The Worst Advice This Abuse Survivor Ever Received

[October 22, 2022: There have been some changes made to this post. For more information, read the Editors’ notes at the bottom of the post. Editors.]

The following personal story was graciously submitted to us by an anonymous survivor of horrific abuse. Many, many thanks to her for sharing it with us.

Trigger Warning


In the middle of my second separation from my abusive ex-husband, the Elder of our church called. He called to inform me my soul was in danger. It did not matter that my physical life, my emotional life was in danger from the abuse. He insisted that there was something much worse for me. “God hates divorce,“ he said. “Go back to your husband. Submit to him. Put a hundred and ten percent into the marriage what you want out of it. It will work. He is not abusive. He has poor coping skills that’s all.”

I hung up the phone deeply scared. He was right — being beaten by my husband was far less fearful than an eternity in hell. He didn’t say it quite that directly, but he implied it when he said I was misguided and unjustified in my separation and pending divorce action. Fear consumed me. I didn’t want to live an eternity in hell. So, I went back.

Taking everything the Elder said to heart, I studied every book I could find on how to be a godly wife, a Proverbs 31 jewel. I understood that biblical womanhood meant getting rid of the career and welcoming children as God determined to send them. I welcomed all of them thinking, hoping, and praying the abuse would stop. I threw myself into the role of being a keeper of the home, believing that embracing such a call would have an effect for good. After all, what could I lose by striving to be a godly wife? I didn’t know the answer to that question at the time. But, I know now. I lost ten years of my life. I gained enough traumatic experiences to suffer from chronic PTSD. I added children to my life who have all been impacted by the battering. They have lost portions of their childhood. They lost because they had to grow up in a home where daddy was beating momma or sometimes big brother or sometimes them. When that was finally over, they were then in a house with a mother who was fighting with every ounce of her being to keep the children safe, to cope with ongoing court battles, and a mommy who couldn’t function because chronic stress took its toll on her health.

The advice to return and submit was the worst advice I ever received. It was wrong. It was dangerous. But more than that, it was a form of spiritual abuse. At the basis of this suggestion was the concept that my works would save my husband. Also, it largely blamed me for his abuse. It echoed my abuser’s distortions that I did not do enough, was half the woman I should be, and deserved what I got because I failed.

Obviously, going back and submitting did not work. It nearly got me and my children killed. It took me ten years but I took a stand in a third and final separation. Years have passed since I got the restraining order. I cannot emphasize enough how that bad advice deeply scarred me. For years after the divorce, I could not organize my home. Every effort to be a keeper of the home failed. My children needed me but I could only grieve when I thought of what I needed to do for them. I allowed God to plan my family, thinking that doing so was a part of the biblical womanhood that would end the abuse. Instead, it gave him more impetus to abuse me. I had children very close together. How could I leave? And if I did, the courts would see to it that the leaving was not really leaving because he has parental rights.

You see, all my efforts to be that godly biblical woman got me more abuse and ensured that I and my children would have many years more in bondage to our abuser. I was immobilized with grief. Why didn’t God answer my prayers? Why didn’t He reward my efforts to do what I thought was the right thing to do? Instead, I was punished. My ex-husband did not just have poor coping skills. He is an all-out batterer. When the police arrested him they said he was the kind of man who would kill us then himself. The fear of him remains.

I have had some measure of success in living under the radar. It has given the children and me a chance to reclaim some of what was lost in this hellish battle. For some years after the divorce, I had only been surviving — unable to keep house or to keep up with school consistently. I believed that I once kept an organized house. Yet, it was a faint memory, a memory that includes hissing from my ex-husband.

I began to reflect on those years and think that maybe I was remembering myself more highly than I ought. Perhaps he was right and I was a messy. There are lots of disorganized people in this world. I reasoned I was just one of them. Still, when I talked of my desire to be a keeper of the home, I would weep. I wanted to care for my children but I couldn’t get out of survival mode. I turned to friends and prayer warriors and asked them to pray for me. I asked them to pray that I would heal. God is so good, so merciful.

