I just had an amazing weekend in Lincoln, Nebraska at Lincoln Berean Church where I spoke on the topic of The Emotionally Destructive Relationship. It’s so encouraging to be at a church that not only gets it but is actively helping women, men and families to learn how to be safe and have healthier relationships.
Your prayers were especially needed as I had little sleep while traveling there and yet God gave me everything I needed for the weekend, including patience with the technology gremlins in my PowerPoint. Does anyone know of a good remote clicker (that won’t advance the slides two and three at a time) that you can recommend?
My daughter’s birthday was also this weekend and this is the first time in years that we have been able to all celebrate together. It was truly special and I’m so glad that she moved to Arizona.
Question: I wanted to thank you for having this ministry that addresses abuse. I particularly can relate to the article titled Five Indicators of an Evil Heart.
I am also married to an abusive man who is a preacher and he fits the five indicators of an evil heart. He has accused me of having affairs and has made threats against my life recently. In one instance I called the cops on him.
Sorry for the lengthy background before getting to my question. I want to know if I should make a final attempt and ask him to go to counseling to address his suspicions about my infidelities. It has been ongoing for so long that it has worn me down emotionally and spiritually.
It's sites like yours that give me renewed hope. Thank you for sharing your godly insights.
Answer: I’m glad you put a little background here for me because I might have answered you differently if you had not added some key information.
You said that your husband fits the Five Characteristics of an Evil Heart and that he has threatened your life. Friend, you have far more serious problems going on than asking him to go to counseling to address his suspicions about your sexual faithfulness.
Let me tell you a story. This weekend I was speaking and a woman came up to me and said, “Your article, The Five Indicators of an Evil Heart saved my life.” She told me that after reading the article she prayed God would show her clearly her husband’s evil heart. Two days later, police came to her door informing her that her husband had been arrested for soliciting her murder. He is now in jail and she is divorced.
Why are you still with a man who has made threats on your life? Right now I’m concerned for your physical safety, as you should be. I’m glad you had the courage to call the police once, but now you need the courage to leave. You cannot feel safe with someone if he has threatened to kill you.
God does not value the sanctity of your marriage more than He does your physical safety. Click To Tweet
The Bible warns, “The prudent see danger and take refuge” (Proverbs 27:12). There is danger here for you and now please take refuge.
Here is an acronym DANGEROUS that I developed to help counselors and people helpers to quickly discern the level of physical danger someone might be in. Please read it through and see what else might apply for you.
D – Divorce Or Separation: Understand if you leave (which you need to), your level of danger may actually increase. Therefore have a good exit strategy and safety plan. You can get some additional help developing a safety plan from your local domestic violence shelter or the following links:
A – Alcohol or Drugs: Alcohol or drug use does not make someone abuse others however, it does lower internal controls and so if someone is abusive or has those tendencies and also is using drugs and alcohol, it increases the degree of your danger.
N – Narcissistic Tendencies: Someone who lacks empathy, objectifies and uses people has little regard for their feelings and sometimes even their lives.
G – Guns Or Weapons: Are there guns in your home? Are they locked up? Are they loaded? Having weapons easily accessible greatly increases your danger levels.
E – Emotional Instability: Does your spouse or his family have a history of mental illness? If so, it increases your danger levels.
R – Rebellious Towards Authority: Does your spouse have other people who he is accountable to? Does he submit? As a pastor, does he have elders or a church hierarchy who holds him accountable? How did he handle it when you called the police? If he is rebellious toward authority, this indicates a higher risk level for you.
O – Other Violent Behaviors: Does he have a history of other abusive behavior? Has he harmed pets or animals? If so, that increases your danger.
U – Unpredictable Dr. Jeckyl/ Mr. Hyde: Does he have a secret separate life that only you see? Is he one person in public and another at home? If yes, that makes your danger levels increase.
S – Suicidal And Homicidal Threats: Anytime someone threatens to take his or her own life or someone else’s life, take it seriously. This is what alerted me to your danger. If you have experienced more than just this one danger warning signal, please consult with an expert on domestic abuse on your next steps forward. The hotline for help is 1-800-799-SAFE or 1-800-787-7233.
Please don’t ignore these warning signs. God is showing you that you are in danger. He cares about your well-being and wants you to steward your safety and your very life. Please let us know that you have taken steps to get safe.
Friend, when you discovered you were in danger, what steps did you take to get safe? Include the mental, emotional, or spiritual preparation you needed to take those steps.
Leave a Comment
Ask Your Question
Have a blog question you'd like to submit?
My Husband’s Getting More Controlling And Uses The Bible to Back It Up
Morning friends, I just returned from a fabulous weekend at America’s Keswick, a Christian conference center whose main ministry is the Colony of Mercy. This ministry is a residential treatment center for men who are caught in addictions – all kinds, and their families. If you know someone who could benefit from real gospel oriented…
Blessed Sunday dear friends: Present to the Presence And so, we have come to know and rely on the love that God has for us. 1 John 4:16 Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your heart.” 1 John 5:21 I’ve been sharing with you my adventure to be more…
Boundaries and Consequences
Morning friends, Sorry I’m late with this blog. It’s been that kind of week. You know what I’m talking about. I got a new computer and I’m on a steep learning curve. Yes, I’ve finally converted to MAC. December is the month I’ve committed to learning this before I start traveling again in January. I’ve…
My ex-husband also claimed to be a preacher and he had all of the DANGEROUS signs. God allowed a situation which temporarily separated my son and I from my ex. During that time, I sought counsel and implemented the best escape plan I could without his knowledge. There were very scary times when he would make threats and attempt to kidnap my son, but God gave me wisdom during that time. I prayed non stop! I sought His direction for every step I made. I got received strong Godly advice from individuals who were knowledgeable about abuse. It was still the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life! I don’t know why, but I still loved him even after all the abuse and threats to my life. I remember praying every night that Hod would let the love fade. He did but it took time. I had to keep reminding myself that I was doing the best thing I knew to do for me and my son. Leaving is hard, but worth it.
Sarah, I know that was hard, but I am so glad that you did it and are now on the other side of all of that. Good for you!! Your story will encourage others. Thank you for posting.
“Friend, when you discovered you were in danger, what steps did you take to get safe? Include the mental, emotional, or spiritual preparation you needed to take those steps.” . . . .Thank God and Jesus, I have not had to flee as an adult. When I was a child, I desperately needed to flee but didn’t know how or that I even could. I wasn’t even smart enough to ask for help. . . .
“He has accused me of having affairs and has made threats against my life recently. In one instance I called the cops on him.” . . . . I assume he just made assertions and accused you of having affairs *totally* evidence free, [isn’t that like so many pastors, they only make assertions and have not one shred of evidence for what they are saying, what they are claiming is *absolute* truth] “. . . and [he] has made threats against my life recently” . . . .Well, I think you can’t just call the police, they are only the clean-up crew, you have to use the court system and you have to get away to a place that is far more safe. It may not be as hard as it sounds, even with children but it can’t happen if we don’t humble ourselves and ask safe people for help. Pray hard and work hard to find people you deeply trust and ask them for help. . . . .My counselor told me about a woman in her church, just this summer, in your situation, she humbled herself and asked the entire church for help and she got far more help than she could have imagined: to live, to accommodate her children, legal help, etc. People have resources and they want to help, because if they really think about it they realize that they aren’t saving/ rescuing/helping you by helping you, they are really/actually saving themselves. . . .And when we stand with people who can’t stand for themselves, we are actually saving ourselves in the process. I have only recently understood this. Christianity is about action, not just correct beliefs, preaching, or “scholarship”, et.al. It is a way of acting in the real world. . . . .We deny the resurrection of Christ every time we do not try to help the oppressed (—across all the areas they are oppressed: spiritually abused -using the Bible to remote control people, psychically, emotionally, et.al.)
My heart is racing as I read this woman’s story. I left my dangerous husband one year ago. I left an entire life and belongings behind as well in order to be safe. No one believed that he was as bad as I knew he was not even myself. Believing that you married evil is almost impossible to except. Believing that you loved someone so deeply and possibly they were just an empty shell this truth impossible to except. I just woke up one day and packed a few things in a bag called my dad and got on an airplane. Everyone in that life wanted me to come back and get counseling to work things out. I knew I had to trust my God and my own knowledge about what was happening to me and my children and do what I believed was right to do. I cut off all communication with him got counseling and made it clear to myself that I must seek others help and strength at this time. I got involved in a church told my story and let them love on me. I no longer hid who I was or what I was going through. I no longer tried to be something that was not or stronger than I was. Jesus Christ day by day slowly took down the walls and began to reconstruct my heart.
Fast forward one year later. I just found out information last week that all of his true colors are coming forward to the church. He was even arrested and I must be careful how I speak for this is all very sensitive to those involved. They all know the truth now. I see clearly now that I was in so much danger. And because I was emotionally worn down I could not receive the truth. The truth that God allows things in our lives to end. Even our marriages. They are a picture, or they are supposed to be a picture of his love for the church. However, it is an institution with two fleshly human beings who have the choice to betray one another. Jesus Christ came to redeem and restore all of mankind’s failures.
The fear of the unknown quite possibly the greatest fear I had to face. The devil knows this. However, we must rise up take the first steps just set our eyes towards the heavens and proclaim that our God is greater than the evil that we are in. Begin a new journey of getting free and getting safe. I believe with all my heart the devil wanted to see me dead. I now stand and say, get out! There is a God who will lead you through your desert he will lead you to your land flowing with milk and honey. You may not have great riches on the other side but you will have a great strength and freedom on the inside. Your children may not have all the best things. But, they will in fact have a spiritual heritage of love joy and peace that God intended for them to have. Be very wise and do as Leslie instructs you to do. But, move your feet and get safe before it is too late.
When I found out this news last week I just broke down and wept. I cried for the woman who could not even see that her own life was in danger. I cried for the years that I stayed in a marriage that quite literally could have taken my life. Knowing now, receiving now, the love that Jesus Christ has for me I cannot even fathom allowing another human being to speak to me or treat me in such an abusive away. I am now safe. I have a new church body that knows me and loves me. The new home that I just bought beautiful plants for and hung pictures on the wall. I began summer school and did great! I have a job that I enjoy. This all took time but so worth the journey. Please know you are so precious to him and please know he has a new ministry to birth through your choice to lay down an abusive marriage. He will absolutely restore you my friend, I did not always believe this I doubted him many many times. Let Jesus Christ give you a new life little by little step-by-step. He loves you beyond what you could even imagine.
So very glad you are safe, Wendy 🙂
Wendy, I can identify much, too much with your comments, chills included. I think we get trained to obey our abuser and there is a level of denial that we use to endure the torture. Denial that anything so horrific is actually happening, denial that despite years of prayer nothing has changed and denial of the truth to every person we meet about life behind closed doors. I get it. Oh, how I get it. I applaud your actions and your bravery. Bravo.
Did you get divorced, as you mentioned you have your own home now? How did that process go? I am just starting that process and have a meeting with a lawyer tomorrow. I have no idea how to proceed, yet I know like you, I must get out.
Prayers for your meeting with the lawyer tomorrow, Autumn. May he/she give you wise counsel. Gird up your loins for the battle, and the Lord will give you the courage you need.
Thanks. It is quite an ugly process.
I wanted to report that it went very well with the lawyer on Thursday. Strangely, I woke up excited. I was filled with hope about getting out of my abusive marriage and started to imagine my new life ahead. There is some difficult interaction ahead, yet on that day, your prayers were heard. Thanks.
Praise God for this Autumn!
What a blessing that you are walking through.
Continued prayers for your journey Autumn🌈
Thank You Jesus!! He will be your strength and your song as you walk the path ahead.
Autumn, this was my second marriage unfortunately. It was very short and I had no children with him I was able to walk away from everything I possessed file by myself, have the police deliver the divorce papers to his home. If he did not respond I was automatically divorced within 90 days. Not every state offers this. Most ladies have children together and assets they are unwilling to leave behind. And abusive man will not want to give you anything. He will try to tear you down possibly but do not speak back into it. The best advice I was ever given was to just keep my mouth shut when he was trying to provoke me or cutting me down. You are not weak you are very strong! Ask for what you need and get your CORE strength. It is a process one day at a time some days one hour at a time. You may feel like you have made the wrong choice, however, this is not true. The divorce process is very hard. Get support people that you can talk to pray hard and realize you will get through it. Ask the Lord to help you be a better person through the divorce process. I know that sounds awful but really you can apply such wisdom and acquire such strength through this horrible process. Go to Christ Jesus every single day and realize he is with you in this he is not upset with you he loves you so very much. He is holding your hand and guiding you to safety. I had moments where I felt such guilt that I could not even go to him. When I realized like the woman at the well he saw all that I ever been through and was still willing to love me through my process and heal me. I will be in prayer for you as well and I mean that. Find your Bible verse that gives you strength memorize it stick to it for your heavenly father is guiding you with his loving eye upon you and he will instruct you in the way that you should go!
