A Cry For Justice

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

Why men abuse women and what makes them stop – by Barry Goldstein

Courts Must Learn Basics about Domestic Violence

Four decades after domestic violence first became a public issue [in the USA] our courts still don’t understand the causes and effective responses to domestic violence. Attempting to resolve DV cases without fundamental DV knowledge is like sending children to unregulated daycare; we keep seeing avoidable tragedies in which children are abused and some die.

When domestic violence (DV) first became a public issue there was no research available. Courts developed their initial responses based on popular assumptions that DV was caused by substance abuse, mental illness and the actions of the victims. This led courts to turn to mental health professionals for advice as if they were the experts about domestic violence. In fairness, this mistake was made in good faith, but was never corrected after research demonstrated the initial assumptions were wrong. …

Court officials who are responsible for the health and safety of children must understand that domestic violence is not caused by mental illness, substance abuse, anger issues or the actions of the victim. It is possible for an abuser to change, but it rarely happens out of the blue. It usually requires accountability and monitoring. At a minimum, an abuser who is changing his behavior would recognize he is solely responsible for the harm he has caused; he will be committed to never abuse anyone again; and will understand that if he ever abuses someone he will lose the relationship with his children.

Read the full article here: Why men abuse women and what makes them stop.

***

Barry Goldstein

Barry Goldstein is a nationally recognized domestic violence author, speaker and advocate in the USA.
He has written some of the leading books about domestic violence and custody.

Further Reading:

Contriving a test to probe whether a hardened heart has repented

 

28 Comments

  1. Loriendil

    Excellent article!

  2. Now Free (formerly struggling to be free)

    If only governments and courts would listen instead of continually providing tax payers good money into supporting programs that have been proven to not work. If we were given the choice I think most people would say scrap these ineffective programs and place more money into helping victims and
    support that shelters etc need.

    Sadly they see this as only treating the results and not prevention, so they continue to put money towards abusers rathen than teaching and helping to see red flags etc., and support of schools-based awareness programs. The approach only proves the total inadequacy of systems and those who are in authority.

    No matter the cries of those working both in police and other authorities trying to help victims to change a failed system, those in superiority continue to let victims and survivors down. Until they truly listen to those affected rather than their own preconceived agendas and ideas, the cycle continues unless we ourselves break that cycle. The latter we of course know is easier said than done when there is little support.

    “People with anger management problems cannot control their anger towards anyone. They are liable to mistreat their boss, a waitress, a bank teller or a delivery person. Abusive men tend to only assault and abuse their partners and sometimes their children. In other words their abuse is based on their male entitlement and belief they have the privilege to control their intimate partners.”

    In light of the above it has given me some concern as I witnessed my ex (who normally did keep her abuse hidden) also, when out in the community, from time to time hurled abuse at others such as shopkeepers. Even my own solicitor was threatened with her moving to have them struck off practising law.

    I only had a massive verbal outburst [from her] once in an informal meeting in the church I attended. I cannot say too much for safety but as I was leading and sharing thoughts with a worship team she kept speaking over me with her ideas and thoughts inappropriately. Her thoughts were not wrong, but I was trying to keep an order for the evening and bring my own spin on things. I had to stop a few times and politely say, “Could we keep all the thoughts for later when I’ve finished my short piece?”. it was unheeded and twice more I was deliberately talked over. Frustrated, I was then blunt and firm and said all comments we’ll discuss at the end, for it was just totally ruining the points I was trying to get the group to grasp hold of for encouragement. She hardly darkened the church but turned up and felt entitled to take part. Another older long-standing member of church saw what was happening and my embarrassment. She stood in and said, “Look just let’s keep our thoughts till after, and we will all have a chance to say stuff. He is only trying to get through his points.” All hell broke loose and I was totally embarrassed at the verbal abuse she gave that lady. I had no choice to step in and close the meeting and say there will be no more worship or praise tonight and thank them for coming.

    That lady who intervened had an abusive husband.

    Yet when I separated it was she who came and got my ex and took her to church and sides much with her.
    I’m not sure now whether I was being abused according to this article or had someone who was, as the article says, could not control their anger. This section has confused me and I’m not sure now if I was right all along. My ex every week both in person and on telephone “abused” or as this says “let her anger out of control to others she did not know”. Sometimes even to a point close to slander and being threatened with court re slander in public. I often got calls during the day from managers of places not happy with things or trying to appease. Things I was even unaware of happening, but knew her character and abusive/ angry nature certainly pointed that something had kicked off somewhere. I don’t know how many countless times I’ve had to calm others and apologise for her. Now I’m questioning this statement?? Some and probably most abusers will hide these things, but I’m not convinced they don’t do it elsewhere.

    In work I see abusers who I know have abused their wives, yet they still do it with certain people in work too. The sense of entitlement is in them not just over some people but everything – including God if we really pressed them.

    Isn’t that exactly what Satan as lucifer was doing when he was being thrown out of heaven. Note he too had his allies who were a third of all the angels in heaven. It says a lot regarding abuse and the abuser/accuser. Churches seem to fail to recognise these things and so is it any wonder the unregenerate heart cannot spot either.

    We need badly to pray God opens the eyes of the blind, that truth and justice may truly be applied at all levels.

    • Hi Now Free,

      The workmates you know who abuse their wives and also abuse some of the people in the workplace — do you think they abuse just the people in the workplace who they are confident they can intimidate and bully? Or do they abuse anyone in the workplace they feel angry towards? Do they abuse the boss to his or her face, when they are angry at the boss? Or do they just abuse people at work who they think they can get away with abusing?

      Did your ex-wife abuse the pastor? No — she didn’t need to, because she had wrapped the pastor round her little finger with her manipulative lies. Did you ex-wife abuse her own boss when she went to work? Probably not: she knew she could not get away with that.

      • Now Free (formerly struggling to be free)

        No, you are right only abusing those who they thought could get away with. My ex would abuse others outside who she never knew. To abuse a solicitor was probably the most audacious thing. She did not know what way they would respond but she did it anyways. I’ll never forget minutes later being down with the solicitor who was visibly shaken and apologising for her behaviour. She told me the rage was nothing to do with separating but all to do with money and pure greed.

        My supervisor abused all but a few he liked or one he dared not abuse. One person totally refused to speak to him and always used a go between. Quite farcical but worked.
        When I challenged the abusers in work the first thing was said was about religion. It’s madness an abuser can say and do what they like but as soon as a Christian makes a stand for themselves you are the heathen and “call yourself a Christian, you’re nothing but a hypocrite” comments come flooding back.

        My wife did the same response coupled with “ I’m going to tell the pastor and the church exactly what you are like!”
        I feared that for [about two decades] and felt she would one day destroy any ministry. The problem I had was the pastor’s wife had a soft spot for her feeling always sorry for her. I knew the day she turned up a few minutes before a celebration service and sat right under my nose crying with the pastor’s wife consoling I had had it. Still I was glad maybe things at last will come to a head and get sorted. What happened after I never ever expected. That was the hardest service I ever had to do. How a pastor could ever say I did it all in my own strength is beyond me. I could never with what was going on behind scenes done anything for the Lord if He had not been giving me strength.

        The betrayal and heavy accusations followed and I lost everything. As someone said in another blog comment you tend to go underground and mask/ hide all feelings for self-preservation. I was already numb and lost it was only the spiritual side keeping me going. Suddenly it was swept from me. I was in total shock and no fight left in me. I had “no feelings” for anything yet I still felt much pain. It was another [almost a decade] before I finally got free from my ex.

        Heard even this week she is still making other lives a misery with abuse. There is still much going on to sully my name. The deception and manipulation techniques of the abuser continues to try and gain information and to use for their own ends. I can’t say much more for my own safety. Sadly abusers and their allies don’t seem to give up. Satan does not give up easily to silence a Christian witness, to weaken a church witness, to steal and to destroy. Why church pastors and leaders can not see what stares the rest of us in the face is beyond me. How can he blind their eyes so easily with a few cunningly crafted words. Surely the Spirit of God is screaming to them. It tells me a lot of how close to God they really are despite their charismatic words. All talk but not enough listening. The gift of discernment and wisdom is perhaps needed now more than ever.

        My saddest thing is despite saying they now understand my situation better, they have never made any attempt to apologise, make amends, or to restore. Pride,pride, pride…. funny isn’t that just lucifer’s downfall too.

        Meanwhile good men and women continue to suffer from secondary persistent abuse and spiritual abuse. Selfish to the core the church of Christ suffers with a weakened voice, no power (the Holy Spirit is grieved) and struggles due to the sins within (despite what some may look like as empowered thriving churches) as it’s outcasts try to gain strength and recover. It just makes me so sad for the innocent church member who sits and prays fervently ignorant of what has happened behind scenes and yet suffers because its leaders made crazy decisions of their OWN flesh. Double standards just smack me in the face every time I think of it. Now I seethe in righteous anger at it all. Woe unto them that abuse and never put aright, there is going to be some shocked people come judgment day. The challenge of those words “away from me I never knew you and were cast into the lake of fire” to those who practised in God’s name, but we’re so out of touch and wrong in many ways needs to be heeded so much in this day and age.

        [Details airbrushed for protection. Editors.]

  3. Helovesme

    This is an excellent article. It brought up some thing that had been on my mind for a long time! It was so good to read and hear some of my questions answered and put into proper perspective.

    So I recall reading about Prohibition in American history, and as the article pointed out the desire to outlaw alcohol did come from a real place of concern. Men would use entire paychecks to drink or go home and abuse their wives under the influence. I can see how the connection between alcohol and violence seemed natural and obvious.

