I got out in time and missed the snowstorm of the century. In our area of PA we had 36 inches. I went to Chicago to visit family and will be driving cross-country all this week.
I hope many of you heard last week’s webinar on Counseling Strategies with A Destructive Person. We had a huge sign up for it with lots of positive comments. If you want to watch it before we archive it – CLICK HERE. Hopefully your prayers are being answered and the church is beginning to wake up.
Today’s Question: Leslie my problem is that my husband does not work but somehow wants to control the finances. Our marriage has dwindled to nothing and we probably stay together for our children's sake. I think he is still involved in porn.
He has no savings of his own since he has not worked for years. I pay for all the family's expenses. I partly funded his studies. I have my own bank account. The church has said that having separate bank accounts is not healthy for married couples and that it is a control issue on my part. I keep my own account as a security measure since our marriage is not normal. I do give my husband the freedom to handle my salary but not my savings. I have helped him out with finances in the past although he turned around and asked me “what have I done for him?”
He now wants to start his own business since he said that he is too old (56) to work for an organization. He has not said it yet but any funding for his business will have to come from me. He could have found small jobs in the past to help out but he found it unworthy of his time. He could have some savings of his own by now had he worked.
The counseling we have received from church emphasized that I must be submissive and be willing to share my money on equal basis, which pleases God, and that this may even change my husband.
The lawyer I consulted was not a Christian so his advice was not Biblical but more on my rights under the law.
I think that my husband is being manipulative as he can be very nice when he wants something from me. He wants joint ownership of the house too but legally he can only contest for the house in the event of a divorce. I am so upset that he asked for the house since he should have provided a house for the children and me in the first place.
I always end up feeling guilty and help him out, as he has no one else. Please help.
Answer: I don’t think your problem is an issue of control but rather of partnership. If a male reader asked this same question – my wife does not work but wants to control the finances, what’s the right thing to do? I would say it depends.
I know wives who do not work outside the home yet they fully “manage” the household money. The husband trusts his wife and she is competent and capable. This is how they have decided to divide the responsibilities in their marriage. Their family house is in both of their names because they are marital partners and both of them contribute to the marriage and family, not just the breadwinner.
I think it would be very scary if the working spouse believed he (or she) should be the only voice allowed in how the family finances are spent or saved. (Tweet that)
The working spouse contributes money to the family’s well-being but I would expect the non-employed spouse also contributes a good deal. Perhaps she invests herself in childcare and homeschooling; perhaps he works hard maintaining the home or caring for aging parents or cooking and cleaning so that there is less work at home for the working spouse.
You are clearly angry he is not contributing any income to the family. But you haven’t said whether or not he is contributing as part of being a “house-husband.” Or how he has handled the family money – your salary. Is he responsible and trustworthy? Are there reasons you mistrust him or lack confidence in his competence to manage money?
I’m not exactly sure what all is going on at home but since you indicated he refused to do menial work because it was beneath him, I suspect he’s not eager to do household work either. Therefore, I’m going to answer the rest of your question as if your husband has not handled family money responsibly, nor does he carry his own load (Galatians 6:5), yet he feels entitled to have adult privileges.
John Townsend in his new book The Entitlement Cure writes, “Entitlement is the belief that I am exempt from responsibility and I am owed special treatment.” Townsend goes on to say: “Regardless of the causes of this kind of thinking, the entitled person believes he or she doesn’t have to play by the rules of responsibility, ownership, and commitment. And the end result of entitlement is predictable: The entitled person feels good and lives badly, while those around him feel bad about the situation but have more successful relationships and careers.”
This sounds like where you are at right now. You are functioning as a parent towards your husband, sometimes a generous parent who enables your husband to continue to behave as one of the kids, and other times a scolding parent, who resents him and is sick and tired carrying the whole family load because he refuses to carry his own load.
To love your husband well at this point is to not enable him to stay locked into his entitled mindset but to invite him to grow up. This will require some tough love on your part. You must have a calm yet firm conversation on his lack of contribution and responsibility. How can he own a business in the future if he can’t manage menial home responsibilities? It’s only when we are faithful in the little things, does God trust us with greater responsibilities.
I don’t know if your husband can or will change and grow up, but if you want to get off this cycle, you must make some changes. You say you always end up feeling guilty and helping him out because no one else does. But what is he doing to help himself? And, what exactly are you guilty of? I want you to ask yourself: are you truly helping him if you give him money to start a business or are you enabling him to stay entitled and irresponsible?
I would highly encourage you to sign up for my upcoming two-part class, Moving Beyond People Pleasing that starts February 10th. Click here to sign up.
The class will help you better learn how to set boundaries, implement consequences, and to know more clearly what you are responsible for and who you are responsible to.
For starters, here is a conversation you may find helpful to have with him.
“When we got married I thought we were going to partner through life. I understand you have had a hard time keeping employed and I’m grateful God has provided for us financially through my job.
But it’s not okay with me that you don't help me at home or work towards our well-being as a couple and as a family. I not only work full time outside the home, but work full time inside the home – (and list whatever you have to do for the running of the household).
It seems to me that you believe your time is your time to do whatever you want but you don’t want to do anything to take care of our family or household. You want to be a joint owner of our home but you do not want to take care of it. You want to manage our money but you don’t pay the bills on time (list whatever he’s not been responsible with) or at least work part time to put some more money into our savings.
This is not okay with me and I’m growing to resent you and it’s impacting our marriage negatively. Is that what you want?
I’m tired of feeling like your mother – either nagging you to do what you should be doing or picking up the pieces of what you’ve neglected to do so that things don’t fall apart. I’m not okay with you taking over the finances or having joint ownership of our home if you aren’t willing to contribute.”
Friends, when you have found yourself mothering your husband, what steps did you take to stop functioning in that role and change yourself?
