A Cry For Justice

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

New Users’ Information

How to Follow this Blog by Email — click on that link if you want to learn how to be notified by email every time we publish a new post.

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Safety tips are in red lettering. If you could be at risk from your abuser and his allies, please read this carefully and pay special attention to the red bits!

Our Resources page, found in the top menu, has an abundance of information regarding multiple aspects of abuse.  If you don’t know where to begin we suggest the following five resources (affiliate links*). They will give you a solid start in understanding the dynamics of domestic abuse whether you are a victim of domestic abuse or a supporter of a victim.

A Cry for Justice: How the Evil of Domestic Abuse Hides in Your Church by Jeff Crippen
Unholy Charade: Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church by Jeff Crippen & Rebecca Davis
Not Under Bondage: Biblical Divorce for Abuse, Adultery and Desertion by Barbara Roberts
Domestic Violence and Abuse  — a series of 21 sermons by Ps Jeff Crippen
Why Does He DO That? by Lundy Bancroft
Note: While we endorse Lundy’s writings about the dynamics of domestic abuse, we do not recommend anyone attend the ‘healing retreats’ Lundy Bancroft offers or become involved in his ‘Peak Living Network.’

Commenting on this blog

This is a public blog so your abuser, your children and your family members may see your comments either now or in years to come.

Tips for staying safe when making comments

Here are tips for how to remain anonymous and protect your safety when you are submitting comments at ACFJ or at other internet sites. For convenience’s sake, we shall refer to the commenter as female.

Fields in the comment box

This is what the comment form looks like:

Screen Shot 2014-11-16 at 4.28.59 PM

Under the big box where you write your comment, there are three smaller boxes known as ‘fields’.

Email address field

You must fill out the first field (Email) under the comment box.  Your email address will not be visible on the front of the blog when your comment is published: it is only visible to the members of the ACFJ team who can moderate comments.

Name field

Whatever you write in the Name field will become the name that will show on the screen above your comment when it gets published. If you’re concerned about your safety it’s essential to put something in the Name field that won’t identify you to your abuser or his allies. You don’t have to use your real name. You can put any word, or a combination of letters or numbers or symbols, in the Name field.

If you want is to change the name which is showing on your already-published comments, please email twbtc.acfj@gmail.com

To guard your safety:

  • Do not use your real name or part of you name or your initials.
  • Do not use part or all of your email address.
  • In most circumstances we encourage readers to use the same ‘screen name’ for all their comments, so that other commenters know who they are interacting with in the comments thread. However, there’s nothing wrong with using multiple screen names (and multiple WordPress accounts) if you think your abuser is reading the blog. Multiple screen names may make it more difficult for your abuser to identify you if he is following the blog.

Website field

You don’t have to put anything in this field. If you put a website address in this field and we decide to allow leave it there, other readers who click on your gravatar at that comment they will be taken over to your own website. This may be risky for some of our commenters. The ACFJ Admins decide whether to allow or remove the link to the commenter’s own website on a case by case basis, taking into account the commenter’s safety risks as we can best guesstimate them, and whether or not we feel okay about giving publicity to the other website.

Following Comments on a Particular Post

At the bottom of the comments form, you’ll see this:

Before you hit the ‘Post Comment’ button, take a moment to decide whether you want to be notified of other comments that might be published on that post. If you want to be notified, tick the little box on the left of the ‘Post Comment’ button. If you tick that box you’ll be sent an email each time someone else comments on that post.

The text of your comment

Ask yourself, “If my abuser or my abuser’s allies read this comment, would they know it was me? If they did know, how much could that put me at further risk of abuse? And is that a risk I am willing to take right now?”

Abuser’s behavior

Avoid giving details of the abuser’s behavior that might identify you or him. Quoting the exact words your abuser has used on you recently is not a good idea! Many abusers commit adultery as well as abuse their wives, so if you say your husband committed adultery that wouldn’t identify him. But if, for example, you describe your ex-husband leaving your child at home alone or dropping the child back to your place early after visitation, that might be a bit identifying, because those behaviors are not as common as adultery.

Yourself and your plans

Avoid mentioning details about yourself or your future plans that are too specific, i.e. your occupation, educational qualifications, hobbies, safety plans or plans to leave. What is ‘too specific’ will depend on each commenter’s situation. Some readers are still living with their abusers or in the early separation stage and/or still working through the court system for child custody and divorce. Some are facing major persecution from their churches. For such readers, it’s usually better to disidentify. Some readers are well and truly away from their abuser and no longer suffering post-separation abuse — for them, it may be quite safe to reveal identifying details.

History of your marriage

We encourage you to share your account of your marriage, but be careful to airbrush details that could be too identifying. For example, rather than saying “We have been married 32 years,”  you could say, “We’ve been married for about three decades.” And rather than saying “We’ve been to five marriage counselors in the last 13 years,” you could say,”We’ve been to several different marriage counselors over more than a decade.” And rather than saying, “I was 18 when I  married him,” you could say, “I married him when I was quite young.”

Children

Please do not give exact ages and genders of your children, nor how many children you have. Information about your children’s ages and sexes can be identifying. To airbrush these details, we suggest you say “my older children” instead of “my three teenage boys”.

Family and Friends

Details of interactions you’ve have had with church leaders, friends and family are best airbrushed (written in general terms only) if your abuser and his allies may recognize you from those details.

Language to avoid

Some survivors of abuse, in their zeal to help another survivor, start telling her what to do or how to feel or think. We ask you not to do that. If you tell another survivor what to do, that can sound to her like you are issuing an order to her… so it’s not a good idea. It can trigger the abused person if you tell them what to do. It’s better to use phrases like:

  • Have you considered such and such?
  • Maybe you would like to think about …..
  • I encourage you to respond to that person by ….
  • I suggest you do so and so….

Invitational suggestions are much easier for victims to hear than instructions and orders.

Kindly refrain from using language that would be offensive to our readers — any word that school teachers would consider a swear word or a vulgar term, and use of the Lord’s name as an expletive or a simple expostulation.

We sometimes edit comments before we publish them

We read every comment before it gets published. We sometimes edit a comment that we think could pose a safety issue for the commenter. When we edit comments for safety reasons, we remove details that could identify the survivor to her family, friends, church network, etc.

Is it okay to recommend a new book or website in a comment?

Please do not give a link in your comment or recommend a resource, unless it has already been recommended in our Resources or elsewhere on this blog.  If you want to recommend a resource or book or website, please do so by emailing twbtc.acfj@gmail.com  — this is the only way we will consider such recommendations.

Please stay on topic with the post

We prefer that you stay on topic with the post when you are commenting. Of course, sometimes commenters talk about their personal experiences or articulate realizations that the post brought to their minds . . . but please bear in mind that the blog is not a chat forum.

Nesting of Comments

The blog is set to nest up to three levels of comment within a thread. Visually it looks a little like this.

THE POST ITSELF

Person A’s  comment is set to the left margin  (a level 1 comment)
*reply* is enabled on level 1 comments

Person B comments on A’s (a level 2 comment)
*reply* is enabled on level 2 comments

Person C comments on B’s comment  (a level 3 comment)
There is no *reply* button below a level three comment.

 Gravatars

The gravatar is the little square box with a coloured design or image that appears to the left of each commenter’s name.  Every WordPress account is given a different gravatar. On A Cry For Justice, gravatars usually look like coloured symmetrical patterns. Some people have set their WordPress account so it shows a photo as their gravatar, like Ps Sam Powell in the leftmost image above.

If you have a WordPress account and have not configured it to display your chosen image, your comments on this blog will show whatever symmetrical coloured pattern WordPress assigns to you. This same gravatar will appear each time a comment of yours is published on this blog. If you use multiple WordPress accounts, each of your accounts will have its own gravatar.

We cannot change your gravatar. If you think your WordPress acccount has a photo that is putting you at risk, you’ll need to go into the settings on your WordPress account and change those settings so that WordPress doesn’t display your photo when you comment on WordPress blogs. Alternatively, you can create a new WordPress account for you to use only when you are commenting on this blog.  WordPress accounts only allow one email address per account, so if you set up an additional WordPress account you will need to use a new email address. If you need help or specialist advice about your situation, send an email to twbtc.acfj@gmail.com.

Also, if you want a comment without even your symmetrical coloured box showing on that comment, you can email what you want to say to TWBTC and tell her which post you want your comment placed on.  She will publish the comment under her gravatar and will say, “This comment was sent to me privately and I’m submitting it here on behalf of the commenter who wished to remain anonymous.”  Some of our readers have done this when commenting on sexual abuse matters because they didn’t want their normal gravatar to be associated with such a personal disclosure.

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

113 Comments

  1. i am very interested in this website, can i link into it, i am currently involved in a situation where i am talking about abuse, only to discover the person i am discussing it with may also have been abused. can you advise me

    • Dear Christine, Sorry I only just saw your comment here!
      We welcome people linking to our blog. We also are happy for you to re-post our posts.

  2. However I will say to the world of bloggers in general (not you, Christine) that we have had one or two people re-post stuff from our blog onto their own blogs, and when we’ve checked their blogs we find we don’t approve of what they seem to be on about.
    We can’t stop perpetrators of abuse from re-posting our stuff, but we don’t give them any oxygen for doing so, so we trash the automatic notification that says “Re-posted on blah-de-blah-wordpress.com.”

  3. Patti

    I wish I had known then what I know now 7 years post divorce. What I have seen on this site is so right on the mark. When I tell anyone what I went through in my marriage, it even sounds unbelievable to me. Even post divorce it tooks me years to fully grasp what I experienced and the denial I had been in to deal with it. The Church and Christian friends were not helpful. They couldn’t possibly understand even while they said they did and condemned me to a life alone because I divorced. In effect, I was to be punished for my husband’s sins. I so wish I had had this site to come to then before the life within me had died. Maybe someday….

