I am on a two week speaking gig to New Orleans, then North Carolina, and then Florida and I’d appreciate your prayers. Instead of answering a question this week, I thought I’d share an observation from Elisha’s interaction with Naaman from 2 Kings Chapter 5.
Naaman was a mighty warrior and commander in the army of King Aram. However, he suffered leprosy. Through a series of events, Naaman’s wife heard there was a prophet in Israel that could heal Naaman’s leprosy.
King Aram was in favor of Naaman seeking help and he sent him to the King of Israel with a letter of introduction with a caravan of silver, gold, and clothing as gifts. The King was speechless. He had no power to heal Naaman and felt anxious and threatened by Naaman.
But Elisha, the man of God heard about this and told the King to send Naaman to him. When Naaman went to see Elisha, Elisha never even answered his door. Instead, he sent messengers out to tell Naaman to wash himself in the Jordan River (7) times and he’d be healed.
But Naaman didn’t like Elisha’s treatment plan. He became angry and stomped away. Naaman expected Elisha to come out to personally greet him. He expected him to have some magic prayer that would instantly heal him. And after all, wasn’t the water in Damascus better than the rivers of Israel? Why should he do what Elisha had recommended? He walked away in a rage.
This reminds me of so many abusers. They say they want help but really don’t want to do what’s required. They expect it to be on their terms, but Elisha was not intimidated nor did he compromise the treatment plan just because of Naaman’s rage.
Eventually, Naaman’s officers reasoned with him and encouraged him to submit to Elisha’s treatment plan and this time he listened. To me, this reminds me of the importance of other healthy men who can come alongside an abuser to help him to humble himself to get the help he needs.
(7) Necessary changes for a destructive person: Seven Tips of Healing from 2 Kings Chapter 5
- An abuser needs to learn how to submit to others instead of always demanding his/her own way. This involves giving up control, putting him/herself under another’s authority ─ a group, the church, the counselor, the law.
- An abuser needs new skills in problem-solving. He has used power and control, manipulation and/ or deceit as the way to solve problems. Now he must learn new ways of making decisions like compromise, sharing power, cooperation and mutual submission.
- An abuser needs to learn how to appropriately express feelings without abuse, intimidation, or manipulation.
- An abuser needs to learn to allow his partner to be separate and say no, disagree and differ with him without labeling it disrespectful, getting enraged, or feeling terrified of abandonment.
- An abuser needs to learn how to speak directly about what he needs and to trust that others are around him that care.
- An abuser must learn how to handle the hurt and disappointment that inherently comes when people who care for us fail and let us down. He must learn to rest in God’s love because human love is never enough.
- An abuser needs to trust God to meet his needs as well as learn to take the initiative and responsibility to meet his own needs rather than demanding that another person always do so.
Friends, have there been other men in your husband’s life who have spoken sense (truth) to him when he refused to listen to you? If so, did he listen?
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And, to get the attention of the abuser, often the only way is go “grey rock” like Elisha did because as long as we engage with him he feels he’s in control.
IMO and personal situation if a person is avoiding accountability and change he will not surround himself with people he listens to….only those who he can brush aside or dismiss or avoid. In the past i wished for people like that it in his life….now i just wish we could go our seperate ways. On finding out about the truth a family member said last year ” who in his life could say something to him?” ” no one” i responded and the one family member who did try he now avoids… i have been grey rock for a very long time now and what we have is a very neutral dull housemate type relationship …. i passively, not verbally, drew quite strong boundaries through withdrawal as attempts to talk things through were just arguments he sought to win… God has let me know its not my job to fix him, but I dont yet see the path to leaving 🙁
Have you read Leslie’s book? In it she outlines how to go about confronting him with boundaries and requirements.
There is a lot of work on your part that is involved in preparing for the confrontation.
It’s very important for you to discover exactly what you will and will no longer tolerate, as well as what you require of him (an accountability group, for one). Then this needs to be clearly communicated to him ( possibly with a written letter that re-iterates exactly what you’ve said -so that he cannot twist your words in future).
The ‘grey rock’ comes after all of that.
Some destructive/unhealthy spouses ‘like’ or prefer the grey rock lifestyle.
It’s their norm or a safe place to exist. I know I know, it not normal at all but some do like being in this place because the behavior and mindset is more covert, harder to hold them accountable and if your willing to do the grey rock thing, some destructive people are quite satisfied in this level of functioning and see it as a victory because getting honest and vulnerable would mean they have to give of themselves in an uncomfortable way… so if your willing to grey rock it, they feel in control even in this ‘sick illusion’.
Good point Aly,
It might be helpful to define ‘grey rock’.
For me it is a reference to me protecting my heart. He had zero access to my heart. I would not engage with him about ME or about US.
His accountability was another story. I never let up holding him accountable. In fact, in that area, I stepped it up. If he tried to turn the tables to ME, that’s where I became a grey rock.
This involved, practically, a lot of ‘calling him out’ and then leaving it with The Lord.
Interesting persoective Aly that he might prefer it this way….no challenges no impetus for change no vulnerability required. I was kinda waiting for the outburst. The ‘last straw’. It may never come. God recently asked me to be braver. I thought it meant leaving, my friend thought it might mean not walking on eggshells, asking for change etc…..stepping out of grey rock.
Soooo true. They love the grey rock response, because they don’t need to “problem solve”.
I guess grey rock is supposed to be effective with narcissists because they become very unsettled when they cannot control you or lose your adoration and they want to move on blaming you as they go. So if grey rock suits them just fine, they are not a narcissist what is their motivation for staying . What motivates someone capable of emotional neglect and lack of compassion?
Yes thx Nancy I have read Leslie’s book. I would say I have set boundaries but I have not set requirements all in the same moment. I have been able to articulate previously the ways his interactions are hurtful to me. He wrote them all down as I was talking! I described a better way of interacting, he said he did not want to have any rules about how he has to have conversations.
