A Cry For Justice

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

My Secret Hope

[August 11, 2022: There have been some changes made to this post. For more information, read the Editors’ notes at the bottom of the post. Editors.]

I harbor, in the very back of my mind, a secret hope is that my enemies will come around and say to themselves, “Oh my word….what did we DO to her??” I think about Joseph (not that I am Joseph but it is a great story of how justice won in the end) and how he got to somewhat reconcile with his brothers. But, the truth is, I am not sure how much those brothers had really changed. I was a little surprised to read, recently, in Genesis 50 that, when the brothers’ father died, Joseph’s brothers were afraid Joseph would then kill them:

When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.” So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this command before he died: ‘Say to Joseph, “Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.”’ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.  (Genesis 50:15-21  ESV)  [My bold.]

Joseph’s brothers lamely thought the worst of him. Joseph had not demonstrated any hate, as far as Scripture records. In FACT, the only ones who had demonstrated hate and murderous intentions were the brothers. Ironically, the brothers attributed this hatefulness to Joseph….because it was in their hearts. So, the brothers lied and used their dead father to tug at Joseph’s heart strings and manipulate a response. Joseph wept when they spoke to him. I believe he wept because they hadn’t changed. They still did not get it. 

I still hold out hope that things will change and those who have set themselves up as my enemies will “get it”.

But, it is probably not going to happen in my lifetime. I will not get to see that any time soon. And it seems that the job of this magnificent team (of which I am so blessed to be a part of) is to acquire justice for the victims in terms of verifying the abuse, validating the victim, and doing our very best to help them in any way possible. I know that Jeff and Barb spend inordinate amounts of time with victims, doing all they can do (in their power) to help. The rest of us do what we can and try to support Jeff and Barb. And we all have our enemies. I wish it were not so but….I also cannot think of one warrior for justice or one defender of the weak who does not have opposition. But, we do not get to see the victims avenged very often. Victory in this world and in such a time as this is not always evident. The kind of victory we get to see are women getting back on their feet, becoming whole, forgiving (which does not mean placing themselves in any kind of danger — physically, emotionally, spiritually or mentally), raising their children to the best of their ability. We get to see men and women grow stronger. We get to see the awesome victory of these men and women who were once victims cling to Jesus. That is no small miracle. We should have given up but we have persevered.

No….my hope that my enemies will be honest with themselves and others will not be realized because it is really a false hope. But, there is a true hope that Jeff C touches on from time to time, and it fills my heart with a joy that soothes the sadness on a regular basis. It is a hope that is there when there is no more hope: There will be a reckoning. Jesus will return….and all will be made straight. Those who belong to Him will be glorified with Him….sins buried and forgotten by Him….tears wiped away. And then, terrible as it is, those who do not belong to Him will be separated from Him forever. It should not be a wonder….they are already separated from Him now. But, it will be pronounced by the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords and all the records will be set straight.

We will not have to face the crazy anymore….

A friend of mine said yesterday, “You have been stamped by Jesus and that is all that really matters. You hitched your wagon to a Star….” and in the end, that will be what counts. The entire world could turn against us but we are hitched to the Bright Morning Star and nothing can change that.

Hold on, dear readers. Hang on. That Day will come.

[August 11, 2022: Editors’ notes:

—For some comments made prior to August 11, 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 August 11, 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 August 11, 2022 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (August 11, 2022), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]

65 Comments

  1. Nina

    Well put. I often think of the movie Steel Magnolias, when Shelby has a diabetic seizure in the hair salon and says some mean things to her mom. When she comes out of it, the reality of what she said dawns on her and her entire countenance changes to one of deep humility and sadness for what she did and she then begs forgiveness. I always hope that one day my abuser will have an epiphany such as this. One can dream anyway. As for Joseph’s brothers, shame on them!

  2. IamMyBeloved's

    Oh wow, Meg. Did I need this post today! Just thinking how much easier things would be, if people could just admit they had been abusive and would now be willing to deal with the quake of destruction it has left behind. sigh Lots of daydreams in my head about that one.

    But this post, has been a reminder to me, that while we hope, there is a greater hope, and that is for final justice and vindication. So thanks for that. I try to remind myself that it is enough that God knows and sees the truth. Not that I am or ever have been perfect, but that just because those imperfections are in me, does not mean that God gave license for another person to abuse me.

    I heard something interesting that helped me. I needed to know that Jesus’ sufferings are like mine. He was declared “crazy” by his family; He was abandoned when He needed His disciples the most; He was physically and sexually abused on His way to and at the Cross; He was betrayed by a closest friend; He was mocked, demeaned, verbally abused and humiliated, and so when I hurt, I need to know that He looks on me and says, “I know” and means it more than just that He sees it – but that He truly knows what I am feeling, and I know what He felt. That is part of relationship.

