then he drives more aggressively which is not good for anyone and so I am just not going to ride any more. It sucks that I am just scared its going to start a “fight” or neglect or whatever abuse he wants to pull out like talking down about me or my driving or whatever. I wish my kids would not ever get in the car with him either but they grew up with it so they don’t care that much and they are old enough to chose to or not (at least 2 of them are). Any guests are terrified by his driving.
He was fired for getting mildly physical with a coworker at his job after only 3wks. The “little man” was picking on my husband so he threatened him and grabbed him and put him against the wall, not through it so honestly he definitely was being gentle. My husband is a huge dude and is stronger than even he realizes.
He has thrown a couple of things at me in anger but not hard in any way so not to hurt me physically, but it sure did startle me and induce the fear he was looking for.
I think I am largely answering my own question, yet my heart just won’t accept this answer, I guess that’s why I need to ask God, yet it sucks because I don’t really want to know (no marriage idol, just fear inducing, shocking and heart breaking if I accept it and I am just too darn tired to deal I think.)
Anyway, sheep your awesome. I am proud of you for being strong and truthful. You have done what sounds to be the right thing and I pray God blesses you with extraordinary supernatural peace tonight. Release the spirit of peace and joy back in your home and chase off those left over oppressive spirits- YOU ARE FREE, free to seek God with your whole heart, free to breathe, free to sleep, free to sing, free to be you!
I cried as I read this. With all my heart I hope you are ok Jane.
It sounds like he may get physical and hurt you if you stand up for yourself or put certain boundaries in place. It’s probably best not to have any confrontations when you are alone with him.
Jane this is physical because the threat of physical harm is real.
“Assault” is when you are threatened with bodily harm, when that harm comes its called Battery. Both are abuse when it’s an ongoing situation.
Its the way terrorism works: One only has to bomb one or two buses for every bus in the city or to be unsafe. He gave you a little taste of his potential so that you will stay obedient.
The story I told about my sister having to break through a gate to leave her home? That was after 23 years of marriage . She was waiting for a clear sign of danger. A punch, a shove, a choking…something you could really wrap your head around. But he never hit her. Never. He “pushed” her out of the bed onto the floor with his feet, and he would grab her wrists, squeezing them tightly together and slowly twisting her arms up and behind her… and then stop.
He never beat the kids, Never. He didn’t need to.
Starting as tiny babies he would hold them with one hand in the air, high above his head, and then quickly pull his hand away to let them drop and then catch them at the last second before they hit the ground , while yelling ‘”free fall!” . As toddlers he would grab them from their play throw them into the sofa really hard again and again and tickle them until they could not breathe. He was rough and always laughing as he did it. Older children were ‘rough housed”. All play, just a really fun guy right…
I know how strong and rough he was because he also did it to me.
I was only five years old when they began dating, so I was treated to this kind of “fun” for years before they ever had kids. And there was only one rule: He never stopped until you had totally submitted. Any resistance would get you another round even if you had already been hurt by the roughness. I remember feeling sick and seeing stars after my head was slammed into the sofa back 5 times in a row because I was trying to climb away. You never knew what he would do or how far he would go, but you knew he was in charge.
After she left him and they were staying in my home, my little niece pondered it: ” I have no memory of ever being spanked by dad, but I was always so terrified of being beaten every time he came home.”
So he was always violent. Starting as his teenage girlfriend my sister got really good at anticipating and avoiding anything that might displease him. When married she thought of this as “submitting”. But his displeasure list just got longer and longer and eventually unbearable.
Dear One, I am grieved at what you have endured to try to save your marriage. I can’t begin to imagine saying those things and treating a woman (especially my wife) like that.
Why is it so easy for us to see the problems and abuse in others relationships, but when it comes to our own we live in a self imposed fog? Because at the time, the fog protects us from the pain. Then the fog becomes comfortable, an old friend that wraps us up and dulls us to the pain that others are inflicting on us.
I ask myself why? Why does your husband say those things to you? Why did he throw you into bed like that and then smack you with “don’t let the sun go down on your anger”? Why does he brag to you about the pain he has caused others? Then I ask, Why does my wife live in an absolute fantasy world where she does no wrong, and that any wrong on her part would be justified because others made her do it? Why would she trade the safety and intimacy of the marriage bed for whatever man happened to be in the right place and at the right time? Why do they do, say, and think things that are just so foreign to the rest of us. Why?
Because to them, control is more important than love. Manipulation is more important than intimacy, Pride is more important than truth. Self is more important than others. Being “right” must be achieved at all costs. Being wrong is only a means of manipulation. The perception of winning is everything.
You didn’t say what those early fights were about or who was right and wrong, but how different would that early night in your marriage been, had he come to you, quietly, humbly asking your forgiveness for speaking so harshly to you? Confessing that he had sinned against you by acting in that manner? So he wants to be the “God appointed leader” of his wife? Great, big guy. The way that looks in that situation is to confess to God and your wife that even if you were “right” in the argument, you were sinning in the way you handled it. Jesus modeled and expects SERVANT leadership. Want to lead your wife? Then serve her. Wash her feet. Put her before yourself.
Would I be right in assuming that the evening could have ended in a totally different way had he done those things? But no. Their ego can’t take that. Control, Manipulate, Win. That is the only way.
I did chuckle when you said I was strong. Truthful? Yes. Strong? Not so much. I certainly don’t feel strong. My tendency far to often is still to walk on eggshells. Those habits die hard. I had actually just finished our first text “conversation” about who gets the kids when. I still find myself giving in because I don’t want to be beaten over the head with the argument of the moment. It is so hard to weigh what is best for the kids and best for me. It is a constant battle for me to test myself and make sure my motives are pure and not selfish. I want to do what is right, and sometimes it is a battle to determine right from selfish.
I do have a lot of good support from friends and family. They really feel for me, and some of them have a good level of understanding of the situation, but there are times that I wish I could talk IRL to a few that understand because they have lived it. That is one of the reasons I come here (even though I’m a guy) You guys get it, but typing is cumbersome 🙂
Your post is really important and I hope many read the things you have very clearly identified as such a huge part of the struggle.
And yes Sheep, many here do it get.
I’m sorry and sometimes for me even having virtual understanding has been a critical place for me to see the grief and face the pain while being comforted.
“Because to them, control is more important than love. Manipulation is more important than intimacy, Pride is more important than truth. Self is more important than others. Being “right” must be achieved at all costs. Being wrong is only a means of manipulation. The perception of winning is everything.”
How true is that! And sad for those who can’t see that 2 can win together but are stuck in battling their partner and friend.
So ingrained for them and no real intimacy or freedom.
Jane, if you read back over your post, I hope you will see how you made excuses for your h’s behavior, or diminished it. He threw the little man against the wall, but he was gentle(?) He threw things at you but not to hurt you physically (?) I believe you said you grew up in an abusive family, so that is probably why it is so hard for you to believe that his behavior is really and truly abusive. It is. A normal, loving, godly husband would never do those things. He has taught you to tolerate his abuse. I am glad that you are beginning to see what’s really going on, and I know it hurts and it is hard, but you deserve much better, and YOU DO NOT DESERVE TO BE MISTREATED. Nobody does. And it grieves the Lord’s heart to see it happening. Be safe, take care of yourself, and lean deeply on the Lord. He will guide your steps.
Unfortunately, I am just realizing that the reality of what I am saying is that he is doing these things on purpose! If he was losing control with rage there would have been no holding back. Trust me, if he had put his coworker into the wall with full force he wouldn’t have been fired, he’d be in jail for attempted murder. And even the angrily throwing stuff to/at me, these were intimidation, he could have hurt me if he wanted to.
