A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

A Woman in the Mirror: A Survivor Story

The following account is an excerpt from the decades of an abusive marriage this lady endured.  We greatly appreciate her opening up her story for all of us:

We were in love, or so I thought he loved me. I now realize that he truly didn’t love me, even at the beginning. I did love him, deeply. My blinders are off and I can truly look through those veils that hide decades of abuse that might be lost in time if I couldn’t see with the clarity that I do now.

Before we married, he said some hurtful things to me which should have raised those red flags. Not a constant barrage of abuse, but a few seemingly precisely chosen remarks.

A few months into our marriage, his mother asked me how it was with him…how he behaved. I was surprised thought her question strange because she really didn’t seem to especially care about me, even though I did try very hard to get along with her and please her. I replied that we were happy. Her question revealed a thought at the time though. I started wondering why we were arguing so much and so soon after marriage. His parents didn’t get along…arguing and mean spiritedness between them.

Our first wedding anniversary arrived, and I was looking forward to a celebration dinner at a restaurant. He was still my sweetheart and I adored him. This first anniversary was a very important and special day for us and I thought he felt the same. We had a disagreement that day. I don’t recall what it was about but it was not especially extreme. Before starting to get ready for dinner, I noticed him outside still mowing then lawn. When I asked him why he wasn’t getting ready, he remarked that we were not going out because of the argument. That was his final decision on the matter. I was stunned and heartbroken.

About 18 months went by, and I often felt ignored. He lived in his own little world and I felt excluded; nevertheless I showered him with love and affection, did what I could to have him feel cared for and special. I guess I kept swallowing the pain and couldn’t bear it any longer, because one night I asked him why he gave me so little affection. I was starving for it. We made love virtually every night for over two years and yet I felt unloved. That night I persisted in wanting to communicate with him and asked him why he was not affectionate with me. His answer came in the form of a beating, and hard, on the face, repeatedly. I think he used his fists. We were in bed. I quietly wept myself to sleep.

Awakening next morning, I was not expecting what I was to see in the mirror. A woman I did’t recognize stared back at me. My face horribly swollen and bruised, my eyes blackened. I saw scratches on my arms and blood. I don’t know how I pretended everything was all right and fixed breakfast for him as usual.

Days, months and years went by and we didn’t discuss the incident. I didn’t tell anyone. It was like it never happened.

63 Comments

  1. jodi

    This story broke my heart.

    • Katy

      me too. So horrific. :(

    • Barnabasintraining

      Me too. That is incredibly sad. :(

      I can’t wrap my mind around it.

  2. Bethany

    I am So Very sorry you had to go through this! I know what its like to pretend the physical attack never happened. I am so, so sorry…

  3. MeganC

    I have no words. I am angry on your behalf. All I can say is that he probably thought he got away with it but he did not. God does not take kindly to His precious children being beaten. I am so sad for what you went through. Sad and angry.

  4. Dear author of this post – when I first read your story I was speechless but emotion-filled. It is SO poignant. I know that thing of never talking about the episode of violence. It is uncanny, waking up the next morning and being in the kitchen with the man who hit you last night, and neither of you saying anything about it.

    No wonder I can’t recall many of the incidents of violence very well. I blocked them out of my mind so quickly, in order to survive.

    He sounds like an abuser who was master of the payback. But then, maybe all abusers are!

    I hope you can sleep in bed now without fear.

    Thank you for sharing your story, And if not many readers make comments here, I think it will only be because they are moved beyond words.

    • Barnabasintraining

      And if not many readers make comments here, I think it will only be because they are moved beyond words.

      I would agree with this. What I said before about it being sad is really a one dimensional reduction of what my feelings are, because there aren’t really words for it.

      I’m glad you said this, Barbara.

  5. Bethany

    I know I commented earlier but I can’t get your story out of my head. It resonates with me so much…I am praying that you are safe and no longer have to be brutalized by that monster. I have never met you dear sister but I love you so much!

    • Bethany, we know this survivor is no longer with her abuser. When I wrote ‘I hope she can sleep without fear’, I was referring to her PTSD, not to the fact that she is currently with the abuser.

