A Cry For Justice

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

What God taught me through my endurance – by Anna

This post is by Anna, one of our readers (a different lady from Anna Wood who was involved in this blog in the early stages).

So I know that we aren’t to blame the victim. I have spent years thinking I caused husband’s frustrations and the resulting outburst of abuse that accompanied his wrath and I read many of the How to be a Good Christian Wife books and tried very hard to do all the authors said so that we could be happy. Maybe those work for normals, but not for us… But I don’t regret having read them. Don’t shake me or try to find me so you can give me a talking to. Hear me out.

I learned stuff from all this, stuff I’m glad to have learned. I remember when I was reading “You Can be the Wife of a Happy Husband” and God convicted me that I was only reading that because I wanted to be happy. I didn’t care if husband was happy. I just wanted him to shut up with the ranting already so I could have peace. But I put on this fake piety and prayed for husband to have peace. That was a selfish prayer. I didn’t care if he had peace. He could be in inner turmoil for all I cared as long as he gave me what I wanted so I could have peace.

And there was plenty more selfishness from me. I never learned to confront him because I wasn’t interested in his soul. I wanted my peace. When I FINALLY heard what the Bible says about the wicked and I FINALLY admitted to myself that husband was really caught up in wickedness, not “struggles,” but a love for sin, I was terrified for him. There is some pretty horrible stuff in store for those who love wickedness. And husband does love wickedness. So, it was when I heard what the Word has to say and I let it demolish the ridiculous notion that because my husband loves certain worship songs and claims to be a Christian, he is one, when I really let that sink in, I was concerned enough to throw a hand grenade into what appeared from the outside to be a comfortable life with no where to go but up, way up.

I do love him. I did all this (exposed him, left him, filed for divorce) because I love him. I’m not mad at him. I have to keep my distance for my safety, for my health, but I want good for him. I want him to KNOW God, to be the exception, the one who can and does change. I finally want all that because it’ll be good for him, not me. And I wanted that before Wendell posted – he didn’t fan the false hope flame for me. I am another who could hardly read his posts…I have lost the delusion that it’s my job to love husband (what he thinks is love anyway) so much and for so long that he sees Christ in my eggshell walking and apologies for things I didn’t do and my cowering in fear and pretending he’s not looking at porn and he falls on his knees to worship God and thank Him for his wonderful wife. EYEROLL!

I have surrendered husband to God. That was difficult. I worried that my filing for divorce would take away husband’s hope and motivation to seek help. Husband told me that I gave him hope when I fill in the blank. If his hope is in me, we’re doomed. I should’ve put that on my mirror years ago.

If you are reading this young wife, and you are still stuck in an abusive relationship, and you are wondering if you should stay and placate because a book tells you to submit harder so God can get through to your husband, I would like to offer this to you: Be willing to look outside of marriage books that put the weight on you and tell you to stick your head … in the sand, and put your hope for your husband’s freedom in Christ, not you. If you’ve been thinking that you have to submit harder so God can get through to your husband, I suggest that you pray about it and seek God to hear what He would have you do. It might not be in that how-to-be-a wife book you’re holding. Pray and listen. God will show you what to do. And He’ll help you do it. Comment here or on one of the forums linked on the sidebar and tell someone what’s happened. Let the Church help you out of the fog.

67 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    I still have that book on my book shelf. “You Can Be the Wife of A Happy Husband”. I can still see the woman’s face on the back of that book. I have numerous other books on my shelf as well, that helped me see what it means to be a good and godly wife. There are good things that I learned, that I would not give back. They are “pearls” to me.

    I wanted for my husband to be saved and love me and his children and realize the great gift that God gave to him, but it didn’t happen. I waited and prayed for years. Today, I feel like I gave up too soon or I didn’t do it right or good enough or was strong enough or that I thought too much of myself and not enough about him, etc., etc. These are not new thoughts, they are the same thoughts that have gone through my head for all these years. But today, it all changes; because today is the beginning of something new. Will it be good? I don’t know. Will it be safer? I don’t know. But I do know, that God has not left me, but “husband” did, many, many years ago, and I have spent all this time, trying to bring someone back, who didn’t want to be brought back. I, like you, want him to be happy, I want him to know and love God and see his sin, so he can repent; I want him to be whole. But I also need to be loved and to be happy; to see my sin, so I can repent and to be whole too; I needed someone to care about my soul, as much as I cared about his. I also needed to not be abused, me or my children.

    We need to know our lives have value – I can’t help him, when my life has been left with no value – no worth.

    • Psalm 37

      I read “The Excellent Wife” by Martha Peace cover to cover way before I was married, and always bristled about the way the book advocated staying in an abusive relationship because a wife has the church or police to intervene as a last resort. I grew up in an abusive house and always wondered why nobody saved us from the monster we had as a step-father.
      Fast forward years later when I filed for divorce from my abusive ex-husband. He abused (and disabled) his first wife and was incredibly shrewd on how he controlled and mistreated me. Aside from psychological abuse, he hid most of his money during our “marriage” and kept me bankrupt. I always wanted out of the marriage because something was always wrong. God forgive me, and I’m sorry to admit it, but I left my ex for another man. This man was like a firefighter pulling me out of a burning building. This is the man I’m proud to call my husband.
      A well-meaning aunt gave me “The Excellent Wife” as a gift — wrapped with a bow! — to convict me of my sin. My mother got a copy too so she could admonish me with it and second the motion that I was making a sinful decision in wanting to leave my abuser. My ex contacted every single member of my family and church (and anyone who’d listen) to let them know about my adultery and how I was destroying and breaking up my family. He painted himself an innocent victim to my Hester Prynne. Here’s the deal: Most Christian books to wives have catchy, convicting titles as to what they should be. The problem is most wives strive to live up to the titles, but it is an impossibility when living with an abusive man.

      • MeganC

        Psalm 37 — I am so glad you have joined us here at ACFJ. Thank you for your honesty and transparency here. It is truly touching. And something I understand well. My ex did the same thing. When other pulled me out of that burning building, he called all my family . . . everyone at ‘c’hurch . . . and anyone who would listen to tell them of my betrayal to our “marriage”. Still, I am so glad to be free, even though my reputation hit rock bottom. It truly only hit rock bottom with those who really weren’t friends or family to begin with. They weren’t going to stand by me, no matter what I did or didn’t do. In the end, it was a release. big hugs to you and a big welcome.

      • Dear Psalm 37, thank you for sharing so honestly. I am glad you now have a good husband. The way you left the abusive marriage for a new man might have looked wrong to Pharisaic bystanders who were — perhaps intentionally — blind to the abuse you were suffering under that deceitful and cruel man, and if the way you left was sinful in some ways, it sounds like you are repentant of that sin; but overall the path you took has led to wholesomeness, not evil.