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I am a maid, servant, housekeeper, office assistant, and when my husband has a sexual need, I am used for that. He will not kiss me and avoids intercourse, but asks for everything else.
He will not talk with me about our household bills, withholds affection, never says goodbye or tells me where he is going.
He always has clean clothes, fresh coffee, food, a clean bed to sleep in, someone to manage our children’s schedule and medical needs. When I can muster the physical, emotional and mental focus, I clean the house.
This is so sad. I am so sorry. Do you know why you allow yourself to be used this way? This is not what God desires and does not honor him. I pray you will be empowered with wisdom from above. Leslie is a wonderful resource for Gods wisdom in these situations.
I am a peacekeeper. I hope that my actions will bring him back around to being a husband and participating in a union/ marriage with me, his hear heart will soften.
I am very stuck because I do not know what to do with my marriage and who I am in my marriage.
I seek Gods wisdom everyday. Still in and out of the fog on a hour to hour basis.
I recall what Leslie Sadi about being a peacemaker vs. a peace faker in her book The Emotionally Destructive Marriage. I was peace faking big time in my marriage thereby enabling my husband to stay stuck in his selfishness and sin. Have you read the book? Truly a difficult cycle to break free of but I am so thankful I was able to find the wisdom and support of godly friends and counselors and go for it.
I am amazed at how many men look for a wife when what they really want is a maid and prostitute. Why don’t they just leave good women alone instead of luring her into a lifelong trap and instead just use their money to hire a housekeeper once a week and a hooker twice a week?
Someone gasps at my audacity to say that, and wonders how I can promote such sinfulness.
Is it any less of a sin to treat a wife as a maid and prostitute?
I am sorry for your situation and I understand how hard it is to enforce tough love like Leslie Vernick suggests, but really, what have we got to lose, especially if one is a woman who can support herself.
Men are like this because they have lowered themselves and allowed selfishness and laziness into their lives. And they continue in this sin because they are indulged and enabled and don’t face the consequences because their wives are afraid, or told to submit and love him more or sex him up more, or their wives are just plain trapped and just survive on whatever “peace” they can manage by keeping him placated.
The more able-bodied women stand firm against this onslaught of Peter Pan syndrome, the better off all wives in such situations will be because it will raise awareness and send a message that enough is enough, ESPECIALLY in the CHURCH!
Pastors need to grow some backbone, too and face these men.
“Bam!” You hit the nail on the head. Churches should print that as a billboard!
Sadly, many men would show more appreciation for a paid maid or hooker than to his own wife when she provided those same services.
I completely agree with your comment, too. I have thought about this a lot the last few years since I, too, know just what it is to feel like a maid and a prostititute.
A couple of thoughts on why they don’t just hire out – I think it is because they very much do want someone trapped. What fun is there in paying a woman for services, a woman who maintains her independence and can choose to end the agreement/relationship at any time. There is no control or power in that. My anti-husband’s greatest vocalized desire is that people obey him. He wants to be in charge of someone. Hired women are free. By definition, that won’t be satisfying in any way for men like that. Secondarily, they need a wife to produce their children.
By the way, I don’t believe all men are like this, and I am in no way embittered against all men. I believe that the curse and our sinful natures set all of us up for certain temptations and bents. Generally speaking, some may be more of a bent to men and others to women. (I understand there are wicked women out there who hurt good men). I believe the desire of husbands to dominate wives is traced back to the curse in Genesis 3. I also believe a truly Christian man has the power of God to be re-made and renewed so far that he is delivered from that curse.
I’m sorry that I have gone on so much – pressure has been building here the last few months and this seems my week to let it out.
This is the place if you need to let some of it out.
Thank you so much, Leslie.
Amen to Paula and Libi!
Thank you for sharing.
Your voice point is very insightful
Please write a book! You are spot on!
Hopeful, I am so sorry you’re suffering. He sounds terrible.
I hope you could at least muster up the courage to cut him off sexually. Maybe that would be the first step forwards repairing your crushed spirit. Being used sexually is so degrading.
Ruth..last night my husband was affectionate and I think hoping that I would respond sexually. I said that it really hurts that he can only acknowledge me in bed, under the covers, in the dark. He stopped caressing me and turned over.
However, this morning he pulled me out of my chair, gave me a hug and kissed me.
God..help me hold on to my truth and get my worth and value from you..not the crumbs my husband tossed my way this morning.
My husband is 62 and we have an 11 year old. I am 56. He’s been retired since 2005 and it’s been short of a living nightmare. He only does household chores when HE feels like it and those times are sporadic and not consistent at all. I helped him get SS disability in 2005 and did all the work involved. He has a metal joint in his foot but he is still capable of working part time and within the guidelines to help with money. He is lazy, sits in front of the tv with sports and other shows by himself to his liking. We have no sex and sleep in separate bedrooms for 12 years. He resents anything I ask of him and calls me demanding and other abusive names. He spent all his retirement money when we were first together in custody court matters for me with child from previous ex but went too far. He quit his postal job after 23 years to get his retirement funds released and we have been in dire straights I’ve worked but this last year I had another neck fusion surgery and it’s been a long haul and recovery is slow but getting there. He controls the bills and does pay them but feels he has to do nothing else and if he does that I should be eternally grateful after all he had done for me. He rarely hugs or touches me and stays in the lower level of the house most of the time. I feel like I live alone for years. He doesn’t care and I believe he is a narcissist with all he exhibits and his verbal mental and emotional abuse. Silent treatments go on often and for days and weeks sometimes. I am not perfect but as a Christian, this can’t be how God wants marriage to be. I am miserable. So is he but he refuses to accept any responsibility for our marriage dissolution. He blames me for it all and expects me to change. I hate breaking up another family but this is not healthy. I love him but resent him. Our child and the good things he’s done for me keep me staying.
My husband told me that when men watch a lot of television it is usually because they are depressed. I took this as a clue into male thinking. TV is an easy escape from reality. Do you think you husband is depressed? Maybe treating that might improve your living arrangement.