Thank-you for your words. Believe it or not, it is still hard to see what mistreatment is sometimes. I continue to learn and will try to keep my eyes open honestly. It is hard to come out from under the spiritual abuse. The concept of my body being his is still something he holds to, the concept of submission and respect and the scriptures that accompany this when taken out of context still are hard for me to reconcile, even though I have read Leslie’s book and have read the truth.
I must say, this entire situation is exhausting! I just want a few days of sleep and physical peace. I know that this will come eventually, I just need to press in to God and trust Him as I walk this out one step at a time. Thanks for all.
Jane and others: So your husband requires that you respect him, but he doesn’t respect you in return. (?) He requires you to submit to him, but he doesn’t submit to the Lord.(?) Your situation surely is exhausting, and also dangerous. If you make him mad enough, he just might lose all restraint, and then what?
Sisters, each one of you is in a different place, and yet the same: Abusive husbands, and where is the way out? The Lord must show each one of you the doorway that leads to safety, and then provide the key to use it, when the time is right. As you read what others who are in similar situations have written, perhaps something will register within, “That’s a good idea!” or, “I can do that.” This is what this blog is about. Each of us helping and offering what we have. Sometimes, I confess, I want to scream, “GET OUT NOW!” but we all know that it isn’t always safe to do so, and so we pray and offer what help and encouragement we can. Everyone here is at a different stage in the journey. Some have chosen to “stay well” for various reasons, others have been able to escape, and still others, like Aly and Nancy, have been able to bring about beautiful change and healthy marriages as a result of Leslie’s help along with their own therapists. It grieves my heart that so many women are stuck in abusive relationships. But with the Lord, there is always a way to go on. Bury yourself deeply into Him. He will show the way.
I hate to admit, there is a piece of me that wishes he would just do it for real. Then it would be more clear to me and to my children. That’s the way I feel. I know it’s not right to feel this way but it is the way I feel none the less. I want to believe it would be easier to take the next step, yet part of me knows I might even excuse it in some way or minimize it! This type of thinking is why it takes some of us so long to get it figured out, we are not just figuring out the immediate situation but we are fighting with our own thinking.
Yes, the concept of respect is so twisted too. I totally respect my husband. He is the final authority in my house and I very rarely bring up any questioning. It can be as simple as saying that the sunset looks orange to you when he said it looks pink. To him this is disrespectful. To chime in with an idea on how to fix the car that he is working on with one of the kids, this is disrespectful. To ask ANY questions about the finances or to be involved with the finances, this is disrespectful. Then he watches one of his favorite TV preachers and hears everything about how men just need to be respected and women just need to feel secure. All he took away is the respect part, and quite frankly I wouldn’t mind some respect either. Emotional, spiritual, and physical security is not something he gives, nor can he provide financial security for our family as he can not keep a job.
If all they want is submission and they will be happy, why is it that the more submissive you are, the more vile and angry and disgusted they become. And if my body is his, where is the line, where is the ending to that?! So much hurt just coming up right now, sorry. But your right, this is what the blog is about. People caring and offering their experience up in support and love and receiving understanding and opening of eyes and hearts.
Jane, I am so sorry those beautiful scriptures have been so twisted and used to kill.
The mutual body ownership of a Christian marriage is a mystery for sure, for nowhere else in history or the natural world do we see such a partnership where EACH is both slave and master to the other.
His body belongs to you. Have you thought of this? This means if you don’t want his body to strike or squeeze or penetrate in a particular way, he must obey as his members belong to you.
If that passage is really true ( and it must be true ) what it really means is that EVERYTHING done in the marriage bed must be both desirable and beneficial to both parties.
Nothing can be coerced, threatened, demanded or manipulated and still be sanctioned by this passage. If there is any hint of one party in greater control its NOT what this passage is referring to.
This is the oneness of marriage. If my husband wants something that is detrimental to either of us, I must say no. For his sake, I must not agree to participate in destroying the temple of the Holy spirit.
For Jane (in response to your July 24th, 5.39pm posting.) You say ‘he doesn’t realize how strong he is”. That’s a lie that you’ve come to believe through the abuse you have received from this man. He realizes exactly how strong he is. And you have shared plenty of illustrations that show he knows he can use that to intimidate you, and others. In fact, after assaulting someone at work and being fired for it, he STILL uses his bulk and strength and anger to control and be abusive to you, and others. Please don’t let yourself be stuck in the lies. Be prayerful, be alert, be wise and be safe, dear Jane.
This is a response to your post July 26 at 6:21pm
Jane I really appreciate your candidness and truth to what you are hoping will make it clear about ‘just how bad and upside down things are’.
I appreciate that you are being honest with your own patterns of finding excuses and rationalizations for his dangerous power and controlling behavior that is very destructive.
My heart goes out to you for just how lonely and torn you might be.
I say torn because yes it’s hard to do certain things when we are far too ‘unhealthily attached’ and possibly trauma bonded to this person.
Jane, from the things you describe about this person, you don’t sound like your in a ‘marriage’ one that’s a partnership and one that is sacred and a marriage can’t be sacred and intimate ‘true intimacy without safety!
Your questions and the things you bring up make sense to me… because when your in the thick of something so destructive it’s confusing and what it really is Jane is TRAUMA.
You are in a very toxic situation and it’s traumatic at many places.
So I want you to know I think I understand why you feel you love, you offer respect and on and on to him, only for him to not behave all that differently.
This is what helped my situation was to define the behavior and allow the behavior to help me decide what I could continue to place my own well-being in?
See you not only have a destructive partner but he is a TAKER, not a giver.
That’s why the more you do the more he takes and continues to act the entitled way that fuels his junk.
And Jane regardless of all the reasons or whys.. he’s a taker ‘right now’ and sure he’s incredibly insecure but that’s not your side of the street.
And your compassion and allowance for his stuff is out of proportion to your own well being.
The more you give the more you can get pulled into the over functioning role and that’s hard to break from.
I think you give with a willing and caring place Jane but unfortunately many people in this world are takers and will take advantage of your good will in wanting be to accommodating or yielding to him.
I’m sure him not working is not the best for his overall mental health in general as the husband role. Not trying to be gender bias about the work but the anger issues seem to be escalated.
Yes I can relate. The “lightening” of oppression feels so refreshing, but along with that is the sadness over what wasn’t and will never be. It is an odd state, but better overall for mental health.
Sheep, your post is so very helpful and encouraging, as well as wise. We are so happy that you are feeling the oppression lifting. More freedom and more peace will follow.
I talked to my psychologist honestly for the first time ever. I told her that I woke up and realized I had lost control of things. It felt much better when I was denying it.
Oh yes! Ignorance is bliss, so the saying goes.
But really Mindy it does get harder to maintain a false reality. The truth sets us free, but we might be miserable for a while.
And I’m sorry if I seemed to be pushing leaving in my earlier post. I do not mean to say anyone needs to “leave”.There are many steps or bold moves besides leaving that can be made and they are all difficult.
Leslie teaches a beautiful concept of “staying well that really helped me articulate to myself and then to my husband what I was and wasn’t willing to live with
My husband had lots of issues that were allowed to grow unchecked as he led his double life of pornography addiction and looking for other partners. Though I am still married to him, at some point I had to decide what I was willing to work through and what would be a deal breaker. In a way I had to “leave” in my heart before I could stay.
If a man can be reasoned with, by all means keep talking. If there is genuine remorse there’s probably a great potential for spiritual maturity and transformation. But when its always such an uphill battle, yes it gets really tiring. Its not the job of a wife to have to drag her husband to see sense.
People have control issues for lots of reasons. It seems he doesn’t trust you for some reason, and that’s worth pursuing. I’m glad you have your own person to talk to about all this.
Praying as you walk through this.