        We are told that Pharisees swallow camels happily but spend hours straining out gnats (Matt. 23:24). Not that leaving a normal marriage for another man is a mere gnat, but in your case, the size of the camel compared to the gnat… well the difference in size clearly escaped the blind Pharisees. I am tempted to be uncharitable and hope they get indigestion from all the camels they swallow.

      • Psalm 37- even tho I did not leave my husband for another man- I did meet a wonderful man 9 months after our separation- one of my sister’s didn’t know about him until 16 months after separation and she still implied that he was why I was getting a divorce( that I had cheated). Her hurtful words, and refusal to apologize or rectify this in any way has a caused a serious rift between us . Even if I had left him for this man- he deserved to be left! I have never been so thankful for God’s grace and forgiveness.

      • Memphis Rayne

        I was not as fortunate to have been pulled out by another person such as you and Meg. I cannot stand to think that anyone could pass judgement on that? There is always something people grasp on to deflect the responsiblity onto an abuser.. I too was kept homeless, hungry, fighting financially for my life, during marriage he had no work stability yet I was to maintain this perfect home? He hid money all the time, claimed throughout the marriage to freinds, church and his family “She stole my money!!!!”” In fact everytime I planned on leaving I would secretly start putting away 10, 20 dollars of our money aside and had to hide it somewhere…..everytime I try to use our bank account he would accuse me of FRAUDULANTLY using it????? Stating that I had stole from him, did not matter if it were for groceries, that he ate. Bottom line is abusers have to financially strip you rescources otherwise eventually they would lose control….. I had to file bankruptcy against my sparkling credit when married, he made me use my credit for everything so then I never had access to a fall back or cushion, or any kind of financial security, I coulnt even obtain it aside from him because he made sure that even after I left, my credit was destroyed. Of course his thinking is like most abusers “”Evil woman, sponge, sucked me dry, worthless, didnt contribute anything, just used me, then left me”” Thats pretty much the thinking across the line, of course its ALWAYS because YOU found somebody else!!!! He is the VICTOM no matter what went down. As we know most the time everything they say is the exact polar opposite of the truth, with money, with friends, with children, with how hard women work to obtain their happiness, as if we are brainwashed that that is possible?

        I do not know how I survived his misery, I would attain one level of perfectness, only to be handed a book stating that somehwo there is MORE??

        He cheated on me also, and threw it in my face……the response to the church was I should of dressed different, or cooked more, or stopped complaining that he was abusing me and my kids? He was tempted because I would not have sex with him anymore!! According to him my refusal was because of another man, I was frigid, i was witholding, I was the problem…I in fact did not find abuse sexy. Because as most women we view sex as loving another person, he saw it as another battle ground to hurt me, dominate me.

        So yes IF I were lucky enough to find a mate that honored me, I would of chose them over the MIW!!!! Then there would be shelter, like you are suppose to have from a spouse, and comfort and understanding, and love. Not this sham regarding abuse that the church somehow covets as a marriage? Come on? If abuse is not the deal breaker? Most abusers cheat, and they hide it to the ninth degree, because they want to make sure nobody supports you for having that ONE bilblical reason to leave (which in most cases women stay regardless, and the church encouges them to do so anyways, they are made to feel bad for leaving when he broke the marriage vow) I got a book by a male pastor that tought me to literally HATE the other woman, forgive him BUT outwardly HATE the other woman, it was a volitale book, and even though I was technically still in fog mode when i read it, I was disgusted, I believe it was by Stormy Omartion. Anyways thanks to her i was helped out of the fog, because I knew my MIW was a predator, lier and manipulator and why should HE not be the one to bare the shame??

        I am sorry I wrote alot today!

      • Dear Memphis, no need to be sorry for writing a lot. It was all really good and to the point.

        I simply LOVE this:

        I did not find abuse sexy

        thank you so much; it’s brilliant. You have the best way with words!
        And so glad to hear from you again on the blog!

      • Still Scared( but getting angry)

        Memphis!! Haven’t seen you in a bit! So glad to have you on! And yes, my credit is the same place and yes, I must be the one eating bon bons waiting for him to provide!! Sigh!! I am currently working 60hours a week and he is demanding that he pay less child support because he doesn’t want to hurt his credit! Boundary up, not working more, turning it over to the state and having his wages garnished!

      • Just Me

        Psalm 37, I haven’t read Martha Peace’s book. I had seen it recommended somewhere, and I went onto Amazon to buy it, but the 1 star reviews scared me off (thankfully)! I was still in my very dark days at that point and I’m sure that book would have been a huge hindrance to any possibility of recovery.

        What non-abusive man would even want a wife like that? A wife who has no thoughts or opinions of her own, except in what he delegates to her (like home decorating)? Wouldn’t a man want a companion who he can have an intelligent conversation with and perhaps even a (gasp) debate? Would he really want a woman who always, always does what he wants, how he wants, and when he wants? Isn’t it more blessed to give than to receive? Wouldn’t a non-abusive husband desire to choose to often do what his wife wants or likes? There’s a huge gift in giving to another person. If we’re mere robots to our husband’s desires (including dropping everything in the middle of the day for sex, if he desires it, and seriously, where are the kids when all this middle of the day sex is going on??) wouldn’t that be enabling selfishness and hurting him in the long run? My children are in submission to me, as their mother. And my greatest joy is in giving and doing things for them. I certainly wouldn’t want them making their lives about nothing more than serving me.

        But, since I haven’t read the book (only the description and reviews) perhaps my opinion is unfair. However, after reading this review (by kitann on Amazon) , I have zero desire to read the book and find out for myself.

        “Thank you Martha Peace for keeping me in a physically abusive relationship much longer than I would have had I had Biblical counsel!! Thanks to your horrible and most of all, unbiblical advice on page 173, that says to involve the governing authorities, obey God and not fear retaliation from her husband, “If a wife takes advantage of God’s protective resources and he harms her anyway, then she will be suffering for “righteousness sake”(1 peter 2:21-23). I don’t see how almost being strangled to death on the floor of my home would bring any righteousness to me or anyone!! I surely wasn’t suffering for the glory of Christ!
        I finally got my wits together and realized that the Jesus that I know, would NEVER want me to stay in a relationship where I could lose my life. If you’re in an abusive relationship please don’t read this book or follow any advice given here. Read “Keeping the faith” by Marie M. Fortune.
        I think this is a terrible misogynist book.”

        http://www.amazon.com/review/R24A9CHX5WWC3K/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=1885904088&linkCode=&nodeID=&tag=

        Note from Barb: I changed this link so it now goes to the permalink for that review. If anyone is giving links to Amazon reviews (which is fine to do, on this blog) please try to give the permalink. If you look to the right of the voting buttons where you can vote on whether or not you found the review helpful, you will find the word ‘permalink’. Click on that, then copy the URL it takes you to.

  2. Barnabasintraining

    Thank you Anna!

    You are 100% right. This is the Christian love we are called to. Not the one that necessarily fixes the marriage or even has that as a goal, but the one that realizes these abusers are in deep doodoo with God and desperately need to repent, and treats them according to this truth. The marriage is not going to stand before the judgement seat of God someday but the abuser is.

    i really wish the church would get its priorities straight about this.

