I had a great meeting in Gilbert, Arizona last Saturday teaching both Biblical counselors and married couples what it takes to build healthier marriages and repair broken ones. I was encouraged by the openness and vulnerability of the participants. Pray it brings fruit in their lives and ministries.
I am giving two plenary sessions this Saturday at a General Conference for Church Leaders in Indianapolis. I’ll be speaking on Common Mistakes People Helpers Make in Dealing with Emotionally Destructive Marriages and How to Rebuild Broken Trust. Pray for me. Pray for my travel schedule on Friday to be smooth. Pray that I can speak powerfully and clearly on these tricky issues where there can be lots of “biblical questions.” Pray that I clearly hear from the Holy Spirit in case I need to change direction or bring in some new thoughts. There is an open Q & A after my talks, which can be challenging. I know this topic can be confusing and highly charged so pray for me to have wisdom and courage and stay strong yet loving.
Question: I have been remarried for 1 1/2 years. We both brought 2 daughters into the stepfamily. My girls are 20 and 18. My 18 yr old lives full time with us as she is in her last year of HS. My 20-year-old spends the summer months with me when home from college.
Both daughters have a decent relationship with their biological father. My spouse has rage/anger issues. He is a narcissist. He will call me names, yell, and swear, all inches away from my face squared up chest to chest. He has done this often in front of the girls. I discovered you (you are a God send) through Family Life and have been trying to live in my CORE with him. I have read your Emotionally Destructive Marriage book and I am a part of the CONQUER group. I am trying to stay well – until God tells me otherwise.
The issue is that starting last summer my spouse started to rage AT MY GIRLS – all of it – name calling, swearing, in their face. It hasn't stopped. He expects them to be silent and compliant and to control themselves so that he doesn't get “triggered.” It devastated me. It has devastated them. They do not trust him and have zero commitment to him. They have separately told me recently that they want to live with their biological father this summer because they do not want to live with the tension and rage in my home. I am crushed.
What do I do, Leslie? Do I separate from my husband to give my girls some safety when they are with me? They don't understand why I stay when someone treats me and them so badly. Please, any help. I feel lost.
Answer: I’m sorry that you are facing this dilemma at all. What parent ever wants to choose between her husband and her children? Yet your daughters are asking you a good question. Why would you stay with someone who continually treats you and them so badly?
I don’t know the answer to that but it’s important that you do. Do you think God wants you to allow yourself to be bullied into silence or submission? Do you think God wants to see your daughters treated with such unloving, angry outbursts? Is it even possible to stay well when someone is so overly aggressive and abusive to you and to those you love dearly? I imagine your stress hormones and cortisol levels are sky high. Please hear me. This kind of environment takes a huge toll on your body, not to mention your spirit. It’s like breathing poison gas every single day. It will get you after time. Your girls are smart to not want to subject themselves to it any longer.
We all know that there have always been and will always be ugly, contentious people in our lives who we have to ignore or forbear with. They may be neighbors, people we work with, or even a relative. But when you are in a close relationship with someone who treats you abusively and contemptuously like you describe here, this is not a time for forbearing or ignoring. This is a time for speaking up and if that doesn’t produce any change it’s a time for consequences.
Jesus couldn’t have been more plain. He says, “If someone sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back (back to a better relationship). But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or corrupt tax collector” (Matthew 18:15-17). In other words, no close relationship is possible.
I understand that most churches today refuse to get involved in this type of problem but I’m sure you and your daughters have all agreed that his behavior is incompatible with a loving family or home life. I hope you have told him that his temper and behavior are his responsibility to manage and control. You or your girls may trigger him – which probably translated means, “Don’t do or say anything I don’t like,” but he is still responsible for how he handles his triggers. He could go somewhere quiet to calm himself down. Yet he chooses to bully and rage and then blames it on you or your girls.
And, my guess is, he doesn't treat people at work in the same way. Why not? Because unless he’s the boss, he knows it would not be tolerated. There would be consequences. And even if he is the boss, he may lose employees or business if he acts that way with others.
So again the question goes back to what’s going on with you that you are trying to stay “well” with someone who continues to actively abuse you and your daughters? Dear one, staying well with an aggressive abuser is not possible. If you want to get healthier, and I know you do or you wouldn’t have joined CONQUER, you need to find a different plan.
And that brings me back to what’s going on with you? Is it fear? Fear that God will be mad if you leave? Fear that your husband will escalate and get physical if you leave? Fear that you can’t make it on your own financially? Fear of another failed marriage? Fear of what people will think? Fear can keep you feeling very small and stuck, unable to think clearly or do what is best for yourself or your daughters.
So my best advice to you is instead of trying to stay well right now, that you really dig deep and deal with whatever is making you afraid and conquer that. I also would put your husband on notice that his rages are not acceptable and if he continues, he will lose the privilege of your company as a wife, either temporarily (until he can calm himself down) or permanently (if he chooses not to).
But you will only have the courage to say those words if you work on your fears and put on courage and act brave, even if you don’t quite feel brave yet.
Courage and bravery are not feelings; they are values you hold about the kind of woman you want to be. Being brave is a decision we make even if we do feel afraid because we know it’s the right path and God gives us the courage to move forward. Click To Tweet
Here is a verse that is going to be our theme verse for our 2018 CONQUER Conference Be Brave: Grow Strong, in October. I encourage you to memorize it and put it into practice in how you walk through the next few weeks.
“So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong” Hebrews 12:12.
The 2018 CONQUER Conference Be Brave: Grow Strong Early Bird registration prices are over April 30, click here for more information.
Sometimes it’s only when we start to see the horror of what someone is doing to our children that we get the courage to act differently and say “enough is enough.” God is showing you now is the time.
Friends, what was that “enough is enough” moment for you? Was it physical abuse, something happening towards your kids or something else?
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Raising Good Sons
Good morning friends, I’m in sunny California celebrating my granddaughter’s third birthday. She is such a joy to watch growing up. She wanted to be a princess, so here are some pictures of her in her princess dress as well as pictures of her two sisters enjoying her birthday party. In light of the…
Can Constantly Arguing About Everything And Anything Be Considered Emotional Abuse
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How Do We Co-Parent When He Won’t Decide?
It’s the second week of July – my sabbatical month and I am really enjoying the break. I’m back to painting, which I really enjoy, reading, and taking long morning walks (before it gets too hot to go outside). All these things feed my soul which fires up my creativity. One of my coaches, Susan,…
Dear writer, my heart breaks for you. And I am praying for you. I’ve been in a similar situation. I brought 2 daughters into our marriage. And we had one daughter together. I won’t go into all the details of why my husband started hating my middle daughter. But in the end at 14 she moved back with her dad. I was heart broken. Her father is not a good man and wasn’t a good father. But she couldn’t take what was going on in our house against her.
