A Cry For Justice

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

A Remarkably Insightful and Accurate Description of the Deceptive Evil of Abusers

The following incredibly descriptive comment was submitted to the blog by TB in response to the article “The Patriarchal Father as Idol God.”  We are making it a stand alone blog post to highlight it to our readers. Many, many thanks to TB for sharing and blessings on her.

I had followed a religion loosely in the years prior to meeting my husband [“h” from here on], but I had no relationship with Jesus at all. Then my boyfriend, who soon after became my h, told me I needed to accept Christ. So I accepted Jesus, but over the years that followed, as husband and wife, we never developed and grew in relationship together as a couple in God.

I never really noticed my h didn’t have much of his own personal relationship with Jesus because I didn’t know what a relationship with Jesus was supposed to look like. He would pick up the Bible and read from it every now and then. He listened to radio teachers. He’d pray before we ate. We’d go to church on occasion, but never for any length of time. He did not have a passion for Christ and neither did I. I knew I was forgiven and aware I had been saved, but I honestly did not have a close relationship with Jesus, myself. I looked to my h as my spiritual mentor because I honestly did not know how I was supposed to be doing this “Christianity” thing. And I spent most of my time trying to please my h.

When we would go to a church for a short while, I would connect with the people quickly, but he never would. Church was like my extended family because we had no family nearby for many years. But it was always my thing, not his. And he would always, always unplug after a short while. Eventually he quit going altogether. I would end up going alone or with my kids over many years of our married life.

He complained about me early on, telling me I was not feminine enough, I was not sweet and submissive like other women, that I was more like a man than a woman. He was the Christian first, and knew God better than I (at least I thought so at the time), so surely he must be right. I wanted so much to be a Godly wife, to make my h happy, to please him. So I began to learn all I could about how to be more of the things he wanted…which led me to resources by the Pearls and Vision Forum and the like. The info looked and sounded wholesome, but applying their ideas of submission and unquestioning respect and loyalty, etc, only served to create a monster in my h. He became more demanding and I felt more pressure to perform in ways that I really didn’t know how. Then I’d feel condemned, shamed, and like a failure because the things I was learning and applying and trying to do and live up to, still didn’t seem to be enough, or to be the “fix” for my situation. I felt like Leah in the Bible who kept having sons for Jacob, each time thinking, “Now, Jacob will love me.” But she finally realized it wasn’t so.

In my efforts to be the excellent wife, my h still found reasons to berate and criticize me. I was a homemaker, homeschool mom, Sunday school teacher, stay-at-home mom, had a big family, stayed fit and always tried my best to look good for him, making myself available to him whenever he wanted, all while doing the domestic stuff most men say they want. Yet, in all that, I was still falling short in his eyes all the time. And I found I really wasn’t enjoying my life anymore. I felt like a Stepford wife, just going through the motions. I was offering up sacrifices to an idol god who could never be satisfied.

And my h, who you’d think would have been satisfied because I was the epitome of the all-American wife/mom, was continually raising the bar, or changing the standard, or finding fault, all the while demanding more honor to him — above all family, friends, and church.

I didn’t know how to give him any more than I was giving. My girlfriend’s husband even said he wished his wife did for his household all the things I did in mine. I could not understand how my h could be so demanding of more. I was just so sure he was right about me missing the bar, that I kept trying another method to modify myself, my behavior, my attitude. I never really stopped to think that maybe my h was wrong. Maybe I was okay, and he was not. Maybe it wasn’t really me who needed to keep changing/morphing into someone else to keep him happy.

As Jeff said about idol fathers, but I’m making it husband not father to make it more applicable to my situation:

And so it is with the wives of the idol husband. “Husband, wrong?” Show them hard, concrete evidence to the contrary of what their husband said, it will not get through. He has become their surrogate Christ. Really, an anti-christ. And such a god can do whatever he wants.

That, in my experience, is exactly the truth.

***

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21 Comments

  1. NG

    Exactly the same principle applies to an abusive pastor with an entitlement mentality. “Bow down to me, obey my whims, follow my vision, even at the cost for your health and family…I’m the one who hears God, so shut up and do as I say.”

  2. Lee

    He sounds exactly like my ex spiritually. I was a Christian when I met him but after we married I learned quickly that I was not allowed to mature beyond him. The church helped him by making sure I always knew that I was only made to serve my ex, that he was the one god created to be the head of the family so god had endowed him with the ability to do so. Nothing I ever did was enough. Still isn’t, not even for the church.

  3. Lily

    Except for the first part (we were both supposedly Christians) my story exactly. All that submission made a monster of him. I often wonder if he may have been a half decent person if we hadn’t been involved with these ‘ministries’, but had some truly godly mentors instead. It ruined me as well and did damage to the children in big ways. At least I found my way out, but what a cost!! We are not created to be worshiped.

  4. That kind of man is insatiable and who his wife is was never enough. I too was the consummate wife to a never satisfied man, he could never stop comparing me to other women even though I did everything for the family and he did less than the bare minimum. It was an eye opener when I realized I had been too busy to notice how absolutely nothing he was (my son -ex’s stepson- said – mom all he did was work on his computer, eat and sleep on the couch and yell at us if he had to part with any of his own money.) He actually didn’t do anything but talk and complain but was never proactive in anyway. It was startling actually once I stopped to observe, almost like a con man. He presumed my what what was mine was his (2nd marriage) and complained when I refused to sell my home or be his slave anymore – his unmerited entitlement was through the roof!