    I’d just like to insert some things I’ve picked up on over time regarding alcohol and it’s so-called connection to crime—-perhaps that will help understand how the “alcohol causes evil” narrative has been fed.

    Alcoholic consumption is often wielded as either an excuse for the bad behaviors of the offender, and a source of condemnation for the one being victimized.

    If a man chooses to get drunk and sexually assaults someone, alcohol is usually blamed. He acted in ways that he would never engage in if he’d been sober. Alcohol turned him into someone that does not define who he truly is.

    However, if the victim was also drinking, possibly drunk (possibly passed out)—she is usually BLAMED for being assaulted. She never should have been drinking. She never should have “allowed” this to happen to her. She made herself a target.

    Now the alcohol is not the culprit—-the victim deserves to be blamed entirely.

    “Mental illness, substance abuse and anger are issues separate from domestic violence.”

    The article started off beautifully by debunking so many false myths. The issues they brought up CAN make abuse more severe, but it is not the cause of abuse.

    My abuser was my father. He was NOT a drinker. In fact, I don’t think I ever saw him touch a drop of alcohol.

    He is also not mentally ill, IMO. I don’t even think he has an “anger management” problem, although I feared his easily triggered anger constantly. He has a SIN problem.

    Abusers think more clearly than we give them credit for. The examples the article gave were excellent. An abuser knows better than to get into a fight with a police officer. They know how to “hold back” until they can let loose on someone they feel ENTITLED to abuse. And to abuse the person or persons that are least likely to report the abuse, fight back or have no way to escape or run or hide from the abuse.

    My father abused his daughters in ways that he did [not] abuse his son. Women tend to be generally regarded as weaker, physically and mentally—-so we are treated as expendable and exploitable.

    I don’t think my dad was a very “pleasant” person in public, but I do not think he came across as abusive outside of our home. To be honest, I was terrified that people would see him as he really was in public. I was afraid people wouldn’t want to be around me if he acted inappropriately in public. People already tended to seem uncomfortable around me in general and I didn’t want anything to add to that. So I often hoped he would be on his best behavior. I often wished he’d try to act like a “normal” parent, at least in public.

    Strange how people tend to look at kids as a mirror reflection of the parent or parents. I didn’t want people to lump the two of us together. Ironically, we DO have very strong similarities—-but I am not an abuser and have no desire to be one. I have fought and sadly engaged in abusive behaviors because how I was raised DID powerfully rub off on me, but I have worked hard to own up to my sins. And I am working hard still to separate myself from the bad influences my father is responsible for. And to separate myself from him in general.

    The phrase “undeserved leniency” stood out to me. I was badly bullied by a professing Christian about 20 years ago. It nearly ruined my life and caused me to backslide. WHY in the world she was treated as a “misguided, troubled young woman” now baffles and angers me. Even if she HAD been a victim at one point in her life—why was that my problem? I wasn’t there, if she DID have a troubled past. I didn’t cause her supposed suffering from those days. Why should I pay a price because she has issues that have nothing to do with me? Why doesn’t she choose to work on her issues, and stop letting loose all this hatred on me, as if that’s perfectly acceptable to do?

    She is now choosing to victimize OTHERS, namely me—-and she knew good and well what she was doing. The only solution would have been to tell her to leave the Christian group we were all a part of, and not to come back until she learned to govern herself.

    Christians seemed to expect me to feel sorry for my dad as well. I think they tried to have sympathy for me AND him at the same time. Now I’m shocked by that sort of thing—-but at the time I thought it was the Biblical way to go. Feel sorry for the sinner AND his or her victims.

    The Lord DID die for my father just as much as He did for me. No argument here. He also loves my father just as much as He loves me. No argument there, either.

    But loving us and dying for us do NOT “blind” the Lord from seeing people exactly as they are. He is never deluded and NEVER minimizes sin and all its terrible consequences.

    I would go so far to assert that professing Christians that try to minimize the enormity of sin are in danger of reducing the cross of Christ until it has little to no meaning anymore.

    The cross was all about blood, sweat and tears. It is nothing that any of us can truly imagine, or even contemplate. We try to, because it’s the focal point of our faith in Him (along with His resurrection) but we won’t get very far.

    The spiritual weight of the sin of ALL of humanity, on His shoulders, is not something our limited minds can fully grasp. I have sinned a LOT in my life, and I am just ONE PERSON. Humanity is comprised of far more than just myself, obviously. Again, my mind cannot wrap around what He went through to ensure salvation for any and all human beings that He draws to Himself, and they choose to accept Him as Savior.

    So Christians should keep and bear that in mind when sin is discussed. The cross is NOT clean and sanitary and prettied up with gold or silver. It was made up of rough, jagged pieces of wood, a blistering sun overhead, real nails being driven into real flesh, insults and mockery being hurled with impunity, hours of pain, suffocation, dehydration—not to mention humiliation.

    That’s more of the experience and description of being crucified. The two thieves on either side of Him could attest to that. Jesus bore ALL of that, AND bore the entire weight of our sin.

    Bearing the wrath of God is NOT the same thing as bearing the wrath of man (although the latter is no picnic to deal with) And if we keep in mind that Jesus did NOT deserve one bit of God’s wrath (and we deserved every bit of it), then add that to what our already limited minds struggle to contemplate just the basic knowledge of what it was like to be crucified.

    If the Lord would give us just a tiny GLIMPSE into what He did for us, dying and rising again—-THEN maybe we as Christians will take sin more seriously. And abuse IS sin. Before anyone dares to dumb down abuse as “not so sinful,” or “sinful, but both parties are to blame” or “sinful, but we’ve found a way to normalize it”—–maybe we’ll put a check on our mouths before pounding nails into a victim’s arms and legs—-attacking the innocent to justify the guilty.

  4. Now Free (formerly struggling to be free)

    Someone very close to me (an alcoholic) but was never in my opinion an abuser. however when drink was taken was the life and soul of a party. Extremely kind person and very loving. Even drink taken to excess never resulted in abuse. Except however if vodka was involved, they were for some reason extremely aggressive argumentative and would be very much a person who would become awkward, cunning, making up stories to inflict hurt even on loved ones, accusing those who they dearly loved of terrible filthy accusations.

    Something that others were horrified at and caused much trouble and pain. Some things I still wonder if they were true or not. I do not believe in any way they were what we would call abusive. In fact very much one of the most loving people I knew, but if you took that character difference after drinking vodka on its own and their sudden hatred for Police and doctors nurses etc trying to make them do things they did not want to do Eg trying to get them into a hospital bed etc, it produced extreme verbal abuse and total out of normal character in words and aggressiveness. Often doing so resulted in physical violence.

    I knew them closely all my life and I can assure you they were not abusers, but very abusive once vodka was taken. Other drinks even in excess only produced a happy-go-lucky, dancing, singing type person.

    So although some things can be said regards abusers and drink and I get the statements and why. I most definitely could not say this in this case.

    There’s no black and white in everything and I think despite in general terms we might say one thing or another, everyone is unique and sometimes we must remember to be careful to not blanket state things or “tar everyone with the same brush.” Some things in people are more complex than often meets the eye. It is why we need to probe sometimes a bit further with some who may have other chemical imbalance that leads to violence or verbal attack.

    I regularly witness in work someone become aggressive and to a point almost abusive but it’s due to diabetes and low sugar levels, others it’s substance abuse and withdrawal. Those people are definitely not abusers in my opinion normally.

    There’s sometimes a fine line that is not always obvious with “abusers” (aggressors) due to drink etc and real abusers who are with or without such intoxicants in their systems. I would tend to say “abusers” are perhaps due to these chemical imbalances in the body become aggressors for want of a word, but are not normally abusive at other times. It is still very much wrong and they are the ones who still have the problem with alcohol etc and need to address it most definitely. I would never excuse that person for their behaviour just because they were an alcoholic or person with an addiction. Often using the fact that they were diagnosed as such as an illness to excuse their addiction and behaviour. Often saying that they could not help it or control themselves … it’s a disease they used to say! The government gave them housing plus amenities for next to nothing and better benefits to which acerbated the problem as most of those benefits went straight to alcohol. Never once with other drinks even to oblivion did an aggressive side appear only when vodka was involved.

    Often victims in abusive relationships make excuses that he only hits me when he is drinking. It is still sin and wrong. Abuse is abuse! I do not condone anyone’s actions reactions or words etc whether abuser or not, but we may do well to recognise not all seemingly abusive persons in such a state are abusers without it.

    However I would agree if they tend to abuse anyway, it is most likely abuse of alcohol or substance etc will heighten the abuse.

    I’m just throwing something out to the blog for pondering and perhaps further thought on such. An observation from personal experience. Sadly that very loving person is no longer living and the effects of alcohol that ruined not only their own life but many, many others continues to play out in others. Who you face when alcohol or drugs are present is different for every person. Every drug has its side effects but not every person will experience the same. We are all unique and are complex creatures and that can be reflected in how a person responds to various drinks or drugs. Who you face may bring you sadness but also deep joy. Who you may face may bring nothing but heartache and pain. Who you may face may be the same person but perhaps a Jekyll and Hyde in a different way than we often associate with abusers.

    Depending on who you meet and face may determine your thoughts of that person. Most of us know our abusers and know them well despite at times our fog of confusion.

    I think we need to be totally honest with ourselves – we know I think deep down when a person is abusive as an abuser or not. We do need sometimes discernment but perhaps most times we know exactly who really stares us in the face. The aggressive drunkard may not necessarily be a persistent abuser, but it does not condone their abuse and that can change. If they are honest with themselves and seek help. Addictions can be overcome, but abuse is not an addiction. The aggressive drunkard abuser is a totally different person. There is a subtle difference but if we are honest and most of us have lived with such people we know deep down if honest with ourselves who is who. Aggressor (“abuser”) at that time perhaps or abuser always but exacerbated. I hope I’m making some sense.