Such a good post!
You said something that reminded me of my post and something that has also helped me break free from a pattern of generational behaviors.
“Oh yes! Ignorance is bliss, so the saying goes.
But really Mindy it does get harder to maintain a false reality.”
For some it’s gets harder the closer one draws near the authentic nature of Christ. Because He doesn’t live in false or denial, let alone ignorance.
See for me given my mom’s upbringing and her choices, she chose and choses false reality and in doing so only passes what was once ‘her ‘ battle onto her children.
Ignorance is still a choice or response when someone has been presented truth and or consequences.
The enemy is quite crafty at twisting all sorts of rationals to stay stuck or remain in a place of victimization. This is whereid critical to be honest about what is our fear!
Often we can convince ourselves that we are ‘living in faith’ because of all the sacrifices and compromising but in some cases it’s living in fear.
His Love is the only thing that can cast out fear. 💜
But that must be received fully and held tight.
Good for you, Mindy. Being truthful with your therapist is the only way to really get the help. Hard, yes, but speaking out loud the things that are going on will give you a whole new perspective. Good job!
re:“It sounds like you are directed by wisdom and not your emotions. This is so key as we are to take every thought captive continually pointing our hearts to truth, (which is also what Leslie stresses with clarity here on her blog too, to take ever thought captive to the obedience to Christ).”
Oh my many years, I try so, so hard to NOT be directed by emotions but I am so, so emotional —no matter how much I try to stay anchored. So often I fail to use logic, reason, evidence-based thinking. I am so guilty of that. I love emotions and . . .it is really hard to stay evidence-based rationally grounded.
Re: [True Woman Blog When Your Husband’s Heart Is Hard]
. . .I really liked the ten points:
1) Ask the Lord for wisdom.💯❗ 2) Remember that God is working even when you don’t see it. ✔ 3) If your husband isn’t saved, don’t expect him to act like it. ✔ 4) Be a peacemaker. ✔ 5) Don’t allow despair to be your identity. ✔ 6) Have a right theology. ✔ 7) Grieve your loss. ✔ 8) Extend mercy. ✔ 9) Don’t let bitterness take root. ✔ 10) Be willing to examine your own heart. ✔
Very powerful points . . .so, so very important, —every last one of them. I also enjoyed Joy’s story and her choice to stay. Joy’s answers have so much wisdom in them! 💖 💗 💙 💚 💛 💜 💝 . . .In Christ, we all have unlimited capacity to express brilliantly.
. . . .Oh, and I read another article linked to that True Woman Blog site: http://www.kimberlywagner.org/?p=7299
re: Having a Meltdown with God
“The fellowship of suffering with Christ is that which comes through the yielded surrender of “Not my will, but Yours . . .” (Luke 22:42). This is the theology of the cross. This is the life of surrender in the face of suffering. The life that says, I want God’s glory, God’s goodness to be seen and known—even if it costs me my health, my finances, my comfort, my life. “We don’t easily reach that point.”
. . . .Hellfire & brimstone, I don’t know that any of us ever reach that point!!! ―Christianity’s radical insight: Christ is not simply another identity to place alongside our others: wife, lawyer, et.al. Instead, Jesus cuts across all these concretely existing identities [Jew/Gentile, slave/free, male/female, etc.] those who identify with Christ are no longer held captive by categories [as much as is possible they are outside of them as total outsiders]. . . .Because we are all outsiders and die outside the city gates with Christ, with no identity just like when He died. Unless I don’t understand, Christianity is not one more identity marker. It is the experience of losing your identity and identifying with the One who lost His identity on the cross. In those days, when you were crucified, you were no longer in any political, cultural, or religious system. You were ripped of all identity.
. . . The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are in Christ. . . .Who you are, who God wants *you* to be, not people pleasing (―just one of my many issues). ―Who Christ✞💖🌠 wants you to be. . . .I would say to tell the truth as best and as deeply you know how. That puts our lives back into God’s hands. Just tell the truth and don’t try to control the situation or be an outcome engineer. . . .Just tell the truth as best with love and as deeply as you know how and let God decide the outcomes.
I am an alcoholic. The last time I drank was a year ago and things were bad enough that I knew I shouldn’t drink anymore. I recently had family members die from liver failure so I was just scared enough to stick to it. My husband manipulated me into drinking recently. (I do take responsibility for my part in this). He wanted things to go his way that night. I did not know that he intentionally set it up that way until I reflected the next day. Now I feel afraid. I really don’t know him at all. He doesn’t understand why I’m having trouble forgiving. I thought if I told this story on here, it would help me to process.
Total control tactic. Extensive family history of alcoholism on both sides including my dad himself, though he still denies it but is not drinking but on rare occasions now.
I never liked alcohol when I was younger. At one point during my education/work when I was working 100hrs/wk and had 3 small kids I was very stressed and probably irritable at home so my husband started greeting me at the door with wine coolers in a cup. He gradually escalated the types and strengths of alcohol. This was the same as what you experienced. To shut up my concerns and make me more compliant in every way, if you understand I am sorry.
Nearly 20 yrs later he gets angry if I drink at all under my own choice, but on “special” occasions he will surprise me with some of my favorite alcohol. He is the hero and expects something in return. Just another way of hurting you. When you were an active alcoholic he could more easily control you and point a finger when others questioned what was going on. After all, if you are drinking like that he has to protect you, you are “out of control”. While it may be true that you were not in control of your behavior, abuse is not the answer.
I see this as a huge threat and even as physical abuse because of how you are genetically wired, this could lead to your death if you start drinking again. Keep your eyes open to the truth, keep sharing on the posts here and we will share what we are seeing in your story. We don’t all see what is true in our own lives (I am especially struggling with some of this), but it is often easier to see someone elses reality. I will tell you this, the truth spoken to me on this site are some of the most important I have received.
Stay safe and sober girl, you worked too hard to get that way to let it get messed up for you again.
I might be misunderstanding something but you wrote this:
“Now I feel afraid. I really don’t know him at all. He doesn’t understand why I’m having trouble forgiving”
Given your husband’s behavior and lack of character to be a safe person /place… your situation isn’t about forgiveness.
We can’t forgive something ‘as it’s happening’ and especially when it’s a cycle of abuse.
The behavior must stop and must be repentented of ‘dealt with’ before we can process the forgiveness.
Sometimes people offer forgiveness far too quick and miss the painful part of working it out with the Lord.
Forgiveness is a process and if your Married or surrounded by immature characters it is hard for them to not get their easy button fix.
Also the attitude and entitlement about to repair relationship is often out of balance and many abusers prefer their victims to forgive and forget, move on etc.
If you don’t move on with them on their ‘unsafe trail’ then you might be called bitter or unforgiving.
It’s common and another tactic to throw more false guilt and blame on the one who they know they have hurt.
Just remember trust and forgiveness are not the same thing.
Trust us earned over time.
Forgiveness you can offer eventually but not ‘when it’s still happening technically in the moment or cycle’
But forgiveness doesn’t equal trust! And often abusive people what their trust standing back immediately after their poor behavior.
Sometimes consequences are necessary and can be an outcome of such repeated behavior.
If it’s a pattern of abuse, forgiveness doesn’t ‘help’ or solve this problem.
Mindy, I would add to what Aly wrote: forgiveness is NOT saying it’s ok that he did what he did. It is NOT forgetting…how can you forget what is still ongoing? One aspect of forgiveness that you CAN do is to inwardly release him to the Lord for the Lord to deal with. You cannot fix him or change him, but there must be consequences for his abuse in the form of boundaries. Even if the only boundary is in your heart, where you protect yourself inwardly against his tactics. Be a “gray rock.” (Someone here might be able to point you to the place where that came from. ) In asking for forgiveness, your h just wants you to make everything all right again. Not gonna happen.