I really suggest based on my experience. That you make a plan and get out sooner than later. I have been married to this man 27 years. And the anger and rage issues have never gone away. I would have left but we had a daughter together that’s henwookd was obsessed with. I only stayed because he would have made our lives a living hell if I took her away from him. Seemed easier to try and take the abuse on myself now that my daughter left than to leave and face the crazy stalking.
It didn’t work out well for my daughter her father and step mother were bad and she didn’t have a good life.
So please since you have no kids between you get out. He’s more than likely not going to make any big changes doenvery long. My husband’s temper gets better when I tell him I can’t take it any more. Butnhe goes right back to it, like it’s his right. Praying for you my dear sister in Christ.
This is my story story too. I brought 3 children to the marriage and we have a son together. Our son is his ‘buddy’. My kids are the proverbial ‘red headed step children’. His explanation for himself is he gets ‘frustrated’. My oldest is out on her own now and doesn’t come around. My oldest son is nervous all the time and wishes my h would disappear. My youngest daughter is very bitter and extremely disrespectful to him. Sometimes it bleeds off onto me. I, too, am trying to stay well while teaching my children about grace. My h travels for work, and when he’s gone, we usually have a big time. Relax and rewatch movies we’ve seen a million times. I feel bad and so ashamed that’s what it’s come to. I believe he loves me and he dotes on our youngest son, but leaving my other two feeling left out, and unimportant. That breaks my heart. After all this time and all the stuff, I have a hard time feeling for him. Especially compared to when we were courting. I no longer miss him when he’s gone. I get so anxious when I know he’s coming back as does my son. He’s coming back tonight from a week trip. We are all on a little edge.
Anyway, trying my best to stay well mainly for the sake of my youngest son, I’m just afraid it’s at the cost of my older two. Somebody has to get/be hurt. To stay…to leave…
I believe it is your responsibility to set the boundary that raging is never ever an appropriate way to speak to you or any one else. If your husband choses to continue to engage in this harmful and inappropriate behavior with your daughter, I would file a claim with child protective services. When a person won’t listen to reason, more cajoling, accommodating and enabling will not change anything. A firm stand is needed. Be prepared for a back lash and have your emergency plan in order. Short of a medical intervention for a diagnosed and treatable illness, no one should ever rage at another person. Put an end to it now before your children start to adapt to this dysfunctional behavior as normal and accept this kind of behavior in the future from their own intimate partner.
Free, also to the writer,
Free I agree with your post and the swift strong action it will need.
To the writer, I’m very sorry for your circumstances, I’m hopeful that your daughters are taking a stand that somehow you will see the true love they are showing toward you and themselves by not collaborating or enabling such destructive behaviors.
“Friends, what was that enough is enough moment for you? Was it physical abuse, something happening toward your kids or something else? ”
For me, it was asking the Lord to continue to equip me to see the pattern and reveal all the toxic reinforcing relationships that were involved in the process.
It’s amazing as you gain healthy boundaries and ‘change alot’ and how you develop healthy treatment for how you will allow yourself and your children to be treated, often those around start to ‘not like those changes’. Your friend and family surroundings begin to change.
I think Leslie asked some great questions to this writer about her Fear and to do some deeper work there.
My thoughts would be similar but I would also be curious if her first marriage was also destructive and abusive?
I don’t agree with telling the husband that ‘he is on notice’ for his rage etc.
Personally because I think the rage and behavior is the outward symptom of a very deep problem that would have to be addressed for the marriage to have a chance.
If she tells her husband of the notice, he could very well go underground… which could produce even more trauma that might be more covert and difficult for her to navigate ‘reality’.
My decision would be for the writer to get a separation plan in ‘place’.. get supportive friends who understand abusive mindsets, get a counselor who specializes in these areas to… & then also to tell her husband he has some character work to do and *require* that he get interventions for his anger, attitude and heart issues.
‘THIS IS LOVE’,
Requiring this health for a spouse that doesn’t require it for themselves is something you can offer.
This doesn’t mean he will do it, but it’s an invitation and a Christlike posture;)
The behavior must be addressed at the core level for their to be any repair! Just stopping the rage doesn’t repair all that he has already damaged in areas of trust and relationship with his step daughters.
To the writer;
I’m a daughter that was willing to love my mom enough to support her in getting stronger and not tolerating ‘my dads’ behavior toward her or me and doing *something* rather than nothing.
Sadly, she chose standing by her husband, not getting help or educating herself on ‘what is healthy’ standards and deciding to not have even an individual relationship with her daughter (me), soninlaw, and thus her grandchildren.
She is bound to Spiritual Passivity and thinks that God is miraculously going to take care of things for her that she doesn’t want to deal with.
We’ve been separated almost 3 years now.
One thing I hope is helpful to ponder;
If a person won’t stand up for themselves, often they struggle standing up for their children.
So consider what you do carefully… because if you won’t do the healthy thing regarding yourself, and your young adult daughters, they most likely will not trust you to do the right thing with ‘their future children’.
All of our choices (even the small ones) reap consequences. Consequences can be good and bad.
For me, my “enough is enough” moment wasn’t raging and aggression, but passivity/disinterest(?). I’ve lost both my elderly mom and dad in the last 15 months. My husband (who has meltdowns and many other Aspergers behaviors) has done almost nothing to try to comfort me in my grief–no card, no flowers, no hug, no “how are you feeling”, etc. He’ll listen if I talk to him informationally–ie, “My brother is the executor”, etc. and maybe ask factual questions. But other than that, it’s life as usual for him as if nothing at all has happened to me. In all fairness, our marriage had already been steadily declining. He has shut down the conversation or gone into a rage if I bring up anything about “us” or the state of our marriage. He doesn’t want to look at the possibility of Aspergers or go to counseling and I’ve gone by myself for the past four years. I understand the implications of Aspergers well. And I’m finding comfort and healing through friends, church, GriefShare…But If after 29 years of marriage, he can’t even reach toward me in some way at such a painful time in my life…that’s breathtaking. Do I forgive him? Yes. But I. Feel. So. Very. Done. This whole thing has just broken my heart. Trying to live from my CORE and trusting God for the way forward…He’s been so faithful to me.
I too had enough when my husband couldn’t stop having explosive rages at me. It was routinely on weekends after he had gone out to indulge his addiction and then stop at the bar to drink. I would be so traumatized by his rages that I couldn’t function or feel normal until Thursday and then a few weeks later he would do it again, like a cycle. I lost my job due to the effects of his rages. I have 3 children from my first marriage and one child with the second. My ‘new husband’ did so many devastating things once I married to him and was pregnant again, I am very sorry that I allowed such an evil man into my home with my 3 children and had a child with him. He became so destructive and continually angry toward my older children who are all excellent hard working and high achieving kids.