    It is very sad and extremely painful for anyone who meets either. Damage is done by both. Both behaviours are sinful, wrong and evil. However, how they are dealt with is much different. In the case I speak of they had to keep away from vodka. That was not easy, but often it was poured down the sink. Woe to the persons though who provided it and coaxed to take (sometimes it did not take much, if any, coaxing) for they often saw the aggressor and received the full abuse.

    Alcohol/substance abuse can lead to very real abuse, whether an abuser normally or not.

    I had no problem loving that person. I had no problem having that person around me. I had no problem encouraging sometimes with blunt firm words. I had no problem spending time in their company and trying to help them overcome fears, rejection and many things that they faced. I had no problem being loved by them nor giving them love. I did not agree to everything. Often hard words were spoken and they actually listened more and respected that with a non aggressive loving attitude than others who were just judgmental and critical. These are things I definitely would not do with a persistent abuser.
    To me the they way I’d treat them is much different in fact probably the opposite and more.

    Helovesme, again thanks for beautiful words. Always encouraging and thought provoking. You said
    “To be honest, I was terrified that people would see him as he really was in public. I was afraid people wouldn’t want to be around me if he acted inappropriately in public.”

    It prompted my own experience back to me.

    My ex wife did enough outside with her snubbing people or awkward ways that meant not even family felt comfortable in my home and the way she treated people was atrocious. I did most if not all the hospitality cooking and trying to attend to people or entertain. She would be raging if they turned up unannounced or invited. She was missing a program on telly despite recording it.

    When out, I often had to apologise for her abruptness, awkward snubs or attitude . Many then didn’t bother with both of us. They were fine with me at church on my own or elsewhere, but none bothered to visit and stopped inviting us anywhere and over time I lost many good friends. Isolation was very harsh and difficult for me but I understood. In the end I was left with only one friend that I see only once a year and I’d have said they used to be my closest friend. In the end I’ve no close friends at all. In fact my “closest” friend did not know I had separated and lived elsewhere for a year and a half after I had moved out.

    People move on in their own lives and I’ve found despite trying to be friendly they cannot often get by that we cannot talk for various reasons about personal things. They have their own ideas but it’s like the closeness is lost and trust. I have very good reasons in not revealing many things, despite that you wish you could. It’s far too dangerous for me. So I lost due to isolation from two angles and I’ve also lost due to personal self protection. Now I say were they really true friends anyways? I have lost everything because of abuse.

    • Finding Answers

      Now Free (Formerly Struggling To Be Free) commented “………I do not condone anyone’s actions reactions or words etc whether abuser or not, but we may do well to recognise not all seemingly abusive persons in such a state are abusers without it.”

      ^That.

      I could add many examples, mostly from outside my abusive family of origin, but to do so would compromise my safety. And a popular term these days is “hangry” – those people who get grumpy or angry when hungry. Again, I could give many examples, but it would compromise my safety.

    • Helovesme

      Now free, my apologies for not responding to you sooner. I’ve had a very rough start to 2019 so I didn’t read your full comment until just now.

      It was terribly difficult to read your response to my particular comment about hoping my dad would behave in public.

      When it comes to speaking about abuse (when we are hopefully able to), we understandably focus on the interactions WITH the abuser—-whomever he or she is. That should be the main focus. The abuser is the one who abused us.

      But we should absolutely emphasize how much abuse impacts ALL of our relationships. Abuse is so terrible and traumatic because it creates so many ripple effects. And without a doubt, others around us suffer, or pay a price.

      I do see what you mean about losing friendships along the way. And how you could not talk about certain things with them. And how hard it was to try to entertain and interact with people in normal, healthy social settings. I do understand.

      It isn’t fair—-by no means. The last thing victims of abuse need is to be left alone and isolated. Even though I do see what you mean about your former friends, it did you no good to be separated and cut off from any connections you had outside of your home.

      This sort of thing happens when people are dealing with serious illnesses, or if they have gone to jail. Or, if you are in a serious crisis such as losing a loved one. They start to lose contact with the outside world. Friends and/or family move on and move up—-they get on with their lives and they either lose touch with you, or lose interest in you. If they feel like you are slowing them down or holding them back, they discard you as if you are baggage.

      In these cases, circumstances play a big part, of course. It might be a good idea to leave behind a person who has committed crimes. But in those other cases, it’s not necessarily fair to “jettison” people just because they are dealing with real life problems.

      But I again stress that I am on your side and DO understand what you spoke of. I know that pain very well, and there are never, ever any easy answers.

      Keep in mind that IF you had been able to speak of those personal things, there is a chance that it would not have made a difference. It may have given them even more reason to distance themselves from you. People are fickle, finicky creatures. They may or may not want to deal with the “messy” lives of other people. They don’t want to “get involved” and get wrapped up in something that is potentially scandalous. Or, they might have to pay a personal cost that they are not willing to pay.

      I know this sort of thing very intimately as well. There WERE people that knew I had been abused. There WERE people that knew I had lost a loved one and was crying all the time, buckling under enormous strain and pressure. It made no difference to them. I sadly gave my pearls to people who chose to not treat them with respect.

      Now I tend to wear a mask in public. It is NOT meant to deceive in a cruel way. It is meant as a form of protection. It is fair to ask if people really want to know or see the “real you.” Do they want to see me put on an “act” (as if I’m performing on stage) or do they want to see what I’m like behind the curtains? Do they want to know or see or care about the tears, the pain, the enormous weight of sadness?

      It’s a fair question, IMO. It’s not meant to “dump on” humanity in general—-as if it’s me against the world. It’s an honest, direct inquiry. .

      However, I work hard to never try to delude the Living God. He is the One with whom I CAN “lower my drawbridge” and allow Him full access to everything I am. I’ve never “scared” Him off with how badly I’m suffering, or how angry I feel that I’ve suffered in certain ways. I know He didn’t cause this (neither did I)—-but it’s a mess that we both have to clean up.

      There is a huge difference between feeling alone and being alone. A difference between feeling unloved, and being unloved. All of those things are valid, by the way. 100% valid. I would never try to argue with someone who says they feel alone and/or unloved. I would also never contradict anyone who says they ARE alone and/or unloved. If the door opened up, I would try to gently encourage them by reminding them that the Lord is with them (AND loves them) even when we don’t feel it or even believe it.

      • Now Free (formerly struggling to be free)

        In response to helovesme

        “It was terribly difficult to read your response to my particular comment about hoping my dad would behave in public.”

        I am deeply sorry something I have said has made you feel bad. This was not my intention. I was not referring in any way to your dad but I thought I’d made it clear i was referring to my ex and how the abuse was also carried on outside the home.
        I apologise for any hurt or offence caused.

        “But I again stress that I am on your side and DO understand what you spoke of. I know that pain very well, and there are never, ever any easy answers”

        I am not sure why or how I have given you the impression that I felt you were against me. I have never felt that and in fact always felt you have been very encouraging of me. Again if I’ve said something or given you an impression contrary I am deeply sorry. I am not entirely sure why you felt you needed to stress you are on my side. To me that’s a bit baffling. I have always felt you were and extremely encouraging to us all here at ACFJ.
        I only hoped my comments have ever been the same to everyone too. However, I do know I am human and maybe have worded something wrongly or in a way that may be misconstrued.
        I do speak from my heart and it’s often in pain but I hope in my comments I’d never hurt anyone here at ACFJ. If I have I want to put on record it most definitely is not my way and I only post in the hope that others may benefit and be helped. I apologise if I’ve ever given any offence or brought hurt.

        I appreciate you helovesme for your honesty and encouragement
        Your comments have always been encouraging and full of great insights. I hope this brings some clarity to my comment.

        Thank you for your last comments but I do feel alone and very much unloved. I know God is there and loves me but from a human point I don’t feel it and sadly I can’t get around that.

  5. Becoming

    If you already have an article, could you please direct me to it, and if not, consider writing one. How do you get the abuser’s voice and perspective out of your head? I have full faith in God, I see His hand in my life. I believe I am His precious daughter. But I’m having so much trouble feeling an intimacy and fellowship with God or discerning His voice.

    My husband taught through parables. He also directly told me what I should think. He talked a lot, and we were together well over half my life. I feel like his voice is still in my head blocking the leading of the Holy Spirit and the voice of Jesus.

    I hope I explained that well enough. If you have advice or resources to direct me to, I’d appreciate it.

    • How do you get the abuser’s voice and perspective out of your head? In my experience, it is a process, bit by bit, one skin of the onion at at time, with back and forward steps in the process. The process involves exposing and mentally analysing every strategy the abuser used against you, rather like a forensic doctor taking a scalpel and examining a corpse for all the signs indicating disease, corruption, cancer, etc. And sending samples to the lab if necessary, to be analysed.

      It involves mentally and/or verbally out loud rebuking the lies that have been lodged in your mind and your spirit.

      It involves elucidating (shedding light on) and honouring the multiple ways you resisted the abuse.

      And if the abuser or the church laid false teaching (false doctrines) on you, it also involves rejecting that false teaching and replacing it with true interpretation of the Bible.

      Because your abuser was so skilled at using words (even parables!) to abuse you, I think it might help to read some of our posts that are tagged “language of abusers“. There are 83 posts with that tag, so you’ll probably want to be selective. Let us know which ones you found most helpful!

      I’m not sure what you have already read on this site, Becoming. So I’ll give you some links which may help you.

      Don Hennessy Digest – this will help you understand and disentangle the brainwashing the abuser did to you.

      Don Hennessy’s book Steps To Freedom might help too. It is written for women who are victims of intimate partner abuse.