Thank you for your reply. Wow, your state’s laws are much different than mine. I am glad you are out of a terrible relationship. I agree with clinging to a scripture and I have found God is giving me peace. I also realize that I have to get out now. The outcome might be poor, but I am going to try the best I can and get out. I am living under a protection order from him for the last year. I live in hiding from my abuser and the secretiveness gets challenging, but hopefully the nightmare will be coming to an end shortly.
Aleea, I love what you said about humbling ourselves and getting help. This I believe was the hardest thing for me to do. I did not trust people. However, I see now we have to be sure who we trust and who we talk to. If I would have listened to those in my church at the time I would have remained in danger. I hid the abuse and did not seek help right away as I should. I had to go to another church to get the support that I needed. This was very humbling and part of my learning journey and healing journey.
I too have such a hard time asking for help and humbling myself at times and what is even worse is that I don’t even know why. Once your being helped you can’t even believe that you didn’t seek and ask sooner.
“. . . .I hid the abuse and did not seek help right away as I should. I had to go to another church to get the support that I needed. This was very humbling and part of my learning journey and healing journey.” . . . .If we can just realize when we start to think we *may* need help, really seek the right help and humble ourselves enough to ask (and more than once) it sure seems that God honors that. . . .being proactive and preemptive. Once someone is threatening your life like in this questioner’s case, you know you need to act. The only person that deserves a special place in your life is someone that never made you feel like you were an option in theirs and that is obviously not the case when they are saying “. . . and [he] has made threats against my life recently”.
My mother always seemed emotionally needy and I got caught in the trap of catering to her, trying to fill her bottomless pit. But, I realize now that she was not so much needy as entitled, so no matter how much I gave her, it was never enough. She would just keep coming up with more demands because she still believes her needs were/are my responsibility, until I was drained down to nothing. When I went (no contact) to escape my mother, I did feel a great sense of relief for a while. However, as time has passed, I am dismayed by the extent of the emotional pain. A child that’s being abused by its parents doesn’t stop loving its parents, it stops loving itself. . . . But for couples, lies don’t ever end relationships, the truth ends relationships. Just speak the truth (in love), as best you know how, at every turn. That puts our lives back in God’s hands.
. . .The craziest thing is that sometimes Christianity puts people in that victim place. That place of waiting to be rescued. We are responsible, we self-rescue. . . .Don’t be a victim, self-rescue. What if no one is coming to save you? What if the savior was always supposed to be you? What if that’s why it hasn’t worked out and your still being abused (Not you Wendy, just generically)? You save yourself or you remain unsaved. We step out in faith and the Holy Spirit carries us from there, somehow, I don’t quite know how that part fully works. . . . .But accountability and self-responsibility are always our parts. . . . And again, people have resources and they want to help, because if they really think about it, again, they realize that they aren’t saving/ rescuing/helping you, by helping you. . . .they are really/actually saving themselves. We rescue ourselves when we help others.
I wish I’d had that DANGEROUS acronym a few years ago when I was trying to decide if this was just all in my head! It would have cleared up so much for me. When I did realize it was a very serious matter (ex met all of the criteria above and threatened to take mine and own life more than once) I had a small group of friends that I emailed my take on each violent interaction so that if anything happened to me, others knew the history. I started storing key financial documents at work in a lockbox and opened a checking account in my name only, and started talking to the local domestic violence group to find out what my options were. Planning is imperative as you never know what will happen when you attempt to leave.
Amen Leslie! Speak the truth!
“Friend, when you discovered you were in danger, what steps did you take to get safe? Include the mental, emotional, or spiritual preparation you needed to take those steps.”
Before I finally took the steps to finally make the decision to leave my own destructive marriage for safety I stepped up spiritually in my prayer life. I asked God to give me the discernment to work things out according to His plan. God placed a number of resources in my path by way of my willingness for opening up to trusted sources of help. I resoursefully sought clergy members, a pastoral counselor, laypersons, and trusted confidants, who listened with caring, compassion and wise advisements, and received graceful blessing as a result because despite their wisdom I was hesitant. Additionally I was assisted by joining a 8 week program to learn about domestic abuse sponsored by a secular not for profit organization that was advertised in a local paper. So I recommended keeping alert to finding help in numerous places. That program plus one offered by a divorce attorney for counsel on exploring the procedurals for divorcing when facing domestically difficult situations was highly informative and also a newspaper find!.Combined all these resources covered the factors mentioned here in Leslies blog in association to the acronym DANGEROUS. My volatile maritial situation had deeply impacted my own mental health and if I had the wisdom shared in this websites posts and knowledge of places to find reinforcement to quickly step into action it would have been a strong impetus to get moving sooner in the right direction. I am praying now that the women who consult this site looking for help find the courage to proceed intelligently to be safe and sound according to the Lord’s direction. Let this be a influential lesson to step into a God structured plan ASAP! I myself had been hospitalized for depression and suicidality as a result of my many experiences while in the marriage. These are all to common occurences in these deperate situations. And guard your heart, I even after making the decision to divorce, securing a restraining order prior to the final separation, and being told by a hospital psychologist that my health was impacted by situational factors still succumbed to the antics of my ex. The lies of what I’d been lead to believe about my own abilty to live independently had crippled me with fear to the point I continued to communicate with my husband to my own disadvantage because I lacked full faith in what I had learned from the people God connected me to, so I also unfortunately doubted God’s promises too. He still thankfully continued to guide me through pain. “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” NLT (Proverbs 4:23) I now realize letting my guard down and downgrading the legal safety net that was originally imposed impacted my own stability and safety for far to long. As Leslie wrote, the Bible warns, “The prudent see danger and take refuge.” (Proverbs 27:12). Why did it take until I sat with hands around my neck while listening to someone say, “ If it wasn’t for God I would kill you”, before I found some reason to surrender. For 28 years of marriage I let confusion take hold of me and even after divorcing still broke down to listening to some of my ex’s nonsense due to decades of indoctrination. This confusion spelled insanity…..doing the same things and expecting a different result……until finally I recognized an endless cycle would be my demise if I refused to act in accordance to God’s words! It had taken me years to finally see the light! A few years ago a Christian counselors prudent use of Biblical wisdom opened my eyes to steer me in the right direction even though God would still have me travel on some rocky roads to help strengthen me in His word. My plea to all people who relate to my response, “If you are in an abusive situation take God’s word to heart.” “1st Corinthians 14:33 “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.” I admit I had lost my own sense of self, my self esteem in my marriage was nil, for I had foolishly treated my ex’s claims as gospel, positioning him as a false god. Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” 1st Corinthians 31:12 “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” I repeat, ”Pray, pray, pray in earnest first and foremost.” Rise above being abused remembering God is with you. Just believe, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”John 14:26
Peace, Love and New Life!
God’s Blessing! “Even as the sunshine enters with its light and warmth, with its beauty and blessing, into every little blade of grass that rises upward out of the cold earth, so the everlasting God meets, in the greatness and the tenderness of His love, each waiting child, to shine in his heart ”the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6)
Such wise and beautiful encouragement here, Laura Di 🌷
I wish I had known the signs of danger. I felt so afraid and towards the end of my marriage even prayed that, if my stbx shot me in my sleep, God would care for my children. I had gotten that low. It wasn’t until after he left me for another woman that I began to see the signs and realize that my fear wasn’t just depression or craziness. It was my gut telling me to pay attention. Please, if you are in that kind of circumstance, leave as soon as you have a safe way to do so. You are so valuable and there is hope on the other side.
Ilene, I am so thankful that you are now safe. Do be diligent to get help for your own healing. Living with that kind of abuse does so much damage, but the Lord can heal your soul and restore peace and health. Keep us informed of your progress, please. We do care.
Wow, great post Leslie. I am thankful you let her know her life may well be in danger, and that is more important than the state of her “marriage.” I also appreciate your DANGEROUS acronym. Awesome. I will share with my readers.
What you wrote about your mother’s bottomless pit being more about entitlement than need…. very helpful!
As I consider going ‘no contact’ with my mother you are an encouragement to me. With each boundary, the pain increases, so I imagine that ‘no contact’ would create a cocoon of healing ( which sounds all cozy, but….). Transformation HURTS.
Nancy and Aleea, is “no contact” really the only way to protect yourself from the maternal abuse? I admit that I cannot begin to relate to what you both are dealing with, so please forgive my naïveté, but this is hard for me to get my head around that the interactions with your mothers are so hurtful that you have to shut off all communication. I have read all the posts where you describe what it’s like, but is there no internal “wall” that protects you from her fiery darts? I am not being accusatory here, just wondering how things have gotten to this place. Someone has posted about evil-hearted men….is this what is going on with your mothers? Evil hearts? How very sad….
I guess I struggle to understand the ongoing dilemma of feeling tied to an abusive parent. It seems a no brainer to me, if a person is toxic to you, they don’t belong in your life. I don’t care if they are your mother, your father or Santa Claus. Abuse and exploitation are unacceptable regardless of one’s role.
I also think that childhood is long over. Why keep revisiting it in adulthood? Can’t the past stay in the past? We all want good parents, but many of us didn’t get them. A parent’s evil heart is just an evil as a non parent’s heart. Why give honor and respect to a fool?
I am commanded to honour my mother, and so this is not nearly as straightforward as you make it sound.
Can’t the past stay in the past? That would be really nice, but the human heart is far more complex than that.
It must take so much energy to remain in such a relationship. I honor the office of president, yet I don’t engage with him. Can’t you honor your mother from a distance? Honor the role with out honoring the person. It seem like idol worship to me to honor a dishonorable person. Maybe I should just be quiet. I guess I just don’t understand. I left abusive parents as soon as I could get out of the house at 17 and never looked back. I honor with birthday, Christmas and Mother’s Day card and phone calls nothing more. Polite and distant, it works great for me.
Yes, I can honour from a distance. That is exactly the question that I am asking God – what is the distance?
Good for you that you are so clear. My abuse was so covert that it took me 40 years to even call it abuse.
Each situation, each personality, each heart is different. Comparing doesn’t help me at all.
Yes, Rebecca, I see your point. You are helping me to understand. Thanks. I am a mother and grandmother (soon to be great-grand) and I can’t imagine that kind of alienation, but we do have a good, loving family. My relationship with my mother had its triggers and challenges, but nothing serious enough to require “no contact.”
Thank you for your response.
Many of us here are in ED relationships with our spouses. We can relate to the pain and hurt of that. Now imagine being a little child at the mercy of a toxic parent. That hurt and pain is exponentially more. Many know logically what to do, but the feelings, internal voices etc don’t seem logical.
Thank you for the validation, Maria.
I heard something on the radio the other day and thought of you. Sometimes when we extend grace and mercy to others we could end up hurting them. Perhaps God wants to grab someone’s attention, but we bail them out by showing grace and mercy. I don’t know if this happens when you are dealing with your mother.
I’m struggling a bit with what you heard on the radio because to forgive is to extend mercy and grace (according to the material I got off of Hope for the heart .org site).
That doesn’t mean that I trust, in any way (this is the area – trust – where I see that we should not ‘bail them out’, as you say).
My heart remains guarded for my Lord. But extending grace and mercy is unconditional ( according to this material). I would guess that this extension of grace and mercy would happen in my heart, not through any action.
Sometimes what a person needs is accountability and not grace and mercy from us. We may end up enabling when we extend grace and mercy. Forgiveness involves releasing a person from a debt they owe us. That doesn’t mean the consequences of their sin go away. Reconciliation can only happen if the person acknowledges the wrong and tries to make up for it.
This is something I’m wading through slowly and carefully, but I don’t think that extending grace and mercy have anything to do with holding, or not holding someone accountable, or trusting them, or reconciliation.
Matt 9:23 “go and learn what this means, I desire mercy, not sacrifice”
Extending mercy to my mother means that I no longer enable her. Mercy means that I do not rescue her from the consequences. Maybe extending mercy is simply getting out of the way.
