A Cry For Justice

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

Thursday Thought — Is Verbal Abuse Really Abuse?

“I wouldn’t really call what he does ‘abuse.’ I mean, it’s not like he hits me or anything.”

Have you ever found yourself saying something along these lines?  Many people believe that “abuse” only refers to physical beatings, the kind where the man leaves the woman with bruises on her body and swollen eyes.  And they are badly mistaken.

Verbal abuse takes a huge toll on a woman, especially when it is combined with other injurious behaviors, such as controlling her or cheating on her.  The put-downs, the humiliation, the ridicule — all of these can attack a woman’s soul deeply, sometimes more deeply than assaults do.

What are the key messages that verbal abuse sends you?  His vicious words tell you that you are beneath him.  He sends the message that you have no value. His insults and rejection work to convince you that you are not worthy of love.  His verbal attacks teach you that everything you do is wrong.  His arrogance and demanding treatment make you feel stupid and incompetent.

Tearing apart a woman’s identity in this fashion can be every bit as wounding as pounding her with fists.  

There is good reason why you feel emotionally injured.  The problem is not that you are “too sensitive.”  Verbal abuse is one of the most toxic forms of human mistreatment.  There is no excuse for the way he talks to you. 

 

[Entry from Lundy Bancroft’s Daily Wisdom for Why Does He Do That?* p110-111]

*Amazon affiliate link — ACFJ gets a small percentage if you purchase via this link

49 Comments

  1. Still Reforming

    This is so true and I’m finding it to be more and more prevalent, much more than I had realized. I’m only beginning to realize that misogyny really does exist. I didn’t used to think much of it, but I was oblivious to it. I wonder if there’s a word for ‘hatred of men’ like there is such a word for women?

    • Jeff Crippen

      I agree Still Reforming. I used to think that misogyny was fundamentally some creation of ungodly, Christ-hating feminists. Really. That is the party line I was taught. But ultimately that explanation deteriorated as I experienced evil abuse myself by men (and some women) who held to that dogma. I came to realize that the fact is that in the church (and in the world) there are many who claim to know Christ but who have created a hierarchy of power that oppresses those without power. And sooo often those who are oppressed are women, and those who stand with them. I came to see that the wicked men (and the women who were their allies) in fact held and disseminated a view of women that saw them as inferior beings who if it weren’t for sex, men would be better off without.

      • Anonymous

        You nailed it, Mr. Crippen. And that wicked view of women by abusers is held in all cultures which tells me abuse is NOT cultural; abusers abuse and are evil and wicked and terrorize in any land.

      • a prodigal daughter returns

        Feminism was the only logical response in the face of Christianity’s reinforcement of misogyny. I’ve met many that were, in fact, hungry for God, but terrifically wounded by the church’s indifference or contribution to their deep suffering

        Emotional and verbal abuse do get minimized when they are terribly spirit breaking. However, I’ve noticed that physical abuse is quite often accompanied by a tirade of emotional and verbal abuse. Additionally, after one particularly grueling episode of physical abuse I realized that the assault scared my soul too just as any words would have done. Physical abuse is mental, spiritual, verbal and emotional abuse all bound up blows. For that reason I don’t compare them, there are words so destructive they are like blows and blows so humiliating they are like cutting words. It all has the mark of pure evil on it. All of it expresses the darkness of an enemy that came to kill, steal and destroy.

      • Still Reforming

        Pastor Jeff,
        That’s very much the view I held as well – that misogyny was just kind of a fringe thing. I didn’t give it much thought because I don’t tend to divide up or think of people by their gender, color, or any of the various ways we can qualify folk.

        Yet… I seem to keep bumping into this attitude – both in real life and in reading on-line (like the recent post of the radio call with three men “counseling” a female caller) – where women are told what they’re doing wrong without any consideration or equal time given to the responsibility of men in relationships.

        My view of feminists has changed somewhat too since reading this blog. I never associated it with representing those who don’t have the strength, authority, power, or respect as individuals or collectively. I associated it more with political motives, for whatever reason, but I’m broadening that view.

        It’s interesting to me that there’s even a term like misogyny and that I have yet to hear of one that could exist for ‘hatred of men.’
        I wonder why women would be resented or hated so much. It doesn’t make sense to me. The only reason I can think of is that they may be an easy target if under someone else’s authority; It’s easier to control someone already under authority.

