A Cry For Justice

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

The Abuser Hooked her in Bible College, deceived her, married her, abused her: Dying Star’s story Part 1

She was a genuine Christian honestly wanting to serve the Lord, only to have her nightmare begin in a place she thought would surely be safe. This is part one of three parts in which “Dying Star” will tell us all the stories of how abusers deceived her.

I don’t know it yet, but I’m about to enter into my first abusive marriage. I am just 18 years old. I have just started college at a small, conservative, Southern Baptist Bible college close to my hometown. I was born and raised in a Christian home by kind, loving Christian parents. I watched my parents have an amazing marriage and that’s what I want for my life, too. Divorce will forever be out of the question. No, I’m going to find my prince charming, get married, and live happily ever after.

Marty sweeps me off my feet just five months after I begin college. He says all the right things. I mean, wow! This guy is crazy about me. I’m 18, he’s 24. He is in seminary, working on his master’s degree. He wants to be a chaplain in the U.S. Air Force. I admire him for his courage, passion, and willingness to share the gospel. He asks me to be official with an elaborate display of candles, flowers, and glittering gemstones. Within a week, he is talking about marriage. Within 3 weeks, we combine our bank accounts. In 6 months, he proposes to me by having an airplane tow a banner in the sky for all to see. He loves me. I’ve found my happy ever after.

We marry. I’m barely 20. I stay in college and work toward my four year degree as he continues his master’s. Things quickly change after we say, “I Do.” Marty has the shortest fuse I think I have ever seen. He goes off like a loose cannon at the slightest annoyance, and I never know when it will be or what will set him off. I went shopping with my mother. I spent $15.00 on clothes. Only $15.00. I come home, eager to show my new husband the outfits I got at a bargain price. He flies into a rage, screaming at me, telling me that I am “ruining his life” by spending money. Then, he grabs several $1 bills, rips them in half, and staples them next to every light switch in the house. He tells me I need to remember to turn off all the lights when I leave a room, that way I won’t be spending “his” money, although we both work.

Months pass. Things do not change. Marty likes to flirt with the female employees he works with, and it shows. He talks about their bodies to me as though it’s normal. He tells me that I need to practice being submissive to him. He severely beats my puppy for chewing a hole in the comforter and throws her down the stairs, resulting in her making noises I’ve never heard a dog make in my life.

He forces me to watch him view pornography so I will get over my fear of it, and all the while, tells me he can do it without sinning. He even refers to some of the pictures on the computer screen as “beautiful” or “like artwork.” He is a youth pastor on Sundays, and I have to sit in church with a fake smile plastered on my face while he preaches “the Word” to the teens at the church. They all look up to him and simply adore him. They have no idea what I deal with at home. He is an elaborate speaker. His guest sermons at the church are very capturing and everyone loves to hear him speak. People tell me how lucky I am to have him as a husband. If only they knew.

He drives violently when he is angry. It scares me. I ask him to slow the car down, and he only speeds up. Finally, one day, I tell him I think I want to leave. He goes into a rage. He tells me if he can’t have me, nobody can, and that he will crash the car and kill both of us. He gets the car up to about 90 miles per hour and spins it in the middle of the road. We end up in a ditch, but thankfully, nobody is hurt. The front bumper is hanging off the car. He looks at me and says how lucky I am that I’m still alive.

We visit a theme park with roller coasters, and I’m looking forward to a fun day. Suddenly, he sees two little girls in bathing suits (around two years old), and he tells me he has to watch himself, because, as he puts it, “any man” can “stumble” over a child. This terrifies me. He also tells me that every man fantasizes about rape. He tells me that when he was younger, he fantasized about raping and killing young girls, and said he even knew where he would bury their bodies. He told me that way, he could have them whenever he wanted.

He puts down my physical appearance. My legs are too big from all my running that I do. I need a tan. My hair needs to be blonde. The list goes on. He even goes as far as to admit to me he is attracted to some of the teenage girls in the youth group and that he has to ask their parents to make them change their clothes so he won’t stumble. I guess he wants me to see how godly he is and how he is supposedly trying to “honor me.” Eventually, he begins to physically show his anger towards me. He pulls my hair and slaps me if I make him angry. Sometimes I lock the door in the spare bedroom to hide from him, and he beats on is so hard that it leaves cracks and holes in the wood. He does this until I break and open the door for him.