Now, more recently, I have seen a change in myself. I have kept a house much neater than I have ever kept in my life. There is one huge difference. I am not keeping hyper-organized because I am in fear that he is going to walk through that door and launch into a fit of rage. Today, I clean because I have been given a new life. I have been healed and I have returned to finding joy in keeping my home. I am so thankful to be remarried to a man who understood trauma and who really appreciates my efforts. He loved me when I couldn’t do anything but lay around and recover. He loved me when I couldn’t cook because I was going through profound grief. Today my home is more organized than any time I ever tried to organize it in the past.

I write this because I realize now how bad advice from spiritual leaders adds new dimensions to the trauma in domestic violence. It is vital that church leaders get their act together. They are accomplices in the abuse. Praise God that there has been an end to the grief for me and I have finally returned to my high calling as a keeper of the home. I can’t emphasize enough how hurtful it was to be told to go back and submit only to find that it nearly got me killed.

[October 22, 2022: Editors’ notes:

—For some comments made prior to October 22, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be an exact match.
—For some comments made prior to October 22, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be found in the post.
If you would like to compare the text in the comments made prior to October 22, 2022 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (October 22, 2022), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]

45 thoughts on “The Worst Advice This Abuse Survivor Ever Received”

    1. As a former Elder / pastor, I am so sorry that you were ill advised. During my 15 year tenure, I personally never advised anyone to remain in an abusive situation. I encouraged marriages as a “Family Dynamics” facilitator; but realized when some family issues needed professional intervention instead of a seminar. Again….my deepest empathy.

  1. In total understanding….thank you for the encouragement that one day it will get better. ❤ Many blessings to you and yours!

  2. Thank you for sharing this story. Many of us as women truly enjoy and desire to be keepers of the home. I know I do. I am so glad to hear you have found that role to be healed and fulfilled in a healthy marriage with a healthy spouse who knows what sacrificial love is and dispensed it to your healing soul. Being married to an abuser keeps one’s life is such chaos and maintaining him and all his needs is exhausting because he is emotionally so needy to a narcissistic extent. When things don’t go the abuser’s way or he senses he has “lost control” of a situation….the anger and fury is akin to the enemy’s way of verbal, emotional, and physical destruction. Who can fill that empty bucket, the bottomless pit of an abuser?

    1. Or rather, bottomless; that as fast as you pour affection in, it runs out.
      —Shakespeare, As You Like It [Internet Archive link]1

      1[October 22, 2022: We added the link to a page containing the quote that Still Scared (But Getting Angry) quoted. The Internet Archive link is a copy of that page. Editors.]

  3. This story continues to be retold over and over. The names have changed and it is a different family, but yet it just continues on. How a person thinks they have a right to tell anyone that they are going to Hell if they don’t go home and continue to be abused is beyond what I can fathom. “Work harder”, “love your husband more”, “submit more”. This is spiritual abuse at the heights. Do these people truly believe what they say? If they do, they do not know the God that I do. I am so glad that this family is out of danger and is healing. It didn’t have to happen. This woman could have been rescued years before.

    This morning I had my first contact with the “Underground Railroad”. I will be sitting in on some of their support groups with the understanding that I would like to start a Christian group to let women know the truth about what the Bible says about abuse, separation and divorce. If only one is saved from this torment, it will be worth it. Pray for wisdom, direction and strength. My counselor who has counseled me during this last year has offered to come along side me in this endeavor. I believe God is working.

    1. Brenda, isn’t the “Underground Railroad” used by women hiding, rather than seeking divorce. They can’t really get divorced if they are in hiding, right? I’m just curious about what you’re doing to help these women.

  4. Oh my goodness, this is my story too. I am still with the abuser….but this blog and the domestic violence meetings are helping me cope and survive. This posting though, has me in tears, heart palpitations and severe anxiety now. Could you please put a warning or something at the top of the personal stories?

  5. Hugs to you, Jennibear. I’m struggling BIGTIME with anxiety now. Not due to the post….but due to my ex-husband’s parents. They came to my family’s house unannounced this week, bringing gifts as if nothing had ever happened (they made excuses for their son suffocating and bruising me). I live in a small community, and moved away to hide from him and be near my family. Unfortunately, his parents are still nosing around close to where I live, and from what I hear, they are meeting with a realtor in the area. I’m really nervous, as I don’t want him there. They live hours and hours away, and why they would want to pick up and move….I have no idea.