    • I do know an antonym for ‘feminist’. It’s ‘masculinist’.

    • misandry
      mɪˈsandri/
      noun
      dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against men (i.e. the male sex).

      • Still Reforming

        Barbara,

        I read this only now. Thank you.

        Interesting that it’s not as well-known a term.

  2. Anonymous

    I have been mentally, emotionally and verbally abused….diminished, devalued, robbed of my dignity and personhood. AND, I have been physically beaten within an inch of my life. I can assure you, The physical beating now seems like NOTHING in comparison.

  3. Victoria de la Cruz

    Spot on!!
    Arrogance was his overarching character trait and he certainly made me feel like everything I did was wrong. But he didn’t only make me feel stupid and incompetent, he actually verbalized it. His favorite criticism was calling me “inept”.

    The healing is slow–five years since we separated and a little over three years since I moved away and started my life over. But with a peaceful life and some measure of job success where I’m appreciated and valued, healing is happening. By the grace and provision of God!!

  4. Still Scared but you can call me Cindy

    I am so excited that my daughter, after 6 years finally called it abuse. Twice in the past month instead of saying “Like Dad is” or ” Just because Dad is that way”. She said “abusive like dad”!! Woo Hoo! Naming it, calling it what it is means that she can start to heal!

  5. On a positive note
    The abused now has tools to help her identify verbal abuse.
    The choice is in your court as to how to handle the verbal abuser.
    Walk away
    Or
    Lovingly tell the abuser
    That indeed he, she has a heart problem.
    Most likely
    The recipient won’t respond well with the truth,
    Yikes!
    I am in this situation presently.
    I have reason to believe a woman friend is the abuser.
    Note
    The ones closest to your circle of influence are more likely to use deception.
    Using discernment to bring God glory.
    Aim high!
    Love your enemy with truth.

  6. Daisy

    There was also a page from Christianity Today that discussed Verbal Abuse, which explained that yes, verbal abuse is abuse too. I posted a link to that page to Wartburg Watch or Julie Anne’s blog the other day.

    Anyway, I’ve been on the receiving end of verbal abuse from my sister for many years. I didn’t even realize it was abuse until a couple of years ago, after reading books and blogs about the subject.

    Prior to that, I spoke to some online friends of mine about how my sister behaves, and they told me what she was doing was emotional or verbal abuse, and that she was a bully. That was a few years ago. I was in denial at the time. It was hard for me to accept the fact that a person who is supposed to love me and protect me (she is several years older than me) would hurt me.

    Not only does she hurt me with the verbal tirades (where she screams profanity at me, calls me a “loser” and yells other insults at me), but she intentionally tries to find the most hurtful thing she can say to me.

    I had to stop confiding in her a few years ago, because she takes any personal, painful stuff you share with her and she will throw it in your face at a later date to hurt you.

    I read in books that verbally abusive husbands also do this to their wives. In my case, I am dealing with a sister and one or two other family members who behave like this.

    I tried talking to my sister about this about a year and a half ago, and she only became more angry and screamed at me even more. So, I tried. I told her that her behavior (the raised voice, name calling, etc) was unacceptable, and she would need to change how she speaks to me. She refused and only got more angry.

    Ever since, I just don’t talk to her as much. She did not leave me with much of a choice. It’s kind of sad, but my life has been more peaceful since then.

  7. StrongerNow

    Over two decades under the same roof and another decade-plus since we separated, and I can still hear the insults. The degradation. The humiliation. The accusations of infidelity. And always the same theme: “You’re worthless. You’re a failure. You look disgusting. You’re a terrible mother/Christian/person. Nobody wants to be your friend. You’re lucky I put up with you.”

    All of this brainwashing for over half of my life. I doubt I will ever have a positive self-image.

    I look in a mirror and hear, “You look disgusting.”

    I make a small, human mistake and hear, “You’re a failure.”

    No matter how much I do in my church and community, I hear, “You’re a terrible Christian.”

    I get together with some other women and I hear, “You don’t deserve to have friends. They’re just putting up with you. They’d be glad if you weren’t there. ”

    One of my children makes a poor choice, and I hear, “You’re a terrible mother.”

    I still have symptoms of PTSD from the decades of walking on eggshells, never knowing what would set him off, why he wasn’t speaking to me today, this week, this month.