    • MeganC

      Patti — We are so glad you landed here on our blog today. I think you will find much support here from those who have walked a similar journey with you. I have to believe that the life within you had not died, or God would not have brought you here. Please stick with us . . . read with us . . . converse with us. You have a story to tell. Big hugs to you.

    • Lynn

      Hi Patty,
      I sure understand what you mean when you say that it is hard to believe the deep denial that we can have concerning the abuse in our marriages. I am not divorced, but lately I have been more open to people about things my husband does or has done ,, you know just little things, but then after I’ve shared I take in on what I’ve said and it hits me like a brick, wow, this behavior of his is not kind or true, it is downright mean! Even when the remarks of his are disguised to be kind and Christian sounding. It has taken me lots of years to catch on, but now that I do I really protect myself, cause I know his ways……

      And you are correct on how Christian friends and the church are not helpful. I have gone thru that too. Patty I know how you feel about how you feel the life in you has died. I have

      been going thru that horrendous feeling too. Right now I am working on forgiving myself and Loving myself, and I make a conscience effort to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. My biggest pain is trying to forgive my husband for everything in the past and present, and to forgive myself for all the ill feelings I have toward him sometimes, and how I have retaliated back toward him,,,

      Peace and love

  4. Question: wordpress has a function where you can ‘like’ a post, but it has to be enabled, and it appears not to be enabled here, or at least, I can’t find it. Is it turned off for some reason, or am I really blind again? I would like to be able to like certain posts because then they are automatically bookmarked on my wordpress profile for me to find again.

  5. Thanks Kagi,
    I’ll ask our anon helper (who has been re-doing all our tags and categories) to look into this and see if we can get a like button up for our readers.

  6. Thanks very much to both of you for the quick attention and clarification, that was nice. I find a lot of times I don’t have a lot contribute, or what I wanted to say has already being said, but I thought this particular feature might be a tremendous help for the ones who love reading this kind of thing and would like to throw in their two cents but don’t want to leave a comment that’s basicallly ‘yeah, sure, everything they said”….in an argument or even discussion it doesn’t actually get you very far. XD

    • Jeff Crippen

      You’re welcome, Kagi.

  7. Eyesopen

    I just found this site! What a God-send to read other stories like mine. My husband of only three years hass been sexually abusing me and after reading the “why does he do that?” book and highlighting and noting examples almost every chapter, I feel as though my eyes have been opened. I am not crazy! I confronted him Friday over the phone and he is desperately trying to get me to couples counseling next week so we can work on “our” issues
    Thank you for this site

    • Hi Eyesopen, welcome to the blog! Yes, you are not crazy. We have a tag for ‘couples counseling’ if you want to read more about its dangers, but it sounds like you are well and truly aware that couples counseling is not recommended in domestic abuse because you’ve read Lundy’s wonderful book. If I had let myself use a highlighter I would have highlighted most of the text in Why Does He Do That ! So I know what you mean 🙂

    • Barnabasintraining

      Hi Eyesopen.

      I found Lundy’s book profoundly helpful too.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Eyesopen -and as you probably already know, couples’ counseling is not for abuse cases. It is his issue to deal with – you aren’t the problem.

  8. Gods Grace

    Hi there, I am new to this sight and almost lost all sense of self until I began reading the messages, by Jeff, and hearing the stories of women, who are living as I have been for 18 years. I took myself out of the relationship two months ago as things were getting worse in the home. All of the signs, thought’s of (crazy, craziness) feeling of abandonment, each day wondering, who will walk through the door, or who will wake up in the morning. My understanding of Passive/Aggressive behavior was so like my husband to a tee. With the verbal abuse, he would stand up and come towards me and I would just sit there and take it. And the emotional abuse, I can’t even start with that because it is so sick. I have never experienced anything like this. I know the one who was abused stay’s in the relationship for so many unhealthy reason’s with an abuser, and I was one. You never knew what hit you, or what’s going on. Your brain just takes you to so many places that you forget how to take care of yourself. Your taking care of this man. Placing him first in usually all things, “The Help Meet”, as his wife, you do everything you can to make it right. Yikes, little did I know what I was actually doing to myself, and what I was feeding into this
    marriage. I just didn’t understand it, but knew that something was very wrong.
    It wasn’t until my husband started to verbally attach my daughter and son in law that I knew that this will end now. There were events that were very apparent to my sister and her husband that were going on in the home. My husband was not able to control situations in the house, and when this happens he goes way off the chart. Unable to make it a better situation for him, his verbal abuse and emotional abuse became very direct towards me where he demanded that I sit on the couch and make a phone call to a family member to discuss a decision I had made that he did not like. It was like a 5 year old being yelled at by the dad for not doing his chores. VERY uncomfortable. I am 61 yrs, yup, and I took it like a little girl. So it was within the next few days that I went to prayer, as I have done all my life and asked the Lord for his Love, and comfort and direction. It was then that I asked my sister and brother in law to come over and be with me when I tell my husband that I will no longer stay in this house any longer. I am now in a place of safety, clear mind, gentle heart, calm, and being under the protection of my Lord and Savior. I am thankful for the strength that he has provided, I could not have left with out his continued love and his Holy word.

    • Dear Joanne
      It sounds like the Lord has guided you well and that circumstances have all come together like beads on a necklace, one by one, to bring you to clarity and resolution. That picture of you sitting on the couch realizing you felt so uncomfortable with your husband’s controlling and belittling treatment of you. . . that tells a thousand words. I am glad, very glad, that your sister and brother in law are supporting you. Welcome to the blog, and thank you for sharing. 🙂

  9. Anonymous

    Hi I just recently found multiple porn sites on husbands iphone and a couple of weeks ago we argued and in the argument he violently damaged property in our home. He has just started to act like this and the porn is getting worse. I do now want this to develop into something worse.

  10. Dear Anonymous,
    unfortunately, the situation you have described is one we hear about quite a lot. We are not professionals but those who work professionally in the domestic violence field all say that when violence has occurred once, it is likely to occur again and to become more frequent and more serious. Sometimes violence occurs only once or a few times per year, but that violence can still condition the whole relationship and keep you in an underlying state of fear.

    I understand that you don’t want it to develop into something worse. I understand that this may be the first indicator you have that your husband is practising some serious sins, and that he is entrenched in that.
    I want to affirm that porn is sinful, and when a husband is using porn it deeply hurts his wife, even if he is not pressuring her to join him in the porn consumption or exposing the other family members to it, or pressuring her to act out porn-like behavior in the bedroom. So your horror about finding the porn on his phone is a healthy response.

    I also want to suggest that you contact a domestic violence support service or advocate. The advocate can give you information about what you can do but she won’t tell you what to do: she will encourage you to make your own decisions in your own time. And she should validate and support you, without controlling you in any way. An advocate can also work with you to develop a safety plan, which is helpful even if you choose to stay in the marriage. Please do consider this idea of contacting an advocate. At least find out a phone number to call if you need to. We have hotline numbers on our Resources page (look at the top tabs on this blog). You might also like to do the online Risk Assessment called the MOSAIC METHOD ( look under ‘Safety Planning’ in our Resources).

    I hope you continue to come to our blog if you find it helpful, check out the Resources page and also check out the tags ( in the top menu) to find topics that are of interest to you.

    Hugs and love

    Barb

  11. Kathryn

    Hi! Love this site. I was in a horribly abusive marriage for 30 years. The abuse was mental, emotional, and sexual. I kept hoping for the best or that he would one day keep a promise, any promise. I knew we were roommates but I thought we were friends. He pretended to be a Christian. He doesn’t pretend anymore. He now cohabits with a married woman. Her husband is a minister.

    God put a desire in my heart for children so I sought adoption for 12 years. Then God opened the door and I adopted 4 children at birth then a 17 year old girl. The 17 yr old was my husband’s idea. And the easiest adoption I ever did. Three years after I brought her home on June 25, 2006 at 1:15 am I asked the right question. Then he told me he was having sex with her.

    The judge in the divorce didn’t care about the incest & aggravated statutory rape & gave my 4 minor children & home to him. My ex as of 10/4/10 then used child protective services & Juvenile court against me. I then went to Chancery Court & filed a motion. I was pro se for 14 months. I presented witnesses that testified that he had sex with our daughter. Sept 13, 2013, I won on my original motion but lost on my amended motion for full custody. The judge said what juvenile court did to me was wrong. Also, he told me to stop all efforts to rescue my children & be happy with what I have. He said I was just trying to get one up on him. How does a Mom stop?

    I am seeking a way to go forward as I wait for God to fulfill His promise that my children and I will be reunited without any influence from my ex. I have tried the Governor of this state along with any one that would listen. Well, they don’t really listen and I have been called many names. If anyone reading this knows someone I can contact that may help, please let me know. Please use my name and email address. I am also on fb. I have pictures of my children posted on fb. Thank you to anyone who reads this. Please remember my precious children. Kathryn

    • Jeff Crippen

      Kathryn- Thank you for telling your story. Incredibly hard. How could any court ever grant custody to an admitted child rapist? Is the age of consent only 16 in your state? If it is 18 then it is bizarre that he wasn’t prosecuted. But even apart from that, the fact that she is his adopted daughter should be enough to void any of his rights to custody. But then, that is what is right. Courts don’t always seem to know what is right.

    • Kathryn, I am appalled at the injustice you and your kids have been delivered. And not only the injustice but the comment by the judge that you stop trying to protect your children and just ‘be happy with what you have’ and his assumption that you were bent on payback rather than safeguarding your children. How outrageous! How appalling! How hurtful to you! How unfair! How untrue!

      If anyone emails us saying they have advice or tips for you, we will give them your email address.
      Here is our Legal Resources Page, but I expect you already know about the links we have on it because it sounds like you’ve turned over all stones in your fight for justice.

    • Lynn

      Kathryn,
      My heart goes out to you. I will pray for you and your children and that justice will be done. I am appalled at the court and sickened at your husband’s behavior.