I have sacrificed a lot for my mother. He no longer wants me to do that. He desires mercy.
Justice is someone getting what’s coming to them.
Mercy is them not getting what they deserve; and this is an element of forgiveness ( releasing someone from the debt they owe us).
Now…extending grace…that’s a tricky one. I’m not clear on how this is an element of forgiveness..
Nancy, that depends on how you define grace. Actually, it is not simply “unmerited favor” as some teach. the definition I like is that grace is God in Christ as the Spirit coming to us to be our life supply. We don’t actually extend grace to others; God gives it to us, and as we enjoy and experience Him as our grace, we are empowered to be “gracious” toward others. does that help?
Yes this helps, JoAnn. That definition of Grace is just something that happens as a result of having the Holy Spirit. As opposed to me extending ‘unmerited favour’ to my mother. PRESSURE! This is very helpful.
The exchanging of gifts has been very powerful for me , JoAnn. I want to thank you. When we started counselling in Jan. our counsellor had us look at our Myers Briggs Personality types as a baseline for the natural differences that exist between us. I remembered that I had a book called ‘nurture by nature’ which describes these 16 types of children, as they grow. The title of my chapter ( of my personality type) in that book was called ‘my secret garden’.
After one of the first sessions, I came home and read about myself as a young girl. Because something was opened in me, I broke down in front of my little family and wept like I was a child. They all came around me and hugged me. That was the beginning of really deep healing between us ( my h and I, as well as with our girls).
As I was contemplating this exchange of gifts you had explained, I got an image of a key. It’s the key to my ‘secret garden’. My mother took that key when I was young and forced her way in whenever she felt insecure. As an adult, I continued giving her that key to keep the peace.
I’ve taken that key back, now.
There are many gifts that I have given back to her, too. This part, may be on-going. Because she is completely unable to hold any negative emotion, there are So. Many. This is the weight that I have carried, I think. Why I have struggled with depression since I was a teen. Carrying everything that she couldn’t.
I have pasted all the material on forgiveness, that you recommended into my scheduling book. It has been a blessing to me. This path of forgiveness is not familiar. I thought I was a forgiving person, but am realizing there is no such thing. What I was, was extremely good at denying my feelings.
Dear Nancy, 💜
“After one of the first sessions, I came home and read about myself as a young girl. Because something was opened in me, I broke down in front of my little family and wept like I was a child. They all came around me and hugged me. That was the beginning of really deep healing between us ( my h and I, as well as with our girls).”
That’s really precious Nancy I am thankful that our family embraced you and you were seen by ‘those we treasure’.
Just beautiful! Thank you for all your posts here~ it has blessed me so.
Oh, Nancy! How very precious, and I am so glad that my experience has helped you. Praise the Lord!
A thought: if you can’t give something back to your mother because in your heart you realize that she won’t receive it, try just acknowledging that it is hers and then throw it away. She doesn’t have to receive it in this image; the main thing is that you don’t own it any more. Or, leave it in a pile at her feet. (This is all in your heart’s imagination, of course, but it works!) “Okay, Mom, you don’t want it, won’t own it, but neither will I. It doesn’t belong to me.”
I love that you have taken the key back. Wonderful!!! Change the lock if you have to. What a great image. I’m so proud of you, Nancy. And your posts here are so very helpful. Thank you.
I appreciate the question, JoAnn.
No…in my case my mother doesn’t have an evil heart. What is going on is that I am trauma bonded to her.
My mother is so severely wounded that she cannot consider any other perspective than her own ( narcissistic traits but not evil). Over the last 6 months I have prioritized the relationship with my h ( the way it should have been all along) and the clarity that has come from that is astounding.
She and I both start a bible study in September (it is a large group and I won’t see her for more than 5 minutes on any given study day). So…I don’t think that The Lord wants me to go completely no contact, but I am really scared of seeing her. For now, my h handles all communication with her. I know that she’s very confused by all this ( even though I tried my very best to explain in a written letter- so she could go back to it, or bring it to her pastor- that she had broken my trust).
The heart of honouring her is to respect her and treat her as a separate individual. To treat her as separate is the very thing that threatens her, and brings out all her manipulative behaviours.
At this point, dealing with her draws too much out of me. I acknowledge that this IS a lack of internal boundaries, as you have spoken about. But I cannot internalize something I’ve don’t have the practice at, externally.
Children need to be allowed to say, ‘no’, this is part of individuation. I was never allowed this as a child and I continued that way of being with her, until 5 years ago. This process of being a separate person, in her presence, is the crux of it. I have allowed her to control me for so long, I don’t know any other way.
I welcome wise insight. I am far from clear on this. Sorry for the novel. It’s painful 🙁
Thank you, Nancy, that helps me to understand. Actually, I can relate somewhat; when my therapist asked me what would happen if I connected with my mother, my immediate reaction was, “no! That would be dangerous!” For me, what ultimately freed me from all the triggers and manipulation was forgiving. I believe that in a past thread I described the process he led me through. He explained that in life we exchange “gifts” with one another, pieces of ourselves that perhaps we have given to another that now we want to retrieve or, if they have given something to us, we can choose to give back. Does that make sense? So, I imagined my mother sitting in a chair opposite me (we used a teddy bear to help the image), and I identified the gifts (pieces of myself) that I had given her that she could keep (love) and then those that I wanted back (in your case, that would be your self, your independence, etc.). After that, I gave back to her the things that she had given me (dumped on would be a better way to describe it), and I was surprised at what came up. I had not considered before hand, but as I did this, the thing that popped into my mind was her anger. Her parents had abandoned her, and her mother was a nasty woman, so my mother had a lot of anger in her, which I doubt she even realized, but once I “gave back” her anger to her, and some other things, it changed the whole dynamic of our relationship. All the triggers were disconnected. Without the triggers, I could interact with her in a loving way, and took care of her the last two years of her life, with no regrets. The giving back, the release of the things that were causing the internal reactions to her, allowed me to be separate and whole. I believe that this is the essence of forgiveness. Perhaps an exercise like this would help you, with your therapist, or on your own. Write it in a letter….but I think you said you have done that. I never told my mother what I did. The change was all on my side, and I believe that it was the Lord who brought out some of the things that needed to be forgiven. Those triggers were completely severed. What a relief! And it enabled me to see my mother in a new way, too.
Perhaps this will help, Nancy. You said, “But I cannot internalize something I don’t have the practice at, externally.” I would suggest that it works better the other way around: separate internally first, then the external separation becomes easy and painless. Prayers for you today. And hugs.
I’m going to print this out JoAnn. Your words make me want to throw my iPad across the room and fills me with such a storm of emotions.
Thanks for the prayers and hugs. I need them.
I’m so sorry. Sorry for the storm. Sorry for the hurt you have experienced for so many years. Sorry for the pain. Sorry that you didn’t have the loving, nurturing mother that you craved and deserved. Sorry for all of it. I believe that the Lord is sorry, too, and so He wants to heal your aching heart.
Forgiveness is something that many Christians don’t understand well. You can go to June Hunt’s web site Hopefortheheart.org, to see a wonderful description of forgiveness. Simply put, forgiveness is NOT saying that what she did or didn’t do is okay. It is releasing all the pain, hurt, anger, etc to the Lord and allowing Him to deal with her. Forgiveness is dismissing a debt, and in your case, it is a BIG debt. Forgiveness is not circumventing God’s justice. I could go on, but you can find the whole thing on the web site. Forgiveness does not require reconciliation; it just means letting go of the expectations and the hurts, and freeing yourself from that heavy burden. Having a better understanding of what forgiveness is, not the standard line that Christians often give: “you have to put it behind you. forgive and forget.” NO!!!! It’s just releasing…. Please go to that web site and read the whole thing. Get released. Praying for you, with much love.
I will do that ❤️
My story isn’t identical to yours but my mother is very needy as well. For many years she expected me to “fix” things in her life and I (foolishly) tried.It took a counselor to help me see what I was doing and it took practice in not trying to fix her problems. For a while I stayed away from her as well. It was actually scary to think about not doing what my mother wanted. That may sound silly. As a grown woman, why would I be scared of my mother? My counselor explained that. She said until we are emotionally healed in areas that were damaged in our childhood, when those same issues surface, we feel the same emotions we felt when confronted with those issues as a child. So,until I got some healing,it was as scary to go against my mother’s wishes as it was when I was a little girl. Hope all that made sense.
Thank you Nancy
. . . .It really hurts; it is my mother, after all. I mean *my mother*, hugs, talks, etc. . . . .And I hate all that talk of boundaries and boarders and hedges and now “no contact”, even though that is what I had to do. . . .Really, no boundary or barrier surrounds the heart of a person that loves their self and others . . . . .And psychologists are always changing their minds anyway. Ten years from now they will say that “oh, boundaries do more harm than good”. . . . . More and more, psychologists are totally turning away from an emphasis on self-esteem (that used to be the big thing) and moving toward self-compassion in the treatment of their patients. . . .Then it will be something new again in “x” years. . . . .But, BUT, I do think when we fail to set some boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel totally used and mistreated. Then we sometimes attack who they are, which is *far* more hurtful than addressing her behaviors. . . . .Nancy, it is really hard to have a healthy sense of boundaries. We either have rigid boundaries (“My mother is never going to get close to me again”) or weak boundaries (“I’ll be anything anything she wants me to be”). The issues with the rigid boundaries are real distance and isolation; I feel isolated from her and really miss her. . . .but the weak boundaries breed over-dependency and further abuse. I guess the ideal is to develop flexible boundaries, boundaries which can vary depending on the circumstances but I am horrible at that. I need rules.
Yes, JoAnn, anything men can be, women can be too, in spades. . . . .My mother used to beat me and my sisters so bad, I had to wear long sleeves and always had to cover my entire back so many times so that others would not see the bruises all over me (—and then telling me I caused her out-of-control rage.) That is a horrible mother, period —and Dad just passively let it happen. She was so hypercritical and shaming and we were never good enough: “You should be ashamed of yourself” or “Shame on you” Contempt, humiliation, and shaming. The belittling, blaming, the horrible cursing and swearing. . . These are the *writable* things she would say: “You’re too old to want to be held” or “You’re just a cry-baby” “Why can’t you act like __________?” “You stupid idiot! Do you think money grows on trees?” “What are you up to now?” with a look of disapproval or disgust. “I can’t believe you could do such a thing” or “I am deeply disappointed in you” always with disapproving tones of voice and facial expressions just crushed my spirit. As I got older, it switched to total verbal abuse. . . . I told Dr. Meier I wanted to sue my mother for damages, mental distress, civil damages, and she said we definitely could (I wanted her and others as expert witnesses) but then I got this run-around about how that would not help me heal first. . . .I don’t care if it would help me “heal”, I want to help everyone coming after me that maybe “moms” will think before they act. Moms can be right from the pit of hell. . . . Confront evil through the court system! If not me then who? When you look at all the verses in the Bible on evil you realize: Sometimes evil doesn’t even need excuses. Sometimes evil just is. God knows why, I certainly don’t.
JoAnn, I think you don’t think anyone can be that evil because you have a good heart and you are kind. You don’t see the world as it is, you see the world as you are —and thank God you didn’t have those horrible experiences because kind, good people make life work living. But there is no denying that there is evil in this world . . .but the light will always conquer the darkness. I’m of the opinion that many Christians are in deep denial about the reality of there being seriously evil mothers in this world. Evil that cannot be reasoned with; is reprobate, un-appeasable, violent and unrelenting. I find this denial shocking in that the Bible clearly shows that this battle is all about Good vs. Evil. It’s harsh, yes! However, it is Real. No-contact. . . .After I did that last year, I was having coffee with my friend Christine (an archeologist of the Old Testament) and she is an atheist but knows my situation and my mother. She *She* told me in no uncertain terms: “Aleea, I want you to stick with what you have done, when God takes out the trash, you don’t go digging back through it. —Trust Him.” —And yet, I still hope, somehow, she transforms.
