Thanks for your prayers. I do feel them. This week I am out of the office all week attending a coaching conference. Next week my younger sister and her family will be here for a visit. I’m looking forward to some time with her. We hope to take a four-wheeler through the desert in Sonoma, so if we do, I will post a picture of our adventure.
In a few weeks, we will start the Walking in CORE Strength Group. This group is only offered twice a year so if you need to build CORE strength, this group is for you. Click here to learn more.
Today’s question: How do you really know if someone who is already a covert Narcissist type but undiagnosed is truly safe again? And who's to say that he won't revert back just as soon as you are codependent on them again for income and support and living in peace and harmony and love if it was never there to begin with on their end?
I have a second question. What if the well-being of the victim needs to be the more important reason to not live together? We've been married 21 years and have 8 kids. We are separated but not legal yet. I keep hearing people tell me, “but what if he changes enough, as he is changing. What if in five years he's all better and you will regret leaving.” I tell them, “who cares! It's not about him at this point but rather my safety and sanity and my well-being and that of the children as well.” Maybe I need a coaching session?
Answer: This question is similar to last week’s question about how do we ever know whether or not someone has really changed or is now safe to live with again.
You say your husband is undiagnosed but describe his behaviors as “covert narcissism.” For readers, unfamiliar with this label let’s review some behavioral indicators that someone may be narcissistic, either overt or more covert.
First, everyone has some narcissistic traits in his or her personality. That is not necessarily bad or pathological. It can be actually helpful or necessary when a person needs to be assertive with someone, or exercise good boundaries or healthy self-care. A person diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder is self-absorbed with no regard for another person. Some people (more overt narcissists) are very flamboyant in their narcissism and entitlement thinking. They are arrogant, demanding, and aggressive and believe they are entitled to exceptionally special treatment. People are used as objects to mirror their magnificence. When you fail, or don’t want to, or need some attention or care of your own, you will be devalued, dismissed and eventually discarded.
A covert narcissist is more hidden in his (or her) narcissism and less easily detected. The common term for the more covert narcissist is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. They are more undercover in their aggression as well as more passive/aggressive because they care how other people view them and therefore they do all they can to protect their image of a great (or godly) person.
A covert narcissist may show signs of humility but beware because they are very good pretenders. Both types of narcissists (overt and covert) are, at their core selfish, but with the covert narcissist, it is much harder for other people to detect the selfishness outwardly.
A covert narcissist is not as bold or brash as an overt narcissist and outwardly not as confident. He may have a more victim mindset and tends to blame other people for his problems.
Neither type of narcissist is capable of empathy for the pain caused others nor does a narcissist truly listen to people’s concerns or feelings. The covert narcissist may pretend to care in order to maintain the image of a good person but genuine concern or empathy is lacking in his consistent actions.
That said, to answer your question it’s unlikely that a narcissist changes because narcissists never see a need to change. It’s always everyone else’s fault. It is almost impossible to detect if a covert narcissist has gained the necessary genuine self-awareness to change because narcissists are excellent liars and pretenders. They can play the role of a changed person when it suits them to do so and often fool helping professionals including trained counselors and psychiatrists. Therefore, you are right to be cautious and not trust him.
But something else you said deeply concerns me. You said, “And who's to say that he won't revert back just as soon as you are codependent on them again for income and support and living in peace and harmony and love if it was never there to begin with on their end?”
What concerns me in this sentence is where you say “as soon as you are co-dependent on them again.” That worries me. It’s true that narcissists are usually married to highly co-dependent people who do not exercise good boundaries or good self-care. Has that been you?
While your husband is or is not doing his work to change, I hope you are doing yours. If you don’t, you will continue to be vulnerable to the same types of relationship issues that you’ve experienced with your husband, even if you don’t reconcile with him. You also share eight children together so I suspect you will still have to have some contact together to co-parent them. Therefore, it is crucial that you do your own work in order to get healthier. Even if he doesn't change, I hope you want to change and not revert back into co-dependent thinking and behaviors .
Yet, I am encouraged by your second question of “What if the well-being of the victim needs to be a more important reason not to live together.” Exactly! I’m glad you see that your safety and sanity matters. And that your eight children’s safety and sanity needs matter as well. (Click To Tweet)
Reconciling with him only feeds his narcissistic mindset that says his needs are most important. Everyone else’s needs come secondary.
It’s a fantasy to think that this kind of person is going to change in five years and be a completely different person. Don't feel pressured by the well-meaning but uninformed counsel of your friends. They have never lived with him, nor will they have to live with him in the future. Only you know what you and the children have been through and is it something you ever want to go through again? If not, then stay separated.
Friend, are you married to a covert narcissist who has changed? If so, share what woke him up, how long the journey of change took, and what work you had to do in order to stand strong.
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I am married to a covert narcissist we will celebrate 30 years in August. It has been a long, hard, impossible road. But God! I finally began to receive Godly counsel for myself in regards to a Godly marriage in 2014. I had despaired that my husband’s narcissism would ever change or that he would see his abusive, ways of using people. After 4 separations and various filings of divorce then rescinded God is doing an amazing work in both of us to bring a healthy marriage. It has been agonizingly slow and through it all God has brought me to face my “stuff”. My sin and woundedness so that I am healthy all on my own. I have had 3 different counselor /therapists tell me he would never change. I see my husband growing, being broken, and ultimately coming to where God wants us all. In full surrender to Him. Our maker and the Lover of our souls. May all glory be to Him!
Janet, I’m interested in when you started seeing the changes in your H.
Has it been recent? And when you describe him as being broken, what does that look like?
During the separations…did your H harden his heart, or was he open to counseling and feedback. Thanks
After our 4th separation I started to set boundaries (so difficult for me a codependent, recovering 🙂 and I started to notice he was respecting them. He filed for divorce after a few months, the OW was pushing him to do this. So I got my own lawyer and started to push back. More months later he started to seek me out and finally told me he still loves me and doesn’t want a divorce. So I have communicated to him I am still open for reconciliation but with strong boundaries in place. God has raised up a Godly counselor for my husband’s healing . It has been such a long journey but I could not have done it without God’s sustaining hand and wonderful Godly mentors and friends
Sorry I forgot to address the brokenness. I have come to observe that narcissism is actually setting oneself up as God. It is a self centerdness self righteousness. Self reliance. It is actually a spiritual stronghold. Like Leslie mentioned we all have it to some extent. Because it is a setting oneself up as God like God says He will not take second place. We are to have no other gods before Him. But for some this spirit (attitude) is so strong. They refuse to give in to others and certainly much less God. I also am very strong willed and God had to break me. Boundaries came to be a very big indicator for me. If a person will not accept boundaries from God then they won’t from others. My breaking was like a breakdown, very emotional but finally God got thru to me to show me I was not fully surrendered to Him. I hope this helps some it’s often hard to communicate how it happens
YES!!! My Covert Narcissist made or at least tried to make himself into my God. He would help nicely with kids, support me in breastfeeding and staying home, he would do all shopping and cooking
(really great cook) & to everyone outside & my kids he looked like the perfect Super Dad! It was only all used in a score keep to make me feel bad about what I couldn’t do and to keep my kids thinking and as well. Making like I’m deficient because I can’t cook and therefore am not self reliant. Evil, evil, evil! I always wanted to cook together and when I offered or tried to cook without him he would become angry and upset. He had to have complete control. He also can’t handle my kids giving me ANY praise. He must be the god who is the best parent and I’m just the body under the bed. Still Jesus is my Savior and he will save me in the end from his EVIL yoke of slavery. Jesus, I Trust in You! 🙂
With all your posts taken together it is clear you were with a dangerous abuser. You are very brave (8 kids!!!) to face the truth and make boundaries to promote your safety and sanity. Do you have personal support near you? You have a counselor, right? Supportive family? Friends? Church? It seems with mothering 8 children as a single mom, you will need others to encourage you and fill in some gaps while you heal, and work on yourself. (So you don’t fall prey to another person like your h.)
Praying for abundant provision and protection for you and your kids, Kelly.
Thank you T.L
I have friends who support me but he turned my siblings against me after I left in a smear campaign. It was awful. Please keep praying as I’m not totally free but working toward that soon. I’m not afraid of him anymore. If he does ANYTHING I will call the Police and get my restraining order immediately. If he kills me I died
for for the Truth of Christ! A martyr and all his kids will know what he really is and he won’t be able to hide anymore from the Truth! I’m really not afraid of him anymore. God healed me a year before I left him of all fear and anger. I’m very BLESSED :-)! Thanks again and keep us in prayer daily.:-)
Interested in comments to this one. My h has modified his behavior, but his comments and little tantrums show that his underlying attitude has not changed. He also switched to playing the victim. It’s been hard adjusting to this change and knowing what to do.
This so resonated with me. My husband of 21 yrs has “modified” his behavior as well since we stopped counseling….of course he has, he has to prove that the counselors were wrong. He says that “everything is fine” when we aren’t in counseling – to him everything appears fine, because he doesn’t have to deal with his issues…..but the root of his thinking, the real core of his attitude comes out every now and then in a tantrum…for instance on Sundays we both teach Sunday School. We have a check in system at our church so I checked myself in (after taking a quick look around to see if he was there – he wasn’t) so didn’t print off his tag. The moment the tag printed I turned and he had appeared. He asked if I had checked him in and since I hadn’t, he was very offended by my “independence” and I don’t act like we are even a couple anymore. blah. blah. Then lectured me in the afternoon as to how I’m so independent and I don’t act like I need him – and according to him, I HAD seen him there and should’ve checked him in.
….it’s moments like these that keep me on my guard. They’re “little” things….little signs that he still sees me as an extension of himself, and my existence is to make his life worth living.
Quite honestly, Leslie,
The question before this one. The lady who felt numb, resonated with me as well. I don’t trust the changes, and to be honest, I’ve lost any feelings of love that I have for him. I try and live out 1Cor. 13 love, but was lectured on the weekend (by my husband) as to how I am epically failing at that as well (not that I put too much stock in how he views me, at this point) He biblically bullies me. Always reminding me how I am not living up to what God calls me as a wife – specifically, there is NO physical contact between us. no hugs. no kisses. no hand holding…..of course, no SEX. That that is my biggest failing as a Christian! (according to him)
I must maintain these boundaries, because he is NOT SAFE.
He has calmed down and his anger is under better control, but his heart has not changed much.
I’m staying for the kids. I’m staying because God has not released me as of yet.
I’m staying because I’m getting healthier and not taking on what he dishes out. I also feel like I’m damage control for the kids.
But I can honestly say that I don’t love him. I try and live out love as a verb but I have no feelings associated with it.
What do we do with that? What if God never releases me but the feelings never return? They say “act out love and the feelings will follow”. This has not been my experience.
Not sure how this will all play out.
…sorry for the long post.
Dear Hanging on, you sound like you are where I was a few years ago. I was determined to hang on and didn’t feel that God was releasing me. I got to a place where I felt that I could not go on living with my life the way it was. I felt I should stay for the kids but I also felt that the kids were losing me. I became a shadow of my former self. I have since left the marriage and feel that God released me when I got to the point where I no longer wanted to live. I decided that my kids needed me to be healthy more than they needed mom
And dad together. Since leaving, many things came to light. He had been cheating on me for many years and I didn’t know it. I felt it in my gut but I didn’t trust my feelings. I have learned to trust my intuition and have become stronger. Please get things in place so that you are able to leave when and if the time is right and you are released.
How did you find out about the cheating? I’m the one who asked Leslie the question of ” Who’s to say he will change” In dealing with covert Narcissist abuse over 21 years and 8 kids. Also worried he placed hidden cameras in my home. Thanks for any help.
God Bless you!
Amen.. I had a coach that flipped it all over for me with 2 things.. she made me write down and stick it every where I could see it.. ” go off how you are treated not how you feel” the other game changer when I came to her with weekly issues was ” if your children or best friend came to you with this situation and all the details, what would you tell them to do??? I always said to go, leave, run, get out.. instantly when hearing her address me with that.. she then would say then why don’t you love yourself enough to take your own advise??? That’s were the work is tawnya, that’s were the freedom will follow.. I’m beyond thankful and have been out for 9 yrs 4 children 3 different dads.. I was not going to be in denial and read anymore blogs that women didn’t feel released in.. God gives us free will and he will give you knowledge if you seek him. He is clear and we are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. God showed me on my leap of faith, no money no family and church that said be a better wife for him to come home to.. that my sheep hear my voice. Choose this day whom you will serve. Thank you father for breaking religious beliefs, lies, and bondage to man. Glory be to god may these souls on here have DUNIMIS POWER AND THE BLOOD OVER there souls to be healed and walk forth to the milk and HONEY. In Jesus mighty name amen.
So glad you are free and experiencing the truth and Love of Him.
“do??? I always said to go, leave, run, get out.. instantly when hearing her address me with that.. she then would say then why don’t you love yourself enough to take your own advise??? That’s were the work is tawnya, that’s were the freedom will follow.. ”
This is wonderful counseling and I’m so thankful you embraced that position to find your path!
Praise God for that work and beauty!
Thank you.. bless you and all the souls that are finding there value and worth in doing the work to walk out what God intended..whole, healthy and loved! In Jesus mighty name amen.
I think it is absolutely normal to lose “feelings of love” for an abuser. Gosh, even healthy marriages experience the ebb and flow of “feelings of love,” how much more an abusive marriage!
Something that has helped me with this is increasingly strong boundaries. (A learning process for me, too, as a recovering co-dependent.) I had to lay down these boundaries:
1.) No talking about “us” without a 3rd person involved (counselor). Period!
2.) I will not listen to any criticism from you. I’ve had enough for a lifetime. The only exception is in the context of counseling.
3.) Do NOT cite Scripture as a means to motivate/manipulate/control me.
When an instance occurs that these boundaries are crossed, I politely but very firmly say, “I’m sorry. I’m not listening to this.” And I leave. This has really worked to cause him to self-monitor his behavior (heart change…that’s another matter!) and at least keep me emotionally protected from that sort of harm. My biggest boundary is physical separation. We are not living together…though I do allow him to come over for limited periods of time, especially to see our daughter.
This emotional and physical distancing has allowed me to experience some healing, and I am finding some feelings of love returning. They are like twinges that come and go, rather fleeting, but at least they are there. They had been completely absent for a long period of time–years….because of sustained abuse, much of it covert.
I’m learning to feel brief feelings of love and compassion, without being compelled to loosen my boundaries. This makes me happy, because I want to be able to “love the unlovable” so to speak. I don’t want to completely lose love in my heart, even for my enemy. That wouldn’t be Christ-like. So sometimes we have to do things that seem “mean”–boundaries–in order to provoke good, both in ourselves and the other.
That’s what I’ve been learning lately.
Dear Hanging On and All:
I wanted to talk about love. I am making my way towards filing a divorce this week. I cannot believe it is here. I kept hoping. Now its been 35 years. Our anniversary was yesterday and neither one of us said a thing.
I will always love him. God will give me that grace. I am assured that my love for him is pleasing to our God. That love is not that of a wife, partner, helpmate, or intimate friend. That love is being destroyed–perhaps has been–for quite some time.
I pray he will be converted. He lines up just about every single line of a covert narcissist. I worry if he even has a conscience. God knows him. And I will trust God to care for him. My time is ended. I believe it has been about eighteen months ago when I clearly heard I must “get out of the way”. In some ways I am my hubby’s God, and I falsely believed if only I could reach him.
Anyhow, I appreciate everyone here. I am giving myself permission to grieve. Feeling sorry for myself and relinquishing my boundaries is no longer an option. Please pray for me. This is really hard.
Oh Sweet Kay,
I am sure that we are all grieving with you here. It is a truly defining moment in many ways to be in the position that you are in ~ the “you know when to go” moment. The alignment of that moment of “knowing” and the actual “going” can often be along and difficult time frame. It almost felt to me like child birth labor. The pain was excruciating, but there was no longer any denying it or sweeping it under the rug … it was coming down the tracks like a freight train! That train ultimately has been leading me to healing.
I am praying that for you as well. Grieve, yes, do that. It is a grievous event. Yet, I am confident that with your contnually yielded spirit and the support of the right “others” you will find the healing that Jesus died to give you.
We are here. You are loved.
I loved how Dawn responded to you ❤️
You are in my prayers too.
Somehow I missed your message here until Dawn just gave her beautiful response.
I’m so glad you are giving yourself permission to grieve your lost dream. I grieve this loss with you. I am so sorry that your good desire of a healthy marriage was not to be. I’m so glad you know the “God of all comfort” and I pray that the He will comfort you as only He can do.
Be kind and gentle with yourself. I hope you are surrounded by loving friends, family, and or/counselors to process your grief with, when needed.
I’m sorry to respond to TL thread, I haven’t seen your original post come through. I just wanted to also say how sorry I am for the loss of your marriage. I will pray for God to hold your heart and for the comfort as you begin a new path.
Hoping we can walk alongside you;) and get to know you.
There are so many precious women here that know can understand some of what you are going through.
The Lord will be with you💖 Every step.
Dear sister Kay,
Wow, what a heart wrenching post. I hardly know how to respond. I am so saddened for you regarding the loss of your marriage, yet hopeful that God is at work. Your faith is evident and I will be praying for you my friend.
Lord, comfort, guide, hold, and deliver both Kay and her husband.
Dear Hanging on,
“I’m staying for the kids. I’m staying because God has not released me as of yet.
I’m staying because I’m getting healthier and not taking on what he dishes out. I also feel like I’m damage control for the kids.”
Those seem like good reasons to stay. Especially the one about God not having released you yet.
May I ask how old your children are?
Praying for you.
Thank you to all who took the time to share with me their experiences.
Charlie, I can completely relate to you despairing for life itself….I also went through a prolonged time of asking Jesus to take me home….God has brought me to the other side of that, where He has shown me the importance of getting myself healthy. And yet, for me, that has not come with being released, unfortunately. There have been no indiscretions – I’m fairly confident in that. I know that that would be my open exit door.
TL, Thank you for your kind response, and validating that it’s okay to lose the feelings of love. I appreciate so much you sharing your boundaries – I think I will implement some of them for myself. The one about not discussing the relationship without a 3rd person involved is one that I so want to implement, simply because discussing “us” also always leads to criticism and citing scripture as a means to manipulate me. How do you implement this boundary when your husband is completely unwilling to go meet with a counselor??? I guess I always believed that I should take every opportunity to have these discussions, because he so rarely is even open to discussion. It just feels like another nail in the coffin to stop trying to have the discussions….’cause I know he wont go see anyone with me anymore.
I am so sorry for this loss. Even though I’m positive you’ve been “mourning” the loss of the dream for many years now, the difficult step of filing for divorce and the finality of that is heart wrenching. May God give you everything you need to face the difficult days ahead.
I thank you for your prayers. It’s amazing to me that God can bring total strangers into our lives to lift us up in prayer as we share our struggles. What a beautiful thing, the body of believers!
My children are 19, 17, 15 and 9. The 19yr old has been out of the house for 2yrs now – away at school and works away as well during the summers. The 17yr old graduates high school this year and will be leaving for summer employment and college as well. So only two at home starting this summer.
Dear Hanging on,
I’m sorry I didn’t respond earlier, it did seem apparent that you were getting some well articulated responses.
I’m sorry for what you have been enduring and having to navigate, it can feel like such a lonely place especially if people around can’t quite relate.
Your recent comments and questions resonate with me regarding your h not willing to have that 3rd party.
Here’s a bit of my journey because I had a VERY resistant spouse at one time.
Here what I pressed into:
Husband, yes.. I have a problem with things in our marriage and our roles (you fill in the blank). And being that I have a problem, means WE have a problem to address.
It was quite easy for my h to quickly remove himself from any responsibility if I was impacted in a negative way.
Anyways, not sure if that’s helpful but that stance for my h and I brought progress, he did have to be reminded of this notion often.
Praying for the support and care you need for your healing🙏
You are Not alone! Many are wanting to hold your hand;) we understand the navigating and the damage control via the children.
Hi Hanging On,
First off, I want to mention that I really relate to several things you said regarding your husband. Using Scripture to try to control you, not taking your word for it with the Sunday school check in episode (because what is true doesn’t matter to him…what he prefers to believe matters–and that is basically a belief that centers in his importance and superiority–how could you not see His Highness???)
You mentioned that you used to be in counseling but are not anymore and your husband is unwilling. What happened to end the counseling? And have you considered remaining in counseling yourself to help you continue to grow in your CORE and to give you feedback on how to deal with your destructive mate?
The one and only reason my husband agreed to go to counseling with me (after I asked and begged for years) is because I told him I would leave him if he didn’t. (Of course he attempted to lecture me on why this would be breaking our vows…but I told him that HE was the one breaking the vows–habitually. The vow isn’t “till death do us part”–that’s the time frame in which to KEEP the vow. The vow itself, the promise, was to love and cherish. Can’t be kept perfectly by anyone, but must not be broken habitually and then not repented of. HE was the vow-breaker.)
In your current position (wanting to stay well, at least for now, on account of the kids; and with him refusing to go to counseling) you might try: informing him (consider doing this in a letter or email so it does not become an argument) that you consider him to be emotionally, verbally, and spiritually abusive (if you don’t want to use that word, use destructive.) I would tell him that if he speaks to you in a way that makes you feel unsafe in any of these ways, you will end the conversation immediately. And then do it! Don’t get sucked in to the crazy cycle.
Have you listened to Patrick Doyle videos? He talks about handling difficult relationships/conflict in this way: write a letter telling your feelings/issues, etc. Tell the other person to write you back; that you do NOT want to talk about it. This will serve to allow you to say all you want to say without being interrupted and drawn into crazy-making. It will keep you accountable to your words, so you will say them thoughtfully and clearly. And him, too. And you will have a written record if he does agree to more counseling.
If my husband references Scripture to use it against me, I interrupt him and tell him to stop using Scripture to try to manipulate me. If he protests, I get up and leave.
As Patrick Doyle says, in a relationship like this, you have to be willing to put it on the altar. You have to make firm boundaries with an attitude of “I may lose the relationship if I do this…but it is worth the chance. It is ungodly, unchristian, destructive and unacceptable as it is.”
My life began to change when I got alone with God for a week, out of the toxic atmosphere, with the intention of searching my own heart and God’s heart. I allowed Him to shine His light on my faults and sins by taking “a fearless moral inventory” on myself…honestly looking within, admitting and confessing to God what was there. This was cleansing and was like “taking the log out of my own eye”–the sudden and new clarity was dramatic. I returned home unclouded and no longer subject to my. h. control–God was now in control of me, not my h.
I hope that helps. There are so many loving, beautiful women on this blog: sisters who are caring for, mentoring, and praying for each other. I know you’ll get other helpful advice from other’s perspectives too.
This is timely for me. My husband is a covert-aggressive narcissist (not diagnosed). He said he wanted to change and there was some improvement. Then he seemed to give up trying for a month and things were just as bad as ever. I lost hope of further change.
Now he has gone back to trying, after I told him we would have to separate soon. I am wondering if the month of unrepentant emotional abuse could have been a dip in a generally upward trend?
We have been married over 20 years and he has been emotionally abusive for most of that time. He first said he wanted to change four years ago, before I discovered that emotional abuse was the name for what he was doing. He has been through a program for abusive men that ended 18 months ago.
We have two children and I want to do the best thing for them.
If your children came to you with your situation, all the pain and heart ache what would you tell them to do?
Thank you, Tawnya. I am not sure what I’d tell them at the moment. (In my particular situation there are strong reasons against leaving as well as for.) I will think about that.
You ask if it’s possible that your husband’s recent “backsliding” in emotional abuse could be a dip in a generally upward trend. You said 4 years ago he stated that he wanted to change and has done some work, and you have seen “some improvement.” To me it sounds as if there are not enough boundaries, consequences, and interventions in place. If he really wants to change, he will need to have lots of those. Just going through the one program and thinking that will do it, is naive. It will take years of support/interventions (counseling, mentoring, etc.) for him to effect long-term change in attitudes and habits.
Is he in counseling? Who, besides you, is he accountable to?
When he regressed for that month, you told him you would soon need to separate, and he cleaned up his act somewhat again. Did he “own” his bad behavior? Does he name it and confess it and ask for forgiveness? Or does he act defensive or minimize?
To me, it sounds like your husband is modifying his behavior just enough to get you to saty, but not digging down deep and having a real “change of heart”: repentance; dealing with the heart attitudes (entitlement, selfishness, arrogance, perhaps) that drive his behavior.
Are you getting some counseling to help you grow stronger and recognize how important and valuable a person you are to God?
I’d encourage you to keep reading Leslie’s writings, on this blog and her books, especially The Emotionally Destructive Marriage. Also watch/listen to the great videos she has produced, which you can find on youtube. I also highly recommend Patrick Doyle’s videos. Try the one on Repentance and also Emotional Abuse.
Hope that helps you on your journey to health and freedom, Jill.
This is the first time I have ever left a reply on comments, but this particular question has been bugging me for years –what if he changed? I have been in a relationship with a narcissist, undiagnosed but ticking all the boxes. The relationship was on and off for 6 years, with him disappearing for weeks and months only to come back, professing how he missed me, how he cried over me and how he has changed. Similar stories to all that I have read on this forum. He was forever chasing the perfect religion and to the world he is the godliest man alive! Always telling me how I fell short and not nearly as godly as I should be, how pathetic I am, was among the verbal abuse. After 6 years, and a separation of 6 months after I caught him cheating on me with our neighbour, he came back again convincing me how he has changed and now have found true religion. Classic co-dependant that I am/was, I believed this because I prayed so much for him to change and I believed that God had indeed answered my prayers. Married only for 3 months, he again found a new religion, and wanted us to move over to that particular denomination. In the past, I have complied every time to please him and not rock the boat and stay clear of his awful temper, but this time I just could not. All in me just opposed the move as I believed denomination was a cult, and from then on he turned cold and started living his own life. Again all the previous abuse started, nothing I did was good enough, financially I was ruined as I was falling behind every month more and more. I have taken out a huge personal loan just after we got married to renovate the house that we bought together 4 years before we got married and this was a big financial burden on me. Without going into details, our relationship deteriorated up to a point where I tried to commit suicide as I did not see my way out of debt to leave him. Unlucky for him I survived but then he really upped his game to get rid of me. I tried to reason with him to just assist me financially so I can leave and get back on my feet to which he replied that it was not his problem. Eventually I could not stay and after applying for debt counselling, I left him 2 years ago. I lost everything and as he refused to give me my share of the estate that was due to me, I am struggling to make a living as I am financially ruined. Two months after the divorce was finalised he got engaged and married again soon after. All over facebook his new life is displayed with pictures and comments how happy he now is and I am haunted with the question of if I just hanged on a little while longer, would he have changed? I don’t know and I guess this question will haunt me for the rest of my life…
Anything he puts on Facebook is a lie to the world, don’t believe it…you know the reality that his new relationship is just as horrible as his with you…he has not changed. You are much better off for walking away and trying to start a new life and it will be better for you whether you feel it right now or not.
My x doesn’t do much on FB, but his second marriage seems great to everyone. He stole her from her h who had MS. What I don’t get is how she controls him. He has fixed 2 or 3 old houses for her and built her a brand new one, does all her landscaping………he would not do anything that I asked; forget the ‘honey-do’ lists…..in fact if I asked him to do something I could guarantee you he’d do the opposite. Maybe because she has the money? And he has otherwise very few responsibilities now. Life is confusing. 🙂
Connie, your gut feeling that “she has the money” and “he has little responsibility” are what are feeding his ego. Don’t give into the confusion and start doubting yourself. You figured it out. And trust me, his disguise will come off sooner or later with her. She doesn’t have it good at all. She’s stuck with him now. Be glad he is gone. “Better is a dry crust with peace,”
Folks, please help me to not doubt myself and give into the confusion as well. I was able to help Connie b/c I married someone who sounds like her x. But it’s been long enough now that the charm has wore off, coffers are emptying, and his true self-centered entitled mindset has reared.
Staying sane while living with someone who is crazy making is an uphill battle. My heart goes out to you, Watch Patrick Doyle you tube videos. Read Leslie’s book. There are other resources too ( anyone have suggestions?). Strengthen your CORE (Leslie has a class coming up).
I lift you up to The Lord, Hope.
How are things going? How can we help/support/encourage you?
Disillusioned….you did the right thing, as painful as it is now. He has not changed. Narcs rarely do…and if they do, it’s not for long. I’m sorry you were so abused that you didn’t want to live…Narcs are horrid, wicked people, who only care about themselves. Draw close to God…let Him love you and show you that He and He alone is all you need.
BTW, Facebook is not called Fakebook for nothing!
Trust me, I was the Queen of Fakebook until my daughter in law called me out on it! My BFF and I have always said “If it’s all sunshine and rainbows on Facebook, chances are, they are having problems.” We’ve seen it over and over again.
I know, I know, not ALL of FB is fake…but a good majority….yep!
I’ll be praying for you Disillusioned…you are going to look back one day and thank God for setting you free!
I concur with Tina. After a long 4+ yrs relationship with my covert narc, semi diagnosed, (I didn’t understand or have knowledge of what NPD was) by the psychologist we went to as a last ditch effort, I was so badly socially shamed on FB. Within 2 months he connected with a woman at church and they were immediately ‘engaged’. She is an ex addict with problems with boundaries and co-dependency (she later revealed to me). I watched from afar 5 months of the full spectrum of narc behaviors, starting at the love bombing phase straight through to the hoovering and now the vicious discrediting and discarding of her. He is exactly back to where he has always been. Now playing the victim. Trying to seek attention from the church people including worship pastor and his wife. Initially, they coddled him, reached out to help him, bought him hook, line and sinker. Even told me ‘they would handle it’ after I explained my experience. The only one who listened to me was the head pastor’s wife. I gave her Leslie’s ‘5 indicators of an evil heart’. She was well acquainted with Leslie’s writings. Not knowing my ex for every long, when I out of the blue went to her for counsel she had such a stunned response…meaning she knew there was something very ‘off’ as he was new to church and the woman was a long standing member of the church. The night previous to our meeting (which was totally last minute and had no idea why I was wanting to speak with her) she said she had a dream ..feeling God was urging her to go to this woman because something was terribly wrong. It floored me….God knows.
Dear sister in Christ, Please unfriend your ex on FB if you havent already, tell others to not share anything they read/hear on FB about his ‘new life’, take your thoughts captive, and walk in God’s Truth. You are a beautiful daughter of the King and the Lord wants you to know this!
Beautiful, I want to speak truth.. I had a similar situation and with 4 children.. a women in my support group was ahead of me in her recovery and as I would cry and lashelles out about the debt I was under and they new life he so quickly got, she said today in my recovery no amount of debt could replace the man I’m no longer under. I get joy to write that check for my stupidity and thank God that a price is not put on my sanity or safety.. I arose and got a angle in my path that gave me a name dani Johnson War on debt.. I bought it and I got a gift that replaced the pain and set me and my children up for success 100 fold. I had to repent for bitterness, selfishness and coveting what he had or what she was getting. God showed me he is living a lie, he in tangled another week women in his Web and I had choices and options now to obey God release, and allow his promises to come to pass.. I’m living in abundance and wisdom on knowing what I want in my life and the skills to discern sheep in wolfs clothing. Please join the class on building your core. Put a no disturb sign on your heart and gain back 100 fold from what the devil stole. In Jesus mighty name amen.
Tawnya, sounds like you moved from a victim mindset to an owner mindset. Good for you.
I am married, living separately, to a covert narcissist who has changed in some small ways. We have four grown sons and at one time owned a small business together for which I did most of the work. He had some medical issues that resulted in long recovery times and some brain trauma which might account for much of his trouble, but he still had rage, depression and entitlement and shame issues before his surgeries that grew worse after them. I orchestrated his recovery care and his neurobiofeedback therapy, he grudgingly complied with that therapy, so these issues have improved, but he still has an underlying, simmering rage that pops out here and there. Add his introverted self absorption, his lack of flexibility and his stonewalling, projecting, blaming and defensiveness, and when I was living with him it may as well have been me living alone. Three years ago, i asked him to move out and when he didn’t, I moved out of our bedroom. I asked him in a letter to do five things: get a job as we were going to lose our house, focus on his future betterment in his career instead of obsessing on the losses in our self employed business, see a therapist for some somatic psychology, be a part of a recovery program, and have a spiritual mentor. He did go to a treatment center in 2015 for 30 days and tricked them all by his good behavior. He is charming and friendly and trustworthy, but is different in private. We lost our house and he finally has a part time job. He is a very slow ship to turn! As for the rest, just excuses and no real transparency with his friends from church. I am now getting more stable financially and have a little condo that is my safe zone. He thought we were going to live together again, soon, but I and my therapist and my sponsor from Celebrate Recovery, and friends who know and love me and my gut says it would be a terrible mistake to live with him again. Ii have decided to honor my gut feelings and see to my safety and sanity. I am able to be around him when we have our sons around, or when he invites me out to a movie or dinner or something like that, but I am not going to live in that Alice in wonderland nightmare of passive aggressiveness, rage, dismissiveness, frustration and fury that was our destructive and disappointing relationship. I was definitely the reactive angry codependent, and imagine that it was a nightmare for him as well. I just don’t understand how he can be so sentimentally committed to our relationship when there was so much wrong with us together. Although his sad pity party yanks at my guilt and codependency, I feel much better about standing firm and letting him take care of himself, AND keeping myself safe. Outwardly, he is capable and strong, but it seems to me that he is living in denial and love addiction, and I am no longer willing to collude with his fantasies. I know I am honoring God in this, but it has been a long hard six year road through a very deep pit of dragging me and my family out of financial ruin, mental and emotional instability, and narcissistic/codependent confusion. Still working on it. I trust God will see everything through and my job is to keep being honest with my heart and working on me.
My answer to ‘those others’ would be, “Well then we will remarry at that time”. There is a very slight possibility of him changing when you are not together (if ‘those others’ would only hold him accountable instead of buying into his whining), but none if you get together again just in case he changes in 5 years. That’s like giving a rebellious teen whatever he/she wants (instead of tough love) just in case they decide to be nice……in 5 years. Or giving an alcoholic all the drink they want……just in case they decide to stop drinking. Abuse/narcissism is an addiction. They get real adrenal buzzes from seeing others confused or cringe or cry. Think of a bully on the playground. Being kind actually makes them depressed.
I believe that Hollywood has a big part in our magical thinking. I think the fact that I’ve rarely watched TV or movies in my life makes me more sensitive to this, but I’ve noticed that the dad in Bonanza (H likes the old stuff) changes every sort of ‘bad guy’ by saying just the right thing to them. And they change overnight. I think many movies are that way. We are not logical people, we are much more run by emotions than we realize. And those emotions are formed mostly when we are children, sometimes even in the womb or in the DNA. If our foundational trust is broken early, we form inner vows and bitter roots that haunt us.That’s why we need Jesus and the power of HIs resurrection, as well as other (safe) people.
Thank You so much :-)! I’m going to write down what you wrote to me! My biggest thing is Trust. I was sexually abused as a child and then victimized and bullied by siblings and school peers. Then I met him. My Dad was a Covert-Overt Narcissist. I married my father! The thing is my x never, ever acted like him and was always so giving and loving and kind. Then after quitting my job to stay home with my baby he would do things such as hold me against my will. One day I laid my baby in my bed for a second in the middle of the bed so she wouldn’t fall. I went in my closet to grab her clean clothes and a diaper. He suddenly came into my closet and blocked my path to get out. I’m also claustrophobic and don’t like confinement. He caught me by surprise and my 3 month old baby lie on the bed waiting for me to come back and change her diaper & clothes. He wouldn’t let me out! I pleaded and pleaded until I screamed and lost it when she actually fell off the bed! I was so horrified! The whole time he just kept on provoking me into a fight over nothing! Then he took my keys so I couldn’t leave while I was trying to calm the baby. This is crazy making covert abuse at its best. That’s not love, it’s destruction! He constantly tried everything to destroy me, and I’m just suppose to forget it all and hope he’s changed? I just say No I will need trust anyone with my whole self and well being again unless Jesus himself comes down and says this person is trustworthy and safe. They usually are quite with that response from me :-)! Thanks again!
Kelly, that is horrific! I’m afraid my knee would have been in my husbands private parts, once my baby fell off the bed! Oh my word! I’m so sorry!
Have you read Lundy Bancrofts book, “Why does He Do That?” It was an eye opener for me.
And I hear ya on the lack of trust…my friends keep assuring me that once divorced, I’ll have NO problem dating…yeah, well, NOT interested!
I tell my well meaning friends, “God will have to put a big bow on his head, with a big card that says “To Teris…from God. My personal gift to you!” And I would still probably run the other way!
At this point in my life, I’m content with being alone…I’ve been alone my entire marriage…I’m rather use to it by now.
I agree, Teris, that’s horrible!!!! Restraining someone is physical abuse. H used to call me into the bedroom to ‘talk’ for hours, going nowhere, while the kids were crying or needing me some other way. One day God told me to stop going there. H was very upset but it freed me up. Then one day I was at a friend’s who was showing me her home. We went to the bedroom and I screeched! She was confused and so was I, and then I realized that I was staring at the door to the outside on the other side of the room and I thought that was terrific!! Why? I was actually traumatized by all those times when I’d been ‘imprisoned’ for hours and harassed and that door meant freedom to escape! Weird, I know, but it came back when I read Kelly’s story above. These things are awful!
Yes! Thanks Connie! I also have been locked in a basement bedroom to have hours of talking and fighting until I just went nuts and he threatened to call police and have my kids taken. Then when I said you best kill me first he put a gun to my head! I said a prayer out loud to Jesus, I said ” Jesus, I’m ready”. He immediately dropped the gun. and ran out. It was so demonic. Jesus holy Name is Power! Say it often and over and over again 🙂
I’ve been married for 21 years and for 20 years the blocking me in the closet, bathroom, or bedroom has been a regular occurrence. I had my phone one time and threatened to call 911 and that’s the first time he left even though I begged him in all previous years to stop and told him how it made me feel. My problem is this. About a year ago he changed and repented. I didn’t believe it was real at first but he acts different and treats me different now. While not perfect, I can see a genuine effort being made, and I can’t say that ever happened in the past even after apologizing. The name calling and verbal and emotional abuse have all but stopped. My problem is that I don’t know what to do about it. While I truly feel I have forgiven him, I do not feel love for him in the way a wife should and I cringe when he tries to come close to me. I truly feel like I have PTSD. When he walks in the bedroom (for any reason) I start to go into panic mode and can’t breathe. I’m at a loss. God has been working on him and doing what I thought was impossible and now I feel guilty because I can’t love him and I feel hurt wondering if I will ever be able to know what real love feels like. I guess my question is how to I handle it even when he isn’t a narcissist and the change does seem real.