This is so spot on! You wrote,
“In asking for forgiveness, your h just wants you to make everything all right again. Not gonna happen.”
So so common for my types of abusive behavior.
Your h just wants ‘you’ to bear the responsibility of repair only for you to get pulled back into his cycle where it will happen again!
He doesn’t have the maturity let alone the pain of consequences to stop and consider maybe my forgiveness and repair ideals or beliefs are off?
Maybe my wife is forgiving me, while not enabling the cycle to get put back into place where I act out and then do the same thing all over again!!
See it’s the entirely wrong place for the offender to make it about forgiveness when in reality it’s about their own character, emotional maturity and regulations.
Often these individuals need deeper work to face what they have learned early on in life of how to do relationships.
But when a person offers quick I forgive, now let’s not continue the same infractions, both parties can miss out on huge growth opportunities.
Also, the offender ‘really believes’ their garbage they throw around ‘isn’t all that bad’ because they are not the receivers of it.
And they can only see the good parts of all they do, failing to see their destructive thinking and acting out.
…I did not realize this was a pattern before…
I will have to try again tomorrow for day one of sobriety. I sincerely appreciate all the advice. This is the only place that makes sense right now.
Mindy, are you in AA? That is very helpful for most people. It gives you support and accountability.
No, I am usually in denial about it.
Wow. I needed to read this. I’m just recently starting to notice ways in which my husband is emotionally abusive towards me. I tend to never want to make a bigger deal out of things, but just reading things like this are opening my eyes. When he does hurt my feelings, it’s not as easy for him to apologize. It’s also very difficult for him to acknowledge my feelings. I have gone through bouts w depression lasting a couple of weeks here and there since having kids, and every time I try to reach out to him he just doesn’t seem empathetic at all. I feel so lonely in it. Whenever anxiety hits and I reveal what is happening to me, he dismisses my fears completely and makes me feel like a fool for having concerns.
It’s been so incredibly tough. He’s not a bad guy at all. He works hard, provides for us, spends time with the kids…he’s a good friend, always listens to everyone else…but when it comes to dealing with me, I almost feel he would enjoy having a robot as a wife.
I need to be more assertive for sure. Today I told him that I believe he enjoys being a jerk. And I’m glad I said it. But to him, it will never matter how upset I am at him, or if I really think negatively of him.
He believes he needs to be true to himself and that’s it.
Andrea, “true to himself.” Hmmmm. So which is the true him? Who he is with everyone else or who he is with you? That is so backwards. When we love someone, we should want to treat that person better than anyone else, though of course, a REAL person would treat everyone well, but most lovingly to the spouse. Food for thought.
Well said JoAnn!
I’ve been struggling with this with him for years. He doesn’t feel he needs to make an effort to treat me in ways that I would appreciate (more affection, more loving, understanding, etc) because I married him knowing he wasn’t affectionate or extra lovey dovey, or understanding. He was nicer the first couple of years of marriage but after that his treatment towards me has steadily declined and if I bring it up to him, he says “what did you expect?”
So, it’s a hard place to be at. Seeing him listen to other friends, his mom, his sister. But he’s blocked when it comes to me. I’m not even a super emotional or needy person myself. So I’ve learned to just let him be, and really pray. He’s the type that doesn’t care if I’m mad at him, or if it bothers me that I don’t get what I need from him, emotionally.
So this post really struck a cord with me, because his apologies are never real apologies when it comes to hurting my feelings. I don’t know how to really handle it anymore. Because in other areas he is a great father/person/husband. But to be emotionally intimate with him and know him like I do is so hard.
Do you suspect pornography use?
C=committed to truth and reality.
O=Open to growth, Instruction and Feedback
R=Responsible for myself and respectful toward others
E=Empathic and compassionate
Note: no D for denial.
We love you, Mindy, and want you to be well.
I’m sorry living in reality is brand new for me. My mother tried AA but it didn’t work for her. She just died a few years ago. I will pray that Jesus would help me to go.
Have you read Leslie’s book, “The Emotionally Destructive Marriage”? Lots of help there, and further explanations about strengthening your CORE.
I’m reading it now. I have to read in small chunks because I get so emotional.
Mindy, finding free online support was instrumental for me too.
Alcohol has not been my particular go-to, but it easily could have been, as I’ve used so many other escapes!
AA works for some people because everybody there understands the powerful draw you feel and they can help you in that moment just BEFORE relapse.
If you learn to reach out for help in the middle of your temptation they can remind you all you know is true and be strong for you when you are feeling so weak. Its not magic, its just honest community. It’s really what the church should be.
Lots of churches host Celebrate Recovery groups which follow the same basic principles as AA ,only CR retains the original biblical base that AA started out with.
I never went to any “group” but joined an online support community that was my lifeline to truth for over three years. It closed down suddenly nearly 2 years ago, so I started my own. If you click my name on this post you can join that forum for free. You can access me and many other women for support 24/7. Several people that participate here are members there too.
Prayers my sister.
That’s ok, Mindy. Little by little, the Lord will show you the path you need to follow. As with any kind of program, even therapy, when “it doesn’t work,” usually it’s because people resist doing what’s needed. There is a verse in the Bible that says that the Spirit within us is able to make us willing. The Lord Jesus, who lives in you, always took the Father’s will. There have been times in my life when I knew the Lord wanted me to do something, but I wasn’t willing, so I just prayed, “Lord, I’m willing for You to make me willing.” It has worked every time. I’m not saying that I believe that AA is what God wants you to do; it is a suggestion. But if you have a hard time staying sober once you get another drink into you, then the support and accountability of a group like that will be helpful. Your h knows your vulnerabilities, and he is playing on them. (Shame on him!!!) That’s not love. That’s not even nice. (If he tries that again, just grab your purse and leave the house, while he’s in the kitchen pouring your drink.)
May I make one more suggestion? Spend some time each day reading your Bible. There is reality there, and there is life there. that’s how you really get to know your Lord.
Grace be with you.
Maybe it will help you to process what you read by writing your thoughts in a journal as you go along. Take your time, and pray over every page. The Lord will show you what you need to see. I’m praying for you, Mindy.
Journaling has been a huge help for me. I started on paper and my greatest fear is someone finding it. Then someone suggested doing it on the computer. This was an ok idea, kind of, but my husband is decent on the computer and may even employ the help of one of our kids to find something on the computer so I chose to email myself a journal on an unknown email account. This may be a safe idea for you. Once you type or write your entry, read it, reread it, feel it. There are thoughts, memories, ideas and feelings that will come up that you have not seen in a long time.
It’s funny that you mention that. I wrote several pages down today. I couldnt think of where to hide it though so I had to tear it up. (btw always a good reminder of how things really are- when I have to hide everything).
You are all really good people. Haha I just hope I’m going to keep up!
Thank you all!
This time in my life would have been a total disaster if I hadn’t found this place.
O gosh my husband is blowing up. I’m trying to stay quiet and small. I tried to tell him why I am so hurt by his behavior. I hate being cursed at. I’m a lady and don’t deserve that. It is as mad as I’ve ever seen him. Times like this, I remember what is really going on. It was almost uncomfortable before the fight. Like being peacefully together felt odd. If he doesn’t calm down I will leave.
Who told you to tell him you were hurt by his behavior? I wouldn’t engage. You can’t win. Nothing you will do can change him. Do self care first and just go through the motions with him for your survival.
Can you go somewhere safe where he won’t find you or go looking?
Do you have any safe support?
Mindy, I hope that you have a friend who knows what is going on that you have on speed dial so you can call for help when these things happen. Keep safe. Call 911 if necessary. Tell us tomorrow what happened and that you are ok.