My counselor keeps asking me ‘why the emotional pain in detachment’?? This is a helpful question. I think the answer lies in hoping for a different outcome. Like one day she will wake up and regret all the destructive hurt and rejection. In my case, she is mentally ill and may never be able to deliver love, hope, healing, being a mother or grandmother. She is actually very dangerous. I believe part of my truth quest is letting go of this dangerous person and trusting God. To the degree that I have deep emotion and anguish…I acknowledge the brokenness inside of me. The journey I am on. The true letting go of hope and believing that she will become a different person. So helpful!!! I can also see how I have brought this dynamic into ALL of my relationships…’if I DO enough you must love me🤷🏼♀️’. Maybe they are incapable! Am I strong and healthy enough to let go of the abusers in my life? So thought provoking for me! (And not automatic as it might be for others)
I know that I continue to hope she will change. I spent my life hoping this, but since coming to Christ, I have just called it something different, “praying for a miracle”.
I am really quite angry with The Lord for not healing her. Frankly, though, this prayer – for her healing- is completely selfish. It is, in fact, a prayer for Him to stop asking me to; change, to let go, to forgive.
That’s the path He wants me on now- forgiveness.
Today I was having a conversation with a friend and she was speaking about her mother in law who has Dementia. I ‘listened’ in an emotional storm – I knew I had been triggered, I knew I was in complete emotional shut down, and yet just stood there ‘listening’. I don’t even know how to own this state that I go into, so often. What do I say? How do I function authentically with friends, when I get triggered out of nowhere, during a normal, ‘benign’ conversation?
Does anyone have suggestions?
With my own family I am getting much better at speaking by saying things like, “I’m having a really hard time right now, it has nothing to do with you girls, I just need you to know’ ( because they can feel when I am in an internal storm, and have checked out, emotionally).
I soooo identify with the triggers!!! Being aware that I am triggered is the beginning of something! Maybe sometime it is just communicating….’I’m sorry, I’m having a hard time focusing right now.’ It helps me to remember that I am fully known by the Lord, and He is compassionate! If I were in a wheelchair, I might not be at the race cheering on the marathoners on a regular basis. So, my emotional burdens make it difficult for me to be all there for others at times. That’s ok, because there are other ways I can give and serve and love others. Blessings to you Friend!❤️
The analogy of the wheelchair is very helpful 🙂
And yes, focusing, that is exactly the issue, all focus goes away.
Just saw this post~
I can relate personally
sending you a virtual hug 💜
So very painful and not something easy to navigate at all!
Have you read:
Adult children of Emotionally immature parents.
Just a thought Nancy because much of what you describe about your dynamic seems like your dealing with a mother that would not define motherhood or align with how many of us here might.
I would also ask that you see the the road your on as you are currently full load in parenting season given the ages they are…
This makes it that much harder to walk the process of grief.
I think it would be different emotionally if your (parenting season was over)
But your are living in the present right along side the ages of your children and mothering them well, mothering them they way you wanted and naturally desired to be cared for.
As you know I had to go no contact and it helped me prioritize my responsibility as a parent first. Not easy and not painless. But when a parent chooses to not acknowledge another person’s experience or how they impact another~ and the relationship issue, the relationship is unfortunately not safe to engage in.
Maybe when my children are older and I’m not in full blown purposeful parenting I will have more space and room to handle my relationship with my mother at the level that she shows up emotionally, but right now I’m needing that energy and my continued growth toward healing and health to be poured into my own family nucleus😍
Hugs Sister warrior!
Thank you for your perspective, Aly.
I’m going to maintain as little contact as I can- for my own health as well as the health of my marriage, and children.
Within that protected bubble of very limited contact, I will ask The Lord to guide my heart down the road of forgiveness.
If that’s what He is asking of me, then He will show me the way, and enable me to do so.
Perhaps you can think of it this way, Nancy: you are releasing yourself of the burden of carrying your mother’s brokenness on your heart. May the Lord grant you His grace to be freed from this burden.
I was reading the other comments about forgiveness etc. I’m wondering if you were hearing from others that this issue is a forgiveness one?
Maybe I’m way off.. and totally misinterpreting the dialogs. So please correct me.
People in my circle and church have struggled with hearing my boundaries and how things have gone no contact.
the struggle has been in places where they almost have more empathy for my parents (who are the rejectors/offenders) than even what I have been the continued recipient of~ This was confusing to me and furthered my struggle with ‘false blame and false shame’.
Somehow I believe ‘generationally speaking’ that because they had the badge ‘parent’ that it made them above being called to a higher standard or any requirement of being healthy and mutual?
Even though many of us end up ‘going no contact’ ~ it doesn’t just flip a switch to that, it usually is a final progression of dealing with a person(s) where they have been invited into health over and over (letter after letter) but they continue to cling to their old and usually dysfunctional ways.
My counselor does laugh at me at times~ because I refuse to give them any ‘cookie crumb’ of a relationship because of how they interpret the ‘crumb’ as a real relationship.
For me.. even them having any level of communication with my h or our children would give them a false feeling of they are somehow connected still with me.
When clearly~ they have declared they desire (no connection) at all with me. Unless I need a weather report😜😂
They want grandparent rights, without offering up relationship to their grandkids or meeting their grandkids needs where they are. Their needs are superior and that is the overall issue. This is toxic in my opinion and I have to advocate asa parent for my children to show them healthy authentic relationships overall, not unbalanced~ unmutual peacekeeping peacefaking ones.
I clearly feel I have forgiven my parents for their behaviors but my forgiveness isn’t going to have anything to do if ‘we’ can have a healthy mutually respectful relationship in the future. My forgiveness is separate apart from the outcome of the relationship….
Nor does my forgiveness lessen the pain of rejection and abandonment that I walk through. I believe …It grants me the access to walk the journey and teach me more and more about Who He is and how much He loves His own.
Yes, Aly, forgiveness doesn’t require reconciliation. What I hoped to convey in my post about forgiveness (my therapist called it “forgiving back”, i.e. giving back all the things my mother dumped on me that I didn’t want to keep), is that when those things are fully released, it disarms the triggers and frees us from having to carry around all the pain that the mother caused. When you are free in that way, you can better deal with issues as they come up, without pain and resentment getting into the mix. It’s easier to maintain the boundaries. At lease, I can say, that’s how it worked for me. I wasn’t abused the way you and Nancy were, so my issues were not as strong, but I would venture to say that most of us do have some mother issues. I think my daughter does, but I don’t know what they are. She and I have cleared the air about a few things, but if there’s more, she hasn’t said anything. I wish I did have a closer relationship with her, and it hurts.
I’m sorry about that dynamic with your own daughter. Ofcourse many of us all will have residues of broken parenting living in a broken world system.
Why are you leaving it up to your daughter to initiate the conversation when you say would like a closer relationship?
Maybe I’m misunderstanding how you framed it, you have cleared the air some but that she hasn’t brought them up so you are waiting on her to….
Even though my children are still growing ..
I still want to invite them into a place where they can challenge me and show me where I need to see things from there experience.
One of my questions to them through the years has been how can I better care for you and your needs and what do I need to work on? (This is parent to child) not adult parent to adult child.., it’s different given my season currently.
Sometimes we don’t even know what we need until we are asked to think it through.
I’m hoping I can build that adult child~ adult parent bridge through my relationship with them, that is my heart and my hope.
Just to help clarify the abuse that I experienced is was in relation to the other children /sibling dynamic.
In my home there were different rules and allowances for different children …based on the dysfunctional system.
Another way to describe this was what my mother had no problem holding me accountable to something, but she had every problem holding another child.
There was quite the discrepancy because as a child I tolerated and forgave a lot (survival) to the point that my voice was sometimes ‘heard’ but not respected nor truly validated.
There was superior over inferior positioning and that was how it remained into adulthood.
Of course they see no problem with this dynamic and the ‘truth teller is usually going to be scape goated.
Things only got ‘really bad’ when I could no longer play my role and stay in the inferior place~ rather than a healthier mutual respect place.
Alt, as I have read so many of your posts over the past year, I am very impressed with how the Lord has gifted you with great insight about relationships. This has enabled you to share your experiences with everyone here and also to care for your family without imposing your family legacy on them. I expect that the same is true for others here. We learn from our past experiences, try not to repeat the mistakes, though we might make different ones 😉 I just want you and the others to realize that we are all doing the best we can by God’s grace, and He will bless our efforts.
I think I understand what you are communicating above, but please correct me if I’m not.
I also had responded to a different post to you in regards to your own daughter~ hope that you received it and please don’t feel like you need to respond~
I appreciate your comments and many things that have blessed you through the years of walking in your faith.
I am very grateful that you are willing to see some of the abuse many of us (overtly or covertly) received from our mothers and or fathers who most likely were in dysfunctional marriages or upbringings all together.
I appreciate that you have read my posts and have care for my situation and that blesses me.
I do struggle at the place where my mother continues to share her testimony of her marriage to other younger women most likely dealing with spouses who might have abusive mindsets and or serious immaturity issues. This place is part of the epidemic in my opinion~
My mother encourages wives to give unconditional love and be committed to their marriage regardless of the offense ~ (with the hopes that it will win a believing husband over?)
which to me is really enabling more chaos and evil.
For me the ‘professing belief person’ and unbeliever are two separate situations.
As a fellow sister in Christ in the body- especially as an adult now to my mother, it is difficult for me to not speak truth in love and expose what these teachings & testimonies can lead to!
She also encourages peace faking and things that being a chameleon is being ‘Christ like’.
She has been fed these sound bites and clearly passes them on into our church communities.
She also has said many times:
“Well we are all doing the best we can do” only when faced with an area of conflict…
I feel this is a pattern to avoid any responsibility on listening to others experiences and why it’s so essential to fear God over fearing others.
She has also said that ‘age’ grants her a different expectation ~something different than myself.
By the way, I believe she chooses who to fear and who not to fear.
This grieves my heart so much, because of what is being passed down into my extended family ~ (and the church communities overall) even though I am at a distance and I can separate my children from it … the pain is there~ for any of the individuals that would suffer.
My cry is for justice for the women who have been ‘misguided in this journey’. Do I think my mother has ill intentions in the body of Christ?
No! I think she chooses ignorance and less education as a comfort place thinking that ignorance will not have accountability.
My heart is for the women here to navigate what they are entangled with. It’s not simple and many of times God blessed me to remind me it is a posture and a process.
I believeGod wants us to be active and in ‘part of the process’ as He chooses the overall outcome &will.
Love and hugs to all here~
Stay safe and sane 💖
Aly, here you are, gaining strength and emotional health, and you watch your mother continuing to lay these unreasonable burdens on others. How horrible! Makes you want to go behind and talk to all these other young couples and say,”Don’t listen to her!” I can hardly imagine how hard that must be for you. You know, when I see situations like this that are beyond my ability or authority to intervene, I pray for the Lord to bring all things into the light, expose the darkness. I believe that He waits for us to pave the way for Him to do what He wants to do, and without our prayer, He holds back and waits. That’s why our prayer is so important. So, pray, and give the Lord a way to deal with this unrighteousness.
Mothering your children as you deserved and wanted to be mothered…this makes you such a good mother to your children and, in a sense, redeems your own suffering. The “golden rule” in action. So encouraging.
Thank you for this encouragement and so much wisdom you bring here. 💖
I love that you care about your relationships and your overall importance role as a mother and grandmother~ (And great grand! Wow!
I feel these are sacred privileges even though I know I mess up but I want to be a teachable parent, spouse, person, sister friend, ~
I do think the ‘parent wounds’ get very complicated when we ourselves are in the thick of ‘parenting our own children at different ages that can trigger many past unresolved issues’.
My husband has had some old things surface based on ages of our children which have been hard but have been a blessing in revealing the pockets of pains.
My desire is wanting to parent as healthy as i can and with what is motivating that desire? (I choose to seek this inner place and ask the Lord to help me discover that often)
My motivation does not come from my own childhood, but from what God calls me to through is Word and through His relationship as a ‘parent’ to me overall. Plus, there are individual need of my children that I feel in need to be in tune with. They are uniquely and fearfully created💖
Besides I’m representing His safety & trustworthiness through my relationship ‘as mommy’ to my children. That’s a serious blessing and a bit scary 😬🤗
In longgggg term counseling and our ext family situation
I learned that a parent ‘an immature one for sure’ is the parent that is threatened by their adult child parenting and loving well.
This is me.. ‘WHAT’??? 😳Isn’t that what any parent would feel grateful for?? That’s just crazy making .. how can that be a threat..?
They get stuck in defending their own past parenting choices (regardless if they were good or bad) the defense is them being insecure overall about their parenting, which I think is very sad. Plus it shines light on an identity root issue that they choose to not enter.