We have to be extremely careful with labels. Labels enable us to talk about people in an efficient way. There’s also, though, danger there.
First of all, I completely agree with Leslie that your focus needs to be first on safety and sanity ( for yourself and your kids), second on your own work – healing and growth (that’s my interpretation of that part of Leslie’s response).
If your feeling is that he is a covert narcissist then you need to honour that for sure. I guess my caution here is to not OVER focus on it. Why? Because it is only in retrospect that we can judge if someone’s seemingly repentant behaviour is real. Consistent behavioural change OVER TIME, is the measuring stick as well as his response to being held accountable and being corrected – also over time. So yes, be realistic about your husband’s enormous limitations, but focus much more on your own process. I think I’m just using different words to say what Leslie said…
I just want to come clean about my sensitivity here. Maybe it’s clouding my judgment so I’m open to feedback for sure.
On the surface my mother, my mother in law as well as my husband have all displayed a lot characteristics of narcissism. I have set boundaries with all 3. it is interesting to see their responses. What I am finding is something Diane Lanburg said in a video I watched on narcissism : only God knows the true condition of someone’s heart and wether there is a spot in there somewhere.
Ultimately for me it comes down to the fact that people with hardened hearts all need tough love ( as outlined so beautifully in Leslie’s the emotionally destructive marriage). And only time will tell wether they turn to The Lord and allow Him to soften it.
I think many times we want to label people because we want to skip over the process of doing the hard work. We want to know the story ending. Only God knows the story ending. That’s not our business. Our business is to do the work He calls us to do.
Regardless of the eventual outcome, or the labels we give our husbands OR ourselves, our work is the same: We take steps toward safety, sanity, healing and growth as we rely on The Lord for the outcome. We don’t know where this is going. And that is scary. But that’s exactly the space where The Lord meets us, and where we learn powerful lessons about His character, Love and provision for us ❤️
I have been telling myself the same thing….Only God can soften a heart. And the husband will only want true repentance and change when his heart is humbled. My showing love is not enough and it’s always demanding more. With that said, I can stay married and work on my sanity, and my kids, as long as I don’t feel threatened or harmed physically. It’s the harm emotionally, that I’m not so certain, I am sure what God wants. When I tried for separation and work on restoration through other means then what was happening, promises were made, and I thought if I came back so focused and so motivated it would spark that same in him. Instead he said it wasn’t enough and he could not forgive me leaving, and I am a disgrace to him and our family. It’s been hard staying but ultimately I know God is in control and He can and Is Able to provide all my husband needs, and yet, my husband has free will to choose. I need to grow my Core and My self identify in Christ before I can do anything else.
I guess the question is can you grow in CORE while living with him? Do you have sanity in place? Hard hearted people have a way of shifting blame, controlling and manipulating, and all of these things undermine sanity.
Hard hearted people need tough Love ( capital L because it is Godly). If you can set boundaries to preserve your sanity and he respects those boundaries, then you have created a space to grow.
Remember Kim, proverbs 4:23 -Above all else guard your heart.
If you make guarding your heart your priority, your husband’s ability to change or not, will become clearer and clearer.
This is a reply to you and the one above. I couldn’t stay. I was so DEFEATED. My health and well being was deteriorating like never before. My kids were being used in a demonic fashion as weapons of mass destruction in his many weapons arsenal. I don’t feel ANYONE should stay for the kids sake. Enabling an evil abusive spouce is Never a GOOD. One day I will have to stand before God and give an accounting for all the enabling I did when I knew it was evil to live with him. I say it’s not a marriage it’s a manipulation! God give you peace and truth in all you say and do. God Bless you!
I’m so glad you are choosing safety and sanity, Kelly ❤️
Thanks Nancy! 🙂 God Bless you! :-)!
Correction Re: Diane Lanburg ” wether there is a SOFT spot in there”
This is such a well timed article for me! The description of a covert narcissist is exactly what I needed to hear as it describes my husband and explains why I often have doubted myself. The choice to take care of me has been and continues to be very liberating…the only path that I can really take…I am finding freedom.
Yes! I NEVER realized my H was a covert Narc! Wow! Very hard to deal with, but also liberating.
I appreciate how you said: “The description of a covert narcissist is exactly what I needed to hear as it describes my husband and explains why I often have doubted myself. The choice to take care of me has been and continues to be very liberating…the only path that I can really take…I am finding freedom.”
Me too. May I ask how you are finding the freedom?
There are a couple of women I have listened to regarding narcissism.
Christine Louis de Canonville author and teacher wrote the book: “The 3 faces of evil”
Here are a couple of links of hers:
Diane Langberg also has material regarding this disorder:
Another thing I am learning from these women is narcissistic victim syndrome.
Christine is writing a book about that now and suggested I purchase a book entitled:
“Complex PSTD : From Surviving to Thriving” by Pete Walker
It is a book about how we developed defense mechanisms to endure the abuse, and how those mechanisms maybe could use some adjusting now that we are being freed from the daily abuse of the narcissists.
Wow! this blog post is so timely for me as I recently separated from my (very likely narcissist) husband of 12 years.
I have long suspected my husband was more of the covert type…The tell tale signs to help you recognize a covert narcissist:
•Emptiness, seems to have something missing that you can’t quite put your finger on
•Stubborn, rarely apologising unless they want something from you (see narcissistic supply)
•Ability to make you feel guilty, even when something is not your fault
•Entirely self centered; they are the center of their own universe
•Expert liars; charming, hypnotic, a master of manipulation
•Projecting their insecurities and defects onto you
•Very sensitive to constructive criticism
•Inability to form intimate relationships
•Inability to feel genuine remorse
•Blaming others for their problems
•Low emotional intelligence
•Extreme lack of empathy
•A victim mentality.
Now I would like to say though that “he seems” to be changing for the first time. He is seeing a counselor, being kind and saying he is sorry…all of that “good stuff.” Though he has NOT respected my boundaries for limited contact–but his contact has always been “nice” – which leaves me very confused.
But I have also been struggling with feelings of..”what if he changes enough in 2 years-” will I be horrible if I still can’t trust him.?
I know that I definitely have co-dependent traits I need to work on….and that I should focus on that…but it is hard when my church members and others seems so much more concerned about his change then mine?
They see every little step as wonderful progress…
I am just so wary of everything…not to mention I am struggling with thoughts of –I just don’t even know if I want to stick around to see if real change is possible. If he wants to change for him –to be more the man he wants to be that is great for him and our children..But in terms of having a real relationship with me again? I don’t know…..
I found this list and thought it was really helpful as I can check almost all of them for him!
OnMyWay…you do what YOU need to do…and forget about what other people say or think!
Like Leslie said, THEY are not living with the Narc…you are!
BTW, I can check everyone of the things on your list also…31 yrs of living with a Narc…and I didn’t even realize it!
Your H can change without you…if he really wants to. He doesn’t need you there, holding his hand….and if he does truly change, you can always remarry, after he’s proven himself.
I had similar feelings regarding the people at the church we were attending (for less than 1 year)….and then I found out he was going to them behind my back and through text messages, etc. (a few acquaintances and the worship pastor who also had an online degree for biblical counseling) whom all didn’t know me outside of a ‘hello’ on Sundays. He was saying things to discredit me and grooming them to take his side…and again, I didn’t even know these people very well. NPD people are very manipulative and calculating….They plan ahead of time so they can look like the victim and the other person the crazy one. I would never ever believe someone would or could do that but it happened to me. I’ve lived it and it hurt knowing I had no way to defend myself because he had already groomed them for what is known as ‘flying monkeys’. Google that term if you don’t already know what it is. I relate to all the indicators you listed above. When I started educating myself on this disorder, I found Leslie Vernick. and then I read her writings, 5 indicators of an evil heart. I saw scripture that backed up the behaviors. That’s all I personally needed. I was done. Prior to that when I was suspect and brought it up for discussion everything was turned back onto me. The light bulb went on. We were never married, just dated for over 4 years…no kids involved. But like Teris said above and I concur, ‘Your H can change without you…if he really wants to. He doesn’t need you there, holding his hand….and if he does truly change, you can always remarry, after he’s proven himself.’ This is psychological abuse. And they stop at nothing, for that is what evil does, imo. I will keep you and your children in my prayers.
OnMyWay, thank you for this list. It was very clarifying.
I packed up and left after 42 years of marriage. When I was hours away I called him and told him that I was not coming back. He went through the expected reactions i.e. I am going to kill myself, I am going to burn the house down, I am going to disappear and no one will know where I am.
He went through a very difficult time.After I left, he lost his job, as well as his car and his health. He sat and cried for days and finally went to a counselor.
I was gone 6 months and due to circumstances ended up coming back.I let him know I would leave for good the day he reverted to his cruel behavior. I really believe he has stayed semi nice because he know I will leave. However I have come to understand that he loves himself and I am an extension of him taking care of that self.
I trust the Lord will remove me from this vow when it is His perfect time but I certainly do not recommend living with a narcissist.
Separated for a year and a half from a covert narcissist, just starting to feel healthy. Don’t want to backtrack!
Thanks for your clarification, Leslie. It’s difficult to hear that life alone might be the new norm. But, technically, I was alone even when we lived in the same house.
Walking in CORE strength is critical! I have the most trouble with seeing and accepting what is true. You always help with that part!
Thank you Leslie for using my question!!! 🙂 Although not very well written on my part.:-) I am doing my work Leslie. Wondering if you can recommend any good book or videos that deal with co-dependent issues that aren’t New Age in nature 🙂 Also what I mean by co-dependant, should’ve been stated as just dependent for love & intimacy & financial support. Also, for someone to give another their body in a sacred way in a marriage covenant takes COMPLETE TRUST!
We’ve never had true intimacy and now I see it was all just mask he was putting on for so many years!:( I am grieving a big loss but Christ is with me through all of this. Leading me and holding me in his tender, loving arms! He cries with me through my pain. Each day I see more ways he abused me covertly and how I still don’t feel I’ll ever be able to trust him. I still don’t know how to say that to my friend’s that are Christian so that they will understand. You are the one and only person that was speaking this truth when I found you over a year ago. I now speak your words of wisdom to everyone I meet. Safety and Sanity! 🙂 Leslie I will forever be grateful for you and your ministry to me & others in an abusive marriage. You keep praying and keep smiling my friend :-)!
Hi Kelly – Here are some resources that I have found valuable in my own journey in breaking relationship with a covert narcissist (not my husband, though). The book “Emotional Blackmail” (https://www.amazon.com/Emotional-Blackmail-People-Obligation-Manipulate/dp/0060928972) – is not New Age and gives very tangible, practical advice.
Also, I just discovered the website for author and counselor Brad Hambrick (bradhambrick.com) – he even references Leslie Vernick’s materials. His website is full of information – I really appreciated his teachings on overcoming co-dependency. I also just bought his book called “Self-Centered Spouse”. Really good so far!
Thank you Brianna :-)!!!
“Friend, are you married to a covert narcissist who has changed?” ―No. . . . ―In the broader sense, these are really heavy, tough questions because their full, complete answers may ultimately deconstruct/ demthyologize Christianity. Jesus does not magically turn rapists into safe people to be around. Jesus does not magically cure addiction (―at least not at any rate statistically better than placebo). Prayer is not magic (See: Templeton Foundation prayer studies and all the other Great Prayer Experiments, etc.) ―And it’s not OK to let children be unsafe just so people can maintain their belief in miracles. These beliefs fuel coverups of abuse. It’s not just that reporting all of it might bring shame on the church, or damage God’s reputation (―which looks impossible to do), or provide ammunition for the “enemies of Christ.” It’s that reporting is genuinely unnecessary, because the person is “changed” now. Jesus lives in them and the Holy Spirit is helping them, and what better helper could there be? ―More than this, to God it is as though the sin never happened, so who are we to drag it up again? . . .In this respect Christianity is self-deconstructing and very, very harmful. . . . .But, I don’t know what the answer is because what good is the objective historical, scientific truth if it leads to nihilism? Life is often served greater by error than by truth. I had a really hard time understanding that and may still not understand it but it looks like it could be correct (—There are no simple answers, —that’s for sure. The danger is that in reaction to abuses and distortions, we’ll reject everything completely. —And in the process miss out on the good of it, the worth of it, the truth of it. —And I may have a very naive view of language. But, I am operating on the level of explicitly stated beliefs, but real beliefs are not usually operating at that level. The real beliefs are in the split between the opaque, meta-language and explicit language that simply isn’t felt. Re:“Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Your Real Beliefs” by Dr. Jordan Peterson. —Truth is not good for its own sake; rather, it is only good to the extent that it serves life. —Truth serves Life (—That’s why its okay to get a divorce for all kinds of things, sans what the Bible says). . . . .Anyways, all of us need Jesus and all of us need hope. More than this, all of us are bias to seek information that fits what we already believe. . .me too! Christianity is a way of acting in the world (—I learned that from you, Nancy!) —It sounds obvious but it is not obvious —at all. . . .A really clean heart, real love, real forgiveness, real compassion, and real tenderness —not knowing stuff or just “believing” stuff. . . .Where love rules, there is no will to power; where power predominates, there love is totally lacking. The one is the shadow of the other. Pure love contains no attempt to hold power over the other person and if you are attempting to hold power over another person, there is no room for real love. That which is done out of real love is always beyond good and evil, —like God is. . . . But, obviously, I don’t know how it functions, nor am I able to understand all the obvious contradictions. . . .However, people seriously believe that, without Jesus, there is no good in any of us. We are totally depraved. I don’t know about you all but I’ll take a psychologically healthy, ethical agnostic over neuropsychological measures outside of the norm, any day re:—interpersonally exploitative, psychotic, emotionally unavailable, devoid of empathy, etc. . . . .Maybe consider that the apostle Paul (Paul, —he had seen Jesus and had been to the third heaven, —whatever that is) couldn’t keep from falling into grievous sin again and again. 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 sin) that I do not want to do.” . . . .So, the point is to help break the false distinction between the idea that there are those who are whole and those who have a lack. For the true distinction, may easily be between those who hide their lack under a fiction of wholeness and those who do not.
Thank you for this page. I am 25 years married to a narcissist
does not spend his money in the house
hacks my phone
snoops on me .. I could go on
agressive -picks a fight with service staff in the restaurant and in the shops. I have stopped having sex with him 14 months ago because he does not respect me and i do notv want to hAve a disease. He does not talk to me except to scratch my back for sex. He ignores me forever but buys VaIentire flowes no card an HIV test for himself and thinks we are good to go. I ignored him and he was livid. I have put up with yelling swearing and silent treatment. It is enough. I have decided this is not enough. In all 25 years we never do what I want ever be it taking a holiday to my destination of choice or fixing the house. Two years ago I decided I will control MY earnings and do what I want. I renovated my kitchen last week. He was so so mad. He was shaking with anger. He swore angrily at me. I calmly (for the first time in 25 years) told him noone swears at me in my house or points at me like that. He backed off. I am at the end of my tolerance for this behavo our. I believe God wants me to be happy . Any day now am going to end this marriage..
Good for you Ayn! And if he gets threatening, call the police! You are right…God wants you to be happy!
Bravo for you for taking control of your finances! That’s a huge in being a whole, separate, independent person. Let’s you set boundaries because you are not beholden. Economic dependency is a terrible thing for marriage, imo.
I love this statement, “I’ll take a psychologically healthy, ethical agnostic over neuropsychological measures outside the norm, any day” HA! This made me laugh out loud Aleea! Sooooo funny. And it’s because I can relate so much to what you are saying here. This is why I left the church years ago. All I could see was the hypocrisy. And YES, I love that scripture Paul wrote about doing what he doesn’t want and not doing what he wants. That is ALL of us (Lovers of Jesus AS WELL AS all others, alike). YES, I so hear you. Paul is describing the effects of sin.
The difference is only one thing. Jesus of course! ( like the Sunday school class where there’s only ever one right answer- JESUS!)
So…..yes we all still have sin- and me, personally LOTS of it- but because of my relationship with Christ I can be cleansed and grow toward Christ. A “psychologically healthy, ethical agnostic” – (love this!) may be kind to me, respectful, interesting and an amazing person. They may even have an orientation toward growth, Aleea. But the orientation is not toward The One who created the psychologically ethical agnostic ( whom I am very attracted to because of their awesome brain, respectability etc..)
This psychologically healthy ethical agnostic will one day, (maybe when we’re not around to witness), run into a situation that will be beyond their psychologically healthy, ethically agnostic coping mechanism’s ability to sustain. Then what? Hopefully a Jesus lover will have established a respectful relationship with him and tell him the good news! And hopefully there will be a receptive heart that will be made whole – in the sight of God ( that doesn’t mean our friend will not battle sin the rest of their days on earth- just like we do- they may even become less ‘stable’ than they seemed before salvation- it means that God has forgiven their original wrong growth orientation and HE sees them as whole).
Can this psychologically healthy ethical agnostic do good ( before salvation I’m taking about here). Yup, I think so. He or she just won’t do ETERNAL good. He might be used by God to do eternal good in someone else’s life but there will be no eternal value for his own soul.
I like your last statement about the “distinction being between those who hide their lack under a fiction of wholeness and those who do not”.
Here’s something Dr. Rosaria Butterfield says about Christians, “if you want to be a poster child of Christianity, don’t be a poster child of looking like you have it together, instead be a poster child of repentance.”
That’s the difference between church as a hospital for the sick and wounded versus a church full of people in a wax museum. The difference is practicing what is preached. The reality though is most churches have both types of people. That’s why I am super careful about who I form relationships with in my church. When someone LOVES Jesus, I feel safe. And that’s because of my own sinful tendency to value image over being real.
I really need to hang out with Jesus lovers. They live humble lives of repentance. This is neither the seemingly all togetherness of the psychologically healthy,ethical agnostic nor is it the neuropsychological measures outside the norms, person. They are people who allow themselves to be molded into the image of our compassionate, merciful, holy, Saviour ❤️
Oh and I really respect the honesty of the psychologically healthy, ethical agnostic much more than the hypocrisy of the hard hearted “Christian”.
Nancy, thank you so much for the comments. . . .Nancy, I’m going to start seriously praying more for wisdom. —I must lack wisdom. . . . Lord God, You said in James one“. . . .if anyone lacks wisdom, let them ask of You, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given. . . .” . . .Help me God to know what to do and even more importantly to do it. —And I realize lots of times that is as simple as being deeply honest and doing the next, even small right thing. . .
“The difference is only one thing. Jesus of course! ( like the Sunday school class where there’s only ever one right answer- JESUS!)” . . . .I know. I know. It’s true. The answer is always: Jesus. . . .But what can we say Jesus specifically, measurably, demonstrably, cures? Otherwise, anyone can just say anything.
“. . . But the orientation is not toward The One who created the psychologically ethical agnostic. . . .” . . .I know. Yes, I know. And wisdom is knowing the right thing to do and more importantly doing it. It is also the correct application of knowledge. Wisdom cannot come from study, it can only come from the Holy Spirit of God. This I believe but I have no way to demonstrate that it is verifiably true and accurate.
“. . . .ethically agnostic coping mechanism’s ability to sustain. Then what?” . . . .Then they are just like Paul was, they fall. I mean, right? Real beliefs are encoded in our actions not our words? Nancy it should be discernible and falsifiable, right? Again, otherwise, anyone can just say anything.
“. . . . that doesn’t mean our friend will not battle sin the rest of their days on earth- just like we do- they may even become less ‘stable’ than they seemed before salvation. . . . .” . . . . I know, but now that is a distinction without a real difference. —Maybe? I mean, you say they are now even less stable???
“if you want to be a poster child of Christianity, don’t be a poster child of looking like you have it together, instead be a poster child of repentance.” . . . . That’s beautiful, I like repentance. Sincere repentance, genuine contrition. God judges women from the inside out; most women judge other women from the outside in. Perhaps to God, an extreme mental patient is doing quite well in going a month without murder, for she fought her chemical imbalance and succeeded; oppositely, perhaps the healthy, able and stable woman who has never murdered in her life yet went a lifetime consciously, willingly never loving as she should may then be subject to harsher judgment than the extreme mental patient? It might be so that God will stand for the weak and question the strong?
“. . .That’s why I am super careful about who I form relationships with in my church. When someone LOVES Jesus, I feel safe. And that’s because of my own sinful tendency to value image over being real.” . . . .But, who doesn’t love Jesus? Only those who don’t really understand Him and His claims. Jesus is THE HERO everyone wants, —desperately wants. Who doesn’t want Christ? They certainly must not understand what the alternatives are. You know that Jesus, if true, is WAY more exciting than sin. Who doesn’t love Jesus who really understands what He promises? Yes, it comes with hardships too but hardships happen to everyone, anyway. Who doesn’t love Jesus who really understands what He promises? Nancy, —I don’t understand that.
Nancy, if you raise a rat (basically as a pet) on an island. . . . an island that has never had a cat on that island and then when that rat is an adult, you expose that rat to some cat fur, —that rat will basically be engulfed in fear just yelling and screaming from just seeing and smelling that cat fur. It is like that knowledge is encoded right in the cat’s DNA. Strip out the fear and yelling and the fur and I feel the same way about God. I know He is there but there is not one shred of specifically, measurably, demonstrably anything to back up my knowledge. —If you want, maybe you could speak to the realest??? piece of evidence you feel you have? What would you tell a panel of international peer review as to why you know what you know? . . . . Nancy, I only know in the way that rat knows. I don’t even know how I know. I just know how I feel, that’s all. It is like a magnet that reaches to my heart and just pulls me.
I reconciled with my ex-husband a month ago (after three years of separation). He begged me to return and that we would “forget the past and live for the future.” I was living in a subsidized senior apartment that I didn’t like and an hour drive from out daughters. He lives in a nice townhouse, near our daughters, and since I was having difficulty making ends meet and he said I’d only need to help with groceries, I thought it to be the best option. However, he hasn’t changed at all (and neither have I). He did let me have the guest bathroom and closet and has allowed me to organize the house somewhat, but is annoyed that I said “No sex.” We do attend the Methodist church he had been attending, and I sing in the choir which he seems to agree with so far, so I hope we can work out our difference. I’m trying not to respond to his negative comments and speak less and listen more (as he always said I talk too much.) I’ve been able to talk him into going to the Outer Banks on his 81st birthday (3/13) for a few days, and hope he won’t put a damper on it. We don’t plan to remarry, but he said he’ll put me back on his will so I’ll be able to stay in the house, should he die first.
Pray for my sanity! Sandra
So sorry you felt you needed to go back. “Forget the past” is a red flag, meaning,”I don’t want to repent or talk about it”. But I understand where we often feel we haven’t much of a choice when finances and children are considered. Praying for you for sure!!! Are you checking to make sure you really are in his will? I hope you can set firm boundaries in making your own decisions. I sure don’t see why you would need his permission to sing in a choir, but I do understand where one has to consider the consequences of doing things he doesn’t like you to do.
By the way, I have a suspicion that you don’t talk too much. I hope you have friends who will listen to you.
Connie Amen! 🙂 Well said. I feel bad that she went back to her abuser. Hopeful that she will be able to manage it and keep her safety and sanity.
Oh Aleea, I love your descriptions “I don’t even know how I know. I just know how I feel, that’s all. It is like a magnet that reaches to my heart and just pulls me.” That is so beautiful. I say go with that!
How do I know? Because the name of Jesus used to make me want to run off screaming into the woods. Seriously. I was part of a house church but got really agitated when the leaders mentioned Jesus. I know, weird right? Here I was part of a house church and wanted to skip over Jesus. I was comfortable talking about God, but extremely uncomfortable talking (or listening) about Jesus.
They were so gracious, they always listened to my views and objections and questions and challenges. We were encouraged to help in constructing the services. The leaders always encorporated our ideas. but I’ll never forget this one time I wanted to introduce some Buddhist concepts into our service and my minister said, “Nancy, this is a house CHURCH not a house temple.” That was the end of the conversation. He had never been so firm. Always patient etc… But he wasn’t going for it! And Praise God that he didn’t!
Anyways, you ask who doesn’t love Jesus? Plenty of people, and I was one of them- and I grew up in church. Plenty of people who intellectually get the message but don’t FEEL it like you do!
Allow Him to draw you in. Don’t fight Him. He’s SAFE. He’ll speak to you through the Scriptures, if you allow Him to.
I’m praying for a great healing in you Aleea.
I just love your heart ❤️
And I really hope Aleea, that my tone comes across properly- in writing it’s so hard to convey tone. My exclamation marks are excitement and encouragement – not yelling. I relate to the way your mind works and am encouraged by you. I really hope that comes through 🙂
“Allow Him to draw you in. Don’t fight Him. He’s SAFE. He’ll speak to you through the Scriptures, if you allow Him to.” . . . .but Nancy what really, demonstrably is “Him”? . . . .beyond all the language and twists of words and Scriptures (e.g. People are still going to grievously sin after Jesus, et.al.) what is “Him” —Is it an “in love” experience? . . . .because, Nancy, I have to tell you, that’s exactly the way it feels. Just really intense because I am very quick to hope. But what does Jesus really, demonstrably, consistently do? . . . .Look at what Leslie may really be saying: Jesus doesn’t really heal —not interpersonally exploitative, psychotic, emotionally unavailable, devoid of empathy, etc. people. Jesus is just compatible with whatever wicked, evil things continue to naturally happen. Jesus is just nature? Jesus is like a hero myth, psychological salvation, a curtain that people are putting things behind so that they can have hope (—which is really, really important otherwise people spiral down re: me) but when you pull back the curtain, what demonstrably is behind it? —positive illustions? . . .And it takes a community of people to keep that going because independently, —independently people come to their senses. —And often that community has a disdain for objective, experimental controls, especially double-blind testing of claims. . . .People go mad in worship groups but they come to their senses alone? Our vision clears only when we look for answers in our own hearts? Trying to find answers outside of ourselves, in groups, is like dreaming? . . . .Nancy, maybe one never gets over childhood abuse; you just learn to live with it. Like with your issues, you heal and you rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. Maybe I can be whole somehow but how will I ever be totally healed? Without just saying I am when I am not. . . .after awhile it is so exhausting people just say anything. “Yes, I’m totally healed and free!!!”
“. . .And I really hope Aleea, that my tone comes across properly- in writing it’s so hard to convey tone.” . . . .Oh, I feel you. ―Gentle, ―careful, ―not strident. ―And that’s not fair!!! . . . crying with tears streaming down my face. . . That bypasses my head and goes straight to my heart. I flat out admit that I am weak-minded and let my emotions hijack my intellect. ―I’ll believe anything with enough love attached to it. —That’s what really terrifies me. . . . .I don’t really know what all the feelings mean. I see Jesus as a mystery present in the very act of real love itself. . . . .But that is deep woo because nothing about that is demonstable. . . .but the grey area is where life takes place? Our real beliefs are generally not to be found at the level of what we say we believe but what we do, especially the anomalies. —Oh my, the truth is in the anomalies! When confronted with inner conflicts, we are tempted to obscure them by externalizing the antagonisms —you see me do that too. The more difficult, courageous path involves attempting to face and really tarry with the antagonisms. . . . .One only believes in Jesus insofar as one really, deeply loves. Also, believing in Jesus while remaining dubious concerning what one believes about Jesus (—a distinction that fundamentalism is unable to maintain). . . . . To me, prayer is the activity that enables each of us to be givers and receivers (—I am so greatful for those that pray for me) from one another of the deepest meaning of life —life in Christ. I walk/ —pray into the mystery of Christ. . . I/we do not define that mystery. . . It’s total mystery and who knows what is really going on. But now that makes me a woo-peddler because I have nothing objectively, demonstrably, verifiably real to show you. I only know the way I feel about Jesus and how my flimsy rationality is overwhelmed by the weight, the incomprehensibly profound pull that is coming from my heart and I am sure my unconscious too.
Aleea, see below. I accidentally responded at the bottom.
I was married to a diagnosed Narcissist for 14 years/7 kids. We have now been divorced more years that we were married. He has not changed, but at least he gave up the pretense that he’s a godly man. Sadly, he still has influence (like a snake-charmer) over our adult daughters. Our sons don’t seem to be fooled by him.
The psychiatrist who diagnosed him flatly stated that he would not change unless he was in long-term treatment and for that to be effective, he would have to first acknowledge he’s the problem and stop assigning blame. He has never done that.
Don’t be fooled – just because the wolf puts on a nightcap and pulls up the bedsheets doesn’t mean he’s now your granny.
Can you tell me what testing was done to diagnose this as NPD. My h had a diagnosis but she stated she can’t diagnose that. Also I’ve never heard of ANY TREATMENT for Narcissist. Leslie even says they never change. To me this gives my no hope and that I must let it go. Then when I hear this I’m so confused. Please advise! 🙂
Kelly, it’s not that narcissists CAN’T change but you can only change when you see you need to. And the very nature of a narcissist is that it is NEVER them who is the problem. It’s everybody else. Therefore, change is very unlikely.
I have lived 20+ years with one of these covert narcissists (not diagnosed). He has fooled counselors, pastors, mentors etc. He has swindled, used and thrown away many people, including me. He can sit in front of anyone and weep crocodile tears as he deceives and blames and manipulates. There were years that he seemed changed, but it was all a massive manipulation. By the end I had a child pulling out her hair, another who would do anything to please him, but never succeeded, and another who is now so broken they will not even consider speaking to him. I was driven to pray for death and consider suicide. They are wolves. I don’t think they can change. I don’t think they really want to…even when they lie and say they do. I made every desperate attempt to save my family and keep it together and it was almost destroyed instead.
Judging by the comments, there are so many of us of similar age. I can’t help wondering 2 things. What was going on when we were young, and what is going on in the heavenlies right now that so many women are coming out and standing up and getting strong?
At the counseling school I was at the last 2 weeks, we were taught about childhood woundings, where foundational trust is broken. I know both my h’s had traumatic births. My first h’s mom was put out with drugs and didn’t see him for 3 days and at that point didn’t even care if she did or not (no bonding). As soon as he was old enough she put him in the farthest bedroom from her and basically told him to stay out of her way. And dad was busy ‘doing church work’. My 2nd h had a long labour and then C-section. Bottle feeding and scheduling (you don’t want to ‘spoil’ the baby) was huge then – let them cry, it’s good for them. The Bible says, “I learned to trust at my mother’s breast”. And,”We comfort with the comfort by which we were comforted”. We learned that it is not the trauma that harms us so much as whether there was someone to comfort us and then how we respond to the trauma. Of course the advent of easy-access porn came along conveniently for these guys whose dads were busy at work and not there for them either. So they ‘comfort’ themselves.
Just some thoughts because these stories keep breaking my heart every day and there must be something going on. Also the prevalent teaching that people are born good and everyone means well, and that ‘men have a fragile ego so women need to be careful not to chase him off by saying anything negative’. So we women believed that it must be us? The thief sure does come to steal, kill, and destroy!
Very, very interesting, Connie. Thanks for sharing these thoughts.
Did you/ can you tell us the name of he counseling school you attended for 2 weeks?
It was elijahhouse.org. I had taken the first course (201) several years ago and finally was able to swing the second.
I have seen a counselor off and on for a few years who is affiliated with elijah house. I cannot say enough good things. I recommend no other way after i have received so much healing through Christ in this way. It truly is remarkable. Truly.
Connie :-)! Oh my you just said it too my heart! God Bless you!
I did also. I do feel your pain. I also hate it when others say “Well you don’t believe in God if you don’t believe he can change”! I can’t fix his evil! I’m NOT GOD!!! Hugs and Prayers for you. I’m walking the exact same walk. God Bless you!
I’m so glad that you hear my tone, Aleea 🙂
I really admire your honesty. You don’t claim to be healed when you know that you are not.
Do you know this one?
For healing to take place we need a safe and a sane space that can foster it. Is your environment safe and sane, dear Aleea?
Thank you Nancy. —Yes, I believe my entire environment is safe, unless I don’t really understand all the threats that are out there. . . .My home is safe, you are safe, everyone here is safe, Dr. Meier, my counselor, is so safe that everything, just everything comes to the surface —everything. My job is safe. I mean, I have to travel but I think it is safe. . . But that is a very good question because my counselor says I crave safety and seek “VERY low change” levels. Those are my highest felt needs. —Or as Dr. Meier says: “Safety is highest for you.” . . . .So, yes I feel I am safe. . . . . except, sometimes at church I don’t feel safe. . . .Churches, to me, seem not safe places to doubt, to ask questions, and to tell the truth. Truth deconstructs too much.
Re: “If We’re Honest” by Francesca Battistelli. . . .
Truth is harder than a lie [—Truth is often so much easier, generally speaking, than lies. Much, much easier. Lies create total messes and misallocation of life resources. Lies are impossible to defend. . . .Of course, talking truthfully about Christian Origins is not easy but the truth is important. Lies cause people to misconstrue what’s good for them and what’s good for their communities.]
The dark seems safer than the light [—That may be true and I will need to think more about that. . . But Truth needs seem to be very different from certainty and security needs.]
And everyone has a heart that loves to hide [—Why hide your heart? It brings the wrong people into your life. The more honest we are, the more right people we attract.]
I’m a mess and so are you [—I’m a total mess, absolutely. I completely own that.]
We’ve built walls nobody can get through [—The really tough walls are down in our unconscious, our repressed issues. Re: Repression and Dissociation -University of Chicago Press —That’s the stuff that is really hard to get at.]
Yeah, it may be hard, but the best thing we could ever do, ever do [—I agree]
Bring your brokenness, and I’ll bring mine [—Certainly]
‘Cause love can heal what hurt divides [—Mostly, Love is the answer to healing, I agree. Deep pure love. Most problems are love problems. But sometimes brain chemistry needs to be changed and that involves prescription drugs.]
And mercy’s waiting on the other side
If we’re honest
If we’re honest
Don’t pretend to be something that you’re not [—Nancy, imagine trying to fool Jesus? That is totally impossible. How can we pretend to be something we are not with Jesus? —It’s Jesus! I guess I don’t understand that.]
Living life afraid of getting caught
There is freedom found when we lay
our secrets down at the cross, at the cross [I tell Jesus everything, —everything! I feel He is totally safe. Again, imagine trying to hid things from Jesus. —It’s Jesus!]
Bring your brokenness, and I’ll bring mine
‘Cause love can heal what hurt divides [—Again, Love is the answer to most healing, I agree. Lots of problems are simply love problems. We are damaged because deep abuse was applied instead of real love. If it is from childhood, like mine, we keep looking for abuse because it is so familiar to us and it looks just like our original family environment ―until Love, real love, deep love heals us. Love is the answer, deep caring love. . . . And I am hopelessly in love with Jesus Christ. I just don’t understand what marks a warm devotional feeling as Jesus of Nazareth? ―Anyways, I’m never going to get over Him. He makes it impossible to get away from.]
I’m so glad you feel safe Aleea 💕
Thank you Nancy. —Is this _____ safe? As safe as life, which is not that safe. To live is to risk your life, your heart, your everything. . . To have our needs met, to love God/ Jesus/ the Holy Spirit, to be loved, to feel safe in this world and to each know our purposes, maybe it is as simple a matter as creating those blessings for others? —Maybe??? . . . But I don’t sleep the sleep of someone who knows they are loved. . . .I have not proved internally that it is totally safe thing to trust in the Lord our God. We see God the way we see our parents. . . . Anyways, as always —thank you!
To your statement that “truth is generally speaking easier than lies” as well as, “why would anyone want to hide their heart?” I agree that truth telling leads to an ideal outcome ( lies create total messes, and missal location of life resources as you say)
Jesus said, ” the Truth will set you free”. Jesus agrees with you!
The problem is that truth telling is not our natural state. Our natural state is to hide our hearts, and to lie ( first to ourselves).
The whole reason I am on this forum is because I need support in truth telling ( the C of Leslie’s CORE is committed to truth). I have lived many years in my marriage telling myself all kinds of ‘fairy tale’ lies. Leslie’s work, including this forum, has helped me take steps out of the fog of those lies.
Jeremiah said the heart is a deceitful thing beyond cure.
There is no cure for my sinful heart in my own strength. I can’t wish it away, or fix it, or have a loved one fix it. I can’t run from it. Ignore it, away. I cannot divorce the sin in my heart – it has permeated every cell of it.
The only way is to give my heart to my Saviour and cling to the Spirit of Truth, as we walk, He and I together, through the valley of the shadow of death,
He is The Way. He is The Truth. He is The Life.
My heart doesn’t stand a chance without Him ♥️
“My heart doesn’t stand a chance without Him” . . . .Nancy, I know it doesn’t. One of the biggest victories Satan ever pulled off was making people think he was/is not there. People will say to me, “. . . yes, Satan is there” but then act like he is not. They act like some other human (—another human!) is “The Satan” or at least some lessor demon. —If we trust God on this and believe what Scripture says we know where the problems lie: the entire world lies inside the evil one and the god of this world (Satan) blinds people into thinking he is not even there. . . . .Satan will rip your soul out —and— the soul of your family/ marriage/ et.al. if we don’t understand this. It’s no game. Satan has false apostles teaching lies, principalities just waiting to obey, hate and greed, ungodly lusts, —all on offer. So, we need to pray always and we need to fight together —with our spouses. Why would we ever demonize people when there are actual, real demons? Even if we have to divorce them, they are not the real enemies.
“The problem is that truth telling is not our natural state. Our natural state is to hide our hearts, and to lie ( first to ourselves).” . . . . Nancy, not if we understand how God can help direct our lives. . . . Practically, we don’t know what is best for us. —So what do we do? We put our lives back into God’s hands by clearly speaking the truth as clearly and as precisely as we know how to our spouses, to everyone. —Your truth, —things *you* know from primary sources not what others tell you. Who knows if others have done the hard work of searching and analysis. More than this, we don’t use our language to manipulate, control situations —no outcome engineering. —Why? Because we have no real idea what is best for us, only God does and when we speak our truth clearly that self-selects people into and out of our lives. i.e.“Don’t use your language instrumentally” . . .Don’t use language to try to get what you want, ever. —But Why? —Because it destroys God’s path for us and we don’t really know what is best for us. —Again, only God knows what is best for us and the only way to be on that path is to be careful to, as clearly and as best we know how, tell spouses the facts without in any way trying to use our language instrumentally (—to get our way). We let God decide the outcomes. That lets God run our lives not us deciding what outcome we are trying to control/ engineer. . . .