They love their sibling but none of us could could continue to live with a man so unfit for relationship! Of all the horrible things he was doing in the marriage, his rage was the thing that pushed me to separate from him. He had a sex addiction, lied continually, was financially abusive and drank to excess. Now I am going through the court system and discovering I am dealing with a con artist as well. Leslie and her teaching have helped me so much. God has pulled me from a pit and put my feet on a firm foundation and has put a song back in my heart!! God is for women and children and against evil and He is a very real and present help in times of trouble. He can bless us when we step away from evil and destruction. Leaving a second marriage was the hardest thing to do especially with another child involved but God has been there even when family and friends have not. He is my defender and continually brings new and even scary things to my attention that I need to be aware of for upcoming court dates. My ex is playing games that I can not keep up with but he is no match for my defender! I can already look back and say I am amazed at His care and direction in my life through the fear and hard times he has been there. I could never have imagined the amazing opportunities he planned for my older children. Ladies please never be afraid to leave an evil spouse, God will help you, what is too big and scary for us is not too big or too hard for God! Many times we are counselled to stay with an abuser no matter what but God has shown me the opposite is true, he is there and he will make a way to escape from evil and he will provide and guide you to freedom, employment … resolution of financial and legal matters! Sure it is hard but it is also thrilling when you look back and realize how comprehensive and amazing his care for his own children, those who have his Holy Spirit living in them is!!
Thank you, Starlight for your story of hope and God’s amazing provision for you. It lifts my heart and helps give me courage too. I’m taking steps toward wholeness and though it seems very slow, I want to stay the course!
I’m so sorry for your story but so thrilled that you see God in it and taking you out and to safe places~
You said this so very well;
” He can bless us when we step away from evil and destruction. ”
I think this is what is so hard for many who have been hardwired to enable and endure suffering.
Your story will encourage many!
Thank you Starlight for this hope and sharing!!!
God is against evil. We pursue truth. We become stronger. We don’t cooperate with evil.
Starlight, I just read your comment and am so in awe of our God and His love and provision. We must but trust His heart and lean into Him. I know that He is very proud of you and that He loves you so very dearly. My heart rejoices at the thought of it.
I have found Him to be a gracious gentle provider and protector as well. The road to recover and back to emotional health is tough some days. It is so much easier than bondage and abuse and the loss of emotional and spiritual safety for our children.
Blessing and thank you so much for sharing your victory in Jesus.
My exhusband controlled me with his rages. The rages would come out of the blue, end before I knew what caused them and then he would shut himself up in his bedroom. Never once ever did my ex apologize! He felt entitled since he was the man of the house. My kids and I would tiptoe around our home to keep his anger at bay. My kids wised up before I did but I finally would gather up whoever was home and leave the house as soon as I saw a rage coming on. I did that 3 times and the rages stopped. But then he did silent treatments and passive aggressive tactics and by then I had had enough. My kids and I are free and my ex still doesnt understand why I left! God has provided for me and life is so much more peaceful!
Praise God for peace and safety. So thankful you and the children are safe and happy. He cares for the broken and undone and creates new life for us. A little courage with our eyes fixed on Him and He makes the way. Good for you and praise Him who protects the down trodden.
Is. 54 is my empowering bible chapter.
I know this place well. I’m in a second abusive marraige. How did I get here? I didn’t learn my own root issues and get well. I’m now 65 married to a covert abuser. I’m in the process of a divorce from a man who is highly esteemed and loved in the community but privately told me “I purposefully crush my woman so they will appear small and I will be big.” He confessed to a 50 yr. sexual addiction and all that addiction entails and refused to accept responsibility for what it had done to our relationship. I asked him to give me time and space to heal. He refused and and I left the state 9 months ago. The longer I’m away the more I see. I am now blessed to be in a community of strong believer who, for the most part do not believe “marriage at any and every cost” or “ suffer well and be an example.”
People come here to heal. I’m healing and finding grace filled edifying love and support. I’m thankful to be free from this mans sin issues and it’s cost. I’m thankful for a place to learn how I got into another awful marriage and know how to set a boundary. I NEVER want to find myself in this situation again. Recovery and health is proving a long hard process. I have to dig deep and come face to face with the ‘me’ who felt she was of lesser value to God than a broken mean vengeful man who refused to take responsibility for himself. To my surprise the Lords love actually wanted to protect me from the one who refuses heart change.Don’t get me wrong here. I know Christ’s blood was shed for my broken husband. My husbands sin took Jesus to Calvary. The Lord desires his freedom. Yet God won’t override free will. He guards it with great respect. Bottom line? We each get to choose. I chose life.. At this juncture he continues to choose death. What fellowship hath light with darkness?
Very similar to Sherry I was getting so traumatized by the raging and then passive aggressive behavior. There was never ever a “normal mood” He was either raging, silent and withdrawn, anxious and controlling or “happy” I was spinning. The last straw (when i was still in denial) was when we were sitting down in front of the TV as a family ready to watch a good football game together and he snapped and my then 16 yo son for absolutely no reason. He was trying to accuse him of hitting him. He was picking a fight with his son as if he was fighting with a sibling. I had had enough. It was the first time I set a boundary. Once I read Leslies book I was snapped out of denial and joining conquer gave me a voice. I separated and it did not produce the wake up call that I hoped so I am moving forward with divorce. Im not there yet and its the scariest thing I have ever done but I thank God every day for this broken marriage. It has thrown me right into the arms of the Lord and Its right where I need to be. I am growing spiritually every day. I suggest you read the bible, pray, get good counseling and know in your heart that God wants you and your children to be happy. He willshow you the way.
My “enough is enough” moment came when the physical abuse happened to my child. My daughter wrote me a note that my son had a bloody lip. This happened early in the morning while I was still sleeping, and my son “would not go back to bed” at 6 am, so my now ex hit him in the mouth and caused his lip to bleed. It took a couple more events of my ex’s frustration and anger toward my son for my eyes to be opened to the covert and overt abuse that was happening in my home, but God allowed those things to occur within a week and I could not ignore what was happening anymore.
God provided in so many ways for me and my children. He made a way for us to get out, and He revealed things that my ex had been hiding for years. These revelations helped me know I was going the right way.
God has provided in so many amazing ways for me and my children. Even going back to work has been an incredible blessing with wonderful supportive people where I can be close to my kids and see them while I’m working every day.
Leslie wrote “Courage and bravery are not feelings; they are values you hold about the kind of woman you want to be. Being brave is a decision we make even if we do feel afraid because we know it’s the right path and God gives us the courage to move forward.” This resonates so deeply in me, because even though it was the scariest thing I’ve ever done (to leave my marriage and separate from my husband) I knew that I wanted to be obedient to the Lord, and I knew that He was leading me to leave and protect my children. He gave me an escape. I felt He was saying “you have done everything I have asked you to do and now I’m setting you free”. Looking back on it now, I know He didn’t want me to be under oppression and abuse. God is so faithful. Walk in obedience my dear friends.