I believe I was taught some wonderful things growing up in my Family of origin though, and also taught some very destructive things that didn’t serve me well in adulthood and tortured me in marriage. (Marrying my unresolved mother issues subconsciously😉) Father a bit too. And sibling abuse issues.
Thank you again for your affirming words above…
Being a mother to my children has been a redeeming healing place in many ways, I’m grateful for how God has placed amazing models in my life for things that have given such a harvest of the good and yes the ability to face the messy.
Blessings and Hugs!
Wouldn’t things be different if your parents accepted that they wronged you and asked for forgiveness? From what you have posted, you have mentioned that they won’t even have an open conversation with you. That’s the same problem I have with my husband. Because of his unwillingness to work on the problems, things go unresolved. He would rather pretend to the world.
I’m sorry about the unresolved places with your husband. It seems to be a running theme with these relationships.
What you said is true in many areas of my situation about the open conversation but I would add that the honest part is missing from the dialog.
Honest conversation doesn’t show up because for them that would mean they both would have to face their own heart issues. (Denial is much more pleasant & powerful for them) ~it’s their coping skill of choice.
Someone steeped in denial makes it pretty difficult to have an authentic relationship with that person(s) based on the level of lies.
The lies continue to block the bridge or even block where a bridge could be built.
For me, I have forgiven them apart from any apology. I thank the Lord for this! I don’t need an apology to forgive them.
I Love them, pray for them and care for them from afar. In my opinion, the issue is TRUST.
They believe that trust is unconditional because of their faith and that they are my parents. What?
When I correct this issue about trust not being unconditional, but earned and also something that can be destroyed, they get undone. They have no desire to ‘earn trust’ even if they are the offenders because they don’t like having to be in that posture within the relationship.
(This is also the issue) my husband went through something similar and uncomfortable~ he preferred not feeling vulnerable and accountable to repairing the damage he had done to our marriage. This is where real work can happen in a relationship rather that the one person who is ‘always over working’ or over functioning😜.
That would have been me.
Back to parents:
I love them too much to go along and allow the continued issues of ‘betrayal in the family’ to be normalized.
The family is quite enmeshed so trying to have anything healthy (with an individual) is a long shot~ we have tried. They have continued to ignore the sibling abusive dynamics since the beginning and they would even laugh or roll their eyes at that comment. (Very dismissive people through and through)
(Similar to what my husband struggled with but he choose to get help and decided to grow up~ but that took a surrendered heart to the Lord on his part)
When my husband would no longer collaborate with them at their level…the Obvious issues came into focus. It wasn’t just about our marital issues but everyone’s. We were a threat because we desperately wanted to deal with our own marriage issues to seek healing and restoration. Somehow this was another threat to them!
Many other marriages in the family system have decided to deal a different way with their own marriages and they are free to do so. But they are anything but healthy and do not align with modeling healthy dynamics. (Who you hang around is influential)
When my husband stopped collaborating and being influenced… it was when he realized and finally woke up that he was peacekeeping but ‘feeding a toxic situation’ out of his own fear issues.
The grief is the non reconciliation that I have experienced along with my family and many failed attempts at trying to see if they can be safe enough to have a relationship. They continue to show they are not safe.
They have offered an apology but nothing that is remotely genuine, because after they have done this and you ask them what is it you are apologizing for….they are blank. They don’t see anything wrong with their behavior ‘really’ and the things that they have done to damage trust. The therapist involved tried to assist her and highlight the discrepancy.
~ this for me is a bigger issue because if they choose to see it, acknowledge it, then the relationship dynamic could change and they could choose to have a healthier mutual relationship but they don’t want mutual. They certainly don’t want things ‘really’ changing in our family system.
The reason for this… professionals involved have said it’s because they don’t want ‘their REAL marriage issues’ to be brought out.
But that the risk is too great for my recovery work with my husband to stay in proximity with them (at this time) and it goes against trying to have a healthy honest relationship with them as I am called to by the Lord.
They don’t want honesty ~ without honesty and trust a relationship is pretty nil! Sadly.
I have asked them what it would look like from their perspective to have relationship with me, the answer is quite telling..
I’m supposed to show up, smiling with Joy, engaging in surface topics and pretty much a robot of peace faking for their level of comfort ~ I am not allowed to take my mask off (the one that’s handed to me upon entering the door to the family gatherings)
~ because everyone else is wearing theirs.
Maria, I’m sorry for the novel but it was helpful for me to write.
I wish I could say that an open dialog with them would really make a different but it has become much more than that, because they are SO duplicit .. they play the open dialog (barely) and then don’t mean anything they say, they run to the other family members as victims because they are being called to a healthier place.
The other family members have no concept or scope or desire for what is healthy in relationships. They live by the ~ I am what I am, and therefor that’s good for their terms.
Hi JoAnn ( Aly, too),
At a retreat I attended in the fall, I carried a rock around. Had to bring it everywhere with me ( shower, bathroom, carry it as I filled my plate with food, at meal times). If anyone ‘caught’ anyone else without their rock – they were pretty significant in size- we could call one another out. It was kind of fun 🙂
At the end of the week end we put our rocks at the foot of the cross. But before we did that, we had to identify what the rock represented. My rock was my mother. After we put it down, we had to draw one from a basket of small stones, with a word on it. Mine says ‘believe’. After I got back we studied John 6 and The Lord spoke to me about my one work – believing.
So, yes, JoAnn. I understand what you mean about ‘carrying my mother’s brokenness’ – that is exactly what I have done my whole life.
Being any different than that is completely beyond me.
Believing in the One The Lord has sent, will enable me to walk the path of forgiveness.
I have always ‘heard’ that the issue was a forgiveness one.
It was my job to forgive and forget (and then let her continue to control me).
Now, I know different – the issue between us is trust, which is out of my hands to resolve.
My misunderstanding of forgiveness has kept me carrying my mother’s anger, resentment, victim hood, abandonment, trauma, distrust, and this list is just the beginning. I have been the repository for her brokenness.
Forgiveness is releasing her to our mighty Trinity.
I have NO CLUE how to do that. No. Clue.
But I will trust my Lord to show me that path – One. Step. At. A. Time.
I so do feel like I understand what you are describing.
I’m sorry for the relationship that was cycled way back in time, probably began even in your mothers’ family of origin.
I do understand your rock experience and the pain of dealing with the level and weight of a rock. It would ‘be ideal’ if your mom could show up and keep her own rock on her own plate ‘long enough’ to show separateness.
But from what you describe any proximity to her requires that the rock sit on your plate? Because that is what’s been established… Sure you can keep handing it back to her and over and over. But that feels a bit crazy making.
(Not saying I know here but I’m wondering if this resonates)
One visual that has helped me in counseling is the battered baton ~ my mom keeps handing me a battered baton (one that her mom handed her)
And I keep investigating and questioning if what I am holding is a baton at all?
If it is, should I hold it? And usually my response has been to take it to the Lord and other wise people to help me see what’s ‘all on this baton’ and are there things that need to be removed before I start running?
And especially before I pass it on… to my own children.
The mere fact that I would investigate the baton offends her. Plus, in the generation family patterns ‘to question’ was really not acceptable.
In regards to the many treasures in the Parable the Prodigal Son, the father did not enter into the son’s journey~He didn’t ‘chase after him’ or pack his bag for the journey of sowing his rightful adventures.
He gave his inheritance to his son as the son demanded…and waited for his return.
Would the prodigal son return to the father if the father was with him in the pig troughs? Solving his money issues.Would the son long to be back if the father was right there comforting and normalizing the environment?
Showing that there is a close relationship here between the two of them based on just physical presence…
I wonder wouldnt the son keep asking for more of the father to fix the difficult circumstance?
Would the son find it hard to enter into the pain of not really changing., if the father was there to continue enabling?
After all the son wanted immediate inheritance apart from the father and not the earning of that inheritance over time or the blessings involved with being within the father house.
Now there are plenty of other key issues in regards to all the blessings and lessons in this parable but I am highlighting just one aspect in regards to dealing with an individual that wants things (both ways). Even if they can’t verbalized it.
Meaning a visual image of a relationship and they can have free reign on how they treat a person in public or private, and free reign on how they decide they want to repair a ruptured relationship.
Yes, I get the illustration of the aspect of the prodigal son parable, where the father did not enable His son. He allowed him to feel the pain.
The analogy that my counsellor gave, months ago, of a person who has a chronic physical illness with a good physiotherapist will have twice as much pain as someone else with a chronic physical condition, is super helpful to me.
When I start feeling guilty about my mother’s feelings of abandonment, I can remember that I didn’t cause her chronic condition. Kindness involves separating, and refusing to enable. This will cause pain to surface and she will blame me for not helping to alleviate it. It involves recognizing and honouring her in knowing that her condition is between she and The Lord.
Living that reality is a whole other story.
Aly, Nancy and others, I haven’t been able to post for a couple of days because of Harvey, but our internet came back an hour ago. I want to make a few comments, but they are all for posts that are below with no “reply” option. Nancy spoke of trust in relation to forgiveness, and I would say that the two are not connected. Just because you forgive someone, in this case you mother, doesn’t mean yo have to trust her, That’s in the same category as reconciliation. Trust has to be earned, so you still need to have your boundaries in place. but you can manage them so much better when you are free of the burden. Also, when I said that we are all doing the best we can, I didn’t mean that as an excuse. What I usually say after that is that we do the best we can with the resources we have, so when you realize that your “best efforts” aren’t accomplishing what you want, then you go for more resources. Your parents, first of all, didn’t realize, and still won’t, that their “best efforts” were faulty, so they are not open to learning how to improve. On the other hand, everyone here is gaining new insights and resources to grow and learn how to live Christ. We cheer each other on, sympathize, “weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice.” It is a wonderful community, and I love being a part of it.
What was said above: “kindness involves…refusing to enable.” Perhaps that is what was referred to above about giving mercy. sometimes our mercy is just another form of enabling, when in fact, real mercy might be allowing the consequences of their choices and actions to play out. Meanwhile, we hold our boundaries.
Aly, you asked about my daughter. Actually, I think the issue is more just her personality. She is a very strong, capable person, and that was always difficult raising her. What disappoints is that everything is on her terms. She is not as caring as I would like, toward me. All the reaching out is on my part. Phone calls, lunch dates, etc. I have spoken up when she says or does something hurtful, but not always. In general, we have a very good family relationship, as long as we are the ones making the effort. My husband thinks I take it all too personally, and maybe so, but we may be due for another talk soon. I wait on the Lord to set it up.
Thank you for posting! This makes so much more sense to me;) so appreciate you explaining in more detail.
Hugs back! I feel like I know you all and love you all deeply.
Christianity might put people in that victim place, but Christ never does. He gets angry, He rebukes and dusts off His heels. And as we follow Him…so do we ❤️
Hello Nancy. . . . I don’t know but this is what I think. . . .Nancy, your Christ doesn’t. My Christ doesn’t. . . . but there are different “Christs” (2 Corinthians, et.al.) “. . .When someone comes to you telling you about another Jesus whom we didn’t tell you about. . .” There are lots of Christs. Christ is not one thing, people are all over the map with Christ, especially in the first *four* centuries of Christianity. See for example: “Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew”; “. . . .Christ: The Search For The Historical Jesus” by Charlotte Allen, et.al. Some “Christs” do. Luke 17, and so many others. “. . . .So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, We are totally unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.” “Totally unworthy servants” sounds like shame and victimizing to me. . . . .One should keep in mind that no one in the first century was a Trinitarian in the sense defined by the fourth-century Church. This evolved. Non-Trinitarian Christianity survived in the East long after the age of the creeds into the time of the Arab conquests in the seventh century and later. . . . .Again Nancy, your Christ doesn’t. Aleea’s Christ doesn’t. . . .but there are lots of Christs out there, many have just as much textual support as our Christs. People project *big time* onto Christ. . . . .I do think you are spot on that if Christ were here today, in our post-modern Christianity, there is one thing He would not be—a Christian. . . .And I “see” your heart and rejoice with you!!! . . . It is not Christ, but true Christ, that saves and where salvation lies. Thank you Nancy!
Christ doesn’t make mistakes, He’s alive and He’s perfect.
Christians on the other hand, make tons.
. . . I know it is going to sound like blah, blah, blah . . . .but it is really important to me. I care if what I believe is *really* true.
“. . . .He can be anything to anyone. . . . .”