    • Barnabas- what a great quote! “The marriage is not going to stand before the judgement seat of God someday but the abuser is.” Soooo true!

  3. Amy

    Great post and the timing of it was amazing since I was talking about this very thing yesterday with my husband. I remarried 1 1/2 years ago after enduring twenty year first marriage filled with emotional, mental, verbal and spiritual abuse.

    Our pastor spoke about Saul, Solomon and David yesterday at church. Wonderful message about acknowledgement and repentance of sin in our lives. He taught of how Saul had no heart for God for he continued to sin and sin, but showed no repentance. Solomon had half a heart for God for although he sinned and was kind of sorry, he did not really repent and would continue down the path of sin once more. But David had a whole heart for God. He sinned, many times over as did Saul and Solomon, but he always acknowledged his sin and asked for God’s forgiveness, for he wanted to do right by God.

    Towards the end of his teaching, our pastor said something that got me thinking about this whole thing of wives submitting and respecting their husbands more so as to change them, he said something along the lines of: God changes hearts, but WE change our thoughts. And when we change our thoughts, God can change our hearts, but when we do not change our thoughts, God cannot change our hearts. We have to be willing to stop sinning, we have to be willing to change or we can repent a little, but God is not going to bless us or change our heart.

    It was like a lightbulb moment for me or perhaps it was just God showing me once again that the abusiveness from my ex was not my fault nor could I have changed him. And oh, how I tried. The abusive behavior my ex chose to submit his family to was his CHOICE and all the amount of submitting and respecting I showed to him was not going to change his heart or behavior. Only God could (can) change his heart and only if my ex would truly choose to change his thoughts/actions.

  4. Anna

    Thank you for your kind comments. I am praying that husband turns his heart over to God. It’s difficult to turn know what love looks like in this new arena, but for me, I know that God convicts me if I act bitter, sarcastic, or am tempted to call him names in my head. I am learning to separate lack of trust from bitterness. It’s ok to recognize that he can’t be trusted, but not ok to get offended about it. He’s lost and lost people act like sinners. It would be silly of me to expect anything else. And yet… I blame romantic movies for this! I struggle with thinking that maybe there was a book I didn’t read that could’ve told me the answer, could’ve unlocked the door to his heart. It’s not my job to unlock his heart. It’s God’s. Got to put that on my coffee cup since the other thing is on my mirror.

    • romantic movies — yeah, don’t get me started!
      As a divorced woman, there have been many years where I found that if I watched a romantic movie, I would go downhill emotionally. The longing. The wishes. The unfulfilled hopes. It was safer and easier for me if I steered clear of all that, the emotions were too hard to handle close up. I could acknowledge them from a distance, but I couldn’t handle them in full flood.

      • Now Free

        I know what you mean, Barb. Lately in church I’ve been finding myself directly in back of a couple of real life lovebirds. I’m happy for them but wonder if I’ll ever experience a real loving relationship, more specifically, a normal marriage.

      • Anonymous

        I never allowed my daughters to read romance novels, Christian or otherwise, because of the false picture they paint of love and marriage. Too much drool and not enough of what real marriage, through God’s eyes looks like. Not that there isn’t romance in marriage, but nobody’s life or marriage is completely like a romance novel. Even good marriages, have struggles and lack romance from time to time. Just didn’t want to paint a false portrait to my daughters. I also think it is easier for victims of abuse to develop a false longing to be loved and those “movies” can be a real set up for victims to fall into a heap emotionally.

  5. Healinginprocess

    Thanks Anna, I agree that there is nothing we can do to change husbands heart’s. God let me know I was a stumbling block for my husband. As long as I remained married to him he would continue his abuse toward me and my children. I needed to divorce him so God could deal with him directly. As long as I stayed, walking on egg shells trying to be the good wife, he would not need to change or suffer the consequences of his abusive actions. Your right tough love is letting loved ones feel the consequences of their actions in hopes they will submit to The Lord wanting to change. We are each responsible for our own relationship with God and only we can desire and allow God to change us.

  6. FreeToGo

    I remember reading the book “Created to be His Helpmeet.” Even with all his adultery, pornography and I truly desired to be this to him, The book was pink and pretty and sounded right. But as I kept reading I BEGAN to feel that I was the one RESPONSIBLE for the marriage and HIS dysfunction. I felt like a second-class citizen because I was a woman. By the end of that reading I felt like “well God had nothing better to do so he decided to just make a woman. I thought….”If I just cook better, kiss him better, have sex with him better, clean the house better, call him sweet names” then, just then he’ll love me. And actually start treat me like his wife. But nope…didn’t work. I tried. The book even suggest that if a husband has committed adultery than his wife should show up at his office with a high heels and a lunch basket. Since when is a wife suppose to be competition to other woman. The heavy burden that can placed on wives by ”other woman” and there ”books” is very UNFAIR. So glad that I am not married to that man anymore.

  7. Now Free

    Thanks for your post, Anna. It is a beautiful thing to be submissive to a godly man. I’ve never had this experience as I have never been married to a godly man, but it sounds wonderful. The abusive husband will find further encouragement and validation for his tactics should a godly wife submit to him!

    After years of searching for and reading books on how to be the perfect Christian wife, and later on scouring online for reasons why my husband was chronically angry at me, the fog started to lift, and I could clearly see that his abusive ways were not my fault!

    Having been used to reading books with titles similar to “How To Be The Perfect Wife”, “The Complete Idiot’s Guide To Pleasing Your Man”, ad nauseam, my tastes in reading suddenly changed. I started reading books with strange, unfamiliar titles like “Why Does He Do That” by Lundy Bancroft, “The Verbally Abusive Relationship” by Patricia Evans, “Boundaries” by Cloud and Townsend, and many others.

    Very peculiar books, indeed, for me to read. I was so used to blaming myself and trying so hard to please my abusive husband for over forty years, a husband who criticized and denigrated me so completely that I came to think of myself as worthless and to blame for almost anything that went wrong.

    As soon as I started reading each of these books, I was immediately struck by the similarities of the abusive marriage I was in for so long. Lundy’s book particularly named so many characteristics of my husband that it seemed parts of this book was written especially about him! To know that I didn’t have a character defect, that I wasn’t stupid and blameworthy for all his anger and abuse, was a relief that words simply cannot express.

    I left the marriage shortly afterwards and am now in the process of divorce. Shortly after separating from him, I read Barbara’s wonderful book “Not Under Bondage”. I found this book very helpful in validating Christian divorce, and am re-reading it after almost a year and a half of the first reading. It now speaks to me in a more compelling way. At almost the same time, I discovered Jeff Crippen’s sermons online which were a huge help. Jeff’s sermons and expert advice validated and supported me in those difficult and lonely times early in the separation. A year later, Jeff’s new book “A Cry for Justice” was published, and I found his book excellent and recommend it highly.