      • Bethany

        Thank you for the update Barbara :) I will be praying for her restful sleep. Lord knows I understand that one too :)

  6. Katy

    I am really floored by the guys who are willing to beat you in the face, because that kind of battering isn’t something you can hide from others. A lot of abusers avoid making your face a mess because they don’t want to be exposed. But the ones who are willing to do this must not fear the police or anything ? This is soo soul crushing. :(

    • Well my MIW was physically violent but once he realized that may make him look bad or that he could actually go to jail for it….he remained physically abusive throughout, BUT it was more strategic, like a cut could be blamed on something else, the bruises on my arms were always from him RESTRAINING me, the bruises on my back were of course from ME falling not being pushed, getting kicked in the crotch, finger poked in the chest…of course i would not speak up about that!!!! He applied the pressure just enough physically that the threat was always there BUT he had a neat and tidy way out of explaining it. ……his biggest victory was the “”He said, she said” routine most people love to apply to these situations…he would threaten to slit my throat at night, I could feel the cold blade against my back. He would threaten to kidnap my children, he would tell me he wish I were dead while lying on top of me restraining my arms, he would spit in my face *did not matter if I was pregnant or not. He would grope me in public, expose himself and expect me to like it. He loved pulling hair cuz it hurts alot and does not leave a bruise, he would choke me just enough to make me think he was going to kill me then he would stop.. Even with all that said, the mental abuse of it all is what REALLY terrorized me, I stop caring if he hurt me, as long as he did not touch my children….he only went for them to draw me in to a confrontation so he could push me around and start an arguement because he KNEW I would step in to stop him. My fantasies of his death gave me hope, i hate to say that but it was all I had during this time.

      I understand every aspect of the woman in the mirror. Tears just fall, I think they are angry tears, and broken hearted tears. Geez I think if I had this blog during that time it may have just as well saved me from so much despair, to face all that alone and to have to remain quiet about the misery, despair and pain? Geesh? There are just so many amazing spirits on this blog….a little bit of my faith is restored every time I come here.

      • If im honest, i will say I still fantasize that he would just end existing. All I want in my life is for my kids and I to live free of him. That in our little world abuse would just no longer exist.

      • Memphis, you are not the only one who has fantasized their abuser dying, or not existing.

        Sadly, that fantasy can be close first cousin to the fantasy that one is dead oneself.

        I don’t know for sure, of course, but I imagine that some of the victims who end up killing their abusers have been fantasizing their abuser’s death for some time.

        I understand the fantasy that the abuser doesn’t exist. I think it’s a very creative way of trying to cope with the intolerable pain – visualising a life of safety and freedom from fear. I knew one woman who had a vivid imaginary life of herself and her kids without the abuser. She could pick it up and put it away whenever she chose to, like an alternate reality.

      • Katy

        memphis that just sickens me. All the fear.. I too fantasized almost every day that he would die in a car wreck, because I thought there was no way out and that we were trapped forever.
        Has JeffC written anything on the subject of “praying for our enemies” and how that is supposed to work? :) (I assume praying that they die early is not what the scriptures meant)

  7. Pippa

    This is too familiar from the early days. But, I guess fortunately like Barb my memory for those times is incomplete.. I am so sad for you, WITM-and for all of us–but glad that we are all more free, at least to some degree. WITM, would it be possible, not too painful, to list some of the pointed comments early on that should have been red flags? I truly feel that one of the important things we can do for young sisters is make the red flags more visible.

    • Barnabasintraining

      I agree, Pippa.

      On a sort of side note, but related; one criticism I have of the church is how they discourage listening to your gut. How many victims are victims because they talked themselves out of listening to their gut because they thought they were being judgmental or that they can’t trust their feelings (Remember James Dobson’s Emotions, Can You Trust Them)? I know that was an issue for me for a long time. I let a lot of people get away with a lot of things because I didn’t listen to my gut, and if I did, I felt guilty and rebellious for being judgmental.

      A discussion of red flags would be very good to combat this kind of thing and give people the validation to listen to their guts again.

      As an antidote to Dobson, I recommend Gavin DeBecker’s The Gift of Fear. He talks a lot about gut feelings and says that when you are afraid or uneasy, it is for a reason. I found it to be a very good book, and got even more from it reading it a second time since learning about how abusers operate.

      • Jeff Crippen

        BIT – I commend that book by DeBecker too. There are numbers of secular books that we recommend that, frankly, need to be a basic diet for every single Christian. I would include them in any “basic discipleship” training. That, of course, would be totally rejected by many conservative churches. But that thinking of “me and my Bible” is something we have critiqued elsewhere. God is revealed to us in general revelation: the heavens declare the glory of God. God is shown to be the Creator by the creation (Romans 1). Books by authors like DeBecker, Bancroft, George Simon, and others are merely the result of the science of psychology studying God’s chief creation gone wrong – man. We are very deprived and foolish if we reject what such people have to say. Thanks BIT.