I’m not sure how long things have been this way, but have you reached out to a professional counselor someone who is well educated in these dynamics?
Some requirements for trust might be something like:
1) that he go regularly to see a counsellor (that you agree is a good fit)
2) that he gather an accountability group and meet regularly with them
3) that he take responsibility for bad behaviour toward you as you regularly confront him.
It’s important to ‘put the pressure on’ so that his avoidance is regularly confronted (if this does not endanger your safety).
Nancy the list you wrote is so very good!
Anni, what do you think? Feel?
The more eyes that get involved the more you might see that he will choose to make healthy changes because of the accountability in the beginning stages.
I recommend Lundy Bancroft ‘s book, “Should I stay or Should I go.”
🙂 I read/ scanned this hiding in a corner of my bookstore too afraid to bring it into my house, but very enlightening early on, maybe I should go back to the bookstore!
Dear anni, I just had to say hello and I am sad for you and with you. I am crying inside myself for all the dashed hopes and for the thoughts that probably nothing I can do will actually make it all better. I am glad you have found this place and that you had even a small moment to read some truth. Just knowing is at least a little relief.
Anni you can watch video lectures on your phone with you tube for free. Just Google his name. Watch Patrick Doyle videos from Veritas counseling.
I have been where you are now. Your strategic moves are wise for you’re safety!
Also, most libraries can get Lundy Bancroft’s books. While you are there read a bunch of other titles in that section of the library too.
Thx Free. I have actually binge watched Patrick and found alot of validation which helped me sort through confusion, in fact In the last 4 yrs I have read or listened or joined groups of Leslie, Natalie Hoffman, Patrick, Brad Hambrick, Shannon Thomas. etc etc! Saw a few counsellors along the way. I’m married over 20 years but only woke to what my reality actually was about 4 yrs ago. Was slowly working up the nerve to leave when suddenly he changed after one conversation. Went from underlying angry to neutral, maybe he went grey rock on me! I didnt think it would last. Thats why We are have been financially decimated for over 10 yrs so the subject of counselling is always brushed aside for financial reasons. His stated solution was, lets just start over and be nice to each other. So now I have neutral nice. I dont know how to require or set a boundary that someone must care about how I think or feel. Either they do or they dont. I dont think he knows how he does not show that in any of his other relationships. God has shown me one reason I need to stay right now, but sometimes llose sight of that. it is a temporary reason so maybe then it will become the right time. Im just trying to figure out how to have the joy and peace of God in the midst of this. Trying to hold the whole thing with an open hand but still make wise decisions to protect myself emotionally.
Thx No One Down Here Says….dashed hopes is very accurate. I did try for close to 20 yrs to do everything I could think of to make it better. Turns out alot were the wrong things to do
You say, ” I don’t know how to require or set a boundary that someone must care about how I think or feel. Either they do or they don’t”
We can never force anyone to do anything, or care, for that matter. What we DO have 100% control over is what we will, and will no longer, tolerate.
This is why confrontation with clear communication is essential. Something like,
“After lots of soul searching, I have come to the conclusion that I can no longer tolerate you not taking responsibility for yourself. If you would like to regain my trust, then these are the things you will need to do (list them clearly and specifically ( by the way Anni, marriage counselling is never recommended, so individual counselling for you both should be on this list)). If you choose not to get these things lined up in the next two weeks, then [consequence – he moves out or you do] because I refuse to continue pretending that all is well between us, when it is not.”
By standing firm in your boundaries you are choosing to step into, and remain in, reality.
This is a clear line that ‘forces his hand’. Ultimately, we don’t know what anyone will choose. It’s only when discomfort gets huge that we find out where a person’s heart really is.
It’s very possible that he may choose to do nothing. That’s where you will need to take action, and you won’t be able to follow through on your boundaries if you haven’t brought your own heart, and your marriage to the cross. This is a painful process, but it’s essential.
Until you do this you’ll continue to accept excuses or try to ‘fix things”, or try to change his feelings by ‘convincing him’. Words do not work with ‘fools’, consequences are the only thing they ‘hear’. How they respond, is entirely up to them.
Thx Nancy , wish I had known the whole setting boundaries with consequences thing a long time ago. Now , my problem is I dont really wish to reconcile because there is not a single part of me that believes that is possible and I believe the whole thing will be an unpleasant endeavor. Bringing my marriage to the Cross for me is more like” God why do I have to stay? “. Guess I’m just waiting for the right opportunity, the stars in alignment . Maybe the alignment that needs to happen is that I already have enough reason to leave.
Just analyzing a conversation we had this morning where he responded just so slightly condescendingly. When I defended that my question was not an illegitimate question he replied “I did not say it was an illegitimate question, you are pulling that out of your subconscious” Which was true he did not use those words but he did imply what they meant. He has done this before, by denying my use of certain words he feels absolved of using the disparaging tone. If there was a he said/she said description to a third party it would sound innocuous, if you are witness to the conversation it is a reprimand.
Sorry to go on, I must be venting, or processing, I guess this is just classic EA because if there were a bruise, or another woman, or an addiction it would be so much easier to point to a clear reason to walk away.
Can someone explain what that term “grey rock” means? I’ve heard it before–does it mean disengaging or…?
I would also like clarity on this term.
Grey Rock simply means that to the abuser, you make yourself as interesting as a grey rock. I believe that this is more specifically designed to be used with an abuser that is a narcissist, I’m not sure that it would work if they weren’t a narcissist, because in essence you are making yourself uninteresting to them, thus taking away the narcissistic supply they get from you.