    I’m not so young any more, but even if I live one more day on this earth, these efforts and painful times will have been worth it, to have been freed from the terribly abusive marriage I was in. I’ve learned to forgive my husband…not to reconcile, but to have God’s grace work in my life, to lift this heavy burden of guilt and pain my husband placed on me with his physical, emotional and verbal abuse.

    About finding a church…it can take a long time to find the right one. It took me almost 15 months to do so after prayer, patience and leaving the search in God’s hands.

    • Heather No. 2

      Now Free,

      I, too, was married for decades, nearly 33 years. I tried and tried, like the “books” instructed, to be that perfect Christian wife. I was a strong woman who had opinions on everything and didn’t have difficulty sharing my thoughts. So, naturally, when my husband strayed I did everything possible to be a better wife, for I always believed that it was my fault. If my husband, the quiet nice guy, was unhappy, it had to be because of me…..

      I learned how to forgive, confessing my faults and sins, asking God to change me, make me the wife that I should be for my husband. I became a woman after God’s own heart. Unfortunately, my husband did not become the man after God’s heart. I learned it all much too late.

      What we Christian women are taught about our relationship to God is good when based on His Words. But what we are taught by men, and other women, about our relationship to our husbands is often just mans wisdom and we have seen how faulty and detrimental it can be. When your life doesn’t add up and you file for divorce, those in the churches condemn you. You aren’t following their prescription!

      These days I grieve. I grieve because of the dream having been smashed when I said I would not endure it any more and walked away. I grieve because of what I wanted for my children. That desire gave them a false sense of who their father is. Now that their eyes are open my desire is for their healing. The last thing I ever wanted was for them to be in such pain.

      You may not be that young anymore, but you had the strength and courage to walk away. I did not realize how important that was until one of my daughter’s friends made the comment that she respected me after all that I had gone through. I had no idea that some people see, really see! All I had experienced were judgments and accusations.

      I want to express something that I know my words cannot adequately convey. I have been on a very lonely journey for the past three years. I lost family members, friends, my church, and a life that I had which on one level was very comfortable. Each time I had reached the end of my rope the Lord brought me an article, a blog, a counselor which helped me to have a bit more clarity and to continue on the journey without any idea of its destination. I was helped and went forward in excruciating pain and sadness. But the journey was not all for naught. My children had their eyes opened, and they drew me near to them to protect me and care for me. They admonished me that ever going back to their father was not an option. You see, to him, they were expendable too and he could not be anyone other than who he is. One of the biggest blessings in my life as I still journey forth is this site. The contributors and individuals who share their own journeys have confirmed to me that even though we may have been treated differently in our marriages we all respond the same way. We hurt. We hurt outwardly and inwardly. Others may not see it, nor understand, but we do, and most of all, God does.

      I hurt for each one of you. And I am grateful for the compassion that I see. So, thank you Jeff and company, and thank you, precious hearts whose love is rejected and destroyed. You do not deserve to be treated as you have been. You are daughters of the King of kings. You are princesses. You are loved. Each of us will come through our journeys to the other side. As long as we have breath in our bodies there is hope.

      Hugs.

      • Thank you, Heather2, that was powerful.

        And praise God for your daughter’s friend — and for all bystanders who honor and respect survivors for their resistance to abuse.

        In this context, I’d like to give another mention to the booklet “Honoring Resistance” produced by the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter. Click on the link and then download the pdf booklet.

      • Now Free

        Heather2,

        Sounds like you realized the right reason for your grieving. I used to grieve for my marriage too, but thought it was for the “good” times that I might miss. I now realize that I grieved for the loss of what I could never have…a marriage of love, respect and trust. I grieved for finally realizing that this marriage was for his convenience, that the “good” times were not truly good. It had nothing to do with memories of vacations or the “I love you’s” that I were not truly spoken. They were dead words and dead actions.

        I grieved for my unfulfilled needs, that every wife requires to have a healthy and pleasing marriage. It was finally acknowledging that my needs were not met in this marriage, no matter how hard I tried to fulfill his. I grieved for his false faces to others and his false actions to please outsiders, people he hardly knew. At home, he would reveal the true person that he was, filled with hatred and anger.

        So I learned something about this kind of grief…that it was not for good things, but for a loss. It is somewhat like a death, where you grieve your loss…except that there are usually good parts that you can rejoice about. My marriage to him had no real joy. I can see that now.

      • Memphis Rayne

        Wow! I just loggd on and came righ to this letter and even though I was married for ten years, my experience was the same, feelings were the same…I was thrust through the fog at warp speed in the end, nonetheless my children have suffered and that is the hardest thing to feel helpless and be a witness too. They are however, the gifts that persue my peace, and they have given me more reassurance in my heart that I must endure.

        I am still breathing? Although I sometimes have to remind myself to do so. Can hope just be? Can it be in existence through simple faith that it is there? I wonder? I mean if you do not FEEL it can it still exist within you?

        This was such a good letter, very moving.

      • Not in the context of domestic abuse, but I had to have a kind of chemotherapy for a whole year to eradicate the Hep C virus from my system. (I was lucky; it worked.) The drug side effects were so awful it was often all I could do just to get through the next five minutes. Apart from the fact that I knew rationally that ‘this too shall pass’ because the treatment would only go for 48 weeks, I had many times when I felt no hope and certainly felt utterly out of contact with God and I could not exercise any faith at all. The mere thought of trying to pray only made the mental torment worse. The torment included depression, brain-fog, fatigue, anxiety, physical pain and constant lack of oxygen.

        During that time I was only able to take comfort from the thought that Jesus was not letting go of me, even though I felt I could not reach out to him, contemplate him, worship him, read his Word, pray to do anything else religious. He was not letting go of me. That was the only Christian thought I could bear. If I dwelt on anything else ‘Christian’ for more than a moment, the mental torment intensified. I spent a lot of time looking at the pictures in magazines, junk mail and books written for 4 to 8 year olds. Distraction helped. Concentration, especially on Christian things, made it worse. I forgave myself and just did what I had to do to get by.

        I think I’ve written about this before on the blog, so apologies to those who have heard this story before. :)

  8. Katy

    I’m finding it much more difficult to have this “love and well wishes” toward my ex. I think it might be because I’m still raising 3 little ones by myself, and every time there is a disaster (which is just about every week – this past weekend all 4 of us got hit with food poisoning so bad I had to call 911 for my youngest, and it hit me afresh how completely ALONE we are) – I get to feel the whiplash all over again.
    I don’t sit here pondering his poor lost soul. I sit here begging God to help me get through the next day, begging Him to heal my kids and whatever else. There’s no energy leftover except to feel some mild anger and disgust toward the one man on earth who is supposed to care about us.
    All this is just to say that I no longer feel any burdens at all in relation to him. Thank the Lord that He hasn’t been convicting me of anything lately in regard to the ex because I think I would die under all of this strain. :/

    • Katy, when I was still raising my daughter, that’s more or less how I felt towards my ex. No energy left over except to feel some mild anger and disgust. Sometimes the anger would rise to a head when was in a particularly severe crisis, or when he tried some extra specially abusive tactic. And very occasionally I would be moved to pray for him because he’s going to hell if he doesn’t repent. But most of the time I didn’t have much energy or inclination to feel for him.