      • Barnabasintraining

        Interestingly, there is a comment by “Debra Baker” at a Wartburg article on Larry Tomczack re: the SGM lawsuit (no link due to mega-triggers. It’s at Wartburg Watch, dated Friday January 18. Read at your own risk.) that references what I’m talking about. She says:

        I have had to go to the older kids and apologize for listening to these false teachers going against the instincts God wove into my heart because we were taught not to trust our instincts because our hearts were sinful and wicked.

        She’s talking about how parents were taught to raise their children in SGM but the part about being taught to go against their instincts is what I mean.

        I could say a lot about this but I won’t. I will defer to Christ who said, “If you being evil know how to give good gifts to your children…”

      • MeganC

        BIT — Thank you for this. And thank you for the book recommendation. I am adding it to my lengthy list!

        It was eye-opening for me when I read that God has given me a “sound mind” or “good judgement” (2 Tim. 1:7). A few years ago, I was near-convinced that I was crazy (by my ex) . . . and compounding this was the church telling me not to trust my instincts or emotions. I REALLY let that verse sink in. God said it — my mind is sound and it is a gift from Him to me. In dreaming about my counseling practice, I thought of calling it “sound mind counseling” because God’s truth in that verse had such an impact on me.

      • Barnabasintraining

        I love that verse too, Megan. We have a very sound minded God, full of wisdom, common sense, and good judgment and is eager to share it with us. :)

      • Jeff Crippen

        But where there is spiritual abuse of power in the church or some other setting, the individual Christian is told that he or she must seek the decision of the church leadership. That he or she is not competent to judge. This is nothing less than what built the Roman Catholic system and which still installs big and little popes today.

      • A former pastor of mine used to often recommend using spiritualised common sense – I think that’s a great expression.

        As for red flags of abusive teachings that coerce you to ignore your gut, I’m pretty sure Johnson & VanVonderen’s book “Spiritual Abuse” has list of red flags like that.

  8. Healinginprocess

    I am soooo sorry you had to go through decades of abuse. It is just horrible. I do know the never discussing an abusive incident… Acting like it never happened. No one should be discounted that way.

    • In regards to the comments about spiritual counseling, and specifically what JeffC wrote I remeber the MIW and many pastors always chanted about how my wisdom would only come from the counsel of many! So what they meant is DO NOT THINK ON YOUR OWN. If I left him, they would all murmer that I was not listening to the wisdom of my many counselors. Just never occurred to me until now how that was such a trap for me. Of course in the realm of abuse, my MIW was empowered by seeking all this wisdom from MANY counselors because if he did not like what one said, then he could just run along to more people then say he was straight up being biblical in his counsel of many!!

      • People who chant ‘wisdom can only come from the counsel of many’ are not factoring in that many people have zilch wisdom when it comes to domestic abuse.

  9. Anonymous

    I am so sorry to hear your story. Know that God never approves of his daughters being laid low by their husbands and He does not approve nor wink at it. People who love the law, more than they love God, seem to believe that God stands awkwardly and approvingly by, while His daughters are abused, but this is not the truth. I am happy for you, to know that you are no longer with this abusive man. Perhaps the post done on “Twisted Love” may help you some.

  10. “They hated me without a cause.” John 15:25

    “…were mocking him as they beat him.” Luke 22:63

    “…A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me they will also persecute you…” John 15:20

    I am grieved for the emotional and physical suffering that you endured. And to be betrayed by someone who vowed to love you, it is such wickedness. When I was at my lowest point several years ago, after years of abuse from my husband and then the unloving, legalistic “help” from the church, a Japanese missionary friend gave me the most encouraging statement. He said that Christ suffered in these ways, also. That has given me much to reflect upon. Christ suffered emotional and physical abuse, betrayal, and rejection from the religious leaders, as many of us have. We have been laid low by the enemy. Yet, God gives us preseverence…we are his disciples and friends!

    “By this I know that you delight in me:
    my enemy will not shout in triumph over me.
    But you have upheld me because of my integity,
    and set me in your presence forever.” Psalm 41:11-12

    So gald to read that you are now in a safe place. I know that God will continue to bless you.

  11. Kay

    I didn’t comment the first time I read this, because i didn’t know what to say. I am grieved and angry! So sorry you had to endure such cruelty. Glad to know you are safely away from him. HUGS!

  12. Jeff Crippen

    I (Jeff C) am posting this, but it is from the author of A Woman in the Mirror –

    Dear Friends,

    Thank you for all of your replies, each and every one of you. I wept to read many of them, and those of you who replied at the start, even though you say you didn’t have words, these messages touched me very deeply, Jodi, Katy, BIT, Bethany…

    Megan, I was angry too, but the anger took a very long to to express itself. It came in waves and sometimes would almost overwhelm me. Barbara, I had wondered if I’ve been experiencing PTSD the past year or two. I think you nailed it on the head about the PTSD starting soon after the assault. For a long time I’ve been sleeping only 3-4 hours a night. Persistentwidow, thank you very much for the Bible verses. I felt so much peace after reading them.