    Thanks to all who help so much here at ACFJ. You will probably never know “here” how much God has used you all to help so many of us, but one day, it will all be revealed how God used you all for His glory and in how many ways He did that.

    • MeganC

      IAMB — I understand that realization that people called Jesus (and Paul) crazy, blasphemous, “of the devil” and worse. Whenever I marvel at how someone can say something — make some sort of declaration like that, my husband, David, reminds me of what the Pharisees did to Jesus. The most comforting thought for me is that Jesus own family did not believe in Him. Comforting in that Jesus understands . . . not comforting that He had to suffer that. I like what you said here, too:

      “Not that I am or ever have been perfect, but that just because those imperfections are in me, does not mean that God gave license for another person to abuse me.”

      No one is perfect . . . we slip; we struggle; we fall. But, those who know Christ do not repetitively sin. You are a beloved child of God. xo

  3. Heather 2

    Another post to encourage, Megan. Thank you for giving words of hope. How we often wish the Lord would avenge us now. The human side of us hurts so deeply at times. We wish to see justice. But it belongs to the Lord to decree and we must trust that He knows the right time for all these things. Recognition that we belong to Him, that our names are stamped on His hands, that we can abide in the shelter of His wings should be our constant joy and give us peace in the midst of the hurting times. Sometimes though, we need the skin and support of other loving and understanding people. That is what Cry for Justice, Give Her Wings, and other groups are all about. When the people we care about turn their backs on us, the Lord has given us others who reach out in His name to bind our wounds and help us through the nightmares.

    Hugs and blessings, Megan.

    • MeganC

      Thank you, Heather. And, I agree. We need God’s security and that of others, as well. Hugs back! 🙂

  4. joepote01

    In the end, all sin will be stripped away, as will all concealment. We will stand before God and each other, as Adam and Eve stood in the Garden, naked and unashamed…hearts bared with no need for shame or guilt or concealment.

    There is no room for sin, in Heaven, and no need for concealment or deceit.

    Everyone there will have been stripped of both their sin and their sin nature. Anyone who has refused to be stripped of their sin will be excluded from Heaven.

    There will be tears, I think…many tears as we see the pain we caused or the harm we could have prevented. But in the end, Jesus will wipe away all tears and there will be no more sorrow.

    This is my hope…the sure and certain hope of what is yet to come and what I can see today, only by faith…

    • MeganC

      Thank you, Joe. I love the way that you describe the end (beginning!) times . . . I feel certain that I, too, will shed tears. As much as I have asked God to help me to see how I may have hurt others (over-conscientious 😦 ), I know that I cannot see all and that I am not perfect. I am so grateful for God mercy, that I belong to Him and that He will wipe away those tears.

  5. Catherine C

    Thanks Megan, I think that we all hope that the truth is exposed for what is really happening behind closed doors. Thank you to you all who put so much time and effort in helping us who have ended up in relationships where there unfortunately is abuse. My eyes have been open and the chains broken through our Heavenly Father who pointed me in the direction of A cry for justice. For years I have prayed and searched for answers – never finding them until recently, so many of my questions have now been answered and it helps so that I know I am not alone and that the way I have been feeling for so long is normal under the circumstances. I know I am now moving forward instead of being stuck like I have been for so many years. Thank you all again for the wonderful work you are doing.

    • MeganC

      Catherine — I felt the same way when I found ACFJ. We are so glad you are here!

    • BeginHealing

      You are so right Catherine. This community is a prayer answered. My gratitude for this site and it’s members is profound.

  6. As I See It Only

    Those of us who are Christians always busy with two things; one, we search our hearts to make sure that we are ready to be reconciled with REPENTANT brothers and sisters (no repentance = no forgiveness in God’s economy). Second, we hold out to our enemies the gospel of peace, truly hoping–and faithfully praying–that they will repent and no longer be enemies. It is very difficult to do these two things, but doing it obediently pours Christ’s compassion for the lost into us and heals us from the inside out. Who would not have said ‘Yes’ to the suffering if they knew in advance that someone’s eternal salvation was hanging in the balance? Is any price too great compared to the price paid for us by a sinless Christ?

    • MeganC

      AISIO — Thank you so much for this comment. And, yes, I find that praying for those who are being ugly helps me to heal. Could you explain this to me? I don’t think I understand:

      “Who would not have said ‘Yes’ to the suffering if they knew in advance that someone’s eternal salvation was hanging in the balance? Is any price too great compared to the price paid for us by a sinless Christ?”