      Dealing with a spiritual stronghold

      Untwisting scriptures used against abuse victims

      Does the victim recognize the abusive patterns? Yes, and no. And then, by degrees, YES!

      Honouring Resistance

      Getting free from the bondage of magical thinking

      How Miles Davis misrepresented his assault of his wife Frances: a case study in the language of abusers

      • Becoming

        Thank you Barbara. So far I had the chance to read two of the articles you linked to. The honoring resistance one is so good. I actually was able to use some of the content to encourage one of my children. I also read the spiritual stronghold one.

        Again, I want to thank you for your continued time with this ministry and restarting it after the recent difficulty and discouragement.

        There were some other sites that helped in gathering enough clarity to be able to name what I experienced as abuse, but this one helped me to actually get free because it deals head on with Bible and spiritual abuse and God. Thank you.

    • And Becoming, I think your question is great! I will draft a post that features your question, so that other readers can share their experience of how they got their abuser’s voice out of their head.

    • Helovesme

      Becoming, I loved that question. I thought Barb answered it wonderfully, and she’s spot on to try to craft a post around that question as well.

      I’m a bit envious (in a good way!) because you touched on such a crucial area of abuse—and in all my years of dealing with abusive persons—I don’t think I have ever boiled it down so succinctly as you did.

      This is how I have described my main plight in abuse recovery: how do I reclaim the power that the abusers had (and still have) over me?

      Their power over me put me in a position of living in a constant state of fear. Walking on eggshells, but somehow always stepping on glass instead.

      Even though the abuse may (or may not) have ended in the technical sense—-the person or persons still have a lot of power over me. Like you said, their voices in my head are still going strong, even though I may (or may not) have ceased speaking to them anymore.

      Abuse is based on lies. 100% lies. The only antidote to lies is the Lord—who says He IS the way, truth and the life. He doesn’t just promote or represent truth. He IS the truth. The more you abide in Him, and He in you—-the more those lies will erode as He fills you with everything that He is. I believe, in time, He will eventually “push out” the lies that abusers have filled their victims with.

      The Lord says He IS Light, and that darkness cannot compete with Him. Lies represent the kingdom of darkness. If we truly belong to His kingdom, which is full of His presence (no darkness exists in Him), we WILL start to see real results in our lives. The darkness had its way with us for awhile, but it will not claim victory over us.

      Abuse represents nothing but death. A Cry for Justice beautifully wrote about how abuse, in essence, is murder. Lies DO murder a person from the inside out. I can tell you from experience that you can be technically alive on the outside, but inside you are dry, barren and lifeless because of what abuse does to a person. It is a slow, silent but deadly killer.

      Jesus says He IS life. Since He lives in us and even goes so far to say He makes His home in us—-we too are just as alive as He is. He died for us so that we would not have to abide in death anymore. He rose again so that He could give us the victory over whatever has torn us down. THAT is Who ultimately lives in us. Learning and growing and reminding ourselves about who He is (and who He isn’t) is potent antidote to abuse.

      We who are born again in Him are required to NOT serve two masters. Our abusers are NOT our masters. They tried to be, but not anymore. My father was my abuser, and he darn well tried to rule my life. Even after I technically left that home, he “followed” me wherever I went and strongly influenced whatever I tried to do. I had a hard time with relationships because I had no idea how to relate to someone in normal, healthy ways! Sometimes I could feel the tug of war inside of me, with the Lord saying one thing, and my father saying another.

      It truly was as if I was trying to serve two masters. Even though I hated my father for a lot of years, I also idolized and (in a strong sense) loved him—I think I feared him as MUCH as I loved him! That just made trying to get rid of his lies even harder.

      This was my father, whose love and approval meant a great deal to me. I never got it. Even though he filled me with nothing but lies for most of my life, how does one reconcile getting rid of the very strong influence of the ONLY earthly father I’d ever had?

      It became something of a competition. My Heavenly Father was saying one thing. My earthly father was saying the exact opposite, or something radically different. Both had VERY strong voices—-pulling me back and forth.

      I should add that I was (and still am) in your boat—-trying to discern His voice from my abuser’s. But I WAS reading the Word of God, and there were plenty of verses that directly contradicted the lies my abuser had fed me. So even though I couldn’t always discern His voice, I had His written Word right in front of me—-telling me that I AM worthy in His eyes. I AM valuable. I AM precious.

      It seems obvious, right? Our Heavenly and earthly fathers (or spouses) are in separate arenas. How can they even compete? It’s too easy for professing Christians to say: Why don’t you just believe God over your abuser? You lack faith! You lack trust! You are “letting” your abuser control you! You have the power in Him now; rebuke those lies. YOU have the problem, because you know God is over and above everyone else, yet you continue to deny and disbelieve His truths.

      Such persons aren’t technically wrong, but they lack empathy. They simply don’t understand the power of lies—-and plenty of them. Try to imagine a house full of trash, built up over time. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the house is messy, smells bad and is probably hazardous to our health to live in. Trying to clean up that house is going to be a slow and steady process. It will take time, but you will see real results eventually.

      If the Lord is patient as we work through the rubble and rubbish that abuse did to us, we too should be patient with ourselves. More than likely, we didn’t even KNOW how bad things were until we stepped back and saw things as they really were. In relationships that did not involve my father, it took over a decade in some cases to realize I had been fed a lot of lies that had really messed me up. Now I am in the process (again) of untying all the knots that those lies caused. Untangling the many cords that lies had tied me up in.

      Untangling one lie at a time seems frustratingly slow, but it’s effective. You cannot expect a “rush” job when it comes to something and delicate and sensitive as our hearts and souls and minds. We are His treasures. He will not risk doing real damage to us by bulldozing those lies out of us.

      Our Father is NOT an abuser. He is above all thing—infinitely superior to everything—yet He will never use that superiority to tear His children down. He is in complete contrast to an abuser. For Him, it’s not about control, domination and having power over us. It’s about love, having a real relationship with Him—-and letting a real Savior transform us into His image.

      I used to believe that abuse could also involve half truths or could contain bits of truth here and there. Perhaps I shouldn’t discard EVERYTHING an abuser says. Maybe there were a few pearls of wisdom inserted into the ocean of lies he was feeding me.

      I have ceased that way of thinking. Here is why:

      Sometimes the things my dad would point out about me were truthful, even though it was used to feed his sense of entitlement to hurt me. So I had an even harder time getting rid of his voice inside of me. Don’t forget that I lived under his roof for years. Anyone that you spend a lot of time with is going to get to know you in ways that other people do not.

      This is my personal viewpoint, but I take my cue from the Word. Discard EVERYTHING that an abuser feeds you. They take their cue from the devil, and they walk in his footsteps. The Lord said that he is the father of lies. There is NO truth in him. A murderer from the beginning. He lives only to steal, kill and destroy. He will masquerade as an angel of light. He goes around like a hungry lion, always looking for someone to devour.

      I don’t care if they are “technically” right in some of the things they point out to you. The devil knows how to take Scripture and twist it up so that it SOUNDS Biblical, but it does not represent who He is. If anyone is doing anything like that—-get them out of your lives. They have no interest in the truth setting you free as Christ intended. They are only interested in putting you BACK into the bondage that He set us free from.

      And by the way, there is NO hierarchy with Him. None at all. Everyone who is born again is on equal, solid footing with the rest of His children. You do NOT have to give into a popular, beloved or charismatic pastor or preacher who tries to claim he or she has some sort of “upper hand” with the Lord. Same with a man who tries to claim he has some “special” authority over you as a woman. Therefore you better darn well listen to them—-and give into your abuser or enable another abuser. That is 100% false. He doesn’t work like that. He never, ever elevates one gender or one believer in order to demean the other gender or another believer.

      Each of us has the Holy Spirit in us as born again believers. And if you need the repel false doctrine or an arsenal of lies—-all you do is ask Him for His Spirit and believe that He will be faithful. The Spirit of the Lord is all about freedom, based 100% on truth and brings streams of living water to the cold and dry desert that abuse has done to us.

      When we see Him face to to face again, we will be 100% free from the trials of this world. In the meantime, fight the good fight. Never give up. Never give in. He overcame everything on our behalf. We have every reason to believe He will not give up on us as we too struggle to overcome what has dominated us for so long.

      • Finding Answers

        Wow, Helovesme, SO many good points!! My only add-ons are to write ^^^That!, and Yes and Amen.

      • Becoming

        Thank you Helovesme. The trashed house analogy helps. I feel like a mess inside. Mostly I’m making good choices and acting like I am okay, and my life is extremely busy to survive right now. But inside I really feel a mess.

        The encouragement about Jesus actually being Truth and Life and the encouragement to abide is great. John 15:9 “Just as the Father loves Me, I have also loved you; Abide in my love.” I have that hanging on my wall. Truth I need to see regularly and have seep into my inner being.

        When Jesus was before Pontius Pilot, Pilot asked, “What is truth?” That’s the question of the world. So many versions, so many lies and half truths and manipulations. It can make your head hurt and make you want to give up.

        But that question mixes TRUTH with FACT. The right question is who is truth, and truth himself was standing before Pilot when he asked the question.

        I will be patient removing the trash from my house. It is hard though. So much to do, children hurting, me too, busy, hard to think straight, still needing to assert boundaries in ways that make me stretch and grow and trust God but that scare me.

        Might be a rambling response. Hopefully makes sense. But thank you for your answer to me.

      • your response makes sense to me, Becoming. 🙂

        And I remember those hard times from my own life when I was removing the trash from the house (and from my mind) while my child was hurting and so was I, and I was so busy and it was hard to think straight and I still needed to assert boundaries and grow and stretch and trust God.