    You are not alone in your anxiety. Just last night, I almost passed out, feeling nauseous, for no apparent reason. I was pouring sweat. Shaking. Knowing that if they invade my new life, they will trash my name and ruin my reputation. So many things about abusive husbands cause anxiety….and for me, it just seems UNFAIR that these abusive con-artists can trick everyone on the outside into thinking they are “such great guys” who love the Lord and who love their wives. It couldn’t be further from the truth. They treat us as their slaves, not their wives. It makes me sick.

    1. There is no excuse for their son’s attempts to kill you. That is what suffocation is. He tried to take your life. I pray they don’t find you and you find peace while the Lord IS with you. I am not sure if you have children or not or what your financial situation is. I know being close to your family is a comfort, but depending on how determined he is you may want to think about going where he won’t think to look.

      1. Brenda, thank you for that encouragement. I don’t have any children. (Thank goodness!) I have a 4-year degree and work a full time job and am renting a house, but I do struggle. My ex-husband has repeatedly told me in the past that I would float from man to man and get married a bunch of times (that is NOT what I want). He has made me believe the absolute worst about myself. His parents twisted everything around to make me the bad one in all of this.

        I actually never thought about suffocation as an attempt to kill me. But let me tell you, that night, it felt like he wanted to crush my head. He was grabbing my neck so tightly….it felt like it could snap. I hyperventilated for about 20 minutes afterwards, and he said I was overreacting. He even “cried” about it the next day and vowed never to get drunk and do that again. He never shoved me into a wall or suffocated me again, but the verbal, mental, and emotional abuse continued. I have to tell myself he would have done it again, eventually.

      2. I’ve been reading (and sometimes re-reading) old ACFJ posts and comments….

        Today, when reading through this exchange between Anonymous and Brenda R, a thought crossed my mind that might or might not be an insight.

        My youngest sibling (an abuser, the one who is only a little older than me) used to do some things (Omitting details for my safety and protection.) that I thought were what might be termed siblings “play fighting” or the results of a rapid growth spurt on the part of my sibling.

        Now I’m not so sure….he’s the one who tried to kill me a couple times in the past (I’ve written about this elsewhere on the ACFJ blog).

        I don’t know if I’ll ever really know for sure, but it’s definitely something to think about….

  6. I had very, very, very similar experiences, but I never could have said it so beautifully and so gracefully. Your healing and happiness in your new marriage and life give me hope. Thank you so much for being so brave to share this.

  7. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I, too received horrible advice which sent me back to my abuser. I suffered 12 horrible years and brought children into an abusive marriage. The children are a blessing but in all honesty they should not have been brought into this world to watch their mommy suffer years of torment and abuse, and they too have suffered from his callousness and emotional abuse. It’s hard sometimes to reconcile those conflicting emotions – the children being a blessing and a joy to me, but also the guilt of having brought them into this mess, and the further tormenting guilt of wishing I’d never met the man who fathered them because if I hadn’t then they would never have been born. The only way I can really deal with this is to acknowledge that God is sovereign and He chose to create these beautiful children and all I can do now is love them and teach them and guide them as best as I can with what God has given me.

    I’m so glad you have begun healing. I’ve only been free a year so far and my healing has really been slow. I wish it were faster, but the pain is so entrenched.

  8. I know a death that resulted from that kind of advice. I will not go into the details of the story here, but if that well-meaning pastor (who is now deceased) had known the far-reaching impact of his advice, which was taken very seriously by a desperate young believer literally running to him for help, he would surely have hesitated before giving such advice.

  9. A BIG problem: If your abuser has connections, you will NOT be able to get a restraining order, you will NEVER win in court, and he will NEVER leave you alone, even if you divorce. Just sayin’.

  10. I was given the same advice. In my case, when I finally left after staying nine more years, the church ex-communicated me. I realized, then, that they really believed God intends for relationships to work that way, and that was why they couldn’t tell that X was wrong to treat me so abusively.

  11. That is so horrible….I read this story and I want to scream at your ex, “What are you doing?”

    I feel your pain but I don’t think it is nearly on the same plane. What I mean is your story is much worse than mine. And how does the mindset of the Elder work into this? What compels a person to air their opinion on what you should do and basically order you to suffer? I say if that Elder was so convinced that you should go back, he should go back with you. He should put his tail on the line like he was asking you.

