A Cry For Justice

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

Look Out for Mean Followed by Nice Followed by Mean, Followed by Nice….

Psalms 21:7-8 For the king trusts in the LORD, and through the steadfast love of the Most High he shall not be moved. Your hand will find out all your enemies; your right hand will find out those who hate you.

One of the very common tactics of abusers is variously called crazy-making, or Stockholm syndrome. Those aren’t exactly the same things, but they both mess with your mind in a big way. They lay false guilt on you, shame you, make you blame yourself and justify your abuser…and on and on. Recently I saw this kind of mechanism at work and thought it would be a good thing to share with you.

So here is a family member. Could be an abuser spouse, or as we all know, it could be a relative who abuses to control. Charming exterior persona. Well-liked by and popular with tons of people. But behind the scenes, you get this nasty email or comment. Maybe something like, “if you really loved so and so you would do so and so and because you have not done so and so, well, you just don’t care at all about so and so. I just don’t think I can be around you. Go away.” Keep in mind now that we are talking about a scenario in which YOU in fact did NOTHING wrong. Your “offense” is a creation of the wicked one’s imaginations.

Job 33:9-10 You say, ‘I am pure, without transgression; I am clean, and there is no iniquity in me. Behold, he finds occasions against me, he counts me as his enemy,

Punishment, you see. For what? For not doing what they demand you do. Keep in mind of course that generally these kind NEVER communicate their expectations to you. Their goal is to control, not to work things out you see.

Alright, that’s the attack and the punishment. What comes next? In a normal, healthy relationship what would come next is repentance by them. “I had to call and tell you how sorry I am for the way I behaved toward you the other day. I was in a foul mood, but that’s no excuse. Please forgive me.” But this isn’t a normal, healthy, safe relationship. You can never have and will never have a healthy relationship with an abuser. No, here is what comes next: “I just called to tell you what a great job you did the other day. That was a very special thing you did and I really appreciate you for it.”

Huh? Am I nuts? Didn’t you just tell me a few days back that you don’t want to be around a piece of scum like me? Did that really happen? Maybe I misunderstood…no, no, it happened. You blasted me and guilted me and told me you didn’t want to see my face. So what’s this all about?  What’s this “making nice” as if the ugliness never occurred?

Well, what it is is wickedness. It is evidence that this person is polished at using abuser tactics to control, to manipulate, and to possess power over another, all the while maintaining outwardly their masquerade as “the greatest person ever known.” You see, this kind of — what shall we call it — antipodal behavior, this exercising of opposites, is intentionally designed to keep you off balance. It’s purpose is to instill self-doubt in you. It is a kind of psychological conditioning not really that different from giving an animal some kind of negative punishment (jolt on the shock collar for barking) and then a doggie cookie for when they do something good (go potty somewhere besides on the living room carpet). A conditioned animal obeys. So does an abuse victim as long as they don’t understand what is happening to them.

The solution? See what is happening. Name it for what it is. Recognize the person using that tactic habitually is an evil, unsafe person. Work to withdraw yourself from relationship with that person.

“Polly wanna cracker?” NO! Polly is outta here!

106 Comments

  1. Searching

    Yes, except in my case it is an e-mailed rant, followed by a request for a hug the next day, then a week or two later another e-mailed “why won’t you talk to me” and the rest telling me all the things I did wrong, then a few hours later Mr. Nice Guy voice let’s talk, if you want to. Nope, sorry, I already told you I no longer feel safe sharing my personal thoughts with you. And so the cycle goes. It helps to see that now, but for years it definitely had me very confused and feeling just a little crazy. And yes, he threatens to leave, then claims I am the one who is trying to leave. Lastly, he has the charming personality nailed, and is beloved by many people. Not so funny how we can’t quite see him that way. I am absolutely amazed at how he can turn things around in his own mind the way he does.

  2. Still Reforming

    Does anyone know how to tell if a phone line is tapped? My anti-husband found out something that only two other people (both biological family to me) knew, and both swear they didn’t tell him. The “a-h- left a message saying to our child sorry to hear you’re sick,” and even our child asked, “How did he know that???” I believe neither of my family members told him (one is angry at him and the other just doesn’t really care to get involved). I want to find out if my home line is tapped – and also if my main computer (not the laptop I always use) has keystroke recording software on it. Anyone know how to determine these things?

    • I don’t know how to tell. However, there have been a couple of cases recently where people were able to remotely turn on a web cam and spy on people. In those cases, both men, they took pictures/videos of women and used it to blackmail them. I have a piece of thick paper covering my webcam on my laptop. If your child is old enough to chat online, he/she might have told someone online. That someone might be your anti-husband (love that term!). There are so many insidious ways we don’t think of that they find information. Maybe it was someone at your doctor’s office. Maybe your family members told someone in confidence and it went out from there. Abusers have a way of convincing people that you’re the crazy one and manipulating others into providing information. You might want to google software that can detect spying software and remove it. He probably only does because he knows it bothers you. Don’t give him the power!

      • Still Reforming

        minervasue (I like that name!) – I did a search once to detect the presence of keystroke software on our main family’s computer, and I was able to see all running programs, and I didn’t see anything resembling keystroke software. Someone else told me malware programs (such as malwarebytes, which I have) could detect them too, and so far nothing has turned up. But I’m really stumped how he was able to say within minutes of my having emailed my mother (from a private email account on which I change the pass phrase frequently) and she having emailed my brother that my anti-husband leaves such a voice mail message saying he’s sorry to hear she’s sick. Today, my brother denied having spoken with him (but my brother is going to his sister’s house today – so I’m wary….). Sheesh, I hate living this way.

      • Hmm. That IS puzzling. I know how stressful a situation like this can be. I’m sorry you have to go thru this. At the end of the day you can either allow him to continue to emotionally manipulate you or just let it go. It’s not a simple undertaking, but it gets easier over time. I still struggle with it, but I’ve been able to free myself from a significant amount of my AH’s (my new acronym!) emotional baggage. It’ll be freeing for both you and your kids.

      • Ann

        “Abusers have a way of convincing people that you’re the crazy one and manipulating others into providing information.” This is spot on!!! They will also make stuff up or use a minor friction he knows exists between you and a family member or friend and say you said something negative or hateful about those people in order to alienate those supports from you.

    • dcnner

      there are some good resources online: I liked this one, especially the bit about planting false information to check (though that still doesn’t rule out that one of your relatives is betraying you) and I also think it is wise to ask your phone company to check. Also note that smart phones are the easiest way to spy on someone.
      http://www.wikihow.com/Tell-if-Your-Phone-Is-Tapped

      • Still Reforming

        dcnner, thank you! I like the idea of planting false information. That would reveal the source of a leak indeed. That would never have occurred to me to do that. I shall start first with the most likely sources of info to him (my own bloodline family – boy I sure hope it’s not them, but if so, I pray that the Lord reveals the truth to me so I know). Thank you for the link.

    • Ann

      Still reforming,
      Check your computer and see if the “remote assistance” is turned to “on”. If it’s on it allows anyone from any location in another part of your home AND outside your home to access everything on your computer; they can be across the country and do it. If you turn off your webcam or the built in microphone they are cable of turning them back on or control anything they want including seeing your keystrokes if a keystroke program is installed. Keystroke programs are very difficult to find; you will probably need someone like a tech at Best Buy or other computer service to find it. Sometimes those kind of programs are embedded in the antivirus program installed on your computer.

      • Still Reforming

        Ann, thank you. And here I thought running the antivirus program would find it. Apparently it can be embedded therewithin. I’m getting so gun shy lately – I’m trying to be careful what I disclose here as well because he could be reading here. I know he’s done this when we were under the same roof (reading my notes or a blog I used to keep but never once discussing them with me – it was like being spied on while living with him), but now it’s even creepier. I feel so naive. I’m praying for the Lord to shine His light of truth on what I need to know to protect my child and me.

    • Still Scared but you can call me Cindy

      Mine did that with the computer cameras until I had someone who knows tech put up safe guards so he couldn’t. He also recorded my private conversation with my lawyer and we found out because he knew something about a kid that I only said aloud( and never in writing anywhere) to my lawyer and the kids did not tell anyone, let alone his dad.

      • Still Reforming

        With computer cameras? They can be seen, can’t they? I don’t see any computer cameras on our home computer, which I haven’t used since late summer. And I don’t see any attachments to our home phone or hear static or odd noises on the line. But I’m really beginning to suspect a mole in my own family, dagnabbit. Because my anti-husband found out the news that a child is sick within minutes of my having emailed my mom and her telling me she’d email my sibling. Minutes later, a-h- called leaving the message saying he’s sorry to hear that the child is sick. There’s a leak somewhere. Thank the Lord I’m finding this out now. I’ve been careful not to give details that could jeopardize my case, but now even moreso. It’s so creepy.

      • Still Scared but you can call me Cindy

        Not on my macs. they don’t move…the light might turn on but i and the kids did not know to notice. I had a friend’s husband who knows tech come and check EVERYTHING out about my computers as soon as ex was out of the house.

      • Still Reforming

        Cindy, how did your ex- manage to find out what you had spoken only out loud and to your attorney? If it was never written down, how did your ex- manage to get that information? That gives me the creeps.

      • Still Scared but you can call me Cindy

        oh, we, my lawyers, me, the ex and his lawyer were in a day long meeting. Occasionally the ex and his lawyer would leave the room so I could confer with my lawyers. He left his computer in the room that he was supposedly using during the meeting, my lawyer and I assume he had it on record. He knew three things that that is the ONLY way he could know.