  12. Kathryn

    Thank you Jeff. In the divorce I was stunned that this judge did not care about the incest When I went back to Chancery after being abused in juvenile court I had another shot at the same judge, I was hoping that I could make him care about the incest. I actually did much better on my own than when I had a lawyer. I think this judge expected me to lay down. My ex’s lawyer lost to me. BUT, as I always said, she didn’t come against a little nobody, she came against a great big God. She resigned before the final hearing on Sept 13, 2013. I don’t think she liked losing. Amazing how God got me through that 14 month ordeal. In this state it is aggravated statutory rape and incest. She was 17 and he was 47. There is no statute on these crimes either. This is hard because I live it over and over and over as I seek help. I am working on a book about this called WE WERE EXPENDABLE. Again thank you for your comment.

    Thank you Barbara. I will check out the link. I may not find anything new but it might not hurt to revisit some sites. Yes Barbara, I was stunned by his comment that all I was trying to do was get one up on him. He heard my witnesses. The sheriff’s office never investigated and I gave them all the information on who knew, what they knew, and how to contact them. Three professional people that my ex confessed to, NEVER reported his crimes. Mary Ann Barlow from Hope Christian Counseling told me she didn’t report his crimes because he said he had repented. Licensed counselor, male, said it was understandable because she was young and firm. Then there was the pastor who made my ex a teacher and leader two months after my ex confessed to him. This Pastor was unknown to us until we met him so my ex could confess and get help. My ex tried to steal his church and did take some members to a home church group with him as the paid Pastor. And so it goes… I know our God has the final word. His final word will reunite me with my children and remove my ex’s negative influences. I appreciate your comments, Sometimes I have thought I was the one who was wrong and all of them are right. Y’all’s comments help me to continue the fight. TY!

  13. And your reply to my comment, Kathryn, is a very good example of how important it is, when supporting survivors, to state the obvious: you were abused, it is not your fault, those who lay blame on your are lying, and their treatment of you is outrageous. These simple messages can almost never be overstated or repeated too often.

    It’s so easy to do this once you get the hang of it. Supporting victims is actually a really easy thing to do. Listen and validate; listen and affirm; listen and honour the victim’s creative responses to the maltreatment; listen and express outrage at the injustice; listen and say “It is not your fault you are not to blame.”

    I know you know this, Kathryn; I’m saying this for others who might be reading this little thread. 🙂 Bless you Kathryn.

  14. Kathryn Beneda

    Barbara, you are so incredibly right. I have been involved in some sort of ‘ministry’ since Jan 1979 when I dedicated my life to the Lord. I started with a bus ministry. Didn’t know that was what I was doing as I just began picking up children to take to church. When I had 11 children in my Maverick and the children complained of the tight quarters, I told them if they didn’t like it to pray for God to provide something larger. He did, a van then my church bought me a 60 passenger bus which was filled for every service. I worked at the 700 Club and God Blessed that venture taking me from a nothing position to a manager 4 steps down from Pat. Pat gave me the presidents award of excellence along with $1000 cash. First manager in history of CBN. I also had The Freedom House coffee house in Norfolk, Va. I was known at CBN as the one who took in strays. I say all this to let you know that God has Blessed me in so many ways and put me in places for Him that not many of us experience. One of the first things He taught me with this horror was to validate someones pain. That the pain life brings people should never be glossed over but always addressed and validated. Not that I didn’t do that, but I now know even more how important it is. I spend more time on that when God brings me to someone in pain. Dear, dear Barbara, you know this and it makes me cry. Thank you! My ex had 2 witnesses in court who heard that he indeed had done this to our daughter and then they still lied on the stand to protect him. Professional people. Golly GEE! I had 3 churches who had divorce recovery groups turn me away because my story was too awful. I don’t blame them, I understand. Legal Aide would not help me because I had too much sexual abuse to deal with. I still have trouble with that one. But, I can’t get bogged down in it. I keep going on for my children no matter what names I am called. No matter how many people hang up on me or tell me to stop. I know my ex is a monster. I also know the scripture, don’t ask me where it is, that says NOTHING hidden shall stay hidden, but all things shall be revealed. When it all comes to light, no one will ever be able to say I knew it and did nothing. LOL I know I go where God sends me and when people attack me they are attacking Him who sends me and He will deliver to them what He deems appropriate. I am glad I am out of that part of this. My focus is to trust Him in all I do. Even if I make a mistake I trust Him to fix it for me. Who gave me the soapbox??? Sounds like I am getting preachy. Sorry, I just know that I know. I would like for any one who reads this to know that we cannot get to far for God to reach us.
    Bless you Barbara. Thank you!

    • Thanks Kathryn.

      For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil. Ecc. 12:14

      Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops. (Luke 12:1-3)

      Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes. A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household. So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. (Matt 10:21-28)

      • Lynn

        Barbara,

        Really encouraged by these verses, thanks… so many marriage hide abuse for years and years from everyone ,,, then decades latter the truth comes out and they can’t hide the condition of their marriage anymore. I do have one question though,,,they call sexual abuse(incest) soul murder,,, and I have experienced abuse as a child and in my marriage and it does feel like soul murder,, like one is losing their mind,, very painful. How do you reconcile the verse do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.?

      • Lynn, I too was sexually abused as a child. It wreaked havoc on my soul. So I know some of what you are talking about. I know that sexual abuse feels like it kills the soul. In my case, it screwed me up by fusing and entangling and and scarring the wiring of my nervous system. The result was that I felt and experienced myself to be defective, not normal. My abilty to respond to sexual intimacy in a safe loving relationship was messed up badly. I felt inadequate as a woman, as an adult human being; I felt like I always had to pretend to be an adult because I wasn’t really an adult. I was just a mess. I wanted to die and I fantasized about killing myself, and took steps towards that at times.

        Sexually abusing someone is tantamount to murdering their soul, because the damage it does to the victim is so deep, so visceral, right down to the cellular level. Terror fuses one’s ability to realise one’s potential. I’m not talking New Age here, I’m talking about the natural potential that each individual has to develop into a fully functioning human being who can enjoy life inside their skin, within the parameters for godly living while honouring their Creator.

        At the same time, sexual abuse, while it is metaphorical soul-murder in that it so deeply damages the victim, is not soul death in the fullest (eternal) sense where souls that are not reborn in Christ will go to Hell and die perpetually in conscious torment for eternity, outside God. That eternal death is (we must assume) far far worse than the akin-to-soul-death experiences of sexual abuse victims.

        We certainly can and should fear the damage that sexual abusers cause; we must fear them otherwise we will not be on guard to protect ourselves and others from them.

        But even though they can cause such horrendous damage to souls, sexual abusers cannot send souls to Hell for eternity. That is only (solely — forgive the pun) the prerogative of God. And I give thanks to God that He will send unrepentant sexual abusers to Hell. Every pedophile, every rapist, every man who raped or coerced his wife or girlfriend (or daughter or step-daughter) into unwanted sex, every porn addict, every pervert, God will send them all to Hell. The only escape for them is if they humble themselves recognising that they are convicted of sin, and truly repent, begging God for mercy through His Son the Lord Jesus Christ.

        I don’t know if any of this helps, Lynn but it’s all I can think of right now.

        bless you (and hugs if you want them).

        PS. I did eventualy find healing for my fused wiring, through Christ. He is indeed the Healer, the balm-giver, the Wonderful Counselor and Prince of Peace.

  15. anonymous

    Thank you. thank you from the bottom of my heart. I have been exploring the articles on this site that I “stumbled” upon a few days ago, and I know God directed me here because it is just what I need. I just..I cant put it into words as I sit here it tears. Thank you for your tireless work. GOD BLESS.

    • 🙂 🙂 🙂
      Thanks for the encouragement, Anon.

      • Anonymous

        “For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil”. Ecc. 12:14
        Luke 12:1-3
        Matt 10:21-28
        “Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.”

        Thank you for once again reminding us of God’s faithfulness amidst the confusion and turmoil. As previous Anonymous stated, “Thank you for your tireless work. GOD BLESS.”

  16. Kathryn

    Thank you! Wonderful reminders from the Word. God provides encouragement to me over and over. I found it here. I told my Mom in November, 2010 that sometimes I feel like getting in my car and leaving and not looking back. She said stay and fight for your children. Had I left, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself for betraying my children. I love this site. God Bless!

  17. anonymous

    Hope this is the right place to ask..is there a way for me to search for older posts I have commented on? thank you!

    • TWBTC

      Anonymous,
      I don’t know of any way for you to search posts that contain comments you have made, but that is something that can be done on the back-end of the blog. Please feel free to email me at twbtc.acfj@gmail.com and we’ll see if I can help you.

      • anonymous

        TWBTC, thank you! I wasn’t so much needing to find a specific post, but wondering if someone else could come on and search. Knowing they cant makes me feel better. thank you.

  18. Lyn

    Hi. I did a search on your site for word translations but couldn’t find anything specific. I’ve been doing some personal research into how specific words/concepts like “mind”, “shame”, “sin”, “forgiveness” are translated from Hebrew or Greek. I think it is important as issues that are in contention (especially related to word games abusers play), are often about interpretation, and those who take the literal meaning often don’t seem to grasp the fact that the translation can have multiple words or overlapping meanings. Is it possible to start a new thread on this? (If it is a helpful tool)

    Thanks for all the hard work you put into bringing this to light in a balanced and biblical way, it is actually hard to find sites that haven’t turned into some form of revenge advocates, or spend time bitterly attacking those who are ignorant (wilfully or not) or blind to the realities of abuse.

    these are some of the links I found helpful… [sin] http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Meditations/Chata_ah/chata_ah.html… [forgiveness] https://www.ministrymagazine.org/archive/1963/04/forgiveness-in-the-light-of-the-hebrew-language…[redeem] http://judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/11142/two-words-for-redeem-whats-the-difference… [shame] http://skipmoen.com/2014/02/25/shamed-or-ashamed/

    • Hi Lyn, while a thread on word translations might be useful, I don’t think we have time to do it at present.

