A Cry For Justice

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

The Difficulty and Necessity of Accepting the Unlove

Recently, Jeff Crippen made a comment on this post:

It seems to me that the physical relationship between husband and wife is an outgrowth of the nature of their heart relationship. If the heart is bad, all that proceeds from it will be colored by that. So the fact that your husband is manipulative, mean, and cutting tells us that his heart is bad. He does not (these are hard words to hear) love you. The typical abuser only loves himself. His non-love for you really has nothing to do with you as far as a cause. He simply sees himself as the center of the universe and you are there for his service and pleasure. The alternating back and forth between “nice” and “mean” is all part of his abuser tactics. And yes, it does make you kind of crazy doesn’t it?

When I read it, I remembered the day that someone looked me in the eye and said, “Your husband does not love you.” I went home that day, made dinner, put the children to bed, cleaned up and then wept quietly in a corner of my room. That was about six years ago. It was so difficult for me to accept the fact that my ex-husband did not love me. For all the insistent “I love you’s”, there was absolutely no proof of that. He did the minimum for our family because (and I truly believe this) he was managing his image. And he had taught me to cover for him. He knew it looked bad if he did not provide for us, so he provided for us. He knew it looked bad if he did not get me a card for our anniversary, so he bought me a card. And so on. If no one was watching and we were stranded on a desert island, things would have been much, much different.

Even more excruciating was realizing that he hated me. And, not only him, but other abusers in my life hated me, as well. Letters, blogs, emails, neglect, abuse, anger, pain  . . . all proving that these people in my life did not just have a distaste for me — they wanted to destroy me. Again, it took other people looking in my eyes after reading something they wrote and saying, “They HATE you, Megan!” It was so painful . . . like a thorn delving deep into my heart. I had to reconcile myself to this truth. I had to admit to myself that, not only was there no love, but there was hate. And, why? I don’t know. And I do not try to figure that out, anymore. People are going to hate — and it is not my problem.

I believe that Jeff Crippen told this reader that her husband does not love her to release her . . . to open her eyes to the truth so that she could think clearly and eradicate confusion. When I realized that my ex did not love me, everything made sense.

Oh . . . no WONDER he did thus and such

Oh . . . no wonder he could not seem to . . .

Now everything makes sense . . .

We must accept these types of truths in order to heal and move on. Our spirits really do know that they don’t love us . . . we just need to say it out loud. Cry about it. Let it out. And move forward. There is freedom in realizing that a person who insists that they love you whilst hurting you does not, in actuality, love you. This means you can move forward with your eyes open. This also means that you can quit trying to win their love. Hmmm. We probably were doing that one subconsciously. We can stop that, now. That’s freedom! It is not our problem. That’s freedom! We can let them go now; those who wished to enslave us can even be dead to us now. And that is freedom!

The truth, as painful as it is, really does set us free, doesn’t it?

98 Comments

  1. Marcie

    This is where we are right now and another kind of murder of the heart. I am wondering how to get past it.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Marcie – It isn’t you. You are not flawed and thus unlovable. These abusers only love themselves. They love no one else. There is absolutely nothing you could have done differently to change that. I am sure that you are a very nice person with strength and courage and a loving heart. Ironically, those are some of the very reasons abusers hate their victims. In contrast, if Christ died for us while we were still sinners and rebels, how much more does he love us now that we are his own! There is the remedy. The love of Christ.

      • Danna

        Wise words. Thank you Pastor Crippen.

      • Laurie

        “Fear not, for you will not be ashamed; be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced; for you will forget the shame of your youth, and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more. For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called. For the LORD has called you like a wife deserted and grieved in spirit, like a wife of youth when she is cast off, says your God.
        (Isa 54:4-6)

        Amazing…our CREATOR says He will be our HUSBAND!!!!

  2. BeginHealing

    I needed this reminder today. He doesn’t love me. To do what he did….. he didn’t even like me. His professions of love now are simply to win me back into his service and to make him feel better.

    Why does it trigger me so badly to hear him state that he loves me? I feel anxious, dizzy, sick, my heart races not with love but fear and anger. Why do I feel this way? They are just words. Most likely manipulative ones at that. Why does my body respond with so much intensity if logically I understand the truth?

    This is exhausting!!!

    • MeganC

      Yes, BeginHealing. I used to feel the same way with my ex. I think it is because when he said, “I love you”, that I knew he meant “I hate you”. And, like Jeff said above (and I should have included this in the text), it has nothing to do with you. It has nothing to do with the victim. It is the abuser’s problem. He is simply incapable of loving anyone.

      • BeginHealing

        Megan- It makes me feel a little better that you said it “used” to make you feel the same way. It gives me hope that it will stop feeling like this at some point. Thanks.

        I think that part of the trigger for me is that I have been so manipulated and trained that I am supposed to respond in kind when someone tells me that they love me. I faced so much negativity and guilt if I didn’t do this. I learned from a very early age that I was expected to reciprocate even if it meant denying my true feelings. If someone was feeling love for me I was expected to feel it as well or pay a price. I can’t do that anymore. I won’t. I am learning to come to terms with the fact that it doesn’t make me a mean or uncaring person. I am not intentionally withholding affection. I am being true to how I feel. There is more love and kindness in honesty than there is in telling a lie.

      • MeganC

        Yes, Begin. I know exactly what you mean. Growing up, we were expected to ALWAYS say, “I love you, too!” And, I agree with you. You are being honest . . . which is actually MORE loving than just saying something because you feel pressured.

    • Laurie

      It’s BACKWARDS day! We get sick because the experience of their love feels like hate and their words and actions conflict with our understanding of what we are hearing them say. It is like arguing that when the sun is shining it is night time. Only abusers think their speech is sane, and if they ever meet another abuser they will start a little club.

      BeginHealing, there never was love, except on your part. Remember what love is…1 Cor 13–patient and kind, doesn’t seek its own way, not easily provoked–also remember it is a gift of the Spirit of God AND a way that you can determine if someone is truly in Christ. The wisdom of God is foolishness to mankind, and the wisdom of mankind is foolishness to God–direct conflict. So we must CHOOSE to believe God’s definition of love and reject the foolish definition that a Nabal-like spouse presents to us.

      And this is a very good thing.

      • BeginHealing

        Thank you Laurie. I need to hear this. He was the opposite of 1 Cor 13 love. I was so busy trying to live that way I failed to notice he wasn’t. I even have that scripture framed and on display in my home so I would remember. I was so blind. He is irritable…. I need to be patient he has had a rough day, He wants/needs this……I can see it is important to him I should let him have his way, he would rage at me and the kids…..I did nothing (I was terrified to respond and escalate things worse)

        How, did I miss this? I was so busy walking on eggshells I neglected to notice who was breaking the eggs.

  3. Anonymous

    Coming to terms with “my husband never really loving me”, others ask, “Why did you marry him?” Truth is, I left an abusive home at age 16, hoping to move on. I was headed for college 38 years ago when I met my husband. He insisted we live together. I had always promised myself to never do that but relented as I was very vulnerable at the time. After two years I asked him if we would ever marry? Looking up from the sports page, he casually replied, “I suppose so.” The response lacked “love” and I wished I had been stronger to just leave as the relationship did not grow after the vows were said. The fact that he stated, “I don’t want a large wedding; something small. I don’t want to have to stand up in front of a large crowd and tell them how much I love you.” Those words keep ringing in my ears and sting even more as my now adult children have to heal from a man who used the Christian faith in order to “belong” to the fellowship I had discovered when the Lord saved me.
    Presently, he fears the children knowing more about him. I have finally said after them verbally abusing and blaming me for the past, I must let them know the truth about the fact that even the neurologist wants him to have psychiatric counseling.
    After three false statements of Christian faith he is now reading the ACFJ blog, listening to Pastor Jeff Crippen’s series on Domestic Violence, etc. He said he is being very careful because ACFJ is teaching something we have never held to; the fact that divorce is permissible, however, he is very encouraged that they refer to many secular resources!! I have been through this before. He has listened to countless sermons, he knows the Word very well and admits it. He confesses to not having any emotion; never has and can’t see that changing. Emotional turmoil arises as he changes the story of past incidents. It has gotten to the point that my counselor has suggested that maybe he should have a dementia assessment. My husband would not be impressed with this statement!
    After demanding I leave in 2013 because he felt I was responsible for the stress in his life and that he had had a stroke which was later diagnosed by the second neurologist as severe anxiety … now he even questions that report because of two conflicting reports. I have recommended a third opinion after all the emotional games but he refuses. He claims he will not go to a local counselor; he keeps reminding me, “you know yourself, Bev that you just can’t go to anyone” … He states all of this after my years of studying the misuse of anti-depressants, Biblical and secular counseling, etc.
    I feel like I am rambling … but sense I am like Marcie (Jan 23) … we are both wondering how to get past the years of “trying so hard to make this marriage work” … “wanting the Christian testimony to not be marred” … “to have to answer to others who still claim ‘he’ is just depressed but still truly saved” … it just goes on and on. He eventually told another counselor in 2013 that I can “stay with him, he just doesn’t know what that will mean for me.” I cried as the counselor looked at me and asked, “How long are you willing to be the sacrificial lamb”? I can’t imagine going through this without the strength of Jesus Christ.
    AND I don’t mean to idolize any man-made ministry, however, ACFJ and the many who contribute to this work have been a blessing. Until the Lord provides more local support, I thank you for your unwavering commitment to the many who are struggling. I pray that as ACFJ reaches out to others that your lives and those you love are strengthened by HIS grace. Thank you for loving us when those we wanted to love us just don’t and won’t.