Finally, I tell him it’s over. I’m at my parents’ house when I do this. It’s close to his birthday. I didn’t mean for it to be this way. It was just bad timing. He goes out into the yard and sobs and cries. I feel guilt. I feel shame. I’m barely even an adult, and I’m getting divorced. Something must be wrong with me. Maybe I deserved all of this. Maybe I asked for it.

He is now remarried with a baby. He is in ministry. God, please, don’t let him hurt her too.

Don’t miss that last line. HE IS IN MINISTRY! Christian ministry! Ordained. This scenario is in no way uncommon. In fact it is very, very common. I have not kept count of the abuse victims over the years whose abuser was a missionary, a pastor, an elder, or some “holy” pillar of a local church. This cannot be chalked up to naivete on the part of churches, seminaries, missions agencies, and so on. This is a willful blindness for which a great accounting will be given on that Day.

 

***

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50 Comments

  1. Dying Star, you’re the one who received that letter from the pastor, right? The one posted back in March? Thank you for so courageously telling your story here.

    This, THIS is what women are dealing with who get the “let’s just get you both to sit in counseling together” response from churches. THIS.

    I pray that many are listening.

    • DyingStar

      Yes, I am the one who received the letter. I feel like I’m only just starting to come “out of the fog” and learn to live again. This site gives me SO much hope. Many days, I still feel worthless, unworthy, unwanted, unloved, and stupid. I pray one day I’ll learn to view myself differently. In my ex’s words, “No one is going to want me ever again except some hobo off the street.”

      • Rebecca Davis

        I’m praying with you that you’ll be able to consistently see yourself the way Christ sees you, as greatly loved and very valuable, and to know that the abuser’s words are lies. (Very common ones, too. Seems like there’s not a whole lot of diversity among abuser tactics.)

      • Y

        Dying Star, if it helps, they all say the same things. My ex told me that he didn’t want me, that nobody would want me because I was controlling. The only one with control issues was him choosing not to control himself around women! After years of awful divorce and custody battles, I am now free of him and the children are primarily with me. Other people don’t understand this, courts and churches don’t understand this. Hold your head up. I believe God allowed this in our lives so we can speak up, and shine a light on this evil.

        Women should not feel all alone in the church when trying to leave an abuser. Women should know their rights and have people that truly understand their situations in their corner! We must become like a city on a hill that gives off light to everyone. So courageous of you to share your story!

      • Hi and welcome to the blog. 🙂
        I changed your screen name to Y, because the name you had given looked like it might have identified you.

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      • KindofAnonymous

        DyingStar, my goodness. Just oh, my goodness. Your ex husband seems a very evil and dangerous man. Not saying anything you don`t already know obviously. But no normal man talks about fantasizing raping and killing little girls and then stashing them where he can use them again. Even slightly messed up men don`t think that`s normal. This guy is beyond the pale. He thinks like Ted Bundy or one of those other creepy psychopathic guys who become serial killers. You`ve been through hell. I am so glad you escaped with your life and that you had your parents to give you backup. The fact that he is ordained and in Christian ministry says a lot of scary things about the state of the church today. His words to you are evil lies, flaming arrows shot from the wicked bow of the enemy.

        I pray God gives you some specific scriptures to tell you what HE thinks of you as His creation and daughter. Don`t kick yourself over it. most women would fall for such knight in shining armor tactics. I would have. I would also have fallen for a display of tearful remorse and statements of value. Because I have a heart, like you. 🙂

  2. Alana

    This seems so common..they start out wonderful at first. How are we to know what we are getting into? Once in, its very hard to get out of it. I would love to hear more information on prevention and awareness in entering marriages with abusers.

    • Charis

      As I read Dying Star’s account, I identified key phrases that “lit up” for me as potential Red Flags that were similar to my own story.

      “He says all the right things. I mean, wow! This guy is crazy about me.” In my own story, as I began dating my exh, I remember thinking – “This guy is too good to be true. And…he picked ME!” Perhaps I would have been better served to listen to my gut. To ask harder questions. To slow down. He WAS too good to be true – he was not true at all. I have had to work hard to learn how to listen anew to my intuition. The church has done a good job teaching us to silence it, distrust it, consider it false. I have learned from my own experience that intuition sometimes is the Spirit’s way to prompt us.