Patty never make a child a reason to stay in a destructive marriage; all that happens is we model staying abused is acceptable. The important question we can ask ourself is – what action step am I willing to pursue, to change my miserable life?? Deciding what we can take responsibility to do is something we can do to increase our personal happiness in life. Staying miserable helps no one- and esp not the child.
So important. Thanks Robin for the reminder. Ask yourself what do you need? I need ______________. I am responsible for ____________to bring about _____________in my life. Instead of remaining helpless, take responsibility for what you can take responsibility for. Your needs, your feelings, your behaviors, your dreams. etc.
Funny how the church leaders are so big on submission but forget where is says if you don’t work you don’t eat.
Separate bank accounts have been a huge blessing in marriages. Joint accounts are ok if you both are in a good place with each other, but if you can’t trust your partner, get your own account. We aren’t joined at the hip, we are separate people, have separate driver’s licences and wallets and are each responsible for different areas of the family…..food, clothes, car repairs…….Larry Burkett says to budget by putting money for each category in a separate envelope, so why not a separate account, same thing, no?
I like your response. Nothing unbiblical about having separate and/or joint checking accounts. I like Leslie’s point about women who control the money and don’t earn any salary. It is about elected whom is the better money manager of the household funds and working together on it. The woman who is living in distress has a triple threat, a lazy husband, a controlling husband and a husband who wants to spend like a fool. I think it is time for a few consequences for this jerk.
More wise insight!
I’ve heard the teaching that couples should have joint bank accounts, but really now that I scrutinize that statement, I don’t see any Biblical admonition on this. Even Abigail would be considered a ‘rebellious, Jezebel’ if you applied the popular church teaching of wife= doormat with no rights. But Abigail was wise as a serpent and gentle as a dove.
It’s astonishing to me to realize how many things we have been taught to believe were biblical that upon closer examination have no basis – especially things regarding men’s and women’s roles and a woman’s identity. So many lies told by those manipulating the Scriptures to their own benefit.
It is far (way) worse than any of us even know but we still need our sins forgiven and we still need a Saviour. More than this, only God can give us a clean heart and we so desperately need our relationship with Him!!! I have serious doubts and try to be open and honest BUT I don’t really know what I would do if Christ was not real. I NEED HIM!!!!! I need Him very badly. I am not self sufficient. . . .And all the things I value: A really clean heart, real love, real forgiveness, real compassion, and real tenderness. I simply do not see these happening without Christ. What is the motivation? . . . . That said, it is very true that the earliest church was full of women in ALL the roles. Jesus’ message was and is “I want you to be free.” As the church became institutionalized, a male power grab ensued. The early church “fathers” jammed a lot of control in there: See, for example: “The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture by Dr. Bart Ehrman; Women and the Texts of Scripture; Women in the Early Church; Textual Alterations Involving Women” Look at that volume of redactional inserts to control women. . . . .Ehrman is the foremost New Testament scholar in the world (—like a Lundy Bancroft of Bible manuscripts.) In that book, he traces how the idea of women being prominent in the early church was way too much for many church “fathers” and many male scribes, and so the text came to be changed in many manuscripts. How do we know? Archaeologists have long found manuscripts that date earlier (—the people who date the manuscipts are called paleographers) and so scholars can track the changes and do track them. We should not be bitter about it but it gets me fired-up because more people need to know the facts and those facts start with the extant (—the surviving) texts. Women had huge roles in the earliest Christian church. Only Jesus gets to control us no one else. . . . . My point always is to take back your mental sovereignty. Ask lots of questions. Then ask yourself: What is consistent with real love, with Christ’s love? Jesus in Luke twelve says: “Why don’t YOU judge for yourselves what is right?” You have all the consequences, you have the choices. The solution for “I can’t live this way anymore” is basically, “Good! Don’t live that way anymore.” Call out double-talk, as double-talk. . . . For example: Because woman’s subordination is deemed intrinsic to God’s original creation design, and is necessary, permanent, and grounded in woman’s unalterable ontology, it cannot be merely a “role” that has no bearing on “being.” On the contrary, if female subordination is, in fact, divinely mandated and justified for all women for all time, then it logically entails women’s fundamental inferiority in being and not merely in function. Thus woman’s subordination is contradicted by woman’s equality. It is not logically possible for woman to be essentially equal to man, yet universally subordinate to man on the basis of an essential attribute (i.e., femaleness). I just don’t understand that without going outside of logic and reason and the textual evidence. . . . .Anyways, someone wrote me recently asking “Aleea, why wouldn’t my husband just attach to God as his significant caretaker?” . . . . . .Obviously, I don’t know because you would logically think we all just would once we see our need to, but to those early Christians, the repetition of sinful behavior did not implicate lack of will (at all), they understood the compulsion to repeat sinful behaviors as derivative of relational longings . . . . . That may be the most important point for them and they got this from God Himself after all, to wit: sinful behaviors are derivative of relational longings. . .like children needing to remain attached to parents who have failed them kind of thing. So all these nasty pathologies we are always discussing here are relationally transmitted diseases and this is what is responsible for the iniquity of the mothers/fathers being visited on the children. . . .internalized parental behaviors ensuring a relational “dis-connection”. Somehow, when we really relate in trauma, like we sometimes do here when we really get dialed-in, we achieve transcendence (we become a relational vehicle of redemption for others in God’s Kingdom.) These horrific stories here allow us to access our own pain, brokenness and grief in a way that heals. . . .NOT so that we will despair, but so that we will be free of the despair that already is within us. The despair that we all have had or now have. . . . .So, life is really hard and very unfair. It is cruel and heartless, painful, trying, disappointing, unapologetic, and frequently downright just awful. But that’s not important. What’s important is that through it all you learn how much you need your Heavenly Father and how much your family and friends need you. So listen to God with a broken heart. He is not only the doctor who mends it, but also the Father who wipes away the tears.