In my situation, my narcissistic, abusive wife has decided to move out rather than do the work of reconciliation from her multiple affairs and abusive behavior, and we are now starting the process of divorce. However, because of her narcissism she is able to pretend that everything is fine even though we are getting a divorce. I have as little contact with her as possible, but when dropping off or picking up kids, she still wants to chit chat with me, tell me what is going on in her life, ask about how i am. It just totally denies where we are at. I try not to get sucked into that by being as interesting as a grey rock. I try to only have conversations when there is something that has to be dealt with about the kids. All other topics I try to give simple yes or no answers and I don’t show interest or engage in conversation. I don’t want to be interesting to her. I don’t want to encourage her in furthering her belief that everything will be fine even though she hasn’t done anything toward dealing with her issues, or dealing with all the pain she has caused everyone in our family.
I tried doing this some before she decided to leave, but that is really difficult to do when you are in constant contact with someone. I don’t think it would be a long term solution toward dealing with someone you plan to stay married to if there is no change in them.
I also can’t see this working with a spouse that is just a lazy abusive person. It wouldn’t work with someone that doesn’t care about anything and just wants to be left alone. If your being interesting to them and feeding them isn’t a need, they would be perfectly happy for you to be a grey rock.
Thanks, sheep, for helping me understand grey rock. In my case, I can painfully relate to what you wrote, “I don’t want to be interesting to her…or further her belief that everything will be fine even though she hasn’t done anything toward dealing with her issues…” That’s where I am too. I think of it like having a password to my heart that I can longer give my husband access to (nor do I want to.) I feel there will not be change; it’s been so hard to let that hope die. I’m as respectful to him as possible, but he’s now more like a family member–ie, maybe a cousin?–or a business partner or roommate than a husband. He seems to be fine with this very superficial way of relating (really almost non-relating). It requires almost nothing of him.I don’t think I can stay much longer and stay well.When I press for change–no matter how gently–he becomes emotionally abusive. 30 years…I’m coming to grips with having hope for me, even if I don’t have hope right now for “us.”
I like what you said here “I think of it as having a password to my heart that I no longer give him access to”.
You say that you feel like there will be no change. Have you separated from him with clear requirements of him, that would enable you to begin trusting him?
If he does not feel discomfort, then he will certainly not change. Of course there’s the possibility that once you attempt to create all kinds of discomfort, your spouse may still choose fantasy land – like Sheep’s wife. I’m so sorry Sheep 🙁
Boundaries should be accompanied by clearly communicated requirements for reconciliation.
The ‘grey rock’ aspect is only one piece of an overall strategie toward a (hopefully) redemptive end.
Initiating ‘grey rock’ behaviour without clearly communicatng the reason for it, as well as what you need in order to enter back into relationship with him, will only muddy the waters further (especially in your own mind).
I’m not suggesting that you haven’t done this, Hope, I’m speaking generally, here.
This is for Anni above on November 8th. There was not a link to reply.
So Anni, who in the world does he think he is making a comment that your reply came from your subconscious? The important thing is the comment came out of your mouth so it has value and should be respected! Who cares how you came up with it! What a creepy manipulative, arrogant reply from your destructive spouse! How can you put up with him?
Thank you, Leslie, for the seven points in order for a destructive spouse to come to the realization of needing to change, and realizing he/she cannot do it without other people coming along side them in order for the change to be put into perspective and work, without their need to continue to control and manipulate their own spouse, or children who are held captive to the abuse.
When the abused spouse has done his or her ‘homework’ in order to cause an obligation on the part of the abuser to submit to godly counsel, this is truly the only way any type of reconciliation is going to work in the marriage.
I think pride and fear are the main inhibitors, within the abuser’s heart toward achieving this desired goal. ‘The pride of man brings a snare’ to the soul, the heart, the mind, and the Spirit cannot have access to a person who will not readily want the godly accountability to others who are attempting to help the abuser in order for him/her to change.
And you know what? Satan knows the heart of man is deceitful above all things, and he wants people to continue in their sin, and not be released from the bondage of the human plight.
And sometimes, the reason I comment here is because it hones the spiritual senses to examine the whys and wherefores, and why some circumstances seem to be at a standstill, or at an impasse’ with an abusive spouse.
When people who are pure in heart, see circumstances which need to be dealt with and then when the love and healing is rejected or on the other hand, accepted by an abuser, it can go either direction. It all depends upon the heart of the abuser and whether or not they will listen to counsel, or continue to run and hide from God and the Holy Spirit.
So, counselors, and abused persons, when they have pointed out the seven steps for an abuser to redeem himself/herself, when all is said and done, the remedy lies totally within the decision of the abuser whether to listen to those who love them, and also to listen to God and His Word or not.
We all have this choice to help someone change.Each of us also had to make this type of change for ourselves in order to come to Christ for salvation. And it is not about us, but about bringing the gospel and also bringing counselors to others especially when the victimized spouse has done all they can, according to God’s Word for reconciliation, yet, God does not force himself upon anyone.
God says: ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man hears my voice, and OPENS THE DOOR, I will come in and sup with him.” God is waiting for that door to open in the heart of those whom he desires to have spiritual fellowship. And this door leads to the heart of man, that, sinful, deceitful heart of stone, which God desires to make flesh, a ‘living, beating, stone’ for Christ.
Spiritual blindness is apathy toward the Holy Spirit. It is the, not yielding up of self.
I am praying for you Leslie in your very, busy schedule. God bless you for your continued efforts to speak the truth in love.
‘Perfect love casts out fear.’ ‘Blest be the tie that binds, our hearts in Christian love, the fellowship of kindred minds is like to that above.’
We have that fellowship here on Earth. It is instantaneous when one meets another blood-bought believer. And the opposite is so glaring when one knows that their spouse does not have that ‘oneness’ that absolute spiritual connection is just not apparent. And I believe this is why, so many abusers choose not to change, as they are ‘not there yet’. And so we pray, and attempt to stay humble, and focused upon the love of God instead of upon ourselves. ‘God’s almighty arms are ’round me Peace, Peace is Mine.’
Never give up! Trust the Lord, do good to the household of faith. The battle is the Lord’s.