  19. Hi. I left an additional comment on your post about spousal neglect, but my account used my user name rather than Lonely. I’d rather my Word Press user name be kept confidential. Is there any way to correct this? Thank you so much. I apologize for the inconvenience.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Fixed

    • Hi Lonely,
      No need to apologize. Confidentiality is important to us and we often fix comments to protect our commenters.

      And Welcome! So glad you found ACFJ!

  20. 28 yrs verbal and emotional abuse. My husband has not done any “big” sins (that’s what he would see them as, very legalistic) and as I have gotten more information (from wonderful sites like this one!) and have dealt with him in a strong way, he has improved. But it has taken everything within me to even get us to this point (with SO much denial, blaming, minimizing, deflecting, yelling, crazy-making on his end every step of the way) and I don’t really want to go any further. However, if he is truly improving and over time shows true repentance (which I have read about and am pretty clear on what it looks like), how does one ever get to the point where you even WANT to be with that person again? (I have been in a separate room for 4 months now and he has mostly stopped hassling me)To attend church where I was so misled for so long? I can’t even IMAGINE that I could be happy with him or praying with him or going to church with him. I don’t feel in a hurry to make any decision (I am not in immediate danger) but I just don’t care any more. Its like he waited too long. It took too much (tears and letters and counseling and books and the awful CYCLE…) on my part to finally get HIM to start looking at himself (and probably because i am in another room!). Is it ever too late? Can a person ever say, “Sorry , buddy, you should have listened long before 28 yrs of hell passed?”

    • Can a person ever say, ‘Sorry , buddy, you should have listened long before 28 yrs of hell passed?’

      Sure, a person can say that! If a person has been the abuser’s target for a long time, it is NORMAL and COMMON to feel the way you feel, Debby. I’ve heard so many victim/survivors say what you said here, and I remember feeling that way myself when I was in the early stages of the final separation from my first husband.

      How could I EVER want to be with him again? How could I EVER trust him again? It was un-computable. Unimaginable. The trauma he had made me suffer was so thick, so deep, so wide, so long, so convoluted, so multi-layered — and his denial and lies and evasions and double-faced-ness had so many aspects and so many examples that it was impossible to imagine it ever changing, and him ever becoming fully trustworthy.

      And why should the victim trust someone who has demonstrated himself so untrustworthy?

      • Lynn

        Barbara,
        Wow, thanks for sharing this. Been married for a long time and I am where Debby is. You have described how I feel in your second paragraph. I am finding out that you can forgive but to go back and start a new marriage relationship is nearly impossible with all the memories and triggers of all the years and years of layers of abuse and the realization of what he put you through and years and health and peace lost …….

    • Lynn

      I feel the same way!

  21. michelle

    Hi I’m new to this site. I’ve been reading through the posts,desparately searching for answers but I’m at a place where I no longer know what to believe.In early 2013 I was crying out to God to reconcile my ex husband and I. (We’d been divorced 5 years) I found the sites faith and marriage mininistries, rejoice marriage ministries and later Erin Thieles restore ministries international-encouraging woman. I devoured their material and in 4 months husband came back and seemed a changed man. I truly believed God had worked a miracle. I was so sure this was His will. Well he left again in early 2014. I don’t have time to go into his behaviour, chronic lies and temper but I was left broken (again!) Emotionally, financially and physically ill. I still feel such guilt for what I put the kids though. yet I still love him and wonder why God didn’t give him a new heart.

    Do you have any views on these ministries? Erin Thieles teachings our found particularly disturbing, the more I applied her principles which were all backed by scripture the worse my situation became. my emotional state too became worse yet her ministry tells you to seek God and accept Jesus as your heavenly bridegroom.I feel a complete failure as a christian, wife and mother …

    • Jeff Crippen

      Michelle – we are VERY glad that you are here and we trust that you will find much sound, biblical help in our articles and through the comments by our readers. First, this world is FILLED with false teachers all self-proclaimed representatives of Christ. But as Scripture warns us, many are deceivers and we must be very careful.

      Materials like Erin Thieles, who wrote How God Can and Will Restore Your Marriage can be rejected out of hand because this is a blatantly false promise that gives oppressed people like yourself false hope, more shame, and more false guilt. As you have shared, this resulted in a devastating disappointment for you. Why has the Lord not given your ex a new heart? Because as you share here, your ex is hardened in heart and unrepentant. Please do not weigh yourself down with a load of guilt for being taken in. All of us here have been as well at one time or another. This evil of abuse is VERY deceptive. What is the truth? The truth is that you can confidently assume that your abuser will never change, and then press on making your decisions and plans based on that solid foundation. You can also keep reading our articles here and the books listed on our resources page and you will increasingly become clearer in your thinking and understanding of abuse and the effects it has on its victims. Abusers are slippery and deceiving. I highly suspect that you have not failed as a Christian or wife or mother, but that the blame rests squarely with your abuser. Stay with us, read, ask questions, interact with us through comments and watch yourself come out into freedom. Blessings in Christ.

      • Michelle, just to clarify, when Jeff says you can confidently assume your abuser will never change, he means that you would be sensible to use that as your working assumption. It is the sensible assumption to work from, because experience and clinical evidence bears it out. It is the safest assumption to work from.

        Most so-called marriage ministries tell victims of abuse to take the opposite as their working assumption. They advise victims to work on the assumption that an abuser can change and is likely to change if the victim prays hard and long enough, is longsuffering enough, shows a winsome and quite demeanour enough, submits enough, etc. That working assumption is VERY dangerous. It leads to the prolongation of immense suffering, and sometimes to lethal outcomes for the victim and kids.

    • Hi Michelle, welcome to the blog 🙂

      I hope to reply more to you later, but I just want to say briefly now that we always encourage newcomers to read our New Users Information page, as it has tips about ways to guard your safety while commenting on this blog.

      • michelle

        Thank you for your responses Barbara and Jeff.Yes after the first few months of rconciLing and being on his best behaviour he began to behave exactly like he did when we were married down to punching holes in doors,screaming ,swearing ,gabbing our kids by the throat screaming holding his fist in their face threatening to #@*@ them up ,in between being distant and cold whilst he resumed a long distance on line affair with the woman he orriginally had an affair while we were married.I do need advice and wish to share what happened while we were married (you see he reckons I tipped him over to the ‘dark side’ because I said something very nasty about 6 years into the mnarriage) I still wonder if he would have remained faithful etc if I hadn’t hurt him with my words.I’m not sure if this is the place to go into more detail.thank you for taking the time to listen to people who are struggling

      • Jeff Crippen

        Michelle – you didn’t tip him over to the dark side. He was already there. Nothing you could do would change him.

    • Lynn

      Michelle,
      You are not a complete failure as a Christian wife and mother! You are reacting to your husband’s abuse, that is why you feel that way. I have felt as you do many , many times. As I got stronger, and learned to think more positive about myself again, I realized as long as I have breath, and my feet hit the floor in the morning and I try my best to live and not give up(suicide) ……that I am not a failure, but an overcomer! And you are too!

      • michelle

        Thanks all for your kind comments. I have so many questions: did any of you ladies not want a divorce but felt it was your only choice because he had discarded you, told you how wonderful the woman he’d become obsessed with was compared to you and that he’d never loved you? I don’t understand why I still loved this man and desparately wanted him to love me as christ loved the church. even after he’d had an affair with a prostitute while I was pregnant with my youngest (because I drove him to it). I gladly put it behind me and forgave him. When the baby was 9 months old I arrived home to find the sheriff (in america I thInk you call it the repo men) taking away all our furniture and we were evicted because unknown to me he’d not paid rent for 10 months.

        in between the screaming and shouting, hitting and kicking doors etc continued. he never hit me but threatened to. He never really repented of his affair with the call girl because as he said I caused him to cross that line. I really did forgive him and try to trust him again but I was often insecure. on top of this after we were evicted we moved with money he’d fraudulenty obtained. He says he did illegal stuff in order to take care of us. anyway we moved constantly and for almost a year were basically homeless, living in a caravan and then a hut with no electricity etc strangely enough during that time he was loving and kind. eventually he got a job and once we moved into a place with a stove I began baking for money while taking care of our 4 small kids.

        whenever we argued about anything he bought up the fact that I’d never truly forgiven him and he felt he was living under a cloud. this led to him hooking up with a childhood friend, the love of his life. His violent outburst increased to the point of me having to pull him off my oldest son who he had in a chokehold. But I kept excusing his behaviour as being under stress because of finances (don’t know if this is relevant but right from when we first met he had money problems. Never holding down a job, always tryIng to have his own business but constantly in debt. Debt collectors hounded him from before we married til our divorce 13 years later. but I always made excuses for him) anyway when I found out about this woman I accepted he didn’t love me but all the time I was heartbroken, begging and pleading with him to give us another chance even after all he’d done!

        Why wasn’t I longing to be free from this man? and then as I said in my first post, 5 years after our divorce I begged God to reconcile us, knowing he was an habitual liar, adulterer, violent outbursts etc. Why would I want him back? According to rejoice marriage ministries and Erin Thiele it was God’s desire to bring us back together. I believed God could change his heart and give me a Godly husband who truly loved me and the children but as I shared before he did come back and I thought it was a miracle but its led to utter destruction.

        sorry so long winded, there’s so much more…! What I don’t understand is why am I not rejoicing that he has left again, why I aren’t I relieved that I no longer live with that terrible sense of uncertainty and fear? what on earth made me put my poor kids through all this again?did any of you struggle with this? God bless you for caring and replying to my crazy questions !

      • Jeff Crippen

        Michelle – I think many of the readers here will have some excellent insights for you. Though my own experience at the hands of abusers isn’t nearly as intense as your suffering has been, I think I have felt a bit of what you are asking about. When I cross paths with people who have wickedly treated me and who worked to destroy my ministry and our church, do you know what I have to discipline myself not to do? No, it isn’t the urge to be mean to them. It is the urge to smile, give them a hug, and tell them I sure wish we could be friends again. I say I fight that urge because I know that would be playing right into their hands – into their evil.