    It’s so easy to give advice if the potential consequences are not yours. It’s like telling someone to bet the farm on the [number] 17. 3% chance of this working out. No thanks!!! How about the Elder bets his farm and if he is right, you get the winnings and he can keep his farm. If the Elder thought it was soooo “the right thing”….”ante up, put your tail out there too”. Until he was willing to do that, he could keep his opinions on what he thought you should do to himself.

    [Paragraph breaks added to enhance readability. Editors.]

  12. I am the author of this story and I am truly stunned. I had no idea that the bad advice I was given was so widespread. I grieve knowing that pastors and Elders contribute to the problem rather than help. I am thankful for the work of Pastor Crippen to try to change this. It shows how necessary it is to call the church to account and for pastors to get their acts straight.

    I am sorry that this post strikes a chord of pain in the lives of others as well. I really wish I was alone in this suffering as I know how deeply it hurts. It goes to show that the trauma caused to us is so real and so powerful. When I wrote this post, I wept. When I re-read it, I wept again. When Pastor Crippen sent it to me to review after editing, I had the heart palpitations and felt overwhelmed. I wanted to make some minor edits but never could bring myself to read it again. It was too much for me to process. Again, trauma of this nature is real and long lasting. Because many of us have been in the abuse for many many years, it is a chronic post trauma. I cope better by telling myself this is normal and to be expected considering all I have been through. My reaction validates the reality of my pain. During the abuse, I had to supress my emotional reactions to survive. I think that is why now the reactions seem so much stronger. Being okay with the raw reaction means I am allowing myself to heal by connecting right and proper emotions to a horrific abuse done to me.

    For the commenter who feels guilt I wanted to share something that has helped me. God is a God of redemption, reconciliation, and restoration. The trauma, fear, and stress of the abuse drowns out God’s redemptive pattern in our lives as victims. We can’t see it as well. But, God is about setting His people free from bondage. Isaiah 49:24 spoke to me a great deal. I was the captive of a tyrant. God said He would set me free and save my children. Once I started believing this promise then He opened my eyes to patterns that He had already started of setting me free. I started to see a powerful and moving story of redemption in my life with themes like those found in the story of Esther, Ruth and Joseph. Once I started to see those patterns, I didn’t feel guilty as often as I used to about my children. Instead I look at it this way:

    Yes, my children have seen things that no child should ever have to witness. But, they also have seen mighty works of God that not many children get to see. They are privileged in this facet. We are serving in a ministry now and the children are able to reach out to others who hurt in ways they would not have had they not gone through this horrible ordeal. What my abuser meant for harm, God meant for good!

    My job through this journey to help them heal is to help them realize they are not just survivors, they are more than conquerors through Christ. My children and I are to focus not on what our abuser did to us, but what God did for us as He set us free and rendered His justice. My job is to recount to them the near miraculous ways He intervened to save us. I want them to know that God has set them apart by saving them from further harm. My hope is to write our story down so they can tell it to their children. I don’t want them to forget the amazing interventions. Yet, it is so hard to write about this as it causes me to relive the pain. My project is relegated to the realm of someday as a result.

    Thank you all for your kind words and encouragement.

    1. Wow, thank you, Anonymous!

      I understand the fear and palpitations about looking at someone else’s edits of your story. It is similar to the fear and palpitations I used to have when I received an email in my Inbox from a theologian I had sent a sample chapter to, when I was writing Not Under Bondage. It was the same when I got an email or a letter from a publisher I’d submitted the MS to. Such fear that often I could not open the email for days. I’d need to be in a really strong place AND have coffee on board and chocolate at hand, and even then I’d have to brace myself to read the message. It never got easier. I can still ‘feel back’ into that fear, even as I’m typing this.

      I am glad I ended up self-publishing my book. I just could not have handled a publisher trying to edit it, because I’m afraid they would have toned it down by trying make it more vanilla — to save readers having to face the hard stuff.

      1. I agree self-publishing would be the preferable route for the reasons you share.

        My anxiety response is due to having my abusive situation reflected back to me in a concise manner. It is just hard to stomach it all even though I know it happened to me.

        I spent so much time stuffing the horror of it all away that I detached from the feelings. Reading this post brought it all up for me to face. I found that supressing my emotions at the time coupled with my abusers minimizing and justifying the abuse keep me from connecting feeling to trauma. The years post-divorce have been all about reconnecting those feelings to the precipitating event. Tough stuff. But, I think once the feelings are connected to the incidents then healing begins. I was able to read through this post today with only a mild amount of discomfort.