    People think it’s strange that my reactions to shocking or sad things are so flat. And yet my startle reflex is exaggerated and hearing a song can bring a flood of tears.

    I will never know what “normal” is.

    • Daisy

      Stronger Now, I am sorry for what you went through.

      You said, “I still have symptoms of PTSD from the decades of walking on eggshells, never knowing what would set him off, why he wasn’t speaking to me today, this week, this month.”

      I forgot to mention that in my post. I have been verbally abused by my sister, and yes, I walked on egg shells around her, whether in person, e-mails, or on the phone, because I felt if I could just avoid saying the “wrong thing” then I would not anger her and be subjected to a rage fit of hers.

      However, there were incidents where I could be visiting at her home, just sitting there quietly reading a book, and she’d come up and just start yelling at me out of the blue – I had done nothing to trigger it.

      I’ve read books and blog pages about verbal abuse, and the doctors who write them say there is no rational reason, that walking on egg shells does not work. The verbal abuse is irrational, so don’t try to look for a reason for it, and it’s not you that’s triggering the verbal abuser, it’s his (or her) need to control. Verbally lashing out is how these types of people deal with their anger and/or maintain control over someone else.

      I used to try to understand WHY my sister verbally raged as she did, and I also tried to understand the content of her rages, but I could never make sense of them.

      After having read material by therapists and psychologists about these things, I now realize it’s a huge waste of time trying to totally understand the why or the what of it. I learned that it’s not me or anything I say or do that triggers my sister’s verbal fits – it’s her choice to act that way, pure and simple. That is one thing I learned after having done some research on this.

      Also, I just no longer care WHY my sister does it. I just want it to stop. There is no justification for her belittling me, screaming profanity and insults at me, accusing me of stuff I didn’t even do.

      When she’s in one of her verbal tirades she also likes to ascribe motives to me that I don’t even hold (as though she can read my mind), like she might yell at me, “The reason you do X is because blah blah blah, isn’t it???!!” – and she’s always wrong.

      When I try to explain my motive to her, like, “No, the reason I do X is because yada yada, not due to blah blah as you said,” she just accuses me of lying. So you can’t win with her. Even when you explain your position to her, to correct her, she just screams some more and believes whatever fantasy world she has chosen to create.

      My sister would sometimes blame her verbal rages on the stress she was under, like from her job or whatever, but that does not fly with me anymore. I used to be under stress from one of my jobs too, yet, I choose to deal with it differently from her, I did not take my frustrations out on her or whomever else.

      I’ve since realized there is no excuse for the verbal abuse – and it’s all her choice to act this way, it has nothing to do with me.

    • surviving freedom

      I know what you mean, the verbal abuse and criticisms were rarely overt with the man pretending to be by husband, but they were there almost constantly. He would find “innocent” or “loving” ways to cut me down and prove I was worthless. The biggest message I carry is that no matter what I attempt to do I will fail, or no matter what I try it will turn out to prove that I am bad mother / bad Christian. I do need to remind myself that these are his messages, not mine. They come from years of brainwashing, years of him “lovingly” pointing out my failures as a wife/mother/Christian. Even his compliments were laced with subtle criticisms are done in such a way to point out some failure or “issue” I had in attempts to point out what a great loving husband he was to endure a wife of so little worth.

      It is so difficult to overcome all of that. Something that I read somewhere for targets that experience this, was to start remembering or writing down, all the things you managed to accomplish IN SPITE of the abuse you suffered. Even the smallest thing that I stood up for, even a small goal that you attempted while still married. I find this does help me, it’s almost like we need to retrain our brain. It’s a process for me and I am expecting it to take time but I will not give up.

      Some of the ways that I stood up for myself or the things I pursued and accomplished (or at least attempted to accomplish) even instinctively knowing I would be sabotaged and punished for it would seem like very small things to the average person, but for people who have been controlled, brainwashed, and shown they’re worthless they are huge. It’s really important for me to think of the ways I fought to hold onto even the smallest part of myself, this helps me keep things in perspective that the messages playing in my head that keep holding me back are his … I don’t want them anymore and fight to build my own messages. I know this sounds easy, it is not. But if I can manage to stop even one of the negative messages that holds me back even one time a week then I also consider that an accomplishment.