    This is going to be long, but I felt you would want to know more than I had posted in my first message. Although it happened many decades ago, it was as though the physical abuse happened yesterday. I feel the Lord gave me clarity of mind to recall this event and others, largely so I could help other abuse victims. It was very difficult to revisit and write, and I experienced emotional and physical pain.

    About the red flags before marriage: I recall maybe three, and frankly I’d rather not repeat them here. They were insulting to women in particular. I think any woman who first meets a man and is spoken to in a disrespectful way should be very wary of any further advances in their relationship. In my case, his verbal assaults were usually covert and insidious before marriage. Marriage would seal the seal and his abuse escalated afterwards.

    One incident in the early days of our marriage that show how irrational and cruel he could be: We were in the car, he was driving in the small town we lived in at the time. It was a beautiful sunny day and the glare was hurting my eyes (no shaded windows in those days), so I put on my sun-glasses. He angrily demanded that I remove them, as he was afraid people would think I was a drug addict! I never took an illicit drug in my life. I was not on any drug at all.

    Another time about mid-way thought the marriage: I wanted to look for an item that fell behind a heavy dresser and asked him to help me move it. He reluctantly did so, and afterwards stood in front of me and demanded that I take the vacuum cleaner and clean the area. I was hardly dirty…mainly a pencil or two. I brought out the vacuum cleaner.

    Later in the marriage, a year or two before I left: We were having an early Sunday lunch at a restaurant. I started choking on some food. He just calmly sat there and never even tried to help me. It was horrendous. I finally got through it but it was terrifying and very degrading to have my husband just sit there…it was like he wanted me to die. Later I calmly asked him why he didn’t help me. He just shrugged it off.

    I can’t fathom why he treated me the way he did… I find myself dumbfounded that I tolerated such evil abuse. It’s behind me now.

    After the beating, I stayed in the house, never going anywhere, and that included church, for almost 2 weeks. I didn’t want anyone to see my face, to see the bruises. That would be a dead giveaway. Looking back now, there were signs that some people might have guessed…maybe my wounds were not as healed as I had thought. No-one offered to help if they were wondering about the abuse, and I certainly never blamed anyone for not asking. It was 40 years ago. Things were different then.

    I was protecting him. What would people think if they knew? In our small town he was a very well-known businessman. He loved the prestige, and appeared to have an overwhelming need to look good. Looking good meant being respected, liked and admired…a lot. His persona was one of being charming and agreeable, smiling. A few women of the church seemed especially attracted to him, and he returned their admiring looks.

    He loved to be in church. He followed me in church and did whatever I did…becoming a Christian, being baptized, singing in the choir, becoming a member. It was strange. His control of me was strong, but in spiritual matters he wanted me to take the lead. It was disturbing. I didn’t feel his heart was truly involved in his spiritual life.

    If I told anyone about his abuse, it might wreck his reputation, also he would be livid with me and I would never hear the end of it. Then the abuse would become even worse. He had a closet of guns and after his assault I was terrified for a long time that he would use one of them to kill me. Whenever he would put them on the table for cleaning or inspection, it would petrify me. I did think of the possibility of leaving him. But I knew that leaving wasn’t really an option so I quickly drove it out of my mind. How would I do this? I couldn’t let anyone know…

    • Bethany

      Another Beautiful and heartfelt post! I hope you find healing in you writing. I know that I do. Your story is so similar to mine and many others on this blog. I defended my Abuser fiercely! I was so worried people would see though the mask I had on and see what was really going on. He was rude and cruel all the time. In Church he had a reputation of being a hard yet wise man. He even considered going to seminary and becoming a pastor. I know now that his spiritual life was all an act but in the fog I encouraged him. I wrote a guest post a couple of months ago and have commented all over this blog if you want to read more about my story. I am praying for you and I care deeply for you :)

      • Now Free

        Bethany, we are all in a fog, and our abusers know this…they start the fog machine and make sure it keeps running. It gives them permission to keep up their deceptiveness. Once my abuser noticed my realization of his abuse, he became extremely angry. Even the word “abuse” would cause him to leave the room.

    • Katy

      WITM –
      yes things were different then – seems like it used to be a lot harder and less accepted to give voice to that kind of abuse. Now we can talk about it, although that has caused the church to handle things horribly since it seems they usually just want the problem to go away.
      I can’t believe you survived like that for so many decades. I hope that you have real freedom now and I pray for God’s healing and no more fear or stress on you! You are precious!