    • Laurie

      –The fact that he stated, “I don’t want a large wedding; something small. I don’t want to have to stand up in front of a large crowd and tell them how much I love you.”–

      Oh my word! What is this? Was he violating his own conscience by marrying you? saying “I love you?”

      Wow! And I, too, understand the bible beating to the brow on not blaspheming the word of God, not like that EVER happened to me when ex told me to stop my relationship with Jesus because ex felt like he could never get close to God so ex could “lead me” because I was in the way.

      And now we are free! Oh, the cost of freedom, but it is worth it to have peace.

  4. IamMyBeloved's

    I think one of the reasons this has been one of the most difficult areas for me to gain healing in, is because I was told that I was a sinner too and reminded constantly, by so-called counselors (at that time) that I was just as bad as him, in God’s eyes. I was constantly told to focus on my own horrid depravity and my own sin and to leave him alone – that I did not deserve God’s grace and mercy either, and that I did not deserve to be loved, and that I had no rights. (Isn’t that the neutrality they always speak against?) Those things have made it more difficult for me to heal in this area, as they have left me confused about what God wants for me and why I should be loved, if I don’t deserve it to begin with.

    Thanks for this post. It is a very helpful reminder to me – and I need lots of reminding about how to view the abusers in my life and how to handle their tactics.

    • Just Me

      Iam, did we have the same Christian counselor? I was told the same thing! Him loving me was not a “need.” It would be a nice thing to have, but I didn’t need it as long as I have Jesus. I eventually developed a level of acceptance of the marriage problems and when I told the counselor that I had made progress accepting things, he said something like “I’m concerned that you’ve become apathetic. I want so much more for you. I want you to have a great, loving marriage! Don’t give up hope. Don’t you want that too?” In other words, don’t be sad that he doesn’t love you and is incapable of having a loving marriage, but at the same time, don’t feel accepting that that’s the way things are. Impossible and totally conflicting.

      • Brenda R

        Just me, As I read this, I could see myself bashing my head against a wall. It is only my opinion, but the counselor was tearing you apart as much or more as your husband.

  5. This also means that you can quit trying to win their love.

    Megan,

    This is a really important point that relates to something we were discussing in another thread. We were discussing the person Hester quoted who said a wife doesn’t deserve her husband’s love but must earn it through obedience. But here you expose the truth that no such thing is possible. It is never the victim’s responsibility to win what the abuser promised in his vow would be their portion for life. Love is generated from the source, not won by the one who desires to be loved, and was told he/she would be.

    But the thing is, that person Hester quoted was giving a standard line given by many in Christendom, which only adds to the confusion. It is so prevalent and the mind boggles that this is so.

    It’s amazing how one simple word of truth blows away that smoke and smashes those mirrors. It becomes self evident as soon as it’s said, though the truth is not the truth we would want. You cannot make someone love when they are committed to unlove.

    What to do with this situation is what each victim must decide for themselves. And they should have the freedom to do so with support and without condemnation.

    • MeganC

      Amen, BIT. Thank you. I love this:

      “What to do with this situation is what each victim must decide for themselves. And they should have the freedom to do so with support and without condemnation.”

  6. Sleeperwakingup

    So hard to hear but so necessary for me to accept. He actually told me after our divorce that “even though we are no more, I still ‘agape’ you”. Those words just stick me all the time – how dare he claim the love that God gives us while acting as he does? I don’t believe peoples words anymore – I believe their actions only.

    • MeganC

      OH gag . . . . “I agape you”? Unbelievable. I’m sorry, Sleeper. I think it is repulsive when someone so far away from Christ uses Christ’s very words to sound more “holy”. 😦

    • Yeah, “I still agape your” makes me wanna gag.

  7. becky c

    Do u think this same abuser loves their children? Our youngest son says his dad doesnt love him. My response has always been: he loves u he just loves himself first. Was that wrong to tell my 21yr old son?

    • Becky – you were not wrong to say that, especially since he’s an adult and it is the truth.
      My kids are younger but we have had the same discussion, but it’s always theoretical …
      “when a person loves himself more than others and more than God…xyz” and “if you are the number one priority in your own heart, then …xyz”

      An accurate thing to say might be “when a person is full of love for themselves, they are simply not capable of truly loving anyone else.”

      it’s about teaching them what to look for. It is completely evident in their father and as they get older they see it on their own (in our case). I would only worry that a child might start thinking they could “earn” more of their parent’s love, and so I have to be careful with that…

    • Psalm 37

      Actions speak louder than words, and kids know that. The degenerate ex has been intentionally texting the kids (13 and 14 yrs. old) that he loves them, while at the same time he hasn’t made a regular support payment since October. Don’t live a lie and give someone any credit who chooses not to love the people on earth who should be the most precious to him.

    • I don’t think the abuser loves his children – if he does at all you’re right, he just loves himself more first.

      I worry about the pain this will cause my grade-school children one day. Their father tries to buy their love all the time with gifts and treats and outings… all while threatening to go to court to get his (really small amount of) child support reduced.

      Then I worry that they’ll never see their dad for who he is and become like him. My son asked me to help him buy a video game for a friend so that the friend would invite him over. I had to carefully give him a talk about how you can’t buy friendship and should never give a gift with strings attached – without veering into my own experience!

    • he loves u he just loves himself first.

      I think the second part of that statement is true, but the first part may or may not be true. It might have been more appropriate to say to your son “I truly don’t know whether your dad loves you. I am not inside his skin. I am not privy to his soul. But if you feel that your dad doesn’t love you and you feel that because of things your dad does (or fails to do) to you, then I think you need to honour your own perceptions and feelings. And I will honour them with you, and support you if your feel sad about the way your dad treats you.”

      That way you are not covering for the abuser, and you are helping your son face reality at his own pace. And you are encouraging your son to trust his gut feelings, which is really important when dealing with abusers.

      • Marcie

        This is excellent advice, Barbara.

  8. ColleenR

    My ex actually confessed “struggling” with “hatred” for me at least two different times during the last few years we were married. I believe it now. Facing it is disorienting and extremely painful in the early stages but oh! how liberating in the long run!!

    • I never got the whole hearts and flowers stuff that most of these abusers seem to do… Once the wedding was over (literally), I never heard the words I love you again — it was only I Hate You and You Make Me Miserable. and ESPN.
      😛

  9. Heather2

    This is a truth that stabs at the heart. We have loved and been rejected. To hear that we were never loved by the one we loved, no matter what, causes us to question our value. And yet, as believers, we cleave to our Lord with all we’ve got. Only through Him will the grief bring life. Then we will find true love and freedom as children of God.

  10. Denise

    I read this post with a “Yes I know”. I’ve been married for almost 20 years and I think I may be emotionally abused.

    I grew up in a very abusive household and I realized one day that I felt more secure and loved in that home than I do now even though my husband has never laid a hand on me. At least my father, other than his occasional explosive rages, showed his love towards us. Funny huh? I was frightened of him but I could still go to him and get a hug or a touch of the hand. We would talk about the things of the world and what not. It’s not like that with my husband.

    My husband’s docile way was attractive in contrast to my highly emotional father. I also hate to admit it, but I wanted to rescue this poor guy who indulged in partying and also had a difficult upbringing.