      • As I See It Only

        Good question, MeganC. Let me think: If my pain eventually served to help bring about conviction of sin, repentance, and God’s forgiveness rather than His vengeance, would I be willing to accept that appointment? I think so. Put another way, grief has a number of stages and popular teaching says that the final stage is ‘acceptance’. What if, once we reach acceptance, we are ready for another stage: redemption. May the years and tears that the locusts have eaten be redeemed. Sola Deo Gloria!

      • MeganC

        Ah! I understand. 🙂

  7. That’s been my secret hope as well, if not for me, then for the sake of my children. Even during all the divorce proceedings, I looked for some glimmer that the beast had grown a heart. Even knowing what I know, it was vaguely disappointing to see he still only thought of himself.

    During the worst of the mess of separating, I thought I could not go on without some vindication. I thought I could not be free with that awful presence snapping at me from behind. That’s a lie.

    Freedom comes from deep within. When we experience healing and wholeness we learn to walk as free men and women. Without healing, we continue to recreate our own hell over and over by revisiting the same pig wallow, jumping into abusive relationships, thinking we can somehow ‘fix’ things this time around. . .

    Truth sets us free, Thank God. And whomever the Lord sets free is free indeed.

    • Heather2

      So true, Ida Mae. It took me a long time to realize that I was beating myself up all the while my ex had moved on long before! I have worked hard, as you all have, to allow God to heal me deep down where the pain was indescribable. It is only there where we can find true freedom.

    • MeganC

      I LOVE this, Ida Mae! I understand exactly what you mean about wanting to see some sort of heart . . . a piece of kindness . . . some humanity. And I could not find it, either. I felt like I gave chance after chance after chance and he still would not set me free. YES. “Freedom comes from deep within”. Perfection.

  8. Katy

    As time goes on, the longing for justice has turned into pity for the abusers. I only came to this place after being safe from their schemes, though. Once we are safe from the ongoing battering ram of abuse, we can afford to have more pity. xoxo
    I take comfort that my King lives. and He sees it all. and He cares.

    • MeganC

      I want to get to that point, Katy. I want to get where I only feel pity and do not have to work through these feelings over and over. And I take the same comfort. God knows. xo

  9. Barnabasintraining

    Thank you Megan! Wonderful encouragement, which just so happens to be needed today.

  10. Mere Dreamer

    It is a painful thing to be the one cherishing a lie on the day the truth shines upon it. In the end, I preferred the truth in love, when it burnt through my fear to clear my vision. I only hope they will also, on the day it can no longer be avoided.

    • MeganC

      I know what you mean, Mere Dreamer. There have been times where that truth broke my heart in two . . . but what a forgiveness from Christ that washes over my very soul when I repent. Thank you.

  11. Otter

    Beautiful post, Megan! Thank you for this. I can’t say how many times I have just wanted my abuser to simply recognize his abuse. Not even apologize – just to be able to look at himself for who he is and face his choices.

    I’m so thankful for this blog and for the healing I have gained through it. Validation and empathy are the main things we need for recovery. Just reading other people’s accounts and experience helped me to see that what I was dealing with was truly abuse…and that nothing I could do for my abuser was going to improve the situation (true abuse is easily seen when any attempt at intervention/assistance just creates more chaos). 6 months later, I’m so thankful that my life is calm, peaceful, and happy. Just this morning I woke up and realized it was such a wonderful thing not to be living in constant anxiety and stress. As Joseph forgave his brothers, it is a truly wonderful thing to forgive and move on into God’s lighted path.

  12. Brenda R

    I am genuinely grateful for the Lord’s seal on my soul. It does make me sad that so many will be separated from Him. It is hard to comprehend why some hear the “good news” and don’t see or accept its power.

  13. BeginHealing

    My Husband (don’t like calling him that anymore) apologizes for what he has done. Not in great detail but he does acknowledge he has sinned greatly and treated me horribly. But my heart still won’t trust him. How do I trust repentance from 20 years of emotional manipulation and intimidation after only 3 months. He is still trying to persuade and pressure me to agree to reconcile. He is using bible quotations to increase the pressure and guilt, Malachi 2:16 among the many quotes (I copied and pasted Barbs article for him to ponder not sure it will make a difference)

    If he was truly repentant and filled with Godly sorrow wouldn’t he be accepting of what ever I needed to do? If he is repentant do I really have no choice but to take him back? He claimed to be a believer before he shattered me but is claiming a convergence and sanctification since then. It all seems so fast too fast. If it is real do I have no choice but to reconcile?