Ps 119:1-8 (NLT)
1 Joyful are people of integrity,
who follow the instructions of the Lord.
2 Joyful are those who obey his laws
and search for him with all their hearts.
3 They do not compromise with evil,
and they walk only in his paths.
4 You have charged us
to keep your commandments carefully.
5 Oh, that my actions would consistently
reflect your decrees!
6 Then I will not be ashamed
when I compare my life with your commands.
7 As I learn your righteous regulations,
I will thank you by living as I should!
8 I will obey your decrees.
Please don’t give up on me!”
Also, this blog and others, like Patrick Doyle on youtube, Grace For My Heart blog, cryingoutforjustice.com to name a few were and have been incredibly helpful to be able to identify true repentance and desire for change – which were not present in my ex. Like Leslie and others here have said before, it’s difficult whether I stayed or left, but I do not regret leaving and fighting for my children. My home has peace. My children are getting better, slowly, day by day, and so am I.
This is an important post. Courage and bravery are the backbone required for escape. God gifts those who walk away from abuse with strength from the spirit that can’t be described well unless you live it. In the end one gains freedom and a profound greater love and intimacy with the Lord. He is an ever present hope in times of trouble and a light upon the path of those who flee. I would never wish this experience on anyone but the by product of escaping evil, is a closer walk with God.
Re: My Husband Rages At My Daughters Too. I’m Devastated. Now What?
. . . .so the thing may be (could be) to understand what *all* the behaviors, defenses, and actions that he takes that break the connections to you and your daughters. . . .That break the connections. . . .Because, honestly, what you describe is just so, so horrible. God gives someone a wife and daughters to love, talk with, help and be helped in processing all their hurts and emotions and instead of doing that they rage at them. Crazy. . . .Tell me how people didn’t evolve from hostile/fighting/raging precursor primates! . . . .ha, ha, ha. . . .Sure, anything is possible, what is more likely? What answer best fits the evidence? But, maybe not, animal rage is really scary, but not as scary as God’s rage and wrath in the Old Testament. . . .
. . .So, it could be, like with all change we need breakdowns that lead to breakthroughs. That seems to be a universal phenomenon. I see that in so, so many faiths: a breakdown that leads to a breakthrough, just like Ezekiel 22:30, 1 Timothy 2:1, James 5:16, etc., et.al. . . .A breakdown that leads to a breakthrough.✅ In Christianity, it’s no defiance, just God-reliance: Romans 7:15, etc.
. . . .So, maybe, to be effective, possibly we want to have something that we really *specifically target* . . .So, maybe consider giving up the NPD diagnosis (re: the Witch Hunt: 1 Timothy 4:7, Titus 3:9; the blame game) . . .In that approach, you may be focusing on narcissistic wounds; narcissistic supply all of those psycho-diagnostic psychoanalytic labels that may not really be helpful in really changing anything: Matthew 15:14, 1 Corinthians 4:3-6, Ephesians 4:18. . . .So, maybe be solution focused and identify all the behaviors that disconnect him from effectively relating to you and your daughters and effectively processing emotions. ―Again, that is universal: a breakdown that leads to a breakthrough. A breakdown that leads to a breakthrough.✅
So maybe you say: I am ready to temporarily separate from you (maybe don’t think in black and white terms that you either have to stay in or you have to divorce him, that’s probably a thinking error and that’s probably just black-and-white thinking and that’s probably all or nothing thinking, you don’t have to do that) . . .I am ready to temporarily separate from you, and make no δεκάρα mistake about it unless we do intense solutions focused therapy with someone very skilled then I am ready to use the family law courts. . . .but I don’t want to have to.
If and only if, you want to help him have a breakdown that leads to a breakthrough. . . .And realize we are all next, since we all have unbelievable amounts of issues, we are *all* going to be doing this to again and again and again. All those ridiculous defense mechanisms; the shifting of blame; the rationalization justifications; all the reasons that he and we use to not process emotions effectively. Every person has variants of all the stuff that is under all the cover emotions (rage, et.al.) . . .All the reasons we all use to not process our emotions effectively, etc. 2 Chronicles 10:4, James 5:16. . . .Rage —transformed into fierce compassion.
. . . .So, we keep the heat on and we insist on change, until he volunteers for it, remembering that it will not be long before you and your daughters have to do the same thing. ―It’s a huge cycle, just like life. God always brings everything full circle. . . .But, in this way, we have a combination of hope + God’s help + ―oh look, we have healthy loving relationships. . . .So, that transformational metanoia (μετάνοια -72 times in the N.T.), is not an outcome, but the process of constant change, the relief from the constant wanting ―through awareness (the correct processing of all the stuff below the cover emotions rage, et.al.) . . .I mean, maybe, ―who really knows. Actually “knowing” involves showing causation in a statistically significant way😊💬
I love the quote about courage and how it’s a choice.
With my mother-in-law, it took her escalating manipulation and finally telling our eldest that she wouldn’t love her if she didn’t agree with her, for us to wake up to how destructive she is.
Our lives are so much more peaceful without her, and as one poster wrote. The longer we are away from her, the more we are seeing how much damage she was doing to our family.
We’ve gone no contact and explained to the girls ( to an age appropriate degree) why. We pray for her and ask God to care for her.
We are to be at Peace with others as far as it depends us. We had to admit that we had no control over her choices and had to release her to The Lord. It makes me sad, but it was the only healthy choice.
Rage isn’t a ‘we’ problem. I wouldn’t suggest joint ‘we’ solutions/ we counseling to this already very hurt individual that wrote in.
Yes, Aleea we do have ‘all’ have our issues but it’s important to differentiate and not offer any further blame to a victim or encourage that somehow she has power ‘to help him’.
She has power to separate away from him and invite him into dealing with why he has not processed his own emotions. But let’s not put them both in the same place because the work and the recovery is very different.
I think it’s helps to see that rage and any behavior in that place is not behavior that ‘one will reason with’ and the husband needs intensive individual help.
Also, I don’t think there has been any black & white thinking here. There has been good suggestions from others that are quick and responsive to the infractions that are proportionate to the situation.
Many of us have had to learn that our response to a destructive person has been unhealthy and ‘very disproportionate’ given the treatment and behavior. Regardless is they haveva character disorder or are immature profoundly … we have to learn about a healthier response for ourselves and our children.
I couldn’t agree more, Aly.
Especially, “the work and recovery is very different.” Your statement deals with the reality of the situation.
Statements like, “we are all broken,” and “we all have issues” are generalized statements that are not at all helpful in dealing with the reality of any particular situation, and can further damage an already hurting person. This woman is a real individual, who is repeatedly being traumatized in her own home.