      • Still Reforming

        Cindy,
        There’s wisdom in your comment for those who still have such meetings ahead of them, as I might, except that if I can avoid being in the same room with my soon-to-be-ex- , I will. I’d prefer to deal just attorney-to-attorney if we can. Still, your comment may save someone else’s bacon in the future. Thank you.

    • soldiergirl

      This happened to me as well. H-knew something suspiciously right after I spoke about it on the phone to someone else.
      Not just once, but many times. ( Mine was obsessed with tracking my thoughts, conversations, and moves so he could have ammo to sabatoge me at any point.)
      I couldnt figgure out if he had the room bugged or installed something on my phone when i was not aware.
      So I purchased some one keyed deadbolt door knobs at home depo to shore up a “safe room” within my home situtation ..
      To keep this simpler you can install just the one keyed deadbolt latch as the door knob ( a little easier to do and just as effective) only costs 9.95 each. ( they also have them in matched key sets if your room has more than one door.)
      This allowed me a secure room that I alone have access too, and i keep it locked all the time.
      (Because they are sneeky!)
      And am now in the habit of wearing my keys on my belt continuously, as those could dissappear if left out in the open too.
      Pretty much anything important stays in that room including my purse as well.
      Also put a secure lock on the window so that cant be breached.
      This room is a place where there can be some peace of mind for me until other arrangements can be made.
      When I go to my job, it is a good feeling to know that my room will not be bugged or rifeled through.
      I also ended up changing the tmobil account into a new account with my name only, and changed passwords, with strict notes and instructions that no man could call in and access my account to any of the employees.
      Since there was still time on my plan with them, they were able to upgrade my phone to a newer I phone that only costs me an extra 4.95 a month. That phone has a brand new private gmail account linked to it which through the old email i discovered he could have accesed information from my old phone.
      Since i have taken these measures an precautions against my privacy being breeched the information stalking has seemed to stop and oddly enough he has moved out.
      Hope this helps.

      • soldiergirl

        I have to add Still Reforming, concerning computers, that I found out that my AH has been getting all of my emails that I sent to other people, and recieved from a shared computer in the same house for over a year now.
        Apparently this can be done today with the install of a program and is a common practice in businesses where employers want to keep track of what there employees are emailing.
        So just to give you the heads up on that one.
        It was done to me without my knowledge.
        Your personal laptop, or phone might be your safest choice of use, and be sure to have a gmail that is private and not reflective of your name as well as passwords that dont reflect you so you cant be stalked through your email.

    • Ann

      Still Reforming,
      I forgot to mention, a detective told me (he’s been doing this for 30 years) it’s almost always a family member. This happened with me and it was one of my children and 2 of my siblings. Abusers know who the vulnerable ones are. The detective said to keep all my plans, etc. to myself. Even people you think are safe can “slip”.

      • Still Reforming

        Ann, Much as I hate to admit it, that seems to be the most likely scenario here, but that would also mean that my brother lied when he told me he hadn’t told my A-H-‘s sister (who would have immediately told my A-H-) – or just forgot that he told her or something. But…. that does seem like the scenario that makes the most sense – also since my brother happens to be staying at my A-H-‘s sister’s house tonight. Why? I have no idea.
        With your child and siblings, were they accidental slips or purposeful informs? Or do you not know?

    • Scarlett

      My phone was tapped by my stalker/abuser. He gained access to my apt while I was out of town, and had a device that turned on and recorded my conversations every time I used or answered the phone. I finally found it hidden behind a piece of furniture.
      My friends estranged abuser had a phone tap installed on the roof of her home, (of all places), where he would listen in. That ended when he burned her home down. Fortunately, she and her daughter escaped unharmed.
      Just the fact that your privacy is being breached should be good reason to call in someone to investigate how he if doing this.

    • On our resources page for Safety Planning
      https://cryingoutforjustice.com/resources/safety-planning/
      we have quite a few links on cyberstalking and digital safety/privacy.

      Sorry to add this so late in response to your question. I’ve been so tired I’ve not done much on the front of the blog the last few days.

    • Bullfrog

      Mine was able to do this with something called “Chromoting” through Google Chrome. It gives them access to your computer remotely, including any emails you might have open.

      • Thanks Bullfrog, for sharing your experience. If you have anything else to add to help other readers who may be subject to cyber-stalking, please share it. If you don’t feel safe to add it as a comment under your own gravatar, send it to TWBTC twbtc.acfj@gmail.com and she will disseminate it as appropriate (on this thread and/or on our Resources pages).

        Bless you. And welcome to ACFJ 🙂

      • Bullfrog

        Thanks for the welcome, Barbara! I’ve been a lurker for a long time and appreciate your blog so much.

        I don’t know very much about Chromoting. All I knew was my ex was pointedly making reference to things he could not have known, except through my emails with my family, who would never ever betray my confidence. Things were referenced in an obvious manner– he wanted me to know he was spying and had control. He is very tech smart, and had also secretly installed 2 tracking apps on my phone right before I left him (Norton Antivirus and Find My Phibe) so I knew he was capable of something.

        I took my computer to a specialist who was able to check the history. As far as I can understand, if you have Google Chrome on your computer and the person has had access to it, they can easily remotely access your screen, just like they were there. I believe he also set something up in my Gmail where a copy of every email gets sent to his email. Needless to say, I got a new email and computer that he has never touched.

        It’s all scary and evil, and I’m sorry other women have to go through this as well.

      • good for you, Bullfrog!

        Frogs can hide in the mud for months or even years I think. Just like victims can hide from their abusers. And bullfrogs can croak up a racket too, when they want to. Like

  3. Stina

    I never got emails (or anything in writing for that matter) but this happened all the time. Messed with my head and emotions for so long, over two decades. I stayed for so long because I did do something that made me believe I deserved it. Then I finally realized he was controlling and manipulative before I did said screw up.

  4. Ann

    “Psalms 21:7-8 For the king trusts in the LORD, and through the steadfast love of the Most High he shall not be moved. Your hand will find out all your enemies; your right hand will find out those who hate you.”

    Thank you for this verse; I very much need this and I’m putting it to memory. I love that our being unmoved is because of our dependable God and we don’t have to muster up some false strength. The Most High’s love is “steadfast”; so the opposite of the roller coaster ride relationship with an abuser where even nice deeds have an ulterior motive.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Ann- Those really are great truths, aren’t they? I also noticed here that real love, the steadfast love of God evidences itself here in what way? By the blessing of finding out all our enemies and those who hate us. Contrast that with the wimpy, milktoast “love” of so much of modern christianity which is a distortion of the love of God. God’s love for us works, in this respect, to shine a lot on evil and defeat the enemy. God’s love enables us to SEE our enemy.

      • Ann

        Yes! Lately I have been praying that God would reveal *all* things my abuser husband has and is doing to destroy me along with those involved with him that are party to it also. God has reassured me today through your post He will do this for me. I believe God will reveal it in his perfect timing.

  5. joyisnowfree

    Thank you for this. It’s so true and encouraging.

  6. KayJay

    “Their goal is to control, not to work things out you see.” Ah, yes, the nasty email! Feeling like an apology is always expected, but never knowing what for. A close relative has used this tactic for years til I finally figured out that things were never going to be any different, no matter what I did. What a relief to have no contact. Amazing how this long standing behavior can set us up for a lifetime of acceptance of this as “normal” from other people/relationships. Crazy-making indeed!

  7. Ann

    This wickedness just happened 5 minutes ago. Yesterday he sang my praises for Thanksgiving dinner. Just now he accused me in his ugly tone that I did something I did not. He is a bully.