      • Now Free

        Katy, they say truth is stranger than fiction. At times I would be almost incredulous at what has happened in my own life. Only God gives us the strength that matters.. We all need to pray for wisdom, strength and courage daily. Thanks so much for your prayers everyone.

    • Barnabasintraining

      Marriage would seal the deal

      This seems to be the abuser’s mantra and is one of the main reasons why divorce for abuse must be affirmed. This is why the church must change its view. They think they are affirming Biblical marriage by denying divorce for abuse. They do not realize they are really using their spiritual authority to affirm in God’s name the abuser’s diabolical doctrine that marriage means he can do what he wants and the victim can’t escape because God forbids it.

      I’ve seen someplace (I can’t recall where) where a repentant abuser who got the divorce treatment said “the license was the license” meaning in his abuser mind the marriage license was his license to abuse with impunity because there was nothing she could do about it. The victim I know got a comment along similar lines that they’re married now so he can treat her how he wants.

      I also think this is one reason why they can get so dogmatically angry and the abuse can escalate when the victim takes steps to leave. They can’t imagine that their victim could dare to take this kind of rebellious initiative against them.

  13. Freindinneed from Eurpe

    Dear All,
    Read the Blog. Also about PTSD, yes they think I have this too, but that it wil pass as I am strong. In my case my almost ex-wife was diagnosed with a bi-polar. Not so much beating, but more emotional abuse, and manipulation, very crafty. My daughter was beaten after I had left the house. My wife’s diagnosis, which I have on paper, allow me to get full custody over my children.

    Therapists yes I have got a lot of those. Some do good work. I am getting better sleep last month. But I feel anxious in the evening for no apparent reason. There is no reason as I have been living elsewhere a whole year. So why am I feeling anxious? The memory or the trigger of the memory, maybe.

    Luckily my church is very supportive. I really needed a holiday. The church filled my house with Christian women (social workers and orthopedacologists) so I could go on holiday as my daughter was safe-guarded. My destiny was a diving holiday in Egypt. Had to wrestle with my mind in Egypt and try to feel as if I was on holiday wondering what I was doing there. I am not worried about Egyptian bullets, they don’t get my chimney smoking. Nasty ex-partners, that is a different matter. During the holiday my wife got wind that I was not there and thought to pay a house visit. The previous were with yelling, scolding, thumping on the window, etc. That weekend there were not 2 women but 6 Christian women who opened the door, most of which work at the child protection agency (the ladies in their late 20’s). My ex partner rang the door bell and entered my house, even though she is forbidden to to this, calmly asked where I was and how things were doing, played the game and behaved normal. 6 pairs of eyes beaming at her, all were well informed. When at war: invite some friends.

    My daughter had a good time (15 years old) during my holiday. The ladies said I can go again when I want as I gave them an all inclusive (a packed fridge). Do I feel rested, no not really.

    Last Saturday one of the ladies came by. As I returned from the kitchen with tea both the lady and my daughter were sharing love. The maternal love she never got. I waited at the door as the moment was so precious to me. 1 doctor said: “it is impossible for someone so far down the road with a psychiatric disorder to exhibit love”. So we are better off now than before.
    Sunday I encouraged my daughter to fill in a card for a boy she likes at church, who just turned 15. I like him too, a bit shy. I said: “an excellent chance to make contact with a card”. Another of the ladies sat down lovingly with my daughter to fill in the card. What an excellent church.

    I hope you will all learn to love again, learn to trust again. Look at my daughter, she loves the lady, in spite of being abused and the lady loves her back.

    friendinneed from Europe (late 40ties)

    • Now Free

      Dear friendinneed,

      That is very encouraging to know that you have the loving support of people in your church.

    • Welcome to the blog, Friend, and hope you keep coming back and sharing. The way your church has supported you is indeed wonderful. Most churches do not support the mistreated spouse nearly so well as yours has.

      Dear other readers, in case you are wondering, this man is someone who contacted me via my solo website a long time ago, and myself and Jeff S have been in email contact with him for some months.

    • Who knows why you are having trouble sleeping still, but it is probably something to do with PTSD. I think going through separation and contested custody and divorce battles is a long drawn out think of having your adrenaline on full alert. It takes quite a while for the adrenaline to subside. And you are not finished the divorce and custody stuff, so it’s all still churning through your mind each night. I suggest you cut yourself some slack and don’t condemn yourself if you are still having PTSD-like symptoms.
      Also, saying to yourself “I am strong: I will get over it” has some truth, but you might need to bear in mind that being ‘strong’ can be a danger if it means ‘suppressing all the feelings and thoughts and just soldiering on’. For many people, that doesn’t work in the long run.