Thank you for bringing the discussion back to reality.
I’m absolutely in agreement with the wisdom Aly and Nancy reflect here. In situations where rage / violence / abuse of any sort are present, couples’ counselling is NOT a safe or helpful process to enter into!!!
Neither is this lady describing a ‘shared’ problem. This man’s raging behaviour belongs to him alone, not herself, not her daughters, and certainly not because they may also have ‘issues’.!
The only helpful encouragement to this sister is to validate her need for safety, and to state clearly that her husband’s destructive behaviour is NOT her responsibility to fix, but instead to set herself apart from it, in order to keep her children and herself safe. That includes emotional as well as physical safety.
This is NOT a situation in which others should be telling her to “keep the heat on” with an expectation that will change her husband’s destructive heart, thoughts, and behaviours. Please don’t muddy the waters with extraneous material. This is not a place to introduce or discuss a pseudo-diagnosis regarding what ‘might’ be causing him to be this way toward her. That is his concern to wrestle with, whether he chooses to or not.
Dear sister who wrote to Leslie this question, please hear the truth: You are loved and valued by the loving God who created you in His own image, to belong to His own heart. Your daughters are loved and valued by the loving God who created them in His own image, to belong to His own heart. You are all worth being safe, and life with this man is not presently safe. Please pay attention to what your girls need, and what you need to become, and stay safe emotionally, physically, spiritually, and in every other way. Leslie has spoken solid truth to you in her response, and many others here have affirmed that. Please pay attention to it, and trust the Lord to give you the wisdom and strength you need.
Thank you for reading what I said and for commenting, —for your response. . . .I think I understand at least some of what you are saying. I’d like to know how you square what you say with what the Bible teaches about marriage and divorce. . . .Now, if we bracket the entire Bible off, then I get it. . . .Then I r-e-a-l-l-y get it. —In fact, once the Bible is not involved, it is usually very clear what to do: legally, physically, et.al. The Bible creates demands that we have to use our human logic, our human reason, our human evidence to work our way around. But if we look at the Bible as a human book, not a book written by a God, then some of the answers are very forthcoming. . . .No wonder Leslie does not want us talking about theology too deeply😇💛😉, to the majority of neuroscience, neurology, psychology, brain science and cognitive sciences, theology is ignorance with wings. . . .And the people who use it to try to solve problems (—like I just did above) are increasingly not part of the larger and mainstream conversations. In fact, what the Bible actually says, to our society, is offensive, deeply unreasonable, but worse than that, it may actually get women like this one killed. This is really my concern. I’m worried that our faith discourse, our beliefs are ultimately incompatible with civilization. I know we text deconstruct, text twist, use things metaphorically, etc. but notice that the only way to do that is to take the Bible less and less seriously over time as we learn more scientifically. Could it be, it is time that we admitted that faith is nothing more than the license we give one another to keep believing when so many of the beliefs are incompatible with reality. —I don’t know, but it seems Christian moderation is the product of secular knowledge, secular research and evidence based thinking, and ignoring scriptural injuctions taken in total and in context.
“The world is not magic —and that’s the most magical thing about it.”
Dr. Sean Carroll, The Particle at the End of the Universe: How the Hunt for the Higgs Boson Leads Us to the Edge of a New World
“Illusions can be pleasant, but the rewards of truth are enormously better.”
Dr. Sean Carroll, The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself
So, maybe, to really help people, we have to have as a goal to keep figuring out what the world actually is. Just what it really is. The human tendency toward confirmatory thinking: all of us are bias to seek information that fits what we already believe. I work hard to be aware of my bias but it is hard work. . . .The Bible offers quick answers to identity, security, and simplicity, but at a price: by binding us believers to the moral and cultural thoughts of the Ancients, it may preclude a deeper embrace of goodness, love, and truth —in other words, of dignity.
But I am prone to huge err, and to err systematically, outrageously. That’s why I try not to surround myself with just “safe” people, people who will appreciate my cherished views. I care if what I believe is actually true not just psychologically useful. We are not our exalted ideas, those ideas could be emperors who have no clothes. Aly, have you ever been deeply, seriously wrong? I have, lots of times.
Again, Aly, thank you for reading what I said and for commenting, . . .for your response. . . .Aly, the human tendency toward confirmatory thinking: all of us are bias to seek information that fits what we already believe. 🦄🎉🎊 🌈
You say to Aly: “Thank you for bringing the discussion back to reality.”
Nancy, I know this is hard to keep a cool head on when thinking about (if you want to really, deeply think about it) but you may find, possibly, that most people who are educated in the areas this women’s problem touches (neuroscience, neurology, psychology, brain science and cognitive sciences) would say that everyone here, especially me, needs a personal relationship with reality. They would bracket off what we all say as irrelevant to a 21st century discussion about these issues to the extant we got God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the Scripture, the Bible involved.
Nancy, is it even potentially possible that the Bible is the work of men who thought the earth was flat and for whom a wheelbarrow would have been a breathtaking example of emerging technology? Is it even possible that to rely on Scripture as the basis for our worldview, however heroic the efforts of redactors to repudiate two thousand years of civilizing insights that the human mind has only just begun to inscribe upon itself through secular and scientific culture, is wrong? What seems to be holding us back is the cultural and intellectual accommodations we have made to faith itself. For example, the idea of “Ten Commandments” is a deeply compelling one. It combines two impulses that are ingrained in our nature as human beings: making lists of ten things, and telling other people how to behave.
. . . .Anyways, always you are precious, valuable, worthwhile, important and special. Maybe I am totally wrong, but the only corrective I see to confirmation bias is to listen and listen hard to research and researchers that *deeply* disagree with us, —maybe even sometimes our husbands (not when they are raging)??? The people who are saying the opposite of what we like to hear. I hate that too because I want life to be simple and easy. It is not easy or simple.
Love is the only weapon I have, I will defend with love, I will attack with love. Ha, ha, ha, ha. . . .and I’ll still get in trouble and yelled at. Ha, ha, ha, ha. . . . Nancy, I’m trying to get to a place where I see clearly: that place is zero defensiveness. It’s really, really hard.