        You see, people like you – normal people with a functioning conscience and the ability to love – must understand that the abuser does not think like you do. We want to believe that the abuser is like us – a person who is sorry when we do wrong, who genuinely feels empathy for others, who really did love them when we were in the relationship. But the abuser is NOT like us. He has no empathy, no conscience, no love. So the person we are imagining we can relate to is only a creation of our own imagination. I think you are still drawn to this wicked man because you, as someone recently said on our facebook page, are in love with the man you wanted him to be. But that man is a fiction. The real man is a demon. So much so in fact that he is murderous. That incident of him choking your son – strangling is a huge indicator of danger in abusive relationships. This is a man who could easily kill you and the children. Grieve that you haven’t had a fulfilling marriage. But be thankful he is gone – and work to enter into full freedom from him.

        And you question is not crazy. And neither are you:)

      • Ellie

        It seems to me that there are two kinds of survivors. There are some who just KNOW that they have to get away and they are gifted with a healthy sense of freedom very quickly. Once they see it, it’s just done. My friend Rosie is like this. I have met a couple of others who have just known.

        I didn’t get that gift. My friend Juliette didn’t either. There’s a lingering series of “what ifs” in our minds and we torture ourselves with them. Getting trauma therapy at the shelter helped me. Reading here, listening to the Jeff’s sermons, reading the books ACFJ recommends has helped. I don’t know why I didn’t get the gift. I plead with God to let me stay in that marriage but I knew He was taking me out and I obeyed. He has been faithful and taught me to recognize and set good boundaries out of a sense of self respect and stewardship of my mental and physical health.

  22. and nothing you did MADE him abuse you! He is 100% responsible for his actions. 100%.

  23. michelle

    Hi I’m not sure if I replied correctly to an email notification.I replied to cry for justices email address.I read the blog,receive and send emails via my cellphone as I don’t have other access to the internet.I was replying to Jeff and Ellie that its really difficult as a believer in an all powerful God to accept that prayer and Gods will haven’t changed my exs heart and mind.despite his evil behaviour I struggle to accept that he himself is evil.Also wouldn’t it bring such glory to God and be an amazing testimony for God to soften his hard heart and heal his sick mind and help him become the father and husband I so longed for him to be?

    • Ellie

      Michelle said:

      Also wouldn’t it bring such glory to God and be an amazing testimony for God to soften his hard heart and heal his sick mind and help him become the father and husband I so longed for him to be?

      I relate to this question. Several survivors I know have posed the same question and struggled because they feel that they must never give up as it would be denying this chance at a testimony. But here’s what I was missing. This isn’t up to me. I couldn’t have loved X, lured X, enticed X, been good enough for X, etc to make him want a Lord. This sermon helped me to understand that X has rejected his Lord because he doesn’t want anyone to be the boss of him.

      Once I realized that whatever testimony God works in X is between God and X and nothing I do can make it happen, I felt a new freedom. I was always so scared before; scared that I would say or do something to mess it up. The targets’ job is not to fix the abusers or to punish the abusers or to make the abusers understand what they’ve done. The targets’ job is to get to safety and get healthy. Getting to a healthy church, listening to healthy sermons, getting trauma counseling helped me tremendously. I can’t control X. I never could.

      I understand about not wanting to believe he’s evil. X does many good things. But he does’t want a Savior. He wants to be better than others on his own. I can’t quantify evil and say X is an EVIL #&$^$. I don’t make X out to be a monster. He isn’t serving God. And you have to serve somebody. If it’s not God, it’s NOT GOD! And rejecting God is enough for me to know anything he does is not from a godly motive. I don’t like it when others say mean things about X. I didn’t like it when I heard others call him names. I spent years looking for ways to think ONLY the best about him, trying to make sure that I was respectful and so on. That mindset didn’t go away for me overnight. But getting healthy has helped me to give this burden, the burden I felt for X’s soul, over to the Lord. It’s none of my business what God does with X, how, or why. My business is to be safe, healthy, and through all of that to trust in God.

      • michelle

        Thank you Ellie .Its comforting to know others Understand and have had the same struggles .

  24. Innoscent

    I would like to be abe to ‘Like’ some comments and I was wondering if the username in WordPress has to be the same as my username on this blog or it is completely separate. Thanks in advance for your help.

    • I don’t know, Innoscent, mabye someone else on our team can answer this question. Wendell? TWBTC?

    • Hi Innoscent,

      I’m not sure I completely understand your question. Would you email me at twbtc.acfj@gmail.com and we’ll get this figured out for you.

      • Innoscent

        Thank you Barb and Twbtc. I’ve just emailed you. 😉

  25. sunshine

    Hello everyone. I came to this site because I need some added clarity on my situation. I pray that God will use any means He can to show me what to do. I’ve been married for a few years and have no kids. I’m sure that I would never stay with a man who would hit, slap, or punch me, but what about less obvious stuff.

    My husband served time in prison for sexually abusing a child. He assured me that he had all the classes and counseling that a man can get, plus more. He always seems to take responsibility for what he did. And since he has no contact with children and doesn’t want contact, I began to trust him. From day one he began pressuring me for sex (including sexual practices I find abhorrent). I told him I’m totally opposed to those kinds of sex but he insisted that I learn to “compromise”. I’ve always had trouble saying no to people so I allowed a relationship to develop. We lived together then got married because I didn’t want to be guilty of fornication.

    Sexually he is VERY rough with me and he likes to roughly wrestle with me. He gets demanding and tells me to stop whining and complaining about pain. He becomes very sweet and apologetic after sex is over but he makes it clear that we must do the kind of sex he wants on a regular basis. I tried explaining how I feel about it … He feels that women need to shut up and endure it until they learn to like it. I’ve been trying the “stay and pray” method up until now but its hard to believe that God wants me to endure another night of this.

    The idea of filing for divorce and looking for another place to live seems SO overwhelming to me. I don’t know what to do. I wouldn’t bother asking him to go for counseling because he told me that he had too much of that in prison. I started seeing a counselor on my own and she told me that my husband sounds like a sociopath. But its getting harder and harder to see her because he monitors me closely and is constantly texting throughout the day. I’m just going to keep reading what other victims went through and hopefully I can get some help with this. Thank you for this site.

    [Eds: some details airbrushed for safety reasons]

    • Hi Sunshine, I believe your situation is very serious. I think you are in high danger. You say he hasn’t hit or slapped or punched you, but he is very rough with you sexually.

      Take a deep breath: I have some hard news for you — You are a victim of domestic violence. Domestic violence does not have to include physical violence or assaults. Domestic violence is about power and control.

      The term domestic violence (DV) means the abuser uses any one (or any combination of) these forms of abuse to maintain power and control over his target (the victim):
      sexual abuse
      emotional and psychological abuse
      financial abuse
      spiritual abuse
      social abuse (isolation of the victim, monitoring her movements, cyber-stalking, harrassment via technology such as constant texts and phone calls., etc)
      — the abuser might also use physical violence and threats of physical violence. Some abusers never use physical violence, but they are still horribly abusive to their parters.
      The abuser’s behaviour and attitudes show a pattern of coercive control and disrespect of the victim.

      Your husband is sexually abusing you very very often. DV professionals have done a lot of research on what makes a case more ‘high risk’ (– high risk of a lethal outcome) and one of the things that put a case into the high risk category is SEXUAL ABUSE. This man is clearly a sexual abuser. He has already served one prison sentence for a sexual crime. And he is committing sexual crime against you repeatedly: because you have made it clear to him that you do not fully consent with what he demands sexually, and he disregards that. Therefore, he is raping you repeatedly.

      Consent is the Yes you say when you are free to say No. …It is very clear from what you’ve told us that you when you have told him No, he overrides your wishes. And he uses many other tactics of coercive control to make you feel afraid to say No.

      He is also using social abuse (monitoring your movements, etc).

      The level of monitoring he is using also indicates ‘high risk’. So does the fact that he has a history of criminal behavior.

      Do not believe what he says. He is a skilled liar. All abusers are.

      Please please do this: Please phone your country’s DV hotline and tell them about your situation. I believe you need help to escape this man, and the DV professionals are best equipped to help you. The DV hotline people will not say you ‘must’ do such and such or so and so, but they will give you support and information and encourage you to make your own decisions at your own pace. They can put you in touch with your nearest Women’s Centre which specialises in supporting victims of domestic violence (DV). They can arrange for you to get to a women’s shelter (women’s refuge) if you are wanting to leave him.

      Please also read the links on our Safety Planning page. I know it is hard to think that your situation is high risk and your life might be in danger, but some abusive men kill their partners without ever having used physical violence on them before.

      The DV hotline people and the workers at the Women’s Centre will also talk to you about safety planning. It is good to do safety planning even while you are living with the abuser. Safety planning is not just useful when you leave an abuser — it is also important when you are living with an abuser and are not yet ready to leave.

      It is not your fault. The fact that you are a victim of domestic abuse is not your fault. You are not to blame. 🙂
      The only one responsible for this is your husband: he is the one who is choosing to control and abuse you.

      You are not alone. We believe you. We support you. Please click on the links I gave. I know it is hard and scary and can feel overwhelming, but God will be with you every step of the way.

  26. sunshine

    Thank you for responding. This is kinda scary to hear. Part of me thinks that his abuse is only sexual, but I’ve always had a feeling that he’s capable of worse. I’m not really sure how he will react when I tell him I want to leave. I have alot of things to consider here but as long as the DV hotline doesn’t pressure me into something I’m not ready for- I guess I can give them a call.

    • Sunshine, I suggest you give serious consideration to NOT telling him you want to leave. This man seems to me so dangerous that if you tell him that he is highly likely to escalate his abuse, both his surveillance and monitoring of you, and his other forms of abuse, and he may start using new forms of abuse that he hasn’t used before, to further crush and exhaust you so you have less energy to leave.