        I often said to my daughter, who was entering her teens at the worst of all that time, “I feel like I’ve been run over by a steam roller.”

    • anonymous

      To make it very short and to the point — think of your abuser as Satan. It is not that great of a stretch as abusers are children of the devil. Every time anything comes up regarding your abuser, inject “Satan” into the equation, instead.

      This is easier said than done.

      Let’s call your abuser “Joe”…..instead of saying, “Joe wanted me to fold the clothes this way”, replace Joe with “Satan”….. “Satan wanted me to fold the clothes this way”

      See how jarring that is? It works.

      “Satan says I’m fat.” or “Satan said I’m worthless.” or “Satan said I’m a bad mother.” or whatever it is that Joe (your abuser) said about you or demanded of you.

      Same goes for further contact — “Satan wants to me to meet with him and talk about this or that.” Would you go to talk and have a heart-to-heart with Satan? No, you would not.

      I think it was Pastor Crippen who said somewhere on this blog that you should approach talking with an abuser as though you’re going to have a talk with Satan. I took it from there. I think it works excellent in swapping out the abuser’s name with Satan. Maybe others will judge you for it, but they aren’t being victimized, targeted, abused and so forth, but you are and your survival, sanity, and well-being comes first. Also, it might help you safeguard yourself a bit more.

      • Becoming

        This literally made me laugh out loud. It may help, and also help undo the verbal and mental minimizing of harm that I am accustomized to doing. It was necessary for my sanity while I was living there, but it is so much effort to think clearly now. This might help.

      • Helovesme

        Becoming your answer was NOT rambling at all! Made wonderful sense.

        The conversation between Christ and Pilate was a good point to bring up. Pilate KNEW Jesus was innocent. He also knew the Pharisees had handed Him over to him out of envy.

        He knew that of that factually—he made it clear to the crowds that he Jesus had not committed any crime.

        But the truth was far uglier. He refused to stick to the facts, and instead stuck to his desire to please the crowds. The unruly, unstable mob of people, over whom he had clearly defined authority over—-won out in the end. The truth was truly ugly—because in the end—facts meant nothing to him. His desire to have the approval of the people he ruled over won out.

        Why? He KNEW right from wrong. In fact, he literally washed his hands in front of the people, saying he bore no guilt for what they demanded of him—–to crucify an innocent Man. That made no sense. HE was the one who ordered to have Jesus killed, because that was his job to discern if He was deserving of it. He had 100% authority, yet he conveniently discarded THAT fact in order to “cleanse” himself of any responsibility.

        By the way, Pilate was no saint of a ruler. An instance where Pilate had murdered innocent persons came up to Jesus. And secular history, if I recall correctly, doesn’t have much good to say about him as a person, and a ruler. The idea that he was basically a “nice guy” who was too afraid of his own subjects is hogwash, IMO.

        One can KNOW, factually—-that they don’t deserve to be abused. No one has a right to dehumanize you and treat you with such disrespect.

        However, if you’ve been consistently abused—-those very clear facts have a tendency to recede into the background. Your abuser insists that the truth is—-you deserve to be abused. He or she is entitled to abuse you. You are abused because you’re a lesser human being and should be punished for being so difficult and unlovable.

        Professing Christians will only heap on the “truth:” You’re not submissive enough. You’re not serving him or her enough. You aren’t pleasing him or her enough. You’re a failure and no wonder God is not blessing you. You’re not pleasing to HIM, either!

        They too discard facts in favor of their own version of Biblical truth. If they had read the Word more closely, more carefully—-they would see the truth for what it is. No one has any right, ever—-to abuse another member of the human race. Nowhere in the Word does God ever sanction such a thing. He never would, because abuse is sin, and God never, ever endorses or enables sin.

        The line between truths and facts becomes very blurry. You touched upon a very subtle but crucial area when it comes to abuse.

      • Helovesme

        Becoming after reading your response a few times over, I truly get it. I too have felt (and still do) like a mess. Like I will always BE a mess. And how did my life become this way, exactly? How did my life get so messy? Did I cause this, or was I not guarding myself very well, so all this trash somehow piled up?

        And it hurts like crazy! Yesterday I was cleaning my literal house. I was exhausted and sore by the end. It is hard work to maintain and be a good steward of where you live. It is worth it, but we do pay a price.

        Barb too spoke very well about what it’s like. You do feel like you’ve been run over. I can’t imagine what it was like for her and her daughter, who was about to enter into those terribly difficult teen years.

        Discernment is one of the most precious assets a believer can have. And all you have to do is ASK. It has nothing to do with having a particular level of education. It has nothing to do with having a high IQ. It has nothing to do with your gender. It also has nothing to do with how sinful you are or aren’t. And your past is not an issue, either.

        Discernment is a God-given blessing, and it’s something ALL believers should seek the Lord for.

        Think of discernment as an X-ray machine. It will show you things that you cannot see with the naked eye. You might not like what it shows, but if you have a disease or if there is a disease in someone you love—you must face that. How else can you begin the healing process if you don’t even know you are sick?

        I was diagnosed with an illness during a routine blood test. I had NO symptoms to speak of. But if I had [not] gotten tested, I never would have known what was going on inside of me. This is why we must be willing to let the Lord show us what is really going on with us, or around us. We must ask Him for discernment, and then ask Him to help us to take what He shows us seriously. Denial is a real and understandable reaction when we find out things that we did not know, and wish we had not found out.

        This site has blessed me very much because Barb has allowed us to touch upon toxic relationships as well as abusive ones. Both are serious, but there are differences. A toxic relationship is NOT necessarily the same as an abusive one. I’ve been in both kinds, but I refuse to define toxic persons as abusers—because I don’t believe the Lord has given me permission to put an “abuser” label on people that don’t quite fit the bill.

        I wish there was a class we could take called “Relationships 101” for those that need to learn what is and isn’t normal in relationships. And be given simple, basic principles on what healthy relationships should look like. I have no problem admitting that I tend to be woefully ignorant about such things. I would ask that it would be a Bible-based course, because the potency of Scripture has the power eradicate the lies that often come out of dysfunctional or abusive experiences.

        I am in my early 40’s, but it is NEVER too late to start learning what I wish I had known years ago. Here is what I have determined so far:

        Relationships are a two way thing. Both parties must be actively involved, and while both parties aren’t in competition—-it IS a give and take sort of deal. There must be mutual giving and taking. If you are in a relationship of any kind that is draining you—-something is not right.

        I’ve been around people who were in one crisis after another. So they had real needs because they were going through real-life trials. There is nothing wrong with leaning on others, and asking for help them with their very real burdens.

        But sometimes people get so consumed with their needs that they start to treat the needs of others as “not as important.” They have no problem taking help when they need it, but when those that blessed them ask for help—-the excuses start piling up.

        This has happened to me many times. If a person bails on you when your trials come around, something is not right. They may or may not have legitimate reasons for not being there for you, but if they can’t or won’t make room for you—-consider that this might not be much of a friend.

        When we lost a beloved family member. I was additionally saddled with having to listen to all sorts of “reasons” why they said little to nothing to me. They didn’t know what to say. They didn’t have time for me because their lives were in crisis. Or, I was just given the silent treatment, so I had to infer from their silence.

        Bottom line: it is unfair and wrong for so-called friends to make your life worse than it already is. You need people who can be useful to you when you need it the most. If they cannot do it, or won’t do it—something is not right.

        There must be mutual respect for each other. And I mean mutual. One should never elevate or demean the other person. You’re both on equal ground, and should be viewed AND treated as equals. Anything less than that is not right.

        I go back to the dire need for Biblical discernment. If something doesn’t seem right in a relationship, DO NOT dismiss it outright. You might be onto something, or you might not be—-but only the Lord should have the final say. I say this because I now believe I picked up on things from an early start—-but either I wasn’t taken seriously, or I thought I was just being paranoid, foolish or judgmental. I never took those things to the Lord, as far as I can recall, and I should have. Perhaps I was too scared as to what or how He might have answered.

        Relationships are NOT solely about earning and deserving. Bear with me here. No one should abuse your kindness, and then try to fall back on the argument that love is unconditional so technically they shouldn’t have to “earn” your approval. However, fundamental and crucial things like love and approval cannot, by nature, be earned. They are freely given as precious gifts. There is a measure of trust when you give such things out. BUT, whoever you give such gifts to is 100% obligated to be a good steward of what you have given them. ANYONE who abuses those gifts is 100% guilty. The giver is not at fault. That is my personal rule of thumb. And if the receivers are behaving with a sense of entitlement, something is wrong with THEM, not with you. You give with grace, but the other party should be a gracious receiver as well.

        I’m going to touch upon marriage, but IMO this can apply to any and all relationships.

        Relationships, and in particular marriage—are NOT in the mold and model of an employer/employee relationship. The two things are not the same AT ALL.

        My impression of reading or listening to so-called Biblical narratives that a wife is under her husband’s authority (and therefore he can abuse that authority)—-is that the wife is his employee, and he is her employer. They are not equals. She “works” for him, and he is the “CEO” of the marriage and family. He calls the shots, makes the decisions, gives out the orders, and his wife and family are expected to obey him.

        I have heard young Christian women worry that Biblical marriage was something akin to slavery. She loses her identity, she puts herself under his “authority” and loses her sense of individualism and right to make her own choices. Is that what we really want?

        To soften that image, I now believe the church is trying to describe marriage more so a business arrangement, where both parties mutually benefit. After all, if the “head” of a company is doing well, doesn’t everyone below him reap the rewards as well? It’s a matter of teamwork, or maintaining order, and having a chain of command. After all, God is not a God of chaos—-and it’s chaotic if husband AND wife try to be in charge. They will clash and compete and nothing will get done.