Aleea 💖 💗 💙 💚 💛 💜
Hello K (who’s posted before, different from K who posted in early April),
. . .As I told Aly above, I think I understand at least some of what you are saying. I’d like to know how you square what you say with what the Bible teaches about marriage and divorce. . . .Now, if we bracket the entire Bible off, then I get it. . . .Then I r-e-a-l-l-y get it. —In fact, once the Bible is not involved, it is usually very clear what to do: legally, physically, et.al. The Bible creates demands that we have to use our human logic, our human reason, our human evidence to work our way around. But if we look at the Bible as a human book, not a book written by a God, then some of the answers are very forthcoming. . . .Again, no wonder Leslie does not want us talking about theology too deeply❗ 💯 😇💛😉, to the majority of neuroscience, neurology, psychology, brain science and cognitive sciences, theology is ignorance with wings. . . .And the people who use it to try to solve problems (—like I just did above) are increasingly not part of the larger and mainstream conversations. In fact, what the Bible actually says, to our society, is offensive, deeply unreasonable, but worse than that, it may actually get women like this one killed. This is really my concern. I’m worried that our faith discourse, our beliefs are ultimately incompatible with civilization. I know we text deconstruct, text twist, use things metaphorically, etc. but notice that the only way to do that is to take the Bible less and less seriously over time as we learn more scientifically. Could it be, it is time that we admitted that faith is nothing more than the license we give one another to keep believing when so many of the beliefs are incompatible with reality. —I don’t know, but it seems Christian moderation is the product of secular knowledge, secular research and evidence based thinking, and ignoring scriptural injuctions taken in total and in context.
See, if you want to, The Bible: Now I Get It! by Gerhard Lohfink✅ 💯 Ha, ha, ha, ha. . .It’s easy to read and fun too; Also, on a serious note, the book: Thoughts on Narcissism and Narcissistic Rage, Heinz Kohut , M.D.; —Also, Krizan, Z., & Johar, O. (2015) Narcissistic rage revisited. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 784-801 (especially the footnotes💬😪☕).
I am the person who asked Leslie this question. As an update, we are now separated. However, I don’t think, at this point, h is in a place of a break down over it. I struggled with separation because of my fear of another failed marriage. With my first h I was married for 23 years and there was no abuse. He was tired of being married to me and walked away. But what God has opened my eyes to is that I have co-dependency characteristics. I believe, at some level, my value comes from taking care of others. So my second fear is who am I when I am not “doing” and just “being”? Can others love me for me? I was raised in an abusive home and never experienced unconditional love. So I became an over achiever in life – always proving my worth. With my 1st h, he moved from his mom’s house to marrying me and I took care of him and everything else. With 2nd h, he expected me to fully take care of his needs 24X7. And once I (and my girls) started to experience the abuse, I think I felt like I could help him heal from this. I was totally empathic to his brokenness from his childhood and felt loved by him on the “good” side of the cycle. However, h had threatened leaving me and divorcing me more times than I can count within our short marriage and I finally took him on it. He’s been gone for 1 week today and I have such an amazing peace from God about this. Yes, I am alone, but truthfully I felt more alone when he was here. When I first discovered Leslie and read her book, I thought C – committed to truth – I got this already. But I really didn’t have full clarity about me or him. But I have dug deep. I prayed, I read my Bible, I cried, I reached out to friends who would understand me, I watched videos, I have read blogs, articles and books, I am in Leslie’s Conquer group. And I still do all this. But through this fog, God has held my hand and given me wisdom and discernment. He has hemmed me in before and behind. He has gone before me to fight the battle. And being committed to truth has given me courage and has made me brave (this is a work in progress though). I cannot heal my h or make him change or make him see or empathize. He has free will. We have no contact right now and I have no idea if this means the end to our marriage. I no longer ask God to redeem our marriage. I instead ask him to reveal TRUTH to me and to turn my husband’s heart of stone to a heart of flesh. (It’s our hearts He is after, not the institution of marriage). I am changed because of this – no longer deformed from my husbands oppression, but becoming transformed because of God’s reckless love for me.
Wow. It sounds like you are making incredible progress in your overall health. God is so very good, isn’t he?
I love how you say that you are no longer praying for a redeemed marriage but for truth, and a changed heart for him. This is lovely.
I said in my first post that I loved how Leslie said that courage is a choice. This is a new thought for me: that I can CHOOSE courage. Warrior, in your utter dependence on The Lord to guide you, you are choosing courage.
Stick close to Him and he will continue His amazing transformational work in your heart and life!
Nancy, I have struggled with having courage too. In fact, I really haven’t had any. It has been easier to put up with the abuse than to try and fight. It has never gotten me any where.
But I agree it’s time to choose courage.
Than you both for your inspiring posts.
Thanks for sharing, Debbie.
I’ve heard the statement that, “courage is not the absence of fear, but moving forward inspite of it”.
But somehow hearing that ‘courage is a choice’, is somehow different. I can choose to be courageous, reminds me of :
‘it was for freedom that Christ set you free. Stand firm then, and do not let yourself be burdened again by a yoke of slavery’. Gal 5:1
Maybe, the ‘standing firm’ part is the choice to be courageous.
Nancy, thank you for that verse. I really do stand in the word of God, that one is perfect. I appreciate your encouragement! 💜
Warrior70, i am so glad that you and your kids are safe and free from abuse! You have done a very brave thing! And a very hard thing but God loves us and does not want us oppressed.
When I started seeing a counselor one of the first things he mentioned was codependency. My now exhusband was abusing me but I still thought I could make him love me. It was an old pattern from my childhood that hopefully I am now free from. It is hard to allow ourselves to be loved for who we are not just what we do! And I am learning that too. When I left my marriage I moved to another state with one of my kids (the others are adults). I am not working and know nobody here but God has taken amazing care of me! I lack nothing!
You sound like you are doing so well! I am glad for you and thankful to God that He loves us and provides for us so well!
Warrior 70, so blessed to hear you left your situation. And have come so far in such a short time. But, I can see you did the work and sought the Lord in this journey.
I identify with being a care taker and that being you identity. And have learned our type of husbands seek that out. They don’t want to deal with any of their issues. They just want to be taken care of. And push any of their issues away, or on you in rage.
You did the right thing for you and your daughters. You were alone in your marriage and with no peace. Now you have peace.
And so wise to discern the difference between being committed to marriage and knowing when it’s toxic and unhealthy and time to leave.
I don’t know if this will apply to you. But it’s not a bad thing to be a care taker if you do it in a healthy way. I have found it is one of my gifts. It enables me to see people that are hurting and in need. To provide some encouragement, compassion, etc. God has put people in my path to minister to, and it has been a blessing to me and to them. God can use even what seems to be the broken parts of us.
I pray you find a whole new fulfilling life with the Lord as you move forward. And you and your daughters heal from all you have been through.
Will continue to pray for you. God Bless you.
So thankful to read this post today! And yes I agree with Nancy such traction and so glad to hear just how much peace you are experiencing! Praise God for this and for your courage;)
The ‘real peace’ not the twisted peace that sometimes we were taught at Early developmental times what peace was.
It’s evident in your posture and your prayer examples that your surrendered to God’s overall will and outcome and that can be so freeing and peace producing!
From your post above it’s truthful and sad that your husband wanted a lopsided marriage ( you doing 24×7) and certainly he believes he’s entitled to that based on many of the externals.