Good morning many years,
On the last thread you talked about how you ‘poured your heart out to your husband.’.
I asked why you would expose your heart to an unsafe person.
You acknowledged the un healthiness in doing such a thing but when I asked if you could stop your behaviour of ‘pouring out your heart’ to your husband, you did not respond.
So…I want to gently ask you again. Do you think that you could stop exposing your heart to your unsafe spouse?
“And the opposite is so glaring when one knows that their spouse does not have that ‘oneness’ that absolute spiritual connection is just not apparent. And I believe this is why, so many abusers choose not to change, as they are ‘not there yet’.”
Can you explain what ‘not there yet’ means to you?
Nancy and Aly
Nancy, I will try to clarify what I meant about ‘pouring my heart out to my husband.’ And this has been over the period of many years. Because there was no one who would listen to me in ministry, I had to begin to find my own path through books, such as ‘Boundaries’ by Cloud and Townsend.
The book began to enlighten me as to what I needed to do in order to protect myself from, mainly, verbal abuse. But then I began to realize that there was much more than just verbal abuse happening in my marriage.
And being raised with the ‘submission of the wife’ as being the so-called focal point of a so-called Christian marriage, I kept my mouth shut for over 32 years. I did not know how to confront my husband, I didn’t even ‘pour my heart out’ to him for years. I felt, at the time, that I was obeying God’s Word in keeping silent. This is what a cult-based group does to many women.
A lot of what happened within my marriage was long before I had access to the internet, which is now so readily available for abuse victims for help. I was basically ‘on my own’ spiritually and church dogmas were ingrained within the marriage vows.
I knew there were many things wrong within our marriage, and years later, the only way I knew how to talk to my husband was through my feelings and so I talked to him about how he made me feel. Also, including an eleven page letter (also before emails were the norm) which did little good. The letter went back to both of our family’s of origin, where he only read one paragraph of my long and intense letter, trying to get to the bottom of our marriage problems, wherein he immediately took the letter and shredded it in his paper shredder; with him saying ‘This repulses me!’ as he would deny, or belittle, or not even try to resolve anything, as he saw nothing wrong in who he was.
Yes, the mind-games of an abuser to keep the victim trapped. When I began using confrontation, instead of my feelings, with my husband, it was done with prayer and a lot more insight of what the abuser was doing verbally and otherwise.
Because most abusers do not feel what the victim is experiencing and they will ignore any type of confrontation, I learned that there was not much compassion or even understanding from my husband in where I was coming from when I did begin confronting him.
And this next part will answer Aly’s thought.
It was then that I had two very close people in my life ask me to question my husband about John 3:16 to see what my husband really believed. I did not get much of a response from him, as he should have had some type of spiritual understanding, just as a believer, to relate to some of what I was talking with him about as far as the spiritual aspect of life. Salvation being the most important issue.
It was then that I realized that it did no good for me to ‘pour my heart out’ to a man who would not be able to relate to the spiritual aspect of Christ and His bride, as related to a true, born-again, believer in Christ (the husband) within the marriage relationship towards the wife. All of my confronting would have no affect because my husband could not relate to the spiritual side of marriage, which in a true Christian marriage should have accountability and change.
Which would answer Aly’s question of my husband he ‘is not there yet’ because he is blind to the conviction of the Holy Spirit, and he has no desire to change. There might be a type of change ‘on the surface’ attempting to be nicer or giving me gifts, but no real change or concept of what a true Christian marriage is all about, which includes the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. There has been no true connection to God, only an existence of a man and a woman with no spiritual connection on the part of my husband. It has all been ‘religious’ and superficial.
So at this late point in time, I am no longer ‘pouring my heart out’ to my husband.
HIs latest email to me was about days he has off from work, and talking about events he is interested in going to but with him ‘condescending’ to me as far as him saying ‘I know you don’t want to go to those events with me, so I am not going either.’
This is a form of manipulation, to make me feel he is ‘doing something for me.’ Yeah, right. And he talked about going to another state to look at a car with a buddy of his. The state happens to be where one gal that shows up with her husband at these events, has ALWAYS shown way too much attention to my husband, and vise versa, for 40 years With the feeling being mutual, meaning, excited sparks fly when they are around each other, and my husband denies it.She kisses my husband on the lips most every time she sees him!
So, in his latest email to me, and his conversation at the dinner table, in both instances (the email he sent to me) included talking about the state where this woman lives. He did not come right out and mention the woman’s name. And at the end of his email he said ‘I LOVE YOU!’. He has never, ever said ‘I LOVE YOU!’ in capital letters in any emails to me. So, I am not buying in to it. I think he is feeling the ‘heat’ from some of the things I have been confronting him with. I think he doesn’t want to ‘lose’ me as I am his ‘supply’.
So, at the dinner table, he went on and on about the car a buddy who ‘might’ want to see the car in the other state, which my husband had instigated the ‘finding’ of the classic car, and it just so ‘happens’ to be in the state SHE is in. So, after he was finished talking I said ‘Yes, and it’s Linda’s 70 50th Birthday’. (not her real name as I don’t want to identify her.). That shut him up right there as I could see where the conversation was going, as he was in some way attempting to go to the state she lived in.
He has NOT stopped trying to be with her, which I have asked him to do, time and time again, they even have each others cell phone numbers. So, I do NOT trust him.
He thinks I am so naive that I can’t read between the lines of his email to me, nor his conversation at the dinner table. If anything, this woman and my husband’s flirtatious and emotional affair with her, has driven a wedge in our marriage for years which has preempted having any type of a real relationship in our marriage.
If he really says he has never had any ‘feelings’ for her, then most women he has been friendly with, including myself, haven’t really meant that much to his narcissist way of non-relating to relationships. It means he is a very shallow person, and will never be able to relate to my feelings, unless by some miracle he becomes saved.