      “He asks me to be official with an elaborate display of candles, flowers, and glittering gemstones.” In my own story – there was always payback, an ask, a return for the deposit. Nothing was ever free and somehow any nice deed was always about him. I probably didn’t see it at first. I definitely saw it after. In Dying Star’s example, I see this as his opportunity to polish his image. Look how romantic! He’s doing all the expected things. Something for her to run back and brag to all her friends about…and she will! Who wouldn’t? But who does it reflect care, love and admiration on…her or him? HIM! This is a calculated move and he knows it. This makes him look GOOD. And that is exactly what he wants. He wants her friends adding to his good image/positive remarks bank account. If anyone was a dissenter before (telling her “You should drop this guy”). This romantic display will help equalize things. He wins. She is now on the hook and her girlfriends will tell her she is a fool not stay with him…look how thoughtful he is.

      Oh, he’s thoughtful all right. Thinking about himself and what he wants. There IS an ask here – it’s not just a free gift. He’s not just being nice. “I’m doing this so you will agree to go steady with me. You will break my heart if you turn me down. Look how hard I worked to pull this together. The money I spent. The time it took. I might pout or cry or even be angry if you say no. Who would say no to something (someone) so fantastic?”

      The more powerful stories are those that clearly reflect upon her. Where are the accounts of sacrifice and true love…where there is nothing asked in return. The small things. The things she might never even think to tell her friends because they are so small…yet so meaningful. This is love. Why can’t the decision to be steady partners in relationship happen as a serious discussion between two mature individuals weighing the pros and cons?

      No…this was much ado about nothing. This was “for show.” It was a hook. And that’s kind of sad now that we can look back on it. At the time though…it’s heady stuff to be caught up in it.

      “Within a week, he is talking about marriage. Within 3 weeks, we combine our bank accounts. In 6 months, he proposes to me by having an airplane tow a banner in the sky for all to see.” Look at the escalation here. It is shockingly similar to my own. I was eager to marry – having waited until I was 35 to do so. That being said, even my own timeline of 9mos made me a little nervous. It felt fast to ME. He was driving the agenda. The only way I was able to slow things down was to push the actual wedding date out so that from first date to wedding would be 18mos. But the first half…pure whirlwind. And that, too, is calculated. Just like a fish on the line – once the hook is set, they can’t afford for it to get away! And the escalation is key. If someone is pushing the agenda and you are comfortable with it or you second guess it, listen to your gut, your intution. Put a halt on it…and watch for their reaction. Love will honor your request and abide by it. Entitlement and abuse will agree for a time and then get right back to pushing.

      “he proposes to me by having an airplane tow a banner in the sky for all to see.” This is for HIM not for her. It seems romantic. It seems wonderful. It is not. How can she gracefully bow out? How could she possibly say no? This polishes his image to shiny exterior that no one can deny. “What a catch – aren’t you lucky!” and other such comments will come flying in. And this adds to her confusion. If she was doubting before, uncertain before – this will cloud the issue. How could she possibly have thought he was a clod when he pulls a stunt like this? And that’s exactly what it is. It’s the biggest hook, yet. It’s the iron ball and chain.

      • Lea

        “I was eager to marry – having waited until I was 35 to do so. ”

        This part scares me about dating. When you want something it can be hard to see I think. I got tangled up with someone after not dating for a long time and he flattered and he paid attention and he was there…but it was all a lie and I didn’t see it.

        There is a dating advice guy and he said (about attracting ‘bad’ guys) that good bait is going to catch a lot of fish. The answer is sorting the good from the bad.

        The problem is he talks about measuring and matching investment but that doesn’t work with a certain because they are going out invest most good guys. I had to sort of recalculate when I stared dating someone else after. I still don’t have it all figured out.

    • KayE

      Prevention is good and it does work, but it’s not the whole answer.Some abusers are extremely good at deception and able to hide their real self from everyone for years. Anyone can get caught out by these predators.By the time the victim realises the whole thing is a con, they are trapped in a fake “marriage” with a man who intentionally hurts them.In the worst cases he is making plans to murder them.

      The law recognises the right of a victim to get out of such a fraudulent and dangerous contract. But many, many church leaders do not. Allowing, and in fact encouraging divorce for abuse victims is a very important part of prevention. Forbidding divorce for abuse gives a message to potential victims that marriage to an abuser is not really that serious.

    • DyingStar

      Yes, they DO seem wonderful at first. I’m kicking myself for falling for it so many times.