        It also softens the image of wifely submission—-a wife is not a slave! Slavery is evil. She submits to her husband because that is how she honors God, who will bless her husband with Biblical leadership—-and everyone is blessed.

        I’m personally sick and tired of back and forth discussions about which gender was more or less to blame in the Garden of Eden. Most people try to pin the sin on Eve, since she was deceived first. Sometimes it’s Adam that gets the raw deal. Bottom line: I simply don’t care. If my gender “wins,” and Adam was the greater culprit, what the heck did I “win” exactly? A better standing before God? Not possible. Did I “win” more of His righteousness? That too is not possible.

        Besides, I have no desire to put down my brothers in Christ for something they personally had no involvement in. They weren’t in the Garden, and neither was I. None of us made those fateful decisions. What matters is that we are ALL born again NOW, and praise God—He became a curse for us so that we don’t have to live as though we are still in that Garden, bringing death and sin into the world. Pointing fingers at each other. Playing the blame game, trying to shame the other side. Remember Adam and Eve were husband and wife, as well as mutual inhabitants. Why would any of us who claim to be Christians want to imitate their terrible example?

        Back to the concept of marriage. My argument against treating your spouse as an employee or employer is simple. Marriage is about having and growing in closeness and intimacy. You should have no barriers between you both—-and if there are, you strive to break them down.

        That is why marriage, when it is based on Biblical love, is so rewarding. You can be naked and unashamed in front of your spouse, in all aspects. That is why marriage, when it is NOT based on Biblical love, is so terrible. You may or may not be fully naked, but you are ashamed and unfulfilled.

        In the secular world, there are usually strong lines defined between those in authority, and those they have authority over. Basically, you DO NOT have physical or emotional intimacy with your boss, and vice versa..There should always be appropriate, necessary barriers between you and your boss. You can be close friends and have a warm, open and even generous relationship with your boss—-but you NEVER cross certain boundaries. You keep certain walls up, and for good reason.

        Treating your spouse as if they work for you, or you work tor them—does not bring about the kind of closeness and intimacy that Biblical marriage is all about.

        By the way, an “employee” is NOT the same thing as being a servant of God. Don’t let anyone mix up those two concepts. They are completely different. A wife that treats her husband like their boss is NOT being a Biblical servant.

        Biblical servants are always led by the Lord, not by human beings. They look to Him to lead and guide. Not by a husband, pastor or anyone claiming to have the right to call the shots. Biblical servants certainly listen and pay attention to those around them, but they strive to not blindly obey apart from the Lord. Ever. The results are disastrous.

        By the way, the best employers are the ones who are servant-minded. They do give the orders, but they are also mindful of the worth and value of their employees. I stick to my original argument, however—-that a husband is not his wife’s boss. Abusive husbands tend to believe they are meant to be served and have no obligation to serve others. If they really believe they deserve be in authority, I suggest he start washing his wife’s feet instead of constantly expecting to her to wash his.

        I apply this sort of thing to relationships in general as well. Especially to family relationships. I had a very deep revelation the other day when it came to members of my family—-most of whom are professing Christians. They treated me more as their employee, and used the “family” label as a matter of convenience (aren’t family members supposed to serve one another, as an obligation?)

        When they no longer needed me, or when I stood up for myself and drew lines in the sand—-they simply “fired” me. I had no use for them anymore, and I believe they felt 100% entitled to “fire” me because as an “employee,” I had ceased to be a useful, productive member of their “company.”

        Notice how the “family” ‘argument falls by the wayside. The narrative about family members serving one another recedes into the background. If we are all supposed to be mutually serving one another, then why do you now act as though I don’t exist?

        And of course, anything that I had done for them in the past made no difference. If I dared to jump off the “performance” treadmill of constant pleasing and appeasing them—-no matter how tired I was—-I was punished for it. The many miles I had logged in on that treadmill was meaningless. All that mattered is that I had dared to push the “stop” button.

        You don’t “fire” your family members when you don’t get your way. You don’t “fire” your friends just because they dared to say “no” to you. You DO “fire” employees, when you feel it’s right to dehumanize and devalue once you felt crossed by them. Once they ceased to be productive. Once they dared to disobey you. Once they made it clear that you don’t own them like property. In my case, when I made it clear that I don’t work for them. I am NOT their servants! I am a servant of the Living God.

        Their pride put them in the position of feeling entitled and deserving to expect others to meet their needs, with no thought or concern for the needs of others.

        By the way, I was fooled for a long time because I saw myself as their employee. Employers will reward their employees who have worked hard with bonuses, raises or creating fun events or having parties. IF they ever attempted to reward me, it was not out of love. It was because according to them, I had performed well. I had done a good job. Rewards, or the promise of rewards—keep an employee going. It raises their morale and gives them a sense of accomplishment.

        That’s NOT Biblical love. If you are in a relationship that resembles such things, something is wrong. Ask the Lord for discernment. Ask Him, and ask Him to help you accept whatever He has to reveal to you. It might be ugly or unwelcoming—-but if it’s the truth—it will set you free.

  6. Now Free (formerly struggling to be free)

    Helovesme said, “it’s too easy for professing Christians to say: Why don’t you just believe God over your abuser? You lack faith! You lack trust! You are “letting” your abuser control you! You have the power in Him now; rebuke those lies. YOU have the problem, because you know God is over and above everyone else, yet you continue to deny and disbelieve His truths.”

    “If the Lord is patient as we work through the rubble and rubbish that abuse did to us, we too should be patient with ourselves.”

    I am trying hard to recover. I am viewed [by some] as a sinner and a backslider. [They think] I am not where I once was and it’s all my fault. It is others who are not patient and I get the feeling I’m no good and not wanted unless I sort myself out right away and stop grieving and get back into Christian life and ministry. I have been judged and found guilty. I remain an outcast and unclean until I prove that I’m back in a church and preaching etc etc.

    My problem is not the initial abusers voices it’s those that subsequently said they “support” me, but have no intention of listening. They don’t want me to talk about things. Recently I was told if you are struggling feel free to talk I will listen. That person mocked me and laughed at me many, many times, despite going through their own situation of coercive control. They knew about my abuse and were angry but never wanted to hear of anything and told me to not talk about it. They brought much hurt with their “support” which included a finger of accusation that I was weak and not a “real man”, letting a woman treat me like a doormat. How could I talk to someone who thought this of me. They only thought they knew me.

    Recently I have had to deal with much ripples or secondary abuse. I feel betrayed by those that say they support but only on their terms.

    Their silence if I let slip a few sentences in conversation let’s me know I’ve crossed the “taboo” line. It’s these voices that deafen me from time to time and because they are so hurtful in keeping me oppressed it gives rise for the voices long kicked into touch to think they can come back and have a kick when your down in the floor confused.

    So I feel worthless, rejected and unloved by the very people who tell me it’s the opposite.

    Their words and actions and most definitely reactions do not match up. And they really are blind to see how damning they have been of my abuse and how trivial they have made it. They are not content to let me speak and just listen. I have offered means from this site to help and give insight. It has not been bothered with, which brought much surprise. I am beginning to wonder why? They believe they know it all and have all your answers. Unless you shut up and listen to them, you are silenced and made an outcast. It seems only the bible and God should be helping me. There is deep suspicion of any other help. Until you become who they want you to be you are not to be listened to. You are not to be entertained and made feel very unwelcome. This is my so-called support??

    I was asked recently by a frustrated person, “The problem is you want to help but feel helpless. What can you do? Everything you say or do is wrong!” My answer was simple, “Don’t try and help in your way. The best thing you can do is listen and stop giving your opinions.” It fell on deaf ears! They are too opinionated and cannot just be a support. Their idea of support is do what we tell you or else.

    They also say stop listening to others and trying to help others. Stop telling your story. Forget all those things and move on. They have not listened. They never truly have. They do not want you to help them help you. They have already a care package and recovery healing package worked out for you. They believe you are bitter and you are twisted in your thoughts, seeing others ( inc abusers and allies ) negatively, you are not listening to God.
    No matter how much you are doing the right things to recover. No matter how much sadly you are having to be patient and find your feet, it’s not enough because you are still talking about abuse. They have no idea that they are delaying recovery by not giving the true support.
    You are still speaking of the taboo and so you will not be healed until you let go???

    Sad thing is I got over much in my year fighting for separation. I had already healed and sorted much in mind and heart it was just motions to finalise.
    It is more the secondary abuse that gives me concern and the lack of support. I am truly alone and sadly it’s just me and God. I’ve come to realise no one else really cares.

    Now I’m being told to stop bothering with ACFJ.
    It has brought great confusion as to why. There are things going on in secret and while I have come out from the secret closet a little I feel I am being forced back in because I am not allowed to be. I can only conclude those around me feel I am an embarrassment.

    I am unwanted
    I am not truly loved
    I am hurting
    I feel betrayed by those closest to me.

    I know there’s a season to everything and I see so much has changed recently in me for good and I was stronger. Now I am not so sure. Now I feel I’m being pushed back.

    I am trying to be patient and move forward but it seems it’s not the right way according to some around me. It’s been a steep learning curve that I now must put back on my mask and hide again.
    I let my guard down with a few people I thought I could trust. Now I’m not so sure of anyone. I cannot trust anyone.

    • Helovesme

      Now free, thank you for sharing so openly as you do in general, but especially with very apt yet appalling description of “secondary abuse.”

      I read your words and tried to listen to them as if you were saying them out loud. Not sure if this is appropriate to say, but you really do have a talent for expressing yourself. In describing trauma and abuse, words do not always suffice. However, you might be one of the very few exceptions! Your words more than sufficed.