I am only relating a part of the disconnect in our marriage for what I have had to deal with. As this particular scenario with the ‘other’ woman, has not stopped. What struck me was the fact that he really may not have any ‘feelings’ for her because it is true, because he can’t see the harm it has caused my heart, then he really doesn’t have any feelings for anyone, probably not even himself.
I am still waiting for circumstances to present themselves for a solution for myself.. I am staying well, I sleep in another room in our house, and he actually stays at another house we own, during the work week, so there is a disconnect which helps me to cope. I don’t know if narcissists are miserable or not. I wouldn’t know.
I just want a real relationship where the other person really cares about the other one. I think this is what we all want. And sometimes, only God can provide our spiritual longings and desires.
I do keep a journal where I ‘pour my heart out’ so that I keep a running compilation of what is happening in life and with my marriage. So that I don’t think I am crazy when I try to talk myself out of how my husband has treated me. I can’t trust him, and I don’t want to, nor does God want me to.
I can’t let my guard down, and I cannot let myself think that he has changed, because actions speak louder than words.
Thank you for your concerns Nancy and Aly. I keep you always in my prayers too!
I’m very sorry for what you have been going through for such a long time.
I have more to respond to you and will later.
Thank you for responding to both Nancy and I regarding our questions.
I’m glad and happy for you that you are NO LONGER pouring your heart out to him, in hopes that he will somehow click to understand the loneliness that you feel and the LEGITIMATE needs as a wife you have.
It’s sounds as the cult that you were in has lots of dogmas that can be snares of many kinds of how we think about our relationships with others and especially Christian marriage.
I would agree that many do want to share a safe nurturing life with another partner that ‘Cares’ about ourselves as much as we care about them… vice versa. This broken world is a tough battle ground as it is and our marriage dynamic between two professing Christians should not have to be enemies or a constant battle (but sometimes this is the situation).
It sounds like you are actually separated in many ways and actually glad that you are not trying to pretend marriage.
Maybe soon things will come to a place where you will be able to make other decisions moving forward also. 🙏
Thank you, Aly
I needed your positive affirmation, about continuing to move forward.
When the other spouse can only think from the standpoint of the ‘natural’ mind, we can only do so much to point them to Jesus and His mindset. Any emails I have sent to my husband about relationships with Jesus, and loving Him with our whole heart, my husband does not even talk about those emails, nor does he respond with any comments when we are talking about life’s mundane, daily circumstances. He may sit at the dinner table, being silent, as he seriously really cannot answer me, because the LIfe of the believer is not evident in his lack of comprehensive.
So, seriously, the only thing I can do is to move forward, in my own heart and mind, and even though it has been exasperating to try and get through to my husband where our marriage has been void of a spiritually intimate connection, it doesn’t seem to make any difference, even using different approaches.
My husband has been in the company of other believers at a memorial for a friend, just recently, and even then, when the gospel was given, so that the most ignorant person couldn’t help but understand Christ’s suffering on the cross for mankind, all my husband could comment on was the fact that a wooden cross was on the stage, and he was considering it an ‘idol’. Anything for him to ‘affirm’ the religious dogmas he was taught in the cult. ‘Having a form of godliness but denying the POWER of God.’
God tells us to live ‘Christ crucified’ which IS the POWER of the CROSS! Unless a person ‘worships’ a cross more than Christ, then that ‘cross’ of wood, might become an idol. But displaying a cross in a church is not ‘idol worship’.
No, there is something of a deeper and very disturbed mindset within my husband, if that was all he got out of the messages at the memorial. But it was a continuation and affirmation of what is lacking in his own heart. God has affirmed and reaffirmed what I was asking God to reveal to me who my husband really is.
Because, I see in scriptures that ‘the preaching of the CROSS is foolishness to them who believe NOT.’ So, it was just more affirmation that my husband only sees the superficial of religion, and not the unity of the Spirit.
When my husband becomes ‘friends’ with other women, it is only the woman whom he sees as something to conquer, or so he thinks. He does not comprehend the feelings, emotions, nor the deepness of another person because he can’t even figure himself out. So, any ‘attachments’ he has will be very shallow.
And God says, this is because of the ‘blindnees of heart’ which causes a person to not be able to have any real, and meaningful relationship with a true believer, neither can the non-believer understand it. There is no fellowship between Light and darkness..
So that is really where I am at. My fellowship is with true believers in Christ, and until my husband chooses Christ for REAL, then any kind of communication is limited to the things of this world, as that is all he knows to talk about.
I do so appreciate the questions which help me to move forward in my journey of change for myself in my marriage, and whatever the Lord has in store for me, as I have definitely learned not to put my trust in man.
I wanted to come back to your post as well as another post you wrote about with your husband’s who shows interest in another woman and certainly there are boundaries being crossed all over!
I’m so sorry for this!
A couple things which might be helpful for you to consider.
You tend to correlate someone not saved with the choices and comprehension they have about things.
I know a few non-believers who would agree in ‘wrong things’ or know right from wrong behavior.
A man who is Saved can also chose these things regarding this other woman interest he has, that are clearly wrong and point to plenty of other issues going on.
What does moving on look like to you Many Years?
Because your husband certainly needs individual counseling and probably foundational theology truths to better grasp ‘what is Christianity and what does having a personal relationship with Jesus can give us deeper understandings about genuine connection and not shallow head knowledge.(to me this speaks to a broken intimacy issue that has nothing to do with you Many Years, but certainly you are the receiver of the fracture by being his wife.
I’m assuming you have already invited him to get individual professional help?
Your h doesn’t even have some of the accurate facts about Christianity, such as an empty cross being a symbol, obviously not an idol. Like you understand also.
Whether he was a Christian man or not, his behavior toward you and not ‘caring’ about you lead to the same result, a disconnection and imbalanced relationship.
How long will you tolerate this relationship in he state that it is in?
You do have plenty of choices, about what you will tolerate or not tolerate.
Are you getting counseling for you? Are you filling your life with other ‘women’ that are there to support and have mutual relationship with you?