      2. ….supressing my emotions at the time coupled with my abusers minimizing and justifying the abuse keep me from connecting feeling to trauma. The years post-divorce have been all about reconnecting those feelings to the precipitating event. Tough stuff. But, I think once the feelings are connected to the incidents then healing begins.

        I very much identify with this.

    2. Thanks for the encouraging words. You are so right. How soon I forget the wonderful works of God in my and my children’s lives. Thanks for reminding me!

  13. I am a first time responder. I have been following and researching these posts for several weeks now. They have helped lift so much fog from my perception. I have found that I am not alone in my thinking and I am not crazy for my thinking that if only I could do more. I so can relate to your post though not drastically physically beaten the bruises left both physically and emotionally never leave your mind. I am one day into my separation from my husband and starting a new journey of dealing with him separated and finding healing for me and my family. Look forward to the days of finding my identity in Christ and able to truly make Him my God and not making those around me my gods. Thanks again for the transparency and authenticity.

  14. How many of us have this same story? The longer I am separated from my husband, as well as now my church (we had to flee, and it became a haven for my husband) the more I’m starting to see clearly how they contributed….however well-meaning….to my husband’s sin and to our suffering. I keep remembering certain events, and more and more I am appalled at the way my church leadership handled my situation.

    My Pastor certainly knew of it. We spent several years in marriage counseling with him. He knew most everything that my husband did. Never once did he refer to it as abuse. He would always tell me how I had to just “be quiet”, “submit more”, “be more respectful”, “pray more”, etc. He would tell my husband things he needed to do, but it never seemed to matter that my husband never did them. It did always feel as if the pressure was on me to somehow behave in such a way, so as not to give my husband an excuse or reason to abuse me. When my husband locked me in the garage so I could not get away, I called my Pastor, frantic and in tears. He did not answer, so I left a message. He never called me back. When we met for our next counseling appointment, he did tell my husband that he can’t be doing stuff like that and that was the end of that.

    When my husband told me — and admitted to our Pastor — that he had been withholding all affection from me for at least 5 years, because he was punishing me for [not] having sex with him whenever he wanted it, my Pastor asked him if he had apologized. My husband said he had, so my Pastor informed me it was over, and it didn’t need to be brought up again.

    When my husband was excessively cruel to me during the pregnancy and birth of my Down Syndrome daughter because he resented her, he again told me and my Pastor that he was doing it to punish me for everything I’d ever done to him. He told my Pastor that I was disrespectful to him. My Pastor told him he needed to quit behaving that way, but that I “needed to check my own behavior and make sure I wasn’t being disrespectful”.

    All the times that I went privately to my Pastor concerning the suffering of myself and my children, he would just remind [me] that “God is in control, and He knew what was happening, I just needed to trust God, and make sure that I was behaving well.” When I expressed concern for what was happening to my children and how this was affecting them, he just told me that “God loved my children even more than I did, and He had not removed them from the situation, so I had no reason to do so. I was to teach them to honor their father for the position that he held, despite his actions. And I was to do the same.”

    Once I finally left my husband, I was completely abandoned by my Pastor. When I wanted to participate in [the] church’s baby dedication with my newborn son (he was [age redacted], when we separated), my Pastor would not allow me to do so, unless I did so along side my estranged husband. When my husband would threaten me (he threatened to have my children put in foster care) or act in an abusive manner, I would call or send e-mails for advice about how to handle the situation. For the most part, they were never answered. Then, when I would act on my own, I would be criticized. When I would not give in to my husband’s demands for unsupervised visitation, my Pastor told me that I just look like a vindictive and angry woman. When I explained that my children were afraid to be alone with him, he told me that he wanted to meet with my children alone and talk to them without me so he could hear if for himself. (I did not allow this, as I knew that they would be too intimidated.)

    The Asst Pastor told me he felt sorry for my husband, he pressured me routinely about returning to him, he told me that he just couldn’t believe I’d been abused because there were no police reports, he told me — in front on my husband — “He lies. You know he lies. Learn to suck it up.” He criticized me to my husband as well as others for everything from my housekeeping, to getting my haircut, to my mental status. My husband lived out of state for a few months, so the Asst Pastor would report to my husband what I would say during testimony time, my church attendance, and my Facebook posts. We finally left our church, when he physically tried to pull me from my chair during an altar call, and he also physically grabbed ahold of two of my children.