      • Valerie

        Surviving, I really relate to your account. My ex didn’t call names or wasn’t abusive overtly…it was all subtle. Chinese water torture. Sigh and shake his head if I dropped something then “joke” in public that I was clutzy or accident prone. Talk to me like I was a child he needed to train. Every time I turned around he was expressing some disapproval of me and telling me I wasn’t normal. Then when I could take it no longer and was to the point I had trouble even making decisions about things like what to wear that day, he would give me some random compliment. My hope was renewed ever so briefly then he would start in again with his “helpful advice” and obvious disgust. I still hear and see him over my shoulder. It keeps getting better but decades of that make it hard to reprogram the mind. Recently I have had a slight mental shift that when I hear his put downs in my mind, I am ever more aware of how he has stored up God’s wrath. When the abuser still has the capacity to abuse you even after the fact in this way, I believe the consequences to victims are just additional indictments against them in the heavenly realms. Just my thought anyway.

      • marriedtohyde

        I experienced that same covert aggression. It is my thought that abusers who are covert are more dangerous…they are like the anti husbands on Dateline who all the neighbors call “caring” and a “nice guy,” but who actually spend years laying the groundwork to commit murder on the wife…and almost get away with it.

        For me, it was a truly frightening moment to see the icy cold hate in his eyes the last time I saw my ex. Praise God for taking him away when He did.

      • You’ve given a good description of how you resisted the abuse, SF. The ways you stood up for yourself and the things you accomplished.
        Those things are not ‘small’ though the world and the abuser would have us think so. They are valiant. They spring from the victim’s determination to resist the oppression and retain her dignity and personhood, even if only in the privacy of her own mind.

    • I think ‘normal’ is a setting on the clothes dryer. 🙂

  8. BeautyFromAshes

    There have been so many times when I have prayed for him to just go ahead and hit me as it would hurt much less. Also, people who refuse to believe that he could ever be anything like I was describing would actually see evidence of the beating. Early on, he would berate me until I was crying and then run off because he couldn’t handle my tears, yet once they fell from my eyes, he knew that he had won. I learned to ‘take it’ without response and when I did respond, he would claim that I was verbally abusing him. I have spent the last 16 years in complete disbelief, confusion, shame and pain because he is one that is in church every time the doors are open…..I pray for the strength to leave this sham of a marriage, but I am afraid that he will take it out on our 14 year old son even more. I can’t thank this site enough for helping me realize that this is not godly nor marriage.

    • Anonymous

      These cowards wear white gloves to carry out their evil. They don’t leave behind visible evidence.

      • Herjourney

        Anonymous
        Their abuse is visible to God.
        Prayer works!
        Revenge is in God’s hands.
        I am seeing evidence of prayer.
        Righteous judgment has been my prayer.
        I will not jump up and down to see damage done to the abuser.
        God knows what it takes to bend a heart to acknowledge His will.
        Letting go is hard.
        But
        God will work when we leave the judgment to Him.
        In His time.
        Not mine.

      • marriedtohyde

        Very true!

    • BeautyFromAshes —- ((((hugs))))

    • marriedtohyde

      If you feel certain you can get away with it, a recording of the verbal abuse may be useful toward possibly obtaining legal protection when and if you leave. Consult a domestic violence organization in your area to find out what they’d recommend because it is important to be wise in this situation. I am sorry you have experienced this evil, but keep hope! God has used this horror to work amazing changes in myself, my relationships, and my circumstances and He will do it for you too!

      • Anonymous

        Marriedtohyde, I too have seen that icy cold hateful stare you referred to in an earlier comment. While driving (I was the driver) my abuser erupted into rage and started pounding his fist on the dashboard and screaming and shouting. I needed to pull off to the side of the road or we would’ve been in an accident. As always, I don’t know what set him off (it was not my driving). He stared straight through me with pure hatred. I realized I was looking right into the face of pure evil. In that moment I think ice was running through his veins, not blood. I ask him if he was going to kill me. And he just stared with his facial veins bulging. I proceeded to say, “I’m not afraid to die but I hope it’s not at your hands”. Don’t think I’ll ever forget that stare…

      • marriedtohyde

        What courage you had to speak that, Anonymous! Ice instead of blood, that’s an accurate description of what is witnessed in the abuser when pure hate is directed at you. That stare was like a sharp icicle attempting to pierce me. I won’t ever forget seeing it and I was so thankful for the wisdom in choosing a very public location for the meeting during which this incident happened. The stare was definitely meant to intimidate me into doing what he wanted.