    • Anna

      Hugs dear Katy. That sounds so frustrating. I’m very blessed to have help from family that alows us to physically heal. I’m still new at this and still grieving. Husband isn’t being overtly cruel at this time, but legal issues are coming up that will be a strain. My support system also holds me accountable for my sarcasm when I let it fly. I’m grateful for that because for me, I know that I go mentally downhill fast if I indulge just a little in bitterness. And being around him for much time at all makes me very ill. :-(. Dear Katy, I wish we could be closer and I’d come over with a puke bucket and a bag of supplements from the health food store. Hugs.

    • Barnabasintraining

      Katy,

      I think you bring up a really important point here, which is yet another place the church fails. It is, I think, impossible for us in certain conditions of life and soul to be able to be “perfect” enough to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. I know for myself I tend to lack motive in that direction until someone else comes along and bears my burden with me. If that doesn’t happen, I am left to bear my entire burden as well as my own load, with a keen awareness that it is WAY too much and then things like practical forgiveness in even just a prayer is just way too much to ask. It only serves to embitter me and makes God look like a real jerk.

      This is another reason it is so important that the church get its head on straight about this. Abuse survivors need support so they can heal, grieve, and be able to gain distance. We are told to comfort with the comfort with which we have been comforted, not to generate comfort, or in this case compassion for the eternal state of others, out of thin air. It is expected that we will give out of what we have received. What then if all that is given to the victim is condemnation? What if they are mocked, forsaken, and further abused by those who are supposed to help them? And then they are expected to do the impossible and are further condemned when that doesn’t happen? Really?

      Maybe the church should take a look at those 3 fingers pointing back.

  9. Anonymous

    Copying and saving this post for continued thought. This is really good.

    I’ve learned a lot recently about good and bad “love” and good and bad “anger”. I’ve had bad love and bad anger at times. The love that was like you, selfishly looking for my own peace, or was centered on making my husband happy and not primarily God centered. (although I thought I was pleasing God in all my doings.) It was a love instructed by my own heart and all the “you can fix your husband” teaching out there. I couldn’t figure out how letting the cat out of the bag was doing good for him. But repentance is good for all of us. I think I hear you saying that helping another get right with God is truly loving them.

  10. Just Me

    Anna, Thank you for this post. I struggle to find the balance between taking responsibility for his sin and doing my part not to sweep it under the rug. It becomes tiresome and frustrating to confront him on the same issues over and over.

  11. Kathy seldon

    I’m so stuck right now. I know my husband is in sin, I know he’s still abusive and all of the surface change is just that, surface, I know God has told me multiple times that I’m free and that owe him nothing. God has set me free, but I can’t seem to set myself free. All of my resolve crumples at the thought of taking any actual action. The things I know need to be done, like petition for custody and file for divorce, are so hard to actually physically do. What am I waiting for? What am I so afraid of? Often I feel like the loud resounding “WHAT IF?” Screaming in my mind. What if he is changing, what if this is the wrong choice, how is he going to react. I know the truths, I know he’s not changing, I know I’m not wrong, I know exactly how he’ll react and that it shouldn’t matter. But my mind and will are at war with each other. I don’t even really want to be with him anymore, I cringe and get sick when anyone at all touches or tries to embrace me, and he did that. But my will is still resisting the actions my heart and mind are telling it to take

    • Song

      Kathy, I understand so much of what you are experiencing and share how frustrating it feels. You expressed it so very well. Stuck. That sums up so much of where I am also. I can see the path, mostly know what to do, but…..stuck. It feels so much like I’m frozen in place. The fear is paralyzing.

    • Anonymous

      I have been in your shoes and in some ways, still am. I don’t know what to say to you, except that you will do it, when you are confident that God has led you to do it. But, don’t be surprised if once you do it, all the guilt and questions you have above, come rolling back around. I think or at least wonder sometimes, if we are “stuck”, because we are connected (maybe that Stockholm thingie, huh?) somehow and feel sorry for the ones who have abused us and because our personalities differ, there may be some that it is much harder for, to leave or divorce the abuser, whether out of fear or hopes that we still may have of repentance on the abuser’s part, or out of still caring or loving them somehow, maybe more sensitive to the outcome for their souls or lives, I don’t know. But I know, it is very hard. Harder for some, than others. Others have more strength or determination or even more fear perhaps, that drives them, along with a perspective of their abusers’ souls that maybe differs from others’, but a good perspective, just the same. But the true answer is, I don’t know. I just don’t know.

    • Dear Kathy, would it help to try to make a list of the various things you are afraid of? Perhaps even a list in two parts: one for what you are afraid of if the status quo remains, and one for what you are afraid of if you petition for custody and divorce. One thing on the list might be “If he changes, that would mean x, y and z for me.” But I imagine there would be many other items too.

      Sometimes breaking down our tangled ball of fears and looking at each fear one by one can help us get unstuck. Analyzing what all the various and conflicting fears are (the polylemma) can take the overwhelm out of some of the fears, and for others we might be able to figure out proactive tactics or make mental preparations to handle them should they actually come to pass as we run the gauntlet of divorce.

      I am praying that God will take your hand and lead you the next step.

    • Amy

      ((Kathy)),
      So many of us have been right where you are, feeling “stuck.” I know I was. I married my ex in ’89 and he was emotionally, verbally, mentally and eventually, spiritually abusive. He walked out on me and our two boys four years ago only I now know to prove to me that i could not live without him. It came to a surprise to him when I did not beg him to come back. I know that God had a hand in him leaving because I would never have left nor kicked him out. I too felt “stuck” and scared to take any steps towards getting free.
      I knew, really knew in my heart I wanted to divorce him and get on with my life, actually get back to living life, but I had so much opposition to me even thinking of divorce from my church family at that time. So, I just didn’t do anything except revel in feeling a tremendous weight lifted off of my shoulders and feel like I could breathe again.

      I did eventually file for divorce, but it was two years after he left before it was final.

      i think you hit the nail on the head when you ask what you are so afraid of. I think feeling “stuck” is actually fear immobilizing us to take action and until we can truly dig deep and look that fear head on, we continue to stay where we are.
      Living with abuse, especially if it’s been a long length of time, destroys our self-confidence and leaves us doubting ourselves.

      The counselor I saw at the time my ex walked out really worked with me to figure out how I could face my fears head on. She encouraged me to write them down and then imagine the worse case scenario for each one, then pray over them and ask God to give me the courage and strength to face those fears. She would continually ask me, “what is the worse that could happen? So, he gets mad, so what??” And we would laugh, but in reality, yeah, that was a real fear for me.