    Prior to getting married God saved me. I broke it off with my then boyfriend because we were unequally yoked. He later made a profession of faith and then we were married.
    It didn’t take long to see that his profession was false.

    After 15 years my husband made another profession of faith. He truly seemed repentant of all the hurt he brought to our marriage over the years. He even was rebaptised and dedicated himself in front of the congregation with tears that he would be a better husband and father. It seemed genuine for about two months until I had to go to the hospital. The honeymoon was over.

    I just finished Jeff’s sermon series on Domestic Violence and Abuse. He described my marriage with the “Crazy Making”, my husband’s stoic/ financial withholding, and explosive anger. I knew this was horribly wrong but to have it validated is a relief as well as very grievance.

    I shared the things I learned with him last weekend. It seems to have made things worse. He is just as distant. As we argued on the validity of his abuse, he ironically changed history and told me that my reality is distorted. Wow! This confrontation did nothing. He spends hours almost every evening on his iPhone watching TV shows while the boys and I feel hopelessly neglected.

    This is just a basic outline of my life. I can’t believe I’m sharing this on a comments thread. I have no one to help me. My church has washed their hands it seems. I don’t want a divorce. I have no skills, no education, my kids are homeschooled and they are happy in spite of the things that are going on. How can I rip their world apart?

    I need a lot of prayer. I feel like a shell of a person. I’m losing myself and my faith, which was so zealous and is now very dull which is scaring me. I’ve prayed with tears more times than I can count. I always thought I was just being hypersensitive. I do wear my feelings on my sleeve, but I don’t even feel anymore.

    You’re right…he doesn’t love me.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Denise – Pretty tough stuff, isn’t it? Well, you have a good community of Christians right here who really do understand what you are in. No, it isn’t so easy to just say “well, I’m leaving the guy.” Children, finances, emotional attachments, all complicate things. We are very glad you found us, that you found the sermon series, and that you shared your story. Being around hypocrites – people who claim they are Christians but aren’t – can really discourage us and tempt us to wonder if the whole Christian religion isn’t one big lie. But of course, Christ is real and He always has His remnant of people who really do belong to Him. They can be a bit hard to find sometimes because it seems nowadays that local, visible churches often are not dominated by Christ’s genuine sheep.

      No, you aren’t being hypersensitive. You are, in fact, awakening to what has really been going on for years. That awakening can be painful, but it is the beginning of the move into freedom.

      Please keep in contact with us and share with us what you can.

      • Denise

        Thank you so much for your encouragement. It’s true when you said that I’ve wondered about Christianity being real after experiencing the hypocrisy of so many. It is really true when Christ said that few would find the narrow gate. God bless you brother.

    • Danna

      He put on a great show, to hook you into even greater hope and bonding….to be able to sustain it only for 2 months.

      The marker of a seared conscience and a reprobate mind is their inability to sustain positive change.

      Hope deferred…and malignant (unrealistic) hope does, indeed, hurt a good woman’s heart – another of an abuser’s objectives (unfortunately).

      Teaching this stuff to young people is so important. Even if is saves only a handful from becoming ensnared by abusers, it’s worth it.

    • Marcie

      Denise, Your children may appear to be happy but damage can still be happening. Everyone thought my former husband was best friends with my son including my son because his dad confided in him things like “Your mom is crazy.” He ended up in danger of harming himself or running away as a teen. That was the straw that broke my holding it together back and we fled. Sadly, the so -called counselors we went to covered for his dad. Now, my son is treating his sister and I the way his dad taught him.

      • Denise

        Thank you Marcie. I have to consider the lesser of two evils. Do I want my boys to have joint custody with a father who is not the best influence without me to intervene? The kids are the ones who get caught up in all of this mess. I feel partially responsible for bringing them in to this world with this man. All things need to be considered. I have yet to find anyone who was glad their parents divorced.

      • Marcie

        Dear Denise, I had the same concerns and stayed for the same reasons. The legal system does not seem to protect children the children. How do you leave your children in visitation with a man who you know is doing drugs, has different women in and out of his life all the time, and is around people who do the same? I was worried one of these men would take advantage of my daughter, etc. This is a highly educated, charming, active in church man. What I found was my fears of what the children would be exposed to on visitation, he brought into our home without my knowing it to my son. This was my experience. Each experience is unique and yet, similar. Only you can answer this question about what is best for your children in your situation. Your children are blessed to have a mother who loves the Lord and loves them sacrificially.

      • His beloved

        Denise,
        My son is VERY glad that I divorced his dad. He is now 18. We separated 21 months ago and divorced a year ago. I was VERY VERY fortunate that my son did not have contact with his dad for 3 months after the separation and after those 3 months he said “Wow, my head is clearing.” Then he read an email from his Dad and felt crazy again and that helped him decide to continue not having any contact. He also sees a counselor who supports this decision. My son knows he will have to work through the deep emotional issues of losing his dad altogether, but he also knows he’ll have to work through the issues of having a narcissistic father anyway. But he knows that by not having contact he can at least keep his head clear of the crazy-making. He never knew there was anything wrong with his dad until he was gone and he experienced me treating him with love, care, concern and sanity- that is when he realized what true love really is.
        Everyone’s situation is very different, and I can’t imagine anything more painful that having to let your children spend time with an abusive dad after a divorce, but I did want you to know that there are cases where the divorce is welcomed by the children.

    • Ellie

      I am a homeschooling mom as well. I am praying for you. I was terrified, but God went before me. God shows me what to do a little at a time. He will show you what to do.

    • Dear Denise, I am so glad you have found us and shared your pain here.

      I shared the things I learned with him last weekend. It seems to have made things worse.

      This is unfortunately very common. In fact, I would say it’s almost universal. When an abuser is confronted about their behaviour they resist the truth, they actively fight against it. And this fighting can take many forms, covert or overt, angry or silent, cold or volcanically explosive. But it always has some kind of blame shifting built into it: they try to accuse you of the very things they do themselves and if they admit any fault it is only a partial and manipulative admission designed to downplay the sinfulness of their sins. These tactics often take the victim by surprise. In the past if she has been complying with the abuse and walking on eggshells (which is generally the only way to survive in abusive relationships) then she has not been confronting the abuser very often with how wrong his tactics are, and she has not actually seen them as A.B.U.S.E. and T.A.C.T.I.C.A.L strategies to keep her controlled. But when she starts to wake up and see the abusive tactics for what they are and confront the abuser with them, the abuser excaletes his tactics and even brings out new ones, to try to wrest control back and push her back into her place. This is what I think happened when you confronted your husband.

      Now you know the pattern, you can be more prepared (have your armour on tight) when it happens again. I’m not saying you shouldn’t confront him: that’s up to you, and you are the best judge of what to say to him and what to not say, to maintain your own safety and sanity. But if and when you do confront him, be prepared for his push back so that it doest not throw you so much off balance.

      You are very strong to have survived this long. Even if you don’t feel strong and brave, even if you feel like a week reed wavering in the wind or desiccated by drought, you are still amazing for having survived what you’ve survived. Pat yourself on the back for that, if you can. 🙂 Hugs to you.

      • Denise

        I read this with tears. Thank you so much for your tender words. It was enlightening confronting him and having his use these tactics.

        A long term planned escape maybe in the works. I will look into taking a class or two so I may have to support myself and my boys if need be. My husband will not like me taking time and money for that, but I don’t care anymore. Fortunately I don’t have to fear for my safety, but I’ll have to endure his grumbling.

        The thing that keeps me here is there is a side to him that rarely reveals itself of the person he desperately wants to be. It seems that there is a battle in his mind of the man he wants to be and the man he truly is. He defaults to his flesh because only God can bring about a repentant mind to change.

        Our pastor has just started a sermon series on 1 John on the assurance of salvation. This type of preaching would make him uncomfortable. I just pray that God would supernaturally change this man’s mind and heart once and for all. I need prayer from people who understand.

    • I totally understand. My heart goes out to you. Im in the phase of enlightenment, coming to terms with the truth. In March last year I started to realise and it has been so hard. Im the same as you, no education, no money. This year I plan to prepare for change. My zealous walk with God has taken a big hit but from my experience recently God has used this blog to reignited me. I pray the same will happen to you. Praying for you.

