A Cry For Justice

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

I loved the way he lied. But not anymore.

Lyrics of the song Love the Way You Lie   ( Trigger warning. Language warning.)

That song. I remember loving and hating it when it came out. We were living far from family, far from my support system and I felt trapped. But I learned how strong I really could be in that situation.

I had a dream about X last night. He was sorry. In my dream he sent an email that was sweet. The dream seemed so real that I checked my email when I woke up. Those are the worst dreams. I hate them.

I loved the way he lied. His words were so smooth, so soothing. He could seem so vulnerable and sincere. He might’ve even believed his own lies. I don’t know, but now I know, I KNOW, that the man I loved wasn’t real. It was only a lie, an image he conjured up to make life bearable — for both of us. His lies would offer me just enough hope to get me through the day and buy him just enough power to stay in control.

The soft soothing sincere X never lasted. Once he was back in control, the nice guy evaporated and I was still there trying desperately to keep the nice guy there, trying to make him laugh, trying to keep things just the way he liked them so he would not turn into the mean guy, the angry guy.

Now, with God’s help I can spot the lies much better. And I don’t burn for X anymore. And I no longer yearn for his lies.

I made him laugh last Saturday and now he’s being nice. I sent him an amusing text because I was embarrassed about a mistake I’d made. I shouldn’t have sent the funny text. It was a stupid mistake. And it’s what caused the dumb dream last night. I woke up thinking that I could entertain X, I could placate him, I could make us tolerable… but his soul is more precious to God than that. I was making him comfortable in his filth. It was killing his spirit and I was making him comfortable because I loved him and for my own profit, because I liked where we lived and the power that I pretended to have as his wife. It was all a lie. And I don’t love it anymore.

God’s ways are better, so much better. The peace I have is so much better than the fake peace treaties he offered up so that we could both pretend to look good. No more.

* * * * *

Additional note from Barb: Lundy Bancroft brilliantly dissects the song Love The Way You Lie in his video presentation Part 4 of Domestic Violence in Popular Culture (YouTube). Trigger warning: Lundy’s presentation shows segments of the music video that was made for the song, and that music video portrays graphic domestic violence assaults and intimidation.

20 Comments

  1. Katy

    This is great. I hated that song and music video, because whenever men sing or talk about their “tumultuous”, “passionate”, “angry” feelings in romantic relationships, I just think… get a grip on yourself. What kind of men are proud of constantly flipping out over their partner’s existence and having to beat back aggression in themselves??
    It seems to me that true love is more peaceful than all that.

  2. Heather2

    We know that appeasement doesn’t work in the geopolitical world. Despots remain despots and only get worse when we stroke their egos or back down.

    In relationships where abuse is prevalent the same is true. In my case I appeased for fear that my ex would find someone else. We must never listen to words without looking at actions. Lies, flowers and pretty words so often deceive. Out of the mouths of abusers they are silky and smooth but The truth is found in their actions! Actions never lie!

    • joepote01

      I’m going to have to disagree with your last statement, Heather. Actions can lie and often do. In fact, lying by actions is worse than lying by words, because the actions are more convincing and hit closer to our heart’s desire. Lying actions pierce our hearts at a much more vulnerable level than lying words.

      Yes, the lie is always eventually revealed by actions…but while the subterfuge is maintained the temporarily modified behavior makes a very alluring and deceitful lie.

      • Jeff Crippen

        Good point Joe (and Heather also). Joe, maybe if we modified Heather’s statement just a bit? “Out of the mouths of abusers words are silky and smooth but The truth is found in their UNGUARDED WORDS and actions! UNGUARDED moments never lie!” I suppose that is what she meant, and of course what you are getting at is that abusers, like all evil, are deceitful and can speak and act in lying ways – and in fact they do.

      • Heather2

        You make an excellent point, Joe. But my experience was one of all the right words but no proof to back it up. We can get used to the words and fail to see that they are meaningless.
        But, I agree, lying actions are devastating. I believe that a person who can act one way and never mean what they are doing is evil!

      • joepote01

        Yes – The truth eventually does come out in their unguarded moments.

    • “We know that appeasement doesn’t work in the geopolitical world. Despots remain despots and only get worse when we stroke their egos or back down. In relationships where abuse is prevalent the same is true.”

      THIS. And how weird it is that most people know that we can’t appease the Hitlers or Osama Bin Ladens, but they think we ought to be able to appease our domestic terrorists.

  3. joepote01

    I had a dream similar to that, about a year after the divorce. It was very disturbing to me…had my stomach twisted in knots for a while…until God, again, spoke His peace into my heart.

    Looking back, I think that dream was a part of the healing process. It was something I needed to clarify in my own mind how much I did NOT want things back the way they were…not even when that marriage was at it’s best…because even at its best it was all based on lies…

  4. granonine

    Powerful. Heartwrenching.

  5. IamMyBeloved's

    Good post. I think that when I have dreams, they are what I was hoping for, not reality. They help me know that my intention in the marriage was right. Sometimes our minds play these things on us. I personally, would not want any contact, at all, with my abuser, as I have learned that his actions/words/lies/abuse all add up to my own destruction. I found that living with him, left me dazed and confused, not to mention the ongoing effects of being abused, and lacking the spiritual discernment I once had. I read something the other day, that said that witchcraft as defined in the Bible, has three dynamics to it. 1) Manipulate 2) Intimidate 3) Dominate, all the things that make up abuse. I guess that is maybe why it can feel like you have had some sort of “spell” cast on you, that makes it so hard to leave the abuse. The whole twisting dynamic of abuse and crazymaking left me empty and sad that all I had dreamed of for my family, was never going to be. I have had to admit that I was never loved.