The Lord will continue to bless your healthy choices and continue to surround yourself with those that understand the dynamic.
I’m really grateful for your bravery and what you are also modeling for your daughters (even though they are adults) we still need good modeling and our faith in action!💜
I’m not here to discuss the Bible, Aleea. I’m here to apply it.
Sorry I can’t post directly.
Not sure why you continue to make this a biblical discussion of justification for behavior.
But there is no need to discuss this matter with you here.
As far as what you wrote about my children and comparing them with adults/ professionals and their value of being not as capable to produce a serious example of being wrong.. is upside down on your part.
You obviously have an agenda.
Personally, I can be found seriously wrong by a child or anyone, they don’t need to be a professional to add the value between being wrong or seriously wrong.
I am not looking to continue to dialog with you especially when you *deflect matters* that I ask you to look at and consider when you are giving input to another hurting individual.
April 20, 2018 at 6:46 am
I’m not here to discuss the Bible, Aleea. I’m here to apply it.
Nancy, that’s good, that shows lots of wisdom. . . .The Bible will always be full of things we cannot understand as long as we will not live according to those things in it we can understand📓†ރ❣ . . .And while I think that what you say shows lots of wisdom, it does not mean one is so good that they cannot always get better; no one applies so much that they can know no more. . . . .We only get wiser not from not what we read but from what we apply in our lives. . . .Yes, that’s right. . .
Aly, I sincerely meant what I said to Nancy in the previous comments. I never meant anything you are implying. I want people to know they are precious, valuable, worthwhile, important and special. I want them to understand that they are not their ideas, nor am I. We should be able to discuss ideas and change them while keeping people’s dignity in place. I don’t think that you have any insight whatsoever into your capacity for good until you have a very well-developed insight into your capacity for evil, me too and Nancy too and everyone else too.
RE: Aly says
April 21, 2018 at 9:13 am
Sorry I can’t post directly.
🔶 🔷 🔶 🔷
I’m thinking about what you say. I always do. I pray about almost everything people tell me, especially when they are critical. I specifically pray about those critical comments. . . .You may not think so or do it with the things I say but I assume that you know something I need to hear. We can all probably have what God wants for us, if we figure out what it is and diligently pursue it. . . .I assume that the person I am listening to might know something I need to know. I listen to them hard enough so that they will maybe share it with me. That’s the way I try to operate.
🔶 🔷 🔶 🔷
To me, this is a disguised form of serious defensiveness.
Aleea, you mentioned that Nancy is always precious, valuable, worthwhile, important and special…..
Where are you deriving that truth about Nancy from?
Nancy~ this is a question posed not to say that it’s in question, it’s not to me. But I am very curious with where Aleea is pulling value from in one moment only to put that same value in a place that’s less than safe and congruent.
RE:The above post to Nancy;
To me, this is a disguised form of serious defensiveness.
You say that’s not what you want, yet please reread your posture and your notations. I’m not saying defensiveness isn’t hard but what are you so motivating in defending?
I highly disagreed with your original post to the writer because it has an overtone of tolerating and ‘equal leveling’ an abusive dynamic as…’we all sin or we all fall short’ ‘ ‘we all have issues’….most abusive people with abusive mindsets and victim mindsets too tend to have this type of reasoning and rationalization going on in their coping places and it bleeds into the problem solving too.
To respond to your post at 7:22pm April 21:
The question wasn’t about your sincerity, the question was about:
‘Where are you determining the value originating from?’
This is straight forward.
You asked me if I have ever been seriously wrong?
Wrong? Of course I have, my children are often the best at loving me well while showing me my error. But I also try my best discernment to ‘self correct’ and be corrected when it applies. The Holy Spirit is the great counselor in this place.
What is your in difference between being wrong and seriously wrong?
Wrong is wrong.. unless you are trying to advocate for some ‘other agenda here’ ?
Aleea, I mean this with all gentleness but your posts keep lumping ‘we’ and ‘all’ in statements that are just not all true!
To say ~that we all have bias to seek information that fits to what we already believe, is again a reckless statement of your own opinion.
Not all or everyone is still in that boat or always begin there!
Maybe that’s what you believe about yourself and you are free to believe that and continue deconstructing the things of God as a way to push Him further away.
Also, my response to the writers’ post was based on her circumstances and what is her choices to step into health and safety given the destructive environment ~It wasn’t about marriage or divorce.
Like I have mentioned to you before, many people becoming parents and are given a great privilege in this blessing and many take a marital covenant and are also given a great privilege to care and love a spouse …. but NOT all individuals are willing to choose being a healthy (not perfect) parent or spouse!
They don’t treasure what is a privilege and and honor to love another well, because often they themselves don’t possess what they can offer.
Many of us here~ would tell you that you had any ownership of your your ‘mothers rage and abuse’
Many of us would take you out of the equation for any responsibility or any power to change ‘her’ issues. I would personally never make it a ‘we’ or an ‘all’ issue. I would also never lay a burden on you that it’s a biblical mandate to remain ‘close in relationship’ with her.
Especially when the Bible has clearly expressed that it’s not possible to be close when someone is not behaving safe. And hard/heartedness is granted for those unwilling to take responsibility for themselves.
Aly, thank you for writing me back. I very much appreciate that😊 💬.
“What is your difference between being wrong and seriously wrong?” . . . .So, seriously wrong is when professionals (grown-ups, not your precious, wonderful children) show you how r-e-a-l-l-y wrong you are in an area that you are a qualified expert. For me, that would be corp. tax law (corporate acquisitions, dispositions, spin-offs, joint ventures, reorganizations and restructurings Section 355 – Section 7428, et.al. of the IRS Corp. tax code). . . . .Like when opposing counsel corrects me in tax court. . . . .
Now, now just imagine if you (if we, if Leslie) had to actually justify the things we say to experts in the Bible’s languages and contexts, as well as researchers in psychology, neuroscience, neurology, brain science and cognitive sciences, doctors in brain states and brain chemistry, etc. How do you think that would go?😊 💬 Do you think we would be s-e-r-i-o-u-s-l-y wrong about lots and lots of things? I bet we would be. Does that make sense?
“To say ~that we all have bias to seek information that fits to what we already believe, is again a reckless statement of your own opinion.” . . . .Aly, please be serious, this is proven research, out-of-sample, with large control groups (re: confirmation bias). You know better than that. Thousands of these studies exist:
Confirmation Bias: A Ubiquitous Phenomenon in Many Guises. by Dr. Raymond S. Nickerson
Review of General Psychology, Vol 2(2), Jun 1998, 175-220 -Are you saying this is not true? (-see the studies in the footnotes too, there are hundreds of them!)