    Another Asst Pastor — the only one who ever referred to my husband’s behavior as abusive — kept making me set up scenarios where my husband could prove how much he had changed. When my husband would prove he hadn’t changed, then he would treat me like I was the one with the problem because I was “bitter”, “unforgiving”, and “expecting too much”. Once, my husband chased me to my truck with my children inside, with me yelling to lock the doors, and then managing to get a door open when my son unlocked mine to let me in. We were all in the truck, the children were screaming and crying, my husband had the door open, hanging on to the truck so I couldn’t leave. He demanded my keys, which I would not give him. He became completely enraged when I said I was going to call the police if he didn’t step away. He demanded that I go into the house with him. I tried to drive away, but he would not let go of the truck, hanging onto the seat my daughter was sitting in. I kept trying to move, but he would not let go. Eventually, he did, and we went to church. I went to this Asst Pastor and told him I was afraid to go home. He had me call my husband and apologize and ask if it was safe for me to come home. My husband then told me he didn’t want to hear my apology because I had tried to kill him. Somehow, he managed to twist it all around and make himself the victim, and I ended up apologizing to him!

    These are just a few examples of how my church handled my abusive situation. I was never told I would go to Hell. But it was made very clear to me that “God hates divorce, and that when I married my husband, he became God’s will for me. If I tried to leave the marriage, then I would be out of God’s will, and of course it would be sin, and God would have to deal with me accordingly.”

    This was a long rant, but it sure helps writing it out. Sometimes, I argue with myself, trying to figure out if I was just overreacting when I left my church, maybe things weren’t as bad as they seem, etc.
    Then I sit down and do this and I know it is exactly as bad as it seems. I’m starting to realize it was even worse.

    [For safety and protection, the age was redacted. Paragraph added to enhance readability. Editors.]

    1. 10 Are Free – in most all states the actions of your ex-pastors are criminal. Your husband locking you in the garage is a crime. And a serious one at that. Cases like yours are, in my opinion, grounds for a lawsuit against the church. But one must be up for the long legal battle and sometimes it just isn’t worth it. I am just saying that those pastors deserve to have to pay up for their malpractice. Every other profession does. Yes, things WERE as bad as they seem for you and in fact probably worse than you realize. Thank you for telling your story and we hope you keep hanging out here with us.

    2. I agree with you and Barbara….it was worse than you remember. As time passes and you begin to heal and gain more understanding you will understand that. The second-guessing is something I don’t miss. When I first filed for divorce I asked the Lord to please give me validation that I had done the right thing, and let me tell you, He did!!! We’ve been divorced for a year now and the anti-husband has done nothing but behave so as to further convince me that I did the right thing. I’ll give you a really good recent example of his callousness.

      My son contracted salmonella from a pet tortoise we had just purchased in early Oct. He was deathly ill and hospitalized for six days. I also had salmonella and was almost as sick as my son. I had to leave my poor son and go down to the ER twice because I was so severely dehydrated that I was on the verge of collapsing. The ex arrived the evening my son was admitted to the hospital and called his boss and said that things were so bad he had to take the rest of the week off to help me take care of our son. But did he do that? Of course not. He sat on the couch in the hospital room and watched Sponge Bob while I struggled with every last ounce of strength I had to take care of my son. I asked him a few times to help our son in the bathroom (the poor kid was too weak to go by himself), but he refused saying, “I don’t want to catch anything.” For the six days we were in that hospital the ex showed up around 9 a.m., sat on the couch and watched TV for hours on end, and left for the day at 4 p.m. Our two daughters were with a friend of mine. He would go and get them and spend 2 hours with them (watching TV at his place) and then drop them back off at my friend’s house. That’s ALL HE DID to help me after telling his boss he needed a week off to help me care for our sick child.

      The second time I had to go to the ER I had to leave my poor son in his hospital room alone because the ex had already left and he would not answer the phone when I called him.

      AND, he refused to return the tortoise to the pet store even though he had [time] off from work and all the time in the world on his hands. My friend had to take my 2 girls and her baby grandson to a town 100 miles away to return the tortoise for me because I was too darn sick to do it, and the ex refused.