Absolutely He can . . . .but that is the terrifying point . . . .because people make Him in their own image. How then do we know? Again, I really care if what I believe is *really* deeply true, not that it is psychologically useful and practically hopeful to me because I already know that it is . . . .but that doesn’t make it really, really real and true. . . . .Have you ever really wanted to try to know because that has *not* always been my case? How would you propose that we find the Truth? What is a good way to differentiate between thousands of faith claims and assertions about Christ? Do Mormons, Jehovah’s Witness, et. al. for endless pages . . . .do they have the same Christ we have? It sure does not look that way. . . . .Faith taints and at worst removes our curiosity about the world, what we should value, and what type of life we should lead. Faith replaces wonder with epistemological (sorry, it’s better than saying “how we know what we know”) arrogance disguised as false humility. Faith immutably alters the starting conditions for finding out what is true by uprooting a hunger to know and sowing a warrantless confidence. . . .Is faith a reliable way to come to knowledge claims about Christ? Faith can be used to prove just anything. It is all true by faith, therefore faith sure appears to me like it can not guide us to the Truth. So what is a reliable process to find the Truth? . . .instead of just asserting something is the Truth. When we teach people that suspending moral judgments is a virtue (the Bible will tell us right from wrong, we don’t need to deeply think), the necessary outcome is moral horror (people using the Bible to control and abuse women *and* other people doing just as bad by using all kinds of text deconstruction and sophisticated hermeneutics to get the Bible to NOT say what it clearly says, et.al. An educated theologian: someone who’s better at rationalizing what they’re pretending to know). i.e. “God told me to tell you. . . .” . . .If we had sufficient evidence to warrant belief then we wouldn’t believe on the basis of faith. It sure appears that “Faith” is the word one uses when one does not have enough evidence to justify holding a belief, but when one just goes ahead and believes anyway. I simply don’t understand that as a reliable way to come to Truth claims. . . . And I’m s-t-u-p-i-d, absolutely *verifiably* stupid (I know I shouldn’t say that and I really get in trouble in counseling for saying it, but sometimes it is the only way to say it), just look at my grammar, and the weakness of my logic, despite my degrees (benchmarks of questionable relevance), et.al. . . . .So just imagine what really, *seriously* smart people would have to say about using faith to find the Truth of Christ. . . . .I’ve never seen anyone burning in hell and I have never seen anyone enjoying Christ in heaven. Christ never comes for abused women or children until *they* take all the actions, no matter how much I pray for them or how much I prayed and prayed as a child. That is a conclusion I come to after a sincere, honest evaluation of the evidence. So honestly, objectively, what is *really* going on? Wonder, open-mindedness, a skeptical and scientific-minded attitude, and the genuine desire to know what’s true—even if it makes me sadder . . . .these are the attributes of ___________. Not claiming to know something you don’t *really* know isn’t a character flaw, it is a virtue. Doubt is your intellectual conscience pleading with you to be honest with yourself. We fear clear, honest, blunt dialogue, but what we ought to fear are dangerous ideas that keep women in their abuse. . . . . Faith claims are knowledge claims. Faith claims are statements of fact about the world. Do you think faith is a reliable process to find the Truth?
Thank you so, so much. . . .Doubt is my intellectual conscience pleading with me to be honest with myself. I’m trying, it is never, ever easy because abandoning my faulty epistemology (again sorry, but it’s better than saying “how we know what we know”), means abandoning my social support network.
Insight does not produce cure. Cure produces insight.
Spending quiet time in passages that DO NOT make you want to research (cure), will produces insight.
That is what will guide you into Truth.
It’s your choice, Aleea.
. . . .I’ve been doing that, two days now and will continue to do so. . . . .In doing just that I find what keeps coming to my mind is: the question is not how to get cured, but how to live. . . .and what do I *really* feel? And, what do I *really* want? . . . .I want the Truth, not make-believe, even if it shatters my heart . . . .which makes sense because God is close to the broken-hearted. . . . Sort of a broken heart can mend something else’s brokenness. . . . . .Then, as I am doing it, I think about your advice to me (the other side of that issue): I am wandering in a vast, dangerous forest at night (―this world), I have the faint light of my reason to guide me. Nancy appears and says to me: “Aleea, you should blow out your candle (―my reason, logic, research!) in order to find your way more clearly.” . . . .The way to see by Faith is to shut the eyes of research. . . . . .But I don’t discount what you say. . . .I try it, again and again. . . .I’m not “seeing” it Lord. . . .but I am so listening for You, Lord God. . . .And I can only tell my story, remind people that they are not alone in their journey and that they are not the problem just because they have *vast* doubts (―It certainly seems that there are not alternate realities, there is reality and it is one tough, nasty road to walk, but it is as real as it gets.) . . . .People have doubts because it is doubtable. . . .But, at the same time, I am so thankful for you and that you care, thank you Nancy. . . .Just like the cure for loneliness is to befriend it, maybe the cure for vast doubts is to befriend them? I would think that awareness and insight makes a cure possible, I would think if you knew why, it would help. . . . .but let’s try doing and not awareness and insight, we can’t know without trying.
Keep up the great work. my friend. This is walking by Faith, and not by sight ❤️
Thank you Nancy. I *always* appreciate your thoughts, ―very much! . . .I had a lot, lot more that I wrote, ―no shocker there. . .but after praying about it for the last few days, the Lord showed me that. . . .well, ―well, I’ve already posted plenty on the topic.🌷 🌷 🌷 💖
So glad for Leslie’s book. I am working my way
through.Been married 40 years. It is a long time for me to be so unhappy. I accommodated his needs ,wants and dreams while killing my own. Christian counseling never helped.
My husband has
2 of the 5 signs of being given dangerous.. There are no children involved any longer in the home. He admits our marriage is in the cra##er. Isn’t that nice? But says it will never get better until I admit to MY part. His
alcoholism, pornography and adultery were a part of our early marriage. He became a Christian and my “lack of submission” became a part of his additional complaints. He has lacked empathy for years. Comments that embarass me and his rages have worn me out.I’m a cancer survivor. I do pray for God’s wisdom.
Welcome, Chris, I am glad you have joined us, and am so sorry for what you have endured. As you read this blog, you will find that you are not alone, and many, too many, of the women here have been in very long abusive marriages like you have. Lots of damage, and lots of healing needed. You won’t even realize how much until you escape that non-marriage. He broke the marriage covenant long ago, and for whatever reason, you remained, but you don’t need to stay any longer. You have survived cancer, and you can survive the leaving, but if you stay in that damaging situation, your health will suffer. Take steps now to free yourself from the abuse.
I am an incest survivor( biological father) and have had a difficult relationship with my mom. When the abuse was revealed to her 25 years later she blamed me for not stopping it( I was 12 at the time) I grew up feeling responsible for my moms happiness and this kept me “hooked” to much of the unhealthy dynamics of my family of origin. I had a “no- contact ” period of 5 years leading up to my dads death( my mom insisted” God hates divorce”) and stayed with my non-repentant Dad as she played the role of long-suffering spouse. The Lord has released me from the bondage of much of this painful background and I am now able to have a relationship that Leslie describes as “ministry “. I am no longer wounded with every careless comment and can see that she is reaping the consequences of her life decisions. I love her and pray for her( she professes Christ) and I am free to leave her in the strong hands of our loving Heavenly Father.All this to encourage all of us on this blog site with painful relationships with our moms.I can have empathy with my mom( her mother was not very maternal and I was afraid of her as a child) and in many ways ny mom is still to this day( almost 87) a child herself.I am in awe of what God has released me from and am now taking steps to apply many of these truths in my difficult 25 year marriage with a man who I believe lives in bondage to his family of origin( gee I wonder what the attraction was for me?)😄
Janice, do you have someone, a counselor, helping you to sort this all out? You still have a full life ahead, but with a history like that, there is lots of healing needed. May the Lord lead you on the path ahead. Guard your heart and lean into Christ.
Thank you for your wise words, Janice.
The fact that “The Lord released you from much of the painful bondage of your background” and that you are “free to leave her in the strong hands of our loving Heavenly Father” is very encouraging.
‘I am no longer wounded by every careless comment…’. So glad for you Janice!!! This is why I am so grateful for the work being done here. Just to hear these words helps me believe it might be possible someday to be FREE of those that have tried to destroy me. Someday maybe…they will not be paralyzingly emotional triggers …these shots fired by my own family. But for now I go to weekly counseling, read here, and wrap my soul in the word of God as much as I can.
Aleea, I am so very sorry for all you have been through. Yes, that behavior of your mother’s is definitely evil, and contrary to what you said, I am fully award that there is evil in the hearts of men and women. To me it is unfathomable how a parent can ever abuse their children that way, but nevertheless, I have heard and read of enough stories like yours that I believe it happens, yet it is still unthinkable. I believe that the Lord has a “special” kind of justice to mete for people who torture and abuse that way. I also believe in His loving heart that so very much wants to heal the wounds from that kind of abuse. I’m glad you got away, and I am so very glad that the Lord is healing your heart. I fully appreciate your wanting to distance yourself from all of it. May He fill your heart with His peace.
“. . . .and contrary to what you said, I am fully award that there is evil in the hearts of men and women.” . . . .I apologize JoAnn, I should not have made assumptions and I appreciate you pointing that out. . . . .Like a black person who tells me I don’t know what it is like to be black, I could say you don’t have any idea what childhood abuse is like if you have not suffered it, but I don’t think that is really correct. . . . .Consider that the apostle Paul (Paul, —he had seen Jesus (that’s what he claims) and had been to the third heaven (2 Corinthians 12:2), —whatever that is) . . .And yet Paul couldn’t keep from falling into grievious evil & sin again and again even late in his life. Paul said —and this is late in his life: Romans Seven “For the good that I want to do, I do not do, but I practice the very evil (—the very wicked, evil (unneceesary suffering) *sin* that I do not want to do.” . . . .So, you are right. The point is to help break the false distinction between the idea that there are those who are whole and good –and- those who have a lack and are evil. For the true distinction is between those who hide their lack under a fiction of wholeness and those who do not. Serious evil lurks within all of us and the battle against this evil is a daily battle.
I don’t really think people have any real insight whatsoever into their capacity for good until they have some well-developed insight into their own capacity for evil. Personally, I think taking time to examine what evil things I have done is a decent start. I think about what I did, and why I did it. Then going from that, I examine the negative impulses I had but didn’t act on such as maybe thinking about lashing out violently against my mother, but thinking better of it before acting. . . . .Further, I consider situations I found myself in where I could have easily been brought to doing evil things. One example are the times I was unduly influenced by friends, peer groups, organizations I am in, even church groups, etc.
It’s like when we pray, —there time stops. . . .so that we can feel that immense silence. . . .silence is the language of God. . . .and love is the desire to see unnecessary suffering (in my thinking, evil is *unnecessary* suffering) ameliorated. —And truth is the assistant of love, and dialogue is the pathway to truth. —Without dialogue we can’t self-correct. . . .And humility is recognition of personal insufficiency, and the willingness to learn. . . . .and just being alive and in-love with Christ is such a gift and Nancy that is how we find pure Truth! We need to be high in conscientiousness in our relationship with Christ and really know our own capacity for evil because our inner shadow selves (—and everyone has them) go all the way down to hell. We have to embrace our inner monsters at every level; that’s one way of thinking about it. . . .We have to be willing to give up our lives to save our lives. . . .And we just don’t know the upper limits of all the good we can do until we sort ourselves out, take full responsibility, carry the heaviest loads we can pick up and bear the sufferings of Christ so that our lives will have real meaning.