    This is so exhausting and very depressing. I don’t want to reconcile. The thought of that right now feels like emotional death. I feel like God is leading me away from him. Finding this site was an answer to prayer one desperate sleepless night. I haven’t been led by God all the way to Divorce but I do feel led that separation is the right thing for now, But he is asking me to give him a time line for how long he has to be out and a to do list to earn his way back in. This is manipulative right? I can’t even think that far ahead. All I know is I need him out.

    Sorry if my thoughts are a little incoherent. It has not been a good day. Feeling very broken.

    • Catherine C

      I know exactly where you are because I find myself feeling the same as you. My husband has not moved out yet, he keeps delaying it hoping that I am going to change my mind. I do believe that we have to trust God to change our hearts if God wants reconciliation. Right now we need time for healing and they have to understand that instead of thinking about their needs. Have a look at Leslie Vernicks Blog she posted this week “Sometimes words are not enough” this helped me to see that sometimes the abuser will cry, beg and ask what they need to do for you to want them again. I find it extremely hard to trust him again and will not until I see a real change of heart, which will take time to make sure it is genuine. The thought of going back to the place I have come from I just can’t go there again and I believe that after we have been set free from that God will change our hearts if he expects us to reconcile but only when healing has taken place in you and our husbands have shown genuine repentance. Be strong and stand firm – keep your eyes on your Saviour he will guide you.

      • BeginHealing

        Thank you so much Catherine. I just read Leslie’s blog. It was the affirmation I needed thank you for directing me there. I truly do not know what I would do with out this site. I am trusting God it is just so difficult when I am filled with self doubt and elders and pastors make me question what I feel I am hearing from Him.

        “God will change our hearts if He wants us to reconcile” ❤ this.

        If you were here I would give you a huge hug. My heart simply aches for any woman in my situation or worse. The wrongness of it all is so deep. I will pray for you Catherine.

    • But he is asking me to give him a time line for how long he has to be out and a to do list to earn his way back in. This is manipulative right? I can’t even think that far ahead. All I know is I need him out.

      This– right here– is your number one red flag telling you he hasn’t changed. Not one bit.

      When my abuser did this (and they all seem to– they want to know how long they have to behave because they are wanting like crazy to both be in control and know how long before they can quit playing at nice and go back to their old ways) I told him no way. We were over. If he wanted to change, he would do it for himself and for his next wife. I just did not care anymore because that part of me was dead– and guess who killed it?

      If a person genuinely changes, the fruits of repentance will come naturally. They will express Godly sorrow, do whatever it takes to provide restitution for the years of hurt and pain they caused and wait patiently for all the years and years of solitude necessary to win you back, knowing it may never happen if they really love you more than they love themselves. You probably know how likely that is to happen.

      And further warning– if you take them back, they will punish you for leaving them and believe it is their right to do so. Let that creep go, tell him to go repent elsewhere while you move on and then watch what happens. Eye opening how fast they rubberband back to old ways the minute you grow a spine.

      • BeginHealing

        Ida Mae. Thank you. I am working on growing that spine right now it is God’s hand at my back that is keeping me standing not my own strength. I hope he fortifies my spine a bit while he is at it. I am so programmed and used to putting his needs ahead of my own I just simply feel a tug to react and take care of his needs. God is not letting that happen but the tug is there and then I get filled with self doubt. Voices in my head saying thing like ; Am I being too cold? He really is hurting, I should try to make it better.

        It is hard. God gave me a very compassionate heart. I feel other peoples pain and I want to make it better. But he used this to his advantage instead of protecting it as a Godly man would’ve done. I need a little more spine and a Godly shield for my heart.

      • Brenda R

        We are programmed as women to put everyone elses needs ahead of our own from birth. We care for our dolls by the time we can walk. We hear it in every sermon to put others first. I think there are limits to that. Jesus was/is compassionate and caring, but he got away from the crowds to replenish his own spirit and strength. If we don’t take care of ourselves, eventually we will be unable to take care of anyone else. Making it better is sometimes a trap and what they really need is boundaries.

      • Heather2

        Amen IdaMae. I could not have said it better! One other thing I would add is that my ex agreed that he needed to change, but always added that I needed to change too. That is not accepting responsibility for the pain and suffering he caused. It not only minimizes his actions, but minimizes who you are as a woman with deep feelings. It glosses over everything and tried to make you equally culpable. Never allow that. It’s just a flat out manipulation and you see that he doesn’t seriously consider his sins against you.