  11. G. F. Mom

    You know, my husband scolded me for contending about a scripture with this woman victim who turned out to be an abuser. He acted disgusted at me to the point I cried and so I got falsely convicted that I should apologize to her and support her. We ended up donating money to her family for Thanksgiving that would pay for the whole meal for her large family. She ended up exploiting me to be her ally for almost a year. I believed everything she said about the alleged abusers. She presented many proofs of circumstantial evidence which partly could have been a fabrication but she also seemed to have a strong delusion and I think she was lying to me about a sting operation. It was a big mess. Last year after I had my baby she started revealing some jealousy and lies and sickening threats and encouraged these people to kill themselves etc and but I felt emotionally hooked with her and I would try to subtly tell her I wasn’t in agreement with some of the stuff but “to each their own.” She didn’t respect me when I tried to gently show her things. She always had an excuse or countered me with scripture she twisted to suit her agenda of vengeance. God gave me a dream about a big jelly spider that was my size. I was afraid to kill it in the dream. My husband was next to me and I asked him to do something about it. He just got some paper and covered it up and slid it under some furniture. I looked up the dream and I knew the spider was a female power struggle. The “white, jelly-like” spider indicated a religious spider that was partly fake. My husband wanted me to be her friend because he saw somebody that I could be close to while he’s at work that would “loosen me up” because he felt I was too prudish for him. This spider dream happened after she was deciding that she no longer wanted to be so close with me. God also started revealing very telling scriptures in my Bible apps on my phone and I was posting them to Fb but she didn’t like those scriptures probably because they were bugging her conscience. She was providing a close friendship with me and then started to withhold it and she started saying really mean things sometimes for no reason. She was repaying evil for good. I sacrificed my reputation because I believed she was a victimized lost sheep when I knew everybody that were my friends/ acquaintances were just quietly observing but they didn’t warn me. I wanted to be the hero that would not judge a book by it’s cover. She was isolated from all her relationships with only her immediate family. She had a good story and I felt deep empathy. My husband didn’t even know this woman from another state. It’s just like Satan used my husband to lead me into a wrong path to discover all those mysterious scriptures that were about certain types of people because it was my experience everybody was fairly safe. So somewhere after that I realized just how much God allows us to suffer under destruction when we submit to man without question because of a conviction that is sincere. It would seem like my husband didn’t love me enough to keep me safe from harm. This might be true. He is very oblivious because he wants to be a better dad than he had who abandoned them when they were 4. But when I gave my husband her last email where she punched me out with all kinds of ugly words and discarded me he felt empathy for me and said “F*** her.” He realized he led me into danger and he was sorry he gave me blind admonishment but he still saw the bright side that at least I had somebody to practice on not being a shallow friend. I believed I was a shallow friend because I would contend for the faith. He encouraged me to believe that. I think that while the husband who calls himself a Christian but the evidence of his Christianity seems ambiguous he can be duped by Satan. All Christian, baby Christians or mature, can be duped. Especially because the only scriptures he remembers are from his upbringing when his mom would make him write them a hundred times for punishment after beating him. So I think it isn’t always necessarily so plane and simple that they don’t love you. Sometimes they are just luke warm and they half ways love the world and themselves too much. And I have felt like I’m just a maid, a cook, and his personal and loyal prostitute that I think he’s loyal to too. I’ve told him I feel that way and then he changes. He was just oblivious because he is selfish and brutish in his core underneath his charm but I also have seen a big heart and a generous spirit that he does not brag about He does have empathy. I see that he can be naive and love so much without boundaries. Sometimes he abandons us too much to help others because he doesn’t prioritize. Maybe he doesn’t actually love us the way that he should or to the degree that he should but I don’t think he hates me. It’s complicated. I do see why some women definitely need to hear it that their husband’s don’t love them and I pray that the Lord reveals it to them sort of like He revealed this woman to me. I know that I’ve had in the past the tendency to read stuff that mirrors some past behaviors of his to a certain degree. I don’t think my husband could be physically violent on purpose. He can be a big oaf though.

    • G. F. Mom

      I am sorry that was so long. My point was about that close friendship I had. I believe that woman really did hate me that whole time. I believe she was a sociopath. She befriended me a close emotional friendship. She knew I was shy and didn’t have close friendships and my husband wasn’t there emotionally. She used me up and then spit me out. She was like a spider with her web of paper craft gifts, long phone calls, and many emails. Plus our daughters were pen pals. She took and took and took things that had more value than what she gave in return. But God used it for good cause I learned a lot and my relationship with God is rekindled. But the point is I know people exist that pretend to love but really hate and are exploiting you behind the scenes the whole time and then they defame you after discarding you. I know that because I studied it and read many peoples experiences.

      • It’s good you’ve garnered some positive learning from that horrible relationship with the spider woman!

        Have you read Lundy Bancroft’s book yet? I think you might find it very helpful. It’s on our Resources pages.

        IMPORTANT NOTE: While we endorse Lundy’s writings about the dynamics of domestic abuse, we do not recommend anyone attend the ‘healing retreats’ Lundy Bancroft offers or become involved in his ‘Peak Living Network.’ See our post, ACFJ Does Not Recommend Lundy Bancroft’s Retreats or His New Peak Living Network for more about our concerns.

      • G. F. Mom

        I want to get it. I really do. I’m going to try to asap.

  12. G. F. Mom

    You know, I guess it may be true that he never really loved me. I remember watching Barb’s video about Judges 19 and just being cold with my husband. And posts around that post were really resonating with his behavior. I think it is possible that he just needs a wife but I also need a husband. I hope he sticks by my side when I lose my looks. He is very very charming and charismatic. He knows how to get what he wants. He is probably one of these types shape-shifters or chameleons. The con artists. He knows how to cry. He cried when he asked me if I believed he could really be a psychopath like that husband in Judges 19. I know he told me that I read stuff and get paranoid. It’s true and my paranoia levels are high since that relationship I mentioned above. Plus we were watching so many criminal case programs for so long.

    Denise, I feel for you. I know I’m emotionally abused and neglected and financially abused too. I’m isolated. My husband is not angry. He gets anxiety attacks I feel threatened by because of the past. My husband is funny. Very very charming. I think he is mirroring to me my ideal prince charming ever since he found out I was studying his behavior and why. I hate to see him cry. I would hate to falsely accuse him. He uses a lot of those tactics. I feel so downtrodden because his work hours and now at night at least he is behaving the way he should but it may be because he knows now I am on to something that he needs to change or he might lose me

    But I have nowhere to go. I’m codependent and then I can’t see myself wanting to ever be with anybody else and I don’t want to be alone. My children adore him. They are happy for the most part, like yours. I can console myself by looking on the bright side and weighing out the pros and cons. I think I can manage now that I showed him why patriarchy is soooo messed up and how it made him entitled which made things so much more burdensome. He is being more respectful but still tries to make bad jokes like I’m taking advantage of the situation.

    I have asked my parents to put money away for me for my birthdays and holidays instead of gifts just in case I need it and I will. But I also plan on getting a part time job.

    I have never really had good dreams about my husband. Usually he’s never in them but when he is they’re never good dreams. They say disloyal, neglect, apathy and him well off while I’m destitute. That’s always bugged me. I have to subtly win his love as I lose my looks but put money away at the same time just in case and now my parents know things not as great as I helped pretend before to honor him.

  13. Brenda R

    I knew for many years that my husband didn’t love me. He would always say, “I don’t like you, I love you.” If he didn’t like me, how in the world could he love me? I would ask him what he loved about me. He had no answers. He could never think of a thing about me that he loved, that drew him to me. A person who loves another doesn’t do or say the awful things that he did to me. He never once said he was sorry for anything he ever did until I pointed it out to him a few years ago. Then when he did say it, I could tell it was not genuine. He said it because I told him he should. At that point the verbal abuse was getting worse and he’d say “I’m sorry” to try and make it all go away. It didn’t. I stopped saying I love you to him 3 years before I left him. I didn’t want to lie anymore. I no longer saw the same man that I thought was there before we said our vows. He now says that he never took any vows. Not quite sure who was standing there with me that day, but I guess it wasn’t him.

