A Cry For Justice

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

The Sci-Fi Series Part 3: Marilyn Munster

Marilyn Munster Syndrome – When one single member of a family turns out normal and an upstanding citizen while the rest of the family is losers. — Urban Dictionary [Internet Archive link]

Marilyn is a fetching young blonde resembling Marilyn Monroe, and the only family member who is not ghoulish in appearance; by the Munsters’ aesthetic standards, she is distressingly unattractive. The family views Marilyn’s appearance as an affliction, but still treat her with kindness and love. Marilyn herself is all too aware of her “homeliness” and bemoans that she keeps scaring off potential boyfriends, having no clue that the young men are in fact frightened away by her monstrous family. — Wiki

I don’t believe I’m the only normal one in the family, but I do think normals are in the minority in X’s family. A friend of mine helped me recognize that I’m a Marilyn in X’s family. I was lamenting the fact that no matter what I do, X’s parents who I thought understood, who I thought would fight for his deliverance, would fight for his family, have vilified me! Leaving the abuser has been relabeled “abandoning the marriage.” Not feeling comfortable until I saw repentance was branded “making him jump through hoops.” I divorced a man who is only beginning to realize a portion of his tremendous earning potential. I have now cut myself off from that earning potential because I am no longer his wife. But because I received money in the divorce settlement, I have been characterized as a money-grubbing thief. My friend thinks it’s all too bizarre. She told me that I am Marilyn Munster.

I must relearn what true beauty is. I must learn what a monster is. I must learn that I am NOT a monster. Refusing to be abused doesn’t make me a monster, demanding, or a thief! Seeking help doesn’t make me a gossip. And finding help for me doesn’t mean I only listen to sycophants. I am a survivor. I am a learner. I am an encourager. If you have been the Marilyn, look in the mirror and see the truth. Recognize that God sees strength and faith in you. You haven’t given up. You haven’t forsaken Christ, even though you have known an aching despair. You have turned to Him. You are willing to obey when you don’t understand. You are Marilyn. You are beautiful.

***

Posts in this series

Part 1: You will be assimilated.

Part 2: The Wraith

Part 3: Is this post.

Part 4: The Mind Meld

Part 5: Your Jedi Mind Tricks Don’t Work Here

15 Comments

  1. Brenda R

    Making him jump through hoops? I say not. We were jumping through plenty of hoops to survive. No more. If yours is/was anything like mine and I am sure he is, no amount of earning potential would get you to go back. It is not worth the price you would pay.

  2. Heather 2

    I wouldn’t describe my ex’s family entirely like that but there are several similarities. I, too, left after decades. I, too, was vilified, lied about, and settled for less than the law advised financially. I just wanted out when he finally proved to me that he really didn’t care about me. When I had to seek counsel to receive what was mine in the settlement others were told that I was taking him to court to get more money.

    When I look back I had everything material. But I was abandoned and betrayed.

    Boy do I relate. Peace and freedom has immense value that what I have given up cannot touch. Though it is sometimes tiring and difficult to go another day, in the end it is far better.

    • Amen! No matter how hard we struggle or what poverty awaits, it’s never bad enough to make us wish we’d stayed with a man who hates us. That really says something about the power of peace.

  3. Lisa

    My kids and I became that when we came forward to the church about the abuse at home. We have lost an entire community of friends (we thought) of 20 years. They are so sheltered and close knit that everyone knows everyone and you are a “Marilyn” if you don’t look, act and believe exactly as they do (extreme patriarchal legalism). We have left and instead of ALWAYS feeling like we don’t belong, sacrificing everything to APPEAR as we do, we have found freedom and Grace! It was like we took a DEEP inhale after 20 years of holding our breathe.

    • Brenda R

      A deep inhale like that could be fatal, Lisa. I am so glad that you found new life.

  4. Anonymous

    I was told this week, “You aren’t rejecting God, you are rejecting lies about God.”

    That’s the most encouraging thing I’ve heard. I’ve been thinking on that
    and this post helped me put my thoughts it into words a bit more.