      • GypsyAngel

        DyingStar….
        Oh Dearheart, Please don’t (be kicking yourself) You had NO WAY to see the monster that was lying in wait underneath the mask. You were and are a good honest soul. How could you know? That was why you, like many of us, were picked to be targeted. Not only were we the perfect prey in the way of narcissistic supply (giving, forgiving, resilient, and nurturing), but also we were so innocent. Blind to the evil … because we could never think like them, so we would not even think that kind of evil existed anywhere near us….ESPECIALLY where you were. And with everyone around you singing his praises as it were…what were you to think?

        I encourage you to not kick yourself. Chalk it up to a lesson well, if painfully learned.
        Sending you {{{ REALLY HUGE HUGS }}}

      • KayE

        “Christian” abusive men know very well how to play by church rules, both spoken and unspoken. They know how to pick a good victim. Ironically the best potential victims for them are the women who are most committed to following the rules—they are often the kindest, the most loving, the most long suffering, the most forgiving of women. They are the women most wishing to do what’s right, they are the women most committed to “marriage for life”. That’s why it is so manifestly unjust that these are the very women who are condemned, shamed, vilified, shunned and thrown out of their churches, all because their churches so willingly take the side of evil.

      • KayE

        And are church leaders and other church members going to protect the lambs from being torn apart by these wolves? No. Most of the time they are going to say something like,”Well done Mr Wolf. Would you like to go on the board of elders?”

  3. God-fearing mom

    That is horrific! I’m glad you got out of that marriage. I think prayers of imprecation are in order for this monster. I’m so sad for the new wife and child. 😳

  4. nowamfoundatlast

    violence only escalates. i hope you have learned to recognize the signs and are ready to run.

  5. Toffeemama

    Dying Star, I am so glad that you are away from this monster. Thank you for sharing your story.

  6. Peace Seeker

    This is horrifying on so many levels. I’m glad Dying Star escaped, and I pray the abuser’s new wife and child AND all those in his ministry will be safe.

    • Stronger Now

      Sadly, they won’t be. They don’t change. When their target escapes, they find a new target.

  7. A

    Pastors, law enforcement officers, judges. Anyone can be an abuser. Father, please rescue the women trapped in a “marriage” with an abuser who is in one of these positions of authority. It’s so hard to escape when the abuser is in a profession that’s supposed to help in this situation, not be this situation.

  8. Anon.

    “Ruining his life” by spending $15.00 on clothing. The whole electricity/lights out spiel. Beating on doors. UGH!

    My abuser was all about the lights, too, the electric bill, and how many light-bulbs were in use at any one time. Ridiculous to remember such, but at the time, it was deadly serious. Deadly serious! I stressed over such. Stressing over how many lights were being used for what duration….. And it wasn’t a matter of money being scarce, either, especially as we only had a few lights (max) that could be turned on in the first place! Just another thing over which he could keep me on edge, worrying, dreading, distracted and preoccupied with…..

    Was it on this website that someone shared about her husband requiring her to give her an accounting of how much it cost him in cleaning supplies, hourly labor (unpaid, provided by the wife, herself), etc. to keep his tub clean each week? If it wasn’t so sad, it would be hilarious!. You mean to tell me you want an itemized accounting as to how much it costs each week to clean your bathroom tub?! I’m sleep deprived, so it’s funny to me right now, but it’s also very, very sad and I feel horrible for the wife who was required to tabulate such. 😦

    Speaking about “stumbling” over young children is upsetting and disturbing.

    • NOTE FROM BARB (who has just woken up in Oz) –Years ago we were alerted to serious concerns about the discernment of author of the book Anon referred to in her comment, so I have removed the title of the book and the link to it.

      • Further note from Barb — I’m discussing this matter with Jeff and TWBTC. We might decide to keep recommending the book but wherever we recommend it we need to add a warning. The warning would be something like this:

        We advise readers not to attend any seminars or retreats which are run by the author or his associates, because we’ve received credible reports that the author has co-facilitated with an abuser who has done a snow job on him.

  9. GypsyAngel

    Dying Star, My heart weeps for you and the horror you have lived through. What awesome strength you have. Thank you for sharing your story here with us. My your life be Blessed with the Love of God. May He heal your wounds, and may you see His Justice. I will be praying for his next victim.