      • Brenda R

        Amen. STBX agreed that he needed to change and that he was hurting the people he loved and then last week said that I had not changed a bit. I wasn’t aware that I was suppose to. Actually, I have changed. I have set boundaries and should be divorced in a week or so. My daughter sent me a Christmas ornament today. It says, “Congratulations On Your First Christmas As An Independent Lady”‘ and signed it With Love on the back. I had never had a First of anything Christmas ornament before. I really like this one.

      • Heather2

        That’s lovely, Brenda. I pray you find many firsts in your future that are blessings to make up for your losses and pain.

        In my own healing I’m finding my dreams have become quite telling. I’ve gone from utter darkness to greater understanding as I try to prayerfully piece together the past in order to embrace a present and future where healing has taken place.

        It’s such hard work at times, but I know that it will be worth it in the end. I know that my Redeemer walks with me all the way. He is the One whom I trust, who has the answers, and brings liberty.

        Hugs, Brenda. You are sharing important insights which are very helpful.

    • Brenda R

      For me, 100% follow God not man. Having treated you the way he did, he should have been treated as a nonbeliever. Claiming to be a believer and spouting scripture does not make a believer. Only God can do that and God does not lead a husband to manipulate and intimidate his wife. Three months isn’t very long and the decision is yours whether you want to take him back or not. Only you know if His “change” is real and with you feeling God leading you in another direction something isn’t right about reconciliation at this time. Only God knows what the future holds.
      If he is trying to “persuade and pressure” you into reconciling, that sounds an awful lot like “manipulate and intimidate”. A little too close for me. If he is really changing he will give you the space you need. He will show you true change over time. Persuading and pressuring is not change, it is saying “I am the spider and you are the fly, come into my web”. Or at least that is what I would hear and have heard from my own circumstance. And, when X doesn’t get his own way, he reverts back. That is what having more time will show you. If they will indeed, revert back to their old self.
      Only you can decide if reconciling is for you. For me, I will not. Things got far worse for me when I left and in no way have I seen change. Only the Lord knows what is in store for tomorrow, but for now my divorce should be final within a few days. Grief has been taking over the past few days, but my supporters (thanks Barb) have shown me that this is normal. I have been able to put down my sword and shield since X doesn’t bother me as much now and I can grieve my loss. So I am feeling broken right along with you. God is faithful to put the pieces back together.

      • BeginHealing

        Brenda R One of my pastors agrees that he could not have been a believer and done what he did. But it is the recent “sanctification” that is giving him pause. He thinks I need time to see what the truth is then decide. It is what is best for me and I can see that. But he has mentioned that he doesn’t believe my husband will truly change. Not that it is impossible because anything with God is possible but I appreciate his realism. I need strong, smart, honest, discerning men helping me not men that are expecting and looking for a Christian fairy tale. God seldom works in those ways.

        I am truly sorry for your grief but praise you for walking through it. You can only get to the other side of this suffering if you allow yourself to feel the awful emotions that go along with this process. God is so very loving and faithful. He will put you back together stronger, wiser, and more loving than before. He has you in the palm of His hand and He will not let you go. Sending you love and prayers for healing. I hope that you find rest from all of this very soon.

      • Brenda R

        Begin Healing, I started out wanting to give you comfort and affirmation of your feelings and instead I ended up receiving comfort.

      • BeginHealing

        Brenda- your words are affirming and you have helped. I am honored to be able to return the comfort.

    • BeginHealing, my heart goes out to you. I echo the replies that others have written to you

      If he was truly repentant and filled with Godly sorrow wouldn’t he be accepting of what ever I needed to do?

      Yes. he would. So the fact that he’s not accepting your preferences and choices shows hie repentance is phoney. Just designed to entice/guilt you back into his web.

      If he is repentant do I really have no choice but to take him back?

      I would say that even if he is repentant — not phoney but genuine — you are still not obliged to take him back. The damage his abuse has done to you over the years is incalculable, and if that means the consequence for him is severe, so be it — we reap what we sow. I would guess that even you don’t know the full extent of the damage he has caused you yet (you will come to realise it in increments).

      So if you do not feel like reconciling with him, you don’t have to do so. Now is the time to follow your instincts and listen to God’s invitation to freedom from that state of fear and eggshell walking that you’ve been living in for so long.

      • BeginHealing

        Barbra. If I could reach through this computer and hug you I would. Your words, this site, the community. All of this is helping me to hold onto what little sanity I feel I have left right now.

        I just got your book in the mail last night. I have the day off from work and I will start reading it today. I have been working my way through Why Does He Do That but I have to admit it is a difficult read and I can only take it in small doses right now. Lots of affirmation and knowledge gained through the book but it is usually followed by sorrow and pain. Facing reality is not easy.