      I suggest you ring the hotline first, and talk over the situation with them. I suggest it will be safer to keep you thoughts and plans secret from him. If you do keep your thoughts and plans secret, you will probably have more time to make your own decisions and your own plans for how and when you might wish to leave, if you do leave.
      You are living with the Enemy. If an enemy nation has invaded your nation, does your nation tell the enemy nation what its plans are? No.

      • sunshine

        I have contacted the National DV hotline and they totally agree with you that I’m in a abusive relationship. They have referred me to a local DV group but I will wait a week before I contact them because my husband and I are going away on vacation. I told my primary doc as well and she is very concerned. For the time being I will focus on self-affirming thoughts and words because I need to repeatedly remind myself that I deserve a better life than this. I thank you for this site.

      • Well done, sunshine! 🙂
        Making that first call to a hotline or a DV service is always a big step — and you’ve made it!

      • Sunshine,
        Oh, what a big step! You have shown great courage!

        And for some affirming thoughts you may like this post, You Are Lovable

      • sunshine

        I just want to give an update of my situation. As I wrote before the abuse in my marriage is primarily sexual. I contacted a local DV program and they said they will be calling me very soon to set up appointments.

        [ details removed by Eds to protect identity of commenter]

        I would love to get help from a church but the one I recently joined seems kind of small. I think they are just getting started and although the people seem very friendly there, I don’t think they have counseling services available.

      • Hi Sunshine, we have kept a copy of your comment as you first submitted it, so we will remember what you told us. We removed a fair bit of your comment because it could have identified you if your abuser or his allies happened to read it.

        You asked whether it is okay for you to just ignore him when he makes those demands. Yes! You are free to ignore his demands whenever complying with them would be distasteful to you. You do not have to obey any demands he makes on you if they violate your dignity, your conscience or your emotional wellbeing.
        As to whether or not it is wise for you to ignore such demands…that’s another question which you can best weigh up for yourself. As you said: there is a potential risk that he will retaliate on you. That risk is always present when we defy an abuser, when we do not comply with his expectations and demands. On the other hand, the longer we comply, the more our soul dies, the more depressed and afraid and emotionally depeleted we become. This can affect our physical health as well, and our energy levels. As we go deeper into the black hole, it can feel harder and harder to stand against the abuse and take steps to create a better life for ourselves.

        I encourage you to consider leaving this man. He is clearly an abuser. He is cruel to you, and he doesn’t care how much he hurts a violates you. You do not need to necessarily wait till you get the appointment with the DV program. Or, you could call that program again and tell them you want help to leave now. you will not be sinning in any way if you leave this man. He has been abusing you for years, there is VERY VERY VERY little likelikhood he will ever change, and you are, naturally, feeling so traumatized by him that staying with him will only prolong your suffering.

        I cannot tell you what exactly to do — but I do urge you to consider leaving him. Even if he is unwell, you are not obliged to be his carer or help him deal with his illness. He has broken the marrriage covenant already. Every time he coerced or compelled you to submit to his sexual abuse, he was breaking that covenant. How many times can a thing that is broken be broken again?

        I encourage you to realise that you are free: free to ignore his demands, free to refuse to comply with his expectations, free to not explain to others what you are thinking and feeling and what you are planning on doing. Free to disclose your private thoughts, or con conceal your private thoughts. Free to assess whether any given person is safe or not safe to disclose to.

        I’m glad you are reading that very good book about abuse. Keep reading it. And I hope you keep reading this blog and commenting; there is lots of support here. 🙂

        If you are have not yet subscribed to email notifications for our posts, you might like to do so. Look in the sidebar for the ‘subscribe by email’ field.

        Re your search for a decent church: sorry, but churches that ‘get it’ about domestic abuse are very rare. You are unlikely to find one in your local area. So by all means go to a church of your choice, but don’t put your hopes into finding one which will fully believe and support you. But at this blog, we will fully believe and support you. 🙂

    • healinginhim

      Sunshine, I’ve been praying as I read your comments. Barbara’s latest advice is full of wisdom. Even though my enemy (enemies) seem very respectful to others — the counsel that ACFJ offers has benefited me greatly. I have been able to see more clearly “the tactics of the enemy”.
      Please be careful and reassured that others care for you. ((hugs))

  27. Lost

    I hate my life. The church befriended my husband who is the abuser. He refuses to acknowledge what he’s doing but stone walls me. It’s incredible hurtful and I hate myself. I’ve tried everything. I’m at a complete loss. He ignores me and avoids me like I’m a monster. And Why doesn’t God talk to me?

    • Dear Lost. ((((((hugs))))

      It IS incredibly hurtful when the church allies itself with the abuser. It is not your fault. You are not to blame. I’m sure you have done everything you could think of (or that was safe for you to do) to try to get them to believe you and to call your abuser to accountability and repentance.

      I believe that God is quite likely still talking to you. Here is why I think that is likely. You are resisting the abuse. You are resisting the lies and the manipulation and the wickedness and the evil and the voices that proclaim “Peace, peace” when there is NO peace. Therefore, you are standing for righteousness. You are standing for God. You are on God’s side and He is on yours!

      God is not in that church. God’s spirit has been quenched if not utterly extinguised in that church. You hate evil with the same hatred that God hates it. It’s likely you wouldn’t be feeling that way and taking that stand if the Holy Spirit was not in you and urging you to resist evil. 🙂

      Here is an article which may help you. It’s about how important it is to honour victims’ responses. I honour you for your unwillingness to go along with evil. Honouring Resistance – a wonderful resource for understanding abuse

      and here are some more ((((hugs)))) 🙂

    • Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!
      O men of blood, depart from me!
      They speak against you with malicious intent;
      your enemies take your name in vain.
      Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD?
      And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
      I hate them with complete hatred;
      I count them my enemies. (Ps 139:19-22)

      O you who love the Lord, hate evil!
      He preserves the lives of his saints;
      he delivers them from the hand of the wicked. (Ps 97:10)

      The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil.
      Pride and arrogance and the way of evil
      and perverted speech I hate. (Proverbs 8:13)

      The world cannot hate you [meaning unbelievers and pseudo-believers], but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil. (John 7:7)

      And this is what God says to the wicked:

      do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath, for all these things I hate, declares the LORD.” (Zechariah 8:17)

  28. Sparklebabe

    Thank you so much for posting this. I have been in church my whole life and watched “Christian” men abuse their wives, including myself. I discovered a year ago I am married to a porn addict. His addiction had lasted three decades and he has been successful at deceiving me that long. I am now working to heal and figuring out what my future should look like. I believe many men hide in their Christian faith so they can abuse their women.

    • Hi Sparklebabe,

      Welcome to the blog! We encourage you to keep reading and learning about abuse. Also, we have a tag for pornography located on the top menu bar. We currently have 16 posts that discuss pornography that you may find helpful.

      We also like to direct new readers to our New User’s page as it gives tips for staying safe when commenting on the blog.

      Again, Welcome!

  29. Fogislifting

    Just wanted to say thank you SO much for all your time and efforts at sharing so much info in your posts. I am new here, having only just discovered it a few weeks ago. I prayed for understanding some months ago and God brought Why Does He DO That? across my path. It made such a difference. The fog began to lift. I’m not crazy. I’m not alone. That means so much! Since then, it feels like God is filling my lap with resources to read and watch. It hasn’t changed what I’m living with, but it has changed me and confidence is beginning to sprout.

    I’m at a place where my husband has ‘repented’ quite a few times and gone back on it. Since the last time, I’ve lost any trust that was left. My searches for ‘how will I know if it’s for real?’ took me to your site. This time around, the ‘repenting’ looks more convincing, and that’s what had me confused and searching, because I felt mean for not softening towards him but I just couldn’t because I didn’t want to trust again because I might get hurt again. With the clarity I’ve gained from reading posts on here, and some other places, I can see that the penny hasn’t really dropped yet. It’s not real. But he seems to have convinced the church folk and even our kids (except one who is quite perceptive).

    The abuse is emotional, mental, spiritual. He is controlling and manipulative in a very subtle way. I guess that’s why I felt so confused. I’m still finding it hard to face the fact that what he is doing is a choice (he is being mean on purpose), while at the time saying he loves me.

    • I’m still finding it hard to face the fact that what he is doing is a choice (he is being mean on purpose), …

      FIL, You might find this thread in another post, helpful. 🙂 I’m giving you the link to Anne’s comment, and suggest you read the comments below hers too, where others of us have responded to her.

      https://cryingoutforjustice.com/2016/04/06/the-cruelty-of-the-abuser/#comment-79705

      • Fogislifting

        Thank you. I’ve just had a look at that post. I can really relate to some of the comments.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Fogislifting – so glad you found us! Not everyone agrees with me (JeffC) on this point but I believe it. I tell victims two things and it seems to help them immensely. 1) Abusers never change, and 2) A marriage to an abuser does not need to be fixed, it needs to be ended. I advise victims to base all their decisions on those two premises and I believe they will be enabled then to make wise decisions. If years from now (and I do mean years, not months) the Lord chooses to give salvation to an abuser who truly repented and believed, well we will all praise Him for His power and mercy. Then. When it happens. But for now, I say cling to those two points.

      • Fogislifting

        Thank you, Jeff. I must say it is interesting timing reading your two points. I am still in a state of avidly reading as much as I can find on the topic and today I came across this book, ‘Emotional Abuse Silent Killer of Marriage’ by Austin James. It says the author is a recovering abuser. I wondered if anyone of ACFJ has come across it and what they made of it? I wondered if it was really for real? Is it really lasting?

        Besides reading on ACFJ here, I have also been reading lots by Dr George Simon and from both I have been seriously facing the possibility that perhaps H might not change. That perhaps this current ‘going to counselling (again) and saying he is sorry and trying to change’ might again not last.