Re:CORE re: O –“Open to the Holy Spirit and wise others to help you grow”
Nancy, maybe I am wrong, but I think you cannot be protected from the things that frighten you and hurt you. I know I can’t. . . . .But if we identify with the part of our being that is responsible for real transformation (—the Holy Spirit, in the “O” of the CORE) then you are always the equal, or more than the equal of the things that frighten you, —Right??? . . . We live in a world so soft and comfortable that we are totally deceived. I’ll tell you Nancy, it is harder even than we think in terms of “journeys.” —Historically, God puts His believers and His greatest ambassadors in chains. —In chains. —I don’t know about you Nancy but I’m afraid of chains. . . .Christ wants us to crucify our selfish, me-first identities and die with Him outside the city walls, —nasty, horrible stuff (—rejected by the religious, the culture, et. al.) On the Cross, Jesus lost it all. It is beyond my comfort-laden, abundance-filled, self-improvement-addicted mind and the culture I live in to understand that, and we are immersed inside that culture —big time. God is constantly asking us to do the hardest thing. I wonder how much we really understand about Christianity? Stopping lying is minor compared to what Christ really wants from us. Nancy, He doesn’t just want you to come to the cross, but to get on it! —That’s serious pain and dying to self. He wants you to wave goodbye to the very last dream of your life and lose everything for Him. That’s way bigger than not telling lies. “. . . Because straight is the gate, and very narrow is the way, which leads unto life, and *few* there be that find it.” The Bible consistently says that only (ὀλίγοι few) —a “few” will be saved. I’ve spent unbelievable amounts of time looking for Jesus and I’m not sure, at all, that I have found Him. He is not easy to find because the way is so very, very narrow and hard. He doesn’t want us just to come to the cross, but to get on it! . . .Christ wants us to crucify our selfish, me-first identities and die with Him outside the city walls, —nasty, horrible stuff.
“My heart doesn’t stand a chance without Him” . . .Then hide your heart so deeply in Him that it can’t escape. God makes all His best people in loneliness. That is so clear. Spend lots of time alone with God. Study the great souls in the Bible, those great souls they walked alone—alone with God. Just like great eagles that soar, they fly alone. That loneliness is really hard to endure, and impossible to enjoy unless God is really within you. But that’s how you can tell He is really living in your heart. You will enjoy it! . . .When all his resources were exhausted and Moses was brought to the barren, wind-swept, sun-scorched, horizons of his own emptiness ―then God came and told him what to do. Christ wants us to crucify our selfish, me-first identities and die with Him outside the city walls.
Nancy, well said. Since the fall of man, we have been “covering ourselves” and hiding, from God and one another. Only by a conversion of our hearts, a surrender to trust in Christ instead of ourselves, can we even begin to start the process of “uncovering” and learning the truth that sets us free. That’s because we can rest in the fact that He “covers us.” We don’t need to hide anymore. But oh-so-true that we need other truth tellers around us to help with our remaining blind spots!
That’s one of my h.’s biggest problems. He walls himself off from others; i.e. trusts only himself, and therefore is stuck with his blind spots.
That fairy tale thinking you mentioned keeps many of us trapped for so long. Here, listening to the stories of others, we gain courage to face the truth about our own situations. That has certainly helped me.
O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundations with sapphires.
“O thou afflicted, poor, and indigent society, that art tossed with tempests, like a ship driven from her anchors by a storm and hurried into the ocean, where she is ready to be swallowed up by the waves, and in this condition not comforted by any compassionate friend that will sympathize with thee, or suggest to thee any encouraging considerations (Eccl. 4:1), not comforted by any allay to thy trouble, or prospect of deliverance out of it.” This was the condition of the Jews in Babylon, and afterwards, for a time, under Antiochus. It is often the condition of Christian churches and of particular believers; without are fightings, within are fears; they are like the disciples in a storm, ready to perish; and where is their faith?
God takes notice of the afflicted distressed state of his church, and comforts her, when she is most disconsolate and has no other comforter. Let the people of God, when they are afflicted and tossed, think they hear God speaking comfortably to them by these words, taking notice of their griefs and fears, what afflictions they are under, what distresses they are in, and what comforts their case calls for. When they bemoan themselves, God bemoans them, and speaks to them with pity: O thou afflicted, tossed with tempests, and not comforted; for in all their afflictions he is afflicted. But this is not all; he engages to raise her up out of her affliction, and encourages her with the assurance of the great things he would do for her, both for her prosperity and for the securing of that prosperity to her.
I am married to a narcissist. He was very covert in the the first few years. After I went to counseling and started figuring him out, he has become overt. We live in the same house but I have distanced myself emotionally from him. For the past 4-6 months, he began to behave very well because he wanted something from me and my kids. As soon as that did not materialize, he went back to his bad behavior. All along I knew that he was behaving well to get what he wanted. The kids were hoping he had changed. He even tried to use the kids to get me to do what he wanted. I haven’t shared much on this blog in the past few months, but I wanted to share this for people out there wondering if their spouse has changed. My husband had a goal, and he did what he needed to do to achieve that goal. He has the ability to behave well, but he chooses not to, or I should say, he chooses to behave well when there’s something in it for him. He is charming to people when he wants something. As soon as he gets it, and feels that that person has nothing else to offer, he discards them. Although, it was tough for my kids to go through this, I’m glad they are seeing who he is.
I’m so, so sorry to hear that Maria. I’ve been praying so hard for your situation for well over a year. —And it is not just me praying, I have a prayer group that prays too. I never give up and I don’t even know why. I guess I so want it to be true that God can really change people but. . . . . .anyways, the amount of pain in this world is just unbelievable and so much of it just seems so unnecessary. I love to see God overwhelmingly bless people, it always increases my faith. . . . . Anyways Maria, you have always struck me as so strong and so grounded. . . I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how motivated our reasoning is, —me especially. Most people see what they wish to see, or what they believe they should see; not what is really there. I’ve been praying so much lately for God to help me get better at seeing what is really, really real. No matter how sad it makes me. —And that is why providing people with corrective information often does not work and usually even strengthens their original beliefs. This also means that when people receive new information, their existing beliefs and feelings have more influence over whether they believe or reject information than any rational, logical reasoning. —And this is how slow I am, I finally realize that we have to observe actions and especially anomalies in those actions. . . . . Belief has nothing to do with what anyone is explicitly saying. . . .it is what lies behind it in their actions, —and especially the anomalies in those actions. . . .Because we don’t see actions here, we know very, very little. When I look deeper, I see this vast multi-layered, complex systems of causes and effects which affect and are affected by all individuals involved. . . . .Fault becomes such a useless concept. Responsibility, however, is the most helpful concept of them all. It is our responsibility. . . . .Anyways, temporary, but excruciating, pain is the price of healing and only love that continues to flow in the face of anger, blame, and indifference can really be called love. All else is simply a transaction it would seem. . . . .God is there if we can just totally let go to Him. But letting go is so, so hard. I’ll let go only then to grab things back. . . . .Oh, and maybe remember to have compassion. I finally realize something of the nauance of the “violence in the heart” my abusive mother must have been experiencing because she must be abusing and objectifying *herself* internally for that to be manifesting *externally*. That is the way most psychologists, psychoanalysts, et.al. have explained it to me. The abuse (―whatever form it takes: controlling; objectifying; belittling) would not be happening *externally* if was not happening *internally* first. She is doing that to herself internally: objectifying, abusing, belittling. That is the only way it happens externally. It is coming from her CORE, her factory of herself. —And a truly compassionate attitude toward’s ourselves (―internally, in our CORE) is the only way to have it for others. If we get it right internally all that cycles out into our worlds, even if others behave negatively or hurt us. Only the development of compassion and understanding for others and ourselves too (―really important, ourselves internally) can bring peace. . . .Which may mean don’t even seek love externally, it’s fleeting. That seems the goal always.
Thanks Maria, that is often what happens. They are good pretenders when it suits them. Good to hear from you.
Lori, this encouraged me today. Thank you for posting it.
So glad to hear it was an encouragement to you. I thought of you as I posted it and others who are in the middle of lifes stormy seas.
I do pray for you dear sister. Mostly that God continue to comfort your heart, guide you with His counsel and protect you from evil.
Blessings to you my dear dear friend.
Thank you, dear Lori. Yesterday I felt like I was coming out from under the wave for the first time in a week. I have some things to share with you all a little later today. (My today–most of you are sound asleep!)
Hi Lori, Aly, Nancy, JoAnn, Ruth, Brave Rabbit, and other beautiful sisters,
Thank you all for praying for me. I was under that heavy wave of grief for about a week, and began to feel it subsiding yesterday. It is strange to feel such deep sadness, even depression, yet never lose the sense that your soul is rooted and anchored in Christ, and that He is utterly trustworthy. I know that He holds me, always. But sometimes I need to sit with my grief and focus on the loss, and just cry, and let the grief do its work in my heart that I know, instinctively, it is sent to do. I often think of a wave at the beach. If you see it coming, you can dive down deep, as deep as you can go, and let it pass over you. But if you get caught in the tumult, the very best thing you can do is rest and wait, and you will be brought to the surface again. If you try to fight the wave, you end up going in the wrong direction. But if you let it tumble you and take you where it will, it will eventually bring you up to the surface where you can breathe once again. I think I have come up for air.
My h. and I had a good talk last evening…he informed me that he was resigning and is making plans to go into a 1-2 week intensive therapy program to deal with his family of origin issues, etc. He finally appears to be coming out of denial, and appears to be ready to dig in and do the hard internal work that is necessary to move toward health and healing for himself. If so, this could result in a healed marriage, eventually. Time will tell.
This is good, healthy news, but sad too. Because it will mean a transition out of ministry and foreign country back “home.” These circumstances will feel like failure to him, though God looks at it so differently than man. I feel sad for him, But a bit hopeful, too.
I also want to add again that it seems it was a hard week for so many of us! Many of us felt like we’d been kicked in the gut at some point last week. So grateful that we all have one another to cover the rest in prayer when we are down.
On another topic:
Lori, I want to add to Aly’s affirmation that you are a GIFTED writer. I have thought it many times. You express yourself beautifully, and I love reading what you write! I too, am sorry that your dad discouraged you. It was unwise of him on many levels. We recognize the gift in you, Lori. It’s undeniable.
So grateful for you all, and to Leslie for facilitating this forum.
Since you last posted last week…my prayers have been for your heart.
I struggle expressing in words what I would want to say other than I’m glad to hear that you have close support to offer comfort. I’m so sorry for your loss and God’s anchor is so definite in your support and care here. I feel so blessed that you are a precious sister in the big (yet small) world.
You wrote so new activity via your h and that sounds quite hopeful in the right direction. Praise God for this and I will continue to offer prayers for your h.
“My h. and I had a good talk last evening…he informed me that he was resigning and is making plans to go into a 1-2 week intensive therapy program to deal with his family of origin issues, etc. He finally appears to be coming out of denial, and appears to be ready to dig in and do the hard internal work that is necessary to move toward health and healing for himself. If so, this could result in a healed marriage, eventually. Time will tell.”
You are correct and time will tell especially as he is taking those steps to freedom and seeing maybe for the first time from a new viewpoint of how deep those roots can go.
A few weeks ago my h was telling me about some dialog in a men’s bible study, they are studying John and it was about the vinedresser and the pruning.
If a branch isn’t pruned it can grow back into the ground and get (stuck) so to speak. Anyway we had so chatting about it because he could relate to a branch just growing back down into the ground thinking it’s living but it’s not bearing any fruit.
“This is good, healthy news, but sad too. Because it will mean a transition out of ministry and foreign country back “home.” These circumstances will feel like failure to him, though God looks at it so differently than man. I feel sad for him, But a bit hopeful, too.”
~Can so relate to your tender heart here;) I can remember feeling similar ways on my path, but can I tell you ..I feel joy for him because reality gives us ‘real hope’ that we cant ever have in denial or with how he has been trying to do things at his comfort level of sorts.
(Not trying to be mean here and by denial I meant all His those years about not seeing the family origin creating such dynamics.
So yes you are correct with that mindset and what he decides to do with that ‘feeling of failure’ will tell a lot. That feeling of failure has probably been behind a lot of the control. He may be able to allow the shame to continue or reach for grace/growth and allow the shame to get out of the way. I will be praying specifically for that and that God’s will continue to reveal the pathway.
T.L I hope you hear in my words and my hugs you are precious and of such worth!!
Love to you and sending prayers to both of you during such a difficult journey.
You have such a shepherd-heart, my sweet sister. You care for everyone with such tenderness, sensitivity, and thoroughness. Thank you for your kindness and sincere expressions of compassion, for me and all you respond to.
I love what your husband shared about the vine. I don’t think I’d ever heard that aspect of it growing back into the ground where it cannot bear fruit. It makes the analogy even more vivid! And it really applies, because there have been quite a few times in the past where my h., has become painfully aware of his pathologies, and tried to help himself: he read and prayed through John and Paula Sanford’s Transformation of the Inner Man, for example. (Connie, I was very interested in your experience with Elijah House!) But his pride has blocked him from an essential element: humbling himself and reaching out to and trusting others. This closed door is growing from being open a crack, to swinging a bit wider. He is reaching out to others, and admitting he needs help. This seems huge. (I am careful to use the word *seems*–wisdom dictates I remain a skeptic with him, for now.)
Aly, you wrote, “I feel joy for him because reality gives us ‘real hope’ that we cant ever have in denial or with how he has been trying to do things at his comfort level of sorts.
(Not trying to be mean here and by denial I meant all His those years about not seeing the family origin creating such dynamics.”
So true about only reality can offer real hope! He has seen his family of origin issues clearly, and their effect on him. Many (lone) efforts at change left him discouraged of ever truly changing, so he went into denial via theologizing/spiritualizing. Shame and pride tricked him into being like the vine that grows back into the earth. So yes! Praise God, it looks like the Vinedresser is doing His painful but vital pruning work. I’m going to hang on to that visual and pray into it.
Thanks for being the blessing you are to us, Aly. ❤️
Thank you so much for your precious words;) I want to comfort from which I’ve been comforted from. That’s my heart and certainly find that truth & love from Him and others brings such a profound impact on us, that it can’t help but change us in ways.
~I so agree with you skepticism and the balance of hope. I feel like I can relate to that place. For me and my h is was the safest place for me to be with my heart especially as I was learning to get more and more comfortable with boundaries.
I asked my h again about the vineyard info … since I wanted to make sure I didn’t mess up the example that he shared.
“And it really applies, because there have been quite a few times in the past where my h., has become painfully aware of his pathologies, and tried to help himself:”
So the vine info was from a person in his bible study that understands what goes into the vineyards and the process.
The branch that tries to shoot off away from vine ~ which is the person always trying to help themselves apart from the main vine.
This was my husband place where he could see himself separated from Christ wanting it his own way. (Failure apart or alone to him seemed safer because of his upbringing)
What the branch does it (tries to sprout) in the ground… if it’s good soil it will get stuck and not die, if it’s bad soil… it will die into the ground.
So I guess as you have pointed out there is a crack of movement in the right direction of your h seeking help apart from his own agenda. I do believe your healthy & loving boundaries have assisted in only helping that possible turn in a healing direction.
I will continue to pray for your heart and for the comfort that I know the Lord can only offer.
Thank you for all of your love and support that only one can give when connected to the Vine💜
Praise God today for His love and provisions.
I’m thanking God that you have come to the surface T.L.
I love your wave analogy about grief. It’s very helpful.
It is good news that your h is choosing to face his past, and very level headed of you to know that “wisdom dictates that I remain a skeptic with him, for now”.
I also really like what you, Aly, said about “that feeling of failure” perhaps being a dictator of much of the control. I think that is true for my h.
Thank you so much for the worship songs you posted here. They were, and continue to be, a balm to my soul.
There is nothing like a worship song that resonates in my heart. It heals me and guards me in a way that nothing else does.
I share your gratitude T.L. for each one here. It’s lovely to witness Christ’s Love in action ❤️
Thank you so much, Nancy! And I’m so glad those songs have ministered to your heart, too. ❤️
Hi, friends. First of all, I don’t comment much but read a lot. It’s sweet to see the love and support shared here.
I wanted to process something with those who would understand. I’ve been separated for about 4 mths now. As everyone said before, the further you get away from the situation, the more clarity you gain. I originally thought that I’d wait for one year from separation to file divorce. But, find myself very ready to do so now. If I waited, it would be only to lessen the shock for my kids.
But, now I’m wondering if it really matters. It’s going to hurt them no matter what and when the time comes. I’m starting to think maybe better to just rip the bandaid off. I could be being selfish… Personally, I want to move on and get on with my life.
He admitted some lies from before our marriage the other day (things I had suspected but of course, was made to feel crazy for even thinking so), but in his email, absolutely no empathy for my pain or compassion for me. And then, when I told him that he was still lying by trying to pass that confession off as the only thing he needs to confess to, I got the usual angry, blaming and manipulative response from him. Very telling.
Like Maria above, pretty sure his confession was an attempt to get his way on something, hoping it would soften me and let my guard down.
(And he told me that if there was any hope of him coming to God, it was all gone now because of our exchange). Oh gracious. I sent back a response that refused to take that responsibility on so he would know good and well that I’m not buying into his guilt methods any longer.
All that to say, I am ready. Like yesterday.
Would love some feedback on things to think through as I decide when to file.
God has told me very specific things about letting him go, so I am not conflicted at all about the decision to divorce. It’s the when.
Regarding your decision as to the “when” to divorce. Wondering if you have any sense of peace or direction from the Lord about it? I hear your desire for it “yesterday” and that you are confident it is the direction for you to go. Do you have peace?
I am also most grateful for this place to process all of our difficulties, fears, heartaches and confusions.
I have met some precious sisters here and I look forward to hearing their responses to you.
I felt so hésitent to respond to this because, obviously, it’s such a sensitive and important matter.
But in re-reading your post, I would say I see at least one yellow flag filing soon: it sounds like you are still upset about the email exchange the other day, etc. It seems best if your decision is made as calmly and rationally as possible, (not out of reactivity to provocation) with great consideration for your kids. I don’t think the band-aide approach would likely be best for them. They need time to come to terms with the idea.
I would agree with TL on the yellow flag regarding not reacting out of provocation. TL said it better I think. It is why I was asking about whether or not you have “peace”. Peace being different from confidence in the direction to file for divorce. The matter in question (it seems) is timing and that is what seems to be raising a yellow flag as to motivation. (reactivity to provocation?)
Content, divorce is too big a decision to make in a reaction mode. Yes your husband’s behavior is telling, but continue to pray and ask God when.
Thank you all very much for your input. I love the honesty and knew I would get some good feedback.
I will continue to pray and seek the Lord’s peace and guidance on the “when”. That’s really what it comes down to, isn’t it?
I also realized this morning that there is another factor that is playing a part in my wanting to file for divorce sooner rather than later. It’s something that needs to be dealt with and removed as being a factor. So that in the end, the decision and the timing are just solely coming at the direction of God and it is all His work.
I still want to be divorced yesterday, though. 😉 Just sayin’….that’s how I feel today.
The longer I go, the more I realize how much this man has snowed me all through our marriage (while trying to make me out to be the crazy jealous unstable one). And yet, “he loves me more than he’s ever loved anyone”. Well, thanks, but I would prefer not to be the recipient of this amazing love that you profess.
Every day, I am realizing more and more that I’m not as stupid, unstable, incompetent, unorganized, etc. as he made me to feel. I realize how normal I am. It is almost like every day, I see someone do something that is similar to how I do things and I think “Oh, it’s not just me. This isn’t some grand flaw I have that will sink me and others around me. It’s just me being human.” (They are minor things – not things like honesty or cutting others down, etc.)
Anyway, don’t know if any of this is making sense, but it feels good to process “out loud”.
I can so relate to the realization that “It’s just me being human”.
I remember the day I announced to the girls (in front of my h) that we would no longer say “sorry” for accidents. Instead we would acknowledge our error by saying “oops” out loud. This had an instant “light- ening” effect on the mood when an accident happened! Yup, it’s o.k. to be human 🙂
Aleea, Thanks for your prayers. I believe that God is powerful enough to heal and mend broken relationships. However we have a part to play- we need to recognize our fault and coorporate with the Holy Spirit. I really don’t think my husband will ever change. He was really trying to manipulate the kids, and they were falling for it. The good thing is when my husband didn’t get his way, and went back to his old ways, my kids figured out What he was up to.
Maria, you have been faithful warrior for along time. God is willing and able, but he does ask our consent. Like the man at the pool, he said, “Do you want to be well.” (John 5).
“However we have a part to play- we need to recognize our fault and coorporate with the Holy Spirit.” . . . . Maria that is so true and important.
“I really don’t think my husband will ever change.” . . . .Maria, maybe this is not correct but I think people would never give up on their kids, ―ever. Husbands here seem very expendable. Parents would keep praying that Christ would change their children’s hearts right up to the end. Even if they had to never see those children again. . . .Maybe it is like with my mother. It is so, so hard to pray for her but for your husband, it has been so easy to pray for him and obviously your kids and you. Our part Maria, ―personal responsibility. . . .Notice how your children see though everything he does but I am sure everyone is projecting onto that too. . . .But what you, your actions, are speaking so loud to them.
I want to ask you a question but I want you to see my thinking as I ask it, so I’m putting in everything (―I apologize because I know like everyone else your time is limited). . . .re: “Do you want to be well.” . . . .Is it really, honestly that simple? I thought Jesus doesn’t really heal people with neuropsychological measures outside of the norm, DSM-V style issues. It seems like there is always this double truth model working in Chrsitianity. Jesus could heal anything and anyone but chooses to follow . . . ―oh, Leslie who cares about that. . . Leslie, is there anything I can do . . . ―I’m sorry, I don’t know what to say or ask. . . . * Is there a reason you don’t interact with me in any way, anymore? * . . .I try to understand “hint” but obviously am not good at it. . . . . .Also, in a post-Christian world what . . . ―oh, who cares about that too. . . . ―Leslie, just like maybe Maria has to really believe her husband can get well for God to heal him, do we have to believe most of the Bible is true for Jesus to heal and continue to heal us? Christiainty is like jello just moving and melting, reforming and shape-shifting. It’s really hard to know what is what. . . . .I’m really convinced, ―maybe this will change with more study, but I am convinced if we could see what is going on in people’s minds, in their unconscious minds, we would be able to predict. . . otherwise, we are left with all these surface interactions that really tell us very little.
1) Are your beliefs true? ―I don’t know. ―I just don’t know.
2) How can you know? ―I don’t know that either, especially with faith claims. Science is riddled with doubt, and Christianity is completely founded on faith. Rely on faith, and the scientific method falls apart. Insert doubt, and Chrsitian certainty quickly dwindles.
3) What if everything you believe to be true is false and vice versa? ―It would NOT surprise me one bit.
4) How would you react to such a scenario? ―Numb, just numb.
5) Do you really care if what you believe is true or Do you just care about the way it makes you feel? ―No, I really care if it is really Biblically true and justifiable historically. ―But I really like feelings too. I’m so emotional, its unbelievable maybe I don’t really care if it is true if it feels right.
6) Do you care if what you believe is true or is it just about what is useful? ―No, again, I really care if it is really Biblically true and justifiable.
. . . I’ve been reading this book: The Aryan Christ: The Secret Life of Dr. Carl Jung by Dr. Richard Noll. Lots of Christian psychologists really like Carl Jung. That book makes me deeply wonder what is going on with Chrsitianity, psychology, ―all of it. We want to make things black and white, but it sure looks like God lives in the grey, dances in the grey, ―God/ Jesus/ the Holy Spirit ―unbelievably nuanced. . . . So, I’m asking what I can do, need to do. . . .to restore/ repair/ have a modicum of interactions with you.
I have accepted that my husband may never change. I think that’s just living in reality. It important for myself and for my kids that I don’t live in denial. A woman I know was diagnosed with breast cancer, and she believed that God would heal her. She did not prepare her kids for her death, and when she died her kids took it especially hard. Another friend of mine was diagnosed with a terminal illness. When her family realized she was dying, they all planned her funeral together. It was hard for them, but it would have been devastating if hadn’t accepted reality.
I fully agree with you Maria. Life is very tragic and reality is very harsh, but in all things, if you can *somehow* deal with our reality ―directly, ―proactively, ―preemptively, it is the way to go. I am always amazed at the strength of people who can deal with reality head on (The family with the terminal illness that prepared vs. the family with the terminal cancer who did not prepare.) . . .I have a very hard time, ―not digesting the facts and evidence, ―not researching things, ―not verifying those facts and evidence, ―not working hard with primary sources, *but* with facing and accepting the implications. . . . ―Anyways, Maria you do what the Holy Spirit tells you. . . .It is so hard to outgrow those wounded things when five and six and seven. I look at lots of people, they have skin as thick as a rhinoceros. . . .Here is my definition of reality: Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, it doesn’t go away. . . .Love must face reality, if it is to survive.
Just had a long talk with h. I’ve been wondering why he is so resentful of me, and now I know. Before I met him, and after he’d been divorced from #1, he went to counseling. The counselor asked if he was ok with the way his life was and he said yes, so the counselor told him that he didn’t need to come anymore, that all was well. So he feels that he is just fine and if I’m not happy, that’s my problem. He has made some outward changes in that he doesn’t call me names and yell at me anymore (as loudly), but still covertly makes sure that everything goes his way. And we do almost nothing together besides meals. If I want to talk about something important to me in relation to him, he simply doesn’t answer and walks away. So as we talked about my counseling course and how people change, he said, “So the only reason to change is to make you happy, right?” I asked him why he’d become a Christian (a few years before we met) and he said he didn’t know. He really doesn’t seem to see a need to grow and mature in the Lord. No vision, no mission in life but to keep farming like his dad did and to sit at the computer. He provides for me (reluctantly and resentfully) and comes in for meals. Says he likes to live like a bachelor with a maid.
I guess I just don’t relate to that. I told him that if he only changed for me, he’d do the bare minimum to shut me down and resent even the effort he has for that. I said that if he wasn’t doing it for the Lord, forget it. He wondered why people even bother going for counseling. I said that life is full of pain and we either medicate it, go into denial, or choose to bring it to the Lord to transform into glory through repentance and forgiveness, etc. He said denial works for him.
Makes me wonder if I’m enabling him somehow, making life soft for him so he can continue……..??
It’s sad when some individuals have no oomph for anything more than the status quo.
I thought I had responded to this, but I guess I have not.
What a disappointing conversation!
I agree with Leslie that your husband’s attitude is sad. It’s also unsatisfactory, for you, and I think the Lord. God designed us for intimacy with himself and each other. So your husband is stunting himself, and robbing from God and you, as Aly has put it. Maybe continuing to strengthen your CORE and caring well for yourself is key. And asking the Lord if you are enabling a selfish, withholding man to remain in his destructive patterns.
I know the Lord will give you the wisdom you seek, because James 1:5. 🙏
Goodness when I first read your post I had to pause and reread it. I’m so very sorry that you are having the painful experience of having a husband be so deeply hurtful. My heart actually felt a sinking sadness when you wrote he doesn’t call you names anymore or yell at you (as loudly) as he is yet still manages things to go his way.
Has is always been like this dynamic?
The fact that you mention he is the resentful one makes ‘me confused’ especially since he seems to be getting his way. The benefits of marriage with (no effort or at least the healthy kind of effort .., that a marriage requires.
Similar to a car… eventually I have to fill it up with gas it wouldn’t be logical to think it should just run and take me to and from without any management on my part.
That’s probably the worst example ever~ but you describe your marriage as he says a bachelor with a maid. When in reality he committed to a covenant as a husband and you as a wife.
It seems like he is getting the bachelor (mindset) and still the covenant wife? My heart just hurts for you and the attitude your h walks in. 😢
My heart is so heavy for what you are going through and I can relate to some aspects. I’m wondering if you are feeling numb or a sense of fear?
Back to your comments on resentfulnes and that he would resent you??? for (himself) putting energy or effort toward drawing closer and growing his relationship with the Lord and yourself…,
So not only is he getting the dynamic he prefers (bachelor/maid) but he is also claiming ‘resentment’?
I really don’t think he can try to steal both sides of the coin here….the resentment part is to me such manipulation~
But probably more irrational and completely unreasonable in ways.
He can choose to not fulfill his convenant to you but ‘not fulfilling’ and being resentful are double loaded with (a misuse of power).
It’s like the person who has broken trust in a marriage~ projects not trusting against the actual trustworthy partner.
Again, I’m not saying I have ‘any clue here’ but you mention things of him changing and he mentions happiness etc. this to me has nothing to do with happiness, but everything to do with ‘connection and sharing a life together via your marital relationship’.
“I said that life is full of pain and we either medicate it, go into denial, or choose to bring it to the Lord to transform into glory through repentance and forgiveness, etc. He said denial works for him”
I agree ‘dear Connie’ it clearly is working ‘for him’. I mean why shouldn’t it.. plus he seems to only car what does work for (him)
Just because I happen to believe that there are many men in the world with this attitude (kindof more like that of an adolescent mindset) and horrible behavior that manifests into a lonely existence, doesn’t make it normal/bearable or more acceptable given the large number…it doesn’t aid in pursuing healthy and God honoring marriages.
“Makes me wonder if I’m enabling him somehow, making life soft for him so he can continue……..??”
I’m curious what you think Connie? Do you think he has little reason to think there is a need to listen to your heart and your needs /desires too?
Is there only enough room in the marriage for one person’s perspective? (That being your husband’s thoughts and beliefs)
I could be wrong..so I’m an apologizing in advance..
I have a feeling that you work very hard trying to meet his needs and lifestyle, thinking that he will notice your efforts and somehow he might want to reciprocate…?
However, I have found that with entitled mindsets they already think they deserve the treatment and effort that the other party is so willing to offer. So how can one be grateful or thankful if they feel it’s owed to them? Unfortunately… it’s hard because in a way they are stuck in ‘roles’ and objectifying personhood.
Sure they can change, but they also know their role of power will change and adjust and they won’t be free to steal anymore power by (objectifying personhood)
And that actually is healthy thing for them to not continue in.
I’m praying for your heart and your healing;) God loves you beyond any duty and His love is a love that we never have to earn… He delights in you Connie💖
Thank you T.L. and Aly for your kind and wise responses. I won’t reply at this time as I have reason to believe that ‘someone’ is reading here, so it no longer feels safe to write.
Connie, dear, we will keep you in prayer and look forward to hearing from you when you feel safe again. 🙏❤
Connie, I will pray for you and my prayer is to ask the Lord to bring to light anything that is standing in the way of you embracing His power and direction for your marriage.
Hugs and truth for your hearts to heal;)
How are you? You were able to write back to Kaycee, so wanted to touch base with you., is it ok the write now?
~I thought you had really great response to Kaycee’s post.
I’m ok writing to others, just not about myself. I’m learning a lot, though, thanks to all the sisters here. 🙂
Ladies, please pray for me to have wisdom and discernment. I just had a terrible day. 😔There will probably be fallout for days to come. And it was just when I felt like I was making personal spiritual progress. Bam! It’s like satan is trying to pull the rug out from under me. It’s important that I handle this well. I need your prayers.
Praying for you, Ruth.
Praying for you, Ruth. It seems like many of us are being tested or attacked in one way or another right now.
I prayed for you, Ruth.
Ruth, I’m praying for you too. Hang in there.
Will pray for wisdom for you Ruth. A hug from a distance ~
Lord, we lift Ruth up to You. You know the situation, you know the players. You know everything. Enable her Lord, to lean into the strength, wisdom and comfort of Your indwelling Spirit of Truth. Help her to take each step, each interaction, in Your power. Surround her with tangible reminders of Your unwavering and incredible love for her, Father. May she know You to be hemming her in behind and before; that Your hand is upon her. And as she walks through this valley, enable her to appropriate Your Peace.
In the name of Your precious son, we pray.
Nancy, thank you for this prayer. I just prayed it for myself in addition to Ruth.
Hello to all my dear Sisters in Christ,
Especially to Lori, Aly, TL, and Joann…
I am in a very bad way. May I ask for prayer? My heart and soul are so deeply grieved. I feel like Jesus in the Garden, when he sweated tears of blood…asking for the cup to be removed from him. My life has spiraled out of control…each day more and more burdens. I know what I need to do..but sadly, I am not emotionally ready to do it. And that puts me in a very dangerous position financially. Yet I just cannot get the strength I need to go forward with the divorce. I have been on my knees crying out to Jesus…pls help me..I need you..pls give me clarity and strength and boldness to do what I need to do. So far it hasnt happened. I am terrified of a life without this man..yet terrified to stay seperated, as he can hurt me financially. I can barely function each day. I have been rereading all the posts here for the past 10 days…trying to take in as much wisdom as I possibly can. Thank you all for sharing your hearts and very personal stories here..please know it is helping others like me. I often feel selfish because I have not responded. But I have nothing to offer. I cant even help myself, let alone anyone else. I am sorry for my lack of support with all of you dear sisters who have supported me and prayed for me. I thank you with all my heart. I am just so broken. Will you please lift me up in prayer, I so desperately need it. So many tears…so much pain.
Dear, dear Rose,
You owe no apology. We have all been where you are–the weak one, in need of the strength of our sisters. We come alongside you in prayer and hold you up before the throne of grace to the One who is always ready to help us in our time of need.
Forgive me, but I cannot remember right now if you have a counselor? Having someone who is nearby, knows your case and can advise you and support you would be so helpful!
I think, Rose, when we get paralyzed, it is usually because we are afraid of making a terrible mistake. But the only truly terrible mistake we could ever make is rejecting Christ. Our Lord is gracious and loving. He is compassionate. He rescues us from judgment and stone throwers. You can make a decision, Rose, and not fear making a mistake. Because Jesus, whose heart is for you, will teach you through it, and redeem even your “mistake.” That’s why you can move forward without fear. You can file for divorce and make sure you have the financial resources that you have a right to. And if he ever repents fully, you can remarry. Or you can choose not to file, and God will keep leading you, teaching you, working with you. You are His beloved child. You are not an orphan. You have a loving, protective Father. He knows how to take care of you. Nothing you could ever do will make him love you less; and nothing you could ever do will make Him love you more. You are secure and safe in His love and provision.
I pray those words are strengthening to you. you are braver than you know, Rose. You have already made some very brave decisions. You will find as you step out and take action, your courage will grow.
We love you, sister Rose. We are praying for you.
Just writing to say that whatever you did or didn’t do today, we love you and want to support you, encourage you, and be a place of safety for you. Nothing you do or don’t do will disappoint us or let us down. We think you are a precious woman, who is emerging from darkness. We all hope to help cast light on your path, but it’s your path, Rose. And we honor your journey and pace.
Let us know how you are, when you feel up to it. We care.
If we were in a physical group~ I would run to hug you… even if you pushed me away, but here is my virtual hug and my prayers are for your strength and your wisdom.
Have you been looking more into the trauma bonding Rose?
This might help you understand more of your withdrawal symptoms and they might make things become a bit more objective for you.
Many of us can relate to the fear and tremendous corner you feel! Please don’t feel that you must also come alongside us in the same manner at the same time.. it usually doesn’t work that way.
My heart wants you to have a few strong ones around you as you makes some tough decisions. I know for myself the hardest decisions.. we not met with feeling good or any clarity, but in knowing I had a choice and usually the right one is the most excruciating and most uncomfortable for me to make. But it did grow me in ways I thought I had no desire to grow in!
You can embrace the Faith that will be greater than your biggest fear.
Hopefully, I can come across here gentle.. my tone is soft for your heart.
Your h is treating you this way because well he’s been allowed to.
He knows your fear and struggle with boundaries being strong in ways ‘more’ than you do. (That’s common, you have company here) this isn’t to vilify him, it’s just to help you get more objective about the situation and see that he is using what has worked for him all this time and so the cycle continues. He knows the game better than you and I believe if you will embrace many of us here who have walked similar paths that you will rise up to the occasion not to play the game but to turn the tide!
He clearly has no regard for your feelings, healing the marriage let alone his horrible behavior of disrespect.
He has problably never had ‘to work’ at a relationship let alone a marriage and he has a ‘belief’ Rose that this is ok to operate that way in relationship. It’s not.
He hasn’t shown you any evidence that he cares for any impact he has had toward you and your children.
Abusive mindsets are grounded in this position~ not saying they can’t be helped,… but it’s a lot of rewiring and many just don’t think that their problem is that bad.
But you still are going to have to do your part of the equation. This doesn’t mean you created his mindset at all you just have been an easy place for him to remain unchallenged to grow emotionally and spiritually.
Praying for your strength and comfort Rose!
You’re not standing alone ever.
“But if you get caught in the tumult, the very best thing you can do is rest and wait, and you will be brought to the surface again. If you try to fight the wave, you end up going in the wrong direction. But if you let it tumble you and take you where it will, it will eventually bring you up to the surface where you can breathe once again. I think I have come up for air.”
Yes. It can be a desperate experience to rest and wait while one is in the midst of such tumult. It takes experience to know that eventually one will find air again.
It is humbling to realize just how fragile we all are and encouraging to really know the Lord will not give us more than He knows we can handle.
Guessing you are probably still feeling a bit weak and vulnerable after the tumult. It is beyond my ability to share in words what I feel for your loss TL, and the potential it has to visit you at various and unexpected moment that stretch into hours, days, weeks…..oh, be tender to yourself TL and please take good care of yourself.
Praying for you now and as He brings you to mind. I do carry you in my heart dear sister.
Thank you, dear Lori. ❤️
I do so wish we could sit together and be silent or speak our hearts face to face. What a treasure that would be. <3
Oh, how I would love that, Lori! ❤❤
Love knowing you are able to continue reading the posts here. I think we can all relate to not being able to join in at posting due to overwhelming emotional burdens at times and the confusion and heartbreak we experience.
I am really glad Aly asked if you were able to look into the trauma bonding dynamic. I imagine this could be such a place of stronghold on you. Stockholm Syndrome where the victim bonds with their abuser because they have become overwhelmingly dependent upon them for their basic needs.
“I am terrified of a life without this man..yet terrified to stay seperated, as he can hurt me financially. I can barely function each day.”
Rose, what does he offer you that you cannot live without or receive elsewhere?
Praying for you tonight and so hoping you are finding peace.
I love how TL said no matter your decision as of late, you are loved dearly.
I do apologize if I was too harsh or blunt in my response to you (if you happened to read it).
My prayer is asking God to comfort you tenderly and hold you in your brokenness.
You are precious to Him and to me Rose.
This post really speaks to me. My husband and I have recently separated for the 2nd time and I have filed for divorce. He is asking me for one last final chance to prove to me that he can change. That he has had a darkness inside him for so long and that it has taken me leaving him to look at himself and give his life to God and heal the hurts of his past. The last time we separated he was going to make changes, build his faith, work on his relationship with his daughter and me.
The pastor at our church told me 2 years ago that I do not have to stay married to this man after I told him about my husband cheating on me and that when I told my husband I was leaving he took a shot gun out in front of me and tried to load it telling me he would blow his head off. Our daughter was downstairs with her friend that was sleeping over and our boys were asleep in their rooms. Our daughter came upstairs and witnessed it all and was terrified. Somehow our boys slept through all of it thank God. My pastor told me that God wants marriages that are healthy and for children to be safe. Marriages that glorify Him. I didn’t listen though. I gave him a chance to prove to me he could change. I even felt guilty like I somehow contributed to his himself. That I was selfish and not being a good wife.