  8. Brenda R

    I have to wonder if there are any sane, non-abusive, unmarried men that do not suffer from things like PTSD or are self-medicating for any reason. I seriously have my doubts. Having been through the muck, I believe my red flag alerts are hyper sensitive these days. I am past the stage of having to come out of the fog with the X, but do not seem to meet men that don’t have some sort of up and down personality issues.
    Several weeks ago I was looking online for sheet music for Third Day and found they had a concert in the town I live in. Yeah. I impulsively bought 2 tickets thinking I could persuade my best friend to go who isn’t into music. Didn’t happen, she didn’t want to go. I then asked every semi friend and female acquaintance that I know. There was no one that could or would go and I didn’t really want to go to the downtown area at night alone. So I did the unthinkable—I asked my neighbor who is a “Christian” man. We have had many good conversations over the past year. We both like music and play instruments. We talk about Jesus, church, passing out Bibles to nonbelievers etc. All are good topics and innocent. The one thing I did notice is that frequently if he either wanted to ask me a question or talk about something he would wait until he would run into me in the hall or parking lot and never come to my door. He always said he was, “waiting until the time was right”.
    When I came home from being at my daughter’s wedding last month, this man came up to me, hugged me and told me it was good to have me back. Yada, yada, yada. That was a first. Most of my other neighbors smiled and said glad you’re back. One lady thought I had moved and said when you get good neighbors in the building you want to keep them. I have since then learned exactly what she means. We’ve had quite a turn over since October.
    Back to the concert ticket: since it is not easy to connect working different shifts, I left a note in an envelope and taped it to his door with the date, time and specifics, no strings, I wasn’t looking for a date, but didn’t want the ticket to go to waste. The next day my note was taped to my door flat out where anyone could read it. He underlined and asked what I meant by “there wasn’t a lot of time left” and said that he would go if his work and music project schedule would work. I found this disrespectful, but didn’t get worked up about it. I gave back the note discreetly and said what I meant was if he wanted to go to the concert he would need to make sure his schedule would allow, which is what I thought he was saying only in a different way. I asked that if he needed to reply via a note to please not lay it out for anyone who passed by to read. I appreciate some privacy. Not that I care if anyone knows we talk, but they do not need to know details or have a reason to start rumors. I also said all of the note passing felt a little like 3rd grade, as in, younger than 57. Apparently, he didn’t get it.
    The next day a new note was taped to my door. This time it was taped shut to the point that I didn’t think I would get it open without destroying it. He wrote a full grown up letter complete with date, greetings and salutations and signed with his complete name. He also referenced and underlined the complete name of the concert , date and time and then gave explanation of why he could not go. One day previous I thought he was going to try and go and now, not so much. I ended up going alone and had a great time praising God in song. I could become a Third Day groupie.
    Monday when I came home from work a car was parked half way between 2 spaces, one of which is my assigned handicapped spot. I didn’t know who the car belonged to and parked in the next space over. I wasn’t going to go from door to door asking who it belonged to and ask them to move it and the office was already closed. A couple of hours later there was a loud knock on my door which startled me. I never have anyone come to the door at night since the X, who continues to be a very mean to nice person, stopped doing it. I opened the door but left the chain on and was prepared to redo the dead bolt, if needed. I said hello twice and then heard a voice saying do you know who I am and I said no. He hurried down the hall to let me see him and was very angry that someone had parked in my space. He said he was going to watch to make sure no one else parked there while I moved to my space. If it weren’t for the limited parking, I would have said no big deal, I’ll worry about it tomorrow, but we have 2nd shifters that could use the space.
    After putting on my coat, I walked down the hall and moved my car. When I came back in I noticed he was holding a beer can. I had no idea that the man drank ever. He went on about how it wasn’t right that someone else parked in my spot, it does have my apartment number on the sign and if it happened again he was going to kill them and he used to be a marine. I said there was no need for violence and as I was about to say, “A marine, thank you for your service”, he abruptly said he didn’t want to talk about it. OK. It’s not like I asked so I started back to my apartment. As I started to say thank you and good night, he grabbed ahold and hugged me and told me how much he loves me and he really does love me several times. My reply was asking twice if he is sure he was ok.
    He then let go and started walking up the stairs. I wasn’t sure if he was going to make it and asked again if he was ok. He said that he had a root canal earlier in the day and was in a lot of pain. I told him that I’d be praying for him. I worked in a dental office for 3 years and not one time did a doc prescribe beer as a pain killer and if he was mixing alcohol with any of those drugs that would not be good. End of that disturbing evening.
    The following day another car was parked in my space. The office was still open so I wrote down the plate number and went and asked them to call that person and ask them to move it before this man came home. I realized how many red flags were blazing here. I felt myself tensing at the thought of him being set off again. I learned that he can be “protective” and he does drink from time to time, but typically doesn’t leave his apartment when he does. I wrote him one last note saying that I knew what he may have been prescribed, self-medicating was not the answer, he should take his pain to Jesus and I would continue to pray for him. Which brings me to my original question: are there ANY sane, non-abusive, unmarried men that do not suffer from things like PTSD or are self-medicating.
    I realize this is very long, but it feels so good to get it all out.

    • thepersistentwidow

      Brenda R., I enjoyed your story and you ask a good question. There really are a lot of strange ones out there. By dealing with them periodically, we find that single life isn’t all that bad and something to be thankful for. Can you imagine how different your life would be if you were married to someone like that? I have heard of some very bad dating stories, one where the guy was a psychopath and turned violent. Don’t know what the answer is, but be careful!

      • Brenda R

        Widow,
        I’m not sure how enjoyable the story was, but I felt very good going to Cracker Barrel all by myself yesterday for T-Day and this kind of reminder makes me very thankful for being single again and being able to shut the crazies outside the door. Until June 2013 I was married to men like that. Not the same issues, but every man in my life since birth has been a nut case and abusive in some form or another. (The only one who wasn’t died before we were to marry.) I don’t want a repeat performance. If a man is drinking and threatens the life of a neighbor over a parking space regardless of his reasons, what would he do to a woman that he was dating or married to?

      • Brenda R

        Has anyone used some form of background check successfully? When Widow spoke about the psychopath that turned violent during a date, it got me to thinking that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to look into as much information as possible before accepting any offers. I wouldn’t know where to start, but I know it can be done.

    • Ann

      Keep this man at a distance; I’m glad he couldn’t go to the concert with you.

      At my older age I would be leery to date anyone. After these horrible years with anti-husband, being alone sounds great!

      • Brenda R

        Ann,
        Being single has been great (most of the time). I’m 57, not exactly a spring chicken. I still have to live in the same building as he does. I’m not afraid of him, but I really don’t want any more drama. If another concert comes up, I will buy one ticket. : )

    • Barnabasintraining

      Brenda,

      Yeesh! Ick. 😦 Sounds like the friend you don’t really need. 😦

      • Brenda R

        BIT,
        I believe you are right. Sad but true. In 2 short weeks everything I thought was true about him turned out to be totally false.

    • Still Reforming

      I would love to see Third Day. I hope you enjoyed the concert. I have to say, the first huge red flag I saw was that he took offense to your saying “There’s not much time left.” The way he responded to that – especially in attitude but also with the “open letter” saying he’d see if his work and music project schedule would allow it. For crying out loud, you were offering him a free ticket and he’s acting like he’s got to jump through hoops to accommodate you. I must say, however, had I not lived through the past 20+ years with my A-H-, I would not have recognized these glaring red flags.

      • Brenda R

        SR.
        I saw the same red flags. I didn’t want to at first, but the domino affect just kept going on and on. Me to. I have lived a lifetime of abuse. After the X anti-h, my eyes have really been opened. Thank you Barb, Jeff and all here. It would have been nice if he was the man he appeared to be over the last year, but nope. So move on. If Third Day comes around again, I’ll let you know. I had never been to a Christian concert before and there was so much love for the Lord in that room. It was amazing. I still can’t believe I couldn’t find one person that would go. I’d go again today, if they were in town.

      • Still Reforming

        Well, that’s encouraging, Brenda. Thank you. I know that when I used to be single, I’d never have any problem doing things by myself, and I’m encouraged to hear that you went to the concert by yourself, and yet – surrounded by a great number of believers and the Lord, you were not alone. I have been mentally conditioning myself to prepare for being single again and uninterested in seeing anyone. I have children to raise first, and for as long as my children need me, I want to fully attend to them. I want to focus on my Lord and my children for as long as He grants the time. I’m encouraged by hearing others’ stories of life after the abusive ex-, both single and remarried. I’m happy for both. I think I reached a turning point when I came to this place. I was at the end of reading about the abuser’s issues (good as those books were, especially those by Lundy Bancroft and Leslie Vernick and a few others, such as whoever wrote In Sheep’s Clothing). I was weary after years of trying to figure him out. Although helpful for understanding what I was living with, it never resolved anything. After coming here to this blog, I started reading books dealing with me and not him – to regain what I’d lost. I started with Christi Paul’s book “Love Isn’t Supposed to Hurt.” I’d love to hear what others have read and recommend for healing and recovery. I need to revisit the book list here at this site to see if there are any healing books suggested.

      • Brenda R

        SR, I can completely understand spending as much time with your child as possible. That is good for both of you and not good to bring in a new person who may not be good for either of you. Take your time. I have a tendency to want instant gratification and that is not allowing for God’s timing. I spend far too much time alone. I haven’t actually spoken to anyone since Wednesday. other than the person taking my food order. It gets lonely.

      • Scarlett

        Brenda, one thing I’d wish to caution you about. You may want to move on, but he may not. He seems to somehow have been emboldened, and his behavior seems to be escalating; the expressions of love, etc. I don’t want to alarm you, but this man has all the earmarks of an extremely unstable person and a stalker. Be very alert.

      • Brenda R

        Scarlett,
        The whole stalker thing is new to me. The X definitely did it when we separated. He called me at work if I wouldn’t answer my phone, show up at my door uninvited, show up in places he would know I would be and trap my car in. My neighbor, for the most part doesn’t go out of his way to talk to me. He speaks when we happen to meet in the hall or outside. The only time he has come to the door is that night last week when he had been drinking. I don’t know how that came about. He had to have been keeping an eye out for when the vehicle was moved so that he could make things aright and get me in my space. I have not seen him since then. If he is not, he should be embarrassed by his actions.

        The X, on the other hand, texted me 90 times in 2 days. He repeatedly asks me to have dinner with him, which isn’t happening. He even dangled seeing his new car in front of me. Like that was going to get me to go. He could be offering me diamonds and pearls and I wouldn’t go. That prompted me to ask my friend to drive me past his house so I know what he is driving and can watch out for it. I go to work very early while it is still dark and he has been known to be watching for me to get there, but it has been a while. He has never followed me inside, but there is a first time for everything and he is being far too persistent and pushing this whole meet with me thing.

        I feel like I am at war, battling crazy men. I never realized that offering someone a concert ticket would result in all of this misery. I feel safe inside my apartment, but don’t want to end up like the cat lady found dead 2 weeks after departing this world. I don’t want to live in fear, but do realize that I need to be cautious. I have gone back to the way I used to do when walking in the city. I hold a key in my hand prepared to put an eye out if necessary. Problem is I can’t run any more and trip if I try to walk too fast. So I may just anger the beast and still get caught.

        I do so appreciate your concern. Prayers are always appreciated. The Lord has certainly been opening my eyes to reality and is making my faith and dependence on Him become much more mature.

  9. Karen

    Your post describes my married life as a whole. This crazy making syndrome was not a part of our dating situation, but the day after we were married is when the bottled up anger and frustration began to reveal itself. The systematic put-downs, name calling, criticisms, know-it-all attitudes (I don’t know anything and must “be taught by him), following me around the home correcting me, the yelling and cajoling me into arguments has taken its toll on my health. I choose not to walk on egg shells any longer, but grow more and more tired with each passing year.