    • G. F. Mom

      I often felt like he expected me to be like this loyal little puppy dog. I feel embarrassed saying this and hope nobody takes me wrong but I sometimes had to drag out apologies gently and ever so respectfully because he’d refuse and he’d get an intense look and wrinkle his brow and lean in to try to intimidate and look appalled that he’s even being questioned. I had to teach him on why if he were not doing wrong then he’d understand and sympathize for my need to sort it out and feel good. Most people want to sympathize and validate an accusation and then gently present their defense. At least I would. I’ll honestly recall he only likes my body and how I clean and how I cook the rest of the things about me he doesn’t truly seem to like. He likes when I change my personality to fit his. He likes when I cover for him. When I am blind to his ways as abusive. He will get his way by being so patient and good I can’t say no without bugging my conscience.

      • “I can’t say no without bugging my conscience.”
        GF Mom. I wish I could give you a pill that would stop your conscience bugging you with false guilt for saying No when No is quite reasonable, fair and honourable. 🙂

        But I think by articulating the problem may be half the way to solving it. Often, when we see a problem clearly we are on the way to fixing it.

      • G. F. Mom

        Thanks Barb 🙂

  14. His beloved

    Thank you Megan for another timely post. This is an issue I have been deeply grieving over the last month. It was triggered by the fact that my X just got remarried. We were together 26 years and he got remarried in less than one year after the divorce. He had placed an ad on Craig’s List for a new wife only 5 weeks after the divorce was final so I’m not surprised. And of course it is par for the course for abusers to find a new victim quickly, and narcissists to find a supply of admiration.
    But I am amazed at the level of pain it has brought up as I face that he REALLY never loved me…. that I am so easily replaced after all his seducing promises of “forever,” “it had to be me,” “I am the only one” etc. Even the “honeymoon” phases were FAKE- just another part of his cycle of power and control.
    I know all this intellectually but wow it hurts!
    I look forward to the freedom!

    • “I know all this intellectually but wow it hurts!”
      That.

  15. Leslie

    This is not on topic, but I’m just wondering if anyone is familiar with “Different By Design Marriage Conference” as part of Ministry Insights? What are their views on submission, headship, divorce???
    Thanks

    • Not familiar with that but the title sounds like it’s not gonna be good. Most of those kinds of teachings are just cookie-cutter gender roles stuff being constantly recycled from one teacher to the next, one conference to the next, one program to the next. And all missing the elephant in the room — domestic abuse. Or if they acknowledge it, they do so in parentheses and footnotes. I’m sick of it all. Until those kinds of ministries wake up to abuse and get really proactive in helping the victims, they are just spinning wheels.

    • Les and Leslie Parrot are a significant factor with Ministry Insights. I can’t remember where they are with the abuse issue, etc.

      Perhaps such things are good for people who just need insight into each other’s mechanisms, but for someone dealing with someone who is deliberately evil it’s not going to help. It’s not the abuser’s psychology or personality strengths victims need insight on, it’s the fact of the abuser’s evil that needs the light bulb.

  16. Heather2

    One of the most difficult things I try to accept is the fact the my ex never truly did love me. None of his words were followed by genuine loving actions. I’ve been reminded, often, that when I try to figure it out I must not put myself and my responses onto him. He did not think or feel the way I do. But I hear his words! I see his expressions! They touched my heart for decades! Ah, but they are not true! And I must then face the unlove once more….. And feel the pain, acknowledge what it is. For I know that is the only way to heal. Heavy sigh….

    • His beloved

      Heather2:
      YES!!! You have described the power of that seduction so well.
      That is exactly what made me vulnerable and exactly what needs to heal so I will never be conned again.
      My X did do “loving” actions but even they were fake and manipulations. He used to buy me a flower every week. One day I gave it back to him and told him he was buying them for himself not me so he can just keep them. After he moved out I found a list he had made of compliments to say to me. The list was dated and there was a check mark beside each compliment he had said. No wonder they always seemed wooden. All this happened back in the days when we read Lundy’s book “Why Does He Do That” TOGETHER to try to deal with “our problem” of his abuse. I am amazed how much he manipulated me and how warped my thinking was back then. But it was all because I wanted desperately for his “love” to be real because that was my identity and worth. Now I am getting that from the Lord’s love.

      • Heather2

        His beloved, your name describes how much our Lord loves you. The rest is crazy making and tears your heart to shreds! Hugs, dear sister.

      • His beloved

        Thank you Heather2.
        I was writing the other day that I felt that my X was standing in front of me holding my shredded heart in his hands, smiling at his handiwork.
        What would we do without our TRUE Beloved and His healing?
        Hugs to you too!

      • Marcie

        Heather, thank you for your words above.

  17. G. F. Mom

    But but but, love believes all things and hopes all things, right? How much room do we give for that, and where do we draw the line? I guess it boils down to until it’s destruction is too dead and you have proof his “repentance” was only as far as it benefited him. Right now my husband is acting too good to be true and he brought me a rose last night, a rich piece of chocolate cake the other night, he puts the Ipad away if I want to talk, and he is being more helpful. Doesn’t complain even subtly about the shortcomings on my part. He is being so good, almost too good to be true. I just feel expected to respond over-achievingly generous and so I am feeling inclined but I hope it doesn’t backfire. They say it’s 21 days to make a habit…. I think teaching him about abuse can lead to personal conviction but is it my place to do that? In the car he said if I keep hammering away at his past mistakes it’s hard for him to feel like trying so hard. But I don’t expect him to try unrealistically hard. In fact it scares me he’s just stuffing my imperfections down. Until we were convicted of our sinfulness we were just going through the motions in Sunday school and in society. So maybe he just needs to learn what abuse is. I don’t know if I should be a spy or a teacher? Barb, I’ll go back to that first email you sent me. I think I need to read it again.

    • His beloved

      Your situation could be completely different from mine of course, but my experience was that whenever I confronted my X about the abuse he would always react by changing his behavior, “repenting,” soul-searching and talking again about his child sexual abuse and how that makes him be this way etc. He once even wrote me 15 page apology letter! He is a “Mr. Nice guy” abuser and always had to look good and sound good. He bought flowers, ran baths for me, cooked, shopped, complimented me and really played the part. He told friends that when he was nice to me and it made me trust him again and turn my heart back to him he felt powerful. I thought that was an odd thing to say- this was before I knew who he really was. The longest he was ever able to be a perfect guy was for 6 weeks. That was a record. It usually only lasted a couple of weeks. But it wasn’t who he really is and he preferred the power of hurting me emotionally – in fact he admitted that the thrill of seducing me only to hurt me again was what he lived for.

      Once we separated he never got nice again. And he denied his child sexual abuse and told everyone that I made him believe it had happened but it hadn’t. And that it was MY childhood sexual abuse that was causing me to falsely accuse him of abusing me. He did many 180 degree turns in his story, back and forth and back forth over the years, without taking a breath.

      I have heard that some men use abusive techniques but are not abusers, and when they learn what they are doing they can stop and learn healthy ways of relating. I believe those guys are different from the kind of abusers most of us here have lived with. I know we all would be thrilled if your husband does change. And I know we are also very cautious because of our experience of how rare that is. In the meantime, you getting strong in the Lord and clear in your perceptions is the best thing in the world.

      • G. F. Mom

        His Beloved, WOW!… I am so sorry. The abuser you were married to sounds like a real psychopath. Look at this list http://psychopathsandlove.com/red-flags-of-a-psychopath/. My husband has all of the qualities too but he hasn’t hurt me on purpose. He sometimes needs help seeing personal errors/sympathizing. I told him I feel like a little doggy whos owner neglects her too much and i’m left to dig holes. The holes are my self esteem corroding. When I told him that he works hard to change but he’s a good talker. I told him when he talks I think its like tricking his mind w a shallow good deed and if I don’t remind him (not nagging) he soon forgets. I told him he has all the qualities of the psychopath (above link) but he says good salesmen have it but they channel it differently. It makes sense. I am glad you told me there are people who use those techniques but aren’t abusers. My husband would certainly be warned by CPS. He has done and not done things that raise question and now he knows that they are valid questions. This early morning he finally confessed about going out to lunch with his friend (female coworker) 20 or 30 times. I told him at the beginning of our marriage not to go out with women for lunch. 5 years ago she texted him: “When are you picking me up to get lunch” and I snatched the phone to text/call her but he got it back from me. He lied and said he wasn’t going out with her but he was. She has visited with us with her husband a few times after too. He says he not only wants me to be his wife and to treat me better but that he wants us to be like bff’s now too. Basically selling me on that he wants to be soul mates. We’ll see.

        His Beloved, thank you so much for taking the time to write to me.

      • His beloved

        Yes, he may be a psychopath- he is absolutely a sociopath and a narcissist.