  10. Bunkababy

    I am happy you had the strength to get out. I am happy you have the strength to speak out. When I look back at my own life story and read about other people who suffer like you have, it really really makes me think there are very few genuine followers of Christ. I don’t mean it flippantly. Something is wrong. Something is wrong with the way we do or understand the depths and teachings of Christ. Something is very very wrong. The more I investigate , read about the church in general , hear people’s stories I really thing. The gate is narrow and FEW find it. And I am wondering how FEW is FEW.

    • glb21

      It’s few. I thought the same thing when I read this. Mostly about church leadership and all the unqualified pastors I have been under. Most churches are abusive, I have found, on some level. I am wondering how this man is still in ministry? Can someone forward this story to his church? don’t they have a right to know? I cannot fully express how I feel about this post. In fact I couldn’t read the whole thing. My heart is so heavy for the true church and what the visible church really is and what slithers into the pulpits every sunday. Actually I am sick of it. Been watching it for a long time now. Not to take away from this lady’s personal story but the fact that this man claimed to be a Christian makes me worry for all the church- what it accepts, what it denies, what it overlooks etc. are we being faithful to pray against these men? so sorry for this poor woman too.

  11. Phoebe

    May God protect her heart. So very sad. Prayers for her. Jesus the great healer. Help us discern right Lord.

  12. Stuck in the cycle

    Dying Star, THANK GOD you are out! And those poor souls still stuck under him – it makes you long for God’s justice
    I am praying Habakkuk 1 lately (here are just a few verses)

    2 How long, Lord, must I call for help,
    but you do not listen?
    Or cry out to you, “Violence!”
    but you do not save?
    3 Why do you make me look at injustice?
    Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?
    Destruction and violence are before me;
    there is strife, and conflict abounds.
    4 Therefore the law is paralyzed,
    and justice never prevails.
    The wicked hem in the righteous,
    so that justice is perverted.

    • AW

      That is my prayer as well (God’s justice/judgment) and I’ve found Psalm 10 particularly steadying, if that makes sense… a reminder that the Lord will not allow all the oppression and abuse to continue indefinitely, even though it will reach its fullness.

      Psalm 10

      Why do You stand afar off, O Lord?
      Why do You hide in times of trouble?

      The wicked in his pride persecutes the poor;
      Let them be caught in the plots which they have devised.

      For the wicked boasts of his heart’s desire;
      He blesses the greedy and renounces the Lord.

      The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God;
      God is in none of his thoughts.

      His ways are always prospering;
      Your judgments are far above, out of his sight;
      As for all his enemies, he sneers at them.

      He has said in his heart, “I shall not be moved;
      I shall never be in adversity.”

      His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and oppression;
      Under his tongue is trouble and iniquity.

      He sits in the lurking places of the villages;
      In the secret places he murders the innocent;
      His eyes are secretly fixed on the helpless.

      He lies in wait secretly, as a lion in his den;
      He lies in wait to catch the poor;
      He catches the poor when he draws him into his net.

      So he crouches, he lies low,
      That the helpless may fall by his strength.

      He has said in his heart,
      “God has forgotten;
      He hides His face;
      He will never see.”

      Arise, O Lord!
      O God, lift up Your hand!
      Do not forget the humble.

      Why do the wicked renounce God?
      He has said in his heart,
      “You will not require an account.”

      But You have seen, for You observe trouble and grief,
      To repay it by Your hand.
      The helpless commits himself to You;
      You are the helper of the fatherless.

      Break the arm of the wicked and the evil man;
      Seek out his wickedness until You find none.
      The Lord is King forever and ever;
      The nations have perished out of His land.

      Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble;
      You will prepare their heart;
      You will cause Your ear to hear,

      To do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
      That the man of the earth may oppress no more.

  13. And this is only part one of three.

    There are certain red flags to be aware of in a dating relationship. Here’s a post about that: https://cryingoutforjustice.com/what-are-signs-that-someone-might-potentially-be-an-abuser-red-flags/ One of the easier ones to be able to spot (because of its frequency) is how he talks about other people, especially people in positions of servant, like waiters and waitresses.

  14. lonelywife

    Yeah….it’s stories like this that make me say “I’m never getting married again!” I just filed for divorce in Wednesday…and I’m happy I did!
    Dying Star…I am so glad you had the wisdom to get out when you did! Good for you! I am praying for this mans wife…she has to be miserable…and to have had a child with this monster. Oh my word…that poor child! Praying for him/her also!