    The Bible states, “A double minded man is unstable in all of his ways.” And this speaks truth to me, for double standards, whether they are exhibited in a marriage, the workplace, the church or what have you, are a sure sign of existing abuse. The abuse may be subtle, or easily recognizable, but evil and wicked, none the less.

    Case in point, for years my h has lectured me against reading any of those “religious books” for the Bible is all I need to read for total truth. I cannot disagree with this statement for the Bible contains all of the truth we need to live our lives for Jesus, so I was made to feel guilty, dirty, and unclean for reading books written by other Christian authors and had to go “underground” when choosing to read. I could not freely pick up a book and read it without hearing hateful sarcastic remarks coming out of his mouth and those put-downs cut to the soul.

    So when I discovered two books while cleaning, one “Streams in the Desert” given to him by his sister, and the other “The Love Dare” which he purchased himself, I thought to myself, here we go again, the double standards. While angrily yelling and correcting me, here we find two “spiritual books” with his name on it having the pages turned. Anotherwords, he’s reading these books! As I paged through “The Love Dare”, which he must have purchased after we viewed the movie together, I began reading what he wrote at the end of each chapter. He was practicing the “advice” given in this book and I didn’t even know it. So while reading, I just broke down in tears on the floor. He wrote of all of the “good things” he was doing and how I reacted in each situation, but NEVER, NOT ONCE, did he claim the hurtful, disturbing, and abusive words and actions that he chose to engage it. Not one word admitting the horrible things he had done or was doing, nor were there words expressing any repentance of any kind…….everything was my fault and he was doing “good” expecting me to reward him with a few bread crumbs of kindness amongst a chaotic married life.

    I couldn’t believe what I read as it was just unbelievable. To deny any part of the abuse on his part and put the total blame upon me was like experiencing death; a sudden death. And from a faithful church going man, every Sunday, giving huge amounts of dollars to the church), no less.

    That was the day that I discovered that I was saved by the grace and mercy of God, through His Son, Jesus Christ, not by going “to a church building or giving money.” For I do not see Jesus in my husband, not at all. And there are more just like him in that church I used to attend. “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked.” Psalm 1:1

    • Jeff Crippen

      Karen – It is soooo common to find these types hiding in churches. They really don’t have to use too much camouflage because in the main, no one is brave enough to obey Christ and confront this evil. Christ is not in your husband. The man is not saved.

      • Danna

        Thank you Pastor Crippen, for your clear acknowledgement of Karen’s truth.

        My now ex-husband was identical to hers in terms of his reading good Christian books like The Purpose Driven Life, underlining and highlighting passages, and then writing very distorted versions of what was actually happening behind our 4 walls in the margins.

        He recorded phone conversations between himself and his mother, a born again Christian pastor, during which he told her the same distorted versions. On the recordings, she tells him he’s a righteous man, and isn’t it too bad that his wife (me) is so unforgiving.

        She never checked with me for actual truth. I’m the mother of her only 2 R grandchildren from her 4 sons. She eventually hid his adultery partners from me too.

        My ex, a charming and talented architect, had his entire family of origin (many leaders in Christian churches in one form or another), duped. (Except if they were actually Christians, they wouldn’t have been okay with his abuse and his adultery.)

        He duped people like the chairman of the Bioengineering Department of a world renowned university who ended up financing his legal fees, while he was tens of thousands of dollars in arrears on his child support. (And he lied in his depositions and on his Income and Expense statements, made under penalty of perjury.)

        None of these people cared to check for truth with me.

        (And they suspended their family values and ethical standards to enable my ex in his wrong-doings. They de facto didn’t care about our children – something heartbreaking to me.)

        I hope more and more in the church follow your lead, Pastor Crippen, to discern real truth and in that, to mitigate abuse.

      • Jeff Crippen

        Danna- I bet you would agree that it would be appropriate to put “born again” in quotations marks when describing your ex mother-in-law? Because the fact is, the Lord by His Word and His Spirit teaches EVERY Christian to hunger and thirst after righteousness, to discern truth from error, to love and to practice that righteousness and holiness. Christ said that if anyone would follow after Him and be His disciple, they must be willing to take up their cross, die to themselves, to even “hate” father and mother, sister and brother. Your ex inlaws do not sound like they did any of that. Thus, if they continue on their present course, they will one day hear from Christ – “depart from Me…I never knew you.”

    • Still Reforming

      Karen,

      I find your experience remarkable because when our current pastor came to our church about six years ago, one of the first things he did was have a work day to clean up around our church. My children were young then and I wasn’t able to attend because they required more supervision. However, someone who left our church within a few years told me that on that clean up day, the pastor and one of his closest friends (one of the leaders of our church who recently refused to read a prayer request of mine regarding abuse in our home) took all of the books from the church “library” (a tiny unlit crawl space of a back room) and threw them in the dumpster. He also had all tapes of the previous pastor thrown in the same dumpster. My friend told me that someone had handed her a box to be thrown there, and when she looked inside and saw all the books, she put them in her car instead. She took some home and gave the rest to the library. The tapes she also kept. It took a bigger incident further down the road for her to leave the church, but I’m seeing the kind of manipulation and control at church just as I do in my own home. I tend to give the benefit of the doubt to people, but at a certain point one has to ask why the benefit of the doubt has to be given to the same person over and over again.

      I was told in various Bible studies at our church by these two men that they don’t trust things written by others. That we’re to trust the Holy Spirit in us instead. But I could never understand why we shouldn’t trust the Holy Spirit in our brethren who wrote these books also, not that we’ll agree with everything, but iron sharpens iron. I think when other people are cast aside – as your husband (and my pastor and church leader) did with books from other people – it creates an environment where only the husband/pastor’s word is legit. It sets the stage for control and power of the one over others. It’s rather astonishing to watch it happen within a church though. I’m praying for deliverance – and the Lord is graciously granting it in His time.

      One thing I’ve learned recently from people here at this website – blog hosts and commenters alike – is that knowing the Scriptures means little. Not that it’s bad to know Scriptures. I think we all get that here. But just knowing them does not mean one knows the Lord. And knowing Him is of infinitely greater value. He can found in the Scriptures and they’re a treasure to His people, but not everyone who knows them knows Jesus. I’m learning to treasure Jesus more the longer I walk this road.

      • soldiergirl

        This reminds me of a time at my church when after i had sent to the pastor at that time, the crying out for justice book.
        Shortly after recieving the book, the pastor had to leave town for business, and arranged for the stand in pastor to deliver a video message that week to the church.
        The message was on equating reading other literature ( other than what they approved of ) to “Eating off of Jezabelles table.”
        The church did not recieve it well, as many of the older attenders defended their rights to read other books.
        and i did not have to say a word, but i knew inside what likely prompted that message.
        There is a controlling spirit that does not want the truth to be known.

      • Still Reforming

        Soldiergirl, re: your mention of “a controlling spirit that does not want the truth to be known”… Earlier this year, I started journaling what my husband was doing in our home, and I gave the document (then about 60+ typed pages) to two people at church, one being our pastor. He said he’d put it away “against that day” (whatever that meant, but I presumed it to mean evidence lest harm befall me). I told him I didn’t need him to put it away, but to read it. Down the road a few weeks later when a government agency got involved to investigate what was going on in our home (this occurred after our pastor told me to get our child medically examined based on what he’d read, which in turn lead to this agency’s involvement), our pastor told me on the phone that he didn’t want certain things to be in that document anymore – such as a conversation he had with my husband. When I asked him why, he said, “Because I don’t want this same kind of document about me!” He wanted me to change some information in there about him, but it was all true, even though the pastor said it was a lie. (It had to do with the pastor’s touching his own children.) I replied that I didn’t think such a document would be created about him unless there was a need for one. I ended up changing the document slightly, but with a notation about his request and the original wording that he had wanted to be changed. Isn’t it amazing how a little light thrown on a subject causes all the bugs to be revealed and scatter?

      • Whaaaat?? The pastor wanting to protect his own back? No! Pastors never do that do they? (sarc)

        you did the exact right thing there, Still Reforming.

    • Karen, what a powerful account you have given us here!

      Can you please put it on Deborah’s post about The Love Dare ? It would help and encourage other readers, I’m sure, readers who may come only to that post because they’ve goggled “the love dare – abuse” or something like that.
      https://cryingoutforjustice.com/2013/12/10/the-love-dare-a-dangerous-book-in-the-hands-of-an-abuser-by-deborah/

      • soldiergirl

        Yes, SR, but i am convinced that shining this light of truth to the church is exactly what we need to do. There are too many bugs and roaches in the church today that need to be scattered out.

  10. Karen

    Pastor Jeff,
    Do you understand now difficult it is for a wife to go to church as see and watch your husband be a part of “the leadership” and how “nice” his is to fellow church goers all the while he personifies such hatred at home. Do you really know?

    • Jeff Crippen

      Karen – Yep, I know. Really. I know because I have lived it myself after I truly understood the evil of the abuser mentality and deception of his tactics. Numbers of them have operated in our church over the years and caused us all kinds of heartache. We dealt with them and put them out from among us (1 Cor 5). Then you know what? They marched right down to any local church of their choice where they were welcomed in with open arms and as times passes they became leaders in those churches. All the while we know who they really are. It is very rare for any other pastor to contact us and ask us about them when they show up at another church.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Karen – P.S. – I have also had to watch as these wicked kinds, after working their evil tactics against me behind the scenes, exalted themselves as eminent saints in the church and even in leadership positions. And so many in the church believed them for so long.