Since then I have given him chance after chance after chance. No now he is going to classes at church, is going to meet individually with them about domestic violence, finding yet another new therapist and taking a seminar that he said will change him. He’s begging me to give him time and to put a hold on the divorce proceeding. That he needs more time. That he loves me and the kids and will do anything and everything to not lose us.
I am torn. I think about all the heartbreak and turmoil of our life together. My husband is a covert narcissistic, he’s abusive and a manipulator-I know all these things. Im in counseling and have read Leslie’s book. I’ve been praying but I’m afraid to listen. I’m trying to face the reality of my marriage versus the fantasy I have in my mind of what it could be. Our daughter is 15 and she has been the most hurt by our marriage. She does not trust her Dad. He treats her differently than her brothers. He has started to acknowledge it and that these classes he’s going to is going to help him.
I’m trying to enforce boundaries with him but he breaks them ever time. I feel stronger in my decision when he leaves me alone but then when he’s around and begging me to not do this I falter. Do I give him this last chance?
I believe people can change and I believe in forgiveness. My friends and my mom have told me my heart is too soft. That I need to be strong and leave him for the kids if not for myself. To think of my daughter. I long for a life of peace and I have taken this huge step. Please say prayers me. Thanks for listening.
My heart really goes out to you, because you have not only been abused, but emotionally terrorized by this man. And so has your daughter.
I would encourage you, first of all, to find a way to ENSURE that your boundaries are respected. This may mean that you have to be stricter and stronger, and/or you need accountability people in place. There must be consequences every time a boundary is broken. You have grounds for a restraining order, and I think you should consider one.
There is no reason to believe this man has changed. Have you listened to Patrick Doyle videos at all? As he says, and Leslie says, and others who deal with abusers: they rarely (not never, but rarely) change. And change happens only when they are sufficiently “boundaried.” And only over time…repentance is not an event…not a decision, though it starts with a decision. It is a process that takes time. Also, he has totally broken trust with you. And that trust must be earned back. Is he willing to do whatever it takes?
I want to discourage you from trusting him or giving him any more chances. Do what you need to do to take care of your safety and sanity. Even if you choose to divorce, if he is serious about long-term change and winning your heart back, he can try to do that. I have heard about quite a few people who have remarried. But it took a divorce to motivate the offender to get the help and support they need to change.
That’s my best advice, anyway.
Lynn, I am scared for you. The gun incident is a deal breaker that would scare me into seeking safety away from him no matter what he says or does, especially for your daughter’s sake. I would be sincerely hesitant to reconcile or give this man another chance in spite of what he is doing now to get help for himself. He is a scary, unstable man and your life could be at risk if you try to reconcile.
Please encourage him to get rid of all guns if he wants continued interaction his family. I hope he is getting psychiatric care. Yes even now it is not too late to go to police and tell them what he did and ask for a restraining order.
Lynn, I meant can you turn the gun (or all guns in your home) in to police, tell them why (what you experienced). Also Lundy’s website that Connie mentioned has a spot where it is about ‘assessing dangerousness in men who abuse.’ I am praying for you.
Hi Starlight, the guns were removed from our home after that incident by the police thankfully and he has never went to get them. I filed a report with the police after the November incident but there is nothing they can do other than log what happened under a case file. Sadly it takes physical harm for anything to really be done. I appreciate your feedback and your prayers. It helps me knowing that I am not alone in this. Thank you.
I totally agree with everything T.L. said. I want to applaud you for recognizing the gap between what you are living and the fantasy you have constructed in your mind. I can really relate to that. Safety is number one, sanity number two. These are so important because we cannot begin to walk in Truth and see the Truth in the presence of someone who scares us and makes us feel guilty and, or crazy.
Patrick Doyle videos have really helped me to begin to see, and walk, in the Truth.
But safety and safety need to be prioritized and I agree with T.L., ENSURING your boundaries are respected is how you will get there.
Praying for The Lord’s clarity and strength for you, Lynn.
T.L,Nancy and Starlight,
Thank you for responding. I long for peace more than anything. He came home from this 3 day seminar saying and doing all the right things. He wants 6 months. To prove to me he can be the husband and father We deserve. I find myself feeling numb…I don’t know how else to describe it. I just want it all to go away. I know I’m the only one who can change this situation.
I tried to get a restraining in November after another incident. He was drinking and we were fighting. It woke the kids up and he referred to his previous suicide attempt saying he should have done it. I told him I would call the police if he kept talking like that and he then told me he would kill me. I didn’t end up calling the police that night-I should have. He left and then I took our 3 children to a friends house for the night. He was so angry at me and about our life. Our daughter was so scared that night because she was afraid he was going to hurt himself. Anyway I tried to get the restraining order and it was denied because he has not physically harmed me or the kids. So nothing happened. He moved out for 2 months and then I let him move back in because things were “better”. And things were for a while but I could feel the tension building and then he was angry at my family for some things and said awful things about my brother. He also got angry at our daughter one night because of an Instagram post and he just yelled and yelled at her. It was like I was watching her spirit get crushed even more. I went and saw a lawyer the next day.
And now here I am again…he’s going to change, saying and doing all the right things. I feel crazy half the time because I don’t feel like I know my own mind anymore.
He says this time is different and he’s really getting the help he needs….
Well then, happily give him 6 months…….in a different home. Like that saying, “You can get glad in the same pants you got mad in”, he can get healed just fine living in another place and you can observe from afar……and/or have his mentor/counselor observe him. Have you read Lundy Bancroft’s list of how you can tell someone has really changed?
With that history you described, I would be very very careful. On Dr. Phil today he said that every day a woman in the US gets killed by an intimate partner. That’s far more than those killed by war and terrorism combined (numbers include 9/11)!! Your daughter does NOT need to be motherless!!! Please! Praying for you.
Oh Lynne! I agree completely with Connie! Can you get friends or a counselor to help you with an “exit plan,” at least a temporary one? People like your husband rarely, VERY rarely change! You need safety! Take the 6 months away from him and watch…and clear your head and get some sanity away from him. But make him no promises. You are wounded, traumatized, and hurting. FROM HIM! You owe him nothing, not even to listen. You need, and deserve, space from him.
Do you have support on the ground? (If you mentioned, I forget) But you need people who know (counselor, friends) exactly what you’ve been dealing with the give you the emotional support you need to get out. Consider not talking to him alone; he’s too scary and manipulative. You could write a letter of email. Or have 1 or more support people with you when you tell him, “You asked for 6 months. My answer is no. I need space and time to heal, and to see if your change is real, and if I even want to try again. Right now, I do not. You abused and lost my heart. I don’t know if it can be won back by you again. I do not trust you.”
Please do read the Lundy Bancroft recommendation from Connie. And also listen to him on YouTube, like: “Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men”
Lynn. We are praying for you, and we are here to listen and support you.
Oh dear Lynn,
I can see that many have posted such wise and safe advice here, I completely agree with them! Getting safe first is key!
Especially regarding the trauma you are in and the trauma of him being back in the house (second chance)..
I’m so very sorry but everyone here is correct that this is a dangerous situation and it’s difficult for you to see the danger clearly because of the fear/trauma and hope(possibly very false hope, you are experiencing mentally and emotionally) which many of us can deeply relate to.
What was the 3 day seminar? If it’s ok I ask?
It sounds like your h is doing outrageous behaviors and that will call for outrageous protection for yourself and child or children.
Are there strong Godly men involved to protect you?
Yes, women support is essential, but so are MEN given the nature of your h behavior!
I don’t read in your posts that your h is accountable to other men in his life? How long has this behavior been going on? Since you met? Or when stress ramps up in him?….
Maybe I missed something I apologize.
The behaviors concern me.. is he also taking prescription meds?
~I say this because there is lots of evidence that people with abusive (patterns or cycles) have a lot of brain chemistry issues.. irregular emotions and processing skills.
Yes, the alcohol adds to this and basically can act like gasoline on a fire for some abusive types.
This isn’t to explain the behavior, the behavior is unacceptable and dangerous.
I will pray that you can get surrounded by safe support and you can begin a healing journey especially with your daughter that has been exposed and wounded deeply. A child that is aware that one parent might hurt the other parent is dealing with unimaginable fear and anxiety that she can’t nor should she be able to process or understand.
Many hugs and caring women around you Lynn! 💗
Hi T.L. and Connie,
Thank you for your responses. It really helps to be listened to and know that people care and are praying. Since going to this new program called The Ultimate Journey he has started talking to his brother and Dad more. He also is going to another counselor and is going to a class called Fresh Start. This is the first time that he has really reached out to anyone for help. I think he has always thought he could fix things by himself.
Unfortunately this behavior has been going on for years. Even when we dated he displayed bursts of anger-punched his windshield, one time he punched me in the arm, reckless driving…he’s had altercations with my Dad and my brother that he blames entirely on them. I have enabled him for years and things have just gotten progressivley worse. Stress is a major factor-work and finances are the biggest culprit but in general he has told me he hates where we live, where are kids go to school, and feels like he gave up all his dreams for me.
He has given up drinking but I have to say that many things happen when hes not drinking too.
My parents are very supportive of me and the kids, I have also been seeing a new therapist and have a circle of very close friends. They are all very worried for me.
I thank you all for your concerns and prayers. It really means a lot to me.
Dear sister Lynn,
For some reason I cannot see your posts on this blog, but am receiving them in my email.
I was going to post a Lundy Bancroft link regarding assessing dangerous men, but I see that Connie has.
I would encourage you to open that and read it if you will.
Also, I am concerned for your children’s sense of well being and safety. Adults (you and I) have a choice in the matter of personal safety, however, your children are dependent upon you to keep them safe. I pray that fact weighs heavy in the decisions you need to be making. I also pray that God guides you in His wisdom and that you seek/follow His guidance.
Blessings dear sister
Please believe that you matter; that you are important. Your needs and desires matter. We know what it is like to think that they don’t matter much, and we know what it is like to not even know what we need, because we have been trained by abuse not to know or care about ourselves.
I like the example someone used onetime of traveling on an airplane: we receive instructions to put the oxygen mask on ourselves before helping someone else put theirs on. We can’t adequately care for other’s needs by denying our own basic needs. You need safety and sanity; as you called it: peace.
You deserve to have space and time to heal. He’s finally doing all the right things? Well, good. Then he will graciously allow you all the space and time you need to be apart so you can sort out your needs, feelings, etc. He will do this because he loves you and cares about you more than himself. If he has a problem with that, then he is only modifying behaviors and not experiencing a heart and attitude change.
Grace and peace to you, Lynn.
Speaking the blunt truth about your feelings about him will be a sure-fire way to tell whether he’s even close to wanting to change. In my case, everytime I’m blunt with my feelings (not rude or mean, just honest), my husband’s anger and manipulation are very evident very quickly.
Start speaking your truth without fear (but from a place of safety) and you will see very quickly where he stands.
Thank you to everyone for all your kind words and wisdom. He is really pressuring me to call off the divorce. He doesn’t want this, refuses to move out because his lawyer said he needed to stay in the home. He also thinks that he needs to be around to show me that he is changing. I tried to speak in truth to him today and he got irritated and frustrated today telling me I have to start to forgive him and trust him again. He also has told me about how he is going to have to pay so much in child support and alimony and that he’s not paying my legal fees. He wrote me a letter that he says he is going to pay a lawyer tomorrow and we need to decide if we are divorcing or fully reconciling our marriage. That we need to begin marriage counseling Immediatley and that our marriage needs to stay between us. And that we not talk to our friends or family any longer. I feel like he is controlling me still. If I just went along with everything he wanted he would be happy but that’s what I’m trying not to do. I find myself getting weaker and weaker the more he is around. I find myself wondering if all this back and forth is just because I am crazy? I’m so unhappy and tired of all of this. It has consumed my life. I can’t focus on anything else. Our children need me and I feel like I’m disconnected with my body unable to be the kind of mother that God wants me to be. I have been praying everyday for wisdom, stength and peace.
I hear you. We hear you. What you are experiencing is wrong. He is wrong. He is not loving you, but himself. He does not care about what is best for you, but what he wants. This is his complete motivation: what he wants. If he had truly changed, and if he loved and cared about you, he would be saying things like this,
“Take all the time you need. You need time to heal and recover. I understand if you don’t ever want to see me again. I understand how badly I have failed you, hurt you, traumatized you. I have broken my vows in multiple, horrible ways, and you have every right to leave me and even to divorce me. I am praying that in time, you will see that God is truly changing me and that I can win your heart back by truly loving you. I want you to feel safe and secure, and if that means we need to stay separated, that’s what we will do.”
Lynn, you are feeling confusion because your gut is telling you that he is not safe (despite his attempts [or illusions] at change. Deep down you know his selfish, unhealthy, destructive heart is still the same. I encourage you to stop listening to him. You must NOT obey his voice to stop talking to others. He knows others can see his dangerous, destructive ways clearly, but he thinks he can still keep you in the fog of of confusion if he can isolate you. *If you will only stop listening to others, he can make you think what he wants you to think. He can control you again.* Don’t allow this. Keep going to your therapist, and your pastor, your family and your friends. Tell them that you need to get away from him, but he is pressuring you, just as you have told us.
Lynn, I would encourage you to please make a plan with your therapist or pastor to separate immediately. And tell him you will only discuss things with him in the presence of one of them. That way you can settle practicalities without him trying to pressure and control you.
Your children need to see you protect yourself and them from his abuse. Did you see my link to Lundy Bancroft’s interview?
Lynn, please keep us posted. There will be many here praying for you. We want you to get to safety and sanity, so that you can think clearly and make wise choices without being pressured by a manipulator.
I’m so very sorry for what you are going through and the attempts to see a change in your h.
I do think based on your previous posts, your original and others your are being retraumatized and pressured by your h which will only ensure more ‘of the cycle’ down the road.
It is very difficult to stand strong in these places when you are worn down emotionally and especially psychologically.
This part is not your fault~
Your h has a way of using false guilt and creating an environment of making you feel like a contributor. You are not the one responsible for the agony and outcomes that are falling upon the marriage. He has made choices, being unfaithful which is abusive and continuing the abusive patterns to not feel the loss that he doesn’t want to deal with.
I think a step in the right direction is the safety one. I don’t know what the ‘safety climate today’ is but its first and essential prior to the next one.
I do think being away for a time is important because your h is currently toxic to your health and your healing.
He needs so much help, that the fact he is trying to limit the eyes on your situation concern me!
It would be perfectly healthy that you would need to see 1 year or more of Consistent behavior change, before considering the reconcile.
Your h needs a lot of hands on this if he truly does want to change like he claims. The interventions can create more safety and structure for him.
From your previous writings, he wants a quick fix for a very longggggg term character issue and it just doesn’t work that way.
You will need a lot of support regardless if the marriage remains or not, please keep us posted as many of us can relate to your angst and your situation in places.
We want to come along and be a strong voice for your heart and your healing💗 These things we never do alone~ There is safety and opportunity to authentic healing in exposure.
I agree with what TL and Aly have shared with you. I believe their feedback is spot on.
Your voice here: ” I tried to speak in truth to him today and he got irritated and frustrated today telling me I have to start to forgive him and trust him again.”
These are the words of a manipulative, controlling, abusive person. We could copy and paste your husbands sentence and find it coming from a host of other persons mouths verbatim.
He is telling us what his priorities are: changing you and truth to fit his goals. Because he is irritated and angry with your voice (of truth/not crazy), it sounds like he is NO WHERE near hearing truth or your voice. I am sorry. It is agonizing to begin the hard work of realizing this sad and oppressive mindset coming from one so close to us.
It is now up to you to decide what you will do with this truth. You cannot count on him to do anything with it except to attempt to minimize, manipulate, destroy it.
We naturally want to trust. That is what has gotten us into this position and is what can keep us from getting out of it.
Please listen to YOURSELF and what you are saying as truth. Several women here are validating your voice and his abusive habits.
And you said:
“He also has told me about how he is going to have to pay so much in child support and alimony and that he’s not paying my legal fees.”
Here we can plainly see his MOTIVES for keeping you in the marriage. (financial) Let the court decide whether he pays your legal fees or not. It is not up to him. (sounds like a threat to me)
” I feel like he is controlling me still.”
Looks like he sure is trying to, however Lynn, you have a choice in the matter. If you let him control you, likely your pain will increase as he will then see you as that much more despicable and weak and make you pay for the trouble you have caused him.
On the other hand, choosing to stand your ground (and remain separate) will avert the ongoing “in house” abuse, but bring on challenges of their own, like grief, unknown future, single parenting etc. Perhaps the ramifications of this 2nd choice is what keeps so many from choosing it? For me, the decision to separate has saved my sanity, and life. My health began to really suffer and the peace and safety in my life and home now are invaluable to me. Doing much better now and feel hopeful of more health to come. I have never regretted my decision, although it was the hardest thing I think I have ever done.
But Lynn, your voice and life are precious and valid. I hear you clearly when you say:
“I find myself getting weaker and weaker the more he is around. I find myself wondering if all this back and forth is just because I am crazy?”
I said the very same thing a year ago, and I know how very REAL these feelings are, but they are just that=feelings. You are NOT crazy. You make SO much sense. You ARE however in a dizzying atmosphere of say “carbon monoxide poisoning” and your husband would like for you to succomb so he doesn’t experience financial hardship or have to be faced with his destructive behavior.
Here is the hard message:
Your husband seems not to have you in mind whatsoever (other than how to keep you under his control to benefit himself).
Your last words really tugged at my heart Lynn:
“I’m so unhappy and tired of all of this. It has consumed my life. I can’t focus on anything else. Our children need me and I feel like I’m disconnected with my body unable to be the kind of mother that God wants me to be.”
Save yourself and your children Lynn and God can be trusted to provide more than abundantly for your sanity, safety.
If your husband were to change (even after a divorce) I believe he would need to be committed, diligent and unwavering in his efforts to work understanding and changing his destructive behavior. Not happening overnight.
You need space to process Lynn. The air will clear over time.
Prayers for your health and safety. Prayers for your “mothers heart” to have what you need to nurture those who need you.
Lynn, you are in a very scary situation and you did the right thing by trying to get a restraining order against your h.
Your husband is a desperate man and I am afraid for you if you do not get yourself and your kids out. He is already showing you what he is all about, damaging and crushing your daughter and showing you over and over that he will do something desperate or crazy to himself or even to all of you if you don’t stay with him.
A desperate man or a man with anger issues in the same house as a gun is trouble waiting to happen. Can you turn it on to police? Please do not listen to his words and do listen to the inside of you.
Of course you are numb and don’t want anything more to do with him and you are not crazy, he is putting you all through the wringer.
He can work on himself while you are or stay separated.
It is not your fault that he is threatening suicide, if he does it again, call 911. He should have a psychiatric evaluation if that is what he is doing and you are not to blame. I have been through enough and seen enough in my life that I would suggest you do do not need to believe his words anymore and just get away from this man and get safe. I hope he will really get the help he is promising but you can watch if he does that from a safe distance and not be “in the line of fire anymore.”
Could you go to a local shelter and get advice how to get help and get some counselling and make a safety plan for yourself and your kids. Don’t stop trying to get a restraining order, if he subjects you and your family to more scary incidents please call for help right away and keep trying to get that restraining order, he has shown you that you need it. I hate that you are in thus precarious situation with this dangerous man. Cry out to God, he will help you and show you what to do.
All who call on the name of the Lord will be saved. There is huge comfort in Isaiah and the Psalms and the bible is so full of help and comfort for you.
God sees and cares and is walking with you, he will lead you out and help you as you turn to him.
Hi ladies, thank you so much for all of your kind words, thoughts and concerns. I am still moving forward with the divorce but I still feel torn. He is begging me for more time and has finally moved out, even left the key and has only been coming over when asked/or to help with our children activities. He really wants me to stop the divorce proceeding to give him more time. He said he would continue to not live at home and give me space to search my heart. I am so tired of being confused…I wish that I just knew the answer and could have peace about it. I have been praying and asking God for wisdom and strength.
My husband started seeing a new counselor who told him that he is an abusive man and that its a choice. Everything that I read says that abusive men rarely change and yet there is this part me of that still has hope despite all that has happened.
I fear that I am so damaged that I will never come out of this. If I stay I chance it all happening again and if I go I fear the future. How will I financially survive? Will I be alone forever, will I ever be normal enough again to even love someone again and have a healthy relationship? If I stay how will my daughter feel? How will my boys be? Will my daughter end up in an abusive relationship?
I know I have so much to work on individually and I can’t help but feel that this cycle will continue and I will just get lost once again.
It’s so hard because he is being so nice, saying and doing all the things I have wanted him to do for years. He’s even owning the abuse, stating it’s his fault and he’s sorry. That he is going to change and give me and the kids the life we deserve.
What are your thoughts? Do I stop the divorce proceedings and give this more time? See where it goes? I feel like I have come so far….do I really go back on this now? I have told him it may take years before I trust him again. And that it may even take us divorcing to really heal and that we could maybe be together again someday. He does not want the divorce-said it’s crazy to get a divorce and sell the house and split everything to just get back together. But if I choose to divorce him he understands and wants me to be happy.
Sometimes I worry that he is making me feel guilty and that I am being manipulated? He makes me feel bad that his parents are not really that supportive of him. He has finally been reaching out to other Christian men through this new Bible study he attends but he told me he still feels really alone like he does not have anyone to turn to. He told me he has lost weight and not eating right. I then question–is this another way to manipulate me? To get me to cave in?
Or am I being harsh when I tell him he has to take care of himself.
I’m praying for direction and guidance, praying for a clear mind and heart. If you have any more advice it’s greatly appreciated. I have been reading a book by Lundy Bancroft-Why does he do that? It’s very good. Thank you for all the prayers and support.
Lynn, divorces don’t happen quickly. Mine took 2 years. Would u consider leaving things as they are, and tell him there are things he can be working on to prove his heart is right. Lynn, I can so relate to your confusion. What I learned is to have enough faith FOR TODAY. You don’t need all the answers now. God will meet you each day and provide for you. Keeping the faith can help us S we go thru the process of separation and things will become more clear for you. It’s wonderful he is making effort to win u back. Let him keep showing you the proof of his genuine love.
Lynn, I would encourage you not to ‘go back to egypt’ after God has delivered you from it! The stakes are too high, just like the Israelites who wanted to go back to Egypt in the OT after Moses in God’s presence had already led them on dry ground across the Red Sea. They remembered the leeks and onions but forgot the slave masters, the brick making, and floggings with whips and the forced labor.
The stakes are too high for you and your children to believe him and turn around & go back (you list them) or believe his good intentions only to go through it all again. Of course he is sorry and is crying and has lost weight but I would not stop my forward momentum and turn away from where God has lead you, he will guide and protect you and give you a clear mind as you look forward. Please don’t forget how horrible it was, enough to make you separate in the first place!!
It took me a while to write back because I was shocked by your last response to me.
I won’t continue this particular conversation with you – it became very dark.
I’m taking the opportunity to say that I don’t receive it.
I apologize Nancy for 1) not seeing your response until right this moment and 2) that I have apparently deeply offended you. If you want to provide any specifics re: unpack “very dark”, et.al. I will respond/ explain/ apologize specifically and in greater detail but I don’t understand enough to go that deep right now. —I’ll try to guess at it below. But, you be the judge, if you choose to. I am only trying to explain the truth as best I can with the facts I have.
Nancy, you are a 21st century Christian. Christianity has changed *massively* over time. Early Christianity was often really dark and often really creepy by today’s standards. . . . re: Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew; The Birth of the Christian Religion and the Origins of the New Testament; The Life of Jesus, Critically Examined (Lives of Jesus Series); Jesus After 2000 Years: What He Really Said and Did —Oh, and The Effect of Early Christological Controversies on the Text of the New Testament, et.al. . . . . Nancy, God’s love is perfect and when He loves people perfectly it doesn’t mean He has personal relationships with them. You don’t see having a “personal relationship” with God until the German Piety movement of the 17th century. The Bible never uses the phrase. Paul never tells the churches that they need better “personal relationships with Jesus.” The other epistles don’t talk about ways to “strengthen” that “personal relationship,” etc. Relationship with God is almost exclusively described in Christian Origins and Scripture as a suffering experience. The emphasis on “personal relationship” is a modern emphasis, more rooted in Enlightenment thinking than in Scripture. . . . . There were lots of early Christian groups. They all claimed to be right. They all had books to back up their claims, books allegedly written by the apostles and therefore representing the views of Jesus and his first disciples.
Nancy, I love talking with you, but you do what the Holy Spirit tells you to do. I try to tell the truth about the facts as best I know, walking totally on eggshells re: Christian origins; etc. as best I can and the most inoffensive way I can conceive. Maybe I am totally wrong but I have a very, very bad feeling about what I know. . . .ALL of it is not ALL wrong. . . . One of the most amazing and perplexing features of 21st century mainstream Christianity is that seminarians who learn the historical-critical method in their Bible classes have to forget all about it when it comes time for them to be pastors. They are taught critical approaches to Scripture, they learn about the vast discrepancies and contradictions, they discover all sorts of deep historical errors and mistakes, they come to realize that it is difficult to know whether Moses existed or what Jesus actually said and did, they find that there are other books that were at one time considered canonical but that ultimately did not become part of Scripture (—for example, other Gospels and Apocalypses), they come to recognize that a good number of the books of the Bible are pseudonymous (—written in the name of an apostle by someone else), that in fact we don’t have the original copies of any of the biblical books but only copies made centuries later, all of which have been altered. They learn all of this, and yet when they enter church ministry, they put it all back on the shelf because it does not increase anyone’s faith. . . . .For psychological reasons, pastors are, as a rule, reluctant to teach what they learned about the Bible in seminary: Moses did not write the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament) and Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John did not write the Gospels. Why not tell everyone this?. . . Probably because it is dark and deconstructs lots of things. In terms of the historical record, I should also point out that there is no account in any ancient source whatsoever about so, so many things that are totally dark in the Bible like King Herod slaughtering children in or around Bethlehem, or anyplace else. No other author, biblical or otherwise, mentions this event, ditto hundreds of other Biblical events.
Also, Nancy. . . I try to be extremely careful. Many of the things I write I never post because I pray about them and the Lord says “—Aleea, No, don’t post that. Take that to counseling and read it to Dr. Meier.” . . . . I appreciate you pushing back because how can anything/ anyone ever get corrected if no one says anything. What you then have is just confirmation bias, group think, et.al. Most popular Christian preachers, and heads of those corporations that we call megachurches share a very unreflective view of Jesus. He was not like us, and if we make Him like us we transform Jesus into a creature that we have invented for ourselves and for our own purposes. This is one of the hard-and-fast ironies of the Christian tradition: views that at one time were the majority opinion, eventually came to be left behind; and as theology moved forward to become increasingly less dark, more nuanced and psychologically sophisticated (—psychologists projecting into the Scriptures), these earlier majority opinions came to be condemned as heresies. . . .Nancy, Jesus would not recognize Himself in the preaching of most of His followers today. That does not mean you are not His. I believe you are and you are an extremely kind person (—I mean that I know of, we don’t get to see actions here.) Re: Defending your beliefs is rationalizing your emotions, —me too! —Again, I deeply apologize.
Nancy, I am not willing to accept that there is no God/ Jesus/ Holy Spirit because that’s just too convenient, it allows me to avoid personal responsibility and accountability. —I’m not falling for that. —I am accountable, period. . . . I need Jesus to make the right and good decisions. But that doesn’t mean all those claims are historically true. That said, these things are not unbelievable once you understand their living and nurturing core but they are operating in a different registry: Truer than true. —I don’t understand it either, obviously.
Firstly, I would like to say ‘a big thank you’ to Leslie for giving us this great platform where we can share our stories and realities with each other and receive encouragement from those who have already gone down similar paths before us.
5 years ago, end of December 2011, I discovered that my husband of 33 years was having an affair while working overseas. At first, he said she was just a friend but as I dug deeper, I found out that she was more than just a friend. I precipitated a crisis and gave him an ultimatum. I insisted that he called her up in my presence to break off the relationship, which he did, and he promised not to contact her again. He also deleted her phone numbers and email address from his list of contacts.
Two months later, in February 2012, I found out that he had set up a new e-mail account from where he was contacting her. Upon being caught, his explanation was that there was no proper closure at the time he called her to break up and he was just wanting to have closure with her. I forgave him a second time and I ended up going overseas with him for his work for the rest of that year.
All seemed to be going well when in September 2013, I came across an email notification that he had sent the woman an e-greeting card as somehow he learnt that she was suffering from a serious illness. I confronted him about the card and his reply was that she never responded to say whether she received the card or not. Then some time in 2014, I found out that he did a search of her on Facebook and this time, his explanation was that he wanted to see how easy it was to find someone on FB but that he did not find her there. So in my mind, there was no longer any relationship and contact between them and that the chapter was closed.
I was gradually starting to trust him again and then a big bomb dropped on me last December as I found out that they have been in contact all along. He has been cheating on me throughout and I was so blind to not know, sense or notice that this affair was still going on. I am so devastated – he has lied continuously when I asked him whether he was still in touch with her and the pain of betrayal is deep and beyond description. When I confronted him again this time, he said he wanted a divorce to which I agreed (in the heat of the moment) as I cannot see myself staying in this destructive and abusive relationship and getting hurt all over again as he carries on with the cheating and betrayal when he is far away.
As the days went by, he then said he wanted to work on the marriage, but it would be on his own terms, as he refuses to go to counselling and refuses to resign from his work overseas. I really don’t know how he intends to do this from a distance. I am now considering divorcing him as I cannot put up with his behaviour any longer. I am hoping to get some legal advice soon. Some days I am undecided about whether to proceed with a divorce or not. But this is now the 5th time he is caught – do I keep forgiving him? So far I have not seen any change in him and he also no longer seems to be committed to our marriage. He has broken every promise he made to me to safeguard our marriage. We have been separated but living under the same roof for the last 3 months. There is no longer much communication going on and no emotional connection between us currently. He is due to go back to work overseas next month.
I have been seeking God and waiting upon Him as I draw more closely to Him in the past few months of turmoil. His presence and comfort have never been more real amidst the pain, heartache and emotional upheaval. I will keep on clinging to Him and trust Him to guide me in the way I should go …
Please Leslie/Ladies, pray for me. I would really love to hear your comments and advice on my situation. Thanks for ‘listening’. May God bless and keep you all as you journey with Him …….
(Sorry for the long post – I have been hesitating to post for a while now and I have just been reading what others posted, but when I began writing, I just carried on)
My heart breaks for what you have been through 🙁
It is so good that you are drawing near to The Lord during this terrible time. He is faithful and loves you dearly, Kaycee.
What stands out to me in your question is if you should forgive him again. Forgiveness and trust are two completely sepearate things. Forgiveness is between you and God, but trust is EARNED. He has broken your trust again and again and doesn’t even seem motivated to want to earn it back.
This is a problem. He is unrepentant.
I would highly recommend Patrick Doyle’s video on reconciliation. He makes it very clear. ( I’ll post below)
Your husband has treated you terribly and is highly arrogant. To continue his affair, say he wants to work on the marriage but insist it be on his terms shows a complete lack of conviction, contrition or repentance.
Guard your heart Kaycee. To continue to give your heart to an arrogant, unrepentant man is not what The Lord wants for any of His daughters.
I pray for His Peace as you seek Him in this.
Here’s the video link
Nancy, thanks so much for your reply, the video link and for praying for me.
So far, I have not seen contrition, repentance or remorse on his part – he just said he was sorry for what he’s done to the family, without being specific about it. The first time, he did show some remorse and even wrote individual letters of apology to each member of the family, apologising for his behaviour and asking for forgiveness. But sadly the forgiveness extended to him was taken for granted as he went back to the same conduct again.
Yes, the trust is completely broken at this point and as you said, he is not doing anything to earn that trust back but seems to have already checked out of the marriage emotionally. He is not doing anything to try to make things right.
What am I supposed to do in this situation and how long do I continue to put up with this? How should I relate to him? Right now, I don’t even want to engage in any talk with him and I just want to do my own things and let him do his. It seems to me like he is acting as if he is the one who has been offended and wronged, not me.
My husband is not a Christ-follower. My question is – can someone who is not a Christian get convicted by God since he does not have the Holy Spirit indwelling Him?
Nancy, how do I guard my heart during this very unsettling and difficult time? I just want to make sure I am on the right track …..
Thanks for taking time to reply.
God bless you always!
I’m sorry I missed this- just saw it now. I have read what Aly, Connie and T.L. have said and agree with their perspectives and questions. Questions have helped me a lot.
The only thing I would add is the paraphrase of Eph 6:12 that I heard. It was the thing that enabled me to set boundaries ( guard my heart) with my h:
Our battle is not AGAINST people, our battle is FOR people, against evil.
I think that God can save someone who has been unrepentant for a lifetime, Kaycee, and as T?L. asked, if your husband chooses not to take responsibility and turn to The Lord, aren’t you better off knowing that?
Some people need tough love. That’s what setting boundaries is about. YOU becoming healthier and asking your husband to make healthier choices.
I’m praying for you, Kaycee❤️
If you haven’t read Leslie’s “the emotionally destructive marriage” I highly recommend it.
It is clear and can take you step by step through the process.
Also her video on YouTube called CORE strength. Just type in those key words, it will come up. It’s a 7 minute video that I’ve watched MANY times, when my head gets foggy!
Nancy, thank you for the Eph. 6:12 reminder:
“Our battle is not AGAINST people, our battle is FOR people, against evil.”
So important to remember that our “tough love” IS love. And offers a much greater chance for redemption for the person being “boundaried” than enabling offers them.
So agree with your place on this;)
Such wisdom and love in your comments!
Thank you 🌈
Hi T.L. and Aly,
Thinking of boundaries and consequences as loving is very foreign because of the lie that forbearance is the answer in all situations. I think it was Leslie who said that we forbear for someone else’s good, not to enable them in sin.
Enabling sin is not loving. It takes a long time, though, to reprogram that lie. Thankfully we have one another along the way ❤️
So well said and stated;)
I agree and also understand the difficulty that comes with the ‘re-wiring’.
Surrounding ourselves with wise counsel that confirms God’s Word is key.
You are so right about the lie of forbearance and the tentacles of that.
It seems that this is epidemic in the church and it also has been my experience that those in a younger generation struggle not being pulled into a place where they ‘feel’ more safe hearing from someone who has many years of marriage under their belt, but the unfortunate reality is that many years do not equal a healthy covental marriage.
You ladies are such support and ‘you get’ the lies that are being ever so woven into a church culture.
Kaycee, I’m so sorry for what you have been going through. Betrayal like that has got to be the worst!! And I commend you for your faithfulness even through continuous lies.
Several things jump out at me with your story, the biggest one being that he wants to work on the marriage on his terms. Sheesh, he’s lied to you so many years and now he’s demanding HIS terms? What kind of gall is that?!? Methinks he has long lost the right to that. And he wants to keep his job overseas and no counseling? Convenient to have a woman in each port, no? I know counselors say he HAS to move at least 500 miles away from the ‘affair’ woman. He certainly has lost the right to expect your trust. I don’t know how your ‘marriage’ has been these 33 years, so I don’t know if you really want it ‘restored’ or if you need a whole different marriage. I think he expects to be able to demand you trust him, just because he says so.
One thing I’m learning is, what forgiveness means. It does not mean to continue to trust an untrustworthy person. The book of Proverbs tells us what a fool is and what to do about a fool. In any other addiction, it is required that the addicted person is accountable 24/7. Porn addicts have to go to a facility for at least 6 months and then their computers need to be monitored at all times. God always says we can trust Him because He is faithful, because we have a 6,000 year record of Him keeping His promises. He doesn’t say we have to trust just because He says so.
I don’t see you saying anything about any true repentance on his part. And I don’t mean the crocodile tears that say, “I’m so sorry I got caught and I’m scared you’re going to mess up my nice little life and out me here.” But deep contrition before God and man and the church.
Dear Precious Sisters,
All of the responses to you (Kaycee) I agree to in many ways so I won’t reiterate. I’m so terribly sorry for what you have been pulled under time and time again. My heart so grieved over what you are experiencing~ 😢
Do you have support around you? Who are your women and do they know what you are going through?
Do you have a counselor?
The facts that you have laid out seem very clear as to what your husbands stance is.
First: ‘being caught’ is the farthest place from confession and any possible genuine repentance.
Regardless of the offense being caught verses coming forward set two different paths (technically).
I’m concerned about your forgiveness question because if you are thinking that forgiveness has the power to change behavior in your husband, you might reconsider why you at ‘one time’ might believed that and how that has played out.
Obviously the betrayal continued and your husband has not been required to do anything to seek help for the deeper reason of his adultery.
There are deeper reasons but that’s not the issue in my opinion.
Ill tell you a bit of my own journey with learning boundaries, this is the short side ( trust me it wasn’t easy for me to grasp)
This may come across as minor but I want you to see the extent I had to embrace if there was hope for my own marriage that didn’t have the repeat infidelity you have been traumatized by.
My h is a recovering work addict etc. so the marriage was always going to be somewhere in the line but never in the first few places.
The Lord helped me see with plenty of support and especially professionals guiding me that marriage as I would define it ~ was the furthest thing from what I was experiencing.
I wasn’t living in a marriage at all and my heart knew it.
If you have been on this site long enough you may see that Leslie continues to stress that Healthy lives in Reality;)
Do you have a marriage?
Do you have a marriage that shows the evidence of a partner willing to move mountains to gain an entry point back into the marriage?
These are hard questions but ones that only you can answer and take inventory on. Given your posts from my perspective I can see that your husband has little required of him to deal with his issues.
As far as the job, the marriage comes first. He has proven that he is not able to remain faithful apart from you and with you.. does this seem like he’s moving toward healing and restitution.
I won’t go full into my theif analogy ~ maybe you have read other posts but your h is stealing and gutting your heart then throwing a towel at you to clean it up.
Where is your protest? I’m looking maybe i missed it, Kaycee… you are not alone and many can come alongside to encourage and support you.
Kaycee, my anger/protest given my journey was what I needed to wake up to what I was accepting.
I’m not saying get angry and sin~ don’t get me wrong but what you are going through and your responses do concern me.
You are so much more valuable than how your husband is responding to this situation.
If there is any hope, your husband would quit his job, and would be willing to swim the ocean back to the US just to have a possible chance to repair this.
Sending hugs from far away, hoping you hear our care and love for your heart and freedom!!💜
Dear Aly, I appreciate your care and concern for me and I thank you for your lengthy and encouraging response.The support that I have currently are from my sisters in Christ as I belong to a ladies Bible study group. I usually do not readily share my personal issues with others around me ( I know that’s not good !!) and managed to keep my reality and pain from them for many weeks until one fine day, I could not contain it any longer and had no option but to tell them what I was going through.