      • Yes BH, I understand how reading good books, that describe the mentality of abusers can be painful. It reminds us of so many things the abusers did to us that we’d blocked out or minimized. In the early years of my recovery and while I was researching to write Not Under Bondage every time I read a good book about abuse I would feel like I’d been run over by a steam roller. But I also knew that each time, healing was happening. We cannot heal festered wounds unless we allow them to be brought into the light and cleaned. There is a post on this blog about Wound Healing that explains this concept. 🙂

      • Still Scared( but getting angry)

        To add to what Barb said. You don’t need to reconcile if you don’t want to , but also you don’t need to make that choice NOW. This is not an emergencies, this is not a 911 issue that has to be dealt with/answered/etc. right now. the blood is not spurting from the wound, the bandage is on, so give it time to heal. You need time, take time. If he doesn’t want to give you time, his loss and obvious showing his true colors. Take time, take the time YOU need.

      • His beloved

        BeginHealing—My X wrote letters of apology (admitting in detail his abuse) regularly over the last 5 of our 20 years. He told a friend if he’d done to me physically what he did to me emotionally he’d be in prison and admitted to others the details his intentional abuse.

        In my case all that repentance was just a ploy to get me back into the cycle of trusting him so he could do it again. Unfortunately it worked for all those years.

        Once he moved out and I figured out what was going on (most painful process of my life) he simply, without a pause, rewrote reality once again and just told everyone I was deluded and he never abused me. Simple as that, without skipping a beat. He cut off contact with those he had admitted the abuse to who he couldn’t bamboozle. Some he did bamboozle and they cut me off!! His pastor even asked my friend if I had a character disorder that caused me falsely accuse him!! (I believe a former friend had told my X I was understanding HE had a character disorder).

        The most important part of my process and the hardest was to learn to believe myself. X had rewritten reality so many times, and was so smooth an slick that I was very confused and self-blaming. Trusting myself has been the absolutely most important thing I have ever done. I am finally sane and stable and strong with the Lord.

        Any admission of guilt and repentance must be followed by absolute rock solid change of behavior and heart that lasts YEARS. (My X could fake it for quite a while with his long term goal in mind of getting me to open up to him again.)

        I can’t begin to tell you how wonderful life is away from the abuse and confusion. If your heart can’t trust him there is a good reason. I wanted to trust my X and I wanted the marriage to work. He always said the fault was with me for not trusting him, but I trusted TOO MUCH. Trust yourself and trust your instincts. God gave them to you!!!

      • Brenda R

        I so agree. It is so wonderful to be away from the abuse and confusion. It gets a little lonely sometimes, but slowly I am venturing out to church functions, lunch with ladies from the church etc…. If your heart isn’t in it, then none of you will be in it and shouldn’t be. Through all of the things that we have all experienced the one thing we should have is more insite to the person we were or are living with and know the red flags of their behavior. My instincts say that when STBX, any day now, says he is sorry and has changed that initself is a red flag. In 2 minutes or less when I ask how counseling is going and when can I meet the counselor, he proves that change has not happened. Last week he told me that we would meet again in Hell and not to look behind door #2 because that is where he would be. The mind that thinks up these kinds of things to say–I do not understand.

      • His beloved

        I worked through the Betrayal Bond book and the section that talked about betrayal by seduction (not necessarily sexual, but certainly emotional and psychological) was eye-opening. It helped me see the dreams, and all the unmet needs in me, that made me so very vulnerable to the seduction. He also has a chart to fill out on illusion vs reality. It helps you identify promises made, your vulnerability to believe those false promises, your first insight into the abusers real intention, his justification for what he did, and why you fell for it, and on and on. Filling that out is one the most powerful things I have ever done. I can put in a PDF file if there is some way to upload it for people to see.

      • Brenda R

        That would be good HB. I will put the book on my reading list.

      • Nice idea about the PDF file, HisBeloved, but I think we’d need to get permission from the author first. If you want to try to contact him and ask himfor permission to republish that chart, feel free! We would of course include a link to his website or where you can buy the book from his publisher, or whatever he wished for in that regard.

      • His beloved

        Thanks for responding, Barbara. I will try to get in touch with him. The chart is amazing!

    • joepote01

      BeginHealing – I’m praying for you, that God will give you an extra measure of comfort, peace, and wisdom, now and in the coming days.

      So many others have commented on this post and have all given such good advice and comfort!

      I’m just saying “amen” to what the others have already said and adding my support to theirs.