        Although a very few number of men can change I do urge you to be very very cautious. I don’t want to mislead you that he will change. I held on to that false hope for years as my self esteem died.

        I studied this stuff for 3 years WITH my X, we read articles about narcissism and borderline together. I believed that he could change. At the time I thought that he couldn’t help it. Now I see that he was a chameleon and could play me so well. I see that he knew me better than I knew myself and could change his behavior to suit what I needed to stay hooked- whether it was “repentance” or “suddenly understanding” his behavior and being able to explain it, or looking like he was working hard to change to play on my sympathies. He also admitted to previous lies. I thought he was a little boy who needed my help to understand himself. He also claimed to forget to do the new things we had talked about so I’d have to remind him. He was the perfect victim, poor thing. And because he played the victim I didn’t see the similarities to sociopath behavior or know he was doing it all on purpose.

        But I see now that really it was all to keep me hooked in to his drama and his life. And he knew I would stay hooked as a homeschool mom with no job possibilities, and a caretaker by nature who wanted to help him because he “needed” me so much and I “needed” him so much. He played on my hope and dreams that a “happy marriage is just around the corner” for years as we tried to “help him.”

        The best advice I got was to separate and WATCH- to see who he is without me because that is who he REALLY is. It was devastatingly and painfully illuminating.
        But without him around to play me, and to do his constant SPIN on events to play on my sympathy and change my perceptions of what was happening, I saw things more and more clearly and I hope that you will too. It’s awfully hard to get clarity in the midst of the abuse because we listen to their explanations and believe them. But they are lying!!!!! Even when they say they forget, they are lying.

        If you are reading articles about psychopathic behavior them there is something terribly wrong in your marriage that you are trying to get a hold of. People in normal marriages simply don’t read article on psychopaths!! But I couldn’t even get how crazy that is until I was separated for a long time!!!!! I was way to far away from normal to know what normal is.

      • G. F. Mom

        I’ve been studying about narcissism because of his mom who we lived with for many years, well, most of our marriage. And then the spider woman ex-friend of mine last year that I described above. Maybe those experiences are a preparation for what is to come.

        I watched this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6duQu6HDtM#t=0 and I felt like my husband really seemes a lot like the video describes. The interesting thing is I told him from the beginning of our marriage that if he is ever going to leave me for someone else to try to do it as fairly as possible. In fact I often still tell him he wants to be rich not to do it on the strength of my neck and with us stifling him. I said he’ll get rich faster if he leaves me. He said he doesn’t want to lose his family. When I talk to him about him leaving or us going to my mom’s he is extra affectionate.

        One time I was so depressed I scared him. One time he taunted me so bad I scared myself and him but then he never did that again. He has gone out with his buddies and doesn’t answer his cell when I call and that’s after I was flexible with his hours. But about a year ago he did that and didn’t come home until 3 in the morning and he was drunk and threw up. I told him I was leaving him and he swore he wouldn’t do that again. He said he didn’t know he was crossing the line.

        I am praying a lot. My parents know some things now. I think mine is a chameleon too but I don’t think he’s malignant. I am being careful.

      • HisBeloved, I really like this comment you made. 🙂

  18. Anon

    Been living in a loveless marriage for over two decades. Except now I wonder if he ever did love me. He has told me that he changed his mind before we got married but it was too late to do anything about it. And he was angry every. single. time. I got pregnant, like I did it all by myself to spite him. But we could never ‘afford’ to get ‘fixed’.
    And I was so happy each pregnancy! I not only loved those babies, I joyed in the fact that everyone thought I had a wonderful life with a husband who loved me SO MUCH that we were just having sex like rabbits.

    My life has been consumed all these years with him. Underlying everything, there is him. Every happy couple I see. Holding hands. Hearing them talk to each other like people who like each other. Hurt me so bad.

    I am just so tired. And now my children are older. You can’t hide the truth. But sadly he is the wonderful one to them, and I am the mean one. He has always just been so nice to everyone else, so great, so fun, so kind. Except to me. Not to me. What is the true man? Why am I so unlovable? What is there about me that is so awful?
    This is my secret shame. Only a few people know.

    And since this is ‘internet anonymous’ I can say the BIG SECRET — he is a transvestite. Or was. Does it ever stop? I mean once you are, are you one for life? I have caught him many times ‘dressing up’, but not for some years. I guess it was easier for him to do this when the kids were little. When he would dress up it was stimulating to him and he would also touch himself.

    So I read articles like this. And all I can think is SHE GOT AWAY. SHE IS SO LUCKY TO GET AWAY. I can’t. I have wanted to leave for so many years but God has put this leash on me and I stay.

    There is a Christian singer who divorced and married a new husband. She had an affair, got rid of her husband, married the new guy, and is BLISSFULLY HAPPY. Wait a minute. The way of the transgressor is hard! Why! is she happy! . . . It is just not fair. I stayed. And I’m still staying. With no job, no money, no car that I can dependably call my own, and children still living at home. I can’t. The thought of everyone knowing how he feels towards me, I can’t. It’s hard enough ME knowing.

    He doesn’t hit me. He doesn’t drink. He doesn’t look at porn. He doesn’t swear. He is one of those silent men that are just so deep. He works faithfully. He tells me I have destroyed his life. He says he doesn’t need me to love him.
    This is the center of my life. All stems from this. My depression. My insecurity. Everything goes back to the one basic fact that he doesn’t love me. He doesn’t even like me! Yet we ‘get along’. As long as I don’t make waves, of course. I walk on eggshells. He has a chip on his shoulder a mile wide! I never know what will make him flip out on me.

    Wow how in the world is this so long.
    How in the world can I move on when I am still here?

    • Dear Anon, I am so sorry. thank you for sharing. What you have suffered from this man — it’s appalling and outrageous. I hope you keep coming to our blog. It must have taken a lot of courage for you to comment here. (((hugs))) from Barb

    • Sleeperwakingup

      [EDS: the link to a website which was here at the start of this comment has now been deleted. We believe that website is run by a woman who claims to be counselor but is not, and she has a track record of using the pain of other hurting women for her own self-glorification. We apologise for our lack of due diligence in allowing that link to be published. And we have removed a little bit of the commenter’s words where she was talking positively about that site]

      … [M]y ex confessed to me about a month before we broke up that he had been into cross-dressing “before we dated” but that he had “stopped because he knew it was wrong”. I don’t believe that for a second. He was always trying on my shoes, wearing them to take out the trash and claiming that he didn’t have sandals and “they were right by the door” or “I don’t believe you that wearing heels is so difficult and painful so I’m going to try them on” or “we should switch roles for Halloween – you dress up like a man and I’ll dress up like a woman” (never mind that I had never dressed up for Halloween heretofore and had no interest). After we split I trashed almost all of my wardrobe and all of my shoes were donated to Goodwill. The trend of the sexual relationship or lack thereof in our marriage was again, dead-on to the average description given in Bonnie’s books of what gay men in a straight, cover-up, counterfeit marriage will do. I was having a hard time breathing reading through some of it. I found out after I started asking questions of some of my very close girlfriends that knew him that he had been inappropriately touching the husband of one of them on the thigh, and later outright exposing his very aroused self without warning or request to this same man. Also, I have found out since that my x has asked about going out to visit one of our other mutual friends to go to the drag queen/gay clubs out there and “get tips”. Yeah, umm, you don’t go there for observation only. ***GAGGING SO BAD***** Only problem is, nobody I ever tell this too in his circle of friends/family will ever believe it because he so loudly denounces gay people and calls them all kinds of nasty things and actually disowned his brother for two years when he came out of the closet. Sometimes you just have to go with your gut instinct.

      • Sleeperwakingup

        Oh, what I meant to add was that it is common in these kind of relationships for the gay husband to begin treating you with more and more contempt and disgust and be more abusive because they see you as the obstruction to them living the life their proclivities lead them towards. It makes no sense given that they chose to marry straight but that doesn’t matter. Also, they will rarely identify themselves as “gay” even if they are having relations. In their warped and twisted selves, they just don’t fit that category. Please protect yourself.