        It is not a situation I could ever have imagined myself being in.
        The strange thing is, that in beginning to accept that it may be a possible outcome, there is almost a relief about that. Like I can just let go of something (not sure what?) and turn my mind to trying to be there more for my kids mentally and emotionally.

        I’ve been so consumed waiting and watching for him to ‘get there’, that I’ve put everything on hold, waiting for the finish so I can pick up things again.

        Looking at the option that he may not get to that finish line, makes it seem like a waste of time waiting around.

      • Hi FIL,

        Yes, we are aware of Austin’s book. We have a post in which we copied two Amazon reviews of the book. (Austin’s book is not the focus of this post, but you will find the reviews toward the end of the post) Also, read the comment section of this post as Barbara has a few additional comments that address Austin.

  30. FIL: My story exactly! After 2 decades and plenty of chances and a few 1 week distancing of myself that did nothing but perpetuate the cycle, I moved into another room for a YEAR, he seemed very repentant, I reconciled and then slowly the behaviors (the entitlement mentality) began again. I am now separated to a different location and it will take a LOT and a LONG TIME for me to try again, if ever. I don’t feel obligated to, but I don’t have any specific plans right now. I can afford to bide my time. This was after 27 years of trying to “be nice” moved to setting a few, weak boundaries, gave him a million chances to make changes. Now, boy howdy, is he “sorry” he can’t BE sorry enough because he never bothered to really BE sorry until I forced his hand. Is that really being sorry? Time will tell. Do not reconcile too fast!! See the patrick doyle video that is listed on this sites resources. VERY helpful.

    • Thank you for sharing, Debby. It’s reading posts and comments like yours that say “Do not reconcile too fast!” that’s helping me to feel more ok and surer about going with my gut feelings. I found the Patrick Doyle videos a week or so ago and you are right, I found them very helpful too.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Debby – “he never bothered to really BE sorry until I forced his hand. Is that really being sorry?” Excellent point. A wise insight. Just like deathbed conversions or a crook caught and standing before a judge who is soooooo sorry, such “repentance” is highly suspect and almost always false.

  31. FIL, the abused spouse is under NO OBLIGATION to reconcile, even IF the abuser is truly repentant. …

    I am waiting until (and IF) I ever feel really comfortable and close to him (my AH), which may never actually happen.

    It sounds to me like your husband has NOT kept his vow to love, honor and cherish you, in fact has done quite the opposite.

    I do know the doubts and the second guessing and the feeling of guilt but that is not reality. You are responding in a NORMAL, HEALTHY way toward a person who has consistently and persistently offended you egregiously. The way we WERE responding (not admitting, letting it go, putting on a facade out of fear or shame) these are all UNHEALTHY responses [in as much as we were tolerating or sweeping under the rug some really bad behaviour of our abusers – added by Eds] . So, we are making progress!

    For me, this is how I think: It is up to him to PROVE that he is changed and now trustworthy over the long haul. Not giving him what he wants and then seeing how he responds to that will speak volumes about his true state of repentance. ANYTHING short of ZERO expectations of me, is showing that there is still an entitlement mentality there.

    • Fogislifting

      Thanks, Debbie. Your last paragraph is very helpful.

  32. “The strange thing is, that in beginning to accept that it may be a possible outcome, there is almost a relief about that.” After almost 30 years, I experienced this same relief. Once “no divorce ever” was off the table (thanks to the extensive and logical search of scripture by ACFJ and Cindy Burrell) that much more closely reflects the heart of God, I didn’t feel trapped so it had the immediate effect of me responding differently, more confidently because i realized that I wasn’t solely responsible for making this work! So, I could respond in a healthy way (by giving him REAL consequences, by not just trying to keep the peace because there was no other option, etc the healthy stuff I should have been doing all along), but I find that I am having to always be the one to remind him of how to “respond or behave well.” He seems more open to my suggestions, but that is not my job and I won’t accept it any longer.

    As far as it being “a waste of time” only you, the one who has lived in your situation and knows you and this person the best, can really answer whether waiting or not waiting will be your course of action.

    I have also read the book you are asking about here. I got a lot out of it myself, although I did not agree with some of his premises about victims. I thought he was pretty open about his behaviors, which for me at the time was very validating. He also says that he was with his wife, after his “change” for about 7 months (? am going by memory here) but that she ended up divorcing. At the time (a year ago) I was at a different place, still with some “hope” left of him changing, still not wanting to face the huge mountain of having my life as I knew it no longer exist (like my home and financial situation, etc, not the abuse, but even THAT becomes “the norm” and takes courage to get rid of!) still not wanting to face a different future than the one I had always envisioned (hard to let go of that dream) so I was sad that his wife had divorced him, maybe a little judgmental (?) (God I hope not but hey, Ive been blind for a long time!) but now I see it differently. He got the gift of his change by being a better person with a better hope for a healthy future. Just because it did not include his wife of 17 years, does not diminish what he gained by the change. She had a heart that had been crushed.

    I am now thinking that she felt more like I do now, that she forgave him, and gave reconciliation a shot (I mean she was with him for 7 months which seems like a reasonable “trial period”) but was not able to develop a closeness to him that a healthy marriage would entail. Sometimes, there IS too much damage. Not for forgiveness to take place, but for fellowship. Just conjecture about her choice, but it makes a lot more sense to me now.

    My h was like a kid with a brand new beautiful toy truck that he had been told he could never lose, no matter how he treated it. So, he treated it horribly. He was told many times to stop treating the truck horribly, but he would not listen. The truck broke. He was mad at the TRUCK because the truck was broken. But now the truck is fixed. I fixed it. I did the work to fix it, not him, me. So, he is welcome to change all he wants and perhaps will have a better future with another truck that hopefully he will not destroy. But he doesn’t necessarily get to have the same truck back.

    I thank you for sharing your story, FIL. It has helped me clarify my thoughts. God DOES have a great future for me (and for you). I am just not sure what it will look like right now, but I am no longer afraid to move toward it.

  33. Milinda

    I don’t know where this sharing will fit in but here goes….

    I came across your book Unholy Charade two days ago and I got a sample from kindle, read it and asked the Lord if it was time to buy it. Since I know that healing only comes from the Lord Jesus and it is according to His time and His grace to see me through the abuse of the hatred of someone that I was married to.

    Since I have had life long abuse from the time of a child, I do know that the Lord will bring us into His times of healing (which I like to call it for my own life) that only He knows when the right time is for us.

    I have rarely spoken of the marriage that I was in because who was there to believe and without a support system or someone to talk to, I never shared my voice of what was done to me. My divorce was in the 1990s so it has been many years since I have even revisited the nightmare, which is what I called my marriage.

    In reading page 143 about Malachi and seeing the words hatred divorce, there was such a shudder course through my body that I knew through God’s grace that I was hated by this man, which is something that I had never acknowledged about that marriage and to be honest never even thought of on my own. After the shudder came the nerves of my body reacting to the deep shudder.

    I got quite before the Lord and asked Him to help me process that body reaction to what I had just read and discovered. I also prayed and asked the Lord to show me in His word where I could go to understand this more. After some time I opened the bible to Genesis, randomly, or so I thought. I read the first part of Gen. 29:33 where Leah cried out that the Lord had heard that she was unloved. I read the NASB but the KJ has the word hated. The Strongs is H8130 which means hated (personal) this word hated is used twice concerning Leah. First the Lord saw that she was hated and then He heard (shama) that she was hated by her husband.

    So for me this is one step more to the process of God’s healing and restoration.

    Thank you for writing your book and having it on kindle

    Healing will be a life long process for me and it would be nice to be prayed for if you are led by the Holy Spirit to do so.

    • Dear sister, thanks so much for sharing this, and welcome to the blog 🙂

      I’m sure Jeff Crippen and his co-author Rebecca Davis will be encouraged by your words.

      We always like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

  34. hanging on

    I just finished the book “Unholy Charade”…I separated over a year ago from my husband of over two decades. I have been emotionally, physically, spiritually, financially, sexually, and mentally abused almost since the beginning over two and half decades ago. A friend over a year ago invited me to a “mending the soul” abuse recovery group. I knew my marriage was horrific but I didn’t “know” what I know now.
    I have spent years suffering and not knowing how to deal with what I was going through, but God in His mercy has brought me to where I am now.
    I have suffered tremendous loss this past year. I was just recently x-communicated from my church that I absolutely loved and had poured my heart and soul into ministry, friendships and the life of the church. The pastor and elders chose to not believe me of my circumstances and told me I did not have any biblical grounds for being separated…my heart is so broken, especially because I have such a sensitive conscience and never want to do anything to grieve the heart of God, but now I am being shunned and labeled “worse than an unbeliever”. One of my children (who was actually horribly treated/abused by his father) has chosen to “stand” with the church…it doesn’t make any sense…my heart just hurts.
    The church has a pattern of doing this to women who come forward, they are trying to squelch this horrific issue and keep it hidden, because I would not hide any more they came after me to silence me, when they couldn’t silence me, they lied, (attempted) to destroy my reputation, and now have gotten rid of me…:-(
    I have read your books, Lundy’s book, Vernick’s books/articles, Roberts book-all so so good! and of course the best one of all …God’s book (especially the Psalms)..
    It has been an extremely difficult journey, especially because I begged and begged my church to “help” me, but instead they have turned their back and re-victimized me. Is it any wonder that so many women suffer in silence and stay in their (not God honoring) marriages?
    There truly is a cry for justice…its my hearts cry-
    Jeff C-thank you for your books and the ministry you have
    ~hanging on~

  35. NotAlone

    Hi there! I’m not sure where to place this comment as I have only been following this website for a few months on my mobile phone. So I don’t have a more comprehensive view of navigating this website. I did not want to put this comment in the wrong place and that’s why I’m leaving this comment here. You may choose at your discretion where to post it:

    I am so very grateful for this website and for Pastor Jeff. I have removed myself from my church which teaches domestic abuse minus the physical violence is submission and obedience and suffering for Christ’s sake, and a testimony to your righteous holiness and being set apart for God. Mind you, they aren’t that overt about saying so, but this is how it is encouraged and projected to wives within the congregation.