      I’m also agreeing, with them, that you should not feel under any compulsion to reconcile, whether or not your husband genuinely repents. He violated the covenant vows to love, honor and cherish. If and when you ever trust him again is entirely up to you…you do not owe him your trust, nor your reconciliation. Whether or not he was a believer, is a believer, or becomes a believer has no direct bearing on the situation. The choice is still yours and the timetable is still yours.

      Trust what the Holy Spirit speaks to your heart. If He is warning you of danger, there’s a reason…

      Blessings to you!

    • Barnabasintraining

      He is still trying to persuade and pressure me to agree to reconcile.

      If he’s trying to persuade and pressure then he is still operating out of the abusive mentality of trying to control.

      Were God to ever give you the desire to reconcile, it would have to be according to His terms, which are that the abuser must essentially become a new man. He must change his modus operandi completely (fruit) because he himself has changed completely in repentance/change of mind (root) as truth has lodged in the inner man (Psalm 51:6) and done its transformative work, and he must do this not for the sake of getting his relationship/marriage/wife back but because he is in the wrong. He must not just see that he is in the wrong (he’s sinned greatly against you, etc.) but how he is in the wrong (he does not have the right to control you, or anyone else, but must allow God to be God in your life, as well as his own, etc.). He must do this irrespective of whether or not he gets you back as a result. His issue is between him and God at this point and until that is settled to God’s satisfaction He is not going to burden you with any thought or desire to reconcile as that is to “heal the wounds of His people slightly, saying ‘Peace. Peace.’ when there is not peace.”

      He may or may not give you a desire to reconcile should your abuser change to God’s satisfaction, but He is under no obligation to do so and neither are you.

      • BeginHealing

        Thank you all so much. My heart is overwhelmed with gratitude for all of you and for my loving Heavenly Father for leading me here. Sincerely, you all make me cry good healing tears. The affirmations, understanding, and guidance is a balm on this horribly painful wound. I hope and pray that at some point God blesses me with the opportunity to repay all of these blessings I am receiving.

    • joepote01

      BeginHealing – I was reminded, this morning, of a post I wrote a while back in which you may find something helpful…especially if you happen to like Tolkein’s writing: Boromir’s Remorse [Internet Archive link]

      Blessings to you!

      • Barnabasintraining

        ” I am killing my will and taking on Christ’s yoke… If I can complete this journey then I am worthy of your trust because Christ is worthy of your trust.”

        Oh now this is just a little bit too much. No no no no no no no no no. It does not work like that. Christ is not his excuse to make you come back. The other side of this statement is if you don’t come back then you are leaving Christ too. No way. He does not get to align himself with Christ and use Him like that. Not to mention this is all about you, isn’t it? He’s “taking on Christ’s yolk” in order to get you to come back, isn’t he? The goal here is YOU not Christ. He is just using Christ to accomplish his own ends which is to get you back in his grip.

        No no no. Not one bit of it. No.

        He is saying what he thinks sounds right but is so far off it makes my head explode. You know, a smart wolf would at least figure out which end went in front before he tried putting on the sheep suit.

      • His beloved

        a smart wolf would at least figure out which end went in front before he tried putting on the sheep suit.

        BIT- that is a classic comment. I am writing that down for future reference!

      • Jeff Crippen

        BIT – Every so often, these gems come right out of your mouth! The backwards sheep suit statement is a classic!

      • Brenda R

        You’ve got that right BIT. They will use God for their own purposes and then right back to the devil when it doesn’t work or they have you trapped again. It’s bad enough he’s not a good sheep, he’s not even a very smart wolf.

      • BeginHealing

        Wow Joe that was an informative and entertaining read. My Husband is acknowledging that he is untrustworthy, while still pressuring me to reconcile. He is claiming that ” I am killing my will and taking on Christ’s yoke… If I can complete this journey then I am worthy of your trust because Christ is worthy of your trust.” A part of me wants to believe the Christian Fairy Tale of this statement but another part of me feels manipulated by this statement. Trust Christ = Trusting my husband. I don’t see them as equal or intertwined at all. I do trust Christ and he is leading me away from my husband. He is saying what I want him to say and what he “should” say but it just has an undercurrent of manipulation to me. He is a mix of Gandalf and Boromir. I am not trustworthy but please commit to reconciliation. He has the intellect (he has been reading A LOT of Christian books and has learned the language very well) to know that what Gandalf said is right and honorable but Boromir’s heart. Does this make sense?

      • joepote01

        BH – Yes, what you said makes perfect sense. What your husband said defies logic…but is a great manipulation tactic…

        Frankly, to me, he sounds more like Wormtongue (Grima – counselor to King Theoden of Rohan) than either Gandalf or Boromir…talking in illogical circles intended to prey upon your guilt, fears and fantasies, to achieve the goal of keeping you imprisoned.