Or just believing what they were taught without realizing that the person may not be right. That’s why it’s so important that we read and study God’s word for ourselves.
I pray you are well and I pray for you, as I do all others here every day. . . . This morning, after praying, I wrote this in my journal about where I am at with my therapy so far: Mothers, like mine, who are projectors are con-artists. They make an art of drawing portraits that serve themselves on our very souls. Their blackness, their shame, their emptiness, their evil. When you’ve been trained as a child to allow them to paint their portrait over yours, you become massively confused in your heart because you know the ugly picture they’ve painted doesn’t really look like you but you begin to doubt yourself. It hurts so deeply. Sometimes, you know the portrait they painted looks familiar but you’re not sure why because you’re massively confused AND you are too busy focused on the urgent desire to defend yourself. If, somehow, I can only step out of myself and turn and look myself in the face, I would instantly see the transparent portrait that my mother, the con-artist projector, has layered over my own face. I am standing in front of my portrait but how do I clearly recognize the distortions for what they are? My mother’s painting on my face obliterates the goodness of my heart and is reflected in the distorted face she has painted me with through her projections. How do I peel off her face that is overlain on top of mine??? Peal it completely off! I don’t know, but I feel that if I could only peel off the offending layer and begin to see me, the real person . . . . well. . . . Well, if I could see me, it would make me want to cry uncontrollably because I would be allowed, for the first time, to see the real me and I bet I would see just how good, -just like I always had glimpses of from someplace deep inside, I actually am.
Thank you so, so much and I truly appreciate that. I have sent you a full response but it is caught in the Word Press software “cache”. . . . so I don’t want to “keep trying” and cause multiple posts until I see if what I have sent gets posted. That usually takes someone on the LV side releasing it.
Leslie, —thank you for checking. . . . I just tried posting again, in sections, because I think I sometimes post over the Word Press software limit per person, per post (—per thread?) and it just shuts me off. —I apologize for that. . . . . —Okay, I don’t see the sections posting either. They went somewhere, however. . . . . .So, I’ll e-mail all of it complete with the pages from the books (in pdf) to your e-mail. (These are in the public domain, so don’t worry re:copywrites. That is the way Dr. Ehrman, et.al. want it). Notice, I can make these small posts which tells me it is a word count issue or some other limit. . . . It is only about two pages of text with references but combined with what I have already posted on this thread, it may be too much for the Word Press software settings. . . . .Anyways, I am guessing at all that, obviously I don’t know that. I am sending you these and the other pages:
From: Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind (the scribes) Who Changed the Bible and Why by Dr. Bart D. Ehrman; Harper Collins Publishers, 2005. In that book:
Theologically Motivated Alterations of the Texts . . . .pages 157 on
Especially: Women and the Texts of Scripture . . . . pages 178 on
Textual Alterations Involving Women . . . . pages 183 on
. . . But, I am also learning that those studies have little to do with healing our abuse. That healing comes from the intersection of Psychoanalysis and Theology like DeLay and Rollins teach, because those repressed issues from childhood abuse trauma and PTSD are really hard to get at (—I know you know all that.)
Ruth, the Scriptures don’t talk about joint bank accounts but we are TO BECOME ONE. Being one to me would be in a healthy marriage and joint accounts would be best. But in a destructive and unhealthy relationship I think most the rules need to be adjusted to keep an evil man from destroying the finances and a family’s security. I think we need to look for principals that help abused spouses not enable evil.
“Friends, when you have found yourself mothering your husband, what steps did you take to stop functioning in that role and change yourself?” . . . . . I have never had that issue (—thank you Lord God!!! —Woo Hoo!!!) but I absolutely love the “change yourself?” part because that can apply to everything!!! . . . . —So, with no direct experience, I phoned a women in my church who has complained to me about this issue and asked her. She said to me: “. . . . the lack of manhood in my husband comes with the solution—prayer. Yes, it’s time consuming —probably quicker just to do it myself —is that your thought Aleea? I told her yes, but she said —Wrong, unless you plan on mothering your husband indeﬁnitely, the shorter route is prayer. Praying the Word of God sure gets God’s attention to oversee its fulﬁllment, along with sending His angels out to perform it.” —I didn’t voice it at the time but what went through my head immediately was: I wonder if helping her husband by handling his responsibilities made her feel indispensable, and gave her the “strokes of selfworth” she thought she needed to validate her existence? Who knows. . . Average success rate for this approach is ____? Average relapse/ recidivism rate is ____?
1) What are you afraid of losing if you start doing less and letting your husband do more?
2) What kinds of support can you ask your husband to give you?
. . . stop mothering your husband, learn to ask for help, determine your goals for yourself and your family. Until you alter the established patterns, our husbands won’t have to assume more responsibility at home because you’re treating him like another child. He can then be aloof and irresponsible, you can be angry, bitter, rage-filled and overwhelmed, and your children can experience father hunger/ bad father/ mother models firsthand. —Not God’s will, for sure.
Oh my! I just had some of these conversations with my H last week!!!!! I realized during one interaction just how easy it is for me to fall into being manipulated by him! I easily feel guilty! I am learning to recognize it when it is happening and measure it against Scripture to discover whether it should pay attention to it or if it is manipulative guilt. Very freeing, but takes a lot of discernment–and then self-discipline–to stand up to that stuff!!!!!
As for finances, H is the primary breadwinner. I handle the finances simply because my head is ‘wired better’ for numbers, and also I grew up in a family that taught more financial responsibility than his did. With his other childish ways of approaching life, he just didn’t learn the new way of handling finances and become responsible, his preference was to allow me to handle them. With his track record, I feel more secure this way, and he is willing to cooperate with me on the spending…….
I have kept a separate account. I put money in a joint account to pay bills. I drive a car that I pay for and is in my name only. That was his choice, not mine.