  15. MoodyMom

    Horrifying! Finding out he had planned – thought through! – raping and murdering little precious human beings, must have been horrifying! And the fact that he planned how to get rid of the bodies to erase the evidence so he could do it again and again… How depraved, how twistedly evil can a person get?

    Well, you just have to look at human history. The wicked have a bottomless well of depravity to draw from, apparently. I used to think in my naive days that God seemed cruel and extremely over-the-top in His judgment of the earth in Revelation. I mean after all, it seemed to me like most people are basically good just trying to get by in life. How could a loving God be so mean?

    But not anymore! Sin after sin after sin fills the stinking cup to overflowing. I can now see why the remnant cheers God on in His judgment, even though it will be hard for them while they’re on the earth.

    Not that He needs any permission from His creatures to carry out His own will, but for people like this, I’m asking… judge away, God! Judge away!

    Isaiah 35:3,4 Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble. Say to those with anxious heart, “Take courage, fear not. Behold, your God will come with vengeance; the recompense of God will come. But He will save you.”

    • Anon.

      Love the verse in Isaiah. And like you, Moody Mom, I, too, was scared to death as to God’s Holy Word in Revalation, but He isn’t cruel. Cruelty, evildoers, and depravity abounds on this earth, and I, too, nowadays, am all about God’s judging away of the many, many predators roaming the earth, not to mention their allies, apologists/supporters, and fellow predators.

      It’s about the only thing that keeps me sane — knowing that God cannot lie and in His Holy Word He promises to repay the wicked for their evildoing, that vengeance is His and He will not spare the wicked.

      In dealing with the horror show that is the legal arena, I fully believe that hell is going to be chock full of lawyers, judges, and the like. Absolutely brimming full.

  16. DyingStar

    Wow, thank you all for your comments. Reading them reminds me that I’m not stupid, that this isn’t all my fault, and that I’m not crazy. I’ve felt “crazy” for a long time, especially having had 3 abusive relationships, basically back to back. I often feel like something is inherently wrong with me and that I did something to deserve the abuse. I also want to note that the parents/families of all my abusers practically hate me now. I think that is also part of why I question my sanity at times and question if I’m the terrible person they claim I am. My most recent abuser even found ways to contact my previous two, and now they are all in cahoots. I feel like there is now a club of people who hate me.

    These comments are so validating. Thank you all so much. ❤

    • Anon.

      I’ve found that to be true about my abuser’s parents/family, too, which blows my mind, but you can see even known, convicted, serial killers’ moms can be found on television shows saying how they support their sons and little johnny was just the sweetest child and poor little johnny…..blah, blah, blah…..oh, little johnny!

      If I took to abusing people, plotting out rapes and murders of little children, and was a devilish predatory person, it is guaranteed that my parents would NOT be on any daytime talk show telling the world how precious their little girl was/is. Nope. They’d throw me in prison themselves.

      I think it says something to have the families go against you. Either their precious little johnny is infallible in their eyes, or they are just as snowed in as you were at first, with the abuser having plied them with endless lies about you, or they have perverse value systems that value the man over the woman, regardless of the specifics……

      Just glad that you don’t feel stupid or ‘crazy’ anymore. Isn’t validation wonderful?! 🙂 I don’t know how to do the little hearts icon so happy face, it is! 🙂

      • Memphis Rayne

        I have a 15 almost 16 year old son now. Boy the parenting I now have towards him as a young man is so vigilant in regards to when I am just by “coincidence” watering outside a room him and his girl friend are trying to watch a movie, or whatever….I compare myself to the thinking of my own parents to this day and I am so thankful to God for the open scope of thinking he has brought me into.. Of course our situation is different. He is not a young man raised in the church we fled from and I truly thank God for that. Plus he is his own being who nonetheless understands more than I do most of the time. It was the same with my daughter. Constantly I am amazed that they became such stunning human beings on all fronts. The Church however would take the stance of a “Mother in Law” of an abuser. The church would rule them out, based solely on not having that Godly, Manly, influence that somehow as an evil temptress I have ripped my kids off. We laugh at them. Cruel? I think not? Un Christian? I think not? Why? It is not un Godly to take a stand against putrid evil in it’s walking dead form? I mean? I laugh, they rebuke? But what? What do they rebuke in my children now? Humans who are educated, aware, Loving, filled with compassion for humans and animals, who love their Mom, show grace when grace is required?