      How those people around you treated you mortified me. I am shocked and dismayed at their callousness—not to mention their cruelty and general disregard for you as a real person.

      Sadly, I could identify with much of what you spoke of. It would take some time for me to describe how I related to your experiences, but hopefully you would agree that those around us only burdened us more. This is on TOP of what we were already burdened with.

      The only reason I’m holding back on sharing my personal experiences is that I don’t want to turn this around to be all about me. But as I read your comment, I had many memories flooding back of my own disastrous encounters with professing Christians. They only kicked me when I was already down. They only made my suffering worse. It wasn’t about me at all. It was all about them.

      My trials weren’t always about my childhood abuse. I faced trials involving my health, my husband’s health, and losing a beloved family member. All of those things involve a measure of trauma, and how those around you react MATTERS.

      I feel like I am stating the obvious, but it should be reiterated. How those around you react to serious, significant trials in your life MATTERS. Do NOT dismiss it, or make excuses for them (nor that you are!).

      This is something I very much struggled with, and am trying to grow out of. I always thought of myself as inferior, so I would often make excuses for others who chose to treat me shamefully. I’m not equal to them, so why should I be treated as if I am?

      As you spoke of so well, such persons do not seem to think that they have done anything wrong, even when you tell them directly. Even if you try to tell them gently. Even if you try to explain and explain until you are blue in the face, it all falls on deaf ears.

      In thumbing through my memories, I could almost SEE their pride in action when I tried to speak to them. They were so “full” of themselves that there was no space in them to allow your words to make a dent. Such persons are unfit to be spoken to about personal, vulnerable issues. They do not have any respect for the the fragile, frail and finite qualities of humanity. As you spoke of so well, if you don’t fit into their plans or ideas or notions—-they want nothing to do with you. You’re the problem, not them.

      I believe I am being scapegoated presently, and I have been many times over. I am so used to it by now, I wonder if I’ve become numb to it. Nothing is their fault. It’s all mine. They insist on playing the victim, but I would question if they even know what a real victim is and isn’t.

      They also don’t care about me at all. They might be curious, but I guarantee that even if they knew what was really going on with me—-they wouldn’t budge an inch. Some of them knew what I was going through, yet they treated my pearls with great disrespect.

      They may claim to love the Lord, but there doesn’t seem to be much of His love in their hearts.

      Loving others is the 2nd commandment in the Word. But it is NOT secondary in His eyes. In fact, He said that the sum of the Law comes down to loving one another. Never, ever dumb down how Christians treat one another. I believe we are slowly falling away from that very simple Biblical fact.

      When you see a professing Christian constantly and unrepentantly show massive disregard for others, something is not right with them.

      So my warning to ALL of those who claim to follow Him is this:

      No one can claim that they love others perfectly. No one should even try to aim for that. None of us will ever be able to claim that we have reached perfection in the area of love. So the argument: I’m not perfect is not going to cut it. No one expects to be loved perfectly, and no one should expect themselves to love others perfectly.

      But we must be actively determined and diligent in GROWING in the area of loving others. That is why it is imperative to seek Him as to HOW to love others. It does not come naturally. It is a work of the Spirit within us. The fact that the persons around you refused to do that, or even see how problematic they are—-is hugely telling. They don’t care about you. They care about being right.

      When I first started reading the Word as an unbeliever, I easily picked up on how love was the core of who He is. That scared me. I had never loved anyone or been loved by anyone before. How was I going to live out a life with Him if I had no idea what love was all about?

      I can’t even begin to describe how many false and foolish notions I had to discard regarding love in the first decade or so of walking with Him. As the next decade progressed, I had even MORE crazy concepts about love to get rid of! It was a never ending process of realizing how wrong I’d been for so many years—-as an unsaved AND saved person.

      What it got replaced with, however, was worth it. When you “empty” yourself of all the lies and misinterpretations that “crowded” your soul for so long—-there is FINALLY room for the real deal: a real Savior who gladly, humbly and patiently teaches you what love really is.

      I will NOT make the argument that “all you need is God so who cares what others think? Who needs them when you have God? Isn’t He all you need; isn’t He your all in all?”

      That may be technically true in a sense, but that is not the full truth. The Bible makes it clear that we need one another. There are beautiful verses about the members of the body of Christ. Verses about being there for each other, bearing one another’s burdens. In fact, the greatest love of all is that you would lay down your life for your friends. Without a DOUBT, relationships between human beings is prized and precious in the eyes of the Lord.

      What you described about those around you just wanting (and expecting) you to come back to church, start preaching—-basically, to go back to “normal”—-rang with me so personally. That is exactly what I too believe others want from me. They want me to go back to who I was, so that I can go back to doing what I once did. If I don’t, I must be having problems in my walk with the Lord. I must have so many problems, that it’s best to leave me be, because unless I start socializing and showing up to certain things—-I don’t truly exist. I must be in a depression (and in a dark place with the Lord? Not necessarily true at all!) I must be left alone to work it out on my own, because the person I am now is not very delightful to be around. Something is wrong with me.

      My answer is this: actually there are MANY things wrong with me. Take your pick; the list is long! So don’t try to play that card on me. If the fact that I have problems repels you, I would suggest that you ponder your OWN list of faults and shortcomings—-and perhaps you will come to the conclusion that you too might need to work on yourself.

      If you only want me to go back to the way I was, then you obviously don’t understand much of anything. My goal with the Lord is to be changed from glory to glory—looking to be transformed into the image of Christ. If you really believe the Lord is going to transform me BACK to the way I was, you’re dreaming. Maybe the person He is transforming me into isn’t YOUR idea of what I should be like. But He is my Potter, and I am His clay. Who are you to tell me, or tell Him for that matter—-what He should mold me and make me into?

      I have personal experience in this area. I used to be more social, extroverted and energetic. I was not that way anymore after a particularly difficult trial. I bemoaned for a LONG time that I just wanted to go back to the person I WAS. Trial change a person, and I was fairly disgusted with who I had become. I didn’t like myself at all, nor did I think anyone else liked me much, either.

      Now, bear with me that I was fairly bitter and angry. I was full of sorrow and had no idea what to do with the shock of what I had experienced. That is not much of a pleasant person, right?

      But God saw things with a much wider perspective. He used that trial to humble me, and make real changes in me. There is no shame in becoming more introverted, introspective and frankly a bit more independent from needing people around me all the time.

      More trials were to follow, some of them regarding my physical health. My husband’s health also suffered. I still carry around a measure of charisma that I used to have, but hopefully I’ve become a MUCH better listener than a talker—-better at empathizing with others who are in pain—and letting others have the spotlight instead of being so self-focused (I used to be quite the attention junkie!).

      I lost a lot of so-called friends along the way. The last three years have also been a slow exodus of people leaving me behind. The reasons are varied, I am sure—–but it boils down to a basic principle: if I am not who they want me to be, or think I should be—-they feel victimized and feel justified in rejecting me.

      They hurt me all right, but in essence all they did was drive me further into the arm of my Savior. This is a God who knows rejection like none other. What I just described is very familiar to Him. He was not who they wanted Him to be, either, and He suffered for it. He was a Man of sorrows, not a Man of “good times,” so they didn’t want to be around Him.

      I hate feeling so unloved. It is nothing to celebrate, and I wouldn’t expect anyone to jump for joy. I also hate having my trust betrayed, time and time again. My pearls were trashed and trampled on. I despise that I was surrounded by users and abusers, not people who cared about me. They only cared about themselves. It’s particularly illuminating when you try to express your pain, and they do not treat it with any real honor or dignity. They only try to argue or insist on their so-called wisdom for so-called solutions. They insist you are the problem, or have a lot of problems=—-so you must change in order to solve them.

      You know, it’s not even “enough” that I’ve worked hard to distance myself from these persons, or try to discard them from my life. They were toxic, dangerous and unloving. I had every reason to protect myself from them. The truth DOES set us free. You are no longer in bondage, or bonded with people that you should not be yoked with. They were heaping baggage and burdens on you, and that is no one to be yoked with.

      I may feel safer apart from them, but being away from them is only part of the solution. Now I try to work out the brokenness that they have caused me. THAT is a whole another arena. That is often an uphill battle, and it’s lonely. Scary. Treacherous, because there’s always the danger of welcoming these people BACK into my life if I’m not careful. I can be quite the softie, and I have been tempted to letting them back into my orbit. I need to stay strong. They may say I’m being “headstrong,” but actually I am remaining rooted in what is right in His eyes. Not theirs, and not even my own.

      • Now Free (formerly struggling to be free)

        Thanks helovesme I wish I could say more but been terrible day sorry.
        Yes to all of above you so get it.
        Pearls of wisdom as usual but I am just me nothing special and said far too much. I’m sorry if I’ve hurt anyone by my intensity. It has come at a great cost to me sadly. I do not write referring to anyone but those I am speaking of. I know I am loved by others and refer my comments only to those in question who have made me feel unloved and questioning what is going on. I’m not entirely sure and confused but it will never stop me loving my family or anyone else.

        I always give people the benefit of doubt if I can. I am hoping I get more clarity on my family soon. So called friends of my past I just keep at arms length. Most don’t bother anymore with me anyways.

        Maybe at a later date I can read your comment and comment better. At the moment I am hurting too much. Thank you and my heart goes out to all who are like yourself trying to piece their lives together after trauma.
        My love goes out to you all. I only comment in the hope to help others, not bring hurt or pain. I am still learning much here and through others close.
        I only know I would not be here but for them.

        Sorry I may want to say more re your words as much resonated with me.

      • Helovesme

        HI again Now Free I wanted to respond to your other comment, too, since it was directed to me! My apologies again for not being more diligent. We’re on different time zones, plus I have to find and set aside the time to do things like this. Thanks for the patience.