What would you like to do differently with the finances? Leslie wrote something once like, “How long have you been treated like a child?” You are an adult too, what would you like to do with the household income? What is your vision?
I removed myself from intimate contact with my husband about five years ago, though we have remained in the same house. We had been married about two decades when God began to turn up the light regarding the destructive qualities of our relationship. I had been a physically healthy, confident woman before we married; however, everything began to go downhill almost from the day we got engaged. It’s a long story involving spiritual and psychological abuse, which I dove into headlong because of the dynamic I had been used to in my childhood home. That said, I pulled back about five years ago, ceased sexual activity and stopped sleeping in the same bedroom. Over time, I tried to explain my reasons to him, encouraged him to get counseling and had so many long conversations trying to help him to also see the truth about our lives. [I should mention that I stayed, though separated because of health issues, custody issues and so on]. I now believe he is a narcissist, possibly a sociopath. He was, for the most part, a covert abuser under the guise of the perfect Christian father and husband. The decline in my health over those first two decades left me with serious disability and isolation.
He earns a good living at a job he loves, where he is a workaholic. I agreed after the first few years of marriage to give up employment to stay home with our children, which we both felt was best for the children. I would have had no problem with my education and skill set making just as good an income as he makes, so he wasn’t rescuing me from a lifetime of destitution. For more than two decades he took almost no interest in the finances, though I used to try to get him interested. I kept the records and tried to use a budget – though it was not easy since I had no actual control over his spending, my health required additional expenses, and our children attended a very expensive private Christian school much of their educational years so far (I have home-schooled for a few years). I paid the bills and carried all responsibility other than the actual earning of the income. He was like a little boy that would sometimes ask his mother for permission for big expenses, other times would spend what he desired then hide it, other times spend what he knew we couldn’t afford and then justify why it was so essential and necessary. He got the big birthday presents, while I got tokens. He kept up with all the new technology gizmos while the rest of us used old, cheap or broken-down devices. And so on.
Last year – out of nowhere – he moved all money from our joint account to one with only his name and shut off our credit cards only to reopen some in his name only. He announced he was going to control all the finances and everything we needed including all the food coming into the house. He claimed he realized how much debt we were carrying and blamed everything on me, except for the fact that he hadn’t taken control sooner. I tried to explain that I had shown him the debt level months before and that we could not afford private school for all the children. I had already taken on the responsibility of homeschooling again – in spite of my illness. I told him it would take a couple of years of not fully attending private school to pay off the debt. All of this was months prior to his actions. He had given no response at that time. After he took control, he never acknowledged that I had shared these things with him previously. There are details I can’t share in a public forum at this time, but he has demonized me, threatened me with exposure of some supposed sins of mine, and blamed me for a completely blown-out-of-proportion financial crisis that does not exist. After some time – at the counsel of a friend of his, I believe – he started giving me a grocery allowance so that I am allowed to spend at the store. I am kept on a very tight financial leash. He now has no accountability. He is contemptuous of me, and the power he feels at controlling the money is manifest on his face and in his gait. This man claims to be a strong Christian fulfilling the will of God. His obsession with Christian books and Bible studies is increasing. I see no evidence of a functioning conscience. I still get chills when I think of ever having tried to have relationship with him or ever having had a sexual relationship.
After all the years of passive aggression, covert abuse, and psychological and spiritual manipulation, I had finally started to break free. Now this. The financial abuse is something I did not see coming. I gave him too much credit. I don’t even recognize a small spark of the humanity I used to think he possessed. The stress is overwhelming. He dropped this bombshell on us just as we were trying to adjust to homeschooling again, and the children and I are under such tremendous pressure. My health is taking such a hit.
Though my health is very poor, I have never failed to work with all the strength I have. I do not rest as I should. I have always given the most I can give in terms of my responsibilities, housework, laundry, schooling, and so on. I have also been the one to tend to the children’s emotional needs. I don’t have to explain to any of you who are mothers what all that entails. All I am trying to say is that he continues to speak and act as if I deserve what he has done and what he is doing, and I know that is a lie. Still, it is hard to walk around the same house with someone who I know is telling other people that same lie. It is such treachery to have carried the burden all these years and then be treated like some criminal and a child. I think of eventually trying to figure out how to earn money again. I think of the lost years of building up my earnings as I have watched his income and job experience grow over the years. I think of knowing I could be making what he is, but I will starting from scratch in middle age. There is nothing in him to even consider what that feels like or to care. He is, and has always been, the very definition of treacherous.
My husband told me that when I caught on to one form of abuse, he just switched to another one. Have you been going to marital counseling where he might have discovered a new wrinkle in his torture regime. Paula, this is not going to get better. How can you get out of this dynamic. If you ever feel ready to divorce or separate, remember you are entitled to the money he is withholding by law. Document his abuse, consult a domestic abuse shelter in your community. Many give legal advise. I am not saying your should get divorced, I would just recommend that you gather information and be wise. Does he keep the credit cards that are only in his name within your site? Use them online for sensible purchases. It seems confrontational, but it is your money too, by law.
No, we have not been going to marital counseling. I have already discovered what that would be like when we tried a pastoral situation that was supposed to be to help us communicate with each other and immediately it was all about changing me. I have still hoped for some kind of mediator where his actions would be exposed and a truly objective third party could look him in the eye and tell him it is abuse. Dream on, right? Anyway, I think you are right about just moving from one form of abuse to another. That’s amazing your husband told you straight out. My anti-husband would never admit to anything like that. I have suspected for a little while now that he is tracking my internet activity as he administrates our wireless access. I think he is getting his ideas from the stories I read online at blogs such as this and others.
I have spoken with an attorney. I am documenting absolutely everything I have the energy to document. No, he carefully guards all of his credit card information. Right now, I am not assured of his mental stability. His religious distortions are so disturbing that I am trying not to rile him up. I am not afraid to speak my mind to any rational person, but his irrationality makes me very careful.