We all need good nutrients in relationships, it isn’t quantity but certainly quality and God never designed our lives to be isolated. We are made for fellowship.
I’m sorry this is at such length! Ugh.
Many Years I think your situation might represent lots of women and marital dynamics especially if the husband shows Narc traits.
( doesn’t mean he is)
Sadly he represents lots of older men who were raised with never being required to stretch their relationship muscle and discover more about these deeper things in Christ. They were never taught biblical truths and since they have wounded betrayals biblically, they generalize ALL spiritual matters skewed to simplify. Doesn’t help them grow in maturity, or think deeply about things…does it?
Little was required of them relationally. The marital union will stress on this for them and they will choose to get help (based on their own willingness or based on requirements necessary because they will reap the consequences of not getting help)
And yet still this doesn’t mean he is going to change. But it’s a start in the right direction.
Is he reaping consequences of not getting help?
Or are you only reaping the consequences of his behavior in relationship?
Thank you for all of your thoughts and concerns.
The group of Christians we met with for many years, has fractured into various other groups, or many have joined other non-toxic churches where they can grow and re-learn what it really means to love Christ.
I have had to do this on my own, as my husband is still ‘enveloped’ within the tradition and mindsets of the denomination we both grew up in. And you are so right about the mindset of the older generation of men who haven’t done their own homework on how to treat a wife to begin with. It has been the Patriarchal dogma of men having authority over the woman to the degree of it being a subversive control, rather than that of a husband and wife serving one another in love and submission to each other through the love of Christ in their hearts.
My husband was approached years ago, by ministers in the fellowship we were in, and he did not respond very well to them. There was no apparent change in who he was and how he treated me as his wife, nor how he treated our children, at the time. It was actually two of our oldest children who went to the ministry to get help, but little good did it do.
So, no, to your thought of my husband going for counsel, it does not work with him. And it would be kind of fruitless and not wise for the both of us to go together, it would solve nothing. If he won’t hear me, nor change, nor barely respond to God’s Word coming from the one he is supposed to love, me, his wife, then going to a counselor whom he doesn’t even know and would not trust as it is, there would be no solution for our marriage in particular.
My husband doesn’t think that most churches in the world are of God as it is. That is how deeply entrenched in false church dogma/doctrine my husband and I were entrapped in for years. He has not come out of that mindset. I have come out of that mindsed, thank God!
I think it may be a little bit of both my husband not ‘getting help and reaping the consequences’ and also my ‘reaping the consequences of his behavior in our relationship.’ which would answer your question, Aly.
There are circumstances in my life right now, where I have to wait for those particular circumstances to come to fruition, before I can have any kind of a plan. If I don’t wait and trust God to guide me, then I will be going ahead of the Lord. I believe I am having wisdom in this. I am ‘staying’ well. In other words, I am staying in my marriage at this point or there it would be foolish on my part to leave.
Although it is excruciatingly painful to my psyche to have to wait, it is the only way I know how in order to be in God’s will for my life and for others whom I need to think about who would be affected by what my own decision is. I cannot be selfish in my decision.
I am not letting my husband ‘get to me’ emotionally anymore, as I am trying to stay emotionally disconnected in order to keep my sanity. And although it is excruciatingly painful to my psyche to have to wait, I also know it is the only way I know how in order to know that the Lord has plans for me to bring me out of the desert into the promised land, speaking in a metaphor here.
I did find an online site today: https://narcissisticswife.com I hope this link comes through. The gal went through very similar circumstances in her own marriage and she is now separated. She is younger than I am with children still in the home, but she was brave and took the step to separate. I have gleaned a lot from her site.
Thank you for continued prayers!
I am changing the link for the site I referenced: http://www.narcissistswife.com/
Please see if this one works, Aly.
Many Years and others here too,
Not sure if you are reading Leslie’s latest blog post etc but today’s can maybe add further clarity for the relationship you are in with what kind of spouse he is behaving as.
“There are circumstances in my life right now, where I have to wait for those particular circumstances to come to fruition, before I can have any kind of a plan. If I don’t wait and trust God to guide me, then I will be going ahead of the Lord. I believe I am having wisdom in this. I am ‘staying’ well. In other words, I am staying in my marriage at this point or there it would be foolish on my part to leave.”
I struggle with your words here and some other places in the last post about ‘going ahead of God’ etc.
I wonder why you see there being ONLY two options: staying or leaving?
I think there is always a place with work with planning versus saying such things as until this specific thing happens, then I can’t do that etc.
These are very narrow ways of navigating. Professional counseling would better help you explore your beliefs and thought patterns.
I also realize that you feel you are not being emotionally effected by your h anymore and that you feel you are staying well, what helps you identify that criteria?
On a dogma note, I’ve been in several women’s bible studies where women are struggling with serious family and marital issues, and other women have referenced and give advice of such:
Not moving in front of God etc. and it has kept many people paralyzed. Anything under the sun can be spiritualized I think it is wise to evaluate these thought patterns and where they originated from and how we apply them to our daily life.
Not trying to be short here, but trying to make a shorter response where I have to also place partsof your post for reference.
“My husband was approached years ago, by ministers in the fellowship we were in, and he did not respond very well to them. There was no apparent change in who he was and how he treated me as his wife, nor how he treated our children, at the time. It was actually two of our oldest children who went to the ministry to get help, but little good did it do.”
This breaks my heart and I’m so glad that your children brought bravery to the situation. Was this brought to the ‘toxic church’?
“So, no, to your thought of my husband going for counsel, it does not work with him. ”
Given your husband’s overall authority/control issues it’s not surprising that one time confrontation of the issues didn’t bring about a silver of change.
Many destructive spouses or people are invited in to counsel, often in order for any amount of relationship to continue counseling is a requirement for problem solving, and not a suggestion.