        Oh, goodness you did not make me feel bad at all! You said absolutely nothing wrong at all. I am the one who is sorry if I wrote anything that even hinted at that. You have nothing to apologize for.

        I said what I said (stressing that I was on your side) because it’s bit of a tip toe through a minefield when speaking of how others around us react (or don’t react) to abuse.

        I tried to tread carefully, because I’m on your side in how isolated you felt as your friends exited your life, one by one. On the flip side, I did have some empathy with those that did not know how to deal with the horrors you were going through. Or chose to not even try to support you the way you needed, as your other comment indicated.

        Strangely enough, even those of us that have been abused don’t always know how to help, or even respond to abuse in the lives of others. I will speak for myself here—there are definitive times where I felt like I either said and/or did all the wrong things. I may have thought I was helping, but I fear I may have made things worse.

        I tried to “superwoman” my way out of my own abuse, and I fear I may have openly or subtly encourage others to do the same. The attitude went something like this:I am more than a conqueror in Christ, so the past abuse isn’t going to get me down, and whatever abuse my dad is still leveling at me—I can handle! No weapon formed against me shall stand. I’m a bulletproof wall, and while he hurt me in the past, I’m going to believe that I invincible now—-because I can do all things in Him who strengthens me.

        That was not wise, nor was it Biblical as I now realize.

        I did try to be empathetic towards those that had suffered, and tried to freely share my abusive past. I also tried to express the abuse in the context of Christ—-He wiped away my past sins, and He also wiped away my past in general (including my abuse).

        I tried not to be TOO foolish in believing that the abuse had not affected me. But I tried to deal with it in so many wrong ways. I tried to be supportive to those who had been hurt, but I was young in age and young in the Lord. I don’t believe that I should have stepped into that arena until I had processed more of my own trauma.

        Problem is, I think I spent too many years being in denial about how traumatized I really was! In my defense, I so badly wanted to be free of all that bondage so I could try to live and not be held down by what he had done to me. It doesn’t take much to try to convince yourself that you’re “just fine” now that Christ has found you. Or at least, you’re not as bad off as you once were. You certainly aren’t traumatized—that was all in your former life. Now you are born again, and that life is over. A life without Him was traumatic, and now that is not the case anymore. So move on and move in Him and keep moving forward. The past is a done deal!

        Boy, I hope I haven’t triggered you. Most ashamedly, some of what I just spoke of may be what you’ve had to listen to.

        Again in my defense, there were times I tried to admit my past really wasn’t as “dead and buried” as I was trying to tell myself. I too would hear things that you spoke of—-leave the past behind, get over it, and get on with your life. So I was confused as well as crushed—-in thinking that I wasn’t fit to serve Him if I kept holding onto something that I needed to let go of. How can you hold onto Him AND your past? It’s either one or the other—and it’s obvious which choice you should make!

        So, perhaps that explains a bit more why I felt the need to stress that I was on your side? You have not said or even hinted at anything wrong. Speak from your pain as you see fit, because that is the reality of life.

        I am not hurt, and I hope I didn’t hurt you, either.

        It’s complicated what to hope for, or expect from those around us when we are being abused, or trying to escape it. It’s a fair question to ask. What kind of support to do we need or want or expect when our lives are crashing down around us? How much is too much to ask, and how much is enough to ask for? What should people be willing to give, and what kind of consequences are there if they choose to walk away when you need them the most?

        In my case, I’ve had other trials apart from my abuse that have prompted such questions. Sometimes I have bailed on others when it truly got to be too much for me. I stayed and tried to help as best I could, for as long as I could. After a certain point, I was drained. I too was having serious problems, and to keep putting them aside to help them was causing me to buckle under the strain. I’ve wrestled with much guilt and confusion since then, because the last thing I wanted to do was hurt them. But I just couldn’t keep up with their neediness.

        In my own trials, there have been people who would barely give me the time of day. Or give me the bare minimum (a few one liners via email or text), but that was it. It is not easy to say this, but that was not enough. That was barely anything, frankly. It offered me little to no real comfort or solace.

        I have a hard time saying even that, because you cannot demand from others what they are not able or willing to give. So I felt bad in asking for anything at all, or even hinting at it. But my needs were real. I was drowning in sorrow. The fact they gave me nothing, or threw me a few bread crumbs (possibly to make themselves feel better?) really insulted me. Truly offended me.

        It’s even harder to try to confront such persons, because you communicate that you are in need, and they should try to be more humane towards you. That is not only awkward, but it tends to offend and make things worse: how dare you come to me and tell me what I did (or didn’t do) wasn’t enough? Who are you to talk to me like that? I have a life of my own, you know.

        So, in my prayers—-I plead with Him: God, I’m darned if I do, darned if I don’t. If I put myself out there, I’m humiliated for doing so. If I don’t put myself out there, I’m chastised for not speaking up.

        By the way, when anyone is hurting, for any reason—-as a Christian I DO try to step lightly. Pastor Sam Powell once wrote beautifully about how pastors needs to listen and stop quoting Scripture or doling out “advice” when the person just needs a sympathetic ear and a compassionate heart.

        I personally wrestle with that all the time! When someone says: I don’t think God loves me, my automatic response is to defend His name and fly out with the words: Of course He loves you! You just need to believe it, and believe in Him!

        Well, how many times have I been broken and 99% sure He doesn’t love me? Why don’t I bring those times to mind when someone is broken, and just needs me to listen?

        Now I am trying to be WAY more cautious. God doesn’t need me to defend Him, or prove His character per say. He is more than capable of reaching out to the hurting, and revealing His love to them, personally, intimately—-and effectively. What He may want from me is to just listen, possibly lay hands on them and pray—or cry with them. It is not blasphemous to let a hurting person choke out that they aren’t lovable, so how could God love them?

        When pastors or professing Christians claim that divorcing your abuser will give the Gospel a bad name, I am ready to roar with anger! That is hogwash, IMO. The Gospel speaks for itself. While we DO need to represent it in its fullness and truthfulness—choosing to divorce does not blaspheme His name. It is far more blasphemous to His name to dehumanize a spouse in order to maintain a covenant that the other spouse has already destroyed.

        The best place for the hurting is in His hands. But I wish more of those who profess to be His people would also lay hands on the hurting as well.

    • Now Free (formerly struggling to be free)

      “I want to clarify this comment is not a general comment regarding embarrassment and not being truly loved etc. It is not a general statement, it is specifically aimed at my plight of feelings around those who say they love and care yet have made recent comments that have made me feel the opposite and [are] in no way relating to anyone else. I know there are others who do care for me and do love me unconditionally and I want no one to feel hurt or offended by feeling it’s a general statement.

      I’m saying others here or elsewhere do have my best interests at heart and deeply care. I know they do and I know I’m truly loved not just by God but by them. I thank God I have them in my life. I honestly have felt stronger because of them and they have been a rock to me and I only hope I have been a blessing to them and helped them in their own lives and struggles. The list of statements relate only to the previous hurt of feeling an embarrassment to some that has made me, only to those people who specifically say they love, feel it’s not unconditional nor true as their other actions and words do not match up. The recent comments by those who may say they care has made me feel that I am unloved unwanted etc yet them and not what they purport to say. It is in no way to be taken by any other that it refers to them. I do not want anyone to be hurt by that who have cared and loved me and proved they could be trusted. I trust them and dearly appreciate them with love and care. I do not want to destroy the good, loving loyal and precious people in my life by a statement that may be misconstrued as a blanket term. My feelings of being uncared for and unloved are only linked to that the previous comment of being felt an embarrassment. It’s based on the former, and the later list of deep hurts are only in the conclusion in my mind in specific terms only to those who have confused me.

      I am glad I have people I can share my life with and never be judged. Who pour out love and affection without any condition. Who made me feel so wanted and cared for beyond even what I feel I deserve. To me that’s true love. I treasure them without reserve deeply in my heart and I hope that continues for I have been stronger for it, and most of all because of their inspiration and godly advice and love I feel closer to God. That is so important and I’m glad such godly [people are] in my life. I relish their help and I can’t wait to sing and dance together when I reach heavens gates.

      May those people remain faithful and loyal and true to me and accept me for who I am as I deem they do without any conditions. They are qualities I cherish and sadly in many leaders are lacking today. Such an example I am trying to follow. I love them dearly and I know God has used them greatly in my life. This is true Christianity in action.”

      [Details airbrushed for protection. Editors.]

  7. Now Free (formerly struggling to be free)

    I want to make it clear that I do not feel this way re anyone on ACFJ. I know here is my true family and have been helped on in life more than anyone around me has ever done. When I speak of the above I am referring to those around me. My family and my so called “friends” and work colleagues. It is here that I receive ongoing negative and hurtful comments and regular abusive taunts.

    I do not want anyone at ACFJ to feel I hurt by my comments I refer to my local pain and to nothing else. Please forgive me if I have not made that clear. I love you all for none has been more close to me and understood my painful situation than those here at ACFJ. Without you I have no one but God himself, who truly understands my heart.
    Knowing that keeps me going, but it is still often a very painful road I tread.
    Sorry again if I have caused any hurt especially to those who have long stood with me here at ACFJ in true loyal and proper loving support. I in no way refer in any way to that of my last comment. God knows without you I would possibly not have made it through my separation let alone to where I am today.

  8. Now Free (formerly struggling to be free)

    Thanks helovesme was not hurt just a bit bewildered. I was just making sure I’d not caused any offence. Again lots of what you said resonates with me. I am at a loss for words and can’t think straight. They were much appreciated though. Sometimes it’s best to say nothing at all to save misunderstandings and causing hurt. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. I only wish we had foresight of the hindsight first.

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