Lord, protect our dear sister. Keep her safe and deal with her husband according to Your righteousness.
I am ok. I locked myself in our bedroom and for once he respected a closed (and locked door). Normally he just picks the lock and comes in.
No one in our area knows about all this except my doctors. My husband and I work at the same place so telling friends would seem unfair. All of my family is on the other side of the country.
He is adamant that I wanted to drink alcohol the other night. His argument was that I wanted alcohol as much as he wanted sex. He believes that I have totally misunderstood him and he was never manipulating me. He also insists that I’m failing to be accountable for myself. It is so confusing.
picking the lock, sounds familiar. I am glad he respected that boundary last night. You really need a safety plan. Is there even 1 friend that you believe you can safely let into your real world? Someone that you can keep this closer friendship a secret from your husband? This person could be a safe refuge if you could keep some toiletries and a change of clothes there and go there when you need safety. If not, getting a go bag together with that change of clothes and toiletries and enough cash or prepaid credit cards that can’t be tracked together so you can go to a hotel/motel for a night or two until you can get things figured out and even get a restraining order in place if needed would be very helpful. You really need a counselor skilled in this that can walk you through the steps. Contact your local battered women’s shelter, they may have a list of resources for you.
Don’t let him confuse you, this is called crazy making. You have been in it so long that you believe it and then feel responsible for something that was not yours. Besides, you are owning that you did drink, you are owning this and seeking help to prevent relapse! You are being accountable and responsible for you. You can even believe an account of events that is not what happened. You have to read up on this, it will open your eyes. That and gas lighting. Be sure to use the in private or incognito function whenever you are on this site or searching related topics, then he can’t access your use or search history. If you don’t know how to do this, go to your local library and ask them to show you.
I wish you the best Mindy, stay safe. I am praying for you.
Yes its confusing, he is trying to confuse you.
There is an old saying about narcissists: trying to talk sense to them is like nailing Jello to a tree.
Mindy, in some states having sex with a mentally impaired (drunk) person can be considered sexual assault. It depends if the non drunk person had reason to think the drunk person would NOT have consented if sober.
Maybe I misunderstand, but it sounds like he thought he wouldn’t get sex without giving you alcohol first, which is not only manipulation it coercion .
The accusation that you are not being accountable for yourself is ridiculous on account that you are actively trying to remedy the situation! It reminds me of a line from a movie where a man does something bad and someone else is mad about it, his blame shift is classic: “You EFF’ed UP. You trusted me!!”
The first time it happened was our first date. I only had 2 glasses of wine (maybe 3). He kept telling me to get another. I had been waiting for marriage so I was so upset but embarrassed to say anything.
Mindy I am so sorry.
That was tragic, and I’m really sorry that was stolen from you.
I also have a story of loss rather than the memory of giving a beautiful gift, but I wasn’t even drinking. I hardly even know how to explain what happened to me or even when it happened.
I was very young and things were so gradual. One day it dawned on me that I was probably lying when I described myself as a virgin. Not how I pictured it would feel.
I like that analogy of trying to nail jello to a tree! My husband will say, can we talk or we need to talk, and all I can think is, this isn’t talking, there is no exchange of ideas just destruction of one person. Rarely during the honeymoon phase does “talking” happen.
The sex thing seems to be a theme. I too was waiting for marriage and was young, several years younger. Much like Caroline, I can’t define the moment, but there was continued forced touching even when I would say no and push him away but he would push back and say I wanted it and he would continue on until the feel good part gave in. To this day I hate myself (new revelation, sad) for not stopping it for real and for not recognizing this as a problem. I still can’t call it what it is! Part of why I married was that line had already been crossed.
Recently some of this came up in a discussion with my husband. I can’t go into why it came up because I can’t really believe I have shared this much, more will ruin my day emotionally, can barely keep it together right now. But when I confronted this, as he was seeming receptive, he replied I’m sorry… but I was a guy. This is probably one of the only times I used the “f” word towards him telling him to not ____ justify it. I was so hurt and devastated all over again. (I know that wasn’t respectful, it just came out! I feel bad for having cursed.) He then just said I’m sorry, but I don’t think his heart attitude about it changed and I don’t think he believes he did anything wrong. Today he still thinks my body is his and his is mine but only when it comes to wanting something for sex, not in a stopping way.
This thread has really struck a chord in me and some of my deepest fears and sorrows. I want to share more but just can’t. I lift up all my fellow (what do we call ourselves, we are not just women here), may God bring deep healing to your hearts and free you from the chains that have come with this abuse.
I feel like I’m falling constantly. I can’t catch my breath. I’m so confused. My husband was still angry today and didn’t go to work. I wonder what this weekend will be like. I don’t know how to reconcile that this person has hurt me so much. The story and the person feel totally unconnected.
I don’t have any friends I can tell here. I don’t have many friends in this state. I tried to tell my sister but these are words that I can never take back. My doctors do not specialize in DV but they are very empathetic and insightful people.
You are working through your process and sometimes it helps to slow things down ‘thinking wise’.
You are getting very imp feedback here so I won’t ‘repeat’ those.
I do want to echo something that I hope will help emotionally for you.
The crazy-making and shifting that he is doing to ‘confuse things’ is not your imagination. You are in a vulnerable emotional place so you need confidence where you can stand still and step back from the emotions as best as you can today. He is confusing things because that is part of the control issues!
He has found that manipulation works with you in that it focuses on him not having to address his own emotions.
Be firm with yourself and him.
I’m not confused h, this behavior and cycle is very destructive and I’m going to take care of myself and you need to take care of yourself.
What is the stat on the him going to a psychiatrist?
Not saying this is a solution but needed for sure.
He made an appointment with a psychiatrist. My own doctors don’t believe his control issues have anything to do with his OCD. So this may not work… it won’t fix his jealousy or ambivalence for my safety.
There might be some counselors in your area that specialize in abusive men. Chris Moles has a website, chrismoles.org. You can contact them and see if there is anyone in your area with this focus. This may be more helpful than an actual MD psychiatrist (no dink on them, they just aren’t trained in this usually).
Jane, he refuses to believe he is abusive. I really do think there is more going on than the ocd. It took me 3 years to build up the courage to tell him about a sexual assault I endured years ago. His response: “ so you had sex with this guy”
Him “probably just did everything else then”
That was all he said!
Idk who this man is.
I am so sorry. Total lack of empathy is a clear sign of a person with a personality disorder. This is way deeper than you think.
Please do not confront him as abusive. This will escalate things way too fast and you do not have good support structure in place for this. I agree, go slow right now. Open your own eyes and focus on your own safety, health, and emotional growth right now. You can not change him or his thinking. Let God do the work that needs to be done and focus on you so you stay safe.
You are finally seeing through open eyes. Do not be ashamed of being blinded before, this is not unusual. Embrace reality though it is easier to run. Trust God to lead you through this. He will put the people in your life that you need.
A very similar thing happened to me while I was dating my husband. I wanted to wait until marriage. But my ‘h’ just ‘did IT’ on one of our dates, and I was not prepared at all. I had not even been taught to say ‘no’ to sexual advances. I had thought that I was dating a ‘nice’ young man whom I had known since I was 12 years old. I too married because I felt I had crossed THAT line. Little did I realize that it was actually date rape, without my consent.
So we forgive ourselves, and no, our husbands are not ‘sorry’ when they say ‘I’m sorry’ otherwise why did they ‘force’ us in the first place?
And it’s not that we ‘live and learn’, we are survivors of the worst kind. So, we throw ourselves upon our God who is mighty to deliver. And we realize we have been ‘taken’ without consent. And it is a pity we realize this years down the road, but this is actually WHY we are here on this site to receive healing, and justification for not only being a woman and putting up with what happens to women, but we are also daughters of the LIVING GOD, and so we move forward, and get out of the turmoil and grief, and become prayer warriors for our own souls.