My guess is that he is using religious abuse on you too. Are you familiar with the power and control wheel of abuse?
Yes, roxanne, he is using religious abuse. In fact, that is what I meant when I said spiritual abuse. It was the earliest form of abuse from the beginning. My father was and is a religious abuser as well. Their similarities are uncanny. The older my anti-husband gets, the more he resembles my father. The biggest difference between them is that my father was always very overt about it, and my anti-husband used to be very covert. In recent years, since I pulled away from him, the overt abuse and revelation of his beliefs and attitudes has really stepped up. I think he resents me for not being able to get what he wants anymore by being covert; therefore, the lies about me to the outside world have also increased to compensate.
I am in a similar situation. Praying for you.
Thank you for praying for me, my family and your kind words. I needed to hear them today. 🙂
Oh, listen you are so, so welcome! It is a privelge to pray for people. It is so good for my heart too. I’m so glad you are here!
True. But he’s been doing this the entire 14 years. I’ve asked him to get some help and treatment if needed for depression. He refused and just blames. Narcissists never admit faults or mental health issues. So I can’t help someone who won’t help themself. But I do agree. He’s wite angry and has narc rages or gives silent treatments. He can’t communicate without emotional outbursts and blaming and defensiveness. It’s exhausting.
Ladies, some of your stories are incredibly sad. When I was in dire straights with a husband who controlled all the money – my counselor recommended I work full time instead of part time. I learned to take responsibility for myself and what I needed. He treated me like a child, and I quit participating– as a child. YOU HAVE CHOICES YOU CAN MAKE. Quit doing the things that make you feel exhausted and so un valued. It’s not easy to grow up, but you can do it and have a good life!!!!!!!
I don’t have the choices to which you are referring, at least at present. My health, which I fully believe has historically been tied to my relationship with him, is very real at this point and not something I can simply ignore. I wish I could go into more detail, but I can’t. [I have reason to believe he follows my internet activity and have suspected he is getting ideas on new ways to abuse from the support-type blogs I visit]. I can’t work for an employer or any kind of client with any consistency due to my health. Even the homeschooling I do is often done lying down, with my housework and cooking taking up almost all of my upright, active strength.
I am, however, absolutely grown up. I look forward to a time – hopefully soon – that God opens a door where there is another option, but at this moment I am stuck right where I am. I can’t change that, and it does me no good pretending otherwise. I have minor children and we are walking a tightrope together. I am no way not taking responsibility for myself or choosing not to grow up. Quite the contrary. I am taking the responsibility to daily measure the best route for us in a catch-22 situation while I importune my Father for justice and relief. I need a miracle. I only shared here today because I need to communicate what he is doing to us somewhere just to relieve the stress.
My heart aches for you. I am keeping you in prayer.
I am with you as I too look forward to God opening a door for new options other than the way we are living. I am scared what is behind the door.
Hugs and prayers
I ache for you, too, Hopeful. The confusion brought on by the fog is terrible. I spent those first two decades in such a fog. He blamed me for everything and I internalized that. The whole concept of submission the way my anti-husband and the churches we were in taught it kept me afraid to even fully acknowledge all the red flags that were going up regarding his behavior. It was such a mess that would take a long time to unpack. All that to say that I can understand the difficulty of the fog.
In the last five years after I pulled away from in, I did spend almost a year and a half talking to two counselors. It was invaluable. Sometimes just describing a scenario that went on in our home as objectively as possible and having a knowledgeable professional look me in the eye and tell me unflinchingly how unhealthy and worrisome his behavior is was so strengthening, so validating. It gave me what I needed to break any of the interpersonal bondage. I feel so much stronger in my spirit and in my resistance to the power of his lies in my heart. I think that was a big part of why he chose to move on to the financial abuse. He knew he couldn’t get to my heart and mind directly anymore.
Thank you for caring. I will pray for you, too. Hugs back to you.
“. . . . at this moment I am stuck right where I am. I can’t change that, and it does me no good pretending otherwise. I have minor children and we are walking a tightrope together. I am no way not taking responsibility for myself or choosing not to grow up.” . . . . . That is right, Paula, don’t ever, ever pretend. Pretending is what gets us into these messes to begin with, all the “pretend” pretending. . . . . That said, we often vastly limit our options. What seems to be is NOT better than nothing, than nothing at all, if that comes with Peace of Mind & God. As they say: I would far rather have crumbs with bums than steaks with snakes. Just keep praying, thinking and ask any safe person where you are for help. I am praying for your miracle, your family and your “husband” too. I know in my life, often the miracle I needed was a change of attitude and to not limit my possibilities. Always be aware and open and during those times (and I am certain I will have more in the future) I sure didn’t want to hear all that “fluff talk” either. Only when I dared to rise up to the challenge did I realize I could perform most of the miracles I was praying for but I am still praying for a miracle, miracle for you too. I love when that happens!!! . . . .There’s a time to wait for a miracle, there’s a time to be a miracle, and the heart can perform greater miracles than the hands but it all works together —however that goes, I forget how it goes. Think about your family tree, we are all here at this moment because we are really, really good at survival and problem solving (—at all levels). To wake up each morning and pray to God is a miracle.
Paula, I’m sorry if anything I said offended you. I was not talking to you when I wrote. I was sharing how God saved me from my miserable circumstances and letting some who shared – we have choices more than we think. Of course every woman has her own individual story and history- and it’s up to the Holy Spirit to lead each of us according to our need. Again please forgive me if anything I said was hurtful for you. It was not intentional.