    I feel embarrassed, ashamed, and worthless because it feels like I’m running and hiding from God. It feels like I’m turning my back on god and on everything I believe. That’s what “they” have said I’m doing. They have painted me to be a bitter, angry, rebellious monster.

    I don’t think that’s God’s perspective though. He isn’t fooled by them. He sees I’m running from the way His words have been twisted. I’m hiding from the way His character has been misrepresented. I’m not running from God but from the image that has been portrayed and pushed on me and used to control and manipulate me.

    I can’t hide from God after all, He knows just where I am. In fact, He is the one providing my hiding places. He is the one drawing me away from the lies. He is rejoicing as I flee because its bringing me closer to Him.

    • Brenda R

      “You aren’t rejecting God, you are rejecting lies about God.” That is so profound.

      The Lord was completely in my rescue. The arrangements were all made in less than a week. I have not been in want for anything since. He has supported me through it all and been my protection. I will be divorced by the end of the month. Praise God for His mercy.

    • Amen, Anonymous. Tell that person who said, “You aren’t rejecting God, you are rejecting lies about God” that I’d like to give them a big hug!

  5. AJ

    I feel like this is a very common problem. Whenever a problem is brought up…well it must be something wrong with the abuse survivor. I hear it in so many ways, too sensitive, can’t take a joke, intimacy anorexia, disrespectful ect ect.
    So pleased to see Leslie Vernick has jumped into the debate and addressed the separation/ divorce issue in her last two blog posts. She has a really lovely way of talking about it and recommends Barbara Roberts book. Loved the gentle way she explains leaving or staying and following whichever way God leads and her thoughts on suffering.
    Blessings beautiful people! You are God’s masterpiece!!

    • Brenda R

      Leslie Vernick’s books are very good too. I read 3 of hers while deciding what road I should take. She helped me to realize that allowing my husband to abuse me was not loving him, it was enabling him. She doesn’t try to sway anyone one way or the other but lovingly says that the Bible does give options.

      • Amy

        I just finished reading Leslie’s new book (got an advance copy from her to review). It is very good and reinforces so much of what I have learned during my deliverance from an abusive husband and in the years since.

      • Brenda R

        I have that one preordered, I’m looking forward to reading it.

  6. Still Scared( but getting angry)

    My ex-idiot’s mother emailed me this after I had filed for a protective order. ( after my ex-idiot invaded my house) . Nothing to him about not doing that, but my calling 911 and getting the protection elicited this “The lord loves sinners. You are in my prayers.”

    • Brenda R

      Some people don’t have the intelligence the good Lord gave a goose. He must be a Mama’s boy.

  7. Marah

    This really hits home for me. I’ve always been “beloved” by his family, even when we were first dating and neither of us were Christians (and his mom was/is a follower of a dead false prophet – very legalistic). I thought I was experiencing unconditional acceptance for the first time in my life.

    Over the years, I’ve become aware that I’ve had to be careful about what I expressed or shared, because his mom would “express concern” (read: complain) about me behind my back with his sisters. I instinctively knew what not to talk about that would provoke her face-to-face pinched concern, and avoided that.

    When I finally told his parents about the alcohol use, including him driving drunk with the kids in the fairly recent past, I received supportive words. When I decided, after a few weeks, to ask him to leave the house, though, I didn’t share that. I did finally tell one sister, the one I though was sane, and she apparently told Momma Bear.

    I got a call from her. She sounded a little weird, but I was still assuming she wanted to hear about what I was dealing with, but was just understandably upset about the whole thing. Wrong. She was vicious. I’d never seen that side of her, although I can’t say it actually surprised me. I finally said I had to go when she spat at me that no one would have to know about his drunk driving/active addiction if I didn’t tell them, in response to me explaining that the kids could be taken if I allowed an active addict to live in the home. It still makes me sick, weeks later.

    She sent a package addressed to “His Name and family” last week. And when I took it and some other mail to him the other day, there was a little card of encouragement from her on his desk. Sickening. Repulsive. Disgusting. I refuse to take on the people pleasing false guilt from the pit of hell ANY MORE!

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