Again, Aly, you show no real, no systematic justification from the Bible for what you say is true. Does God just agree with your thoughts? How do you really, seriously differentiate between what you think and what the Holy Spirit tells you? How do you know if it is the Counsel of Holy Spirit (Psalm 19:7-11, 33:11, 119:105, et.al) or just Aly’s thoughts. See: Confirmation Bias: A Ubiquitous Phenomenon in Many Guises.
Aly’s thoughts, which are precious, valuable, worthwhile, important and special —because Aly is precious, valuable, worthwhile, important and special are Aly’s thoughts. . . . .Unbeleievable amounts of things we say here are just unknown and probably just flat wrong. We are often recklessly advising people about fact patterns we don’t even fully understand. Do you realize the complexity of these questions?
“They don’t treasure what is a privilege and and honor to love another well, because often they themselves don’t possess what they can offer.” So marriage is just for better, never worse? That’s coming from culture not what the Bible actually/really says, sans text-twisting, sans cherry-picking, sans context-twisting, sans using human logic (God would never want anyone to be really unhappy in marriage🚦 🚧). . . .
Aly, I think the Bible may be functioning as some sort of έμβλημα . . .some sort of totem; emblem. From what I see here, it’s not about what the Bible actually says in its contexts. People are using it like a totem. They come up with what they like or what they are going to do and then say things like: “The Holy Spirit told me and directed me.” That’s the thing I can’t get my head around.
. . .Oh, and Aly, you say “They don’t treasure what is a privilege and and honor to love another well” that’s really beautiful. I really love that✨💕. It is a privilege and and honor to post here, to talk with people here, that you would share any of your life with me. I love that, very important to remember.
. . .If you want to, look at Psalm 119:105 and Proverbs 10:30 and the key words in those and where they are used in the rest of Scriptures. . . . .So, how do you deal with indecision, how do you know if it is the Holy Spirit pointing the way, how do you get peace with that? Aly, have you ever had to ask: “Lord is it me or is it You,” and if you have had to do that, what were/are your criteria in that decision making? . . .And Jesus just told me to tell you that I love you, because I do, no matter how much we disagree on. I bet lots of times we are just both wrong and don’t even realize it.
. . . Remember that what we do not yet know is probably WAY more important than what we already know, or think we know ―especially for me! re: The Bible: Now I Get It! by Gerhard Lohfink✓Ha, ha, ha, ha. . .It’s easy to read and really, really funny too. 🌠😊💬 Gerhard Lohfink was professor of New Testament exegesis at the University of Tübingen. I’d like to see how the justifications from the Bible we give here would fair up against people like that (re: seriously wrong).
I eagerly read all the posts here for clarification,support,and encouragement. I believe for the most part we honor each persons journey and trust that our Heavenly Fathers kindness will lead each one to health and safety” in the fullness of time” as we seek Him and Him alone. Separation and or divorce is an individual personal decision that I believe should not be treated as a cold theological discourse.What we think about this topic ultimately reveals what we believe about Gods heart towards his children.I am still struggling with the decision to separate from my husband after almost 26 years of marriage…I have supportive friends and a wise counselor and it is still a difficult choice to make. I appreciated the comment about praying less for the marriage to be restored and more for Truth to be revealed…it is how we respond to truth that demonstrates our character and growth potential.Sadly I am seeing that this is what’s missing in my husband who professes faith in Jesus.
To the original blogger: I was one who stayed too long….almost. Ditto what Judy said “I did not learn my root issues and get well”. My emotionally closed, stressed-out husband,took all his anger, grief, and stress out on me. He was verbally harsh, and abandoned me emotionally. But at work he was Mr. Wonderful!! I stayed because I didn’t know any better…and yes it was a second abusive husband for me. I became resentful and depressed. I developed a negative attitude for a while which I regret. He also has Asperger traits which he refused counseling for. Thankfully I found Leslie’s blog, Celebrate Recovery, and Families Anonymous. But my advice is if you can– leave now– especially since your children are being hurt.
To Hope: I recently found a good Asperger resource, by Louise Weston. She is a Christian and has good tips and strategies. I have learned that when my spouse is nervous or stressed I need to walk away and drop the discussion before it evolves into a circular argument and then a fight.
There are some topics I cannot expect him to understand, but it took me awhile to realize this. I am happy to have supportive friends who do listen and understand. I feel for you and the loss of your parents. My spouse never met mine, and I remember how he blatantly refused to go with me to visit their graves many years ago. I was heart-broken. He has become much more understanding since he retired. I also have become much calmer when talking to him and I choose my conversations and their timing carefully. I also try not to go on forever in discussions. With that I’ll close.
Thank you Kate, for your empathy and the Aspergers resource. Like you, I’m so thankful for supportive friends–what a lifeline. It sounds hopeful that retirement has brought your husband to a more understanding place…and the good strategies you’ve learned are helping too. To me, that’s the best scenario–if both partners are willing to work at it. Sadly, in my case, the effort has been all on my side, so now I have some difficult decisions to make. Appreciate prayers for wisdom for me; I need courage every day. Doing my best to keep my eyes on Jesus!
Tonight I went to a talk on ‘listening well’ and thought I’d share a part of it here. (this tool is for healthy relationships).
When someone shares something painful for them, the first thing to do is:
PAUSE and tell yourself, “this is not about me”
The second thing to do is PAUSE and tell yourself “this is THEIR story”.
As they are speaking you may need to say these things repeatedly ( in your head) in order to keep focused on what they are saying.
The speaker spent an hour on this! And I can’t tell you how helpful it is..already.
As someone who has struggled with enmeshment ( love means that you think like me, feel like me, have the same opinions etc,…), these two thoughts are very liberating, and provide a concrete tool that enables me to stay at a healthy emotional distance from whoever is confiding in me, while at the same time keeping my focus on their feelings, thoughts etc….
I had that moment as well. I was abused physically, emotionally, and verbally for over 30 years before I left. The breaking point for me was that the abuse became a daily occurrence towards me and my college age boys. My husband would go into rages, stalk me through the house, taunt me, threaten me, and scream at me in my face. I was falling apart emotionally. Thankfully my boys said to me that enough was enough and that they were not going back to college unless I left. That was a wakeup call for me that it was time. The day after they left for college, I packed up my van and my dog and I went away to stay with my married children for a few weeks. At first the fear was there that he would follow me, but then I felt so much peace and safety. It felt so good and was like a balm to my spirit. It is truly hard to explain what it felt like to not be in the abuse anymore, but it felt so good. I felt like I could breathe again and could just be calm.
Your courage is admirable.
Lynn, that’s so wonderful that your children were so supportive and caring. It’s good to hear you are out and feeling some peace and sanity in your life now. Lean on the Lord and he will guide you into a new life. Will be praying for you. How wonderful to no longer have abuse in your life.