  11. Karen

    I apologize Pastor Jeff. Of course you do know. In the chaotic world of abusive marriages, it is the victim that finds it difficult to find anyone that will truly understand their situation. At one point, the abuse was hurting me so badly that I opened up and shared some of what I was experiencing in my home with one of the “deaconesses” in my former church. Her statement to me was, “Oh, that’s not so bad, you should be married to my sister’s husband. Her situation is much worse.” No caring, and no prayer.

    Such is the pseudo compassion from a church deaconess when I really needed a friend to lend a listening ear to hear the cry of my heart. My general nature is not to complain nor feel sorry for myself, so when I do break down and need someone to hear me out, I truly thought this friend would be there for me. I am in awe at how the Book of Job could easily apply to us today.

    And through all of this I can faithfully say, “LORD, teach me to be a better friend of Jesus, and to show me when another hurting soul could use an ear to hear and a should to cry on. And to offer up prayers when and where they are desperately needed.”

    Thank-you Pastor for speaking truth here and helping many. God be with you.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Karen – No apology necessary. No offense taken and besides, your question “do you really know” is a valid one. Because most people, most pastors, most Christians don’t know. If they did, they would be angry and they would be calling for justice and they would never permit the wicked to continue to practice their tactics in the church and oppress victims.

    • Still Reforming

      Karen, like you, it takes me a loooooong time to tell anyone anything to burden them, and having been in my church nearly eight years and served in teaching and other ministries faithfully, I would have hoped that women in whom I eventually confided might have taken it seriously – but as I look back at some of the responses I’ve received make me shake my head in wonderment. (“He did that once, spinning the car around when I said something” and “Well, you have to work it out through your husband, dear.”) One time the pastor’s wife saw me in a grocery store, as I was standing bewildered in front of some stocked shelves. She came up to me and laughed, saying I looked funny, so I told her, “My husband’s normal brand isn’t here, and when I tell him he’s not going to believe me.” She replied, “Oh, when (pastor’s name) does that, I just take a photograph of the shelves and say, ‘See?'” I still can’t believe some of the responses I’ve received from the women of the church, and I haven’t told all that many and certainly not frequently. I mean, the pastor won’t believe his own wife and she has to take a picture? I’ve written down other examples, just for my own record, because I’m starting to see a bigger picture of my church and the heavy-handedness of the patriarchal system that is just plain unBiblical.

      • Jeff Crippen

        Still Reforming – Just some input that I hope will encourage you that you are on the right track in seeing the bigger picture, as you say, of this patriarchy evil. My wife and I have been married for 43 years. The things that you and others describe – such as this pastor’s wife taking the picture to prove to him his brand wasn’t there – are totally bizarre and foreign to my wife and I. I mean, even the idea of her going to the store and having to be sure she gets “my normal/favorite brand” is something we have never, ever even thought about, let alone practicing. I think that those patriarchal churches create an environment where AB-normal is portrayed as normal!! But it isn’t. You know what? Myself and some of the teens here in our church now look at that old patriarchal system that for a time threatened to enslave our church and when we see people and families pushing it and acting as if they are the most eminent saints, we look at each other and nod, as if to say “those people are just plain weird!” And they are.

      • Still Reforming

        Pastor Jeff, Do you know how many of us here would come to your church tomorrow if we could? I’m guessing you do know…. Oh how I wish there were more of you around in the churches across our country and the globe. As I was thinking that earlier today, it occurred to me that perhaps God has us where we are so we too can take a stand in our own churches as you have and speak truth against this present darkness. Sadly, many if not most of us will have to shake the dust off our feet at our current churches and continue to seek those who have a pastor such as yourself willing to revisit man-made systems that foster abuse and allow evil to persist. Surely there must be other righteous men and leaders willing to do so. We just have to find them. How we here hunger for such churches.

      • Jeff Crippen

        SR – thank you. Actually this has been one source of great encouragement to our congregation. We only have about 40 people in our church and we don’t see hardly any newcomers. The town we live in doesn’t grow and even if it did, our stance against abusers doesn’t make us popular. But we often are reminded of how many of you would indeed gladly plug into our church with us if you lived here, and that is a great source of encouragement to us. Thanks much!

      • Brenda R

        SR,
        and she said this as if it were no big deal? She just learned to live that way? Run, run, run.

      • Still Reforming

        Brenda, she did indeed. Now I can see looking back how poorly that affected my own understanding for a time. I also see how it affects other wives in the church, at least those with whom I have spoken appear to be cowed – afraid to speak up if it might not agree with their husband’s or another man’s point of view or understanding. I remember walking away from that conversation in the grocery store initially thinking that at least the pastor’s wife understands, until it dawned on me driving home, “Wait – why does the pastor’s wife have to document the shelves? Doesn’t the pastor even believe his own wife? Does she have the same mind games played on her at home as I do?” (I didn’t photograph the shelves; I’ve never been a willing participant in the game.) Around the same time I started putting together some of the other women’s stories in my mind and realizing how this view is perpetuated across the church and that there’s something amiss. I’ve prayed for years for deliverance from both my A-H- and my church (or to change the leadership), and I believe in the Lord’s timing it is coming to pass – in His way that brings Him glory and good to His people.

      • Friend of Victim

        Pastor Crippen-I’m thinking “Patriarchy” must be a variant or another name for “Headship,” or vice versa, correct? That’s what the church I grew up in preached/called it. I had never heard it called Patriachy until I started following this blog. It must be the current term for it, though, as I now see it everywhere on line with blog discussions on abuse. I’m so glad my friend had me read “Beyond Sex Roles: What the Bible Says about a Woman’s Place in Church and Family.” Saturated with Scripture, this book really opened my eyes to the error many of us have been indoctrinated with. I now see it for what it is, a tool Satan uses that abuses/enslaves women.

      • Jeff Crippen

        Friend – Good points. In my understanding, and how I use the term, Patriarchy is more extreme yet than headship. Patriarchal churches really teach that men are superior to women. They teach that the father is the priest and prophet of the home, a completely unbiblical concept. I know people who hold to a headship understanding of Eph 5, for example, who are not patriarchal and in fact who write and preach against it.

  12. Ann

    Still Reforming,

    You asked: “With your child and siblings, were they accidental slips or purposeful informs? Or do you not know?”

    With my child it was done purposely; the anti-husband had made my child feel afraid of going against a-h.

    With siblings a-h set them up, filling their minds with false info. about me to get them to spill the beans.

    • Still Reforming

      Ann, that makes a lot of sense. My a-h- recently told a few whopper lies to my mother to get something big from her. She believed him and she gave him what he wanted. When I realized what he had done, I called her, and she realized he had lied. Now she’s livid at having been lied to. She still shakes her head in wonderment because she says he must have known he’d be found out. I tried to explain about the sense of entitlement he has, to which she replied, “But he’s so convincing!” I told her that was an astute observation on her part.

      When I first read about narcissism, I didn’t think that my a-h- was one because “charming” was included in the description of the narcissist. We all have some image of what that means, and my image was kind of fairy tale charming or evil bad guy villain charming. But my a-h- is neither. However, he is persuasive. My mom thinks he actually believes what he’s saying. I don’t think so. I think he knows when he’s lying, but he feels either justified or entitled so in his mind it’s okay for him to lie. But he knows when he’s lying because he’s very selective about persons and times to say certain things. Kind of like the anger – he can control it in public. It’s behind closed doors that he knows is safe to let it all out.

      I’m glad you told me about the child and siblings. I know it’s going to be hard with our children because he’s very manipulative. He knows how to “buy” people. Especially from children who crave attention from their father. Siblings – yeah, that’s a situation I’m in now. This kind of manipulation makes it particularly difficult to talk about with people because it makes one (me/you) sound crazy – as if we think the whole world is suspect, when it really boils down to just. one. crazy-maker.

      • Ann

        Yes, every child wants to believe their father really loves them so they are VERY vulnerable with the a-h. A-hs ask *seemly* innocent questions or engage in *seemingly* innocent conversations in tones that make the child completely at ease. But all the while a-h is fishing for info on you and your relationship with child. He’s looking to drum up charges of neglect, abuse, “parent alienation”, hiding money, etc…

        I agree with you—a-h knows exactly what he is doing; his interactions are calculated to favor himself and cast doubt about you or outright smear you.

        And you nailed it with the real problem being the one crazy maker. As I have put more distance between myself and the a-h in my life, so many relationships that were going by the wayside have started to heal.

      • Still Reforming

        Ann, I’m thankful that you’re in a place of healing now. That has been my prayer now for weeks… that the Lord continue in this deliverance of my children and me to a place where I can serve Him and worship Him freely and where we can HEAL. For some reason, that is the word that continues to resound in my brain. We need to HEAL. I hadn’t realized how wounded we are until he left. Perhaps it’s a bit like being pummeled by a bully. When the pummeling is going on, you’re just trying to shield yourself and survive. When the bully isn’t present, you can regroup and see what damage is done and what you need to do. Then…. look at the bruises and wait for them to heal. I am praying for healing – and deliverance. We’re in the Lord’s hands – all of us. And in some way, I believe He has a plan for all of His children – but they may all look different, yet He is Lord of us all. So we are safe in His hands and care.

  13. Still Reforming,

    Is A-H’s sister and your brother single? Are they dating? Does your brother know what A-H is really like?

    Along the lines of more on technology and others getting access to your info, some cellphones have a feature listed under “Settings” than go to “Connections” under that is a section called “Connect and Share” — there will be several options for ways your mobile phone can share info with other devices– make sure they are all turned to “Off”.