      Hope you don’t mind me saying that to you. I don’t know exactly where you are at. :)

      I amo happy to hear your daughter is finding nurture from the women in the church. Bless her, and bless them.

    • Memphis Rayne

      I find it interesting too that in different countrys people can obtain custody because of a diagnosed mental illness. My MIW gave me Sole as a gift so I would remain with him. Then even though he was a dangerous sociopathic, abusive violent, diagnosed with explosive personality disorder (which by the way was aload of poo poo) was suicidal and deppressed, *choking now. A person who ALSO had two felony arrest charges and a long history of trouble regarding domestic abuse, this person even WITH documentation would be given FULL unserpervised visitation rights.

      So Im just saying? Maybe the court system and the church has alot in common?

  14. Now Free

    I feel a strong need to reply on a direct basis. Fear no longer will prevent me from disclosing what is needed to help others.

    BIT, your post is extremely relevant to what I had been thinking earlier today. After my last posting, I realized that I did not mention the most basic reason why I did not separate from him much, much sooner. I felt that to do so was to betray God, therefore I would commit a grievous sin. How false was my thinking! My husband betrayed me. On an emotional level, he left this marriage a very long time ago. My husband (and I use the term loosely) never gave me a feeling that I was safe or protected in his presence. Never felt he was really on my side or had my best interests at heart. He had a need to argue. He enjoyed hurting me and would often laugh when it was obvious that his remarks cut deep.

    “I also think this is one reason why they can get so dogmatically angry and the abuse can escalate when the victim takes steps to leave. They can’t imagine that their victim could dare to take this kind of rebellious initiative against them.”

    Yes, yes and yes! You described my abuser so well. After I left him, he spread malicious lies about me. It was horrible. He even phoned and wrote letters to our son and to organizations such as a crises centre and shelter house, telling them I am not at all well in mind and body and apparently would kill myself. I have never, ever threatened to take my life. All the while pretending to be oh so concerned about my welfare. His letter even fooled a counsellor I had been seeing. I have never, ever threatened to take my life.

    A mutual business associate informed me recently that my abuser husband is also enlisting the help of at least one of his brothers to spread further lies. I have never replied in kind. And oh yes, lets not forget his truly awful lawyer who right from the start has tried to defame my character. She is nasty beyond belief.

    • Barnabasintraining

      Now Free, is this article your story? (I’m not sure I should ask that directly…)

      • Now Free

        I’m only too glad to turn your sad face into a smile BIT. I don’t ever want anyone feeling sad for me for more than a minute.

      • Barnabasintraining

        I don’t ever want anyone feeling sad for me for more than a minute.

        It’s OK. I feel better now. :)

        Hehe.

  15. Now Free

    Yes, I am that woman in the mirror. I can see clearly now. (That reminds me of a song…:))

    • Now Free, how did it feel for you to write that? I am feeling ‘Ohhhh’ … like a long sigh of mixed pain and relief being let out.

      • Now Free

        Yes Barbara.. and a long time coming. I feel reborn!

      • How wonderful. When we open it all up, tell it to a trusted audience, and link that past hurt person to who we are now, it completes the Circle. I don’t know how else to say that.

      • Barnabasintraining

        Now Free,

        That is wonderful! :D

  16. Now Free

    Or I should say WAS that woman in the mirror. That’s more appropriate!

    • Now Free

      I know what you mean. Very recently a circle was formed in my life and it is awesome and in answer to prayers. This circle started over 40 years ago and 120 km. away. You just gave me a thought of the audience I might tell it to. I am also planning to write about it here some day. Thanks Barbara.

  17. Friendinneed from Europe

    Now Free, Jezus called things for what they were. He did not beat around the bush but named it and thus gained authority. The mask then fell. So did you and you got his number. You called it fog, a stronger word would be: spirit of confusion. Abuse, molest. We as christians get to call it for what it is. Anger is a tactic to impose fear and to break off the attac. Your tactic is correct the way I see it, name it for what it is. David did not bow down either when Goliath tried to impress him with anger. Jezus defrauded Pharazees and called them for what they were.

    So I thougth I could give myself a name, get a clocke and get away with it. Barbara sniffed me out and called me for who I am.

    • So I thougth I could give myself a name, get a clocke and get away with it. Barbara sniffed me out and called me for who I am.