      Oh, and then when we went home on Monday I learned that the ex had called his boss and asked for an additional three days off “to help care for his sick son” but I never saw him in those three days.

      This is the way he treated me for the entire 12 years that we were married, yet he continually told me that I was delusional or dysfunctional because I wasn’t happy, and that any other woman would have been happy with him because he was really a great guy!!!!!!!!!

      1. Oh, and my ex used to use his enormous size to block the door and prevent me from leaving the house and he used to threaten to call the police if I left the house with the children when we were fighting. I agree with Jeff, what your husband did to you was criminal and the Pastor is definitely guilty of malpractice.

      2. His Beloved – thanks for those wise words. I checked for Hudson’s book at Amazon, but no success. Any idea where it might be available? Oops, it finally popped up on the Amazon search. Got it.

  15. I knew there were awful books spewing that kind of advice (to “suck it up and go back for more”), and that’s why it took me 16 years to leave my raging, drunkard, pastor-schoolteacher husband. But it stuns me to hear of pastors telling a woman in fear for her life that it’s “her fault” and she should somehow “fix it”. I am so sorry, hearing these stories, for what many of you have been through.

    My long ago marriage pales in comparison. Even so, it took me a long time to get my confidence back. This blog has been a very healing place for me.

  16. The ex-idiot called me a tyrant (because I was asking for child support that still hasn’t come) three times in a recent email and then in the signature line had “death to tyrants” in Latin. My lawyer caught it and call him out on his “intimidation and threats”.

    This is his reply: “Allegation of Possible Intimidation. In my 33-year history with [Still Scared (But Getting Angry)], she has never been the subject of any direct and purposeful intimidation or physical threat by me at anytime: neither in the past nor is she now. I reject any such characterization wholeheartedly.”

    He does not see his abuse EVER. Does not get the fact that because he outweighed me by over a hundred pounds that he might be a threat. The changing history, the down play….they all do it! Frustrating!

  17. Thank you for sharing this story. I’m so happy that things have gotten so much better for this woman and her children. Especially after being put through so much. Glad she is finally able to start healing. I can very much relate to the lack of energy and keeping the house super tidy. This story gives hope that one day things can get better.

  18. This story is an example of why I started DSW Ministries! I was in the church and went through 13 years of abuse with my ex, while the church enabled the abuse. I took my ex to counseling at least three or four times. Many of the counselors told me that if I would “submit to my husband more”, then I wouldn’t have any problems with my husband. If I had a good counselor who was actually trying to help, my ex would either not cooperate or he would tell the counselor that I made him act the way he does. Meanwhile, I was serving in the church putting on a good face so people wouldn’t know what was really going on. I chose not to have children for this very reason. I didn’t want my children to be raised in an abusive home. I am glad that I made that choice. Children do not make the abuser treat you any better. It just makes him more powerful. I knew that if I would leave, I would lose my church, most of my friends, and comfortable way of life. And I did finally leave after 13 years. I couldn’t live that way anymore.

    It was very difficult to leave and start over on my own. I would not have been able to cut ties so quickly with children to care for. Recovering from abuse takes a lot longer than you think. Mine was not physical abuse, but emotional, spiritual, and verbal abuse. I think the latter is worse because it affects the kind of person you are.

    I am remarried to a wonderful, loving man now. I decided to start my domestic violence ministry to reach out to the faith community and tell them that this kind of abuse is unacceptable! There is a way out! You can overcome this! You can thrive after you survive! My husband and I are musicians. I wrote a song about domestic violence called “Break These Chains”. You can hear the song on my website and learn about the rest of my ministry. If I can be of assistance to any of you reading this, please contact me. DSW Ministries: Listen [Internet Archive link]

    [Paragraph breaks added to enhance readability. Editors.]

  19. Diana,
    I am so sorry that you were guided by a Spiritual Adviser to return to an unsafe living environment. I am no longer an Elder, but I would never have advised you to jeopardize your personal being for the sake of a broken covenant. Unfortunately, I cannot speak for the actions of your spiritual shepherd in the past time. You have my empathy and best wishes for your present life with your new protector / husband.

    1. Hi, Extennesseevol71,

      I am not Diana, but I want to thank you for your shepherd’s heart and for demonstrating what a true shepherd’s heart looks like in this comment.

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