        I put up with so much of the undercurrent. Family get togethers where everyone was pretending to be nice, half ass comments always being said under the breath of one person or another. It always left me feeling like I was hit by something. No matter how nice or good I was, the abuser we dealt with had already gone through his “speil” with his family, just like the church. With my family, they did the same…they never supported me, they shunned us from holidays because of him, they never tried to help, they just judged. For the exact same reasons as the Church, family members sit back with judgement and arms crossed ready to blame the victim “Well you married him”, or my favorite from my Mom “Well you must be enjoying all the drama? You are still there?”

        And the number one reason Church and Families react the exact same is because THEY are abusers in their own right, in their own homes, and it is forbidden by Holy Scripture (sarcasm) to get involved with the same evil they themselves are living. For those people that are not abusers, high up in the church that is just so rare, but they are equally to blame if they refuse to help, there is enough information available to the church, there is NO excuse for ignorance on this matter? The only market left for them to continue is by being perpetrators? Those pastors, counselors, both men and woman who give their almighty snub to an abuse victim and judge, shun, or just look away….They have NO more excuses for being so freakin ignorant.. So I find them Guilty.
        Wew? HA! Well sorry for all that….

    • Elise

      It is so easy to blame ourselves. But it’s wrong. Time for newness. 🐣Walk in the truth. Hold your head up and watch for the blessings the Father has prepared!

      • Hi Elise I removed part of what you’d put in the ‘name’ field of the comments form. Pls remember not to give an identifying name when you comment here — unless you are confident that you’re not at risk from abusers.

    • healinginhim

      Dying Star,
      You are not ‘crazy’. I am saddened that you had to endure years of abuse. I understand back-to-back abusive relationships. Although, I had promised myself to never become involved with anyone for a long time; my desire to always give others the benefit of any doubt is what allowed me to become a victim, again.
      Thank you for sharing and encouraging others.
      You are a very brave woman and deserve to be validated and loved. ((hugs)) ❤

  17. PEARL

    Pray Psalm 10 against him and his ilk.

  18. Abigail

    You are NOT dying you are LIVING and surviving sweetie!!!

  19. NG

    Thank you for sharing your story.. something we can all learn from, although most of us already encountered such ‘good’ ‘Christian’ men.

    I could easily have married an abuser, who said the right words (he thought so at least, and could not understand why this woman wasn’t impressed.. so fake!!), tried to flow lavish gifts around and smother me with his ‘generosity’ (manipulation). No respect for my polite ‘NO, Thank you’. The idea of a relationship to these men is not of mutual respect or attraction, but control and ownership… and when the women refuses, she is the horrible, high maintenance one, who stubbornly doesn’t see how lucky she is…

    I am praying that those sincere, truly godly Christian men would learn to show even an ounce of such initiative that these creeps have when they try to sweep a woman off her feet. My experience sadly is, sincere believing men are timid and avoid even eye contact with women…

  20. Friendinneed from Europe

    Be happy to have him off your hands. Pray for his last prey. Then get him out of your mind. I am happy for you that you got off of him. An abuser cannot be trained into becoming a non abuser. For some people abuse is a life style. The last couple of years christian people teach me that there are some people who roam the earth with the purpose to find someone to abuse. Male or female. I don’t know exactly but say 0,5% of the population.

    Recently we had a guy who visited our church. We knew that a sister from another church was divorced from him. We had a talk with her. We checked out her information. He was divorced from 2 women on the account of physical abuse, found guilty on 2 charges from 2 different women by a judge. How good it is to know how and where to find good trustworthy information. This guy was prayed away. I wanted to drag him out of the church. My Pastor was out of town and hates women abusers. It is a part of our policy to think of our church integrity and safety.

    He was looking for a next victim in our church. How holy the outer appearance was, but if was fake, a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Jesus unveiled frauds and was not nice to them, and neither should we as we follow His example. Some churches accept sinners but only after repentance, true repentance, not false repentance. I learned that phrase from Barbara.

    For some people this abuse is a life style or a part of an illness. In any case not acceptable. [Note from Barb: in Friend In Need’s case I’ve heard his story at length, and yes, his abusive wife does indeed have serious mental health issues as well as being an abuser. You can read Friend In Need’s guest post here ]

    greetings from Friend In Need (male survivor).

    Just a tip: a sincere man has also a whole bunch of friends. His integrity should be perfused instead of skin deep. Check em out good. Look out for red flag behaviour. Not being too jumpy. And of reasonable equal education, aspiration and equally yoked.