      I don’t have great advice for you, but will say this: you are very valuable to God, you are his child, you are his daughter, and you need pray that He will give you clear direction. And even if you do not get that clear direction, no neon signs telling you what to do, step out anyway in faith. Step out in life. You are worth it. God loves you,

      P.s. When I was going through my initial separation i delved into the Psalms so I could really focus on who I am in God’s eyes and it helped me to change how I viewed myself based on the crap my ex had always told.

      Blessings to you and may you find peace and strength to take the steps you need to.

  12. Heather No. 2

    Anonymous, as one who didn’t leave for a few decades, I agree with you. Each of us are on different time scales that are products of so many aspects of our personalities and circumstances. I also think we are blinded in some ways. We love our husbands, want what is the best for them and for our families, trust God….But one day, when you least expect it or understand what is happening, you are DONE. You become unstuck. No one understands why you came unglued, why you seem to make no sense. And truthfully, you don’t either. But something in your body and deep in your soul, makes a decision not to live that way any longer. Unstuck.

    I know that in my case I was a boomerang wife. I filed for divorce, left, and returned twice because I really loved him and wanted us to reconcile and have that wonderful marriage. Each time I saw more and then finally realized that it was dead!

    It seems that so many are so hard on themselves for one reason or another. In the end, the choice is one made in prayer to our Father. No one else has the right to interfere with that. No one else is God. No one.

    • Anonymous

      Heather No. 2, may I ask you, if you don’t mind sharing, what “more” you saw? Was it “good” more or “bad” more? Is that what caused you to return to him? I agree with you and I have nearly 3 decades in too. I love how you explain this. I think the problem that perhaps Kathy is talking about, is when you become “unstuck”, why does it take so long to finalize the realization that you are “unstuck”, ie separation/divorce. Does that make sense?

      • Yes, your question makes perfect sense, Anon :)

      • Heather 2

        I saw that I was loving a dream, a hope. I saw that it was easier to stay with something horrible because it was familiar instead of unknown and frightening. I had been a stay at home mom all those years. I saw that his words and actions did not agree. I saw that he never took responsibility for his sins and I carried all of the blame. I saw that I helped build a false system and that was wrong even though it was not a conscious effort. I saw that if I did stay that he would never forgive me and I would pay. I knew that I would never be able to be intimate with him again. I saw that my children would hurt so much for me and not understand it and that the pain my staying would be too much for them that they might stay away. I saw that my son just might physically hurt his dad for all of it.

        I realised that when he told me I smelled good that last day I could not do it any longer. That was it.

        And it was the most painful decision I had made. Though I was already legally divorced from him I kept going back. Until that moment. At that moment I knew in my heart that the marriage had died!

      • Anonymous

        Thank you sooooo much for sharing this, Heather No. 2. I really, really needed to read that and I am certain it will help many others, as well.

        I am just curious, if you don’t mind sharing again. Did he ever say he was “sorry” or “repent”, or beg for you to stay and work it out? Did you ever think he truly was repentant? I am guessing that he probably did those things, but it didn’t last and he returned to his abusive ways. When you finally left for good, did he become more abusive, or was he docile or sneaky, knowing that it was truly over?

        You probably feel like I am picking your brain, (which I am!) but I think you have good things to share and we all need to hear them, as long as I am not invading your space and you are okay sharing with me (us).

    • Anna

      Yes, this! One day I stood up and said no more. I’m not apologizing for something I didn’t do. That act of honesty was a declaration of an act of war in his eyes. And it all began to unravel. God gave me the strength to defy his demand for a lie and He helped me in every step away from the abuse. It’s not been easy, but He helps me and gives me strength.

      • Heather 2

        My ex is passive. He is emotionally disconnected. He operates on a reward and punishment system, always the nice quiet guy. He abandoned me emotionally over the years. His affairs, etc…

        I left town. He never called me, never begged me to come home, never declared any love for me. Sadly, I saw plainly but would not admit it. When I contacted him to return he had no choice. The church would know and he had to keep his reputation. So I went back. And ultimately, I pulled the plug. So in the end he could shrug and say it was my choice, it wasn’t what he wanted. Talk about crazy making!

        To this day they think it was me. But you know what, the church is not aware that he has a girl friend, that he takes her on business trips. This from the man who they think has such love for me. It’s a strange world.

      • Anonymous

        Hmm. So sorry, Heather 2. But the truth is, that God knows who is telling the truth, even when it is obscured by the very minds of the victims themselves, who have been so mentally and emotionally abused that they cannot really seem to find the truth, as it hides beneath the facade of the abuser’s tactics, to oppress and confuse and throw everyone off, into that wicked web they weave. A web of deceit and lies, so dastardly, that it entangles all who are involved, and in order to get out of it, they (pastors/leaders/friends/family) just have to let him go. They free the evil one.

        It is so evil, that anyone could be so deceptive, that even people who claim Christ, can be so deceived by them. But, God says that there can be evil that is so strong, that looks so much like the truth, that if it were possible, even the elect could be deceived by it. That is the “evil” that we seek to be free from. The one that has duped us and looked so good to begin with, but is nothing but evil, from one smooth side to the other.

        Thank you for sharing your heart and the depth of your obvious pain. I am glad you are free, and one day, everyone will know the truth — and that goes for all of us!

      • Heather 2

        Thank you, Anon. Finally, after three long years, I am beginning to breathe. My Father has been good. I did not always do the right things. I was so confused. But He never gave up on me. I spent time in His Word also. The Psalms were a balm. I journaled. Today, I am remarried to a truly godly man who shows me real love.

        It has taken me a long time to reach this place. Praise The Lord, for He is good. His mercies are new every morning.

  13. Now Free

    Heather2, It’s really sad but true…from your description, I see so many similarities in the characteristics of our husbands.. Even though i wasn’t sure if he had affairs, there were strange women calling for him early in our marriage. I never confronted him with this information. Guess either I didn’t want to anger him, didn’t want to know, whatever. It’s so long ago and I don’t care any more.

    Like your husband, he is passive, emotionally disconnected, had a reward and punishment system operation, persona is of a quiet nice guy, emotionally abandoned me long ago. But he did physically abuse me, giving me a very severe beating early in the marriage.

    When I finally left him, he didn’t affirm any love for me either, didn’t say he wanted me back. He slandered me to others, family and business associates, with really vicious lies. I have always been completely faithful to him.

    I guess he’s still the nice to guy to a lot of other people. Like you, I cared about him and his reputation, but not any more. I don’t lie about him…don’t need to…my stories about him are convicting enough. I have enough stories about him to write a book.

    Like you, I’ve had bad days and good days. God will make things right one day!

    Hey Heather, we are Free!

    • Heather and Nowfree- I think we had the same husbands (except for the physical abuse). I know my ex had many women on the side the entire marriage-but i was in denial for most of it. Even when he gave me an STD- my OBGYN made up a story to explain it- and I chose to believe him. When I left- he only made a few token efforts to fix things-but he never really tried to get me back or anything- which is fine with me, because there was no way I was going back.