Actually this is the very first time I am writing anything on any blog whatsoever but somehow I felt comfortable to do so here after reading a lot of the posts since I found this website not too long ago. So I have been receiving a lot of prayer support from my dear sisters in Christ and now from all of you ladies on this blog too. There are also 2 women in my group who have been through the same situation as me in the past and their love, care and support for me is simply wonderful. As for the counsellor, I have not found a Christian one in my area and I am not keen on going to a secular one. I went to one at some point a few years ago but it was of no help at all – I came out of there feeling worse and I just gave up.
You wrote – “Do you have a marriage?
Do you have a marriage that shows the evidence of a partner willing to move mountains to gain an entry point back into the marriage?
These are hard questions but ones that only you can answer and take inventory on.” Yes Aly, these are really hard questions that I am still pondering on. (Please see my response to Connie above) I have protested some along the way and I have seen some improvement in his relating to me but the unfaithfulness part is just so devastating.
Thanks again Aly for your love, support and encouragement at this time Sending hugs back to you … God bless!
It’s good to hear you have a couple women in your corner physically and you are seeing God place certain components of support in other areas too!
Thank you for being honest and risking with us… I wish I could hug you and sit with you….because yes I agree wholeheartedly that what you have been through and are continuing to be involved in devastating! Your heart is just precious and I can tell you the Lord is devastated for your heart.
But He can and will heal your heart over time.
I’m sorry if I ask hard questions, I appreciate that you ponder them;) my hope would be that the questions might bless you in ‘some way’ in your journey.
Questions helped me tremendously sort through my responses and ‘my part’.
I will read your reply to Connie, about your protests and what responses you have seen from your h.
Do you feel like you want to draw healthy boundaries and try to reconcile a marriage?
For me, I tend to see how behavior can relate to consequences. Consequences can be good and bad. The fact that your h happens to be a repeat offender in worst sense, tells me something about his consequences and inability to be the one suffering from the choices he has made and continued to.
Drastic behavior (such as you h) calls for drastic consequences … this is just in my heart for you so I hope you might be able to hear my gentle voice.
It can be really difficult to make strong choices and strong boundaries without the necessary support in place. By support I mean healthy women who have a grasp of what your going through (even though they may not have the same infraction) but they are also strong.
The strength is essential, this isn’t to change your h, this is to help strengthen you and your ability to make safe choices for your own heart and over all well being.
It’s simple: we need one another!
I’m thankful I’m writing you back and not your h because I feel such protest in my heart for you! The Lord can’t stand duplicity and your h is clearly a duplicitous character. The Lord can love him apart from this and have righteous anger against him because of what impact it is having on His precious Daughter Kaycee!!
I’m wondering if it’s ok to ask but what were the extent of the requirements of him (from you) after you found out about the first betrayal?
Also, who were you surrounded by at that time supporting you through? I ask you this because if you were alone in authentic ways i can understand.
Many women who go through betrayal of many kinds… tend to take on all the shame when they are not the one to be taking it on, but this can be common.
Kaycee, you are not alone and the Lord wants to guide you through and out ( that may mean the marriage gets rebuilt or the outcome is different)
My hope is that you will trust these amazing souls here too that want to walk alongside and support you and your worthy Heart❤️
I am praying for your freedoms Kaycee,
Love your sister in Christ
Connie, I really appreciate you taking time to reply to me and giving me your perspective. Yes, the trust is all gone and I don’t know how I can ever ever trust him again due to the constant lying, secrecy and cheating. A healthy marriage cannot exist if one of the key ingredients, namely trust, is absent. To me, his attitude has been something like – “Okay, I will happily continue in my behaviour when I am far away from her as she won’t know what is going on here and if she does find out eventually, she finds out and I will then deal with it.”
The thing is he is not even doing anything to deal with it at this point. The distance between us is growing day by day and I am beginning to think that he really wants me this marriage to end so that he can be free to be with the woman. I feel like he is waiting on me to do the dirty work – to file for divorce so he can be free. That’s the way I am seeing it now – I may be wrong on this, I don’t know. When I think of all the years he betrayed me and acted all nice and normal when he was back home, it actually hurts very deeply.
You said – “I don’t know how your ‘marriage’ has been these 33 years, so I don’t know if you really want it ‘restored’ or if you need a whole different marriage.” My marriage has had its ups and downs like most marriages, I suppose – it has not always been smooth sailing. I have always had a hard time when it comes to communicating with him – the dismissing, not wanting to discuss things, silence, avoidance, sweeping under the rug. I put up with all of that over the years. Even now, we are not communicating about our situation. The door is tightly shut and God’s intervention is really needed in this area. As to your question, I think it will have to be a whole different marriage that I need, especially one where I can trust again ….
And no, Connie, there has been no true repentance on his part. (Please see my response to Nancy above).
Thanks for ‘listening’ and have a great and blessed weekend!
Kaycee, That is quite common, that the abuser tries to manipulate the abused to file for divorce. How convenient, to let the other not only do the dirty work, but then he can say, “I tried to keep the marriage together, but she broke her vows and broke up the family.” (ask me how I know!).
I’m thinking that it has probably been worse than you think. The other day a woman mentioned that her h would come to her presentations, sleep through them and think it’s funny. She seemed to think it was no big deal. I asked if she would do that to her daughter, and I could tell by the look in her eyes that she was horrified of that thought. Then she realized how bad her relationship with her h really was. We are in it so long and have been humiliated for so long that we don’t even know that we don’t deserve to be treated like that, and how bad it is. Isn’t that what they call living in the FOG? (fear, obligation, guilt)
Kaycee, That is quite common, that the abuser tries to manipulate the abused to file for divorce. How convenient, to let the other not only do the dirty work, but then he can say, “I tried to keep the marriage together, but she broke her vows and broke up the family.” (ask me how I know!).
I’m thinking that it has probably been worse than you think. The other day a woman mentioned that her h would come to her presentations, sleep through them and think it’s funny. She seemed to think it was no big deal. I asked if she would do that to her daughter, and I could tell by the look in her eyes that she was horrified of that thought. Then she realized how bad her relationship with her h really was. We are in it so long and have been humiliated for so long that we don’t even know that we don’t deserve to be treated like that, and how bad it is. Isn’t that what they call living in the FOG? (fear, obligation, guilt)
The thing is he is not even doing anything to deal with it at this point. The distance between us is growing day by day and I am beginning to think that he really wants me this marriage to end so that he can be free to be with the woman. I feel like he is waiting on me to do the dirty work – to file for divorce so he can be free. That’s the way I am seeing it now – I may be wrong on this, I don’t know.
I don’t think you’re seeing wrong. This is what’s going on in my marriage, too. Connie has it right.
It’s just one more thing that has helped me realize what a coward he is. (Sorry, I am still in my angry phase. But, I probably shouldn’t apologize….haha….still working on not apologizing for speaking the truth!!!)
Yes, this is all about trying to protect their image. Or, sicker yet, maybe my husband really does want to stay married to me so he can keep abusing me with his ongoing deceit and psychological abuse.
Either way — no thanks.
Was thinking….maybe you and I, Kaycee (and probably many others here), need to reframe that phrase “the dirty work of divorce” in our heads and come to terms with the truth and beauty and redemptiveness of it. God divorced Israel. He is always good – always perfect, right? So, we know divorce is not always the wrong thing. No, in fact, the more I study the passages about “letting an unbeliever go”, I’m convinced that God WANTS – commands, even, yes? – us to truly let them go to live the kind of lives they want when it gets to the kinds of things we’re talking about here. They can SAY they want to be married all they want. It is not marriage they want. They want someone to walk all over, who will be there to feed their ego and build their image up to their close family and friends (well, wait a minute, do they really have close family and friends….no, but you know what I mean!). That is not “being pleased to dwell with someone” in the spirit of what that passage is saying when it says to remain with the unbeliever. These men are not “pleased to dwell with us”…..they are pleased to abuse us with their ongoing deceit and emotional abuse.
Kaycee, you are loved and valued. I pray God will just flood you with that message….how valuable you are to Him. I pray your husband wakes up to the reality of his sin. That God will be merciful to him and set him free….but that in the meantime, you will know that he is not your responsibility. You can let him go. Plan your future with the Lord and put your hope fully in Him.
So sorry for the pain you are in. We all understand here. It’s devastating. God is holding us all and He is so near to the broken-hearted. So near.
So glad you felt safe enough to write and share your experience here. I agree with what our wise and loving sisters have already written.
I am so grieved at the number of men who marry women and then treat them with such contempt and disrespect. You did not say if your husband claims to be a Christian, but it is clear from his actions that he serves himself. Unfortunately, your naivete (like most of us here) has facilitated his disrespect of you. You have enabled his bad behavior, just as I enabled my husband’s for over 30 years. I have looked back with regret that I did not draw strong boundaries sooner; boundaries that forced him to choose between having the sacred privilege of being married to me, or indulging his own flesh in whatever that flesh desired.
To allow him to dictate the terms of staying in the marriage is unacceptable. You and the Lord should be the ones defining those terms: complete repentance, reformation, restitution. This can only be brought about at this point by hard choices and deep accountability: interventions by skilled counselors whom YOU choose, his agreeing that you may have complete access to all of his accounts, phone, etc. Searching for a new job that does not involve travel, etc.
But that would be if you decide you WANT to give him another chance. I would not. He has shown you zero respect. He has no remorse or repentance, and appears, in fact, to be missing a conscience. (From what you have said.)
My advice is file for divorce yesterday. You have ample biblical grounds, that’s for sure! And you have self-respect grounds, too. You deserve better, as the daughter of a Great and Mighty King, to be treated with love and care. The tenderness and care you have been receiving from the Lord will continue as you step out in faith and trust in Him. He will never betray you and never fail you, Kaycee. He wants more for you, and will satisfy your soul.
Praying for you to be given all the grace and strength and courage you need to be bold and strong. It’s time, sister!
My husband does not claim to be a Christian. I do find that things gets a little harder at times as he is not on the same spiritual page as me. But I have made up my mind to continue growing and persevering in my walk with God and praising Him in this storm, no matter what happens.
Thank you for your input and insight. Since resigning from his job is not an option for him, I feel that he is putting his job above his marriage and relationship with his family. If he really wanted to work on the marriage, he would have shown a willingness ‘to move mountains to gain an entry point back into the marriage’ as Aly wrote. But I am currently not seeing any evidence of this happening as he remains distant and non-communicative (resulting in me doing the same).
I do ask myself at times – do I give him another chance and get hurt all over again? Am I willing to put up with this behaviour and not have him face the consequences of his actions and let him hurt me again in future? It does not seem like he is going to change. There is also the trust issue. How do I carry on with someone I don’t trust at all ?
I do appreciate your prayers T.L., thank you so much 🙂
Have a great Sunday!
I think you are asking yourself very good questions. And our sisters on this forum are as well. We are all on our own journeys of coming out of abuse, and we all hope to share the wisdom we have gained, which has been hard-won. It’s really hard mportant to have these truth-tellers surrounding you, because when one is enmeshed and entangled in the abusive relationship, it is very hard, perhaps impossible, to see clearly. As humans, we are designed to adapt, but that strength can become a detriment when we learn to adapt to destructive environments. Our minds begin to adapt to something that at one time we would have said we would NEVER put up with. And so having those objective people around us who live Christ as we do, who can listen, and then reflect back to us, “No, sister. This is not Christ’s desire for you. Things are askew!” is quite essential.
This is my heart for you, Kaycee. You are my sister, and I love you, though I don’t know you. Your husband is abusing your generous, kind, loving heart. If he truly loved you and cared about you, he would feel great, great sorrow over what he has done. He would do all that he could to seek your forgiveness, healing, and restoring the relationship. This, he is not doing. His behavior speaks loud and clear that he cares for himself and wants what he wants because he wants it. So far, my sweet sister, you are enabling him in his destructive behavior. The message you have sent so far is, “I am hurt, I don’t like what you have done. But I am willing to put up with it…” I pray, dear Kaycee, that you will soon become unwilling to put up with it. If there is any hope of him repenting, it will come through hard, clear boundaries and the fear of losing you for good. And if he doesn’t care about that, then you need to know that, don’t you? You need to face reality and make your decisions accordingly. That’s what I began to see in my marriage. I needed to stop living in the fairy-tale world of wishful thinking and face up to what is, to begin to change what is.
We are all rooting for you, believing in your worth and dignity, and praying for you in love. We wrap you in that blanket of sisterly care. Xo
I so agree with T.L and her plea for you. I’m rooting for you too and in reality it has such little to do with your h, but everything to do with Kaycee and her value! 👑💕
I tried finding the post about your protests etc (the one to Connie) I think I found it but wasn’t sure. It seemed like you were receiving ‘more emotional abuse’ dismissal, blame shifting etc. the closer you moved into dealing the offender and giving protest which is typical with destructive individuals. (Typical not healthy)
It’s common to feel ran over in these places (by places I mean with your h and his attitude)
because of what Connie and TL have pressed into..,
The fog etc. What happens is we begin to get desensitized to the interactions with an abusive individual. Our interactions even though we know we don’t delight in them, they are not safe, they are not loving… they become a ‘normal’ and it’s hard to know where those original lines of regard were once drawn. But they are far from normal.
Here is my example for your journey and your truths;) from your own writing. I used to ask myself similar questions too.
“What am I supposed to do in this situation and how long do I continue to put up with this? How should I relate to him? Right now, I don’t even want to engage in any talk with him and I just want to do my own things and let him do his. It seems to me like he is acting as if he is the one who has been offended and wronged, not me.”
I think TL and others want you to see the ‘healthy power’ you do have ~ or power that has been taken, and you need to reclaim it to immediately remind your own heart that you don’t have to put up with it another moment.
You asked, How should I relate to him?
I can understand your tender question and your meaning, you have a dear sweet posture, but relating to him would be very low on my list given that he is completely out of control.
He needs to be the one doing plenty of his own work and the ‘hoping’ that the marriage could be rebuilt. Some of the questions you ask are great, don’t get me wrong.. but some of where they might be coming from are not healthy because they prove you to be the one responsible.
You mentioned you do your thing, he does his…
you don’t really interact etc… this is so terrible to hear but I can understand why… but this is not what the Lord wants for you or your h.
Do you have children observing this behavior?
Why do you think you are putting up with it, as you mentioned?
Kaycee your husband is continuing to ‘steal’ from you. He is stealing sacred things that are not for stealing and mistreating. And then he’s blaming you for his behavior and decision of stealing.
Because you mention that he treats you like the offender or he is the one wronged is so upside down! And completely disproportionate! You will find a Pattern with ‘abusive mindsets’ who do this innately.
I can relate to this form of abuse too well.( But my h had to have severe interventions, and I would not continue to accept anything less) ..where the abuser acts like they are wronged…It’s a tactic that serves the offender from rarely if ever having ‘to feel bad’ or responsible for their own choices. Remember most addicts are all about escaping feelings and responsible behavior.
Given your situation and what your husband has done this tactic.. is too much for victims to carry~ it adds to the desensitized environment which prolongs the agony.
Kaycee you have the strength and the power to make choices that will serve you on a healthier path and who knows maybe even begin a restoring marriage process? Change will begin with you as you allow God to move in and you find your healthy loving power that will assist in healthy requirements and boundaries.
What you may find when you begin to seek Him and choose His ways, you will find the restoring process for your heart, your needs and care. The outcome of your husband’s decisions begins to take a back seat, it’s painful yes but it gets put in the right priority place.
Hanging out with the wise and strong is wise. We actually becoming wiser and stronger.
I do believe questions are key here….
I would like to understand and hope it’s ok if I ask… are you sacred or afraid of something?
What keeps you going each day? What do you tell yourself what’s taking place in the environment of the marriage?
My prayer is for your heart, it is sacred and precious! 💗
He our Lord is crazy jealous for you!
Kaycee, One last thing I wanted to mention that I remembered when reading Aly’s response to you: my counselor explained to me that something about shame that I think is applicable. He said there are 2 unhealthy ways to deal with shame: some people internalize shame, and others externalize shame. Those who abuse others externalize/project their shame. Those of us who enable/are abused internalize shame. The abuser takes his own shame over wrongdoing, and projects it onto us. And we, in our unhealthy “niceness” receive it and “carry it.” We serve this role for them. 😑
My counselor also told me about the practice of “nuance” that goes hand in hand with this dynamic: he said that in the past, I did not look at reality clearly and appropriately, but I nuanced it. I feared making a mistake in judging the other person, or choosing the wrong way and disappointing God or messing up His perfect plan, and so I highlighted my own faults and did not “listen to my gut.” I would say/think, “Well, I’m not perfect either. I react in anger too, etc., therefore I can’t hold him accountable to a standard I am not keeping. And with others, my counselor said that I “highlight their strengths, listen to their justifications for bad behavior, worry for them, thereby enabling them to continue” I “carry their contempt.”
I think this may be what is happening in your dynamic with your husband. He is projecting his wrong and shame into you, pouring contempt into you, so he doesn’t have to look at himself. Boundaries are a refusal to carry another’s contempt and will assist them in the necessity of looking at themselves, because they don’t have you to carry their shame anymore.
I hope that makes sense. I had to think about it a lot, but I knew it was true.
I now refuse to receive my husband’s shame and guilt and contempt, and so do my kids. So he is finally learning to look at himself and deal with HIS wrongdoing.
This is So good! So well written and hopefully those that are in the thick of it can posture back a bit and get as much objectivity on this exact thing.
I believe it is ‘crucial’ and it is a corner in abusive cycles that seems to have a presence that has to be identified for the hope of anything healthy between the two~ I’m sharing in regards to those in a process towards the possibility of the marriage surviving.
I’m so joyful for you T.L. that you have given back ‘unwarranted shame’ that was not yours in the first place.
For my journey… this was ‘so ingrained’ in my h defense mechanisms, the interventions created such a process overall for his ability to stop getting in the way of himself ~ you know that ‘mindset’
Now this was a learning curve for him so the relapse was most likely going to happen, so boundaries and consequences are required.
~ I know you are well versed in this just adding it here in case other readers are experiencing similar paths.
T.L you are a treasure, I’m so thankful your here and I feel such that mother validation from you, it has blessed me so much, my words cannot express. Thank you;)
I have shared with my h the blessing and he can see it in my step!
Hugs from far but close in my heart💜
Thank you for your kind words, sweet Aly. I appreciate your affirmations very much!
Dear Nancy, Connie, Aly and T.L.
How can I thank you ladies enough for all your prompt responses to my post! I was not sure if I would receive any feedback and now I am overwhelmed by the fact that you all took time out of your busy schedules to write lengthy responses back to me. For this I am truly grateful and I just want to thank you all for your support, understanding, encouragement and words of wisdom and advice to me.
Something I omitted to mention in my original post – Lately I have been reading about Narcissistic Personality Disorder and the more I read, the more I find that my h has some of the traits of one with NPD – attitude of self-entitlement, rarely apologetic, anger issues, silent treatment, evasiveness, not caring about my thoughts, opinions and feelings, not wanting to hear about my issues etc. He seems to have changed and gotten a little better over the years, though.
However, his current behaviour/conduct has really deeply affected and shattered me and it is only by the help and grace of God that I am able to stand, knowing that I am continuously strengthened and sustained by Him on a daily basis.
You have each touched or questioned me on different aspects of my situation and I will reply under your respective comments. So do look out for my posts – I will try to write ASAP. It is getting late now ….
So thanks again, to you all, for your wonderful support and above all, for your prayers rising up to God on my behalf – I can feel it …. truly appreciated. God bless you all !
Love in Christ, Kaycee
Kaycee, you are so, so welcome. I know I can speak for all of us when I say it gives all of us joy to be used to help others in their struggle to get healthy; even as we are struggling still too.We’ve each gained strength and wisdom from the others as we read their insights.
It is so good to get an update from you! I’m sorry your husband is a selfish, self-centered, arrogant man, Kaycee. And that he defends himself by projecting his shame onto you. Deep down, he is ashamed of himself…but too proud to admit it. So he deflects by shaming you. (Telling you things like first you say you want a divorce, now you don’t.)
Are you in counseling, Kaycee? Do you have any support around you? It would be very helpful for you have someone to talk with who can help you grow stronger as a person in your CORE, as Leslie calls it. (Have you watched Leslie’s videos on Destructive marriage and also on strengthening your CORE?) A counselor can help you grow in your ability to see clearly and objectively, and make wise decisions for yourself.
I agree with Aly that you cannot trust a proven liar. If he has lied about lesser matters, why would he be telling the truth about this. And even if he is, his heart is chasing after her, while ignoring and discarding you. He has done violence to his marriage vows, and has been cruel in his treatment of you. The vows are broken and a divorce would only be outward recognition of his inward attitude to you and the marriage.
Something that was helpful to me was to increase my God-focus and decrease my husband-focus. Instead of wondering what my husband would do (or hoping he would do something) I made a shift in my heart and began to wonder what God wanted to show me about my husband’s heart. When my husband was presented with a choice, and he would choose selfishly, I would thank the Lord for showing me what was really in his heart–because I need to know it to make wise decisions for me. Moving away from what we hope for and wish for and learning to live in reality and deal with it is healthy and helps us move forward.
Keep taking those steps into truth and reality. Be bold and brave. Get lots of support around you. We are here to help, but having people to call and counsel with is so, so helpful.
I hope I haven’t been redundant! It’s super late where I am, and I’m so tired!
God bless you, strengthen you, and give you great courage.
“What are your views on this – is an emotional affair not as bad as a physical affair?”
On one of your posts you explained how you try to approach your husband for emotional connection and he required a 24 hour prior notice in order to have a conversation of an intimate nature.
If we vary the scenario a bit and say your husband approached you for sexual intimacy and you require 24 hours advance notice, but at the same time make yourself available for this “connection” outside of your marriage with “another” any time you desire.
Why would we be tempted to believe it is less destructive for an emotional affair to be happening in our marriages than a sexual one?
Especially when, as Christians, we hear our Lord’s words telling us that if a man looks lustfully on a woman, he is guilty of committing the sin. It is clear that Jesus sees the “affair” happening in the heart (emotions).
Gods word is full of instruction and warnings about what we allow in our hearts. He is a jealous God who requires we give our full affections (heart, soul, strength and mind) to Him first.
Apparently it is Holy to do so and unholy not to do so. Our “affections” say everything about what we are nurturing and allowing as priorities in our hearts. Also, about what we are not allowing in our hearts. In your case, your husband appears to be allowing “another” outside your marriage access to his heart, while greatly guarding his heart from you, his wife.
So, where does that leave God regarding access to your husbands heart? Wondering if God needs a 24 hour notice also, or if your husband just prefers a “no access” policy.
I do question whether or not this “emotional” affair your husband may be involved in is really just that. If your husband is guarding his heart against you, I wonder whether he is really capable of emotional connection with another. Perhaps he is “feigning” emotional connection and manipulating this “other” for selfish purposes of sex or something else?
Historically, what has been your experience with your husband in terms of emotional connection? Do you think he may have feigned an emotional connection with you early on to gain something he wanted from you? If so, perhaps it is not working now and he has moved on to another unsuspecting victim?
This has been my experience in marriage. I want to disclose this to you in case I am suggesting something to you that stems from my own experience and is not yours.
At any rate, I am highly suspicious when any man claims the connection with another is only emotional. Usually, the woman is the one wanting the emotional connection.
I am so sorry for the pain you have gone through with the many betrayals of your husband.
I am also so encouraged to hear you say: “His presence and comfort have never been more real amidst the pain, heartache and emotional upheaval. I will keep on clinging to Him and trust Him to guide me in the way I should go …”
You are in very safe hands as I think you already know.
I have found the women here to be so loving and supportive. I do hope you experience the same.
I will be keeping you in my prayers dear sister.
I am so grateful that you took time to respond to my post and I thank you for showing care and concern for me as I go through the worst season of my life.
It is indeed very encouraging to see that the women here are so supportive, loving, caring and compassionate towards one another and that they are so ready and willing to come alongside others (including me) to help and comfort them with the comfort that they themselves have received or are receiving from Our Heavenly Father, the God of all Comfort.
I do appreciate your prayers, Lori. Many many thanks!
You thanked me for prayers. You bet. Anything new I can pray about for you?
Blessings and praying you draw near to Him as He draws near to you.
Dear Lori, Nancy, T.L., Aly, Connie, Content (and anyone one else that I may have missed)
Hello to all! You have not only sent me words of encouragement, support, advice and love but you have been praying for me as well – I truly appreciate all of you! You have also given me a lot to mull over this past week – your insight, own experiences, perspectives, views and especially your hard questions posed to me. I have spent much time reading and re-reading all that you wrote and letting it all sink in.The questions are really helpful as they cause and force me to look deeper into the situation and also within myself. I would say that I am not really a ‘deep thinker’ like some of you ladies here on this blog are – this shows in your writing as you are able to express your thoughts so clearly and beautifully.
I tried to interact with him during the week by saying that I needed to talk to him and his response was – “What’s there to talk about?” He told me it was not the right time, he was too busy doing something else, it was not a convenient time for him, he was not in the right frame of mind to talk and that we should give each other a 24-hr notice if we want to talk to each other! That’s pretty much how it has been over the years ….
Anyway I did manage to get some points across and this interaction and others before this one) is only helping me to see more clearly that there is little hope for reconciliation and restoration due to the negative responses I get from him and his attitude towards me in this whole matter. According to him, I am just wanting to play a game – “because one moment you say you want a divorce but the next, you want to talk to me and see if we can work things out to reconcile. Just make up your mind on what you want to do”. In other words, he thinks I am not being serious about the divorce. I don’t even know why I am doing this at this point – isn’t he the one who is supposed to be doing something to win me back? Maybe it is just that glimmer of hope in my heart …
So I have decided that I am not going to be discussing about this with him anymore as I do not see any point in doing so – it’s leading nowhere and it only makes me feel worse after the interaction. Communicating has always been a big challenge in the past and I need to stop thinking that he will want to communicate with me with ‘decency’ now. He has already said that’s how he is and he is not going to change.
Aly, I have come to the conclusion that I do not have a marriage right now. I do not see myself continuing (and I really do not want to continue) to live in this destructive relationship and environment for too much longer unless God intervenes and changes his heart soon. He has already divorced me in his heart, no? He is also not giving me any sign that he wants to do a turnaround – can that be considered as abandonment?
One last thing – he tells me that the extra-marital involvement has not come to the physical stage as the woman, who is not a citizen of the country where he works, has gone back to her own country and they have only been in ‘cyber-contact’. There is no way for me to verify that or he cannot prove it to me … How do I believe him, especially after all the deception?
What are your views on this – is an emotional affair not as bad as a physical affair?
Praying God’s blessings, joy and peace upon you all. Thanks for ‘listening’ and for everything else … Hugs to you all!
My hope is that you can feel ‘any’ presence here if being seen and especially wantung to just sit with you. What you are going through breaks my heart and I feel a ‘healthy protest’ in regards to the attitude and treatment your husband has toward you and his .. in my opinion closed off or hardened heart.
I know this can be so difficult to hear but I do see your bravery and I do see your courage in asking and desiring reality.
I had asked a hard question about your marriage~ given the repeat offenses and lack of respect on his side ‘wanting to be married on his terms’?
Your answer was that you see you do not have a marriage. Obviously this is taking an objective approach in how you both interact and behave as a couple.
A question I was also asked a long time ago and it helped me shift my lense a bit.
What are your views on this – is an emotional affair not as bad as a physical affair?
Personally, I believe they are both equally betraying. For some the emotional is worse because of the deep intimacy that can take place emotionally.
I know he told you that the last one did not go physical, but I think you are wise to not believe one thing he says. He is used to living a duplicit life in many ways that’s how he functions.
If you had a close strong male friend to ask if you should believe or not about the physical part.. you might get a clear answer from that perspective.
My husband has been asked this ? before given other couples issues etc, and he rarely believes a guy.
Kaycee, you are worth so much and I so want to encourage you with your bravery to stand for your value!
He who is in you, is Greater than he who is in the world!
Sending my hugs and shoulder too💜
I forgot to mention this below and wanted to make sure I responded in case it was a question.
“Aly, I have come to the conclusion that I do not have a marriage right now. I do not see myself continuing (and I really do not want to continue) to live in this destructive relationship and environment for too much longer unless God intervenes and changes his heart soon. He has already divorced me in his heart, no? He is also not giving me any sign that he wants to do a turnaround – can that be considered as abandonment?”
In my opinion and experiences of my own journey, my short answer is yes.
But I’m confused about the abandonment place because to me your husband has already broken the marriage vow through infidelities. (?) Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m recalling your original post and his response to his past affairs & violations. Are you worried that grounds for separation or possible divorce is not there?
Please know my heart is for restored marriages~ 😢
But I also want you to find safety for your heart and your journey.
You mentioned the hard heartedness and I think this is wise to evaluate because his attitude and how he needs a 24 hour notice to talk~ is more about power. Yes, it could be ‘subtle’ given your dynamic but that would not fly in our home because that’s not realistic in life overall, a marital role, and especially his choices to break trust in your sacred marriage.
Given his betrayals he seems to still be in the drivers seat as to what ‘he can tolerate’~ leaving you… yes abandoned again.
This is where you will need strong support (if you don’t already have it) and protection for your heart.
It’s critical to have safe people who can not only hold parts of your grief but also give clarity as you continue to walk.
This will be healing and empowering for you.
I have encountered a few individuals who (despise the idea of them changing in order to have a mutual relationship)
But the blessing ~ believe it or not is that… is gives (us) the opportunity ‘to change’ and grow and we receive the blessing from that ~ change/GROWTH!
Yes there is pain and sorrow but there is also an opportunity for healing rather than more pain in the stuck place.
T.L. Gave some great responses and asked essential questions that I won’t replay, but i have found that the proverb of walking with the wise has aided my steps in intangible ways and through God’s sovereign ways.
Your not alone Kaycee and we see you💗
Dear TL and Aly,
Thank you both..my dear friends for taking the time to care for me. I feel so unworthy of your time and sharing of your generous hearts. Oh Aly, how I wish I cd accept that hug. I have never been more terrified in my entire life. I am such a mess today. I have an appt with the lawyer tomm and I am still so grieved as to how to procede. I wish I didnt have to divorce him to secure my financial future with the pension. I just wish I had more time. Time to heal, time to learn how to take care of myself, time to grow in Christ, time to go “no contact”, time to break this co-dependency. I have only been seperated for three months, my co-dependency is still. How can I divorce him? What do I do with this co-dependency? I havent gone no contact. The longest I have gone without talking or texting him is about one week..maybe two. How can I possibly go for a lifetime without it? I just dont feel emotionally ready to end the marriage. To end the marriage, means to end hope. Hope of “maybe he WILL change, maybe he will come to Christ, etc. so maybe’s filled with hope. Isnt that what keeps us going? Then I remember scripture, “hope deferred makes the heart sick”.
Please understand, I am so weak and needy. I wish to God every day, I was stronger, to make the decision that needs to be made. I know you are thinking I am just pathetic right now. I know it. I hate this about myself. I am so embarrased at my neediness. It is exhausting to others. I am too much work in a friendship and maybe even in marriage. Maybe thats why my h is so disgusted with me. My two children are at his place right now, having a wonderful time. And Im on the outside looking in…face pressed against the window..thinking..wait a minute..thats MY family…what am I doing out here? I feel so rejected and unwanted. Im such a fool….I still look to him to include me in things, to show me he loves me..that he cares.After all, we are not divorced..I say to myself. Why isnt he trying to win my heart so I dont divorce him? His response, Im trying but you dont allow it, you dont let love in. etc. (translation: love=sex) I wasted my life with this man and settled for a lousy marriage because I wanted so badly to be married and start a family. Its my own fault. I made a poor choice 20 years ago..a choice for the wrong reasons. I cant go back and change it, but I am teaching my daughter..never settle like I did. Look at my life anytime you need a reminder. Im sorry I am rambling. Tomm is coming and I am pleading the blood of Jesus to help me. I think to myself..if I dont have a peace about this decision, perhaps that is Gods way of saying dont do it. Or is it my own fear that is paralyzing me? How can I know if its God or my fear? Can you pls help me with this. I am in a very bad way right now. Thank you so much my loving sisters in christ. Your support means everything . Thank you. Oh..how I wish I cd take that hug right now from Aly….too many tears..so much pain..Oh God, what do I do? Why isnt He answering me?
I am so very sorry for your fear and your very difficult decision. None of us hear would ever think that one get emotionally ready for what you are facing.
Do you have a friend physically that can go with you tomorrow?
By the way, I don’t think for a minute the things you mentioned about being pathetic or needy.
I don’t believe that is what is deeply going on here.
I guess I’m one that doesn’t think ‘to need or to feel are negative’ they are just part of being human.
God designed us to need Him and others~ He set it up that way, if He didnt we would all have our (own worlds with Him individually) but that’s not His design.
I’m thankful for that because His glory works in relationships!
I will pray for you as I do think you are feeling very overwhelmed and traumatized…. as I read your thoughts and what you are (self talking) through. It’s good to write things out and get perspective, you are worthy to be heard, cared for and mostly get some helpful feedback from so many amazing sisters here who Can SO SO relate to your pain (yes the pain you are in right now)
You have been separated 3months and you are in a security position dilemma- with the pension issue.
This is so hard! But you have children and your children are needing you to secure these adult responsibilities regardless of the emotion that is currently tied to them.
I believe you have the strength in you with the power of Christ to move you to do the right thing… not the easy thing either way.
The Lord ‘will’ walk you through your healing and strengthening process and unfortunately yours may start in a profound way that you wish would be different.
Are you familiar with Ester in the Bible?
“To end the marriage, means to end hope. Hope of “maybe he WILL change, maybe he will come to Christ, etc. so maybe’s filled with hope. Isnt that what keeps us going?”
What keeps us Going is Christ! His promises Rose!
Rose, God divorced Israel but never lost His plan, His purpose and His Promises.
How did you find the strength to separate from him? I know he stopped paying the mortgage and you lost the house, but what came about in your strength to find your own place and he have his?
I have thought through divorce in my own journey, it’s terrible grief but I tell you this to give you hope that you don’t need your husbands loveor approval or even a marriage certificate to feel ok as Rose! You are beautiful and worthy apart from that and it’s your husbands loss that he has such little regard for your marriage and your future.
The truth is that this man will always be somewhat in your life because you have children. So think of living the best life that can Glorify God and Rose can be the best Rose as God is shaping apart from a marriage that has kept you from seeing Rose!
Rose, you said that you made a bad choice 20 yrs ago, ok so now you get to choose a better choice for Rose.
Lastly, it has been my experience in some ways that men that are separated from their wives and they are NOT trying to move mountains to win their wives hearts, emotionally, spiritually and posturing restitution for horrible behavior to their precious wives are not interested in a healthy healing marriage.
They are interested in NOT dealing with any of the financial fall out that comes as a severe consequence.
Rose I will pray that you will hear God’s heart on your decision. You are worthy to live a life that will heal and will be used by God!
More hugs to you;) you will get through this one step at time.
Love always in Christ, aly
I feel the need to be solid for you right now, and clear. I hope you can receive this.
” I am teaching my daughter..never settle like I did.”
How are you teaching her this?
If you say it is because you have separated from him because of his abuse, then I believe you have taught her well. If you are able to care for yourself apart from him then I believe you are teaching her not to settle.
However, if you remain physically, emotionally and financially dependent on an abusive husband (when you have the option not to be), then I believe you are teaching her to know the truth but not to have the strength and obedience to walk in it.
Your h has shown no concern whatsover for your feelings, except to humiliate and abuse you with them.
You said: “Maybe thats why my h is so disgusted with me.”
From your descriptions and examples you have shared, he has only one use for you. Sex.
You are not a whore Rose, unless you want to be for him.
Maybe your husband is disgusted with you because you aren’t supplying him with his sexual release anymore. Maybe because you have begun to say “no” to him.
Maybe he is disgusted with you because you have been made in the image of a loving God who created you for intimate heart to heart fellowship, and he just wants a female object to ejaculate into. Sorry to be so descript here Rose, but doesn’t THAT sound disgusting? Condemnable?
It’s called projecting. The abuser projects onto the victim how they feel about themselves because they are not willing to bear the responsibility for the way they feel in their sinful state.
Rose, I get it, I really do. This, I mean: “Why isn’t he trying to win my heart so I dont divorce him?”
The simple, excruciating answer is so obvious it is dizzying.
BECAUSE THEY AREN’T INTERESTED IN OUR HEARTS, or our minds. That just isn’t the anatomical organ they want or love about us. They don’t value what we value.
Can you see that this is a wrong valuing of THEIRS and has NOTHING to do with how our Lord values us? Their valuing of us is indeed the opposite of how the Lord values us.
It would be far easier for me to be a widow than a rejected wife, because in this state of being, my husband has CHOSEN to reject me. However, if I would do my part and submit to his sexual needs, he would take me back and would allow me to be his wife again. Those are his terms.
When you said “no” to sex, he could no longer devalue you in that manner any more.
That was a big step for you I bet. Now, can you be so strong for your other organs? Your heart (emotions) and brain (intelligence).
You and I are disposable and discardable because “we” are broken (no longer supplying their sexual release).
They know nothing about who we are nor are they remotely interested in learning.
What keeps us and begging for them to value us as Christ would have them?
Like you said: “I still look to him to include me in things, to show me he loves me..that he cares.”
Rose, how realistic is this? Really?
What does he have to offer you? Perhaps if you sat down and wrote a list of what he brings to you that you “cannot live without” or get somewhere else?
Perhaps on another sheet of paper you could give equal space for writing what negative things he brings to you?
What would the side by side comparison look like?
You mentioned in one post that my words sting Rose. Why is that? Is that because the truth hurts? Or have I been ruthless? Please, I would like to know.
I know it pains me to the core to speak what I believe is truth to you. It is a deeply disturbing thing to read about how your husband devalues you and you continue to allow it.
You finished by saying: “many tears..so much pain..Oh God, what do I do? Why isnt He answering me?”
I don’t think He is not answering you, but I do wonder if you are listening to Him.
Rose, it seems what you are doing (waiting and hoping for him to value you while doing nothing with regard to legal protective measures for your safety), has caused you much more grief, heartache, isolation, confusion and desperateness. You seem worse, not better.
God gives us a choice with each new day between life and death. Then He instructs us each to choose wisely. We are responsible to choose and walk in His way of life.
Which choice is the way of life for you Rose? Asking Him to be clear with you as He promised we shall know the truth and it will set us free.
Hope you hear love and concern. Prayers are being offered for you I am certain.
I think you posted such great examples of what seems to be the dynamic.
I was hoping that we might hear from Rose and hear where she was at with things given her deadline.
Again your writing is well articulated and I can hear your own part of recovery in your response here.