Robin, please don’t be burdened at all. I assumed that you were speaking generally to everyone, and I just wanted to respond as one of that group. By way of explanation, I spent many years in spiritual confusion due the religious abuse of my anti-husband, as well as the influence of my father and others. As I desperately searched for peace with God within the boundaries of this sick paradigm, I spoke to many pastors, elders, counselors, and lay people in the church over many years. I was browbeaten repeatedly regarding all the ways I wasn’t obeying correctly or trusting enough or living right. If I wasn’t in some kind of sin or other, I would have the peace they all had, especially with such an incredible, godly husband in my life. The last five years have been a gradual process of breaking free from allowing anyone to judge me or blame me, especially without knowing my whole story. I am, however, still very easily triggered, especially in light of recent events in my home. A new smear campaign kicked in last year that I was surprised to find could still affect me so much. I tend to quickly rise to my own defense these days.
Thank you for your kind words; I appreciate the intent of your comment. And – I am so glad that God saved you from your circumstances. There was a time that the stories of others’ freedom actually discouraged me – a sort of self-pitying why not me (yet)? It’s a good feeling to be able to fully rejoice from the heart with each woman who finds deliverance.
Paula, so many of us on this blog have not only suffered domestic abuse of all kinds- but also church and religious abuse. When one f us gets set free, it’s because it was her time, after working thru her process. It took me 30 years to get to the place of what I call growing up. For me that means I became my own advocate, I lined up a strong support team, and received years of excellent therapy to prepare me for my escape. I will be praying for yours!!!!!
So true Robin
Thank you, Robin!!!
I don’t think it’s a question of growing up either. My husband is an emotional vampire and a bully. He is relentless in making sure he has the last controlling word and that involves much narc raging and tantrums. I ignore, set boundaries etc…but living this way causes PTSD symptoms so bad it’s impossible to work full time even part time as you say. Never underestimate the damage this type of abuse causes.
I agree. I am a case manager and life/recovery coach and a mess myself.
Helping others does help me get out of myself, and I am very good at what I do. Thankful for this. However my income has drastically changed due to budget cuts, so I have started a home based business. I am struggling to manage my time/ focus with that.
Working and carrying around a ton of grief, confusion, and fear is difficult to say the least.
Yes, mine is an emotional vampire as well. It is exhausting even when you know it’s happening.
I understand the PTSD as well. I have not been officially diagnosed, (unless my counselors put it in their records and didn’t state it unequivocally). I only know that his presence sets my breathing on edge, that I have nightmares about him, and when I have to speak to him about anything of significance, I can get such uncontrollable cardiovascular and respiratory symptoms that I have had to excuse myself and lie down to catch my breath first. I don’t chide myself anymore for not being able to control my body’s response to him. What else would I expect in the presence of someone who holds me in such deep contempt with whom I must share a dwelling? It’s probably a rather normal response until the situation can be changed. You are right – never underestimate the damage. I’m sorry that you have to go through this, Patricia.
For me growing up meant not staying miserable- but taking some responsibility to change myself, my circumstances, and my future. I do understand what it’s like to live with a evil man/narc/sociopath. And when things continued to cause me to ruin my health, finances, and children I knew I needed to make a change. It wasn’t an easy change.
But a needed change.
I understand what you say indeed Hopeful. It is a struggle. I am starting another position working from home on Feb 8th. I’ve had others and my husband had made things difficult especially at home and retired. I’ve lost a couple jobs in resigning due to his tantrums and behaviors. It’s all very stressful trying to carry on a normal existence with these guys.
I agree libl. You have spoken what many of us feel. I, like you, have no problem saying this. It is the bare facts and truth. Many don’t felt comfortable saying it fearing retribution more even from the Church. It’s despicable. This is nothing short of domestic ABUSE covered up with the Bible and submission of wives stuff. Been going on for generations and the war on women continues. Christian Leaders need a real awakening and to get a spine indeed.
Thank you for all the encouragement in your comment. I agree with you about having nothing with peace of mind and God. It is certainly no material provision or “steaks” or anything of the kind that keeps me here. I often think of Proverbs 17:1 “Better is a dry morsel with quiet than a house full of feasting with strife.” I know this to be true and do not need much to be content.
One thing I do know is that I do not work miracles. I also know that I can’t rush God. He and I have been around and around that one before and He has put up with a lot of my impatience. When the miracle comes, it will be Him, not me. He does, however, invite me to wear him out with asking. That is what I can do in this situation. When there is more that is in my power to do, I will absolutely do it, probably rushing headlong into it.
Thank you for your prayers, Aleea. I need those more than anything.
It sounds like you have an excellent grasp on the situation and what is really important. Good for you!!!
“He does, however, invite me to wear him out with asking.” . . . . . Oh, I so love that!!! Anyways, praying always means praying through things and not giving up. God wants us to be persistent in our praying, for sure. That is definitely my approach to our Heavenly Father. I also focus on repentance above anything else. Once our hearts are really clean, the rest tends to flow.
“When there is more that is in my power to do, I will absolutely do it, probably rushing headlong into it.” . . . . .Good for you Paula!!! I guess what I am always trying to really say is just to let you know that I really care and that you are not alone. . . . . Take Christ’s high road and stay on that high plain. (That doesn’t mean you don’t utilize every legal, family-law, church disciple related, smart strategy available to you, just do it with a heart of love and forgiveness.) Eventually your husband will rise up to join you or fall completely out of your sight.
Much love & prayers to you,
Thank you, Aleea.
Paula – I have experienced the same physical feelings that you describe. I felt this way growing up with two critical and scary parents. Some of my physical reactions I have transferred onto my husband unfairly. Other times, I am quite worked up when I need to talk to him. How sad for a 54 year old woman.
Paula I’m sorry you go thru this as well. I understand your reactions physically. You are right. Being with an abuser myself and such toxic environment is damaging and we will naturally react to it. I hate any conversations or verbal exchanges because he makes everything a power struggle and has to win. It’s childish irresponsible and not bring an adult. I feel so defeated at times that I just retreat to my bedroom and calm myself and pray and read these blogs and others for support. No intimacy separate bedrooms for years and feel like unmatched roommates. Hugs to you.