I know I am commenting here a bit late on this thread of conversation, but better late than not at all. Just letting you know you are not alone in trying to make sense of it all.
I meant to type a post here with a reply. Please see further down for my replay on July 28th, 2018.
from Many Years.
Oh Jane, there is just so much loss, so much grieving to do. In time. He will bring you the time you need. This may not be the right place to lay it all out but, YES your story matters. You matter. There is so much in it for others as well as for you.
You will get safe. I have faith in your dedication to the truth. .
As for the meanness and rapey behavior and blame shifting, its from porn. Straight up. Its right from the first chapter of the gospel according to Porn.
“Push your way in, you deserve it, anything goes, women actually want to be harmed they just don’t know it..you gotta teach them…” Its all so evil.Such darkness.
But we can never forget that it is Light that overcomes the darkness. Darkness only comes when the light is covered or put out. So we turn on the flood lights and expose every corner. Every stinking molding corner must be filled with the blinding light of truth.
I am going to post a link to a clip from pastor I don’t really endorse except for this one message My older brother called me one night and wept with conviction over how he had used and taken from his wife for 39 years and had thought it was okay. Well I had to hear what turned his heart.
I cried myself. It is the most amazing teaching on human sexuality I’ve ever heard. So beautiful. The guy looks kinda goofy but peer past that. You can see he doesn’t mean to share what he does, he just cant let it go. I LOVE that https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIoMAkXsTiw
Jane, Aly, and Caroline have all offered very good advice. I encourage you to re-read their posts. I think that every one of us has suggested that you contact a local battered women’s shelter or rape crisis center. You say you don’t have a friend you can rely on, so this will definitely be your best source of help. If you have a local library, do your searches on the computer there so your h won’t find out about it. Time to get your ducks lined up for when you are in a truly dangerous situation.
JoAnn is giving good immediate directives. No one here wants to overwhelm you and I would think many of us here also don’t want to be collaborating with underwhelming you either given the things that are not all that inventive when it comes to destructive and abusive patterns/ cycles.
Personally, I think you would be wise to make a list of all the things that give you freedom… such as an iPhone (cell phone) etc. money, accounts you name it.
Anything that he could possibly have access to that he could turn off or follow.
Sometimes when your in a very vulnerable emotional state it’s easy to try to think your best way through.
Right now given what you have shared it would be reasonable to trust those that ‘you don’t personally know well but those that understand abusive relationships… more than those you know or feel somewhat close to.. sometimes those we are closest to do NOT know or are quite inadequate to truly help you in an abusive dynamic.
So to sum it up, you are better off to trust and reach out to someone who is a stranger but knows these abusive situations, rather than trust someone you know that doesn’t know how best to help and can actually be capable of causing more harm due to their ignorance.
Get safe and get space to figure out the rest of what you need moving forward. If you return to the cycle you might be putting yourself into another situation that could cause more harm and further teach your h that he’s just not all that bad.
Most likely, he will need LOTS and LOTs of interventions and a willing heart wanting to get down to his issues, he sounds like an addict and addicts are often stuck in denial. Relapse, denial.
I’m not trying to name call or vilify him but his behavior is exposing.
TL said it best, get more around you in that he will see you are not as isolated as you once were. Plus, it might help with not feeling so overwhelmed and powerless.
It is a step by step process so be kind to yourself and mostly be ‘wise’ understanding that you are not dealing with a typical marital argument or disagreement. That’s why you have to do some other planning as best as you can to ensure safety.
I am new to this group but clicked on this article because I caught my husband emailing prostitutes on a website called BackPage a year and a half ago. He was relieved that I caught him, said he felt better and moved on. When I asked for an apology or explanation he was angry with me and said that I wasn’t meeting his needs sexually and it was my fault. He swears that there was never physical contact with any of the women but I do not know what to believe. Having never received an apology, I am in limbo and feel devastated. He refuses counseling and has not slept with me in a year. I do not know what to do. I am trying to keep it together because we have three kids. He is distant and refuses any to discuss anything with me. He keeps his own bank account, charges his phone in his locked vehicle at night and spends lost of time at work. I want to trust him but cannot. What should I do?
Debbi, I am so sorry for what you are going through. If you go to the archives for this blog, one of the issues we worked on a while back was about a husband addicted to porn. I believe you will get some help there. It appears that your h has not actually cleared his conscience about the BackPage web site, otherwise he would not be angry. He has not done anything to restore your trust in him, either. Trust is vital in a marriage, so this is a real deal-breaker. You don’t know what to think because there is no way to trust that he is telling you the truth. The very fact that you are “in limbo” and “devastated” is a strong indication that this marriage is in real trouble. Even though he refuses counseling, you should find one for yourself. The American Association of Christian Counselors website has a directory that might help you find a christian counselor in your area. If you haven’t read Leslie’s book, “The Emotionally Destructive Marriage,” I encourage you to do so. Lots of great help there. Is there a reason that you know of as to why he has not slept with you for so long? Secretive, long hours at work…This all smells strongly of adultery. Stay with us here. We can help with support and love and prayers.
I am so grateful for your response. I cannot speak to anyone about this, especially not at church because the standard response is that if your marriage isnt going well, the wife must be doing something wrong, ie not respecting enough, not giving enough. I know that the signs all point to something really bad but I havent known how to deal with this. When I try to talk to him about the lack of sex he mumbles something about it being no big deal and says nothing else. I plan to buy Leslies book as soon as I can get to a book store. I dont want to have it delivered to the house as that will make him mad if he sees it
Debbi, one option would be to order the book online from your public library and have it delivered to a friend’s house or even the library, if they will let you do that. Be sure that you have a place in the house where you can hide it, if you are concerned that he might see it. The book will definitely be worth the effort.
I suggest getting it on audible
So sorry you are in this position. Listen to JoAnn, she is full of wisdom. Those are all good resources as you start on this journey of coming out of the fog and into the light of truth. Make no mistake, it is a journey and most of us here are at different places along that road.
Just this week someone shared a link to an excellent radio broadcast from focus on the family. I would suggest you listen to it, some of the things said and advice given might surprise you. The link is
Now, I’m speaking to your situation from the prospective of a man that used to use porn years ago and repented and experienced true change in my life and has been porn free for years. But I’m also speaking from the perspective of a man whose wife has had multiple affairs, is not repentant, will not do the work of reconciliation, and will not vow to be faithful. Since learning of the affairs, my own journey has brought me through many of the things you are experiencing. And a big part of that journey was learning about emotional abuse, what it is, and that my wife is emotionally abusive, not only to me, but to my children and many those closest to her.
What I would like to say to you is… If you’re going to have a real marriage and real relationship, your husband does not get to just “feel better and move on” from emailing prostitutes. It isn’t about him feeling better and moving on. He has some serious explaining to do, and that explaining has to have actions that go along with it. He denies ever having been with a prostitute, but of course that is what he would say. At the very least he will need to be completely transparent and accountable for all of his time, communications, spending, and internet use. This is the only way for him to “prove” that he isn’t committing adultery. Part of all of that is attitude. If he was repentant, he would have no problem with any of this and he would be happy to prove to you that he is not a dirtbag.
Then his response to you is very telling. You said “When I asked for an apology or explanation he was angry with me and said that I wasn’t meeting his needs sexually and it was my fault.” First, you should never have even had to ask for an apology or an explanation. If he was actually repentant, those would have been the first things he would have done. But what is really telling is his response, what did he say? He blamed you for not meeting his needs, he said it was your fault. It is not your fault! You did not cause him to sin! You were not standing there with a gun to his head making him write prostitutes. It is not your fault and him trying to say that it is, shows that he is not repentant and it shows that he cares far more for himself than he does for you.