“I know it pains me to the core to speak what I believe is truth to you. It is a deeply disturbing thing to read about how your husband devalues you and you continue to allow it.”
I think this is something for many of us that have been where Rose is and certainly other places on the spectrum. The common place here is the key of someone being devalued and another person tolerating it. It was hard for me to see that I had a part~
The part doesn’t have to come across as I’m causing the outcome, but cognitively I struggled with seeing my part was the tolerating and or giving any presence to the dynamic.
I think the complicated part to understanding this when your in the storm or someone has never seen different or experienced different. My hope and prayer for Rose is she will experience love from this forum and love and nurture from other support to help guide her away from the trauma bonding and messaging beliefs that have continued to given power to the unhealthy reasoning.
is it’s hard to see (our participation) even though many of us here are not beginning a destructive pattern, we certainly at one point in time had ‘little tools’ to know what to do with such a spouse or friend or family member. But I do believe the tools and Core things are essential in growing away from codependency.
I allowed this type of attitude or dynamic in my relationships far too long and everything about knowing Jesus more contradicted the way I was tolerating (misuse of power) in my dynamic.
I learned a false belief at a young age that I needed to work harder, offer more investment and be more responsible for the relationship (marriage and other forms)
This was not healthy and set me up. Maybe a few of you can relate and see how it contributes to a person who might be set up to be well… more of a taker!
Lori you wrote:
“God gives us a choice with each new day between life and death. Then He instructs us each to choose wisely. We are responsible to choose and walk in His way of life.”
I love how you wrote this because it’s simple and clear! Thank you… we really do need to encourage one another to choose wisely. To walk in the faith that we claim!
I will pray to never go back to living as I once did ~ it was death. Now I can taste and feel life and it’s so worth it. But my heart still is touched by the system of which creates these patterns and harming relationships.
This is such truth and I feel like it’s something I tell and ‘try to model’ to our children each day, because for us ( my h and I) it seems like it’s a daily thing given our recovery paths.
Lori you wrote:
“It would be far easier for me to be a widow than a rejected wife, because in this state of being, my husband has CHOSEN to reject me. However, if I would do my part and submit to his sexual needs, he would take me back and would allow me to be his wife again. Those are his terms.”
Boy do I hear your truth here and I grieve with you because I can relate to that pain of rejection of it being a choice to reject rather than losing them another way.
This is similar to what I’m going through with my family of origin. But the healing comes in the light of the Truth! God is walking beside and continuing to rewrite our narrative as you might say 😊
…you also wrote the following to Rose:
Can you see that this is a wrong valuing of THEIRS and has NOTHING to do with how our Lord values us? Their valuing of us is indeed the opposite of how the Lord values us.”
For me Lori this is the cornerstone of understanding value. When we understand and receive our true value from the Lord, we can grasp the strength that does not tolerate being devalued. This assists us to be congruent in our journey and stay in a place of growth and healing.
As you mentioned ‘their valuing’ is opposite from the Lords value and evident based on their treatment of others that they have not remotely received the truth, so how can they live in it?
They can’t but the bigger they try to make their world with others contributing to their upside down value system… the harder it is for them to embrace the real deal!
I’m so grateful and blessed that we can dialog back and forth in our hearts!
Walking beside and blessed in so many ways of validation and care for my own wounds in the battle.
Love and hugs beautiful Lori 💖
“I know it pains me to the core to speak what I believe is truth to you. It is a deeply disturbing thing to read about how your husband devalues you and you continue to allow it.”
“I think this is something for many of us that have been where Rose is and certainly other places on the spectrum. The common place here is the key of someone being devalued and another person tolerating it. It was hard for me to see that I had a part~
The part doesn’t have to come across as I’m causing the outcome, but cognitively I struggled with seeing my part was the tolerating and or giving any presence to the dynamic.”
Yes, being so freshly removed myself from “giving any presence to the dynamic” perhaps caused me to respond to Rose (still involved in tolerating this dynamic) in a more feverish (and harsh?) manner than I believe you responded.
I see and hear your compassion in truth telling here when you say:
“I think the complicated part to understanding this when your in the storm or someone has never seen different or experienced different. My hope and prayer for Rose is she will experience love from this forum and love and nurture from other support to help guide her away from the trauma bonding and messaging beliefs that have continued to given power to the unhealthy reasoning.”
I agree 100%.
Maybe I’m being misunderstood in my responses.
Just so you know where I’m at with your response to Rose was not that your effort was (harsh) in my opinion. I personally thought Cynthia’s reply to you was such a place of reality and she was grateful for being a side reader~ it blessed her as she expressed. Who knows but God that the ones who are seeking truths and certain realities will indeed run straight into them, but sometimes it’s those truths that bring to life something that is necessary for real life to spark. I’ve experienced this in my own sibling abusive situation, I never wanted to believe the relationship was as sick and horrendous as it was. God allowed for that final reality to (actually free me) from continuing the dynamic at any level.
Finally seeing no contact was my only option.
I can see that you care deeply for someone in such a storm (you and I are in good company here) I get you…,and someone that is quite possible assisting self deception due o trauma bonding etc.
To me; I saw your love and the amazing gift of sharing your own grief, your strength a good thing Lori.
Wish we could chat over coffee.., less typos for me probably;)
Hugs and love to your heart Lori 🤗
Maybe I am just struggling with my own “narrative” of being told I speak too harshly as well.
I do not want to injure one who is already in deep trauma. Maybe what I want to do is offer smelling salts to wake one up.
Thank you for your feedback and help.
So sorry for your grief of no contact with siblings. I feel your pain here as it touches a personal spot in my heart as well.
How long has it been for you having created those painful boundaries?
Dear Lori, Aly,
You know what I think? I think you are both incredibly gifted women, each in your own different ways, whose voices are incredibly insightful, valuable and healing to hurting women in the body of Christ. Lori, you operate with great tenderness and sensitivity with us all. I really believe you were led by the lord to speak strong truth to our dear Rose. Perhaps the Lord wanted to use it more for Cynthia, I don’t know. But I sense the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit strongly in you both.
So grateful for your voices, and everyone else’s too.
Thank you, so kind and affirming! I know I am blessed by you as God is most definitely speaking to my injured places through your journey and your freedom!
You are such a blessing on this forum;)
Rose, I didn’t even read through your whole comment, because I am so crunched for time right now…..but I wanted to say this….
Ending the marriage does not mean ending hope.
First of all, God’s power is not limited by a human’s actions. If His will is to save this marriage and restore this marriage, nothing will stop His purposes or plans.
And, if it’s not to restore the marriage…..you will see….just give it a few months and you will see how your Lord goes before you and fights your battles and how He begins to show you that you will be just fine – no, more than fine! – on your own if that is what He calls you to.
You are safe in His hands and your heart is safe in His hands.
I know the grief. I know. He will carry you through. He will be very close to you during this time. It’s who He is. He is so gentle with His children whose hearts are breaking.
Praying for you. Another thought — anytime I made a new step right at the beginning, the confusion seemed stronger and the fear became great. Could be a spiritual attack – the enemy would love nothing more than for you to stay under oppression.
Love to you
I hope you will hear the wise voices of your sisters who love you. We can come alongside you in prayer, and give you good counsel, but you must make your own choices. You can, Rose.
I want to encourage you with this word from the Lord:
“This is my command–be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
He is with you. And He promises to be all that you need. And picture us beside you in prayer. We are walking with you through this. You are not alone. Take courage. 🙏❤
Rose, another thing that really helped me was to make the choice to make my decisions based on the reality of today. Not the what if of tomorrow.
And again….always keeping in mind that God’s power is not limited by divorce papers or a separation or us deciding we can’t even have much contact with our husbands while they are in this harmful place they’re in.
He knows the plans He has for you…plans for your welfare and not to harm you. Do you think anything will stop His plans for you? He is wooing you to a spacious place. Just let go and trust Him. He will catch you.
Oh, and He is NOT happy about the way His daughter is being treated. I hope you understand and know how valuable you are to Him. I had to really see that before I could take my step of faith.
Good morning sisters in Christ,
Now that my h is coming out of denial, the grief of all the lost years are coming to the surface. Now that my h admits and sees that he has chosen his mother over me until now, the sadness keeps coming.
He can now say out loud that his mother is abusive. Anytime I would say anything ‘negative’ about his mom he would become protective of her and say ‘positive’ things. Maybe this is part of why I Couldn’t answer the psychologist’s question when he asked me, “do you see your h as a negative person?”. For 20 years I got the message that I was being negative and that he is so positive.
When all I wanted was for him to choose me.
Now that he acknowledges that, I am safe enough to feel the grief of it. He owned this last night. He also apologized. Does forgiving mean that I have to have worked through all my negative feelings about it? I didn’t say that I forgave him, just thanked him for owning it. Do I have to be ‘over it’ in order to forgive him?
Him being bonded to such an unhealthy woman contaminated our marriage. But I told him last night that God is bigger than all of that ‘goo’ ( as we call it). Now that we have The Lord, and are turning to Him, he will purify us.
The Lord wants me to walk through all these feelings. What a lot of work it is to be human.
Wow you articulated that so well! I can relate to that place and I hear your pain too. It’s hard to be in a hopeful place yet also embracing ‘the cost’ ~ how I can come along and sit with you in it. I know you trust the Lord and He will equip you Nancy and provide healing in ways that will sustain you~ regardless of your h’s process.
I get it, my h has had the same patterns and me learning my part in saying no or questioning motives has helped us come together significantly. My hope is to encourage you!
What a beginning possibility Nancy;) the grief is very hard to allow yourselves to go, but stay with the counseling, regardless if you see any relapse… here is why,
If you see relapse in the process (as I did in my case for years) having the relapse happen gives light to the core issues that are driving the behaviors.
I like to use metaphors.. hope that’s ok but it helped me with better objective understanding.
Here’s where I can so relate to your situation with your h not choosing you all these years ~ which has been counter to the marriage covenant but yet confusing emotionally at times… thus triggering your own (wounded places from your mom) just a possibility. I can relate deeply to not being chosen, it’s beyond painful when one claims this in theory yet can’t produce the fruit of it.
Truth is that (you) were Chosen, and He sees you, will be there forever and He chose you before you chose Him because of His love for you Nancy!
Anyway it’s like your h and you buy a train ticket to marriageville, you both get on the train, same train, ticket says marriageville… yet when the train stops and you get off.. somehow it looks very much like momville (parentville)
You try many times to say.. hey wait we are in the wrong place and your h stays.. no this is ok, this is alright.
Yet, in your gut you know this is not marriageville.., yet h says that for you to say it’s not marriageville ~ that is being too negavtive.
No you were being truthful and alert;)
Now, your h has bought at ticket to marriageville and he has to the train attendant, make sure we arrive there and only there can we begin our journey.
The train arrives and yes you are in marriageville, but as you look around you begin to see all that is there and that has been waiting for you to begin a process. This yes can feel overwhelming but God shows up to comfort and guide us discovering more and more about our destinations. Nancy he was there holding you during your uncomfortable stay at (momville) and He will take your hand and walk you into this new place.
He knows your grief and your saddeness, He will hold you and restore you.
“Does forgiving mean that I have to have worked through all my negative feelings about it?”
No, your heart will need time to work through the process and especially it can only begin to do this once the behavior has in fact stopped from your h.
It’s healthy to have a time of protest. Protest doesn’t mean you don’t forgive.
I’m my opinion…This is trust issue~
Trust has to be earned and trust should be repaired for a marriage to begin to get healthy.
“I didn’t say that I forgave him, just thanked him for owning it. Do I have to be ‘over it’ in order to forgive him?”
I think this is so understandable given what you are experiencing, I’m assuming he’s not telling you to get over it, but I could be wrong.. if he is then .. that another thought.
If you are hearing yourself (get over it) messages than I would like to know why that is necessary to get over in order to forgive.
Forgiveness is separate from trust. Processing through the negative feelings (which by the way are not wrong) can give you the path to trusting again.
To have a negative feeling is not meaning you are wrong etc.
To slow yourself healthy loving boundaries is not negative is healthy part of protecting your heart in the healing process, however others might want to tell you that you are wrong or negative because (they) are uncomfortable with your process.
I will continue to pray for you and your h, to me.. it seems like you are moving closer to the union that is necessary for safety to grow. You will be equipped with the strength to get through this.
Much love and prayers to your heart! 💜
OH wow Aly.
Your train analogy is really good, and funny too 🙂 yup we’ve been in momville this whole time. Now that we’ve pulled into marriagville I’m going, “I knew it! I knew it!”. I didn’t really know it concretely but my spirit did. I just wanted to explore why it FELT so wrong.
Thank you for untangling the trust/ forgiveness distortion. I didn’t realize that was behind my question. Yes, he needs to earn my trust with his mom. As for forgiveness, that has nothing tondo with him, it’s between me and my King 🙂
No, he’s not telling me to ‘get over it’. That’s a distortion in my brain from my momville.
Last night he got angry ( not at me). Saying “why do we have to carry around all this baggage from our parents!” I reminded him that it is our choice. We can blame them for the first 18-20 years but the day we stepped into our lives together, was the day we began choosing for ourselves.he chose not to stand up to his mom and I chose not to stand up to him.
There was silence. Sad. Sad. Silence.
Thank you also, Aly, for the heads up that there might be backsliding. That helps me keep my feet on the ground,
I thank God for your wise counsel ❤️
Aly. Your analogy to Nancy is helpful. What a gem!!
Oh Lori, your Mar 5, 10:18pm response to Rose spoke straight into my heart like no other words on this blog have ever ever done. I pray Rose’s decision today will be the best one for her and her children but I want you to know how grateful I am that our Loving Father used your no b.s. words to bring clarity and peace into my tumultuous and confused heart this morning.
Good morning Cynthia,
You said: “I want you to know how grateful I am that our Loving Father used your no b.s. words to bring clarity and peace into my tumultuous and confused heart this morning.”
I am very grateful to hear that you experienced clarity and peace for your heart this morning. I have come to believe the truth sets us free. I also believe the truth can be hated with full resentment and even incite vengence in our hearts if we are not ready or looking for it.
It is reassuring to hear that it helped you Cynthia as I have been very unsure of whether what I see is truth or a lie. I believe I have been confused over the years because of living with a narcissistic father and husband my entire life. Their reactions to my “truth telling” fall in the category I described above and so I have paid dearly to share and hold to my view of truth, but the rewards have far outweighed the cost to hold onto them. I am being set free.
It is from this place of freedom that I am passionately committed to this thing called truth, but I fear sometimes my sharing of it may be ruthless and raw at times.
For me, the more clear, raw, concise, uncluttered the truth the better. Don’t make me unwrap it carefully or put any extra frills on it that confuse and distract. Carve it down to it’s most basic form and give it to me please.
My concern is that I feel I may be different from others in how I want to hear and receive truth, and therefore, maybe I am harming rather than helping.
Glad to know it helped you somehow today Cynthia. Thank you for taking the time to share that it did.
Praying for you today that God will use His truths to set you free, bring peace, clarity and a sure foundation in His care for you.
I just want to take a minute to affirm you in your Truth telling.
It is, indeed, a breath of fresh air from what we have all lived!
I have been told for years that I was too harsh ( imagine! Now that I am seeing myself more clearly, there are few personality types gentler than mine!), and I believed it.
“Clear, raw, concise, uncluttered truth” is very needed by those of us walking around with a head full of fog (fear, obligation, guilt).
We have been given the Spirit of Truth when we accepted Jesus as saviour.
What a GIFT. 🎶
Thank you for taking the time to affirm. What a blessing.
I think because we are tender and gentle people that it can feel so harsh in the truth telling to others. I want to speak gently and kindly with encouragement only but sometimes the starkness of truth is necessary, especially when one is really tossing with confusion, guilt, fear etc.
Thanks for saying: ““Clear, raw, concise, uncluttered truth” is very needed by those of us walking around with a head full of fog (fear, obligation, guilt).”
That really helped affirm the need to tell it. I am trying to treat others the way I want to be treated. I want it clear, raw, concise and uncluttered. The strength of truth is so necessary.
Praying the Lord bless you with more of it today as you walk closely with Him and lean into Him. Still praying for your work with h too.
I also agree with your truth telling.. I read it late last night, so I need to revisit it as I feel like I read a couple posts and I sometimes don’t always see the writer on my phone or get mixed up.
But yes I agree and have been a recipient of how the truth sets us free and guides us forward to a path of healing and safety. My prayers are with Rose and her decision today🌷
I have to run now… but will return later.
Stay safe and sane precious sisters!
Lori (and all my sisters here), in your response to Rose on 3/7 you said: “A woman can know the truth and yet not have the courage and strength to walk in it” I’m not sure, but I think this may be denial, this inability to walk in the truth–or maybe it’s like this: part of my mind and heart is in denial, while the other part goes to work on solving the problem. An inability to detach is also involved here too, I think. And for me, this inability to detach fully had it’s roots in hope. Now…I called it hope, but what it really was, was wishful thinking. Wishful thinking that went on for over 25 years. It was truth–the slow hammering and chiseling away of truth over this past year and then the final explosive blast of Lori’s response to Rose that blew those entrenched roots of wishful thinking sky high. Cloud and Townsend, in “How People Change” say this: Ultimately, we are only as healthy as our ability to relate as God relates. He is honest, loving and forgiving, communicates well, is able to be vulnerable and so on. This is health. This is righteousness. Good relating equals good health. So if I can be drawn into sick patterns or sick relatedness by someone else’s sick patterns, then I am not healthy at all. I AM DEPENDENT AND AT THE MERCY OF WHATEVER TREATMENT I AM RECEIVING AT THE MOMENT.” It all comes back to Jesus…when He is my center and my source, when my eyes are fixed on Him rather than on my “snake bites,” as Patrick Doyle says, I am able to–by His power–“transcend the immaturity” and the evil “around me and grow in spite of what is thrown at me.” What a messy long hard process this is. And it will probably never end as long as I live in this sinful world. Oh how I need Him and the others (that includes you dear sisters) that He has put in my life.
Thank you for sharing:
““A woman can know the truth and yet not have the courage and strength to walk in it” I’m not sure, but I think this may be denial, this inability to walk in the truth–or maybe it’s like this: part of my mind and heart is in denial, while the other part goes to work on solving the problem. An inability to detach is also involved here too, I think. And for me, this inability to detach fully had it’s roots in hope. Now…I called it hope, but what it really was, was wishful thinking”.
Yes. I agree. I see where it may even be judgemental for me to call it a lack of courage and strength. Yes, I believe so as it feels condemning to me. Thank you for sharing your thoughts here. It is needed and helpful correction.
Truth telling must be married with compassion. Scripture supports this:
Ephesians 4:14-15 “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.”
(1) The truth is “to be spoken” – the simple, unvarnished truth. This is the way to avoid error, and this is the way to preserve others from error. In opposition to all trick, and art, and cunning, and fraud, and deception, Christians are to speak the simple truth, and nothing but the truth. Every statement which they make should be unvarnished truth; every promise which they make should be true; every representation which they make of the sentiments of others should be simple truth. “Truth is the representation of things as they are;” and there is no virtue that is more valuable in a Christian than the love of simple truth.
(2) The second thing is, that the truth should be spoken “in love.” There are other ways of speaking truth. It is sometimes spoken in a harsh, crabby, sour manner, which does nothing but disgust and offend. When we state truth to others, it should he with love to their souls, and with a sincere desire to do them good. When we admonish a brother of his faults, it should not be in a harsh and unfeeling manner, but in love. Where a minister pronounces the awful truth of God about depravity, death, the judgment, and future woe, it should be in love. It should not be done in a harsh and repulsive manner; it should not he done as if he rejoiced that people were in danger of hell, or as if he would like to pass the final sentence; it should not be with indifference, or in a tone of superiority.
And in like manner, if we go to convince one who is in error, we should approach him in love. We should not dogmatize, or denounce, or deal out anathemas. Such things only repel.
“He has done about half his work in convincing another of error who has first convinced him that he loves him;” and if he does not do that, he may argue to the hour of his death and make no progress in convincing him.
I have a lot to think about regarding my post to Rose, and would appreciate dear sisters here speaking truth in love with regard to that.
Thank you Cynthia for sharing your thoughts. Especially that “we are only as healthy as our ability to relate as God relates” and “good relating equals good health”
This is timely for me because I am in counselling right now learning to relate. I am so fearful of verbalizing my boundaries, because of loads of baggage, but regardless of my baggage it remains my responsibility to speak the limits of who I am. To define myself as I converse with people. Underneath I think that I might be resentful of having to do that work. Maybe there is a victim mindset there ( “well, my mother should have helped me define myself but she did the opposite so I’ll expect that mentoring from another loved one”. And so I end up expecting my kids to know why I am irritated or fearful or whatever )
I just want to be seen. I want to be respected. But it’s my responsibility to make myself visible and heard. That’s a very big part of good relating. Huge in fact. I can’t expect the person with whom I’m relating to know my needs.
Oh boy. Leslie’s R for respect taking responsibility.
And the verse associated with Leslie’s R from her CORE acronym.
Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of your life ❤️
Cynthia, thank you for sharing this from “How People Change”
“Ultimately, we are only as healthy as our ability to relate as God relates. He is honest, loving and forgiving, communicates well, is able to be vulnerable and so on. This is health. This is righteousness. Good relating equals good health. So if I can be drawn into sick patterns or sick relatedness by someone else’s sick patterns, then I am not healthy at all. I AM DEPENDENT AND AT THE MERCY OF WHATEVER TREATMENT I AM RECEIVING AT THE MOMENT.”
So good to think deeply on this….
I’ve found that what feels right and healthy to me is to (again) make decisions about my future based on the reality of today.
But, to also hold in balance the truth that God is going to redeem this situation and bring good out of it (I’m always thinking of the story of Joseph, it just seems to be the biblical story that God keeps encouraging me with as I walk through this).
I also do no like to get caught up in the rhetoric of “he is hopeless, he will never change.”
I have no grand illusions that our marriage will be saved (really, I am very much seeing a life apart from my now-husband), but I do believe that we can never limit the power of God and His ability to break through the hardest of hearts. What is impossible with man is possible with God.
I believe that God is doing something in the Body with His strengthening of women to stand as strong ezers for their husbands. Maybe on the outside it looks ugly, but this is what needs to happen in many of these men’s lives. God is doing something here. And, maybe many of us will not see results on this side of eternity. Or maybe we will – but we will not get to be the beneficiaries. Will we be satisfied with Jesus and where He asks us to go for our own safety, spiritual and emotional health and for the spiritual good of our husbands? That might mean for one woman, she is called to stay. I believe, for me, God has moved me to separate and probably divorce.
Content, all so right on! I too, sense God is doing something bigger than we can see. I’ve had such a sense that He is purifying His bride, awakening those who are asleep in apathy, and reforming/refining Christian marriage to TRULY reflect Christ and His Bride, instead of Christians just SAYING it does. To “…worship Him in Spirit and in truth…” takes great shaking and refining. It’s going to get really messy before it gets better. Disrupting power distribution always creates chaos at first because holders of power rarely want to release it.
I agree that our eyes need to stay fixed on God’s glory, even if we don’t get to see the fulfillment of what we are hoping for in the here and now. Our marriages, and our very lives must be placed on the altar of His purposes. Hebrews ch.11 comes to mind.
TL and Content,
I so agree!! and relate deeply to what you both exchanged.
Content, Joseph’s story is one of my favorites on many levels but that he got to see the changed hearts of his brothers’ he even got to challenge it…
with grace…which was Gods glory being revealed!
There is so much in that story and so much that Joseph showed step by step.. every time I think of his journey my heart is overcome with grief and the beauty of God’s sovereign will.
Love and hugs to both of you.
Archaeologists think that they have found the intended tomb in Eqypt for Joseph (no he wasn’t buried there but it was built), there’s a documentary on Netflix it’s quite interesting given the evidence they have discovered. FYI
“I’ve had such a sense that He is purifying His bride, awakening those who are asleep in apathy, and reforming/refining Christian marriage to TRULY reflect Christ and His Bride, instead of Christians just SAYING it does.”
I like that.
I love how you said:
“I’ve found that what feels right and healthy to me is to (again) make decisions about my future based on the reality of today.”
Me too. Now that I am separated from the covert narcissistic behavior of my h, my reality is changing and focusing more clearly in truth. It helps to have this vantage point.
The Lord just keeps answering prayer by clarifying and dissipating the fog ( fear, obligation, guilt).
Last week the counsellor asked me if I saw my h as a negative person. I couldn’t answer, and this has really bothered me. It bothered me that I couldn’t see my own husband clearly. Well, once again, it’s the fog ( fear, obligation, guilt), that was blocking my perception.
A significant contribution to the fog that stopped me seeing this ( negative or positive H) is me mistaking his denial for positivity.
Each time I presented a negative reality ( ie. his mother saying something hurtful, or a negative aspect of our marital relationship) he’d deny it ( minimizes, justifies, generalizes etc…). He wouldn’t ‘go there’. He’d counter whatever negative reality I presented by ‘looking at the bright side’. This made me feel as though I was ‘being negative’ and then I’d feel all kinds of guilt for not ‘being more positive’.
Living in reality became so threatening because my guilt would prevent me from going to negative places. So I maintained the fantasy by pretending those negative places didn’t hurt me. I became gradually more and more numb. My world became narrower and narrower. Where I only inhabited ‘happy’ or ‘positive’ places. The rest, I denied. When my spirit couldn’t take it anymore and I’d present a negative reality into our relationship, I was denied. When I’d stick to the truth of that negative reality. Then I’d get punished ( silent anger, blame shifting, manipulation, scape goated). Then the pain of being punished was too much and I’d convinced myself the fantasy wasn’t so bad. After all it’s all happy, right?
Nope, said the Holy Spirit. Reality is key.
So yeah, my confusing his denial for him being a positive person is one of the things that produced significant fog. The reality is that my h is a very negative person, his denial of negative experiences doesn’t make him positive. In fact, it might be the very thing that makes him a very negative person.
And I have to own the fact that my own baggage of being the negative feeling holder so my mom could continue functioning and not holding her own pain, set me up for this. Not sure yet, how. Maybe his ‘positivity’ was attractive, while the underlying denial was comfortable.
This was so well written! Thank you for ‘going there’ you know I can really relate to some of your experiences and what you have gone through in your marriage dynamic. Thank you for being open, honest and mostly vulnerable in such a forum.
It’s real and yes these paths are messy at times.
But you Nancy are a treasure, I’m blessed to know you;) and I hope I can offer support that will bring Glory to Him.
Love and hugs to you! I’m in continued prayer for you and your h.
Thank you for validating my expression of myself, Aly. This ‘using my voice’ thing is an uphill battle. My counsellor challenged me yesterday to speak my limits. He said, “you have to take responsibility for your boundaries. It is good to let those around you know who you are.”
I protested – that showed me something about myself. I really don’t want to do this work. I really don’t want to ‘grow up’ and ‘discover who I am’. I want The Lord to do it for me. But I know that growth is not one of the miracles He’s in the business of performing.
Growth is my job.
Please pray that The Lord would enable me to lean into this work, instead of avoiding it.
Your heart is dear to me. I have been and will continue to pray for you and your husband.
I read in your writings some really healthy responsibilities in relation to how you are expressing yourself. You are not alone in this process~ and it’s not one that we can do well alone anyways. Yes it’s a grinding process, but then again anything worth having seems to take that edge. Plus, I want to encourage you that there will be plenty of healing moments for your own personal heart. Maybe moments that come into focus at different points along the way.
Your worth discovering who God is transforming you into for His purpose!
Your in my heart and my prayers❤️
Aly. You have a way of really seeing. Really. Seeing. And then the ability to express yourself in a way that connects heart to heart. What a gift our Lord has given you!
Thank you for the encouragement around ‘healing moments for my heart’ ❤️
Those moments are a kind of peaceful grief. So painful and yet still. In avoiding the pain of it I run from the Healer Himself.
Thank you so much for your kind comments, such places of healing for my heart given I was told for much of my life, how wrong and crazy I was just for giving a thought or perspective.
I’m thankful for so many people and resources that God has brought into my own journey and yes grief too.
I so hope you ‘feel seen’ and heard here.. that is my heart. I love your prayers for us that are walking similar paths where we can claim the young versions of ourselves and see who God is transforming us into.
Sending hugs to you!
Just want to encourage you on this thought:
“And I have to own the fact that my own baggage of being the negative feeling holder so my mom could continue functioning and not holding her own pain, set me up for this. Not sure yet, how. Maybe his ‘positivity’ was attractive, while the underlying denial was comfortable.”
This is so well expressed from you in many ways. I can say for my ‘own journey’ I was attracted and married similarly. I’m not upset or disappointed with my judgement…. goodness, I was so young and both my husband and I were so underdeveloped in relationships let alone a ‘sacred marriage’.
Here is what I discovered a long time ago and my h struggled to entertain my issue.
It was not exactly attraction that I married… it was Familiarity~ The subconscious needing to be healed.
(He was much of my unresolved mother &sibling wounds) not all in lump because he has some other amazing qualities that I really respect and value.
But just want to connect with you where your are here and seeing these dynamics from different vantage points can help in seeing cycles and thus being able to respond toward connection.
Sending a hug from a sister who sees you;)
Yes Aly. It was the familiarity. My h’s heart posture was very similar to my mothers ( I was going to say their behaviour was the same but it’s not, it’s their hearts). Thankfully my h responded to my limits by turning to The Lord. My mother has not done that. She continues in denial. I know that you also share this same painful reality 🙁
And yes, I have been responding to my h in defense as opposed to toward connection because, until now, when I listen to my h and my old ‘scapegoat fear’ rears it’s head, I just shut down. It will take maturity to separate the childhood wounds, the marriage wounds, and what is actually going on. I will need to rely heavily on The Holy Spirit when listening to my h, especially when he expresses that he feels hurt by me.
Were there elements of error in your post to Rose? Possibly, maybe…I don’t know. All truth doesn’t rest with me. All I know is that it was what I needed to hear when I needed to hear it. Oftentimes my pastor prays before his sermon: “Father, take my words and use them for Your glory. If I speak amiss, may these people you’ve given me discern Your truth from my flawed human understanding” A good prayer I think. Psalm 51 tells us He desires truth in the inward parts. Only He can give us to know that. Let us all pray He “remove falsehood and lies far from me.” Prov.30:8
Thank you for your reply and feedback. I am so grateful you were helped and I love what you said about your pastor’s prayer. A good one I think also!
“All truth doesn’t rest with me.”
So grateful it doesn’t. What a burden it would be. It shows how much we do need each other to be faithful to share the truths we do have.
I have felt sending such long responses to each other might not be helpful to those who are weary and exhausted. My encouragement would be that none of us think we have the right answer- for others. We can comealongside and prod each other gently, but I do think we need to be very sensitive to others who are hurting.
I think we give the most Grace, as we share OUR STORY instead of correcting others.
I think you are right that sharing our stories can be really helpful, and probably usually the most helpful. But sometimes people specifically want and invite (and even beg!) for advice, not just our story.
Gosh, I welcome even “hard to hear truth” by these loving sisters, because I have no doubt that they have God’s glory and my welfare in mind. And I know they would be patient with me if I wasn’t ready to receive it, too. And I know they would self-correct if I told them they misunderstood something or hurt me.
We’ve all been “truth-impaired” in a way, and we are learning important lessons about owning and speaking the truth in love.
Praying for us all as we “grow up into Him.”
TL- thanks for your reply. Sometimes when 4 or 5 people are doing all the writing, and very few are joining in I wonder if we’ve become an exclusive group. I know you ladies love each other and want to encourage– but I sensed some discouragement and thought I’d take a risk and give a check, that we are opening up to many in the group. This isn’t a blame as much as it is a reminder not to just help a few……. You ladies are awesome, but it might include others more if the posts weren’t so long. I love all of you and your hearts for each other!!!!!!
Robin, that’s a good point. I love when I see new names pop up! I’ll be careful not to “over talk!” Thank you!
The problem with me being able to hear your comment constructively is that I’ve spent my life holding my tongue in the name of being ‘sensitive to others’.
This has become a safe place for me, and I’m not sure how my sharing a longer post is to someone else’s detriment. I do understand how someone might feel weary – they then have the option to skip over my ramblings, no?
Anyways Robin. I hear that you are not blaming. You’ve given me something to think about. Thank you.
TL, I think you are right – there are others who are desperate for truth. Just as you and I are. I loved your note to Rose, it was precious.
I have had a chance to read over some of your posts here tonight and I think I see several points you have made. I wanted to take the opportunity to practice being real and truthful with you from my heart, as you have done here also.
1. “I have felt sending such long responses to each other might not be helpful to those who are weary and exhausted.”
I truly believe that people have the freedom of choice to scan over posts and read or not read if they so choose. I certainly exercise this freedom.
Also, the long posts for me are at times very healing as I don’t have many places I can share when it is convenient for me. Some of the longer “conversations” I had had the pleasure of being engaged with here have been so meaningful to me I have copied them and printed them out to take with me at times. I, personally, find the need for lengthy dialogue here at times, or at least not to feel like I must shorten them for the benefit of others. Please, move on if my posts are too long. No need to indulge me if you are weary and exhausted, but it is healing for me to be able to speak in a place where I feel free to.
If by lengthy posts you mean ones to those who are asking for feedback, again, they can choose to bypass if they are too weary. I want lengthy responses from people here if that is what they want to give. I also want the freedom to post at length if that is what I want to give.
2. ” My encouragement would be that none of us think we have the right answer- for others. We can come alongside and prod each other gently, but I do think we need to be very sensitive to others who are hurting.”
I agree here Robin. I also feel that when we are asked to offer our opinions, we can respond in truth as we feel the Lord leads. If the person receiving the opinions feels offended or the message doesn’t fit them, it is my view that they then can choose to respond in truth and reality of their own. I think people here have been very sensitive to the hurting.
3. “I think we give the most Grace, as we share OUR STORY instead of correcting others.”
It sort of seems like your recent posts have a hint of the “correcting others” in them, when you say:
4. “Sometimes when 4 or 5 people are doing all the writing, and very few are joining in I wonder if we’ve become an exclusive group.”
5. “I know you ladies love each other and want to encourage– but I sensed some discouragement and thought I’d take a risk and give a check, that we are opening up to many in the group.
6. “This isn’t a blame as much as it is a reminder not to just help a few.”
You seem to have rebuked some here for:
a. Too long of responses.
b. People thinking they have the right answers for others.
c. People correcting others.
d. Perhaps becoming an exclusive group
e. People only helping a few others.
I know you say:
“This isn’t a blame”, but it does feels like it to me.
Your posts have had the effect of causing me to consider dialing back in my involvement here, just when I was feeling at home.
I truly believe you did not mean to cause this effect in me, but I wanted you to know it has.
Again, I am second guessing myself as to length of posts, how I use my voice etc. etc.
It feels uncomfortably familiar to me and not in a good way.
Robin, I trust your good intent for me my sister, and I am holding onto that trust in you. You have been in my corner cheering me on and encouraging me to be strong, and sincere about truth-telling.
Thank you for that.
Thank you for taking the time to response here.
I most certainly could not have articulated my thoughts and feelings as you were able to write out;)
I feel like you described what I am experiencing in full. 😢
I totally agree in those that have the responsibility to pass on reading and choosing for themselves their own good selfcare or capacity.
I’ve been in women groups, small groups and bible studies where a time limit and sharing has its proximity but that is due to the overall discussion at hand and that form of group. But any group that I have facilitated I remind all participants the preciousness of our presence and how important it is to integrate ourselves in a process of learning and leaning in.
I do think the unique blessing in ‘this forum’ is the freedom to express and have the safe space to process our journey, share our hearts and come alongside one another as the Body.
For those of you who have shared your hearts and especially your pain, i have tried to express how privileged it has been to grow and to know more of who you are, mostly how I experience seeing Him in the pureness of your hearts.
If I have missed any direct responses ‘to myself’ that I have not replied or acknowledged, I’m sorry, please resend.
That is not a message I want to offer.
I don’t know how to respond, or how to explain my limits. But I really do appreciate your apology.
Thank you ❤️
I don’t fully know what I am doing either, at least not consciously. When people talk (—including me), they are trying to get control over themselves and others, —even if that is not in their mind consciously. I see this all the time in churches. . . . If I become aware of it, I try to avoid it. —Truth is not good for its own sake, especially if it deconstructs and demythologizes; rather, it is only good to the extent that it serves life. —Truth serves Life (—that’s why it’s okay to get a divorce for all kinds of things, sans what the Bible *clearly* (—sans text twisting) says and what scholars with access to Bible manuscripts that are lost forever have said for hundreds of years.). . . . .Anyways, all of us need Jesus and all of us need hope. More than this, all of us are unbeleievably bias to seek information that fits what we already believe. . .me too! I have critical thinking tools I use to try to check myself against that but it is not easy. . . . .Christianity is a way of acting in the world (—Again, I learned that from you, Nancy!) —It sounds obvious but it is not obvious —not at all. . . .A really clean heart, real love, real forgiveness, real compassion, and real tenderness —not knowing stuff or just “believing” stuff. . . .Where love rules, there is no will to power; where power predominates, there love is totally lacking. The one is the shadow of the other. Pure love contains no attempt to hold power over the other person and if you are attempting to hold power over another person, there is no room for real love. That which is done out of real love is always beyond good and evil, —like God is. . . . But, obviously, I don’t know how it all functions, nor am I able to understand all the obvious contradictions. . . .
I’m going to change my Gravatar to reflect what I mean. . . .
***Nancy, Christianity is full of very dark things, as well as light: Christianity is a faith in human sacrifice. That’s really dark stuff. Christianity is not a faith that repudiates human sacrifice. It is a faith that celebrates a single human sacrifice. “God so loved the world that he gave his only son.” Jesus suffered the crucifixion so that none need suffer Hell. . . Nancy we come from people who used to bury children under the foundations of new buildings as offerings to their imaginary gods. In vast numbers of societies, people would bury children in postholes–—people like us—–thinking that this would prevent an invisible being from knocking down their buildings. . . .Anyways, the information is everywhere but it is dark so people avoid it. . . .If you woke up tomorrow morning thinking that saying a few Latin words over your pancakes was gonna turn them into the body of Elvis Presley, people would say “Nancy has lost her mind.” But if you think more or less the same thing about a cracker and the body of Jesus, you’re just a Catholic. I grew up as a Catholic. . . .Which historically is the church that Christ founded, not 1400 years later with Martin Luther. . . .Nancy it is an absolute mess, no wonder people don’t study Christian origins. . . .Nancy, you do what the Holy Spirit tells you to do, I can’t possibly know what is best for people. I’m only trying to get people to really think, critically think, . . . .you know, think about how they think: logic, reason, evidence. —Actually, I’m trying to get myself to do that too. I’m *horrible* at it because I so, so love emotions. That’s why I like music so very much —it is all emotions. . . .Maybe I am totally wrong, but I think that thinking about how you think and being aware, really aware can free them from abuse prisons, —but I don’t know that. —It is just a theory. That and praying for people is all I have to give, that I’m aware of. I find that incredibly meaningful, I don’t even know why. . . .Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to a far greater understanding of ourselves, —me too! 🙂
Nancy, I would never tell any woman to hold her tongue or don’t let your voice be heard. This blog is a safe place and a place of support. I’m glad you are benefitting from it.