Hopeful, I’m sorry you go thru those things. It just goes to prove how long this stuff affects us and damage these people cause. Shame on these Parents as well. Narcissistic scary people
Amen Paula indeed! I so understand it. I’m so tired of being a victim period!! I really am praying for Gods strength in removing myself from this toxic person marriage or not! Taking his ungodly and sinful ABUSE is not being long suffering. It’s being victimized and God doesn’t honor that whatsoever. Blessings to you Paula and peace o e day and freedom from any and all abuse. ❤️
Thank you, Patricia. Likewise!
Thanks Aleea for your thought provoking response.
Thanks for your prayers. Here’s something to ponder when that happens. David – was anointed King of Israel but he had not yet assumed that position. He was still just a shepherd boy tending his flock. His dad told him to bring his brothers (who were in the battle with the Philistines) some bread and snacks which he immediately did. When he reached his brothers, he was aghast at the cowardice of the Israelites against the giant Goliath. When he asked his brother a simple question -“What will a man get for killing this Philistine and ending his defiance of Israel? Who is this pagan anyway, that he is allowed to defy the armies of the living God?” his brother started projecting his “distorted painting image on to David’s self image. He said, “What are you doing around here anyway. What about those few sheep you’re supposed to be taking care of? I know about your pride and deceit. You just want to see the battle.” (1 Samuel 17:28) David’s brother defined David as evil, conniving, prideful. He questioned his motives and tried to put him in his place (go tend your “few” sheep). But David didn’t allow his brother’s vomit to infect him. It affected him but it didn’t infect him or change the way he saw himself. There will always be people – usually our closest relatives who are envious of attributes of us that they don’t possess. I imagine your mother is envious of many of your fine qualities. Instead of trying to improve herself, she wants to crush you. Don’t let her. God has an important purpose for you.
On another note, I tried to look up that book on women by Bart Ehrman but couldn’t find it on amazon. Can you give me the exact title again.
I don’t see your post anywhere in the “approve” cache Aleea.
This blog can be helpful but it is depressing to know so many women are in abusive relationships. I feel that Leslie’s advice to the wife is based on an equal footing relationship where both husband and wife are able to share finances and responsibilities and where there is no abuse in the relationship. My marriage is far from normal and there is abuse in the form of porn. My husband cannot take responsibility for his actions. He has been saying he wants to improve the marriage for many years but he did nothing. Frankly I don’t think I even love him now due to years of neglect and porn abuse.
My husband tries to control what I do with my money. I cannot be open with my husband without inviting some criticism. Like if I want to spend my money on a facial or hair, he will comment that it must be a super facial since it costs so much. H e wants to know how much I spend on home decor or wall art. I do not spend huge amounts of money on these things but I resent his control. I believe that a husband must allow his wife some freedom with money and the home as long as the wife does not spend foolishly.
Sorry for going off topic here:
I want to re-read a specific comment made here. Unfortunately I can’t remember who made it or which article it was listed under. I’m thinking it might be from Nov-Dec. the essence of the comment was that many husbands are uninterested in working on their marriages. It doesn’t bother them that their wife is suffering. That the husband is content with the status quo, basically holding her hostage. This leaves her with the dirty work of pursuing a separation/divorce.
I’m pretty sure the person writing it used that specific phrase “dirty work”
Does this ring a bell for anyone?
I’ve re-read a ton of old comments but haven’t found it yet.
Nevermind. I found it.
This was from the Dec 16 article.
Here’s a quote from Kate’s comment:
“One thing I am noticing lately is the # of marriages where the husband has broken many, if not all vows, is unrepentant, abusive, neglectful, and unloving….in other words has separated himself from his marriage…but will not physically or legally separate or divorce his wife. He leaves her in a position to do the messy work and be the “bad guy.” To those women I say YOU are not displeasing God by leaving your marriage. Your husband already left in his heart. You are just moving on with your life without the deadweight sucking your life and walk with Christ out of you.
Imagine you both standing before God. Do you honestly think he is going to berate and condemn you for fighting for your marriage, enduring abuse in prayer and hope, going to counseling, reading books, blogs, articles, getting help, and trying for years, sometimes decades to heal your marriage? Just because you were the one who physically left and served divorce or separation papers?”
Sorry to post 3 times in a row!
I never got around to actually commenting on the lady’s predicament in the original article.
It’s bad enough that your husband has been freeloading on your income for so long but the idea that you should bankroll his new business idea is very scary. The failure rate for startup businesses is pretty high.
People who run their own business are usually visionary, entrepreneur types but sometimes they’re just too arrogant to take orders from someone else. If your husband falls into the 2nd category, then I doubt he’ll succeed. Even the visionary types need a reality-check on a regular basis to keep a business afloat.
My h is a natural entrepreneur but he’s over-optimistic about his big ideas. I’m super scared of conflict but when I think his new idea is going to sink our boat, I MUST speak up. On little things even if I disagree, I pretend “great idea Honey!” But if it could really hurt our fragile finances, I muster up my courage and speak. I always feel nervous like Esther going to the king to stop an evil plot.
unless your husbands business idea sounds like a cash cow that he has the necessary skills and resources to operate, then STAND YOUR GROUND. Your children are counting on you. You’ve worked too hard to let him bankrupt you.
Also, I would advise any wife in a GOOD marriage to approach the idea of starting a business with great caution. But if you’re in a crappy marriage, then barring a certified letter from the Holy Ghost, I say “please do not let him talk you into this!!” Do you have loads of expendable money sitting aside for investment? If not, then please shut this idea down. Don’t let him or your bad counselors wear you down!
Should you pursue a divorce later, this will complicate matters greatly.
You do not sound like a controlling person. You sound like a wise, cautious person who’s had bad advice from their church.