      • Good suggestion, MTH.
        BeautyFromAshes, on the Safety Planning page of our Resources, we haev some links about recording a conversation.

  9. JMClever

    once my ex said to me loudly in front of a group of friends at church as he announced that he was quitting a job that was beneath him. “I love you, but not *that* much!” A different time he sat there right in front of me and was telling the pastor how he was too busy to take me out on dates. He made sure that I was humiliated and made out to be “less than.” In so many ways. And I just took it because it was the “christian” thing to do. (lower case intended)

  10. Anon

    I have a question, and I don’t know anyone in “real life” that I can ask, so I’m asking it here. My husband…in many ways he’s a good guy, a Christian. He doesn’t beat me or call me names, but I’m miserable with him. There are some good times but the last couple of years I just don’t want to be around him. I get really anxious when he’s home (he works long hours so he’s away a lot).

    In no particular order these are some of the reasons why:

    He says he wants to make things better but when I make suggestions (that he asked for) he gets angry, says nothing’s ever good enough for me, that he’s trying, that I don’t appreciate the effort he’s making, that all I’m doing is insulting him. And then doesn’t do anything about changing the situation even though he says he’s sorry I’m not happy.

    I feel stupid around him. He doesn’t call me names, but he doesn’t support me, has no interest in encouraging me to pursue my dreams.

    I want to go back to work but he doesn’t think women should work – he says that our country wouldn’t have an unemployment problem any more if women stayed at home as they should.

    Sometimes he will try to tell me how I’m feeling: “you’re upset because of xyz” even though I’ve told him that’s not why I’m upset.

    He says he doesn’t remember things I’ve said to him.

    He’s assaulted one of our children (primary school age) in the past, and the most recent thing is that he locked another of our children out of the house because [he claimed] that child was being “horrible and disobedient”.

    I avoid having significant conversations with him because he always feels the need to argue until he “wins”, which normally leaves me in tears because he can’t ever see my point of view.

    I don’t know how to handle it. Most of my Christian friends are saying that he’s this way because of things that happened to him in the past, and that I should be trying to support him in improving things, because he says he’s willing to try. And I don’t want to break up our family, but the outbursts and the tension of not being able to talk even without it ending up in tears and me feeling worthless and guilty is making me really stressed. The kids are stressed by not knowing what he will be like from day to day as well.

    • Dear sister, you have listed a whole bunch of things that indicate your husband is an abuser. He seeks to maintain power and control over you and to quash your reasonable expression of grievances and your reasonable suggestions for improvement. He is showing the marks of person who actively fights against having to take responsiblity for his bad behaviour and his selfishness. He sometimes says he wants to change but that is just words — there is no fruit from those claims of his.

      The people who are advising you to be more compassionate and longsuffering with him because ‘he had bad things happen to him in the past’ are giving you bad advice. They clearly do not understand the mindset of abusive men and they have bought into the myths about abusers, such as the myth that abuse is ’caused’ by a bad childhood or by trauma or by poverty or by substance abuse, etc. Abuse may be exacerbated if the abuser has any of those issues, but it is not CAUSED by those issues. The abuse is due to the abuser’s CHOICE to abuse: his intentional and habitual choice to mistreat the person or persons he is oppressing.

      Many of us have had bad things happen to us in the past but we don’t become abusers. This proves that past bad experiences do not give anyone an excuse to be abusive to others.

      Welcome to the blog 🙂 I changed your screen name and airbrushed a few details from you comment just to protect your identity.
      Please check out our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

    • surviving freedom

      Wow, I was in that same place four or five years ago. It took me another few years to even find any information that helped me start to really understand what was happening in my marriage. What really helped me start to have a better understanding of what was really going on for me was finding the site http://www.manipulative-people.com/ Then I read In Sheep’s Clothing by George Simon Jr, and after another year of him being “willing” to work things out but things kept getting worse I read Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft (both of these things are listed on this site, on the blogroll or the resources section, if you want to check them out). Both of these helped me truly start to accept who was really the one responsible for change. It might be helpful to read these to get a better understanding of what is going on.