    Anyway, as with most folks on here, there’s lots and lots to tell about my story, but I just wanted to post on here that today I cried because my husband is no longer in my home and I’m actually able to put items and events on our home calendar without fear of repercussion, manipulation, control, or the most preferred method he had of railroading all plans by whatever means necessary whether it be excuses, or causing drama that would prevent us from attending events or keeping commitments. It may sound trite and ridiculous, but what a freedom to be able to simply list items for your day-to-day activities on the calendar and know that they will be kept and you can depend on them. The sheer relief from this type of oppression is incredible.

    Thank you to Pastor Jeff, Barbara, Anna, and every single individual posting their testimonies and personal stories and insights on this website. I have no one to support me (no family, and friends from church we shared all have chosen the “happy nice guy” –he is a master at facades –to stay friends with instead of me), so this is truly a lifeline. May the Lord bless each and everyone of you as He has blessed me by this minute and small freedom that He has given me. God is so good!

    • Hi NotAlone
      it was an okay place to put your comment. 🙂

      I almost always view the blog with my laptop, but I do know that navigating it on a phone is harder.
      Maybe some of our readers who use their phones to interact with the blog can give you some tips.

      It might even be a good subject for a post: “How to navigate the blog from a cell phone”.

      It is not uncommon for victims of abuse to end up with few or no friends. I have few friends here in Australia; most of my friends are here on the blog and I interact with them electronically. But I’m not in the throes of recent separation like you are… I remember how awful it was going through that, but I’m years out now, so the memories are a little faded and I need folks like you to remind me of it sometimes!

      I’m just not interested in the kinds of conversations most people seem to do in their so-called friendships. The stuff that interests me interests very other few people.

      Bless you and I’m so glad the blog is helping you. 🙂

  36. Shiloh

    I just finished reading ‘A Cry for Justice’. As a victim of over two decades of abuse, I feel validated and understood after reading this book and reading the testimonies of so many others! You are all beautiful, precious people! Thank you for being brave enough to share your stories! As a victim, I am sorry for the abuse that each one of you has suffered! You are all in my heart and my prayers!

    • Shiloh,

      Welcome to the blog! Very glad you are finding encouragement!!

      We like to encourage new commenters to read our New Users Info page as it gives tips for staying safe when commenting on the blog.

      Again, Welcome!

  37. God-fearing mom

    Hi Barb! This is really helpful. I especially love that you ask not to tell a person what to feel, think, and do. I really like your examples of what we can say instead. So much that it helped me make the suggestion for etiquette in a spiritual abuse recovery group. A lot of people liked it. I appreciate the thought you put into your posts. 😊

  38. leaningonhope

    I am new to this site and trying to read everything. I am in my 40’s, blended family, my husband is passive/aggressive, emotionally and verbally abusive. I am just newly able to say this. I am relating to way too many of the comments on this site….

    I have sought individual counseling for myself, for a PTSD diagnosis, childhood sexual abuse and then domestic violence issues from my adult past. But, I am realizing the relevance to my current relationship.

    I have pushed my husband for couples counseling for the last couple years, and he finally consented recently. It is with our pastor, and I am seeing that it is more harmful than helpful, especially the last few weeks. I have read Lundy Bancroft’s book, Why Does He Do That?, and I want to re-read it and highlight what stands out for me. I am seeing red flags.

    My main questions….I am a stepmom, and these children (my husband’s children) will have no one stable or Christian in their life if I decide to end my marriage. My husband says he’s a Christian but he is unstable and their mother is an atheist and sabotages their young faith. I feel compelled to stay and endure for their sake. I don’t want to be a “quitter” in their eyes. No one has told me this, and I don’t believe that I would be a quitter if I did leave the relationship. I am concerned that they would be negatively affected by my leaving THEM. They are not my biological children, yet I love them deeply and desire to help them.

    Another big question…how do I approach my pastor about the harmful counsel? He will say things like, “you both have areas to work on”, or, when describing a conversation between us, he will correct MY responses to my husband while he’s glossing over what he calls the “pain inflicted upon ME” by my husband, yet not addressing it. He doesn’t address my husband’s actions/inactions. I don’t want to be corrected in counseling in front of my husband. I did stop my pastor in the last session mid-correction, and told him he wasn’t addressing the bigger issues, and he told me to be careful about what I said. I am feeling that counseling is not a safe place mentally or emotionally for me. How can I share things like this site, or Bancroft’s book, or ask him about his experience/ background with abusive relationships, without sounding like I’m the “know-it-all” or, as he told me in last session, I’m “shoving my self-righteous religiosity on him”??

    My other question is about fear, I guess I could call it, and that I don’t want to be alone. I desire to be a good wife. I desire to have a husband. My character weakness has been to want to help people, and my current marriage was just that. I know I have a “boundaries” issue.

    If you could speak to these issues, I would have ready ears to listen. I have this sense about me that I know in my head what I need, but my heart is hurting so much and so often that it’s become debilitating and I feel unable to move. It’s consuming.

    • Hi, leaningonhope — welcome to the blog 🙂

      I suggest you look at our FAQs as several of the topics there relate to your questions. Couple counseling is dangerous for domestic abuse. Your pastor doesn’t understand enough about domestic abuse, otherwise he would not be counseling you and your husband together. There is no way to educate a pastor who thinks he doesn’t need to be educated. So don’t blame yourself that you are not able to do that! And your husband is actually covert aggressive rather than passive aggressive.

      Also, we like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users’ Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

    • You were asking about your step children, not your own children .Our FAQ page For my children’s sake, it is better to leave? applies to your question about stepchildren to some extent. Please take the time to read it all and adapt it to your own situation where it can be adapted, but ignore the parts that can’t be adapted.

      You cannot be responsible for your step children in the same way you are responsible for your own children. The legal system and society in general recognises that the biological parent has primary responsibility for his own kids, and if there is a divorce of a blended family the biological parent is presumed to be the one to take his own children after the divorce. You can’t change that, and you need not hold yourself morally responsible for something that society won’t allow you to take responsibility for.

      Staying for step-children is like staying for the abuser in the vain hope that staying will help lead the abuser or the step children to the Lord. I believe you would be wise to let yourself off the hook of responsibility for your step kids. In your effort to give a ‘good christian witness’ to your step children, they may only pick up the message that God endorses or condones women being abused by their husbands. So you would be giving them an un-Christian message! The step kids may or may not come to saving faith. That is in God’s hands. Not yours.

      Your husband has broken the marriage covenant between you and him. He has and is breaking his marriage vows to you. He is showing that he is persistent in doing this and is resisting repentance and reformation. He’s manipulating the pastor and doing his best to manipulate you, and that shows he is a wicked liar. That means you are free to leave the marriage and HE is the one who will bear the responsibility of whatever effects you leaving will have on his biological children.

      Here are other FAQ pages of ours that have some bearing on your situation:

      Is my abuser passive aggressive?

      What about couple counseling?

      and as I said in my first reply to you, you almost certainly won’t be able to educate your pastor because he will not be open to being educated, especially by you because he looks down on and sees himself as the one who knows better than you. But if he did want to be educated, this is the place for him to start: our FAQ page As a pastor, what are the most important things for me to know about domestic abuse?

      I urge you not to put much energy into trying to educate your pastor. Your efforts to do so will probably only result in him demeaning and offending and blaming you even more.

      I urge you to focus on your own safety and making decisions that will lead to greater safety for you.

      • leaningonhope

        Thanks so much for your reply. I will definitely be reading more here. …I have so much ahead of me.

      • Hi leaningonhope, I’m glad you are finding our blog helpful!
        I edited a bit of your comment due to the fact that we have a pretty tight policy about publishing recommendations of other sites and resources. Read that policy here.

        bless you!

  39. defectedhearts

    A friend of mine, Dotty, sent me over here for some questions I have regarding my situation. I was wondering if it would be possible to have a private conversation?

    • Hi defectedhearts, would you kindly check out our FAQ page first. It may have most or all of the answers to your questions.

      The admins of this blog (which includes me) don’t have much time for ongoing convos by email with survivors, but I’m okay with you emailing me so long as you don’t expect an ongoing lengthy convo. I’m in Australia so taking voice calls is not my preferred method (unless the survivor is also in Oz). My email address is barbara@notunderbondage.com

  40. M

    Just curious as to why this blog does not recommend Lundy Bancroft’s healing retreats? I love his books and I can see that you endorse “why does he do that?”. I understand you may not wish to comment publically so I would be happy for any reply to be directed to my private email.

    I would have asked this question privately but I am new to the site and haven’t found the contact details yet. I’ll figure it out eventually though I’m sure.

  41. WantingReassurance

    I was in a very abusive marriage.

    [Description of what the abusive man did to her has been redacted for the commenter’s safety. He treated her like he totally owned her. He degraded her in the extreme. He made her do sexual acts she was very unwilling to do, acts that degraded her in front of others. He threatened to kill her and his threats were severe and made her feel like she would be dead in the next few seconds. He assaulted her relatives with weapons, with young children present and witnessing the assaults. He was blatantly promiscuous with other women and made no effort to his this from his wife.]

    I have divorced him. I need to know if I did the right thing according to God’s word.

    • Dear sister, I changed your screen name to ‘WantingReassurance’ — to protect your identity. And I edited your comment to prevent your abuser and his allies from identifying you.

      Yes, you did the right thing to divorce this man. The Bible allows divorce for domestic abuse. Click on that link to read the full explanation for why we know the Bible allows divorce for abuse.

      Thank you so much for commenting on the blog — and welcome! 🙂
      We like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users’ Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

      And after reading the New Users’ Info page, I suggest you look at our FAQ page.

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