I hope none of my words hurt you, as I surely did not want that.
No, you didn’t tell me to hold my tongue, or not use my voice but the comment that longer posts may “not be helpful to those who are weary and exhausted” did create doubt that I am taking from another by using my voice.
I cannot take responsiblility for someone else’s weariness, nor for their feeling of exclusion.
I know you address Nancy here, but I hope it’s ok that I respond.
“When people talk (—including me), they are trying to get control over themselves and others, —even if that is not in their mind consciously.”
Aleea, is this true? Is this a fact?
My efforts at expressing myself or my painful journey are to offer love, compassion and any wisdom that has previously been deposited in me to gracious share. It’s not of my own.
I’m not upset by your writings, they challenge me in ways… but some of the comments seem to come across as ‘generalized statements’., and I struggle with those areas.., especially as they relate to some of us battling through some very difficult areas and bravely facing them!
~I have plenty of time and space and yes love in communication to discuss the biblical evidence for why the Bible is reliable and true.
Many weeks ago you told me via some of our interactions back and forth that you would look into Prohesy and the overall statistics~ doing the math logically sort of thing.
Have you done this?
Lori, thank you for taking time out to comment. I respect and value each persons thoughts even when we differ in our views. I do not agree with many things you said, but I don’t need too. You are respected for just being you. And I get the same honor as an individual.
I agree with what you said regarding respect for our individuality.
If you feel I have been disrespectful of you or others, it would help me to grow if you care to share that.
Perhaps sometimes agreeing to disagree is peacekeeping enough for the body of Christ?
Blessings dear sister
Lori, it’s very challenging and difficult for me to respond to your question as I’m aware that the tension might increase. And I have no desire to initiate strife on this beautiful, safe, blog. The one thing I will share is I felt concern for women on this blog that aren’t included in your group. (Ali, TL, Nancy, yourself).
When I say the emails seem long, what my true heart was trying to express is yes it might benefit you, but when I see all the recent posts being from your small group– it makes me feel I need to speak for the ‘larger group’. I think most get the best benefit when we write responses that aren’t so lengthy. I just wondered how many need to respond and get help that can’t do the lengthy responses. This was just my personal perspective after being on this blog for 4 years and watching the constant interaction from many, rather than just a few. It is not my intention to hurt anyone because I see a good work in your group. It was just a reminder to stay inclusive. And yes I do believe we can have differing g opinions and still love one another………
Thank you for elaborating, I appreciate your perspective and I think I understand a bit better what you are saying. I believe you are emphasizing our responsibility TO the larger group (in other words considering the larger group when interacting).
Because my biggest issue is that distinction between being responsible TO others (healthy) and being responsible FOR others (codependance), I reacted strongly.
I’m sorry for reacting instead of responding, Robin.
While I appreciate that we can, and should be responsible to the larger group, I think this space can also be a space for friendships to develop 🙂
Thank you for hearing me Nancy.
I agree that we can have and enjoy both. !!!!!!!!
Thank you for elaborating your feelings personally.
It feels like you are voicing your feelings for a large group, but maybe I’m misunderstanding.
For me, my feelings are hurt by your comments and I just don’t seem to understand some of the things you mention. The words of (weary and exhausting). Would you feel hurt if you were told that your replies are weary or exhausting, now I realize that you might be speaking to certain individuals that post comments~ that can come across as they are weary and exhausted and that may be very well true given the relationship they are in and or battling in. But I’m not sure giving certain short responses will allow certain people to feel connected. Maybe there are those that do and that’s great! I like that we are all different in many ways.
I just would like to point out given the lengthy posts, many of them have been extra long with A purpose to ‘stay organized’ meaning, I have to copy and paste others posts to dialog with them, otherwise my response might become quite confusing especially if I’m relating to someone else. This clearly adds to the length when this much dialog is going on and we are unable to be on the phone or out with one another engaging in a conventional conversation.
“I just wondered how many need to respond and get help that can’t do the lengthy responses.”
I would like to understand what you mean by this? I’m confused because I don’t think or feel like my responses need to be a certain length (short or long) to engage.
I’m not the best at simplifying my thoughts but I’m working on it and my hope is to write as if the other person could be sitting across from me.
Personally, I have responded to many women here after they have posted to validate them, to share my own story as to relate to them, to connect and hear more of their hearts and try to understand more.. if I don’t hear back from them… I’m taking it that they don’t want to dialog. And that’s ok. Communicating in this venue can be hard in a multitude of different ways.
Given the seriousness of this blog and the issues we have faced, are facing.. or gaining wisdom and knowledge to face…. is going to be a ‘huge effort’ and undertaking to gain some emotional strength and health to make difficult choices and difficult changes. Many of us need support to do this.
It takes ‘lots of time’ and care for other people going through such storms. It’s not simple, it’s not quick ~ mostly it’s about taking the time to learn about one another and support one another as best as we can as sisters in Christ. I believe this is what many of us are called to do for Christ’s glory.
I’m not sure if there are specific parameters you can place on two people interacting freely to mutually support and share their stories?
Most importantly connecting on very hard painful realities and deep deep grief.
I don’t feel that any of the names you referenced (including my own) have tried to ‘exclude’ anyone.
This is an open dialog in the biggest sense.
I see many responses of these women reaching out and most importantly offering prayer to them.
And hoping that we can find a safe place to grow and be accepted for people that come with different places of connection.
Much love and care to your journey Robin. I’m glad that you have been supported the way that you needed through your process. 💜
Aly, I think our communications have not been good. I think it’s best to drop this and not make it more complicated . I feel you have misunderstood my intention, and I want to say I m sorry for any words that caused u hurt. I’m going to withdraw from anymore comments on this subject. I love this blog, and I will continue to be a healthy part of it . Every conversation won’t get heard as we meant it and sometimes it’s best to just close that door. Again I’m sorry for your hurt.
Yes, . . .Thank you Aly. I did fully reply to your questions it just has not posted. I’m afraid to post again as that can lead to multiple posts. . . .Anyways, Aly. . . I’m always thankful when things post and I very much appreciate your comments. —Always, my e-mail is in my Gravatar and anyone from here can e-mail me whenever they like but it is so much better when we can have the discussions as a group on the blog. Despite all the delayed, lost, multiple, et.al. posts, —it is so very meaningful talking with people here.
“If I have missed any direct responses ‘to myself’ that I have not replied or acknowledged, I’m sorry, please resend.
That is not a message I want to offer.”
I believe you Aly. 100%. Quite the opposite really. I believe your effort, time, sensitivity and sincere love in responding to women here is phenomenal and cannot be overstated.
Just want you to know the length of your posts is a blessing to me.
Blessings dear sister.
Aly, I didn’t mean I’d be a healthy part but that I desire to do my part to increase healthy relations on this blog. But sometimes communication is misunderstood.
“The one thing I will share is I felt concern for women on this blog that aren’t included in your group. (Ali, TL, Nancy, yourself).
Do you think you may have crossed a line here from opining to accusing?
I strongly disagree with your statement that an exclusive group has somehow formed and I think it is incredulous of you to name individuals in this so called “group”.
And: “but when I see all the recent posts being from your small group– it makes me feel I need to speak for the ‘larger group’.
Why have you taken this on yourself Robin? Perhaps this responsibility would be better left to the moderator of this blog?
And:” It is not my intention to hurt anyone because I see a good work in your group. It was just a reminder to stay inclusive.”
I think you are mistaken that I have an exclusive group here Robin. I do wish you would consider the possibility that you may have misjudged this.
I think your concerns may have had a much better reception if, instead of possibly accusing and opining and (efforting to correct people based on your assumptions), you would have asked whether the people you have named felt they were being exclusive or long winded.
Otherwise, for me, your message comes across as judgemental and accusing.
To Aly you wrote:
“Aly, I think our communications have not been good.”
I agree Robin, and I hope you will consider what your part in this might be.
It hurts to see this last comment of yours to Aly:
“Every conversation won’t get heard as we meant it and sometimes it’s best to just close that door.”
I wish you would consider keeping it open long enough to acknowledge and validate some of the feelings and observations Aly took the time to share with you. I saw her sincerely efforting at relationship with you Robin and it appears to me that you have shut the door to what I think is an important conversation.
Would you consider allowing her to be the one to close the door?
Would you consider using your voice to validate her feelings?
After all, she is saying she is really hurt Robin.
Dear Aly and Robin, I just want to say that I’m quite sure that I can see both of your points. It’s hard for me to explain it exactly but I’ve had similar thoughts as Robin tried to communicate, and yet I also see the value and beauty of Aly’s counsel and validation to sisters who were wounded and needed exactly that, and possibly don’t have a support group in their home town. I guess I just skip over the parts that don’t pertain to me and go on to the next place. Maybe we need 3 or 4 of these blogs to sort it all out, judging by the number of women in the same boat here! I’m sure if we ask the Lord to show us, we can always learn something new. I appreciate everyone so much! Blessings to all!
Just wanted to respond to your thoughts. I certainly can see a few sides of these areas but I really appreciate what you wrote that we can all learn something ‘new’ from the Lord if we ask Him to show us… (paraphrased)
I agree… and with the learning posture we can see different (not wrong) but different.
I really took some time before responding…. I looked back at past interactions etc and tried to evaluate the dynamic and give space to see where something (not good) was taking place. I have even seen Leslie comment over the past couple weeks that she’s sees caring responses going around.
I’m trying my best to understand the harshness I feel in Robins’ reply. (Sadly it feels familiar) especially when told..,
I’m sorry for ‘your’ hurt.
I would address this with her, but that door is closed.
Is it possible that both perspectives are valid? There is a place here for some personal and lengthy responses from some, and for others to feel overwhelmed and exhausted reading them all in order to stay connected with the group at large? This blog has been very active for many years now. There have been times when people have tried to give feedback – that someone wasn’t clear, or someone felt judged, or someone felt like they were misunderstood. Let’s give one another the benefit of the doubt, can we?
We are all here to help and be helped. We are all hurting because of relationships that have been painful and that sometimes we also may hurt others – even innocently, because we are reacting to something that bothers us but may not necessarily be wrong. We are all learning how to walk in CORE strength and build healthy relationship with one another. Sometimes that may involve giving feedback that isn’t pleasant to hear (I’ve gotten some too), but it’s always made me reflect and most of it has been helpful. But part of being healthy is listening to feedback, reflecting on it, talking it through, taking the meat and throwing away the bones. I believe Satan would love to destroy this blog and God does not want that to happen. He wants us to learn to love and forbear and speak the truth in love and encourage one another in love. I sense some people are trying to do this without offending others, but we can’t see each other or hear each other’s tone or body language, so we can easily be misinterpreted. I love you all and this blog. Let’s work hard together to be heard and be understood in love. We all have a voice here.
Thank you for your kind response and understanding what I feel has several sides to validate, acknowledge and move on in healthy loving way. I think that is a necessary ingredient in creating a safe environment of feelings and differences more importantly given the Topics discussed here.
This isn’t a food sharing recipe blog;)
These are deep sacred soul places and as a community I believe it’s important to allow for differing approaches at times.
“We are all here to help and be helped. We are all hurting because of relationships that have been painful and that sometimes we also may hurt others – even innocently, because we are reacting to something that bothers us but may not necessarily be wrong.”
Your comments here are validating because I do see Robins thought and can understand where she might be coming from.
I also felt it was important for myself to evaluate my own feelings and thoughts as to the exclusivity issue.
Part of my own journey has been not living in my CORE strength and allowing others to make ‘me ‘feel’ Responsible, or accountable to something that is unwarranted or being misused… when really for me this issue is to have space for individualality. Mostly many things in the format can get misinterpreted and I think that by copying and pasting our interactions keep clarity, help digest information, but can also add to length….
Which can seem like both scenarios being understood here. I like that there is freedom to ingage or not ingage (many posts I can read and not comment) which is healthy for us all to self monitor or own abilities given our seasons and our availability.
Thank you Leslie for all you do, especially challenge us all to grow in healthy loving way.
I just wanted to cite my objection to being named as a part of an exclusive group that is leaving others feel left out. I believe that I have interacted with lots and lots of people…and so have the others you named. Some people don’t respond/reciprocate as much because they don’t currently have the need, and that is ok with me! I feel a great rapport with numerous other people than the individuals you named…including you. There have been some long posts that I just skim over if they don’t apply to me…and I hope others feel free to do the same. I appreciate those who have a heart to minister to others deeply and precisely, even if I need to choose what to skim over.
I really appreciate what you said here:
” I like that there is freedom to ingage or not ingage (many posts I can read and not comment) which is healthy for us all to self monitor or own abilities given our seasons and our availability.”
I think for me, the freedom I experience in this forum is incredible and so healing. The validation of my voice, and validating other women’s voices here is empowering and joyous.
Also really relate to this comment you shared:
“Part of my own journey has been not living in my CORE strength and allowing others to make ‘me ‘feel’ Responsible, or accountable to something that is unwarranted or being misused… when really for me this issue is to have space for individualality.”
I am so thankful for this freedom (individuality) and find it a challenge to respond in core strength to protect my freedoms. Like most here, I believe our voices have been diminished by our “loved” ones and finding the balance to maintain my voice without reacting or diminishing another’s voice is the challenge.
Learning by other’s examples here as well and am so grateful to hear responses on this sensitive topic.
Blessings to you as you continue to use your voice
I so agree with you in regards to feeling the healing and strength that comes from these women.
“I think for me, the freedom I experience in this forum is incredible and so healing. The validation of my voice, and validating other women’s voices here is empowering and joyous.”
Me too;) I’m so thankful also! What a blessing from God in so many areas to our hearts, for me it’s been a place where tears and grief can be safe and also be purposeful to find areas that God wants to grow me into.
My h has also been able to experience this type of healing amongst other men, it’s character changing in ways many might not think is essential. This was a requirement of mine. Sounds bossy~ but it was for his best good.
Thank you Lori for being such a blessing here and risking and sharing your journey;) thank you for coming along side so many and the freedom for others to come along side you! I would encourage you to consider getting your story so far on paper based on your writing ability, but thats just to encourage you~ maybe you feel lead a different direction.
How are you doing lately- meaning day to day~ Are you experiencing rest in Him and finding some comfort in clarity?
I’m sure there are moments of your tears and I hope I can comfort you and be there with them, but I also want to skip with you on those days too🤗💕
You asked: “How are you doing lately- meaning day to day”
It has been a very busy week for me at home and I have not been able to keep up with much here at all.
Peaceful but BUSY.
Also, to be honest, I have been trying to understand what I have been feeling regarding the latest conversations about exclusivity and length of posts.
I am very new here and I really don’t want to get blindsided again with what I felt was harsh criticism of my involvement here. Not real sure yet about how I will plan to continue with posts, but am prayerful about the future. I don’t want to offend others, so I am “watching” and trying to learn what the nuances of this blog space are.
I haven’t really seen a definable “resolve” to this topic, (other than perhaps agreeing to disagree), so for now I am planning to watch and observe a bit more.
Thank you for asking.
I love anted you to know that I very much relate to what you said here. I’ve had lots going on personally that I can’t quite talk about yet. But I’ve appreciated the time to reflect on the subject you mention. I agreed with many of the points you made in an earlier post too, and I found myself questioning whether I had been motivated earlier by my “old ways” of relating (people pleasing, etc.) I’m still not quite sure–the balance between speaking truth freely, seasoned with grace, and being open to other people’s desires and perspectives…this is a challenge to learn.
So, observing along with you, trying to be sensitive, and yet still engage.
“I’m still not quite sure–the balance between speaking truth freely, seasoned with grace, and being open to other people’s desires and perspectives…this is a challenge to learn. So, observing along with you, trying to be sensitive, and yet still engage.”
Yes TL, I see this in your posts and admire it.
For me, I feel unsafe about engaging at this point, perhaps because I feel it is being framed as someone’s opinions and it felt more scolding or accusing to me. I think I am fine with opinions being offered up for discussion here, but not the latter, and because it feels like the latter to me, I remain a bit confused.
Just not feeling the same sense of freedom I enjoyed early on.
I understand completely, Lori. And it makes me sad. I hope in time, your freedom to speak your beautiful and life-giving words without censure, will return. I always love them.
Thank you TL. I will be watching for how the blog works a bit more and trying to see what I did wrong.
I’m relatively new in terms of writing, too, but I do not believe you did a single thing wrong!
Lori, TL and (ALL) precious people here,
For me, I see such a balanced thing personally. I see you share your story and also share your heart and care for so many others at the same time! The balance I see is quite healthy in my opinion because I think it’s helpful to share our story’s but not remain focused there and be able to be present in others peoples journeys. This in my opinion was taking place, (maybe not all the posts were posting for some.)
It’s a ebb and flow thing that can very healing and create places of connection that otherwise might not be able to happen if there were rigid constraints.
Given the nature and deep sensitivity of the subject, I feel my heart wants to be open for those that need space, dialog, and validation.
I don’t think there is a cookie cutter way of how this comes about. Everyone has a unique beauty here that is irreplaceable and too often it can be easy to get caught up in life and certainly the (American, fast, task and mastery) that we could miss out on ‘one another’s’ in the world.
This blog reminds me of the circle of influence that others can have on me and I could possibly have on them is broader than I would first think, but God works in profound ways.
I plan to remind myself of the things… like these healing dialogs that I believe God would be pleased with… as we walk along trying to ease a burden as we are called to do.
For me, I see ‘Time’ and how I use my time in relationships as my greatest commodity. My desire is that my time will align with His will.
Love you all ~ such amazing sisters in Christ🌸
Love this: “I plan to remind myself of the things… like these healing dialogs that I believe God would be pleased with… as we walk along trying to ease a burden as we are called to do.”
I really do love this vision.
Thank you for sharing.
Thanks Lori for your reply. Given individual space..,
I’m pasting an article by Lundy Bancroft.
It is quite extensive but for me describes the emotional and destructive behaviors well when that spouse, family member, friend etc will not have space or equal freedom for individual experience. This being abusive in nature by dismissing.
I’m posting also for those in a (possible second chance season) where the spouse is promising change of behavior~ but will struggle tremendously and relapse is guaranteed if the self talk and mindset are not addressed with great significance and accountability. Seriously it takes a small army😜
But I like how Lundy highlight the mental aspects of ones thought process and the yrs of one thinking a certain route.. and explains relapse clearly to me.
Again there are different protocols given the extent of the behavior.
~ This article stresses more of the emotional and mental abuse and the lack of maturity.
Here is the web link:
Sending hugs and virtual cup of coffee to you friend💕
Thank you for the Lundy link. Worth reposting her I think:
WOW! Very validating to hear and see another man call out husbands to respond in respectful and loving manners to their wives is so incredibly life giving. He really doesn’t give any wiggle room for anything less.
Whether or not my husband ever chooses to take the very specific and concrete steps Lundy lays out, I now know that my expectations of marital relations are on target and that my husbands self talk was not “just in my imagination”.
More healing for my soul today.
Thank you dear Aly….good coffee time with you here.
Healing for me too to read through..
“I now know that my expectations of marital relations are on target and that my husbands self talk was not “just in my imagination”.
I like how you worded this;)!! I’m taking notes;)
Although the article is long it does bring light to the tactics one uses to abuse. I think Lundy’s description ‘lines it out’ best especially if we sometimes find ourselves sorting through any false shame or guilt for healthy expections or relations regardless of the many other relationships for that matter.
I am a true believer how their self talk is directly related to the behavior.
Hugs, love and support from afar💖
““I now know that my expectations of marital relations are on target and that my husbands self talk was not “just in my imagination”.
I can’t tell you how well trained my h was prior to marriage to discount any persons voice who offered truth. The only feedback he would receive from anyone was if it was complimentary in nature. Many a victim was had if they dared to be honest in their evaluation of his conduct/behavior. They may not ever know how he felt about them, but I did. He was extremely covert about his hatred and resentment of them after they dared to be honest with him. Rather than be honest with them regarding his hatred/resentment, he moved on having discarded them. It is easy to see now how marriage would not be viable under those conditions. He was, in the end, much more committed to believing all those “self talks” Lundy listed than I was at trying to get him to see I was battling for a healthy marriage.
I believe my husband was an estute student of his mothers narcissistic “christianity” (oxymoron?) and learned early and well her ways at covert abuse of others. They are far more expert at hiding their covert abuse than I am at unveiling it.
It occurs to me that God Himself will only unveil it to those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, and if He is gracious enough to allow them the choice to see or hear, I must follow His example of allowing them this choice. It seems they have succeeded in fooling themselves along with many others. I believe it is our responsibility/privilege to cry out for eyes to see and ears to hear.
Here, on this blog, I am being validated that my values and expectations of healthy relations are just that: valuable and realistic expectations of relationship.
Because I find myself responding repeatedly to you here again, it reminds me of the recent claim that I am perhaps being exclusive in my communications.
I have been in prayer about this claim and feel the Lord may have shared a picture with me about this:
I saw a large meeting room with many women sharing, listening, crying, recommending, warning supporting etc. etc. There were times of silence from some, and times of lengthy ministry to others. There was freedom and a sense of the Holy Spirits presence, guidance and healing among the group. God seemed well pleased.
It was the “after meeting” which I felt spoke to my heart and I will try to describe here:
Because some of the ministry went deeper for some women that particular evening and given the topic of the meeting, these women stayed after the meeting to hold, pray for, encourage, speak tender words of validation and generally bless each other. It was neither a mandatory or obligitory staying, nor was it limited to an exclusive invitation extended. Instead, it was an extended time of healing for those who needed it. This extended “afterglow” also seemed Holy Spirit inspired. Those who did not stay longer, simply carried themselves out the door with them knowing someday it may be them who lingered longer. Others remained on the perimeter of those gathered more intimately to observe, pray, listen and watch without interjection. Some of these received healing without being the focus of those gathered more intimately just because they heard truth being spoken and love and validation being extended.
It was such a beautiful picture of freedom and understanding for each other. I don’t expect you to comment on this (unless you feel you want to) and am not trying to cause more disagreement, (not trying to draw you into something you have already processed) however, because the door has been shut to dialogue regarding this (by the original poster), it means for me I want to process this through where I feel safe.
This vision is how I will be seeing/participating in this blog unless someone here feels it is not of the Lord.
Wow!! beautiful picture you put in writing and I’m thankful that I can partake here with such wonderful tender sisters, as I do believe the healing process is just that a process~ sometimes it’s different for others, and sometimes it’s scary to enter into that process.
My h is the later given all the grief he was functionally buried under.
” Here, on this blog, I am being validated that my values and expectations of healthy relations are just that: valuable and realistic expectations of relationship.”
I agree with you here and feel similar. I think it’s hard in ways because maybe we have similar corners where our ‘past expectations’ were such askew! A lot of this for me had to with being surrounded by others with very distorted and yes sometimes ‘abusive expectations’ themselves.
One of the things’ Lundy Highly noted in that (sorry long article)
“IMPORTANT NOTE: It’s completely out of bounds to use any of this information against your partner. Don’t start trying to catch her doing things on the “Retaliation” list, for example. That would be a sure sign that you want to stay stuck in your old habits.”
I needed this for my healing. Even though my h and I have been on a long journey, this area has played out in relapse.
I wish I had, had a better understand of what my h could be capable of~
For my journey, I have encountered people that have struggled maybe with my process or my personality etc, and I find it ok. I feel free to express my feelings and I can process my disappointments because many will not walk my journey nor do they understand the vision of the ‘Baton’ I will pass on to my children and the sacredness it is to me for them to be pulled from the sludge…
I love how Leslie says, be kind to yourself and take time in your healing process (paraphrasing here).
Grief is painful and I feel impossible to work through alone.
Hugs and validation for your heart Lori!
The Lord ‘covered you’ and the most valuable places of your heart and identity…and mostly secured you💗
You are discovering her and the healing abundance with which God weaves His plan;)
Would you mind expounding a bit (or giving an example if possible) on what you mean when you say:
” I think it’s hard in ways because maybe we have similar corners where our ‘past expectations’ were such askew!”
Also, how did this play out for you or could you expound on this a bit:
“One of the things’ Lundy Highly noted in that (sorry long article)
‘IMPORTANT NOTE: It’s completely out of bounds to use any of this information against your partner. Don’t start trying to catch her doing things on the “Retaliation” list, for example. That would be a sure sign that you want to stay stuck in your old habits.’
I needed this for my healing.”
I’ll try to explain, sorry that wasn’t very clear.
“I think it’s hard in ways because maybe we have similar corners where our ‘past expectations’ were such askew!”
When I say similar corners I mean myself coming from a dysfunctional family of origin~ where original yes I somehow got the scapegoat role (no one wants that one)
And how this level of tolerance predisposed me for a marriage of a similar patter of being dismissed and devalued.
For me growing up.. the expectations I would have thought would be reasonable~ We not to the family system because they were all doing what they knew to do to cope.
They were all alloted expectations that I was not equally allowed ( a very double standard)
Very disproportionate, but I was verbally told every was equal.
I was left with askew expectations.
I had a lot of growing up to do in my marriage regarding healthy reasonable expectations~ mine were askew because I tolerated someone(s) training me that my expectations were wrong.. when in fact they were right on.
Does that makes sense?
The ‘askew part’ was a detriment to my boundaries early on in our marriage.
The word askew means for me… accepting much less than necessary for a healthy mutual relationship.
My h on the other hand was on the other opposite, quite distorted in his expectations thinking his entitlements are prior 1, there was no room for him to hear feedback, because he was running from those uncomfortable places that needed address. There was no space for another to be of equal value. This is the mindset of a person with plenty of that negative self talk that is distorted with someone who is more of the abusive bent in relationships.
I hope that answers.. feel free to ask me if I’m still not clarifying😊
What you wrote: “I had a lot of growing up to do in my marriage regarding healthy reasonable expectations~ mine were askew because I tolerated someone(s) training me that my expectations were wrong.. when in fact they were right on.
Does that makes sense?”
Yes. Gotcha. Thus the sacred commitment now to the children who will one day walk in the ways they were shown to be “right” during their childhood. Can’t help but think of this sacred work as a reverent goal to pave an easier, truer path for them. It has been my life focus as a mother, with many places I am sure I have repeated in error from my early life training. I think the big difference between how I am attempting to mother my children is in the willingness to be realistic and honest about my humanity. I attempt to be as approachable as possible (humble) with them so they know their opinions are valued.
And: “My h on the other hand was on the other opposite, quite distorted in his expectations thinking his entitlements are priority # 1, there was no room for him to hear feedback, because he was running from those uncomfortable places that needed addressed. There was no space for another to be of equal value. This is the mindset of a person with plenty of that negative self talk that is distorted with someone who is more of the abusive bent in relationships.”
Exactly. So well stated and thank you for taking the time to clarify. I so appreciate learning to know you better. I am so grateful your marriage is being repaired and healed. What a testimony to Gods power when 2 will bend their hearts to His will.
Blessings of peace to you Aly.
“Also, how did this play out for you or could you expound on this a bit:”
I wrote a comment from Lundy;
‘IMPORTANT NOTE: It’s completely out of bounds to use any of this information against your partner. Don’t start trying to catch her doing things on the “Retaliation” list, for example. That would be a sure sign that you want to stay stuck in your old habits.’
This played out for me in ways I didn’t know at the time,
My h was better in tune with my sensitivities and being falsely accused Just would squash my spirit but more imp it was a tactic that is common in these individuals with distorted views and especially in…ok addicts.
(some don’t like that word~ it can loose its meaning)
What would happen to me was as I was getting stronger and less tolerant.. my boundaries were reasonable but a person who doesn’t value another or respect another by far does not like the healthy power provides the offended!
So they ‘mirror back’ boundaries or even falsely accuse to take the spotlight off of what they are uncomfortable with to begin with.
Some of this is so covert, so it can be more difficult to explain.. also I think sometimes the abuser is in such a subconscious level of old habits and old self talk that they can struggle taking it in.
If I think of an exact tangible that’s clearer I will post back, I will also look back at Lundy’s article because his warning to the person was several times, so he knows their patterns quite well.
Lundy’s article resonates with me because he gives (no room) for the abusive person to start calling (this isn’t fair all the work this is) and takes measures to add more protection to the one that was the recipient of the mistreatment.
Regarding Bundys work: “Lundy’s article resonates with me because he gives (no room) for the abusive person to start calling (this isn’t fair all the work this is) and takes measures to add more protection to the one that was the recipient of the mistreatment.”
I just kept nodding my head to his writing thinking oh my goodness….someone knows exactly what my h is like and has a remedy for him. Amazing stuff, however, without an act of God, my h is FAR AWAY from thinking ANYTHING is wrong with him. He has been completely convinced I am 100% defective and his family system supports him all the way. He has been attempting to contact some of my siblings (whom he never had a relationship with in 28 years), to talk with them about me. He has convinced the people in his church that he is a God fearing man and attends regularly/volunteers his skills. His new “world” is very fortified with the people he needs to reflect his goodness back to him. It has crushed my hopes of a chance at repairing the marriage because the separation has seemed to only cause him to rally the troops in his favor (not the marriages favor). It is very sad really, and I feel perhaps the Lord released me from the marriage over a year ago is because husbands heart was so hardened.
Somewhere recently (still trying to remember where in scripture) I read a commentary stating that sometimes the deliverance from the evil is enough, and not the more of the destruction of our enemies. It is enough simply to be removed at a safe distance from the evil. I think so.
That narcissistic recruiting of your family members that your h. is doing must be so maddening. I hope he isn’t successful. His unwillingness to face and d al with his own sinfulness causes him to project it onto you. He’s the good guy, so obviously you are the bad guy.
Your conclusion at the end, about sometimes getting away from the evil is enough. I think so too. I’m glad you have been plucked out and sequestered off. Peace and grace.
This paragraph you wrote:
“I can’t tell you how well trained my h was prior to marriage to discount any persons voice who offered truth…….Lundy listed than I was at trying to get him to see I was battling for a healthy marriage.” Ditto. Could have written it about my h.
“It occurs to me that God Himself will only unveil it to those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, and if He is gracious enough to allow them the choice to see or hear, I must follow His example of allowing them this choice. ” Yes!!
Also I think the “picture God gave you” was exactly that. I have been thinking of how it is natural and healthy for us to form closer relationships with certain people in our lives for various reasons. It just means something is clicking, needs are being met, ministry is happening.
Thanks for sharing.
Thank you for your kind words to Aly & Robin: I’ve always felt privileged to be a part of this blog, and have relied on it and your wise counsel throughout my stressful separation and divorce — now that we’ve “reconciled, I’ll need it as much as ever. You advised me to “think long and hard” before returning, and I had misgivings as well, but I thought it to be the “lesser of the evils,” so to speak. Unfortunately, he is just as verbally abusive as ever, although thoughtful of me in some ways, so I’m trying to turn a deaf ear to the VB and bite my tongue when he comes to “tit for tat,” and praise him for every kindness. I know that with God’s help, I can live “above the circumstances — one day at a time. I keep you and all these dear sisters in my heart & prayers.
P.S.: My doctor has prescribed a mild tranquilizer and recommended a support group as well.
Is it possible that instead of turning a “deaf ear” to the verbal abuse you can make a boundary instead? Often negative words do more damage than we realize. Couldn’t you tell him that the Lord has commanded you to guard your heart and you intend to obey him? And so if you hear negative words from him you will leave the room?
Yes, dear TL, boundaries are vital, and I will tell him I won’t tolerate VB and will walk away. Ironically, the boundaries I set when we were still married are what caused him to abandon me, i.e., I wouldn’t have sex or even sleep with him until the VB stopped. He is now again pressuring me for sex, and I’m setting the same boundaries. He refuses to repent and receive Jesus as Savior, nor has he asked forgiveness for his behavior or admitted any wrong on his part — he just doesn’t “get it,” or again, prefers not to.
Are you saying that your h is not a Christian?
You mentioned he hasn’t ask Jesus as Savior..,
But my question is does he position himself as a Christian in externals or value Christian beliefs?
I’m so very sad for your situation and what you are going through, there are so many who are going through and have been in such forks in the road with h’s that pretend they don’t get (being sorry) or quitting behavior .. when in reality they struggle with the bad feelings deep down and clearly no they are wrong.. but are quite good at spinning up their wives to think they are clueless or unaware of their tactics.
For me the more I could educate and gain knowledge on these areas the healthier I could see that ‘Healthy Requirements’ were ESSENTIAL to living in a safe growing home.
I wasn’t being ‘mean’ but actually loving my h beyond his own self defenses that were really self sabatoging.. even though the controlling moments worked for him at one point in time… very well.
He doesn’t miss how far pride and those mechanisms actually robbed him.
I’m praying for your strength and your courage, supportive sisters are also so so a part of it👭 💖
where I believe God’s continued Glory gets weaved and restored into our hearts!
No, Aly, he is not a Christian, but we attend a Methodist church that he attended before we got back together. He’s very friendly with everyone there, and said, “They all like me!” He’s very good at “putting on a front,” and doesn’t have to deal with “altar calls,” as in the more evangelical churches, so feels comfortable there. I’ve joined the choir and a lenten book study (that he doesn’t want to attend, but just what he needs!).
I responded to another post but wanted to see if this one might post.
You said, your h likes that the church you both attend, and his belief is that they all like him!
(The him that he shows to them?) abusive people it seems tend to have a duplicity going on. They are liked and also can be very helpful to many others in their world but then they spew their unresolved shame upon a sole person or sometimes more..
That person is the recipient of such terrible treatment usually because they have a keen awareness of who might tolerate it.
T.L posted early to Kaycee about unwarranted shame and contempt and what it does to someone that has held it. (It was very good, hope you saw it)
You don’t have to tolerate his behavior toward you regardless of his age.
What would your thoughts be on talking with your pastor or any leaders at the church about how he treats you at home?
Exposing him might assist in him thinking that he has all the power to do as he pleases without consequences.
And he might be a man that cares what others think of him?
Supportive people around you can begin a shift~ just a thought especially if you are planning to stay.
For my journey.. it was good early on (with my h) that he knew I had no issue bringing ‘our issues’ to our church leaders.
And I did! It began a process. I had a few on speed dial~ my h knew it too and knew I was done reasoning with someone unreasonable.
But I’m not sure where your at with that place of action and only you know if there is a ‘real safety’ issue or an assumed one that he is using to control you.
If there is a real safety one you still have options and a path.
Sending hugs to you virtually sweet Sandra Lee
Dear Aly & Robin:
Thank you for your loving support. It blesses my heart to know others who can relate because they have dealt with these issues as well.
I have thought about sharing with our pastor, but don’t think so soon, and will pray and trust the Lord’s leading. I have told my new doctor, however (both dear women), and she prescribed a mild tranquilizer and recommended a support group (which I plan to contact).
He keeps pressing me for sex and resents the time I spend on my laptop (same as in the past). Note: He has been impotent for years — so what’s the point?! Plus we’re divorced and I wouldn’t submit unless in a loving marriage.
God is in control of my life and I trust His love & care one day at a time.
In His love & prayers for all of you,
Sandra, it’s so good to hear from you; you’ve been on my mind a lot. I’m glad u talked to your doctor instead of your Pastor. And that she at least understands your circumstances. As I’ve prayed for you Sandra, I pray God will be your center and He will fill you with so much strength – that even your husband will wonder where your strength and joy come from. I’m here for you Sandra; if u need anything just let us know. So good to hear from you💜💜💗💗❤❤
Dear Aly & Robin:
Words cannot express how I love & appreciate your lovely notes to me. Thank you SO much for your thoughts & prayers for me. I wish I could reach out and hug you!
This morning, after much prompting from me and our daughters, we went to an attorney to have our wills redrawn, and he granted me life-lease of his townhouse. It gives us all peace of mind (even him, I think). So I believe the Lord is in control, and I repeat this each new day (Romans 8:28)
In Jesus’ love,
Sandra Lee XXOO
I’m glad for you and thankful that we can have a place to encourage one another~ I would hug you too!
Praying for peace and safety for you Sandra Lee!
Thank you, dear Robin & Aly, and all of my dear Sisters and Leslie for bringing us all together. God bless you all with His unconditional love.
If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. 1John 4:12
Love & prayers,
Sandra Lee XO
Dear Sandra Lee,
I just wanted to rejoice with you at the changing of the will, and that you are now provided for, giving you and your family peace of mind in that way. May the Lord continue to bless you, strengthen you, establish and restore you, dear sister. (1Peter5:10)
Thank you for your update. I’m so sorry for your situation. Have you been able to find a support group?
Here is my prayer for you:
Dear Lord, please provide peace in Sandra’s heart. Give her wisdom and freedom as she navigates her days. Bring those around her to love on her and share in her grief with her. Shine your light on your promises, that will heal and will also give rest for her heart❤️
In Jesus’s name I prayerfully petition these things.
Sandra Lee, hope to stay in touch on here;)
Hugs for you!🌸
Sandra Lee, I’m a bit confused as to why you reconciled if he has not repented of his abuse, is not a Christian, etc. Was it simply because of a nicer place to live? Or to please your kids and have a semblance of a family? Did he woo you back with pretended changed behavior? You went to the extent of going through with a divorce, and now you are living together? Did you remarry?
Sorry, just confused and trying to understand the practicalities and motivations that made you want to live with an abusive man again after getting out.
TL: I never thought I could reconcile, but after three years, when he had moved back near my daughters, they said he had changed and not so negative, attending church and helping others, etc. I agreed to attend Thanksgiving dinner with him and my daughters and their mates and two grandsons. He appeared to be frail and subdued, and begged me to return, saying we’d forget the past and live for the future. My daughters took me to see his townhouse which is located in a lovely setting (apple orchard all around and a mountain view, and the house itself very nice as well. I was living in a subsidized apartment that I disliked, plus struggling to make ends meet, and an hour away from daughters. The townhouse seemed the lesser of the evils, and I decided to give it a try. He’s 81 & I’m 77, so maybe it won’t be long-term?
Sandra, it’s so good to receive an update on you. Please let us know what you need. I do understand your situation having to pick between the 2 evils. But please oh please do not accept any form of abuse. You are stronger now and can stand up as Leslie urges each of us to do, when we encounter destructive habits. If you need a support group we are always here for you Sandra. Thanks for letting us know how you are. I pray God reminds you He has chosen you to be His Beautifullt Loved Daughter. Never let anyone treat you in a way, that dishonors you!!! We Love you, Sandra!!!!!!