    • Still Reforming

      Celestebella, Yes, they are both single, and yes, I’ve wondered about that myself. I don’t think they’re dating (A-H-‘s sister lives with another man), but there’s some strange glue there that keeps my brother and her connected. They each have children about the same age, but neither of their children still live at home. They both like to drink, but other than that, I’m not sure. I don’t think my brother would believe what A-H- is like if I told him. I tried telling him once on the phone some things my A-H- did and my brother flat out said, “I don’t want to know.” So, there ya go.

      I don’t think my A-H- has bugged my cell phone because I got it after he left us. (That’s how I know the hand of God is in this; I never in a million years would have thought he’d leave us, but he did a few months ago. He also dropped us – wife and children, that is – from his financial support. All without a word, of course. I don’t know where he’s living to this day.) . He also filed for divorce within days of leaving us. He only came home when he knew my children and I wouldn’t be there (he knows when we attend church) and secreted items (his guns, some joint files, tax records, etc) out of the house and left our children notes and cards blaming me for preventing him from seeing them. He told others the same thing. Then he showed up at church last Sunday. Anyway, he could have bugged phone or computer one of those times that he sneaked in the house when we were out. I have since installed a very good alarm system, with the permission of my attorney.

      • Your brother’s attitude tells me he is most likely the weak link. He sounds like he has no allegiance to you. He is getting whatever he wants from that relationship with A-H’s sister and that’s what he cares about. With drinking, “loose lips sink ships.”

        It sounds cruel, but you are in the midst of a divorce, so I would say nothing to *anyone*, to include your mother—yep even her—on your plans, your daily living, places you go, things your doing to help your divorce case, things about your child, etc…, because abusers, cheaters, narcissists will turn innocent facts into ugly lies and try to slam you with them in court. Make the conversation about *them* to divert attention off of you so you won’t be tempted to give away anything. Inthe divorce ask for MORE than you’ll need to you can hopefully settle at an amount that truly reflects your and your child’s needs. Don’t fall into a mindset that the thing to do is be “fair” with the financial settlement; NO! this is about your future and that of your child. Settle SMART! Believe me he is going to go for the jugular; whatever you settle for, it will be near impossible to change afterwards without alot more going to court and attorney fees, so write down every possible need you and your child have now and don’t forget future needs and the cost of living rising in the future–factor it all in!

      • Still Reforming

        I agree, celestebella, re: my sibling. I have longed for a relationship with my sibling, but its not likely with my faith. I’ve not pushed it on my sibling but I’m not silent about it either. Re: loose lips sink ships, I said that very thing to my mother to encourage her to be careful about what she says to my sibling. She’s the one who emailed the sibling right away to say a child is sick and therefore I wouldn’t be at Thanksgiving. Minutes later, the A-H- called our house to say he’s sorry to hear the child is sick. I’m suspecting my sibling too, as he probably contacted A-H-‘s sister, for whatever reason.

        I don’t give deets over the phone or email to my mom – nothing that would jeopardize my case anyway. I keep very careful records and all documents come with me wherever I go. In fact I’ve been laughed at at church for the precautions I take. If I weren’t already a Christian there’d be very little in my church that would make me want to be one.

        Thank you for the wise counsel. I’m pleased with my attorney so far. He has thought of things I never would have. And the Lord keeps having things happen to me (like car problems yesterday) that show other needs – like roadside assistance I’ll now need, etc.

        Thanks for the counsel about not telling my mom much either. I appreciate that. I have been very careful on the phone and email, because I fear it coming around back to my soon-to-be-ex- and I know how he changes his story based on what he knows I know or thinks I know or suspects I’ll do. Everything’s a game with him. My mom told him recently (she picked up the phone when he called her thinking it was me), and she told him that he’s not being a good father. (I wish she hadn’t said that). So he came to our house (that now has a security system on even when we’re home) and yelled to our sick child how much he loves the child through the windows – twice. The child was too out of it to notice and was watching a movie, but I heard him yelling. It creeped me out. If there’s a next time, I’ll take a video of it with my phone.

        Editors note: Comment has been edited for safety of the commenter.

      • Ellie

        I emailed important things, documentation, etc. to a secret email address. This was to give me a “cloud” back up in case physical copies were compromised.

      • Ellie

        The bugging is a real possibility.

  14. Ann

    Still Reforming,

    I’m actually still in the same house with a-h, I just stay away from him for the most part. It’s hard to get any traction on deep healing.

    I have bought this book; “Mending the Soul” http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0310285291/ref=pd_aw_sims_1?pi=SY115&simLd=1&dpPl=1&dpID=81azlPmxY-L._SY200_QL15_&slTrans=0&ref=nsDpPl

    I found it scouring Amazon for anything I can get my hands on to help me.

    I think it is also recommended by Pastor Jeff.

    • Ann

      I forgot to add: you mentioned video taping your a-h. Be very careful; it’s illegal in many states. Ask your lawyer first.

      • Still Reforming

        Thank you, Ann, for both the book recommendation and the counsel re: videotaping. I’ll check with my attorney. I know that the voice mail messages are fine to use and keep for evidence, but I cannot audio tape him unless he knows he’s being taped, so I can do it but I need to make sure it’s clear on the tape that he knows he’s being taped. So that may be the same for the videotaping. I’ll get legal counsel before doing so. Thank you!

      • Good advice, Ann, about asking your lawyer.
        In addition, here’s a link we have on our Safety Planning page:
        http://justicewomen.com/pw_digitalrecorders.html

  15. pn

    All of the information on this site is so valuable. Thanks.

    Next week marks the second anniversary of leaving my ex. I have done a tremendous amount of healing and recovery in all this time. I was married over forty years. It’s do-able, but I seriously doubt that if it were not for my also over forty-year relationship with Jesus Christ that I would have been able to do it.

    I am also exceedingly fortunate to have a support group of other Christian women who are also abuse survivors, mostly verbal/emotional, but some physical as well. They have been an immense and 24/7 source of support and accountability, as in, when I have called them for help in the depths of doubt/guilt/fear/grief, they have lovingly reminded me to stay away and to continue allowing the Holy Spirit to “recover me” from the experiences.

    It has not been easy, but I have seen the Lord’s hand in all of it, and I trust Him to continue to guide me.

    I also have two wonderful grown children who completely “get it,” although I know it’s hard for them in some ways. They respect my decision and have never ceased to be loving. They also maintain their relationship with their dad. He was never physically abusive to them (and only to me a few times in the early years), but they remember well the undertones of his anger that kept the household tense. After I left him, my oldest confessed that when she was a teen she longed for me to divorce him and take her and her sister with me to live elsewhere. Sad. But, at least they see that it IS better later than never…

    I have also read everything I could get my hands on about abuse (Lundy’s book the best, along with everything Patricia Evans has written, and several others that tend to be referenced on credible sites like this one. And the book of Proverbs, which I read over and over again as it has a LOT to say about abusive people and how to respond to them).

    Beforehand, I didn’t read at least the secular books on the subject because I thought I could never leave him (not just because of erroneous church anti-teachings, but because I though I was completely weak emotionally, too. Or believed I was. Not :)). It would have been just too depressing. My bad. But you do what you have to do, or what you bring yourself to do…

    In all the research, I have owned my own faults and flaws in the relationship, but I have come to really understand that the man, although an excellent “Dr. Jekyll,” was a freaking frightening “Mr. Hyde” when Mr. H. came out, which was more and more toward the end. Alcohol didn’t help.

    And I was the proverbial “frog in the pot of water” that was coming to a boil. At least a couple of my siblings thought so and told me, later, that is why at least one of them decided to visit more often (she rarely came over prior) unannounced. Me? I was too busy doubting and being depressed and watching out for those eggshells all over the floor…

    Next week marks the anniversary of the last drunken screaming, vicious rage against me that that man will ever, ever commit. And it was out of the blue. Last year I marked the occasion by donating money to the local women’s shelter. This year I am going to volunteer some time to help children for a local charity.

    I am sure his narrative is that I had pulled back from him, closed off. Yes, after years of being criticized, mocked, contradicted, blamed, ordered around, glared at for my opinions/comments, etc., I was guilty of “pulling back.” (In between the good times.)

    But who wouldn’t?

    And the world so easily blames such as me for committing what they term “the silent treatment.”

    It’s actually called “the SURVIVAL treatment.” Quite different…

    Two things I am most grateful for that I was prompted to do all those years:
    1. On several occasions to pray for “God’s heart” for the man when “my heart” was seriously dead. Some may say, that kept the problem going. And yet, it was right. We actually had a period of about five years (about twenty years ago) where, as a result of couples/individual and family counseling for several months, things turned around.

    We got to actually experience how good things could be. That didn’t last, though.

    And so when even I (the fogged one) came to realize (just before his final explosion) something was seriously breaking apart, I prayed the prayer one more time…and added, almost as an after-thought, “But maybe we could bring this thing to some kind of conclusion, Lord. I’m just getting too old for this anymore…”

    2. Although I am a writer, I was usually too exhausted or soul-fatigued, you might say, to journal about all the little things he did to me, usually of a verbal/emotional nature. And yet, for which I am now thankful, from time to time I did make it a point to remind myself that “every day, or at least several times a week, there is always something I’m doing wrong or that he feels he needs to criticize or correct me about, or for which he presents contempt or disdain in vocal or oh, so subtle ways…”

    Those two things I am continually grateful for in this time when the post-trauma guilt/self-blame/self-doubt/grief, and all the other emotions emerge to be prayerfully and carefully dealt with.

    I do have a comment on the anti-Christic “patriarchal/headship” teaching referenced here. Although I did not belong to one of those cults, that kind of teaching is included in most denominations I have attended, albeit subtle in some.