      I too, had many Christian friends, counselors and pastors tell me what I needed to be doing or what they thought I was failing to do. And I followed most of the advice I was given, I was desperate, and it seemed like no matter what the “issue” was in the marriage I was being told by him and others that I was somehow responsible for it. It took me a long time to realize that saying one is willing to change doesn’t necessarily mean that they want to or even think it’s them that actually does need to change.

      I hope this helps, I read your post, and it took me back to a time I remember so well, believing it was my duty to carry the whole marriage on my back. There were no “excuses” made from anyone concerning what I kept being told I was failing at, but plenty for him.

    • Still Reforming

      “Anon” –

      You’ve already gotten some wise counsel and if you stick around here, you’ll find you’re in good company.

      I just want to respond to one thing you wrote. You said, “And I don’t want to break up our family,..”

      I cried those very words on the phone to my former pastor, who turned out to not be very wise in abuse (and perhaps abusive himself) in the end. I have since learned by experience and via the generous souls on this website that it was not I who broke up our family. It was my now ex-husband. He did it by his abuse. His lies. His manipulations. His lack of truth and sincerity over many, many, many years. I daresay if you look at the books recommended by Surviving Freedom (and there are others also, but the ones she pointed out are very enlightening), you may well see your husband in them.

      I just wanted you to know that if your family doesn’t stay together, please don’t ever think it was you who broke it up – even if you initiate separation or divorce. It is the abuse and the abuser who breaks family and the marriage. And it’s done long before the paper or the leaving ever occurs. It’s done by the abuser, not the one who suffered from it.

    • Anne

      Anon, I really empathize with you. When I first found this blog 9 months ago, I was (and still do) asking similar questions to yours.

      Husband is super active in church ministry, puts lots of hours in for his work, everyone loves him, says I’m so lucky to be married to such a great guy, he’s so patient, kind and caring to everyone outside our home … what AM I DOING to make him turn into such a cold, hard man?

      Why does everything I say and do make him angry, annoyed, impatient and contemptuous of me? Why does he see me as an adversary and not a partner? Why does he have time and tenderness for other people’s children in ministry work, but never had time for our own? … he was too busy working and giving his time to church.

      He rarely ever calls me names, but I know just the same from his cold glances, curled lip, rolling eyes, ignoring me … just how little respect he has for me, how silly and stupid he thinks I am.

      I could go on and on. It’s soul numbing and so painful.

      Please keep coming here … everyone understands what you are going thru and feeling … Many of us are living it, like you, and some have moved on to freedom and healing … examples of how someday we can get out of the “fog” of abuse too and so willing to share their stories and advice and caring.

      Take care. I will pray for you.

  11. Anonymous

    Herjourney on, letting go is hard but it’s also an act of faith. By nature we (speaking about women, although I do recognize there are women abusers as well) are nurturers and we want healthy marriages and we want that happily-ever-after ending; and so letting go is excruciatingly painful because we are letting go of our dream. When we exchanged nuptials at the altar we were the blushing bride and never dreamed of being a victim of an abuser. When we finally do let go we are admitting there is absolutely nothing ‘we’ can do to change the abuser. We cannot even answer the question as to what will happen when we do let go. But we can know this: when we have stepped out of the way now the abuser is left alone with God to face the consequences of his actions. We embark on a journey of faith and a road to recovery and the abuser is in the hands of the God of the universe with all power at his command. Scripture is very clear as to the fate of these evildoers and so they are not getting away with anything. Only God can change them, we cannot. And it’s good for us to remember this too: letting go may be the death of our dreams, but now we can build new dreams! And we are much wiser now…Wise as serpents, innocent as doves.

    • marriedtohyde

      Your last five sentences are spot on! Recognizing our role is not to attempt to do what is God’s to do is crucial to our healing.

      Those dreams made in a life with an abuser are like a mansion built on quicksand–destroyed in a second when the earth shifts. God’s promises are the complete opposite–His promises endure and are sweeter than the best thing we could dream of on our own. My dreams of having a baby with ex were crushed and it hurt SO BAD! Now, I cannot thank God enough for not giving me a baby in that marriage. His denying me that dream was an act of mercy for sure.

      And being wise and innocent is exactly what it takes to go through the legal issues the abuser drags us through.

      • Anonymous

        We can truly thank God for the things he takes out of our life, to replace them with things of greater and lasting value. Our Lord can be trusted through it all. God bless you!

      • marriedtohyde

        God bless you, too! 🙂

      • And being wise and innocent is exactly what it takes to go through the legal issues the abuser drags us through.