I’m really sorry that I’m being blunt, but I believe that it is far better to deal in truth than to continue to live under the fog of lies, manipulation, and abuse.
I will speculate just based on what you have said. Did he commit adultery with a prostitute (or someone else)? What does your heart tell you? My heart knew my wife was committing adultery, but it took the rest of me a long time to catch up and be willing to admit it because it hurts so much. I would guess he probably was/is. He has given you no reason to believe that he isn’t/wasn’t. Does he do porn? If so, does he excuse it or tell you it isn’t any of your business?
His current actions say a lot. Those are the actions of someone that has a lot to hide. I’m sorry to say this, but he has already exited the marriage. But he is willing to put you through this torment because he sees it as being best for him.
You talked about never getting an apology. Unfortunately in your situation an apology wouldn’t mean anything. It is easy to say “I’m sorry” if it gets us what we want, but an apology has to be backed by action and in this case very serious action.
I suggest you get “the emotionally destructive marriage”. Like you, I put off buying it for a month because I was afraid of my wife. What does that say? Why should someone ever be afraid of their spouse for reading a book? Because deep down, they know that they are abusive and they don’t want you to learn the truth because if you do, you may stop giving them what they want.
You also need to get tested for STD’s Sorry for that one, but you have to guard your health and he can’t be trusted to tell the truth on that one. Just because you haven’t been with him in a year does not mean that they aren’t there, many can be dormant for a long time.
Keep reading here, there is a depth of experience and wisdom here, and some of us have become experts at detecting manipulation. It is hard to see when you are just coming out of it.
Keep in the Word, and keep praying. I know that sometimes it is hard, but it is important. You will be learning a lot about what you (and others) believe and you need to make sure that it lines up with what Scripture ACTUALLY says.
As usual sheep great insight and amazing transparency. Agree strongly about the STD testing. Personally I hid my books, I would hate to see what would happen if my husband saw them. My pastors response when he saw the heart of domestic abuse was concern and said yeah you need to keep that one hidden, that would really upset him.
Gotta stay safe.
I am so sorry you are having to walk through this. My husband was addicted to pornography and masturbation for almost thirty years, starting from around 10 years old.
Sexual addictions are very hard to recover from, harder even than crack or heroin, and NOBODY walks away from it after being caught once. They just get better at hiding and lying, and gas lighting their wife. They can become very dangerous because sexual acting out has become their first love, their god actually, and they will even kill to protect it.
The blame shift you were handed was CLASSIC addict and please don’t believe it or let it make you doubt yourself, it’s total BS.
God does not create men with a need for whores. Period.
Debbi, I’m really sorry your church is so hateful about this kind of stuff, but again, that’s a really classic modern church response. I have found that many women (especially in the leadership of churches) are living where they truly have no one safe that they can talk to about this subject. Its terrible because loving support is absolutely essential to staying sane in all this.
I’m posting you a link to a private password protected online support group for wives of sex addicts and/or abusers. Its totally free and full of precious women who have walked through Hell and its available 24/7 to post your questions or new discussions. https://restoringgodsdaughters.ning.com/
Sheep, JoAnn and Caroline all have a lot of wisdom. I hope you get into Caroline’s online group.
Another idea about the book ( emotionally destructive marriage) is to buy an electronic copy to your tablet or phone, if that is safer for you.
Patrick Doyle on YouTube has many videos that are full of wisdom, too. He’s excellent. I’d start with the one on repentance.
Debbie, Nancy, other’s who have responded.
Nancy, I agree with your last post. What you have described Debbie is so severe I hesitate with my words here, pleaseknow my heart is heavy for what you have discovered the tip of the iceberg of truth about your supposed husband.
The mere fact that this man is still in your presence is alarming to me because he has some serious betrayals going on, and the response to his behavior and being found out is quite telling how emotionally damaging this dynamic is to your soul.
I don’t often say things such boldly as this, but if I was in your situation, immediate separation (for the hope of reconciliation at some point in time) would be wise.
A man who locks his phone in his locked car should be locked in his car too because this is appalling.
You are desensitized by his behaviors and most likely in a state of trauma that scares me for you.
Caroline’s site is critical for your own intervention and I would get as much support as you can because you are not facing something simple, but catastrophic.
Prayers for wisdom and strength. 💜
Debbi, It is possible that you are just now beginning to realize the depth of your husband’s betrayal of the marriage vows. The tip of the iceberg. This would be a good time to contact your local battered women’s shelter for the name of a good therapist, one who is trained to deal with domestic violence (often referred to here as dv.). You are going to need support, and someone to talk things through with. You are also going to need a safety plan. These will be your first two steps to begin to deal with your situation. Along with that, get closer to the Lord. Pray, read your Bible (New Testament) prayerfully, and seek a good christian friend who you can open up to. Be careful with this, as you don’t want to get caught up in unhelpful advice, so ask the Lord to lead you in this.
Baby steps, Debbi, but important, even vital ones. And may the Lord guide your steps.
I am grateful at the wisdom and counsel in these responses but reeling at the same time as the seriousness of my situation truly hits me. I have bought the book and will join Caroline’s support group. Some part of me truly deep down believed that this was all in my head and that I was being too critical of him and too emotional in thinking this was a big deal. Thank you all of you for chiming in with your wisdom and experience. God help me as I try to move forward
I want to reassure you that the majority of us here can relate to the shocked feeling of being awakened from years of denial.
We tell ourselves that it must be us because, at least partially, then we have some measure of control. I can work harder, right? Do better…etc… The problem is that denial is a prison. It is only the Truth that can set us free. And we begin to know the Truth by accepting, and then walking in, reality. This is painful, but absolutely essential.
That’s why the very first letter of Leslie’s CORE strength acronym is C- being committed to truth. This is very difficult for people who have relied heavily on denial as a survival skill. You are not alone in your shock, we’ve been there, we’re just a bit further down the road.
The Lord’s timing is perfect though. He has brought you here for a reason. Stick ever so close to Him. He will not fail you, Debbi!
Nice, encouraging words, Nancy. I agree 100% We are with you, Debbi.
What Nancy and JoAnn have said is so vital and something that I could have benefited from much much earlier in my journey but I was surrounded by ‘Christian women’ who had no clue what abusive dynamics are, what control issues are, and wanted to spiritually enable every single uncomfortable thing that my marriage kept showing ‘symptoms’ of!
So JoAnn’s advice is important and I want to emphasize that as you gather that ‘team’ those specific people have a very good and wise understanding of what Emotional abuse and betrayal is! If they don’t, they could lead you to forgive and forget (bandaids) which won’t help your h either.
We don’t offer a bandaid to someone who just got their limbs cut off! But so many people within the church want to do this and so many want to tell you to PRAY.
I agree in prayer and petition wholeheartedly, but many within the church think you can pray AWay these things and especially these serious issues… need a serious response that is in proportion to the behavior.
I’m glad that your listening to that deep down voice that’s clearing things away, it’s scary yes.. but dear Debbie you are never alone and you have lots of resources available to you.
I understand not wanting to tip your hand with the books covers. There are some really good ones out there but I understand the problem with the titles.
How about the youtube ideas?
Patrick Doyle is great and here are some more names:
Brad Hambrick (False Love&True Betrayal)
Sheri Keffer (Intimate Deception)
William Struthers (Wired for Intimacy)
Lisa Taylor (Beyond Betrayal)
Jason and Shelley Martinkus have posted a load of youtube videos called “Kitchen convos” where they address various aspects of sexual addiction recovery and betrayal trauma recovery.