Thank you so much for your concern and kind words of love & support. I can’t express how much that comforts and encourages me. I know I’m a beloved child of the King as well, and that He is my true husband and will never leave me. I love and pray for you too and for Leslie and all our dear Sisters here.
Sandra, if you’d like to share how he is abusing perhaps some of us could share our experiences and how we dealt with what you’re experiencing. Sandra, I don’t want you to feel all alone and that you have no choices. 2 is better then one. Are your daughters able to help you??
Robin, he keeps asking why I didn’t “find someone else” while we were separated, and that I should look for one. He calls me “just a friend” now that I refuse sex. If I complain about anything, he’ll say, “Oh, you’re never happy, and treat outsiders nicer than me.” He doesn’t thank me for doing all the housework or for my cooking, etc., is jealous of other men, but is quick to admire other women — it just goes on & on. Our daughters are glad we’re back together, and he says they are so good to him, although they realize the VB I must deal with. He just came into the room to “give Ms. Anderson (my birth name) a muffin.” When he does anything kind, it usually is with sarcasism.
Sandra, when I was living where you are, I realized I needed a real strength and refuge from the Lord. With all that is in you, try not to focus on his abuse. But when the opportunity comes, sit down and have a conversation educating him in how it makes you feel when he treats you that way. I might say yes I could have picked someone else, but I chose you. Honor him where you can but be very honest and bold about what he needs to hear. Like I’d love to see our sexual relationship healthy again…… and here’s how you can work on changing it. Both of you are older- so I would bring that up. What can we work on in this season of life to make it the best we’ve known yet??
It’s not an easy path Sandra, but it’s doable if you will speak up for yourself and point him to the way of non destructive marriage.
Sandra Lee, thanks for responding. I can see that advanced age is a factor to consider…but I still feel concerned. Things were so bad that you divorced at an advanced age. You must suspect that it is highly unlikely that he has changed much…I mean; he begged you to give it another try, but has he ever acknowledged his abuse and asked your forgiveness? Shown signs of true sorrow, contrition or repentance?
Was your divorce settlement less than 50-50? How did he wind up in a nicer place than you?
Did you discuss the terms of the relationship before moving in? Expectations, mutual obligations and responsibilities? Does he have a will? Are you in it?
I know that’s a lot of questions! I do not want to make you feel hounded by them–please answer only what you wish to answer! I am only asking because I care–I feel concern for your welfare. Is your husband accountable to anyone for the way he treats you/talks to you? A counselor or pastor? Your daughters who urged the reconciliation?
Please be strong and take good care of yourself, Sandra Lee, by maintaining healthy boundaries regarding the abuse.
Thank you for sharing this vision:
“We are all here to help and be helped.”
I can wrap my heart and head around this premise and feel the freedom it offers also.
What a blessing.
In response to the question, “What if he changes?” I read this (paraphrased) comment in Lundy Bancroft’s book this morning which I have read over and over again. Regarding the changing man….He will stop trying to charm people and stop trying to convince them that he is the great, well put together guy. He will seek people he can not manipulate and confess to them how dishonest he has been with misrepresenting himself.
Sandra– I feel your pain. I am praying God will strengthen you and guide you in all your steps. I want you to know I understand why you reconciled; you were struggling and I remember your history. Sandra I went thru a similar thing. About 12 years ago I was working out of town and one night I didn’t go home. I went and stayed with a friend and it turned into a year. God supplied for me abundantly thru that time so I could relax and refresh . Then a year later my youngest daughter announced she was getting married. I had to do what was best for my daughter and I returned home. My husband was extremely bitter and violent. What the Lord gave me upon returning home was — He said, do ALL THINGS UNTO ME. It really was quite amazing. The husband raged and I became a light in my very dark home. All the children saw it, and I knew I had made the right choice for my family.
I have thought much about the difficult place you have as you grow older. I’m so sorry for you Sandra.
I want you to know we can offer you support just let us know what your needs are. Love u💜
I’m so very sorry for what you are experiencing! It breaks my heart that you are being treated with such uglyness.
I may have missed some posts,
I tried posting earlier and it didn’t go through the normal way it usually does.
You mentioned you had divorced him at one point and now how long has it been since you remarried~ and started over?
You mentioned the verbal abuse, was this the main reason why you divorced originally…
Do you feel that it would be ok to talk to your pastor or any support people at your church to expose what’s taking place?
It’s ok if you don’t want to answer, I just am very sad for you and would want you to be supported in the healthiest way possible.
Hugs and prayers for protection at this time💗
Hi Robin, I’m confused. Are you a different Robin than the one who wrote to Rose a few weeks ago saying that you were married for 30 years, had excellent counseling regarding abuse and have now been divorced, for over a year, and are healing, and happy? If you are the same person, then are you relating a decision that happened a long time ago and lasted for a season of time, but later things became intolerable?
TL- I don’t remember writing Rose recently but yes I was married 30 years and am now divorced and we have lived separately, 3 years.
I left my home about 10-12 yrs ago because his rageful looks he gave me every night as I walked past him in the den to my bedrm terrified me.
I stayed gone a year, but came home for my daughters wedding, not to allow the chaos of her dad ruin the wedding. He is no worse today then he was 12 years ago.
I stayed way too long and should have left after the wedding. But I was not healthy. I wanted my marriage to work. The only reason I endured so long- is I was going by what I had learned in church. ‘ You stay and be faithful’. When I entered into what I considered excellent counseling, I began the process of being healthy enough to endure all the abuse that would transpire in me leaving him and standing up in court and defining the abuse in my destructive home. This was a very long process.
Not to confuse you more but when I left the first time, I had a wonderful BIBICAL support group and church standing behind me to support and help strengthen me. As u likely know sometimes a woman has to prepare to leave. She has a process to walk thru. When I left the 2nd time I had already filed the divorce papers. And yes I am very happy but a better word for it – IS FREE!!
Thank you for explaining that to me Robin. I’m so glad you got solid, helpful counseling and all the support you needed to break free from such abuse!
Thank you TL.
My story is more complicated then just an abusive marriage. My parents were alcoholics, and there are abuse issues in my childhood. That’s why my healing took so long.
I’m so sorry Robin. That seems to be true of many of the other women here, too. It seemingly predisposes us. But the Lord is our compassionate healer. So glad you know and experience that.
One thing I’ve learned lately is that when someone spins and twists what you say and is defensive, that is a sign to you that you have come close to a stronghold in that person. Again, we don’t fight flesh and blood here, we are battling a stronghold, probably one that was ingrained in that person many years ago.
Speaking of which……I was talking with someone about how God shows love. (we were discussing the ‘Five Love Languages’ book) The one answer is that He gave His son, in other words, He gave His best to save and forgive us. I said, “But we have to accept that gift, repent and make restitution for our sins or it doesn’t do us any good.” The reply I got was, “So you are preaching a works religion, not grace, ’cause you say we have to do something, but it’s free.”
I’m thinking that if salvation required nothing, it would be like enabling and child to disobey, that’s how they become entitled. Not sure how to put that in words. Any thoughts?
Another way He shows His love is by keeping His promises.
Hope this helps… from what I have study and come to believe through scripture is that.. what we are receiving is the Justification of our sins through Jesus Christ’s crucifixion on the cross.
Only His sacrifice can cancel our sin debt.
Our faith is our belief in His works nothing of ourselves.
We could have never earned it through anything because sinners can’t justify themselves~ the sacrifice must be pure.
Sanctification is another definition and ongoing life long process because of ‘our reverence’ in Him.
Not because we owe Him anything, the debt was paid in full… but because His grace with an accurate view completely overwhelms our reverence to Him!
Sorry could have reworded better but picking up kids~
Interesting theological question, and some may hold differing perspectives. Happy to share mine, which is like Aly’s.
I think Eph. 2:8-9 says it well:
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.”
But also the whole book of Romans was written largely to combat the idea that our works establish our goodness/righteousness. The goodness/righteousness is given to us by grace, through faith in Christ…Planted like a seed that grows in our hearts and will result in good fruit and good works–or it’s not really there, we only say it is.
I was thinking the other day about the scene in Matt. 3 where John the Baptist rebukes the approaching Pharisees and Sadducees, calling them a “brood of vipers” and telling them to produce fruit in keeping with repentance. They were those who acted good on the outside, concerning themselves with appearances, while their hearts were far from God.
So if someone (like an abusive spouse) claims to have repented, we would be wise to have John the Baptist attitude: your words are not enough. Repentance can only happen by the Holy Spirit. I will wait to see the evidence: the seed planted will become a tree bearing fruit…and that takes time. We have to wait and see.
Writing this out is bringing me some clarity and grace: reinforcing the concept that we are not wrestling against flesh and blood, but principalities and powers. Since only the Holy Spirit can bring about conviction and repentance, I’ve no right to expect that my h. can produce it. I need to pray for the Holy Spirit to work, and wait and see if the fruit of repentance comes.
But it may never come. So I make my decisions for my life based on the reality of what is, even while praying and releasing h. to the Spirit’s work of grace. And trust that my increasingly healthy choices (non-enabling ones) will be better conditions for the Holy Spirit to work than my previously unhealthy choices.
Jesus and John the Baptist said, “Repent and be baptized”. In the days of the big revivals, there was a ‘mourner’s bench’ at the front of the church where ‘seekers’ would weep for a while before kneeling at the altar. I’m wondering if that is why we are having so much trouble in our relationships, because people get saved for a free ticket to heaven but they don’t really understand salvation. How can you accept Christ’s death for your sins if you really don’t even think you’re much of a sinner? It’s like giving a kidney to someone who doesn’t know or believe they were dying. Or someone winning a fortune when they don’t think they need it and don’t know they would be homeless without it. They then tend to waste it. Who cares?
I know that we are saved ‘unto’ good works, but grieving your sins is not a ‘work’, it’s conviction, and maybe we shouldn’t encourage people to come to Christ without that conviction. Then the teaching of ‘we are not under the law’ wouldn’t be used so much as a licence to sin.
Acts 2:37-38 says they were ‘cut to the heart’ and then Peter said ‘Repent and be baptized’. Just wondering why the church has cut out that ‘little’ detail of repentance.
I agree, Connie!
I see your view and agree.
Not all those that convert (via a revival etc) are authentic followers/ Disciples of Christ.
It’s very sad,
There has been lots of research done in recent years on the evangelical crusades of the 70’s &80’s and the percentage of those converts understanding Biblical Doctrine, Justification, salvation and sanctification.
Because what was being preached was heavy on conversion; and not repentance and salvation through Christ’s works’
I think what it comes down to is this….
“You must be born again.”
If you are born again, by the Spirit, you will be repentant. But repentance is a gift from the Spirit. You can’t force someone to repent (I guess all of us here should know that by now, right?! ) But, we can boldly speak the truth to someone and bluntly remind people there is a difference between merely apologizing with selfish motives and being truly repentant. And that we are not fooled and neither is God.
The truth that keeps me sane during this madness are that this is a spiritual battle and that God is sovereign. I always come back to remembering that my husband is literally blinded by the enemy. And, Connie, I think you are so right…..once you see that defensiveness and anger rise up, you are touching very close to home on a stronghold. The enemy is going to do all he can to keep that person in bondage and blinded, to deny, defense, minimize, etc. And we absolutely cannot fight that in the flesh.
Today – after some days of feeling very discouraged – I am again reminded by something I heard on the radio today and now by you, Connie, that this is a spiritual battle. All of our battles are.
It gives me an entirely different perspective and emboldens me again to pray and to gather courage for the future.
In John, Jesus said this when his disciples asked Him what workS they had to do, ” your work is this, to believe in The One The Lord sent.”
Believing and faith for me are the opening of our hearts to RECEIVE.
Receiving the work of The Lord Jesus ❤️
Yes, and ‘believe’ means to first recognize and believe that we are sinners. If someone offers you a million dollars, but you believe that your daddy’s counterfeit ten million is just fine, and it’s working for you to your satisfaction (you’re using it to control those around you and get what you want), then you might accept the one million if you are promised a mansion that your daddy didn’t give you……..but you wouldn’t access that one million real money until you need the mansion. So is that really believing, if you are not using it now? If you don’t believe you need it here on earth? Maybe those are the goats?
This may seem off topic, but so many women here have husbands who say they are ‘believers’ and I’m not so sure. If we recognize they are not, that would make a difference in how everyone approaches these situations, wouldn’t it? Especially how the rest of the church handles them.
“This may seem off topic, but so many women here have husbands who say they are ‘believers’ and I’m not so sure. If we recognize they are not, that would make a difference in how everyone approaches these situations, wouldn’t it? Especially how the rest of the church handles them.”
It is most definitely not off topic for me as this is THE topic I am dealing with in my marriage.
Growing up in what I now know as an alcoholic and narcissistic family system (father), I chose to marry as far from the appearance of evil as I could. My h was a professing Christian and spent his life going to church, private school and serving at a private school when he graduated college. It was at this private school where I met him. I was 28 and a born again Christian of 4 years. When someone said they were a “Christian”, I thought they meant born again. His family was the epitomy of “Christian”.
It wasn’t until years into the marriage that the veneer started peeling (or I started seeing) and the truth of the family system began to emerge. It seems I married nearly 360 degrees from my family system. 1 degree difference and it is nearly identical. The difference was in the “substances” used in husbands family to keep the truth at an eternities distance away.
In my family of origin, the tools used to maintain and support the disease (alcoholism, infidelity, narcissism) were:
In h family of origin, the tools used to maintain and support the disease (incest, narcissism, sexual abuse, family idolatry,) were:
The 1 degree (or element) different seems to be in the side by side comparison of:
Alcohol vs Religion
Seems both can be used and abused in POWERFUL ways to bind, blind and cunningly deceive the members of the family and larger community into believing what the leader wants others to believe.
I wish I had known “Religion” in the name of Christ could do as much or more damage than narcissism, alcoholism and sexual abuse. Indeed, it appears to me that in my h family, Religion was used to support and strengthen the diseases just mentioned in a POWERFUL manner.
Leslie has an article I will post regarding this phenomenon that is key in helping churches to identify and differentiate between the sheep and the wolf in sheeps clothing.
I am thankful my Shepherd has snatched me from both family systems and the wolves in sheeps clothing.
Thank you, Lori, for that. I think I will print it and save it in my journal, as well as Leslie’s post that you linked. This is so meaningful to me right now.
What a privilege to know we can be of meaningful help to those who are available to it.
For so many years (a lifetime), I have tried to be of meaningful help to my loved ones to see the disease….to no avail. My heart aches at the chasm between, but am grateful to have fellowship here.
Me too here!
What you wrote is exactly where some of my most difficult grief and traumas have occurred. When the circle of abuse gets larger it is no wonder why the person is thinking the problem is possibly them because they are speaking up. Again retraumtized rather than validated.
I’m thankful for this place of such caring sisters who can actually relate.
“When the circle of abuse gets larger it is no wonder why the person is thinking the problem is possibly them because they are speaking up. Again retraumtized rather than validated.”
Oh, Amen! Exactly! Retraumatized over and over again everytime we share a clear thought, or healthy opinion with a very organized system that wants nothing to do with light or truth. Not that I only attempted to share light and truth, but the system did not want it when I (or others) shared it.
My mother in law took her daughter to a christian pastor because she wanted him to cast out the demons that were bothering her. The story goes that the pastor told the mother she was the one who needed the prayer for demonic exorcism. The mother then grabbed her daughter and bolted all the while discrediting the pastor to her family and community.
I can’t tell you how many times my husband dragged me to christian pastors/counselors accusing me of needing the exorcism with the same result. They spoke to him about his need to change/repent. The story continues in this generation; husband bolted and discredited all the ministries who sought to hold him accountable.
Thats a lot of traumatizing of others in the name of keeping up the “appearance” of being a godly husband/mother etc.
These, I believe are the “false shepherds” spoken of in Ezekial whom rather than nurture and tend to those in their care, feed upon, consume and destroy Gods people.
God promises He will have His sheep back and I am eternally grateful to Him for keeping His promise.
Me too, Lori! So glad you were scooped up in love, out of that rotten system! You are a beautiful sister of the light, brightening all of our lives!
I totally agree. You have done an excellent job, as usual, at describing in writing, this idolatry of narcissism, family, and religion.
Have you read or listened to George K. Simon? Apparently he was a bit of a pioneer in identifying this. He wrote Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing a number of years ago. I’ve listened on YouTube to several talks/interviews with him. The one on Character Disturbsnce is very good, and so are others. He’s authored other relevant books and has a website/blog as well.
I keep forgetting to thank you for the Christine _____(I forget her last name!) link. It was very informative.
I hope you are doing well in your recovery, dear sister. 👭
Dear sister TL,
Thank you for the George Simon reference. I have not heard of him, but I bet you can guess that I am on it like white on rice now! Such an important life topic.
Christine Louis de Canonville.
I am guessing this to be normal, but recovery seems to be slow. After asking Christine how long it would take for me to not be thinking of my n husband upon waking up and going to sleep (and during most of the day), she said she guessed it would take a month for every year I was with him. I guess I am only half way there and that is just not to be thinking of him constantly. Phew…..
I think this will take some time but I am committed to it for myself, my God and my children. I am seeing some benefits to others here as well and that is greatly encouraging. Perhaps it was not all wasted.
Staying engaged here I think is important for me.
Connie and Lori,
Patrick Doyle talks about that he never believes people who feel the need to tell him they are a Christian. His response is…”Maybe. I’ll watch and see. Your life will show it if you are” And if that person does not experience repentance on a regular basis, the claim is suspect. If you can sin habitually, and not be filled with sorrow, contrition and repentance, there is no evidence that the Holy Spirit is living in you.
I totally agree, Connie. Receiving the work of Christ (or believing) requires the conviction that I am a sinner, in the first place.
And yes, this ( conviction) is a work of the Spirit of Truth.
And like T.L. said to you and Lori, I also really like what P.Doyle says about professing Christians. He talks about how the two evidences of the Holy Spirit are : 1) conviction and 2) comfort. If he doesn’t see those two things in behaviour, he doesn’t believe their claim.
So again, it’s about behaviour over time, not words or an Oscar worthy performance.
Connie, I think there are a LOT of people who claim to be Christians that we are going to find out one day aren’t…..the way *is* narrow.
I remember telling church members from my childhood church that I had been born again as a young(er) adult – I was so full of joy and couldn’t wait to share with these adults who had watched me grow up – and I remember the stunned looks of some (and it was not stunned like “Oh, I thought you were already”….but looks of not being able to relate….) I think I realized extremely early into my walk with Christ that there are many who claim His name who don’t seem to be able to relate on a spiritual level at all.
I was talking to a good friend today. The more I think about all of this, the more grateful it makes me for my salvation. I really (sadly) do take my salvation for granted wayyyy too much. But, somehow, walking through this makes me realize how wonderful it is to be in the light and how sad for those who aren’t. And, I do know it is only by God’s grace I’m here.
To the ladies who have been enjoying the ‘small group experience’ on the blog, ministering to one another and receiving healing and connection ; I might have a solution for your need. I over the years, have many some very close-knit relationships where we wanted more. So we started email relationships where we could have that level of relationship- and yet still come to this blog regularly to be in connection with the larger group here. It has worked really well for me, and given me new intimate girlfriends who understand my pain, without causing any burden on the blog in becoming exclusive. I loved Leslie’s words to us all and she spoke right into my heart to be mindful for what is best for the larger part of this blog. May we all keep loving one another thru our differences and receive from one another.
I’m coming into this thread really late and I’m also new to posting here so I might have missed the window for advice and if so that’s ok. Just getting it off of my chest will be a relief. The question asked was “What if he does change” and I had hoped to get my question answered because that is where I am living right now but it seems this is referring to someone with narcissistic personality disorder. What about the spouse that does not have that and genuinely changes? For 20 years (my 20th anniversary was probably the saddest day of my life) I put up with being blocked in a closet, bathroom, bedroom, so we could “talk” if I dared
to verbally disagree or show my disagreement by my actions. I would tell him how this scared me and he would act like I was stupid for being scared of him. Name calling, belittling how I would feel, you name it. A month after our 20th anniversary I discovered Leslie Vernick and turned to friends I trusted for help. Since my husband is a pastor it complicated things greatly to find out that I was in an abusive marriage, not just a difficult one. For the first time ever I made it clear to him that I would start over no matter the consequences if that is what I had to do to get peace. He apologized and over the next few months kept apologizing. I was wary but it’s been almost 12 months and he is very different from the person I married. He is seeking counseling (without my telling him to) and he tries very hard to show his love and hasn’t been abusive in any way in a very long time. Here is my problem. First, I feel like I stuffed everything so far down inside that I was numb. Now that he isn’t treating me poorly it’s almost like I have PTSD or something as events from the last two decades resurface. And at random times. The other day he walked in the bedroom to get dressed and closed the door and I literally had a panic attack and couldn’t breathe. All he did was came in the room and wasn’t in any way mistreating me but he was standing in front of the door and I felt trapped. I truly feel I have forgiven him but sometimes I just want him to go away so I can heal. But I feel bad for wanting that because he HAS changed and is daily trying to grow and change. I just feel sad because I don’t know if I can ever love him like a wife should love her husband and I also feel guilty for not knowing if I can. I’m just in turmoil and I don’t know what to do.
Brooke, Has your husband told peers, friends and family that he has been an abusive man? That confession is key to change. He needs to stop showing how sweet and charming he is and confess his past behaviors and reveals his selfish motives. He can be sweet for a long time, often because he can’t face the ugly fact that he could really be an abuser. Does he give you the freedom to speak to people about his abuse and does he support you saying “Yes, I have been abusive and this is what I did to my wife.” Please read Lundy Bancroft’s book, “Why does he do that.” There is a section in the book that will have you realize whether or not he has changed. Also, Brooke, Yes you are experiencing PTSD or PTSS. That would be the most normal behavior any person would have in your circumstance.
Brooke I’m so sorry for wat your navigating through. That would feel so lonely, I’m glad your reaching out to be heard and seen here. You are!!
There are so many wise loving sisters in Christ who can relate to what you are walking in each day.
I read your original post and had some questions if that’s ok? You mentioned that after 20 years your h has made the switch to ‘changing’
I would be interested in understanding ‘what changes’ you are seeing exactly and what measure or interventions were taken to bring insight into his very destructive behaviors against you. (I’m assuming they went on for some time or at least were repeated through conflict)
The blocking you and intimidations & other behaviors you mentioned (which are so sad…and to me are traumas) they are completely unacceptable!
I have not personally experienced this form of abuse but it makes sense why you are, where you are to me.
Did you give requirements for your h to get help? Or did he wake up and get sick of his own behavior?
Free~ I so agree with what you wrote to Brooke that I can be an actual spokeswomen here for this exact situation ~ it’s true the authentic change can be seen as the h admits, gets help, and especially can tell friends and family other peers of the abuse face to face. Not only is it essential for healing but part of the confession involves ‘what the abuse has cost everyone involved’ mainly yes the wife, but there are many affected throughout and years that go along with that cost.
Will pray for you Brooke, I hope you are finding a healthy supportive place where you can heal and see how the Lord works through many vessels💜
You asked has he told peers, etc of his abuse. That’s hard to answer. A year ago he preached on anger to the church and told the church how I had made him realize that his anger was destroying him and everyone around him. I don’t know how to explain it but I had threatened divorce right before this change occurred and him telling everyone was almost, it felt, like his way of beating me to it. I don’t know if that makes sense. As far as abuse, though, he won’t use that word. I have been following a facebook page called emotional abuse survivor and shared something from it and he got really upset and said he wondered what everyone in the church thought that I had “liked” that page. And how it hurt him. Also I have a younger friend that I have helped leave an abusive situation and he knows I have helped her and the other day he made a comment that he thinks everything I am telling her to do (to leave…which I really am not doing, I am only giving her her options) is how I really feel about him and that I wish I wasn’t with him. Our daughter was one room away and heard the whole thing and I knew she did so I changed the subject. So he doesn’t “mistreat” me now and has his anger under control and doesn’t yell, break things, etc. etc, I still feel like he doesn’t “get it” and like he thinks I should just be fine now. He even commented the other day when I said something about him blocking the door (and he wasn’t doing it in anger, he was just standing there but it triggered old feelings) he commented that he hadn’t done that in a whole year and I keep bringing up the past when he has changed. Sorry…this is a long response to your question.
Now that you have caught him in this abusive tactic. I would education myself about the other known abusive tactics and expect to experience them in the near future. Are you familiar with the domestic violence power and control wheel? It lists the commonly used descriptions of domestic violence ie: Financial, spiritual, sexual, physical, isolation etc. In the state I live in, blocking an exit is considered a crime of domestic violence.
Sorry…I answered you in the wrong place down below another comment….
I just want to add my support to Free and Aly’s. They have brought up great points and questions.
I am praying for you 🌷
Thanks so much! I’ll hop on here in the next day or so to answer questions asked and hopefully get more feedback from what I can tell is an amazing group. I have a work deadline this week and have had to basically stuff this down a bit in order to focus on the job at hand but I also wanted a few days to think on how to answer some of the questions. I’ve lied to myself for too many years and am trying to be truthful in seeing things as they really are if that makes sense.
I am also married to someone in ministry, and so I know the complication that makes.
Aly and Free have asked excellent questions. I thought of a few more that might be helpful:’
1. Do you think your husband has experienced/is experiencing change on the heart level? Or that he is only “cleaning up his act” in the outside so you won’t leave and ruin his ministry? I’m not disparaging external change. If someone truly wants to change, changing behaviors can help to change a heart. Leslie has talked about this. On the other hand, most abusive men are very manipulative, and will do whatever it takes to get what they want. What does “your gut” tell you about your h.’s changes?
2. Besides changing his behavior (which would be helpful to describe, as Aly suggested) do you sense changed attitudes toward you? Has your husband begun to truly care for and be considerate of you?
3. Are YOU in counseling? You have been deeply traumatized, and you need to work through your feelings regarding his abuse of you?
It is normal and expected that given the trauma, you need LOTS of time to heal. Is your husband tender-hearted toward you regarding this fact? (This will help you determine true change.) He should be saying things like, “Whatever you need. Do you need time alone? Away? I understand your need for recovery space and time.”
Brooke, the Lord wants you to understand that you are precious and loved and your feelings matter. He sees you and hears you, and so do we. You matter. You are valued. He wants you to pay attention to what your heart needs and to take care of yourself well, for Him. No “pressing on” without time out for healing and recovery! If you were a burn victim, sustaining serious burns, you would need to take time out to heal. Same with emotional burns, dear sister. It’s normal, healthy, and right.
I found that separating from my husband for many months let me begin to heal, and I began to have some glimmers of love for him again. I am still only able to love him “from a distance” and am still waiting for the kind of change I need to see to know there is emotional safety with him. If I don’t see it, I will remain separated. He had a choice, and I can be patient, with proper boundaries.
Prayers for you.
Thank you for your response earlier. I love that we can respond in this forum where there is freedom to press pause, quickly reply, or take time to process thoughts and questions. So my response here is similar… take you time and no worries in responding~ these types of areas in our life take time to ponder and sort through.
I agree with T.L. here too as so many of us can relate to what your experiencing.
Here was your question;
“God has been working on him and doing what I thought was impossible and now I feel guilty because I can’t love him and I feel hurt wondering if I will ever be able to know what real love feels like. I guess my question is how to I handle it even when he isn’t a narcissist and the change does seem real.”
Such good thoughts and feelings here Brooke, you mentioned that not feeling love and I get that. I think it can be helpful to define love and define trust.
You have had 2 decades of non-trusting destructive behavior in your marriage which will bring traumas and cause a healthy response to ‘not trust’. A marriage was designed to be the most sacred safe relationship between two humans. You have not been able to experience safety.
Trust is earned and usually trust to be earned requires consistent behavior over a long period of time.
In regards to the Narc. Issue, for me it was vital to understand tha a person, spouse or friend etc doesn’t have to check off all the narc boxes for the (same type of wounding) to take place.
Any one of us here can still be dealing with the ‘effects and symptoms’ of narc wounding without that person being a diagnosed narc.
I think one place that maybe you have already gone is to evaluate this change and ‘get curious’.
It’s important you get what space you need to begin to process all that has gone on, doing this with a therapist would be most beneficial given the traumas you have described. By the way they are NOT your fault..
But the signals are telling you something here.
As my h began his journey of changing it was important to myself but mainly to him that he could get to the motivation/wound of his harming reactions, and also be able to get a full understanding of the impact and all what the behaviors stole from our marriage. ( I say this in a condensed form, but this is far from easy, it’s a ton of work and a ton of grief too) it’s doesn’t stop there, because what is given light to and taken out… ‘must be filled back up with good things’ of Him and His ways to grow and change character ~ this is the fruit/ the aroma! This is where the healing can begin to get traction I believe and trust can begin again.
Thankfully the Lord is the equipping mechanism here to strengthen and guide us to learning how to love.
I will pray for your heart, you are braver than you can see right now, but soon you will!
Much love and hugs 💗
I feel like he is truly trying to change but at the same time I feel like he doesn’t get that I can’t just “get over it” and move on. He told me the other day he needed an answer one way or the other because he couldn’t go on like this and that it wasn’t fair that I am “keeping a record of wrongs” and can’t just forgive him. While I do see genuine change in his anger and rants and throwing things, etc (he hasn’t done any of that in a year) I still catch him lying (about seemingly insignificant stuff) and I can’t trust him. But I don’t know how to tell him this or to tell him I need space to heal. I can’t bring myself to be intimate in any way with him and I want him to just stop trying. I feel lost and hopeless and don’t think I should be feeling this way when he has made giant strides in improving. My kids even see the changes so its not my imagination. His anger and belittling comments had become unbearable for all of us and now the kids don’t flee to their rooms when he walks in and they have even told me they can tell he is different.
You have received some really good but sometimes difficult to hear responses. I agree with ‘Connie’s reply’ about the keeping records of wrongs. … in that it’s very very common with theses ‘mindsets’ to pour false shame and twist responsibility upon the one injured rather than the one responsible for that in the first place.
Dear Brooke…I just want you also to know for your heart…. that your posts are not long and many women hear understand deeply the wounding that is done to one being silenced in murky ways. I was silenced for many years (not even knowing it) my h would have never thrown or broke something. But he knew how to dismiss my heart as most abusive people do like second nature. Sure there are going to be differences in all our stories, but there are going to be some strong Constants of howvthey ‘reason and justify’ that these loved ones carry. Some can get better, and some refuse to look at sinful behavior.
“I feel lost and hopeless and don’t think I should be feeling this way when he has made giant strides in improving. ”
I’m so sorry for what you have endured and now even more pressure and confusion. I think the way you are feeling makes a lot of sense to me as you have written certain aspects of your dynamic with your h. These are warning signs and they will cause you to evaluate.
📍I will post a couple articles by Lundy Bancroft; on if he’s really serious about change.
Please keep them if you can to remind yourself of what the behavior should resemble.
My heart is tender for you because you are at a very PIVITOL place in your dynamic and the hope of making a jump for healing and authentic reconciliation. Your requirements will be a key factor in the health of your future marriage. This doesn’t mean you have any power of your h, you don’t it’s about standards of respect and requirements for recovery.
Abuse is about power and ‘self’ and taking from another.
I say pivotal above, because how you choose to move forward will impact the road you both get on. It’s going to be temping to listen to your h reasoning skills and want to make things simple….
If you want a healthy healed marriage, it takes some specific difficult steps, otherwise you may find yourself on a different road (without the physical abuse) but not a healthy and recovering marriage, of which your children will be passed the baton to deal with in there own relationships.
I believe you have the strength of Christ within you and the willingness to not try to do this on your own is key. There is a lot of support and caring on this sight that I believe a God is using as such a resource for our hearts!
Your husband’s responses to you caused a reaction in me because I can understand why it’s scary for you to confront these things. (When the water is still) He doesn’t want to discuss the impact of his ‘past’ extreme behavior the residuals especially and that is again an emotional place of abuse against you!
His past extreme behavior yes it’s extreme to be throwing things and acting out like he did for so many years in attempt to control and create fear in you.
The mention of him lying about small things is also abuse~
Let me explain why.., because that can sound harsh.. but it’s not.
When someone who lies to you about even small things … doesn’t care how that lie will affect ‘you’ they care only about themselves.
They have the power and responsibility in the relationship to tell the truth and then they choose to ‘misuse’ or abuse that responsibility of being trustworthy.
I’ll post those articles separately so they are easy to grab.
Sending you a hug and I believe that the feelings you are having are exactly what I would think ‘is healthy’ so you can get to a safe place of healing.
Brooke, any many others here,
Here’s article part 1:
My husband tried to pressure me to “forgive and forget” too. But that is not biblical or reasonable. As Leslie says, only God can forget sin–and only at the appropriate time. Zaccheus did the appropriate thing when he repented of his wrongdoing that harmed others: he made multiplied restitution.
It sounds quite clear that your husband is only sorry that he behaved badly because of himself–not because he hurt you. He has modified his outward behavior to get what he wants: to keep an intact marriage. It does not sound like he has had deep, true, lasting heart change. He cares about himself, not you. For example: he is more concerned about his discomfort in being “reminded” of his failure than he is about your heart and your pain and your need for time and healing. His posture should be, “Gosh, I abused and hurt you. What can I do to reassure you, help you heal, help you feel safe?” Why isn’t he saying things like that, Brooke?
I asked if you were in counseling because you need healing and you need support in becoming stronger. You need to learn to stand up for yourself in a godly way and not listen to your husband’s words that are trying to wear you down. I like how Aly said:
“Your requirements will be a key factor in the health of your future marriage. This doesn’t mean you have any power of your h, you don’t it’s about standards of respect and requirements for recovery.”
Brooke: YOU MATTER! Your pain and need for healing matter. You need space and time and support. It took me a long time to reach the place where I realized that my husband remaining in ministry was like a drug for him; an idol: he was using God to hide from God. And I could no longer stand by and pretend and be a hypocrite along with him. God deserves better, I deserve better, he deserves better, our children deserve better, and the church deserves better.
Aly also said:
“Abuse is about power and ‘self’ and taking from another…how you choose to move forward will impact the road you both get on. It’s going to be temping to listen to your h reasoning skills and want to make things simple….”
Guard your heart, Brooke. Please don’t listen to the words of a narcissistic, abusive, foolish man. It’s ok to say, “I’m sorry; I feel like you are pressuring and bullying me with your words. That’s not going to work for me. I am leaving this conversation. If you would like to talk more, it will be with a counselor present.”
Those are the kinds of things I had to start doing. And I began to talk to key people about what was happening… who can you talk to, Brooke, that might hold him accountable?
Here is Leslie’s terrific video on Building Your Core Strength:
And How Do You Know When Someone is Truly Sorry:
I can’t remember if we already mentioned Patrick Doyle’s many helpful videos to you, but here are 2 good ones. There are many more! He’s a pastor, too.
Praying for you. I understand.
Brooke, that bit about ‘keeping a record of wrongs’ gets used so much by these guys. My 1st h held that over me when he saw me writing in my journal. Actually, only one translation of the Bible that I know of uses that phrase (NIV I think), the others say, ‘love doesn’t hold a grudge’ or ‘resentment’. Huge difference. Heck, if it was a sin to keep a record of wrongs, we should not have a Bible, right? It’s one big fat record or wrongs.
Yes, outward change, changing by willpower instead of God-power, can be very confusing. It brings a sort of relief in some ways yet feels somehow creepy in other ways, and makes it even harder to know what to do. That’s why we have the Holy Spirit to guide us, and the wisdom of good counsel, emphasis on the ‘good’. We can sense that the pride has not been dealt with. I just read in a novel, “Jesus’ yoke does not fit well on a stiff neck”.
Hi Connie, your response was amazing.. word for word as a underwriter. My spirit leaped and I got confirmation. I hate the crazy making and I’m so amazed how God is leading me continually out from the desert, to the milk and HONEY as I gain my skills. I pray for everyone on here to have a deep filling of the Holy Spirit, may all blindness come off and truth be louder and clearer to any lie.. may chains be broken and deliverance be loosed in our souls. In the mighty name of jesus amen!!
Here is the second of the 2 articles on men who are serious about change by Lundy Bancroft.
I think the bargaining might resonate with what you are feeling your h is doing~
I’ll send the other part one too. They are both very good articles to keep onhand and reread as you discern any authentic change or not.
Thanks T.L for speaking from the trenches too. My heart goes out to all of you but especially pastors’ wives who are often so very isolated.
Sandra, I’m sure u feel quite relieved for knowing u will have a home in the future. So happy for you. Thank you Lord for your provision for Sandra.
I need help. Again. I am so very, very weary and run down. Today I ended up in the ER with what I thought was a stroke. Turns out it was stress related. Is there a way I could get some feedback off of this loop? Maybe from some of you that have replied to my previous post? I am in a desperate place. I don’t know how to go about that since emails aren’t listed and I’m certainly not comfortable listing mine publicly for everyone in the world to see…. :Anyway, for now I guess just please, please pray.
I hear you and am praying for you.
Leslie talks about the first two things an abused woman needs: safety and sanity. You are the one and only judge that can say what you need to feel safe. It sounds like you are not feeling either, and your body is screaming at you to take care of yourself. Can you go somewhere, get away for awhile to rest?
It’s good that your husband is changing. But a consequence of his very abusive, horrific behavior is the cumulative effect on you. You have been beaten down and repetitively traumatized. The effects are long lasting and you need to heal.
You can create a fake email account and ask us by name to email you there. I’m also a patrons wife, just a bit ahead of you on the road to freedom, I think. I’d be happy to email with you and I know some others would too.
Meanwhile, I am praying!!
What if he started to attend church regularly, listening to Christian music and many sermons. He gained love for God. His agression and name calling are getting very rare. He asked for forgiveness infront of his father for that. He realized that this was his bad part of our marriage. But for some reason I still don’t trust him and afraid he will become spiritually abusive, as he already did. I just set a boundary not to talk about anything from the Bible with me. I’m concerned about some things he is telling our 3 year old son (God can punish for disobedience). He still doesn’t understand fully why I left and isn’t interested of knowing why. I came to realize that he is completely oblivious to his narcissism or abuse. My question is, can he change if he listens “enough” to sermon, prayes and reads bible (I’m not sure how much he does of the last two but I believe he does it and that he is a born again) I left him 2 & half years ago. And opened myself for hope and reconciliation several times and buried it every time, which made me completely shut down towards him and I don’t want to reopen the coffin again. For some reason the possibility of him changing puts me off, makes me depressed and I prefer to die, which makes me feel so guilty infront of God and everyone else. But I am still willing to be reopened by God for this marriage, if he can change. I can’t do it by myself anymore
I didn’t realize my full name will be visible. Is it possible to change it please?
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