        At the end of 2 1/2 days in family court battling over custody, when my H caved in and said I could have custody, and the case was thus over, my solicitor and barrister turned to me and asked me one question: “Why were you honest?” I could scarcely believe my ears. I had been honest throughout the case, admitting the dark parts of my earlier life, hiding nothing. And I then realised that lawyers so seldom have clients who are obviously honest and transparent about their pasts, that I was an oddity to them. I simply said to them “I value honesty and as a Christian I believe in telling the truth.”

      • marriedtohyde

        I love that through the power of Christ we gain the courage to speak the truth. I am so glad that your custody case had a just outcome.

        Abusers lie…in word and deed. My ex lied to me about his first wife and when he left he spread the same lie…that I’d left him. He deceived me in so many ways and I am sure there are lies that I never even questioned. I cannot imagine living such a twisted life. Lies attempt to blind–they are darkness. Truth reveals reality–it is light. Praise God for He lives in the light and brings us into it!

      • Still Reforming

        Barbara,
        One of my attorneys said something similar that likewise caught me by surprise. I was recounting one of the many abusive things that my husband did when suddenly my attorney said, “You would likely do well in front of a jury or judge,” so I asked why. His answer was, “You come across as truthful.” I was dumbstruck. I just stared at him blankly for a minute because I thought the words “come across” were … well, irrelevant, but not to an attorney, I suppose. After a pause, I replied, “Because I’m telling the truth.” I should have learned after 20+ years living with an adept liar that not everyone expects people to tell the truth, and yet I do. Still, that reply told me something about the attorney – more about him than about me, I thought.

  12. freeatlast8

    Speaking of telling the truth, Barbara, my kids just told me about their recent visit with their dad. I never really thought of my ex as a liar, but now I do. It seems every time the kids visit him, he bashes me, and this has been going on for almost 2 years now. He tells them what I think HE believes are truths, but in reality they are lies. It makes me sick the things he has twisted and tells them. When I ask the 12 yo if he believes what his dad says, he says “Yes, sort of.”

    I feel compelled to tell my son the truth of the matter, but some of it is about finances and the division of assets and other “adult” sort of things. I HATE that my ex is even talking about this stuff with them, and hate it even more that this child is believing his dad. His dad tells my sons that I stole from him. I told the child it is not stealing when you divorce and divide everything in half, and in my case I took less than half to “show/prove” I was not trying to pick his dad clean. We had more debt than assets anyway. We were not well off by any means.

    I hate that my ex is trying to make me look like a thief when I birthed, educated, and raised a large group of children (many of whom are still in my charge). While married, we agreed that because we had a large family, I would not work outside the home. But now, because ex’s retirement was split between him and me in the divorce, he is telling the kids that I stole money from him. As I see it, I EARNED every penny of the pittance I received in return for all the effort/labor over all the years. Although I am grateful for any amount I received, you’d probably laugh if I told you the amount I was awarded. It in NO WAY comes anywhere near compensating for the YEARS of my life I have given to this “job.” Lundy deals with this topic on pages 24-26 of his Daily Wisdom For Why Do He Do That!!! He says, “My work is just as valuable as his, hour for hour.”

    I have had some resistance from this particular child of late in several areas. I am pretty sure it is due at least in part to him hearing what a bad person I am from his dad, and then having to come home and be under my “authority,” so to speak. I know I am not the only woman on earth dealing with this, but it sucks so badly. I had hoped for more peace in my life by leaving (and that has come to some degree…not more war (which is what he keeps going via undermining me to our kids during visits)… Leaving required a huge leap of faith into the unknown. Anonymous said it all so perfectly in her post above. Today I told the Lord I want to let go of all the past and move on to the future. It is the death of a dream, as Anonymous said. I still grieve over it all.

    • Anonymous

      Yes, abusers are liars. It took me a while to get this but I finally did. With my covert narcissist I realized if his mouth was moving, he was lying. I really did not want to believe it and it was painful to do so but the truth does give us great wisdom and insight and it sets us free. I heard it said, “Good mental health is to accept the truth at all cost”. His lies upon lies started to unfold right before his own eyes and for others also to see. One of the many things I love about Abigail of the Bible…she was married to a wretched and evil man but never once did she allow him to define her. She displayed great courage and applied wisdom in the most difficult circumstances. She new that she could do nothing to change him. She was a woman of great understanding. She was not a self-reliant woman and knew she needed to depend on the Lord for strength and courage. As I think about her circumstances I believe she was fearful but she did not allow that to paralyze her. She acted and she acted quickly. Her courage despite her fears changed the course of history. The fact that she gets mentioned in the holy Scriptures tells me God believes she is worthy to be imitated.