    • Heather2

      Oh Ellie, me too! We love with total commitment. We forgive, move forward, and pray to be better spouses, trusting that in the end all our dreams will come true.

      And then the dreams shatter because we realize that we were never loved. It’s so sad.

      I remind people that I didn’t divorce my ex because I didn’t love him. I divorced him because he didn’t love me.

      • joepote01

        “I remind people that I didn’t divorce my ex because I didn’t love him. I divorced him because he didn’t love me.”

        I love how you put this, Heather!

        And isn’t that both a normal and biblical perspective? How can we be in an intimate relationship with someone who doesn’t love us? Someone who, in fact, delights in mistreating us and will go out of their way to do us harm?

        Not even God will remain in relationship with someone who doesn’t love Him. Hell is not populated with people God does not love, but with people who chose not to love God.

      • Me

        A friend of mine cruelly remarked to me after the divorce, “Well, it goes to show you never really loved him.” I should have said to her that I divorced him because he didn’t really love me, but that would not have cut it for her or any of the church folks he put on a show for. They were all convinced that he loved me, all because he said so, and sometimes acted so, when he was being watched. His words were a lie, his actions were a lie, and his insistence that he didn’t tell lies was a lie.

      • Heather2

        You nailed it. My experience with the people at church was identical. But they were not in my shoes. They didn’t live my life for over thirty years. They thought they had all the answers. We know they don’t.

        I have not darkened the doors if a church since. I’m not recommending that we all should depart from our churches but it was one of the best things I did. It took me a long time to be comfortable with my choice. Today, I spend time with my Lord, His Word, and in prayer. He has shown me what He says, what He means, and that my church background was flawed. I have had to rethink so many teachings in light if what He says, not what other say He says.
        I found my treatment by many who call themselves Christians to be entirely damning and yet they are the very ones who coddle my ex. In the end God knows each and every one of our hearts. I am accountable to Him. He is full of mercy and compassion. He is a God of forgiveness and strength. Our experiences in our marriages and the fallout we endured brings us that much closer to Him when we cling to Him alone. And isn’t that a beautiful way to go forward? If we had not walked these paths perhaps we would not know Him quiet as deeply. Perhaps we would be more inclined to judge others, to be legal. God’s promise in Romans 8:28-29 has been very real in my life. And I am very grateful that the darkness revealed a very silver lining.

      • Heather, just a thought for you or anyone who can’t find a decent church. Jeff C’s church service is broadcast live. I listen to it from here in Oz every week (monday 5.45 am my time). You can find how to listen to it here. No pressure though 🙂

      • Heather2

        Thank you, Barb!

  6. I always hated that song. I thought Bancroft’s analysis of it was good.

  7. Brenda R

    Ellie your post was good and honest, however I am completely sickened that anyone would make money off of the filth that is this song. The language was bad, but it was more than that. It makes domestic violence seem like a good thing. Slap me around a few more times so we can have great make up sex. I think not. Lundy Bancroft hit it on the head. Next time I’ll hit the wall. Not better. X didn’t hit me, but he hit a lot of walls, doors, pets. He screamed obscenities at me and the kids. I didn’t know this song existed and saddened that children may want to listen to these performers and what they would be listening to and learning from them. Very thankful for Christian radio stations.

  8. Valerie

    Once again this post truly resonated with me. So many times the last few months I have considered just burying my head in the sand again just to have him smile at me. I have thought these things often but immediately following I also acknowledge that I can’t “un-know” that he’s never loved me. He’s been an abuser from the beginning. He hasn’t changed, my awareness has.

    But yes, even now as I contemplate my uncertain financial future with inevitable divorce just around the corner I want to run back to the security (financially) of what he had and I have a split second moment of groveling even in pretend just to have some rest from the uncertain future.

    I know that I will be more happy, secure, fulfilled and at peace once I get to the other side of this but right now I feel smack up against the Red Sea and I’m just asking God to part it for me (and admittedly come back down on my enemies).

    I am so mentally bookmarking that insight “I’m not divorcing him because I don’t love him, I’m divorcing him because he doesn’t love ME!” I also see Jeff’s point about the unguarded behavior. How sickening it was to be given the silent treatment on the way to church then have him open the door for me or others going into the church. Disgusting.

    • Brenda R

      Valerie,
      I suppose we always want what we don’t have. X would yell at me the entire way to church, drop me off at the door, let me fend for myself while on crutches for several weeks right before we split up and then go inside and act like an angel. We got back in the car and he complained the whole way home about one thing or another. I think I would have preferred the silent treatment.

      Getting through the change in all aspects of life during and after divorce is scary and exciting at the same time. I found that financially, God has supplied all my needs and I am able to save more now than I could with X. I’m not a big spender, he wouldn’t stop until it was gone. Emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually I am so much better and expect to be even better over time. He still tries to contact me and bring me back into the cycle, but that has gotten easier not to fall into.

      I understand wanting the Red Sea to part and it to cover my enemy. Or at the very least for him to have a mental block and cannot remember who I am and would therefore not remember any of the ways that he could possibly contact me. That would be a blessing.

      Keep remembering: “I’m not divorcing him because I don’t love him, I’m divorcing him because he doesn’t love ME!” Also, remember the reasons why you don’t believe he loved you. There may be times when he tries to get into your good graces. If you start to forget the reasons why he doesn’t love you, you may let your guard down. You will remember those few little things that made you think he did. Speaking from experience. My moments of backing down only lead to becoming angry with myself for leaping into the web and being devoured by the spider. I don’t want that experience for anyone else. My strength comes from the Lord and staying as tight with Him as I can.

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