  19. 10 are Free

    I have been married to my abuser for 22 years. We were only married a few years the first time that he told me that he didn’t love me and that he wished he had never married me. Over the years, he would repeat that here and there; right up until the time that I separated from him over 1 and 1/2 years ago. He didn’t say it all the time, but enough to keep me unsure. Then there were times he would tell me that he did in fact love me. It was like having my marriage foundation built on the shifting sand of his “moods”. I do not remember when the break finally came, but at some point I accepted that fact that he really did not love me. It wasn’t upsetting, or traumatic. In a strange way, it was a relief and very freeing. The hurt came in realizing that he didn’t just have a lack of love for me, but that he actively hated me. I have come to accept it as the truth and his behavior towards me is certainly proof of that.
    The thing that I find ironic and that he doesn’t seem to understand is that I now believe his denials of any love for me. When he is trying to insist that he does in fact love me, he gets angry with me that I don’t believe him. He will scream at me that he has apologized for all the times that he told me that he didn’t, and that I’m the one with the problem because I just haven’t forgiven him. I have tried to remind him that, yes, he did apologize, but he would always end up saying it again. I have forgiven him, but it doesn’t change the truth.
    The thing I really don’t understand is how other people will try to convince me that he doesn’t really mean it when he says those things (or all the other hurtful things he says to me). My pastor, other church leadership, friends, and family….when I have shared this part of my story with them, their response is quite often one of trying to reassure me that they are sure he really does love me, and that he must just say things he doesn’t mean sometimes…”After all, don’t we all do that sometimes?” Why is it so difficult for other people to accept that my husband does not love me and why does it seem so important to them to reassure me that he does? Even in the face of what I have told them of his physical, mental, verbal, emotional, sexual, financial, and spiritual abuse, and the similar abuses of my children, people will still try to convince me that my husband does in fact love me.
    Still coming out of the fog, and working on healing, but there is one thing I am grateful for. I have realized that there is nothing he can do or say that hurts me anymore. He may scare me, or even make me angry with the things he continues to do, but my emotions are removed enough that the things he does no longer hurt me or make me question my own value, sanity, or judgment. I am so grateful for God’s faithfulness and healing.

    • Maybe you could send this image of Pollyanna and the Glad Game to your pastor, church leaders, friends and family.
      Would they get the hint, do you think?

  20. Coming to terms with the fact that my husband doesn’t love me is so hard. He says to me ‘if only I could see his heart, I would see how much he loves me’. He has said he has devoted his whole life to me. I have said to him if he loved me he wouldn’t treat me with such hate and contempt.
    When I read about the psychopath he has many of theses traits. He cannot empathize, or sympathize with me or others. He tries, with his syrupy words, but I sense in my spirit this is false and flattery. When I cry he does not hug me or comfort me.
    He tells me he is not scared of anyone or anything…I said to him the one thing he does fear is losing me…. He gave no comment. He has seen three councellors in a year only one if them have given him truth… The other two have told him to enjoy life with me. (Among other things that have come back to bite me) Some councellors havnt got a clue how they add fuel to a fire when they do not discern what is going on. I told all three councellors he is mean, says he loves me and hurts me bad… Just enjoy life… What a joke!
    I sense his hate of woman, especially woman who have left their husbands, committed adultery, divorced or separated from their spouse. I have gotten quite sick of hearing his views of this. I have not agreed with him on this matter for a very very long time but I have to be so careful what I say or I will get a barrage of anger.
    I’m seein his lack of love…or should I say no love over recent times. It is so hard when he acts like the man I love but knowing full well it will change with no warning.
    I’m fearful of my future. I’m making plans for change, if I need to. I’m looking to confront him, but biding my time. I have confronted him twice in the past week about being harsh and falsely accusing me and it erupted into a full blown argument. If I confront him on things he explodes and comes out with all sorts at me from going off an ‘screwing’ other men down to calling me a hypocrite. So over the last two months I have kept quite about much but this year all hell is about to break loose.
    Thanks for this post Megan I find I relate a lot to all that you say in your posts

    • Brenda R

      He says to me ‘if only I could see his heart, I would see how much he loves me’.

      Loves6, I have heard this line on many occasions including since we separated and are not divorced. I have heard this line on my voice mail. I have to wonder if this was a line in a movie that I don’t recall or what. Maybe the “Abusers Guide to How to Keep Your Woman a Little Longer”.This morning I heard, “Good Morning, my love”, on my voice mail. I wanted to gag. Our divorce was final 2 months ago.

      I was often, and when I say often I mean several times a year accused of “screwing” other men amongst other vulgar terminology. It didn’t have anything to do with any particular conversation. Once, it was because I was busy canning tomatoes and didn’t stop to hug him. That was all it took. I was blasted with accusations, while trying not to burn myself in the boiling water kettle I was using for the process. Another time it was because the dentist I worked for at the time had given me a Christmas present. He gave everyone a gift in addition to taking us out to lunch. That was the first time. At that point I couldn’t believe what I was hearing so I responded. “Yes, we do it right in the Operatory.” There were no doors on the rooms, so it would have been quite a show. I did learn quickly not to respond. It only made matters worse.

      • Leslie

        I have to wonder if this was a line in a movie that I don’t recall or what. Maybe the “Abusers Guide to How to Keep Your Woman a Little Longer”.

        Wow. It’s totally amazing and somewhat freaky to read lines that so many other men use. I’m getting this one a lot lately as well. ” If you could only see my heart, you;d know how much I love you. then he adds …someday i hope you can be healed enough to receive it ! ” NIce blame shift there.

      • Heather2

        Wow! That’s the kind of blame shifting I experienced in my entire marriage. It was oh so sweet and caring too. It’s how he presented things before our children, who them blamed me and wanted me to fix it. They really are masters of deception!

      • Brenda R

        Leslie, absolutely, I have heard the exact same thing. Word for Word. I swear, they are cloning these guys or there is a class in High School that only the boys attended. Only, X adds God knows that you will see it someday. He knows that we were suppose to be together. Last night it was “God made you leave me to punish me so that I would change. I don’t need counseling because God has changed me”. I believe that God can change people but I have heard it all before. I’m sure today I will be called some name that will make me sound like a woman of ill repute. He clogs my voice mail with this stuff.

      • Wow I was amazed to read these comments. To think that other woman get the same things said to them! I know the things he says are vulgar but after reading your comment I realised that this is in fact so wrong for a ‘christian’ man to say and they are not something that should come from a Christian mans mouth.
        I dont get accused of screwing other men… I get told if I leave that means I will screw other men… or I will get drunk and screw other men. I have been a faithful wife for nearly 30 years, as a non christian I wasn’t faithful, this was my way of dealing with not liking him back in my teen years. I should never have married him. I guess I felt guilty and have felt I have deserved mistreatment.
        My husband exhibits the straits of aan that is the victim in our relationship. I have known it in my spirit but last night after reading the PDF on another post on bitterness I can put a name on the problem. He has just about destroyed me playing the victim with our kids, my friends, his friends, councellors and our Pastor. It is so wicked and evil.

  21. G. F. Mom

    I just remembered, about a month a go he told the girls and me not to worry, that we will be together “till death do us part.”

    • chilling

      • G. F. Mom

        yep, but it could be a subtle scare. And actually it did creep me out a bit but somehow I swept it under the rug. I am praying but doing things also preparing for the worst but hoping for the best.

      • and isn’t that so typical? The chilling remark that could be a threat, could be a subtle scare, but could be ‘just’ a piece of the abuser’s Dr Jekyll nice-guy face that he puts on from time to time as if it might help him believe he is really a nice guy, even if he knows it won’t quite convince his victim. But he DOES know that the remark is so ambiguous it will keep her on eggshells, which is important for maintaining control of her.

      • Brenda R

        No matter what he meant by the remark, it is still creepy. Barb is right no matter what, it keeps you walking on eggshells, waiting for what will happen next.

      • Heather2

        Hi G F Mom,

        I’ve been reading the comments between you and others. I think we are all very frightened for you. You mentioned feeling a little creeped out and yet sweeping it under the carpet. That is something we have all done. But I would urge you to listen to that gut feeling and face the reasons why you feel that way.

        Something I am reminded of over and over again, and which proved to be true in my own experience…. Abusers never change. In our hopes and fantasies we think they can, with help. We think if we pray hard enough, love them more, work with them, get them counseling, ask God for a miracle……. But they don’t change.

        Take care, G F Mom.

    • Brenda R

      G. F. Mom That is scary. When I first split from X he said something similar to that. He said “I had a whole lifetime of him getting under my skin”. I had already separated, that was just creepy. I felt like I was in a Hitchcock movie.