      • Still Reforming

        Anonymous,
        Like you, when I finally realized that my husband was lying intentionally, I began to slowly see that while not everything he said was a lie, anything could be. Therefore he was not trustworthy.

    • Still Reforming

      freeatlast8,
      I understand your grieving. I still do as well – one year post-separation (six months post divorce).
      Re: your ex- bad-mouthing you and telling lies to the kids about you, do you have a mediation or divorce agreement/decree? In mine, it spells out terms about speaking about the other in front of the child. There might be some language in your official documents about that. Did you have an attorney?

  13. Anonymous

    They set it up this way–that we are in their “debt.” It goes with their sense of entitlement. They keep us tied down with kids, trying to be the perfect wife and mother (but always managing to fall short according to their judgment) giving up our jobs and education in order to raise kids and serve our husbands.

    Remember the WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) rapefest that we endured as a campaign to keep those of us with a heart for the Lord controlled? ( Are you behaving as Jesus would? Are being perfect?) Well, here’s a good way to remember how your husband and those like him think. What would Satan do? We know he’s a liar, manipulator, deceiver, sows destruction, is our adversary, steals, kills and destroys. This is the nature of the “beast” and this is all they ever do. No motive they have is for anything but to harm others and exalt themselves. So whatever thing they’re throwing out there, ask yourself, “What would Satan do,” and you may reach the right conclusion about what they’re up to much faster.

    It took me years to realize that my husband thought that any money he made was billions of dollars and that I was stealing it and keeping us poor. So here I was living on nothing while ensuring that the kids went to Christian school, had music lessons of some sort, an athletic sport (I wanted to give my children all the opportunities I could so that they could be what God created them to be) nice clothes (clearance racks, layaway, garage sales) and used coupons like crazy that saved us lots of money. It was only after the kids were nearly grown that I realized he thought that I was lying about how much things cost and was wasting all his money. People like your husband (and mine) don’t live in reality and don’t know the value of anything (or they would treasure us and feel blessed by our thoughtful hearts) . They will buy themselves a new high end toy at full cost and consider it their right to do this, while those in their care have nothing. (But they perceive everyone else as having more than them. Woe is them.)

    My husband’s family are all like this as well. One of his brothers married a woman with money and left her when she hurt her back. He divorced her and left her alone. Years later when she sold her house and moved out of state he whined that she stole $100,000 from him (the price she sold her house for). This was her house before they were married, he never paid a penny towards it, but he really believed that she stole from him. My sister is the kind who gets everyone to pay her way so she is able to retain all her money which she then spends on things for herself because after all she deserves to be catered to. Notice that there is no truth here and that their sense of entitlement ensures that THEY get all the sympathy from everyone and defame those they are supposed to cherish. Good times, noodle salad.

    A 12 yr. old is old enough to learn about money. There may be personal finance classes or online information geared towards children his age. As he’s researching, go alongside him and tell him the truth. Tell him what you’ve gleaned and how, if he wants to be a good money manager, he can start by being a good steward of what God gives (will give) to him (ie. wife, children etc.). Show him the budget, what things cost, maybe have him do the bills with you or shop and try to find the best deal. But keep something in mind. God is the only person who can open a person’s mind and heart and even if you do everything perfectly, explain and defend yourself in every way, he may not come to the truth about it. As much as we want to be vindicated and to show that we are honest and truthful, some people will never get it. I know this sounds harsh but it may keep you from destroying yourself trying to defend yourself.

    I just want to say that I’m very proud of you. It’s so hard to do right for years and years only to be told that others think you were selfish and greedy. You are awesome and there will come a time when this will be in the past and you will have peace concerning this. But right now remember that there are others who know the truth and understand and support you. You are not alone.

    Biblically this is how a husband is supposed to view and speak about his Godly wife, Proverbs 31:28-31, “Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all. ”Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.” Amen!

    • Anonymous

      Anonymous – you nailed it!

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