When we sit back and tolerate the unhealthy person to dictate the terms, then we are the ones suffering the consequences which is damaging to our souls.
So regardless whatever his dogma belief issues are that keep him bonded unhealthily, they also keep him in place of further resistance to health. It’s a convenient defense in the mindset of a man who thinks he is spiritually following.
I think there are many additional things you can DO to separate yourself further from this resistant spouse. (Safety always first of course)
I realize you are in Separate bedrooms, but that’s probably just not remotely enough.
I’m not saying leave either. Because he is gone during the week. Maybe any interaction is only in writing and limited to dry tasks/operations.
Many Years, I agree with Aly here: “It sounds like you are actually separated in many ways and actually glad that you are not trying to pretend marriage.” If there is another house that he owns, and he stays there during the week, I am having a hard time understanding why you don’t just ask him to not “come home.” You say it is “excruciatingly painful to my psyche to wait,” and yet it would seem that it is not necessary to still pretend to be married by having him come back to the same house with you. A real separation at this point would, perhaps, make the waiting much easier for you. It would also cut him loose to do whatever he wants with regards to these other relationships, thereby giving you a much more “acceptable” reason for a divorce. How can you “stay well” when it is excruciatingly painful? I believe that the Lord would want you to enjoy the peace He has purchased for you with His own blood. This really isn’t a marriage, anyway, but I get the feeling that you are still holding out hope for him to “come around.” In a situation like yours, it’s not the divorce papers that destroy the marriage; those papers are simply stating the obvious: this marriage is broken. I sincerely hope that you won’t have to wait much longer to be free to follow the Lord as His Spirit leads you.
My abuser didn’t listen to anyone, not our pastor, not our friends or neighbors, not our very expensive counselors, not coworkers, lawyers, police or judges. (He got passive and flipped to his manipulative quiet voice, but he didn’t yield his power to the law, not one iota.) So, in answer to the question of who made an impact? Nobody, no one, no how….I assume when he gets to the pearly gates he will tell the angels how to open it and then criticize them for the way they did it afterwards. He is the boss, the world revolves him. Ha,
So very sorry for your loss but so very grateful for your freedom and clarity. 🌈💜
In ways, I wonder if it helps seeing just how resistant to listening to ‘anyone’ other than that arrogant bossy prideful person your husband chose to be…. brings even more freedom seeing just how gone a person is from hearing and turning away from the further destructive path?
For me, is was helpful to see just how many professionals involved were ALSO rejected by the person ‘unwilling’ to take responsibility for their part.
“Perfect love casteth out fear” is something that I don’t know what it means. It has been used against me many times in that – if I truly loved my H, I would not be afraid of him.
Oh my word, what a twist!!! I hope someone smarter than I can shed light on this abuse of scripture.
The best I can do is say that as God’s love casts out our fear of Him, similarly if your husband loved you well, you would not be afraid of him.
If someone or something is dangerous, you SHOULD be afraid. And angry. These are God-given emotions.
I agree, No one down here, this is having scripture misused against you. I think you have to look at the context. In this verse (I John 4:18) and the ones preceeding it, John is reassuring us that as believers, we don’t need to be scared of being judged by God, who loves us so dearly. In verse 17 he even says that on the day of judgment we can face God “with great confidence” and in verse 16 John says, “We know how much God loves us and we have put our trust in Him.” So these verses are about not being scared of God–but instead loving God and being loved by God–who is absolutely over the moon in love with us!
I agree with you here;
“So these verses are about not being scared of God–but instead loving God and being loved by God–who is absolutely over the moon in love with us!”
Receiving God’s love and loving God in return is the core to our identity in Christ. Only God can fill us with His perfect love. And yet, He still sets up a structure in which we need others in addition to Him in our life and broken world.
Nothing wrong with that.
I’ve also understood the scripture to put emphasis on how receiving this perfect love of His is foundational to not living life or doing dysfunctional things… out of fear based reasons that derive from not having acceptance or seeing ourselves as lovable in our broken state.
There are two types of fear, rational fear and irrational fear.
Many on this blog have Rational fear given the abuse dynamics and controlling spouses involved.
Many people who are destructive are unable to love others well given the lack of foundation of receiving Perfect Love from Him first, thus they love out of an unhealthy version, poor theology, control etc. They are not rooted in His perfect love and cannot respond with healthy loving behavior.
It is good to remind ourselves of the punishment that awaits someone who distorts the scripture as your husband does. What other forms of abuse does he do in addition to spiritual abuse? Are you familiar with the traditional Power and Control wheel? It helps idntify most of the abusive techniques and the cycle of application to victims. Again, it is easy to find the wheel on a Google search.
I am going to look for the wheel. I haven’t seen that yet. I’ve read about power/control, though.
I’ve been trying to be more observant. Noticed:
What appears to be a dedicated effort to discredit me to the kids.
Accusing me of things that I thought he was doing, but in a way that makes me doubt and wonder if really I’m the problem.
Didn’t realize until recently that some of the activities in the first 3 years of marriage or so were actual abuse (I can’t bring myself to talk about this part yet)
Consistent denying me to purchase updated clothing for various “reasons.”
When we “discuss” things that require decision-making, there really is only one “right decision.” His.
Power and control wheel
That is spiritual abuse. He was actually just flipped the meaning of this scripture.
BECAUSE God is Safe: we are free of fear.
That formula applies in general to human relationships. Granted humans won’t be absolutely holy and perfect like God, but some people are certainty trustworthy, safe people that we don’t have to be fearful with. Thankfully, there are a few people we can let our guard down with!
The person who used this verse against use did not interpret it correctly. Their spin on it was Gross misinterpretation.
Thank you to everyone who helped me see the real meaning to this Scripture. I am so glad for this community!
Love this Aly, ” recieving this perfect love is foundational to not ….doing dysfunctional things”.