    I could not run fast enough and far enough once I stopped listening to his words and just observed his actions.

    • Some Anonymous Bloke

      I am quite glad to learn that you escaped him.

  5. Bunkababy

    What I find fascinating is the fact that there was no real spiritual transformation or deep realization of the deep inner workings that following Christ brings. From what she says it was a ritual or second thought bout of Christianity. And even though this woman deeply wanted to know Christ, it led into an void appearance of Christianity , a works based Christianity that leads into rotten fruit.

    From what I see and read from people whom are in this movement, even though there seems to be some really sincere people who are looking for Christ they find a form of Christianity that leads to rotten fruit. It doesn’t appear that this type of Christianity is living water that quenches thirst. People drink and drink but but stay parched.

    • Or maybe, as I’ve heard someone else say, they’re rebuked for being thirsty, because they’re not supposed to have “needs.” Love how you distinguished between real Christianity and this false version.

    • StandsWithAFist

      Yes, this is exactly what the prophet Jeremiah said:
      “…my people have committed two evils: they have rejected Me, the fountain of living water, and they have dug cisterns for themselves, cracked cisterns, which cannot even hold water.” -Jeremiah 2:13

      • Bunkababy

        Stands with a fist..I watched that movie the other night. I love that verse.

  6. Joy

    Well written example. My heart aches for all you’ve been through! As a former Christian Therapist, I’d like to share my sorrow for the lack of help ( and further harm) you experienced in therapy.
    Sharing articles and personal experiences like this, is an excellent way to educate ministry leaders and counselors about the deception of evil abusers!
    Press on sister! ❤

  7. Stronger Now

    Oh, yes, this describes my life with my h to a “t”. Always striving, never achieving. Never, ever good enough. Attain the goal, and he would change the standard or move the bar. In his eyes, he was god. No wonder I was miserable. Not only was I always being told I was failing, I was trying to please an idol.

  8. The “idol” husband. Hope it’s ok to mention that I blogged about that in a post called “Rethinking the Idol Factory,” here: http://www.heresthejoy.com/2017/01/rethinking-the-idol-factory-challenging-the-idol-construct-as-the-explanation-for-all-sin-in-the-lives-of-christians/

    • I’m glad you added that link to this thread Rebecca. I’d forgotten about that post of yours. I read it a while ago. And I have so many things in my head about our own blog, my brain doesn’t retain all the good stuff on other people’s blogs.

      • I have no idea how you do all you do, Barbara!

    • NG

      Yes. I did read your post and can say it applies to many things: whatever a child of God dares to hope for, is quickly labeled as ‘idol’. Your unique perspective is from the view of domestic abuse, but I (and my single friends) experience it whenever we dare to share our longing for meaningful connections, and ultimately, marriage. The cardinal sin..

      How dare you hope for that, don’t you know that you are complete in Christ, you don’t need anyone’s acceptance or validation, look to Jesus only..’ (ironically, these folks themselves are are often happily married, and think that we singles do not deserve the blessing that they have..)

      Yes, He is the Source of all joy, but He is a God, who loves relationships and wants to give them to His children… Asking boldly!!

      • Rebecca Davis

        That’s the thing, right there. Yes, there can be real “idols” in the lives of Christians, and yes, a relationship can become an idol, but it is wrong, wrong, wrong to simply label a felt need for a relationship as an “idol.” As someone commenting at SGMSurvivors said (I paraphrase from memory), “They didn’t tell us how to drink. They told us it was a sin to be thirsty.” And yes, I’ve seen the hypocrisy of happily married people telling single people to be content in their singleness. That is just so wrong. Far better to listen with compassion and never once let the “i” word escape your lips. Love them.

        I do have another “idol factory” post coming eventually that I want to write to cover a broader base than just abusive marriages. There is something about the teaching that is disturbing at its core.

  9. Anonymous

    It’s no secret here on this site that I have been married to two abusers. Many aspects of the torment from your abuser, TB, are very similar to that of mine in my first “marriage.” Only after total exhaustion, sickness, and loss of all hope did I come to the realization that my ex did not want a wife and a loving marriage, he wanted someone to be an extension of himself, someone who would jump at his every disrespectful demand and accusation so as to meet the inordinate desires of his heart and when I would come up short, demonstrative rage would follow.

    His life-long addiction to pornography was being acted out in frightening ways, further feeding his paranoia. His thinly veiled accusations of me were in reality, things he was doing, then scapegoating me. I was rotting on the vine as life was systematically being sucked out of me. And to this very day what sickens me, is how much he was enjoying watching me wither and die; and then he would smile.

    • Bunkababy

      This is utterly dreadful. Jesus came for our salvation from sin. These men do not want salvation from sin , they thrive on it. They are not Christians. This is horrible. I am so sorry.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Abusers are murderers. Abuse is murder.

  10. Gothard Survivor

    Scolded for being thirsty? That is legalism, and legalism is not looking at Christ and reflecting his character.

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