    • His integrity should be perfused instead of skin deep.

      What a terrific sentence! Thanks Friend In Need!

  21. StillWiggling

    All of this rings so many bells for me, I hardly know where to begin… or where to end, for that matter. So I’ll limit myself to just a couple of anecdotes.

    Very, very early in my relationship with my second mistake, in the midst of the romantic blizzard he was dumping on me (which at the time made me nervous, why oh why didn’t I pay attention to my nerves) he said, “I want to make you happy!” I said, “You can’t,” and he was stunned. I guess I was way off the expected script. I went on to explain that I was already a happy person so nobody could “make” me happy.

    Fast forward to the endgame. He never could understand why I was displeased with him. There were a million reasons, but he could only focus on what a fabulous catch he was, and why couldn’t I see that. He would begin many accusatory sentences with “any woman would…” He would also often proclaim, “We’re a team!” without explaining that it was HIS team and I was supposed to be slobbering with gratitude that he deigned to allow me to play on his team.

    One more thing. He was, shall we say, employment-challenged while I busted my tail. One day he came home and I was working away on the computer, doing my side job. He wanted me to stop working and pay attention to him. I said no, I had too much work to do and not enough time to do it. He then said it was always the clickety click (of the keyboard) and he was jealous of the clickety click. I said, this clickety click is keeping a roof over your a$$. Oddly enough, he was not amused. /sarcasm

    • Memphis Rayne

      I too had an employment challenged abuser. I too had small children and tried to work side jobs that he made impossible. Sure enough, the threat of you making money tic’s them off. Then on the other side of the swinging two by four, he is yelling “If it weren’t for you I would not be broke!! If it weren’t for getting married and having kids ….” so if we were forced, do to his employment challenges, to have Food Stamps, that he would eat also, he would turn around and say “You are just a welfare whore” or find some other way of making me feel horrible for having to apply. If he kept employment, and the track record was 9 jobs in 9 months due to “some asshole” on each job (HIM) then he felt entitled to take me off the bank accounts, strip me of access to any money, he stop paying bills, so I felt more desperate and had no way out. …..It is “Odd” how they just do not see irony or understand sarcasm? I laughed inside over the mysterious A^^h%%% on each job site.

  22. DyingStar

    I recalled another memory today from my past with Abuser #1. It seems that as time passes, I remember more and more that my mind has just shut out. I remember being on the couch with him at my parents’ house. I was laying in such a way that my neck was exposed (my head was back on a pillow I think, and my neck was forward). He made the comment that the thought crossed his mind that he could slit my throat with me laying like that (yes, this was a seminary student at the time). He told me that it was only a thought that crossed his mind, that he would not be acting on it. He just mentioned that everyone had thoughts like that. Yet another thing I have shoved away in my memory bank that resurfaced recently.

    • uuggghhhh ….
      “He just mentioned that everyone had thoughts like that.” What a liar! Many people never have thoughts like that.

  23. KindofAnonymous

    It`s weird how abusers try to justify their actions by sending out a test statement that attempts to get you to take the bait . I think it is a form of grooming people to accept it as normal. I remember going to visit my dad when I was a young woman of 18. I hadn`t seen him for over five years and was overjoyed to have a chance to have a dad again. I had heard he had stopped drinking and hoped he had changed. Not at all. He was just as devious and abusive as ever, just without regularly anaesthetizing himself with booze which made him even crazier and meaner.

    Just shortly after I arrived, we were all standing in the kitchen while his wife made breakfast and he said, out of the blue and directed to me “ Some people think its weird if the father slaps or pinches the daughter`s ass“. I realized right away he was trying to erode boundaries against healthy behaviour and set me up to accept this, though don`t ask me HOW I knew that . Completely out of character for a beaten puppy like me, I turned to him and said “Well, don`t you be slapping or pinching MY a** , dad! You should have seen the shocked look on his face.

    Of course soon after the villainizing campaign started, rooted in paranoia, accidentally uncovered secrets, etc, and I was sent back to my mother with, of course the entire blame laid on my shoulders. He wouldn`t even let me take the dog he had given me “because his wife likes him too“. Normalizing statements are obviously common, probably a combination of them trying to quell awareness that there is something seriously wrong with how they think and live, as much as trying to justify what they want to do. He would often make statements intended to justify weirdness and sheer warped thinking, and most of his friends had “bizzarities“ in their lives as well.

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