. . . .So, again, a pratical example of that from my life pulling from a composite of examples in the Old Testament: . . .Let’s say you are miserable and unhappy. Okay. . . Here’s a cure: Find what’s really valuable and sacrifice it to God. So, maybe it’s a relationship you have. In my case, it was my relationship with my mother. —And that relationship was pathological to the CORE but *very* important to me. I was locked into it. I valued it. —And no wonder, it’s a relationship with my own mother!!! —And I was suffering terribly because of it. What do you do? Maybe you let it go. It’s a sacrifice (—just like we see in the Old Testament and you sacrifice the good stuff to God, the stuff you really, really wanted to keep.). —And the idea is that this sacrifice will clear the future for you. In my limited understanding, very frequently when people are suffering terribly . . .Not always, because sometimes we just suffer . . .stupidly, blindly and without recourse. . . .For example, we get cancer and then we die. . . .But sometimes the reason that we are suffering is because we just will not let go of the thing that’s biting us. —And I would think: “I can’t let go of my mother!!!” “I can’t stop communicating with my mother who phones me six times a day *everyday of my life* and never says anything that isn’t unbelievable critical and demeaning.” “I can’t let that go!” Well. . . .I did. But it is so, so painful and I so hope (—unlike so many women with their own husbands who let them go and who, as far as I can tell, just really, totally hate them. . . .they say the right things but their actions prove otherwise and real Truth is in actions, not words), . . . .I hope, —I so hope my mother goes away, sorts herself out and then comes back (—that is my hope and what I pray each day for!) —But unless we are willing to let go, to *sacrifice* the relationship, we make no headway whatsoever. So one of God’s rules seems to be: If people are impeding your development (—as Dawn would say: your aligning, arising and ascending [Arise, Beloved] June 28, 2017 + Arise, My Beloved! Part 2 July 5, 2017), you sacrifice your relationship with them.
I do love the image of Jesus saying shake the dust off your feet and move on. There’s a physical and emotional boundary for you!
So, I am wondering, Do these destructive mothers fit any of the DANGEROUS acronym? Wouldn’t the same advice apply?
I left multiple times for various intervals. Each time I was thankful I had a car (listed in my own name) to get away in. In recent years I purposely purchased a larger vehicle with a drop down back seat so it would be more comfortable to sleep in. I took showers are the YMCA, at work, or at truck stops. You might ask why I would do this.
I lived with a world class abuser, isolation was/is one is his many strategies, so i had no one to help me. I utilized the services of domestic violence organizations but repeatedly, the shelters were full, in my community and three surrounding communities.
Why didn’t you use a credit card you might ask? Well, because the cards are in his name and he can track and find me based on the billing. What about cash? I was required to deposit all my checks into our savings account. An account which he monitored and had all the pass codes to, not me.
Many times I was so freezing in my car that I would go to all night groceries stores to warm up. I found hospital waiting rooms are often another place to get warm and blend in unnoticed.
There are certain grocery stores that give free food samples. I have been a wedding, conference and party crasher to get food. I have eaten from the trash can on occasion. Yet, I have survived. I go to a variety of churches to get fellowship, warmth, a bathroom and food. I am always trying to figure out how to get a bathroom and a shower.
So, this is the real life of an abused woman, fleeing almost penniless. Alone, beaten, tired, fearing for her life. This is the ugly truth of staying in an abusive marriage. The delusion of waiting and hoping and praying that an evil person will be transformed if only we wait upon the Lord and that I married for good times and bad. Certainly others have been taught and bought into this magical thinking. I love my faith and I don’t want to live in anyway without Jesus as savior, yet I think the indoctrination my conservative, fundamental church preached to me led me to believe I must endure evil. Somehow that just doesn’t seem right or loving to me.
Thank you for sharing your heartbreaking and horrible story. The reality of it is chilling, and very important!
Jesus Christ came into the broken, dirt of this world so that we would GET REAL. Not so we could engage in magical thinking.
I pray for continued healing for you Sunshine. May He continue to enable you to speak your bold Truth as you follow Him.
Thank you for sharing your reality Sunshine. Life is truly a journey and each of us is moving closer to TRUTH and FREEDOM by God’s grace in our lives. I am thinking of and praying for you today. You are loved ❤️ with an everlasting love,(therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you). Jeremiah 31:3
Why do you keep going back? Why continue to subject yourself to this abuse? What you describe is terrible, and no one should have to live like that. This isn’t a matter of Christian obedience. The man you call your husband is not a proper man of God, nor a proper husband. And staying with him does not make you a proper wife. Just go. Collect your paycheck for yourself and just go. The Lord will take care of you and show you the way.
Oh my goodness, I made the assumption that Sunshine had gotten out of that situation. Maybe not…?
Sunshine, are you out?
My memory isn’t reliable, so I might not have remembered whether she has left or not. Heartbreaking story. My heart aches for her. She did indicate that she had left and gone back several times, however.
Yes, I am out under a restraining order. Why go back over and over? He was actively engaged in counseling on multiple levels with accountability people and anger management groups. Many years, much $, and lots of promises from clergy and counselors that he was working his program. Carry my cross, took a vow, you know the rhetoric.
Let me accountability people that I was not allowed to talk to, only him. My life has been hell on Earth. Yet, I have grown closer to God in the process and your replies remind me of the shock I should have felt at the time. I was committed to marriage for life and endured the torture.
Sunshine, is the restraining order against you? How awful! So, dear sister, what are you doing to put your life together, now that you are out of his house? We all want to encourage you in your move forward. God be with you.
Jo Ann the restraining order is not against me, it against my Husband. It restrains his actions towards me. For example he may not get closer than 50 yards from me at any given time.
I surely hope that he is honoring that. I’m hoping this means that you get to stay in your home. This has been a very rough road for you. Praying for your peace and healing for your heart.
I am very puzzled by two sentence you posted that appear confusings. Knowing confusion is not God’s desire I felt compelled to write! The Holy Bible states: First Corinthians 14:33 “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.” Peace does not appear to reign in the language of what I surmised in your responses to many concerned respondents.The followers on this site are genuinely concerned about the situation of your marriage. They have been familiarized with your marital struggles and pray for you but it is apparent they are sadly disheartened though lovingly supportive. I know I am very saddened by the conditions you have had to live through, yet still wonder why as JoAnn has shared that this pattern hasn’t changed for the better. As I am certain you know no one can change you but you alone with the willingness to have God walk you through it. By some of the written words in your responses, namely I refer to ” Carry my cross, took a vow, you know the rhetoric.” and “I was committed to marriage for life and endured the torture.”, I see it present as convolution. I don’t want to make assumptions, yet think I can rely on the agreement of those who care about your welfare and your future because it is a crisis that can be bettered. So with confidence I’ve taken the liberty to copy and paste something that can be used as a point of discernment. I will first share that I was encouraged by the word “was” in the second sentence I referred to from one of your numerous replies. I am hopeful the following is something that may work to shed some understanding of why so many people’s observations have lead to expressions of deep concern. Here’ is something I have taken from the internet, ” Definition of rhetoric for English Language Learners:
: language that is intended to influence people and that may not be honest or reasonable
: the art or skill of speaking or writing formally and effectively especially as a way to persuade or influence people”
With that being said and read, I defend it as my point for reaching out. I stand by the statement that rhetoric may not be influential language that is,” honest or reasonable”, but I see at this time the caring in the artfully and skillfully shared writing of numerous woman as ineffective in persuading or influencing you to an acceptance that your marriage vows have been violated. And also assuredly that a satisfactory change with divorce as the objective would not be a sin. Additionally besides the loving words, caring inquiries and suggestions of many woman who are quite familiar with your shares and experiences in comparison to their own situations I will boldly stand by the fact that the Bible is the most artfully and skillfully written book in existence. So again, going back to observation of your friends from this community, I see these same people have repeatedly spoken out for your’ good and safety. Hedging a bet I am counting on the fact that everyone here on Leslie Vernick’s site champions to see acceptance that beyond a doubt God has freed you to seek divorce by placing a number of situations where mindfullness of such, needs full consideration.
Biblically God’s word is completely reliable persuasion and is meant to be a influential factor to prompt change. I’d like to pray a prayer of intervention for the Holy Spirit to flood you with the Fruits of the Spirit! Galations 5:22-23, “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! But there are Biblical laws against harsh treatments from fellowman which means husbands too! Below following this quoted section is the link to the web-site that covers all the area of the Bible’s teaching on divorce. I acquiesce that the information is heavily weighted against divorce with the following exception. And here is where exception to rules may prove beneficial.
Other Reasons for Divorce
Unfortunately, some marriages cannot be saved. A viable marriage is a contract of mutual support, love and respect:
However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. (NIV, Ephesians 5:33)
If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (NIV, 1 Timothy 5:8)
If an unbeliever abandons the marriage, the other partner is freed from the marriage bond (1 Corinthians 7:15).
The Bible does not have a specific teaching about other intolerable situations. But if one partner seriously violates the marriage contract, as by physical/emotional/sexual abuse, illegal activity, financial irresponsibility, etc., the marriage contract has been unilaterally broken. The other partner must take whatever actions are necessary to escape from the situation and to protect self and children. Reconciliation is preferable, but if that is not possible, different church denominations have different procedures for formally ending the marriage. http://www.christianbiblereference.org/faq_marriage.htm#grounds
May God Bless you and any woman stuck in a cycle of abuse.
I myself thank God everyday that I have found recovery from an abusive marriage. I thank God that my impressionable daughter has been able to use my experiences to help her form a healthy relationship. I thank God my son has a loving respectful relationship minus the behaviors he onced witnessed used toward me. And I pray to God that my other son outgrows the sins of his father so the generational curse can come to a final end! This I proclaim in the name of Jesus Christ! AMEN
May peace be with you Sunshine!
Thanks for your thoughtful entry. I agree that the level of abuse I endured was both against God’s laws, man’s laws, and US law. I was trying to answer the question posed at the beginning about what you were thinking. So at the time, that was what I was thinking? That was why I stayed and endured. Now, I have implemented the help of US law enforcement and have much more protection.
Sunshine…you are brave and courageous moving forward and sharing what you have learned with others. Thank you so much.
If I had the time I’d respond to each and every writer. I am awed by the love that is exchanged in the transparency and openness of the people sharing their’ difficulties and their breakthroughs. Your combined honesty and willingness to look truthfully at situations is most certainly affective wisdom. And with the reinforcement the comes from the the Holy Spirit may it be the effective impetus and God willing the solution too finding peace in our all of our individual and diverse situations! May “OUR” combined faithfulness in Christ continue to be a beacon to help others see the light God has provided.
With that being said I want to share this article on forgiveness; [https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-forgiveness-700640} I was actually prompted to post it because of things I picked up on reading JoAnn’s replies with reference to release. Recently I heard the etymology of the word forgiveness is stemmed to RELEASE. I cannot presently identify the person by name but I can share I listened as she spoke in reference to finding bodily healing that corresponds to the, “mental, emotional, or spiritual preparation” Leslie encouraged us to share about. Forgiveness is a major component. The article has valuable Biblical references, it also refers to the book, Forgive and Forget, by Lewis Smedes, that I have read numerous time and would recommend to anyone wanting to delve deeper into the condition of forgiveness. Let’s keep praying for one another and faithfully doing so continue in helping each other heal.
May God Bless us all with the blood of His sacrifice on the cross!
My love and regards to all,
Thank you, Laurie. We are happy that you are with us.
Many Christs Aleea? There is only One who died on the cross to save us, and His name is Jesus Christ. Fully God and fully man at the same time. Because He is both God and man, He can be anything to anyone and everything to everyone. He is all I need.
I so appreciate the outreach this site has.We come from a wide variety of experiences,ages and backgrounds yet I sense a shared unity in our struggles to know the truth and be set free.All truth is Gods truth and Truth is a person- Jesus, the beloved Son and Savior of all who put their faith in His shed blood.I hear in so many of our stories a desire to be the best mom we can be for our children and grandchildren and yet we must be willing to see how damaged and wounded we ourselves have been.This is where the precious grace of Jesus steps in to stand in the gap in our children’s lives.We do the very best we can and humbly seek healing for our bruised and battered souls.Our Heavenly Father is pleased to bless our efforts as we give all the glory to Him.My son is raised,a new husband himself and my hearts desire is for him to deeply love Jesus and his beautiful bride and be a godly husband to my lovely daughter-in-law.I pray that God guides and corrects what was modeled badly by my marriage.I live in the confident hope that generational bondage can and will be broken and their marriage will be filled with sweet intimacy.God is not unaware of our weaknesses and as we accept our limits He can and will do mighty things! Let’s keep our focus on Jesus the author and perfector of our faith.
Can you help me understand better by what you mean by;
“This is where the precious grace of Jesus steps in to stand in the gap in our children’s lives.We do the very best we can and humbly seek healing for our bruised and battered souls”
Specially the part about humbly seeking healing? How might you describe or define an action of this look like…?