      Not sure what you mean here, Friendinneed, :) but I am guessing it was to do with how I said to you (by email when you told me your story) “You have been abused; you are a victim of abuse by your wife.”
      Was that what you meant?

  18. Freindinneed from Europe

    Now Free, Interesting and explaining for me to read your comment on how the agression increased upon departure. This I have experienced like you say just there. In fact I got knocked in the neck if I did not sign over the house to her, only when I had turned my back. I am light weighted but I can take a punch, but did not see this one coming. Late spring last year my daughter returned to mother for a brief visit and was rewarded by being pushed into a room and locked up. Never had she done these kind of things before. I stil don’t understand. Neither of these events I can put into place.

    kind regards Freindinneed from the mainland Europe (miles away)

    • Freindinneed, it is pretty common for abuse to escalate at separation. The abuser is enraged that they are losing control of their victim, so they increase the abuse in type or frequency or severity, in order to try to re-obtain control.
      There is also the motive of pay-back . . . abusers want to punish victims for setting boundaries and seeking safety for themselves and the children. Their distorted belief system is the root issue. They believe they are entitled to abuse their spouse and treat them like dirt. And when the spouse resists this abuse and sets firm boundaries against it, the abuser feels ‘offended’ because the have been ‘deprived’ or what they believe they are entitled to. So they pay back the ‘offence’ by inflicting more damage.

      What happened to your daughter was awful. My daughter’s father assaulted her, pushed her, shoved her, told lots of lies to her about me, and eventually did something worse than all that, after I had separated from him. The worst thing that he did to her was done two years after I had separated.

      And you are not the only one who is miles away. I’m in Australia. I often comment on the blog while most of its USA readers are asleep… (sweet dreams, all of you :) )

      • Memphis Rayne

        Why does it anger me to hear of somebody elses good fortune with their church? I mean i am being brutally honest! Where were 6 or even ONE christian woman to aide my children much less stay with us so I could rest? Seriousy I am so sorry I am just bringing up this point. Why does it appear in generall, even though God calls men to honor and protect, why does it seem that tired single, abused and broken down women find little to NO support when they are in need? Regarding the churh that is. ONE time somebody gave me and my kids that look of mercy and compassion, they gave my kids each a stuffed bear, used but lovely, I was soooo happy for them i cried. This was at a state funded visitation center. They were comforted by two used stuff bears! But that was all it took, a simple hand of understanding? But the polar opposite is what generally goes down in churches, as an abused woman especially with children you are looked upon as a liability, a disgrace, a problem to be silenced or simply ignored.

        So sorry if I am out of line in expressing this perspective, maybe somebody else feels the same way? I dont know, but it seems important to express. Seems as a theme in general MEN are more easily supported and BELIEVED in an abuse situation. My MIW would even play that card, and it worked!!!! Women were way more sympathetic to a male victom, He would reap rewards off most pastors wifes, he had them ALL in his hip pocket, before I was ever even able to tell my story!!! Its like being on trial and you have to persuade the jury beyond a shadow of a doubt but HE has already casted ALL these doubts with lies.

      • I understand that feeling Memphis. I have felt that way sometimes. And I think you have every right to feel angry – you and your kids were SO mistreated, your abuser was an arch villian and cruel beyond belief, and the church treatment you got was diabolical. I think it’s fine to vent the anger . . . it springs from sooooo much pain.
        I know you were not feeling angry at Friendinneed, or at my response to him. You are allowed to feel angry about the way your were mistreated and ignored and neglected and dismissed and . . .

        I’ve felt angry about the way the church treated me, and I got much less bad treatment than you did. Mine was bad, but not nearly as bad as yours… and one big reason for that difference was that your abuser was working full time to win over all the church to his side, whereas my abuser wasn’t that dedicated or that canny.

        I am not sure whether there is a pattern overall that male victims tend to get a bit more support from churches than female victims. I haven’t heard enough male victims reports yet to say for sure. But I do know, for sure, that male perpetrators who feign victim-hood get masses of support in most churches, and so that may have a ‘flow-over’ effect in benefiting males who are genuine victims – maybe the church is primed to be sympathetic to them, because the phoney male victims have already laid the groundwork. Also, many women like to dote on men, to nurture, nurse and comfort both men and children. There are many women who find joy in helping others. So when there is a single father in the church, the compassion switch flips on.
        Why doesn’t it flip on so much for single mothers? I guess there are lots of reasons, but some of them are to do with sexist stereotypes, judgments that the woman must have caused the marriage breakdown, and even, dare I say, politics ( e.g. “We hate all these single mums on welfare, draining the taxpayers.”)