I heard a sermon recently on the ‘armour of God’. The preacher was saying that our ‘putting on’ of the armour of God is us allowing Him to equip us…like picturing ourselves as little children holding our hands up to allow our Father to slip on our garments. We don’t ‘put on’ this armour in our own strength! The armour is His equipping of us.
Similarly, when we ‘receive this perfect love’ as you say, we open our hands to Him and allow ourselves to be filled with His love for us. When we are ‘filled’, then it ‘overflows’ to those around us by, for example, speaking truth in love (belt of truth, and the C or CORE ).
When we, in His strength, get rid of the lies (based in fear) that block our recieving of His perfect love, then we are ‘filled’ – and we will no longer accept dysfunction.
If we have allowed abuse of ourselves, then there are false beliefs ( or lies, based in fear, or strongholds) about love and about our value that can be demolished in the power of the Spirit ( See 2 Corinthians 10:4-5)
Has anyone heard of the exercise with an abusive partner that includes “accountability partners?” The idea is that the reconciling couple, having exposed the abuse create an agreement to certain things before reuniting. The abuser acknowledges they are an abuser and signs a contract that they will not be abusive. The victimized spouse can active the use of accountibilty partners if at any time the abuser is not following the contract.
We did this. After it was written, we both signed it and I put a copy on the refrigerator door. H had written the contract himself and put down five names of men and their phone numbers.
Many times when my H returned to his abusive behavior I threatened to call his accountability partners. He didn’t seem to care. Eventually when I did call the men, they knew nothing about the contract or the idea of an accountibilty partner. My H created the whole to scam to control me. He wanted his wife back enough to think up yet another manipulative tool and looped our naive professional counselor into the game too.
All I can think of is that I must be one AMAZING woman that he would jump through such hoops to trick me. Really I know the scam was about how he looked to the public. He wanted to retain his upscale Christian image that he had so carefully created as his public persona.
I am so very sorry for what you have gone through! I can’t believe how this played out. It’s so very wrong and obviously your ex husband is full of endless manipulations.
What a twisted individual he is.
I have though heard of a similar contract and we had something similar with our counselor and some accountability partners, but I think the only benefit is that if the person doing the work wants to ‘truly’ do the work. Often, they are going to mess up because their behaviors are so tightly woven for such a long time but accountability does make them adjust long enough to slow down their ‘immediate reactions and game playing’. I had to call my h’s accountability leader/clinician a couple of times. This was helpful for my h to know I would follow through and helpful for the clinician to hear my side of events, then he could address the progress or no progress.
When he gave you the list of the 5 men, were they men you knew and felt like the quality of accountability would be there?
Did these men speak further with you about the situation and did you expose the abuse to these men? Or were you able to show these men the written contract your husband drafted?
Many years ago, our pastoral counselor said that there are too few of men in the church or culture who will step up and hold another man accountable. It’s a horrible dynamic all around because if more men would be the men they are called to be for their brothers, marriage counseling and many of these issues ‘with men in general’ would not be as significant as it is today and maybe even the percentage of destructive marriages would be less.
One of the gender specific (certainly there are others on the flip side) problems goes way back into modeling and bringing a boy to manhood.
Grown boys(internally) do not and are ill equipped to raise Godly men to know how to hold their wives entrusted heart in the way that God is pleased and a wife feels secure. Where there can be mutual trust and respect for each other.
Grown boys have deep trust issues to deal with and often they refuse to look and grow out of those behaviors and continue to escalate their poor coping skills.
The men where known to me. Some where Christians and some we’re not. The non Christians man has been the most supportive. The Christian men and still in the spear of influence. Some I have never spoken to again. The present message is he WAS abusive but now he is you pick it…redeemed, restored,clensed by the blood etc… All untrue in his case.
The non Christian man sees the games and has been honorable, provided shelter, consistently caring and checks up on me to ensure I am safe.
“The Christian men are still in his sphere of influence” I meant to type.
I’m thankful you experienced such support from someone ‘I guess, not professing Christianity’ yet his actions surely do show attributes of the gospel’s mission.
Rebecca Davis recently posted a quote which was very good about her beliefs. I see if I can find it to post here. It reminds of what you have described.
And on the opposite side, The Christian men you reference, show non Christianity in their behavior.
I’m not saying they are not saved etc. but many profess Christianity and lack the foundational eyes and ears to see what is right versus wrong.
Anyone who WAS abusive or s spouse admitting to abuse, isn’t instantly healed and full of character and trust worthiness.
It’s beliefs like those that have built such unhealthy into the church culture and yes often ‘cults’.
A similar belief is that as a Christian & summer I don’t receive what I deserve, because of what Jesus did for me. Many fall into this pattern that they don’t reap what they sow, which is just not true.
If your an untrustworthy person who lies or refuses accountability, this will not reap trustworthiness and MORE relationship with an individual.
But many want to apply sanctification to every square inch of life, refusing to see there is a process here that has value.
Even Paul himself was not trusted for a very long time!
Sorry for my angst here, I’m just tired of all the abusive people who HIDE with others in the church who try to make them feel better and enable their lack of treatment for a true healing life.
Those men still in your exhusbands sphere, will have to give an account.
I think the subject you are discussing is what Crippen is trying to uncover in his book and Cry for Justice site
Please be assured that there is no WAS. My abuser is still actively abusive. In defense of the male accountibilty partners, of which our senior pastor was included, I imagine they fell under my abusers manipulative spell. He has the power of Satan within him. You know the writing…..in the last days there will be…
I’m glad you are FREE! And you are able to see clearly what it is that you need to heal and be equipped for what God has for you.
This is the quote of Rebecca Davis that she shared this last week regarding “What is Real Christianity…”
I am so sorry that you were not adequately supported by these accountability partners who called themselves Christians. It’s like the Blue Wall or the good ol’ boys club. C’mon people!! That’s Appalling!! They should have waited to see FRUITS of repentance from your ex NOT words.
This is terrible on SO MANY LEVELS.