You will see that there is so much work involved its not even funny. Your husband is so obviously still hiding his secret life from you and you have a right to know everything that has been going on from your home.
May you reach through the shock and find some anger. You are going to need it.
I loved my wife very much, but my marriage fell apart. One of her issue was that I should apologize more. The fact is I would apologize when I realized I screwed up. A real apology. However, she demanded apologies for everything she did not like about me. She would demand an apology if I came home grumpy from work after a hard day. I felt like she was demanding so many apologizes Each day I would have to start apologizing for breathing. I had become her way of manipulating me. She would demand that I own up to this or that. I had been widowed and knew how to be a good husband and knew when to apologize. When I did apologize she rarely would forgive me. The Bible commands us to forgive others as God forgave us. If you cannot forgive your husband when he apologizes, it will hurt him badly. I miss her and still love her and am still willing to apologize when I should. But nobody should have to go around constantly saying they are sorry. It cannot be a one way street where only one spouse has to apologize for everything while the other just demands it.
Do you have a counselor? You said your marriage fell apart, so does that mean that you are divorced or separated?
I agree with you about the Bible commands of forgiveness. This is true but it’s also important to see that forgiveness doesn’t mean ‘trust’. Trust must be rebuilt through intentional action and purpose.
I wonder if the real issue in your marriage is repetitive behaviors that trigger trust issues in your wife? Not saying this is so. Just wondering? You didn’t give many examples.
I also wonder if your wife thought if you apologized then you would recognize the issue and change it based on an apology.
And by the way no one can walk around apologizing for ‘existing’ obviously. So I’m sorry if she was hypervigilant about this toward you. That’s not healthy or reasonable.
I’ll give you an example I gave my husband years ago about trust versus ‘I’m sorry’ I apologize. (By the way he couldn’t apologize for the first 10 yrs of our marriage based on his shame within, that had nothing to do with me)
Pretend I have the responsibility to pick you up from work at 6pm every night, and 4 times out of 5 I forget and I am not there to pick you up. Would you forgive me for not picking you up?
He said, ‘yes”.
Would you go into the next work week, trusting that by my apology (only) I would be there for you?
So what does the apology mean if the behavior continues and this is repetitive.
John not one of us are without huge deficits in our own beings, but an apology doesn’t equate to trust restored.
Only a change in behavior and response creates the rebuilding process of trust.
It takes a lot more to earn and build trust than it does to lose it!
We try our best to teach our children this principle in relationships as best as we can to help equip them with proper understanding about trust and overall character development.
Do you think John that your wife has valid complaints or is she looking for things to complain about and ask for an apology for?
John, it sounds like she was demanding perfection in a way that put you in an impossible situation. No one can live being wrong all the time. I hope that you are on the road to emotional health now. We can hope that eventually she will realize what she has lost and turn around. Meanwhile, you have work to do to free your heart from the damage she has done. May God grant you a huge supply of His all-sufficient grace.
My first husband would apologize and cry and feel terrible about what he had done, but never really change. My current husband shows no empathy and has rarely apologized. He defends and denies and minimizes but then tries to do what I’m asking. However, this doesn’t feel sincere either. It feels like he wants to prove that I’m wrong but willing to do it anyway. Every once in a while he takes on the role of victim telling me how he’s changed more than anyone in the household but that I’m never happy and taking a little stab at me by saying that he doesn’t want to leave the marriage constantly and is committed even if he’s unhappy. He makes me out to be a problem in our marriage even though he does not show empathy or respect any of our boundaries. He doesn’t want to fight and we can be pleasant with each other and I know he tries to ask me about my day and and keep it light, but we cannot have any kind of real, transparent conversation and he always turn things around on me talk. He doesn’t like it when I set boundaries and I have had A few times where I let him know I was not going to stay in a relationship that was destructive and when he knows I am serious, he teaching about but I never had the sense that she see you at the light and feels repentant. It’s more that he does it because he knows I’m serious and he finally takes me seriously. But it’s hard to be in this relationship where I don’t think he ever sees that he is wrong. And the way he looks at it is that he doesn’t agree with me but he’s been willing to change. Until it builds up in him and then the victim comes out and I feel sickened by it. He doesn’t like knowledge anything I’ve done and I’m not interested in being in a relationship like that.
It does feel confusing because he goes into the non-confrontational, passive, trying to make everything all right mode, but The issue of me feeling heard and validated never happens. It’s not definitely pride. It’s a shame because when we go to conferences he always seems to truly get something out of it but it makes me really angry when he puts me perpetrator role. I wanted to separate for a long time and his Ability to learn things and his willingness to change his actions at times has had me feeling like I needed to give him a chance, but the root problem is still there.
I guess I feel stuck and confused about whether or not I have the right I guess I feel stuck and confused about whether or not I have the right to separate, but his poor role model for my son also something I consider and now I see my son Being a very angry young man.
What you describe I can resonate strongly with, I did have to read it a couple times 😂, thanks for posting the info of voice text that helped.
Ok, so I can resonate with this, and many others here because destructive people are not all that inventive!
There are patterns and strong behaviors that reveal core issues.
You are right about the core issue still being there, like a ‘pea’ under 25 mattresses.
It’s unsettling for sure, I get that.
The things you describe sound very much like a person who is very underdeveloped emotionally. Emotionally immature to be simple here.
The issue of never feeling heard or validated is common with these types of marital dynamics and it down right is awful to navigate life around.
Are you in individual counseling? Being confused is normal when dealing with see someone willing yet still struggling with so many ingrained ‘behaviors’
Deflect, deny, dismiss, distort etc.
You also describe a common pattern of him going through the motions but not at a core really believing he has things to change within.
This is why I say emotionally immature at a serious level, because you might be spinning your wheels with conferences and he need serious interventions of ‘godly manhood’ and counseling to deal with the shame and his relationship with his Lord as His authority and Father of Love.
Does any of this resonate?
Yikes. I was voice texting and thought I caught all the errors, but clearly not. Hopefully whoever reads this can Figure out what I was saying.
The title of this post jumped out at me because it is something I have had to deal with thruout my 36 year marriage. I literally can noy remember an occasion where my wife apologized for anything major. It used to be a real problem for me, so for my own peace of mind I quit expecting one. When I took my expectations out of the equation, I was able to more clearly see her heart. I can see very clearly when she regrets what she has done, and I can be certain she is truly remorseful better by observing her actions than an a few words could tell me.
I have enough issues and struggles myself, that I know one when I see one. Admitting she is wrong is a genuine struggle for my wife, but not in a proud or haughty sense. It is rooted in insecurity. Once I recognized that, it became so much easier to just forgive.
Leslie, yes I have realized my husband doesn’t care that he hurts me, and that I feel dismissed & unloved. I’ve used “i statements” to no avail, because he denies yelling/silent treatment, etc. Ten months of in house separation. He’s manipulating our small children. There’s constant tension in our home. Of course he says it’s all my fault. I was holding out for a miracle, but can’t keep living like this. I’m scared of the unknown & losing my children, but planning next steps.
I hear your pain. We will be here for you in any way we can. Continue to trust God, and document everything!
Lynn….Yes! Document everything, especially his interactions with the children. If you can record him without his notice, then do that. (My fingers hit the wrong key, and the word “sinteractions” came up. LOL ) This documentation will help you fight your battle. Also, keep a journal of your experiences and reactions to what he does and says. Write things down as accurately as possible. Be sure you do this in a way that he will not know about or find.
Stay with us; we will continue to support you on your journey.
to journal safely I created an email account he doesn’t know about and I use a private or in cognito window so he can’t go back and see through user history where I have been. Then I email myself and keep the email in a “folder” on the email. I started on paper. Too many people can find this.