      • Now Free

        Jodi, our passive aggressive “twins” are just so happy to create rifts in families, especially if it means their victims are on the receiving end. Divide and conquer. I’m suffering a huge loss in my family right now. I’m so sorry about your sister being led into this trap.

        When I left, I also knew it would be for the first and last time. I think he did too, as I visited a lawyer the day after and got a separation agreement started.

        These passively agressive guys are just s-o-o-o treacherously manipulative into having people believe they are the nice guys. It just makes my skin crawl to think I was ever in bed with him! Eeewww!

      • Now Free, I think (following George Simon Jr) that rather than call these people ‘passive aggressive’ it is better to call them ‘covert aggressive’. George Simon lists ‘passive aggressive’ in his Top Ten Frequently Misused Psychological Terms. See pp 204-214 of his book Character Disturbance. If you don’t yet have the book you can see some of the terms here.

        Also see this post I wrote a while ago Covert aggression is not the same as passive aggression

    • Memphis Rayne

      Yup i can relate to all the above. My MIW was sooo highly manipulative, IT could cry on a dime, IT could rage when needed, IT played this cat and mouse game at the end about marriage but ONLY if speaking with somebody from church, otherwise IT would tell people “”Im going to track the BIG BLANK down” for the luxury of the heaping rewards in church IT would “”My poor wife, what have I done” but then when confronted in counseling or whatever “She is NOT perfect either!!!”” whenever i was present ITs demeaner would change into a seething stooper, as if to threaten me to keep my mouth shut!!! Of course the people who witness it just rationalize it as “”his anger is from his trust issues, you can help, its your job!””” Ya I can help by letting him stalk me more, and not trying to defend myself ever!!! But we all know that wouldnt even help at all!!!

      Today if I were a counselor in a church, I could smell the MIW before IT even entered the building!!! The MIW did all the master puppetering behind the scenes, and guess what??? The members of the church let him, if I needed to talk in private then it was considered dissrespectful to the MIW for not being present!!! But IT did that all the time, secretely going to mens meetings at churches we attended (and we would not understand why people judged us and treated us so harshly) I actually couldnt tell if I was truly paranoid, but nope i was not!!!! Their lofty looks towards me were shaped and formed by the MIW, but I was never asked about a thing, IT was soooo darn good at conviencing people of ITS truth they never thought to even approach me!!

      At one point when I had tried to make home in a new town with a new church I had discovered IT was behind the scenes yet again, having dinner with the Pastor and his wife……IT had been stalking us relentlessly, we were our second move in 6months, I NEEDED help and had nowhere else to go!!! Apparently the pastors wife just could not hold her feeling in any longer, and in front of my kids yelled “He is LONELY!!!! what would YOU want him to do????”” meaning my refusal to talk with him, protecting my children from being alone with somebody that has threatened for YEARS to take them!!!! Unfortunately I cannot say the rest of this episode, but it involved the MIW coming in at that point, and EVEN though IT was all bent out of shape and hostile, ITS behaviour was justified in their eyes, you know because ALL HE has gone through!!!!

      Can I just say AAAAAAAAAGH!!!!!!

      I think its time for a covert operation within the church, we can all go out and secretly penetrate the scenes, and save those who are at the mercy of these people. One visit, with open ears and you would have most likely a handful of victoms that need to be pulled out……how hard would that be? There is enough of us to quietly get inside the church and at least direct people who are confused and suffering to maybe this website? I am reffereing of course to all the abuse victoms in the midst of the huge fog cast over them within church walls, so what if they are not ready to recieve more than what they are recieving there? Someday they will be and most likely the RIGHT direction will help them and their children out WAY sooner than if they are sifting through all the muddle on their own. Just sayin? Wouldnt that be awesome???? We would have endless amount of places to go undercover, and endless amounts of people to save.

      • Memphis Rayne

        As soon as I am free i will make that my mission……I already have my outfit planned out!!!

        I have big glasses with the funny nose and mustache, and maybe paired with my resident evil halloween costume? Or maybe I will just go with a clown suit so I dont scare any children? I may have to cut my hair to remain incognito, along with my childrens…..

        …either way the first hit will be my old church and no doubt they would no longer let me on the premises, or my kids if they knew it was me. I highly doubt they would notice a clown in the audience.

        But just to be sure I am keepin my mission on the DL….infiltration should be the mission, a big ole injection of the truth, right into the veins……they most likely wouldnt notice until the numbers dropped because people realized God is not in the house…….ONLY then when it starts affecting them will they take a look around and wonder HMMMM? “Whats going on here?”

        Well that is in my future plans anyhow = )

      • Memphis mainlining truth into the church! Whooohooo!

      • Now Free

        Yes Memphis, let’s go to these churches that really need a shaking up! We could print up our stories along with information about this website and distribute it to the congregations! Can’t you just see it…that would just be so cool!

        Abusers create a fog wherever they go..if your husband is the only abuser there, he will create enough fog so that you won’t have to go incognito!

        Be sure to take the truth serum though! LOL!

      • Barnabasintraining

        So glad you’re posting again, Memphis! :D

      • Jeff Crippen

        Memphis – “The MIW did all the master puppetering behind the scenes, and guess what??? The members of the church let him, if I needed to talk in private then it was considered dissrespectful to the MIW for not being present!!!”

        I have found, by being the target of this same garbage myself, that this “that’s gossip” card is one of the favorites of the “pious Christian” abuser. And it works. A true Christian doesn’t want to gossip and is very sensitive to such charges. So we wear the false guilt. Well, we used to anyway. No more. Oh, how saintly it makes the abuser who uses it. “I would NEVER talk about anyone like you are. You know how the Bible tells us we must guard our speech, and what you said just wasn’t right.” Yet the whole filthy mechanism is designed to keep the abuser’s evil in the darkness. He instills fear into his own family, brainwashing them with this “we must not gossip” nonsense, and they grow up being afraid to say much of anything. You can see them clam up suddenly if you are talking to them and suddenly the fear of “having said too much” sweeps over them.

        I am just awaiting the day that one of these kind pulls this business on me again. They are going to have a surprise coming. This time I won’t be foolish enough to apologize to them.

      • Memphis Rayne

        Jeff Crippen, I would be delighted if the MIW looked for us by talking to you….How befuddled IT would be if SOMEBODY actually did not fall for all ITS tears and whinning and complaining…..unfortunately the MIW would shrug it off, as an oversight on YOUR part and move on to the next church!!! = / Makes me wanna follow through on a nauesiating feeling.