      • G. F. Mom

        It is, but I told my mom and friend. I’m going to expose it. I already interrogated him and teased him by questioning how he’s going to do it, and I told him I don’t care, just do it. I know where I’m going anyways. He denied it. I’ll write more tomorrow.

  22. G. F. Mom

    Heather2, Fear not. I believe the devil was playing tricks using those words. My paranoia levels are high since reading this stuff. My situation is not nearly as bad as everyone else’s. It’s situational abuse for a large part now and he is now working to change it. I am watching him. I did tell a couple more family members about it but he is never given me reason to fear and actually once I hit him with a closed fist for crowding me and he didn’t strike back but he did tell me not to do it again or he would have to separate. I want to get my anger evaluated. And I also want to say he has never called me anything vulgar or accused me of sins like that. I don’t think he is malignant. He was a “Command Man” before. Some of my abuse I heaped on myself with the “Super Wife/Mother Patriarchy type religious beliefs. And when he went on stress leave and saw how hard it was he stopped. We just never really came to a place like this in our marriage before. We are married for 13 years. I am 33 and he is 34. I think its better for us all if I don’t freak out. He always treats me better after I finally get really mad or even just plain mad. The pastor who counseled us before we were married told us just never to be angry at each other at the same time and so we are mindful. He was only too controlling when I believed in being quiet. I am sorry I made everybody afraid for me. I bet you ladies are just really triggered and the PTSD and all you suffer deep empathy and I will try to be more mindful.

  23. Just been reading Lundy Bancroft’s book ‘why does he do that’ … Oh my gosh what an eye opener. Pg 64 and Pg 65 speaks of .. He confuses love with abuse makes perfect sense.

    • the desire to have you devote your life to keeping him happy with no outside interference (hence why he wants me to have me work from home and not get a part time job or study)

    -the desire to have sexual access (yes, if I avoid sex he sulks, I don’t say No as I will cause him to get very upset, he takes it as rejection, when he gets it he is like a little boy)

    -the desire to impress others by having you be his partner (yes, I get men pay attention to me, he gets jealous about certain men but others he says, they can look but not touch)

    -the desire to possess and control you (yes, I feel like he owns me, he is obsessed with me) He controls me in so many subtle ways. He treats me like a one if his children. He gives me space one day and smothers me the next. He likes to know my every move….but he will always say that is being a caring husband, (caring about your wife’s day, asking questions, being involved, has come from a Christian family ministry) so instead I get interrogation

    This helps me to understand a little better why he in fact does not love me. He says he does… Nearly everyday.
    This is all so overwhelming to consider

    Eds. IMPORTANT NOTE: While we endorse Lundy’s writings about the dynamics of domestic abuse, we do not recommend anyone attend the ‘healing retreats’ Lundy Bancroft offers or become involved in his ‘Peak Living Network.’ See our post, ACFJ Does Not Recommend Lundy Bancroft’s Retreats or His New Peak Living Network for more about our concerns.

  24. Finding Answers

    Oh. My. This. Hurts.

    But I needed to read it.

    I never followed past the original recognition of abusive relationships.

    Extending it to the conclusion means I. Have. Never. Been. Loved. That really, really hurts, (And please, just this once, I plead for no quotes from Scripture…my heart is breaking.)

    I suppose the next step is understanding that most, if not all, hated me. I can see glimpses of that already…

    I am grateful the Holy Spirit led me here today.

    It really, really hurts.

    Thank you to all who wrote their pain so I could see mine.

    • Finding Answers

      Adding on to my own comment….

      This still hurts, as does the knowledge there were no good times. (This is a post on the topic, but I haven’t the courage yet to read it. https://cryingoutforjustice.blog/2016/01/25/there-werent-really-any-good-times-with-an-abuser/ )

      I have, however, learned to sift my memories, separating the experiences of God’s creation(s) from the experiences with my abusers.

      Maybe I will learn to do the same sifting, between God’s love and my abusers unlove.

      • Now Free (formerly struggling to be free)

        Praying for you that God will help you to continue to take captive thoughts that cause you pain and anxiety and bind them up.

        Binding the evil things that come against you, and loosing the chains that hold you from breaking free, in Jesus Name.

        God IS healing you and severing the “damaged” to bring forth new, but as a master surgeon everything takes time and has its correct order. It is hard, I know from my own experience, I just want everything to happen now. I am reminded though, medically that just does not happen, and God knows best what is good to sort out now that I gain recovery from so I have the strength for the next stage of surgery and healing. Recovery is not easy either, but over time, we continue to be strong.

        One day we are going to look back, as I know you have said many times here and we rejoice with you, when we will see more progress and how God has been wonderfully in His wisdom moulding us to be what he intended us to be. God makes no mistakes.

        A little exercise I was given years ago as part of my training and I’ve never forgotten it. In the book of Genesis, there are many examples of God’s promises, but man failed, sinned, screwed things up and messed up so many lives….. yet still God’s word prevailed. I was asked to search Genesis and list all God’s promises, then read again and list where man failed (some of those were pure evil, vile (Sodom and Gomorrah for, one example) then write down how God’s purposes still prevailed despite the folly of man. Every time, God’s promises never failed. He always brought it back into fruition.

        Try it yourself … Your dad and others have failed you and God (it feels and seems God’s plan has been thwarted for you), but He will never fail you, and as His child He most certainly (no matter how you feel or what it looks like) is bringing His plan for you into being. You could not trust your abusers, but God is faithful, and loyal to you. He has not broken His love, nor His promises to you. Hold fast, though the way is tough, and God will continue to see you through and deliver you.

        Isaiah 29:11
        “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and NOT to harm you. 🙂
        Plans to give you a hope and a future.”

        When the pain is excruciating in your heart and you cry to Him, I believe He is holding you ever closer and whispers shhhhhhh, it’s ok, it’s ok. Just be still …. hear His voice.

        It’s really ok to be!

        You have come so far and what a great future is ahead.
        Praying for you much.

  25. Finding Answers

    Now Free (Formerly Struggling To Be Free) commented Praying for you that God will help you to continue to take captive thoughts that cause you pain and anxiety and bind them up.

    ^That.

    • Now Free (formerly struggling to be free)

      Thank you. Big release and breakthrough yesterday and wow, I’m listening to worship music.

      Much tears, much pain and anguish. Much praying (that’s even a breakthrough).

      Enough was enough as far as an abusive marriage was concerned, but I had not dealt with one aspect of spiritual abuse, and I said enough is enough as I drove, tears dripping on me on a straight road through town.

      For the first time in a long time, I really really prayed big deep prayer “oh God help me give me wisdom” and I renounced that spiritual abuse in Jesus Name. It is wrong, it is not biblical, it is against God and is of Satan. I say “be gone from me and leave me alone and I take authority over my thoughts and take captive wrong thinking and vain (wrong) imaginations and cast them into the fiery pit prepared for the devil and all his angels! Set me free in Jesus Name“ and in tears went home and have been listening to worship music ever since and tears dripping on me letting God minister into my soul. If you have read my story, that’s a breakthrough and I’ve a long way to go yet but wow what a few days.

      [Paragraphs added to enhance readability. Editors]

      • Now Free (formerly struggling to be free)

        Oh, and forgot to say I took authority in Jesus Name over false guilt too, as wrong and held over me. I’d dealt with it, but can’t remember renouncing it. Boy did the tears flow, but hard to drive, but I sat in the drive a good while just babbling words to God and shaking. I think if I [would] have tried to walk to [the] house, I’d not [have] made it. Well, not on the first go. That would have looked good to neighbours – “no, I wasn’t drunk driving last night!”

        [Words added for clarity. Editors]

      • I am so happy for you, Now Free!

  26. Starlight

    I love this truth Megan C! It makes so much sense now, in fact the whole world makes much more sense when we figure out this truth. There are so many that hate and are active enemies and want to destroy you when you are kind and have a meek spirit and the Holy Spirit is in you! It truly is a spiritual battle that Christ strengthens us and equips us for by his indwelling!

    I am so glad you are free and just know there is no real reason for them to hate you – This type of hate and abuse is the bad fruit that manifests and reveals a wicked heart.

    I when I began telling myself the truth I realized I could never go on a cruise with my ex or go to his country of origin with him.

  27. Anne

    I wrote an email to Pastor Crippen when I was in the thick of the abuse rollercoaster, and he responded with this same truth about my (now ex) hating me. His response was one of the main things that propelled me forward to freedom.

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