    I didn’t even realize the extent to which I was subject to its evil influence until, curiously, just a few months before things got really bad at the end, I realized one day that I no longer believed that if I were “out from under the covering of a man” God would pull His blessings from me. Incredible, no?! Shows how insidious such teaching is in its power to oppress and distort truth…

    I don’t trust churches that have anything to do with relegating women to lesser positions in any way whatsoever, now, after realizing, surprise!, how much I had been influenced by all that!

    And so I rarely go to a “building church,” now, while fellowshipping with the “real church” is more so of a constant than ever before in my life.

    One more thing. It’s just been in the last month that I feel that should another man ever come along, I would be okay spiritually if marriage might present itself. (My ex entered into another relationship within a few months of the divorce, by the way.) It is, though, extremely hard for me to trust men at this point. But I know there are some good ones out there.

    However, and the however is big, I REALIZE I AM NOT READY for this for 2 reasons.
    As I am researching this, yet-another, post-divorce topic, I am learning that one has to also be TRUSTING and OVER THE PRIOR RELATIONSHIP pretty much entirely.

    My research and “gut” tells me I am neither.

    And so for such an amount of time as it takes for me to be fully healed and prepared for another relationship (even if it takes a long time), I am content with the SAFETY, and FREEDOM of the single life. I am much healthier, more energetic, and much, much calmer. No more almost daily anxiety issues. Blood pressure is now normal. I am also for the first time in many, many years, able to experience occasional times of “being in the moment”. Hard to explain, but a HUGE blessing and evidence to me of restoration.

    And my creativity is once again flourishing, having largely been put on the back burner for most of the time in that relationship…

    To everyone here still struggling: if I can do this (through the necessary work that has to be done and through time and good support), ANYBODY CAN.

    • thepersistentwidow

      Pn, Welcome to the blog! It is encouraging to hear how God sustained you and your testimony to his faithfulness. I feel great after reading it both because of how well you are doing and how good God truly is.

      Thanks for sharing your story of redemption from abuse. God Bless.

      • pn

        thepersistentwidow: You are welcome. The glory is God’s, no doubt in my mind. He has enabled me to do the work of recovery. In the language of physical recovery, I think I am in the “convalescent” stage, i.e., still in some ways influenced by the “dis-eased” part of my former marriage. I have no intention of truncating the process. 🙂

      • pn

        I am glad to have encouraged you…I think I replied to this but it got lost in the ether? At any, rate, God HAS truly sustained me AND He is truly faithful.

        On the insidiousness of verbal and other kinds of covert abuse, I posted as a “friend” on my own blog this little explanation of what happens that can do so much damage in a relationship and why it’s so hard to leave and takes so long to recover from it all. I forgot to mention it earlier. This posting has had a lot “traffic,” although I am a small-potatoes site, as it were. Perhaps a post here will help some.

        But, one again, all things are possible.
        http://pnissila.wordpress.com/2013/06/05/is-it-the-silent-treatment-or-emotional-survival/

    • Brenda R

      pn,
      I am so glad that you shared your story. I was wondering how you found a group of Christian survivor support. I went to the Underground Railroad groups for a while and there was not a believer in the bunch or anyone that wasn’t full of words that I didn’t care to listen to. I have one friend that I have made since the divorce who is legally separated and understands completely. We support each other. I have tried to spread the word, but it appears that God is not in it. Our group continues to be me and my friend. She is still not sure if she should follow through with divorce even though she knows that her h is seeing someone else.

      You say that before trying a new relationship you need to be “TRUSTING and OVER THE PRIOR RELATIONSHIP “. I am over the prior relationship. I had nothing left far before I left, but was still living the abuse after I left. Yesterday, he actually sent a text asking me if I would make him some No Bake Cookies if he bought the ingredients. Delusional!!! and not happening.

      The “trusting” part is a dilemma. I have always been too trusting in spite of abuse even as a child. Red flags are coming, but not as quickly as I would like. I am not sure if I trust anyone anymore even though I speak to men, it takes some time before I say much more than hello. The one available man who claimed to be a Christian that I began speaking with after a year I found was a drinker and possibly PTSD. Now I try to avoid him to the extent of going for my morning coffee at a time when I am sure he won’t be leaving the building.

      I also haven’t had opportunities arise and my Mama always said, “let’s see who there is to date”. If no one asks, then I suppose there won’t be any. I love my freedom, but am not fond of being alone every night. There aren’t many single men in my church and several of them are mentally impaired in someway. I think the dating pool has dried up. I speak to men who I might be interested in online (not dating sites) that live thousands of miles away. Now if God would clone a couple of them and send them to my area that would be great!!

      I also read a statement a week or 2 ago that you should wait a year for every 5 that you spent in abuse. If that is true, Since I have been in some form of abuse since birth I should wait 11 or 12 years. I would be 70. I think the dating pool is drained now, at 70 I might as well throw in the towel.

      You are a most encouraging writer. Above all I do trust Christ and know that if His intention is to have a support group or a man in my life, it will be.

      • pn

        Brenda,
        I am exceedingly fortunate in that three of the members of my support group are sisters, and the others are friends I have known for years. A few of them have, in their own recoveries from abusive relationships, experienced the not-so-helpful kinds of support groups or programs, and so I have tapped into their wisdom there, too.

        One of them is a licensed Christian family and couples counselor as well. I helped her edit her master’s degree papers, and, later on (we chuckle about this now) she helped me with her expertise.

        In the past, I tallied a total of 3 “church” counselors (two pastors and the other with a degree from a Bible college but a “lay counselor) for help in various years. I saw two of them for one time and two times, respectively, only (couldn’t really help me, then, except one of them said, simply, “treat him as if he were an unbeliever.”) and the other (this was in the eighties when not much was written or discussed on this topic in the church yet) didn’t have much more to help me out with. I had written an article (published in two places) from the gleanings from my research on living with an unsaved spouse which I was able to offer to him for his file with only ONE other generic resource on the subject, however…sad…) The third I saw several times in the context of work, but she really didn’t “get” my fears around thinking he might get physically abusive again in addition to the other forms. She offered, only glibly, it seemed to me, “Oh, God won’t let him hurt you,” as she hurried out the door the last time I sought counsel from her. Truth is, a lot DO get hurt…

        The good and helpful counseling I referenced in my first post was one that BOTH my ex and I (and at least one of our daughters) participated in for several months. And that’s the key: it wasn’t just me.

        My best advice is to 1) ask God to direct you to your “peeps,” as the kids say, which it sounds like you are doing 2) access CREDIBLE sites online. You’ve found this one and no doubt others, too. I say this because there are some sites that seem to be merely rant-fests, and at least one heavily-administrated site seems to feature one admin who is, I have concluded, abusive, herself, and 3) look up any old,trusted friends you maybe haven’t seen for awhile. You never know.

        About six months ago, after sort of cocooning myself within my small trusted group, I felt a leading from the Holy Spirit to re-engage in some relationships that, due to time and job changes, had been by the wayside. THAT has been a very enriching experience, as these are people still in the area who knew at least a little about what was going on back then…

        On the issue of dating again, I have yet to learn…so much more. And until one more factor is dealt with, i.e., how do I NOT attract another abuser, I have the MOST to learn. Fortunately, again, there is help from the Bible, supporters, and the healing process itself…

      • Still Reforming

        Brenda, Your comment re: the request for no-bake cookies from the ex- brought something to mind that I have long pondered and still don’t “get.” My abuser long has had the behavior of acting like nothing ever happened after we’d had a disagreement. Even now he waves to me from his vehicle if he sees me driving on the road – this after he left us and filed for divorce. It’s weird. It’s like he’s two people or like he completely doesn’t have emotion related to any disagreement. It’s bizarre.

      • Brenda R

        Still Reforming,
        I am still of a mind that these guys are being cloned. During the Thanksgiving weekend X texted me 103 times. I wasn’t answering, but on Sunday I had had enough. I said if he really cared about me he would stop the constant texting and stop asking me to go out with him. It was not happening. That was at 11:40 last Sunday. The text RE: no bake cookies was almost exactly 6 days later. He finds whatever reason he can to continue on no matter how ridiculous it seems. Yes, he acts as though nothing ever happened. Someone else used his body to do and say all of the terrible things that he did over the years. Delusional!!

        He wants us to be friends–The way I see it, we never were friends, why start now. What he really wants is to keep manipulating until I go back to him. Again, Delusional!!!

        In order to block his texts I would have to pay for a more expensive plan that I do not need. I make and receive very few calls. It would cost me an additional $16 a month. I just won’t answer the messages.

      • Searching

        Oh how I wish all this didn’t resonate so much with me. I, too, deal with someone who acts like he never said or did anything wrong and gets after me for pulling away. I am supposed to forgive and forget everything he has ever done that hurt me. I say his definition of forgiveness is “permission to do it again”, because that is what happens every time. To stay out of trouble I am quiet when he is home, and I really appreciate the words that it is “not the silent treatment, but the survival treatment”. Not that he would ever understand that, as he would be so offended that I have to “survive” him and his behaviour. I find his blindness and callousness to the situation so confusing, but it helps to know I am not the only one trying to work my way through the fog.

      • Brenda R

        Searching, you said: I say his definition of forgiveness is “permission to do it again”, because that is what happens every time.

        That’s right. I stayed silent for survival, as well. Now that he is the ex-h he continues to push to see what he can get out of me. He wants to start over and forget anything ever happened. Fat chance. I remember where I was rescued from and NOT going back.

      • healingInHim

        Brenda, I can’t imagine receiving 103 text msgs …. Isn’t it sad that victims must expend hard earned finances in order to thwart further abuse? Something wrong with this picture. Only the Lord can give us the patience and wisdom in dealing with these circumstances.