  14. bright sunshinin' day

    You women are beautiful! God stores all our tears in HIS bottle! That is how much He cares for us! Ps 56:8-11 “You number my wanderings; put my tears in Your bottle; are they not in Your book? When I cry out to You, then my enemies will turn back; this I know, because God is for me. In God (I will praise His Word), in the Lord (I will praise His Word), In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”

    The Psalm goes on to say, “Vows made to You are binding upon me, O God.” When I think of the vow to love and cherish till death due us part that I took on wedding day, I didn’t know then that the “death” that would cause us to part is what Anna wrote about so well and you ladies have fleshed out even more. The death that causes many to part (separate/divorce) is due to husband’s love for wickedness. The marriage died when the abuse began.

    Marriage based on false pretenses, when husband claims Christ and yet hates his wife, is NO marriage at all and NOT a marriage that God loves. God loves righteousness and repentance. Those who love wickedness, God hates. 1 John 3:10 says, “In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother [or wife].” 1 John 1:6 says, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” We all sin and walk in darkness at times, but a true sign of a true believer is confession of sins and turning toward God – putting off the baggage and putting on the good. He is faithful and just to forgive and cleanse from ALL unrighteousness if we ask! (see March 4 post “How to recognize true or false Contrition” by Dr. George Simons, Jr)

    There is not just “horrible stuff in store for those who love wickedness,” but there is some horrible stuff in store for the wicked shepherds who do not use the power they have been given to bring help to the oppressed (Read Ezek 34), for those who “shut up his heart” from those who are in need. How can the love of God abide in him? (1 John 3:17)

    Anna is right. The most loving thing we can do for the spouse who claims Christ and yet loves wickedness evidenced by practicing it habitually without repentance is to stop aiding and abetting his sins, stop providing a covering for his evil, stop being a stumbling block for him, our children and ourselves by being there, and get out. God help us.

    • Leslie

      Megan said “even though my reputation hit rock bottom. It truly only hit rock bottom with those who really weren’t friends or family to begin with. They weren’t going to stand by me, no matter what I did or didn’t do. In the end, it was a release”
      Wow. This is so current for me and so very hard to get to. My husband is in ” impression management” and saying all kinds of untrue things about me and our marriage. He Even managed to find a counsellor who buys his crap ( the counsellor has not Spoken to me). It’s so frustrating. I feel so helpless. I know I need to leave my “image” and the truth of my abuse to God. I’m just really struggling to get there. I’m too angry at the moment. I did really needed to read your comments though Megan. It was helpful. Thank you. Ill get there.

  15. Now Free

    Now Free, I think (following George Simon Jr) that rather than call these people ‘passive aggressive’ it is better to call them ‘covert aggressive’. George Simon lists ‘passive aggressive’ in his Top Ten Frequently Misused Psychological Terms. See pp 204-214 of his book Character Disturbance. If you don’t yet have the book you can see some of the terms here.

    Also see this post I wrote a while ago Covert aggression is not the same as passive aggression

    Barb, I realized this shortly after posting but didn’t want to trouble you with yet another edit. :(

    • No probs!

    • Heather 2

      I understand the difference about passive and covert, but when you have been married to a man who is very laid back, you assume it is passivity. Covert actions are well thought out and manipulative. Barbara, I go crazy trying to figure it out. But I think you are right that we don’t want our worldview to crack and therefore we struggle to consider it covert. I can see the face of my ex in my mind and the “honest” looking smile. To accept covert actions is often very difficult. And yet, I cannot deny some of the actions. They were so obviously covert. This is why we consider covert aggression crazy making!

      Jodi, I am so sorry that you received a disease from your husband. My doctor pressed me last year to be tested. I am thankful that the results were clean. Shame on your doctor for making excuses to cover your husband!

      One thing I have found in myself this week. After a particularly enlightening time, such as when this thread began, I was encouraged and saw clearly. The next day, however, I found myself questioning things all over again. I recognize a pattern of doing this. So, now that I am really aware, I must arm myself and pray and ask the Lord to keep me in His strength.

      • Now Free

        Shortly before leaving the marriage, I researched the term “passive-aggressive”, and to be frank, I had some doubts this term adequately described my husband. It seemed like a contradiction in terms, an oxymoron. Although he was usually quite subtle (but at times really blatant) in his abusive tactics, he was not at all passive. He was really manipulative and I could see that his maneuvers were well thought out.

        At that time I also found Wikipedia’s definition of “passive-aggressive” (their term) and the 11 symptoms of the “passive-aggressive” personality. My husband has easily displayed each and every one of these characteristics, and likely more. ( I don’t want to trigger myself unnecessarily by dwelling on the others.) These are taken from the book “Living With the Passive-Aggressive Man”.

        Maybe we should contact Wikipedia, edit out this term and change it to the real one eh? Covert Aggressive!

      • That’s a very good idea about suggesting that edit to Wikipedia. I am sure Dr George Simon and those like him would be grateful, not to mention all the victims of abusers who are confused about the term ‘passive aggressive’ and may never even have heard the term ‘covert aggressive.’ Wikipedia is not always reliable, and unless Wikipedia users (any and all of us) edit it, it does not improve. I’m all for community participation in change for the betterment of society, and editing Wikipedia is a way that any person can get involved. You don’t have to be an official ‘expert’ to edit Wikipedia; so far as I know, anyone can submit edits, and the edits just get monitored and moderated by all the other users.

        I heard that someone did a test to see how easily they could introduce some falsehoods into Wikipedia articles. They submitted misinformation deliberately, and when it got published it was quickly removed again by other readers. I guess that some articles are more closely watched and monitored than others, but it is heartening to know that at least with many Wikipedia articles there are world-class experts watching what is being said about their discipline or knowledge-base, and correcting errors pretty quickly if they creep in.

        All of which points to the fact that if readers of this blog want to influence what Wikipedia has in its articles, we can do so, and so long as we stick to Wikipedia’s guidelines for being fair and balanced and don’t insert misinformation or obvious bias, then our influence can make a difference.

      • Thanks Heather :) I was in such deep denial at the time, I never gave it a second thought.

      • Heather 2

        Jodi, I wish I could say that it’s all in its proper place now but I still have moments of denial and I really struggle. I keep taking it to God who is ever gentle and patient with me. My wonderful new husband is a very wise and godly man with whom I experience security and real love. But it is still a journey to healing.

        Be kind and gentle with yourself. You deserve nothing less.

  16. Now Free

    I’m still waiting on my Wikipedia edit for Dr. SImon’s latest book. :)

  17. psalm 37

    I just want to give you a ton of thanks and gratitude for what you all write. The empathy displayed in these comments and replies to each others’ hurts and experiences is, well, you can reach out and touch it. I’m off to court again tomorrow, and it gets me nervous and disgusted, but I feel okay after reading thoughts from my friends here. Thanks be to God for all your “weeping with those who weep and rejoicing with those who rejoice.”

    • MeganC

      Dear Psalm 37 — Your comment breaks my heart. So many of us understand how you feel. The dread . . . the fear . . . it is sickening. We are on your team — always. Cheering you on from different parts of the world. Keep us posted on how it goes. Much love and big hugs.

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