        “…acknowledging that he is untrustworthy, while still pressuring me to reconcile.”

        I’m glad you can see how contradictory this is. A person who truly understood their untrustworthiness would not pressure you to trust them. Rather like saying, “You should accept my word as true, because I’m such a good liar.”

        Blessings to you, BeginHealing! May God continue to comfort you with His Holy Presence, as He gives you supernatural discernment and wisdom.

      • Barnabasintraining

        I cite Katy as my inspiration. 🙂

      • Barnabasintraining

        You’re welcome, BeginHealing! 🙂

      • joepote01

        Well stated, BIT! I love the backwards sheep-suit analogy! 🙂

      • BeginHealing

        This is why I avoid communicating with him. I tell him I will never be able to trust him again and he hits me with a confusing statement like that one. I feel like I give him ammunition to use against me when I tell him how I feel. I’d rather just keep it to myself. But then I am told that I am hard hearted and not putting any effort into saving the marriage. I suppose both accounts are true but for reasons other than my being prideful and self centered. Hard hearted…. maybe more like protective of my heart. Self centered…. I lived an overly selfless life for a very long time that enabled his ways. It is time I be a little self centered with God as my compass. Honestly, I am not trying to save the marriage. I am trying to save myself and my children.

        Joe – Wormtongue, that is an unpleasant thought. That character gave me the willies. Thank you for seeing the manipulation and affirming it. I am absolutely riddled with self doubt. I am standing up for myself for what feels like the first time and I envision myself like Bambi on the frozen lake. I really don’t have the hang of it just yet. It is hard to undo a lifetime of programming that made me feel responsible to fix or carry other peoples emotions. It is hard to shake the feeling that I am wrong if what I think is different from what others are telling me.

        Barnabas, first of all LOL LOL LOL no I don’t think he has the sheep suit on right 🙂 Your insight and wisdom on this and previous posts has really stuck with me. Thank you very much. What you said the other day about reconciliation was healing and helped me take the next step forward. Yes, I am afraid his focus is fixing the marriage through Christ. Not as much about him building a genuine relationship. However, I don’t know his heart I could be wrong. I can say that he is using this process to covertly apply pressure and guilt me into staying.

        Joe and Barnabas all I can say is a very sincere and heartfelt thank you. Thank you for helping to clear the fog.

      • joepote01

        BH – While going thru divorce, I learned to minimize communication and to NEVER share my personal thoughts or feelings with her, for this very reason…everything I told her was, eventually, used to attack me. She would either use the insight gained to try to manipulate me, or she would twist what I said into something completely different and throw it back at me, weeks later.

        Sharing feelings should be reserved for trusted friends and counselors, not a deceiver intent on harming and manipulating.

        Hang onto that focus of saving yourself and your children, rather than on saving the marriage. Frankly, a marriage that puts you or your children at risk is not worth saving.

      • Katy

        ha BIT – I am currently watching a violent abuser attempt to guilt his wife back into compliance by using “prayer” and all sorts of Churchy stuff – cuz the guns and threats have stopped working.
        talk about wearing the sheep suit all backwards!!! I can’t wait to see this wolf get hung out to dry. Amen.

  14. I love this post of yours Meg. I love all your posts but this one is really special. For years I longed for that “Oh, I really did hurt her! How mortifying!” response from my abusers. The ones I most desired it from were the not my primary abusers but the bystanders who’d taken my the abuser’s side or played the ‘neutral’ card. (Neutrality is never neutral when it comes to domestic abuse.)

    I only realised how much I had been longing for that response when one of the minor bystanders actually apologised to me for how she had treated me at the height of the separation. She apologised without me asking for it, she raised the topic herself without me nudging her, and that made her apology so much more precious. When she proffered it tears of joy came to my eyes and I was immediately grateful and forgiving. And at the same time I (privately) realised that I had been longing for this kind of apology for years. Never once has any of the other bystanders apologised. But that one made so much difference. Somehow it enabled me to put the rest of them to bed.

    I now no longer long for apologies from any of those bystanders. But I do still long for apologies from the theologians and pastors who have ignored or patronised my book.

  15. His beloved

    I have felt the Lord’s anger toward my X and it is a frightening thing. He is a righteous God who hates evil. I grieve deeply that my X will most likely never truly repent and will one day face Him. But in the meantime, I still long for justice and vindication!! And for the mutual friends that sided with him to have their eyes opened. But as much as I long for it, I have been able to place it in the Lord’s hands.

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