      • Brenda R

        hIH,
        I just let them continue to add up on my phone. I have addressed that I wish him to discontinue this practice. I would think at some point a judge would say enough is enough. Problem is he is not threatening at this point, annoying yes. It is hard to move on when he interrupts life. It actually pushes me further away. When I think of the character traits that I would want in a potential mate–this is not on the list.

      • Still Scared but you can call me Cindy

        Brenda, I have “Mr. Number” app on my phone. It is FREE and blocks all his calls and texts. ( It even saves a record of them if I need them for court but I don’t have to read them and he is told he is blocked) I had to block his mom and her cell phone but I think I can freely block a few more without have to pay. I don’t know if this helps.

        Editor note: this app is available for Android devices only.

      • Brenda R

        Thank Cindy, I will see if I can do that on my phone. I have basic service. Unlimited calls and texts, but nothing else.

      • Still Reforming

        Brenda,

        I don’t see a reply button-link underneath your comment below, so I’ll respond here instead. Re: the discussion about Deborah and Barak, the small group of us (men and women equally divided – about six or seven each) were somewhat facilitated rather than taught. It’s a new church to me, since my abuser has returned to my church (quite suddenly after telling the pastor he wouldn’t be back and wasn’t for months). This small Sunday School class recently lost their teacher, so they’ve been studying out of a book together with different class members taking turns at facilitating class discussion going through chapter by chapter. We really talked more than studied or came to any conclusions, but I rather liked the class. No one dominated and everyone felt free to talk about struggles they have with the text – such as one man who said he struggled with the answer given to Barak. The man said he thought Barak was merely desirous of someone to go with him into battle. I certainly understand that idea, although I think the issue had more to do with Deborah’s trust in the Lord to win the battle for Israel, whereas Barak’s faith was not as strong.

        I did raise the point in class that there seems to be a delineation of sorts in the text since the consequence for Barak’s lack of faith was that: “because of the course you are taking, the honor will not be yours, for the Lord will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman.” It gives me pause to hear Deborah’s word “into the hands of a woman.” It’s as if there’s a distinction to be made for a woman to do battle – which would be rather unusual. I believe there’s some sort of distinction here, otherwise the text could have just read “into the hands of another.”

        In verse 6, which precedes this judgment, Barak seems to be inclined to not trust the Word of God given through Deborah to him. It states: “The Lord, the God of Israel, commands you: ‘Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead them up to Mount Tabor. I will lead Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his troops to the Kishon River and give him into your hands.’” Since Barak didn’t accept this directive from God through His judge Deborah, but instead replied, “If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t go,” then Sisera was lead into the hands of a woman (Yael) who slayed him with a tent nail.

        I think in contemporary circles the text that most churches use for roles being given to men over women would be this one: “I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man…” (1 Timothy 2:12a) And Paul’s appeal here is to the creation order, not the culture of his day. (“For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner….”) I think that’s how many organizations refuse to have a woman ordained or teach over a class with men in it. In the Sunday School class yesterday, a woman facilitated it. Personally, I don’t really pay much attention to gender in these kinds of informal settings – or even a formal teaching (or worship) group in a church. It’s less about us – and all about the Lord, and I just find the quibbling over gender to be superfluous and a distraction from the point of why we are gathered.

    • Still Reforming

      pn,
      Thank you for sharing your story with us. I find it tremendously encouraging as I am new to the freedom, yet not fully divorced, but we are no longer under the same roof.
      Reading your story brought two things to mind:
      1. Re: the patriarchal church so prevalent out there…. I was encouraged to hear the historical account and lessons of Deborah and Barak discussed in a Sunday School class this morning. One of the discussion points revolved around God’s appointment of Deborah in this place of authority over men (which confuses me a bit since in the New Testament aren’t women supposed to not have decision-making authority over men, which is why some churches would not have women as pastors).
      2. Re: being over the ex-, I find that I was “over him” many years ago, but in reading this blog I finally understand why. It is because he broke the covenant we had many, many years ago – if not from the moment he made it. So in many ways, the marriage was always dead. There may have been good moments, but they were a facade really. There was no true foundation, because we don’t share the risen Lord in common. He serves the anti-Christ, and I serve Jesus. So there is no foundation or marriage, except on paper. It makes me think that this marriage was always dead – although I didn’t smell the stench until a few years ago, but there were clues as to its death that I didn’t pick up on until then. However, the burial is just now going on for me, as it did for you two years ago. So I think with respect to “being over him,” it’s not unlike a death. You likely are still in mourning – as I occasionally am, even though I don’t want that person back. Ever.
      Like you, I’m not seeking another relationship. It’s too early for me, although I hold out hope that if the Lord wills, I’ll be open to it. However, I am afraid. I am afraid of my own judgment. I am afraid of ending up again like this. I am afraid of so much, but I continually ask the Lord for more trust in Him to know that He’ll never leave or forsake me, and that He’ll continue to protect me/us.

      • pn

        Still Reforming, thank you for your response! Much to think about.

        1. RE: the patriarchal church (that is, the brand that is not biblical where men are deemed spiritually superior particularly in the marriage where they are presumed akin to Christ over the wife who is presumed akin to the “Church beneath” and submission to them): some years ago I worked for a Christian ministry that specialized in counseling former cultists who had escaped or left the groups on their own volition. I was the all-purpose office help at that time. I did the research, wrote the newsletters, did the books, and listened to tale after tale of religion gone seriously awry. And why…

        The kinds of teachings that are being skewed to favor non-biblical male spiritual superiority whether in marriage or in the Church at large bear many markers of the cults. The bottom line–and the truth of grace–remains this: in Christ Jesus, “there is neither male nor female, Jew nor Greek, slave nor free.”

        When proponents of such groups lift the words of St. Paul re: women’s silence in the churches and so on out of the greater historical and cultural contexts within which he wrote, it becomes easy to cherry pick verses to feed some presumed need and, frankly, blatant greed.

        It becomes easy to establish yet another cult, particularly, if its members or prospective members are unfamiliar with the entire redemptive context of not just Paul’s letters but the entirety of Scripture. Thus the need to continue to be good “Bereans” and study, study, study–with help from our Friend :).

        I greatly distrust any church that establishes some kind of spiritual hierarchy. I don’t care about who does what when, where, why, etc., but if we forget Who it is Who “gifts severally as HE wills” (not some Church Board limiting/assigning Gods’ ministries according to reproductive body parts, to be blunt and honest) we run the great risk of quenching the Holy Spirit.

        2. On when the real “death of the marriage” occurred and the “mourning process,” you give me much to think about in this next phase of my recovery. I thank you for this.

        One of the glaring truths about being in a repressive relationship is that one suppresses truth, whether it is an abusive marriage where one is always on guard on some level, or in a religious cult, same thing–indeed, abusive marriages have often been compared with being in religious cults, even by secular counselors.

        The unaware call this “denial.” I call it: one is so occupied mentally, emotionally, psychologically, and/or spiritually with determining correct behavior/thinking/believing that will not trigger some kind of violence and/or punishment (even in the good times) there is little room for what is needed–SAFE, calm, unhurried time to reflect, study, learn, grow–and see the evil being perpetrated.

        Then, pray and seek counsel for the way out.

        For some, before it’s too late.

        The unaware, uninitiated (so to speak) and ill-informed simply do not understand this.

        And to make matters worse, particularly for Christians, then comes the guilt (usually effectively used by perpetrators): “But aren’t you supposed to ‘forgive and forget?’ Isn’t that what Jesus teaches? Aren’t you supposed to love unconditionally?”

        Forgive, yes, Forget, no.

        And it’s back on the crazy-go-round unless and until one can scrape together enough courage to find the exit door–mentally, spiritually and, in many cases, physically.

        Fortunately (and despite what the non-biblical patriarchy crowd hawks) God is still “no respecter of persons” not just regarding His giftings, but also when it comes to deliverance from evil.

      • Brenda R

        Still Reforming,
        I am having trouble with the issues of female authority over men as well. I would be very interested in the interpretation of what you heard about Deborah and Barak. I am getting a lot of flack over this topic from those who are talking about female apostles, preachers, elders etc. I am trying to do my own research on these things, but still come up with there could be misinterpretations.

  16. healingInHim

    “A conditioned animal obeys. So does an abuse victim as long as they don’t understand what is happening to them.”
    Such a good way of putting it: In order to not tarnish my in-law’s ‘name’ I was expected to remain tight-lipped. The churches condone this. Didn’t realize how conditioned I was until a secular counselor methodically pointed out “all” the circumstances that were considered ‘abuse’. This was after discovering ACFJ, however, I had a difficult time digesting that a Christian ministry was actually questioning the ‘permanence view of marriage’.
    Much insight from this article and comments. Thank you.

  17. pn

    Hi, there, healinginHim! I was just thinking about you yesterday. I hope things are going better for you in your very tough situation. I love it how God “brings His people together” in such unique ways.

    And thank God for knowledgeable secular counselors. Sadly, that is where many Christian women need to turn…and then fill in the Scriptural help where they can find it. Fortunately, God provides many, many places–and sometimes, just in time! :).

    • healingInHim

      pn… how do you measure “better” … LOL … the Lord is so very, very faithful and amidst the turmoil He continues to show His work as I maintain being fed by sound Biblical preaching and remaining in The Word. I am blessed to have met many like-minded souls via the internet. “Thank you, Lord, Praise Your most Holy Name.”

      • pn

        “Better” is whatever God is doing for you right now! LOL! And it so varies, no?

        You sound strong and grounded. 🙂

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