  19. Memphis Rayne

    Even within the church that last “”politcal” gesture that they would actually see things that way is disgusting and abusive. We had to get foodstamps at one point because guess what? The head of our household was not only NOT providing but HE was the one eating the food!!! On top of him being okay with me going to get them, he would then turn around and accuse me of being exactly what you stated in the above!!! Go figure right? Women and children wouldnt have to rely on welfare if (and I am saying within the church structure) the church gave the abuser any accountablity for oh? Lets say?…….ANYTHING? Why do we naturally think church is the place to go first for shelter, protection, clothing or food? Because that should be where we find those things!!! But noooooooo! Its all showered onto the REAL hurting people, you know like the abusers. I also understand that women are by nature nuturing, and with good intentions want to help, especially why they are drawn to a single man being a parent because they are at fault for seeing him as not able to carry the entire load like a woman is expected!!! I have to say though, that as parents women are held to a much higher standard, and are expected not only to carry the ENTIRE load but to also clean up the messes left behind by the abuser. Its a very sad, sad, state the church is in. Not a happy camper right now.

    • Memphis Rayne

      On a lighter note obviously I am NO expert, and I am not educated in politics, or the feminist movement etc……but sometimes I SWEAR I can hear bacon sizzling in the background? lol

      haha I think I may have mis-spelled educate?

      • you spelled educate perfectly! :)

  20. Friendinneed from Europe

    Menphis Rayne, Some explenation may be due. First of all, I know a lot of churches to whom the word divorce does not excist. Only for adltery. They woud have kicked me out or you, for that matter too, in spite of your story. I scratched my head also how come these women are doing this. I guess many of these lovely people come from broken families them selfs and have had no father. They gaze at me because I play with my kids. Now they see a tried father struggleling and the church chips in as they should do. I also understand that I am a father and not a mother. I can manage 1 hour of cloth shopping but not 4 hours as my daughter would like to do. So I scout, I look and I am not afraid to ask. In this case the Pastor’s wife sent me on holiday, as I was getting more and more tired, my daughter was hitting puberty and playing tug of war with me. As Jeff S said in a private mail I was fraying at the ends. Many of our church people said we have seen your daughter blossem now you father her alone, many meantioned the smile on her face and that she interacts now so much with ohter people. “Let us not let a good thing go to waste”, they must have thought.

    In turn, I am good with the shy kids, so I will take them on. Wresseling with a lad, another on the motor cycle, the swimming pool yes please. Choosing underware for my daughter, I simply cannot do this, o Lord do not make me have to do this. Let me fix your car in exchange for you taking my daughter to the shop. The Bible says we have to lean to be generous givers… but also generous takers. Giving is only half of the deal. I have to survice so I have to learn how to take a blessing.

    Calling things for what they are. Well looking at many stories here. We are dealing with strong manipulators who use instruments like anger, psychopaths, forgive me. Whom understands this?? Not your average passer by, not your average church member. If someone is good in their soul this does not mean they can discern evil in anothers.

  21. Friendinneed has received wonderful support from his church as a single father. I can understand how female survivors might find it hard to rejoice all that much about that, not because they exactly begrudge it, but because they, as single mothers, have wished for the same kind of support but it wasn’t forthcoming.

    As a female survivor, I know I wanted the church to support me in practical ways. I would have loved them to roster a bunch of people to be present during handover, so I didn’t have to go through that scary thing each fortnight on my own.
    I also envisioned that the older women in the church would comfort me and show interest in my story, including some of the backstory (which is always so long). I subconsciously expected this when I left the church that persecuted me and found a church where the pastor supported my decision to separate from my abuser. I thought the women in the new church (which, after all, had such a biblically sound pastor) would be interested and warm and caring. How wrong I was! I don’t think I’ve ever got over that disappointment; it still rankles.

    I never envisaged six men (or six women) coming over to hang out with my daughter all at the one time, giving me time-out and (WOW!) a vacation on my own… that would have been off the graph of imaginable. But I did expect the church to support me in more practical ways against the rabid evil of my husband. After all, that’s what Jesus told his followers to do, isn’t it? Take a stand against evil, and support the weak and oppressed. Set the captives free, eh ? So it took a long time for me to really take in the reality that they weren’t going to do it.
    I was so lucky to find a pastor who at least supported my ongoing separation and my eventual divorce as well. And I have his support for my divorce in writing, on church letterhead; That’s WAY more than most of the other readers here will ever get.

    So, when female survivors read something like Friendinneed’s story of how the church is magnificently supporting him, we may be just reminded of our own pain and disappointment because the church didn’t support us nearly so well.

    I know I’m generalizing here, but I think you get what I mean.

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