Hi Ally, For me healing has come through counseling,friendships with dear sisters in Christ,in my searching Gods word to hear His voice call me to Himself.I have learned about boundaries and healthy vs unhealthy attachments.I understand this process with continue until I see Jesus face-to-face on that wonderful day.I am open to receive help and pray daily for Gods guidance.Not sure if this clarifies my previous post or not
Being forced by hatred, lies and manipulations to leave my home friends and deep connections that were so important to me ripped me apart. Knowing that every word coming from a man that should have loved me and protected me was being used to control and manipulate me shattered my mind. Being forced into isolation where God asked me to look at myself and my own sin made me angry. I wanted to love my husband I wanted to be a godly wife I wanted help. I wanted my husband to care, not to be mean and controlling. I felt such a shame and loneliness and my God wanted me to look at it and understand it. I hated that I had to leave my home. I hated that I had to leave my friends. I hated that I had to leave my ministry. I was so angry so lost so confused. One day at a time God began to show me that he died a horrible death to heal me from my emotional wounds. That he already entered into my deepest shame and anger and he understood. He began showing me that I could trust him and him alone. As I begin to heal, I slowly begin to except forgiveness for myself. This took almost 6 months for me to do. Once I understood his love was unconditional never ending and faithful I realized I could trust him enough to help me begin the process of forgiving such a horrific sin against me and my church. Forgiveness to me meant sacrificing once again a piece of me that I believed I had given away too many times already. However, I came to understand that forgiveness is a dying process, as I died to my self motives, desires and dreams he entered in to those desires and dreams. He helped me understand that simply having a close relationship with him was more important than anything on this earth. That me excepting his forgiveness humbled me to see the work of the cross. As I stood before him undressed allowing him to see all that I had ever done,even though he already knew, I excepted his love was unconditional and limitless. I now take that limitless love and I realize, through his forgiveness over me I can then move into a humble place to forgive others. I now understand the sacrifice comes by way of the cross alone. I cannot make this sacrifice of my flash by myself. It is through the bloody death of Jesus Christ where I see forgiveness for myself and for others.
The process of true forgiveness over abuse lasts a lifetime. It ebbs and flows with the pain and sorrow we experience from day today. I am so thankful that my imperfect, angry hurt heart each and every day can be covered by his forgiveness. And that in his patient loving time he brings me to a place of humble forgiveness over others. I then feel the freedom to pray over my enemies and I can feel the power of God working in their lives. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t feel anger and pain for what I left behind and for what was taken from me. However, his grace, mercy and forgiveness gets me through.
Are you still in or at any level intertwined in a destructive abusive marriage or any relationship that you are describing?
How is your walk with Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, going? ( if this is the same Wendy 🙂
Hey girls, just got back from church and on my way to work not much time to respond. Aly, your question about being involved in a distructive relationship is tricky. I am no longer married to an abusive man thank God. However his abuse against the women in our church is still going on but being uncovered. So I am involved and praying over the situation and getting feedback from those who are close to the situation. My grandson who lives with me part time was abandoned by his father five years ago. He was the youth pastor’s son and now his father is a pastor of a church. They are wanting to meet him after this deep abandonment this weekend. This puts fear in my heart and brings up a lot of anger as I have watched this precious boy suffer and my daughter suffer greatly with this abandonment. I also can relate to a mother who is jealous of my relationship with my father. I live close to them and I maintain a healthy distance. I am so thankful beyond words that I left the abusive relationship with my husband. I was fearful if God would bless me on the other side after divorce. I was fearful if I could make it without a man. Nancy I could not attend many of the meetings that you were speaking of as far as the emotionally healthy meetings. I was able to attend a couple. They were wonderful. However, I will be starting to divorce care this Wednesday. I just became part of a large church that offers many ministries to the hurting. This was a big step for me as this is where I met my abusive husband. I am not even the same person as I walk into this church I am full of godly confidence my heart is overwhelmed with his love for me. I do not have riches and I work very hard and go to school. But I can’t even imagine going back now I can’t even imagine the distructive situation I would be in if I had not chosen to leave. God bless you all! God bless us all! Now I have to run to work.
Autumn, I am so very proud of you. Stay strong, stay single for a few years, stay focused on him until he heals your heart. And then you just go girl! ❤️
I have much further to go before the legal stuff is completed. Probably over a year. Rest assured I have no interest in a new relationship. I did my time and now I want MY own life. Rocky year ahead as I have no indication that my husband will be remotely cooperative, but I am hopeful for the future.
Hello Autumn, The process is very slow (it took 18 months from exit to divorce for me) and I am still involved in getting joint assets divided. The time has allowed me to ponder many things and spend needed time in introspection and healing. Keep strong and on the days you feel you just can’t take another step, lean on our Lord and other Godly women to help you through. We cannot change or control the uncooperativeness of the other party, but we can thankfully choose how we respond and conduct ourselves It will be a rocky year for you, I pray that you hold on tight as God leads you in a new direction and teaches you many new things. God has provided a wonderful support group for us here! Blessings!
My husband is being incredibly cooperative at the moment. That can only be through the grace of God. He says he is reading Evan Stark’s book on Coercive control and it is opening his eyes. Good for him I say, but that doesn’t change anything about my decision.
Thanks for the encouragement. I can smell the freedom and the fragrance is divine!
I wish we could all meet up and have a conversation that would be amazing. I thank God for the site!
THAT sounds like a little bit of heaven!!!❤️Sometimes it’s like the Titanic is going down and our enemy is cursing his ‘I told you so’ curses from the shore. But the truth is, we are in a lifeboat with our Savior and He has us!!!!
I’ll respond here to your post above.
You and your fellow Texans (my sister, included), are in my prayers. Harvey. Such a calm, peaceful name.
What you said about sometimes our mercy is just more enabling, is helpful. I think I had equated mercy with rescuing. Real mercy is not that.
What just popped into my head is this: the VERY FIRST Bible verse that The Lord spoke to me about was Matt 9:13 Jesus said…” Go and learn what this means, I desire mercy not sacrifice”. I had no idea what it meant, except that it was important.
Those three words: ‘mercy not sacrifice’, have bounced around my head and heart for over 5 years.
I’m blow away right now.
My Lord knows me infinitely better than I know myself. What care He has for my heart! What patience He has with my mind!
Yes. So very patient. Praise Him.
After reading the Dangerous signs, I am utterly shaken to the core. My soon to be ex fits every one of those traits. The Jekyll Hyde in particular. My heart is pounding as I write this because I see clearly the danger I am in. I thought because I am in the process of divorce, I was safe. Now I realize he may become more unstable, and lacking self-control, is capable of suddenly exploding at the slightest provocation. After several years of trying to be the “good Christian wife”, forgiving, and putting up with his crazy behavior alternating between cruelty and kindness, coldness and spontaneous affection, and finally degenerating into cursing, threats and abuse, I woke up. During the years of abuse I prayed that God would heal him and turn him back to the real man I thought I knew. The “real man” wasn’t real. My husband had created a persona as a theological giant. He was a masterful apologist, compelling speaker, gifted bible teacher, scholar, writer, pastor, Christian leader. He was featured on top Christian radio programs. You get the picture. For many years, that was his identity. He also had a problem getting along with people, stirring up controversy and dividing people in the church. He was difficult and had a temper, but was not violent and never cursed. That changed when he deliberately, willfully turned his back on God. Hyde emerged with a vengeance that would not be squelched by the super-Christian persona. In fact, his personality literally changed overnight to the extreme opposite of what he once professed. He became so vile and wicked in his verbal abuse. His bad temper turned to an explosive rage that he screamed he wanted to kill me. I did not call the police. Big mistake. At the time, I thought he was having a mental breakdown. This stranger was not the man I knew for 11 years. I thought it wasn’t the real him. The truth is, it is his true identity and he tried to cover up by creating Dr Jekyll. I am so distressed. I have been so traumatized by his abuse and deception. I hurt so badly. I have told others for the sake of my safety, but I am isolated. I am leaning hard on the one who will never leave me or forsake me. God has brought other believers into my life to walk beside me, but there is much distance between us. I was left with a house to sell, and more to do than
I have time or strength. I don’t know how it will all get done. Please pray for me. This not my real name, but God knows who I am.
God does know you and He sees you, sister. I have no practical advice, I’m sorry.
I am glad that you are telling people. I pray that your home sells FAST!
I will keep you in my prayers ❤️
Thank you. God bless you.
Oh, my dear Sister Deborah,
My heart aches for you, and I pray for the Lord to deliver you from that evil. Do whatever it takes to protect yourself, get help where you can, and save yourself.
Psalm 103 spoke to me this morning. I hope it will comfort you, as well.
Thank you for sharing this Psalm. Meditating on God’s power, compassion, forgiveness and His love “as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him.”, filled me with such comfort and peace. I needed to be reminded that the power of God’s love is exponentially far greater than the fickle “love” of man. God is amazing. In the midst of my pain, the horrible pain of treacherous betrayal, God spoke to my heart as well, and He comforted me with a deep, inexplicable joy that no abusive words of hate can steal. I was reminded that “the Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed”. That means I can rest from frantic, anxious thoughts as I trust in Him. Thank you and God bless you.
Amen. Praise the Lord! A friend of mine had enjoyed that psalm that morning, and after she shared it with me, I felt to share it with you all. His word is our refuge and strength.
Your situation sounds so similar to my own. My husband exhibits all the DANGEROUS signs. I chose not to listen to my counselor, my close family and friends, even my Pastor at our church and went back to my husband. I felt spiritually conflicted even. Shouldn’t I forgive or maybe I am not trying hard enough? Maybe counseling can really help us this time. And guess what? This past Friday he told me wanted to “blow his brains out while I watched”. There is no reasoning with a person like this or a man that threatens to kill you which mine has also done, this is not what love is or what God wants for marriages and family. Find help and get away from him. I wish I would have listened to everyone so much sooner. Even the women on here urged me not to give him more chances and I didn’t listen. Saying prayers for you.
Lynn, I surely hope and pray that you are safe now. Also, perhaps the others will want to say something here, but I am thinking that if he threatened you with a gun and threatened to commit suicide, then the police should be notified. He should not have a gun under these circumstances; it is illegal. And when you report him, take a few minutes to also take out a restraining order on him, if you haven’t already done so.
Be safe, Dear Lynn.
Can you phone a women’s shelter? Your situation is drastic, if you are still in it. Do you think somehow that because you didn’t listen, that you are somehow not worthy? You are a daughter of the most high king, Lynn! He wants you SAFE.
Are you embarrassed because you didn’t listen? Your father in heaven knows your heart and your reasons and He loves you dearly! If it is pride or embarrassment that is holding you back, give those to Jesus, Lynn.
Your tone sounds defeated to me. I am praying for strength for you Lynn, and for safety and for conviction. We all fall down. We all fall many times. Get back up, sister, and take a step out of this mess.
Hi JoAnn and Nancy and thank you for your responses. I called the police the night he said this and they got him to leave but they did not commit him or arrest him. They told me their hands were tied because I let him move back in and that he was not actively suicidal. He has since moved moved out again and I am moving forward with the divorce. He twisted what he said all around telling the police officers that he didn’t want to kill himself and that we do not have any weapons in the house( all guns were removed the last time he attempted suicide in front of me and our daughter). He told the officers he felt like he didn’t want to live because of all the horrible things I said to him. And I did….he said awful things and I said awful things back in response. I feel like I have become abusive too. I know in my heart that God does not want marriages like mine. I am just heartbroken that I stayed for as long as I have to let it get this bad. Our children have been hurt in the process especially our oldest daughter. She turns 16 soon and this has basically been like this the last 10 years of her life. I’m ashamed and embarrassed of some of the things I have said and done. I can’t say that I lived by my CORE. I feel like I have done everything wrong and lost who I am. I want so badly to find myself again and find my way back to God even.
Lynn, you are at a crucial place in your life, so remember that this is the first day of the rest of your life. From this day forward you are going to make your life different! You are going to grow in faith and you are going to heal. Leave your regrets behind and move on. First step: contact your local women’s shelter to get a recommendation for a female counselor who is skilled in helping women recover from abuse. Actually, you have already taken the first step by filing for divorce. Good move! Get your kids into counseling, too. Next step, find good, scripture based fellowship where you can grow spiritually. Spend time every day in the word of God, and prayer. Open your heart to the Lord and receive assurance of His forgiveness and presence in your life. Then, check in here every day to get the help from all of the women here who have been where you are and have tasted freedom and healing. We are praying for you.
I think I qualify for a scholarship, been following you one year. Please let me know who to contact to apply for the next conquest scholarship