A Cry For Justice

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

I Am a Liar — A Message from the Heart of an Abuse Victim

[August 12, 2022: There have been some changes made to this post. For more information, read the Editors’ notes at the bottom of the post. Editors.]

Guest post from one of our readers, an abuse victim and survivor. Many thanks to her for sharing.

***

I am a Liar.

I wasn’t raised to be a liar, I don’t like lying, I don’t like being lied to.

So why do I lie?

People have commented that I am pretty straight forward; I have been called blunt for calling a spade, a spade. But there is something that most people (majority really) do not know about me.

I am open about being a victim of Domestic Violence and Abuse so people know that about me; they know I champion for women that are being abused. My Facebook posts blast out speak up, get help, silence equals violence.

Here is the rub. If you know me you know that my first husband was chemically dependent and physically violent. He basically gave up his daughter over the right to grow and smoke weed and drink to oblivion.

Here is where the lying comes in. I not only married one man that was abusive, I repeated the lesson. The abuse was different in some ways and the same in others. I was determined not to hide and lie this time, so early on I went to a couple in the church. Of course the focus switched to me because after all you can’t change the other person.

We had a baby and moved out of town so we started attending a new church. I was pretty excited and was not working full time so I got to go to Women’s Bible Study during the daytime. Lots of moms at different stages of life. Of course the first lesson learned was we were not to speak negatively about our spouses EVER. That was disrespect and gossip and we were NEVER to do that. I tried going to the Pastor and of course he tried to help but he was not equipped to help so he did far more damage because the only person trying to do any work in the marriage was me and the thing I kept getting was I was not nice enough, submissive enough, __________ enough. I shouldn’t talk back to him; I shouldn’t make him angry. Sure he has issues but the thing is we all do and let’s work on yours. I never fit in with the women because as much as I was trying to be better, being a Stepford wife would never suit me

The next step was counseling and we chose a “Christian” counselor. He said good words at first that my husband had serious, serious issues. Of course after a few sessions alone with the counselor he was convinced I was a man-hater, my daughter is a problem child and between the kids and I we were ganging up on Jack and we needed to stop. Jack denied screaming foul words at us and of course he was a Deacon in the church and if he were so bad he wouldn’t be a Deacon. So when Jack started his next screaming rant I brought out a tape recorder and we agreed except Jack that we would not discuss the issue without a tape recorder. That ended up with us getting proof that he did act that way. We took that to the counselor and he refused to listen to it past Jack screaming that he refused to be taped and to shut it off. That turned into a lecture to the kids and I how disrespectful that was and we were to blame IF there was a tirade. There was more crappy counseling including telling my husband he had a demon and when he acted that way it was the demon. Well let me tell you that gave him free reign to act out and then blame the demon.

We ended up doing an in-house separation and setting severe boundaries and of course the only one that the Pastor tried to console or help was Jack. Right in front of my daughter and me, he goes up and puts his arm around Jack’s shoulders and asks if he can do anything for him. Not a word for the kids.

So now I have found that it is not safe to discuss the problems unless I want to have it backfire on me and the kids. So I try and manage it as much as I can. I don’t let people in because they will see what is going on and funny thing is they think they are let in because I appear so open.

Forward to today — we are in a great church but because of how I was treated over almost three decades, I don’t trust people to understand what it is like and how this person that acts one way in public can be so different in private.  I have seen my spouse try and throw me under the bus at least three times with people without the same amount of success, but because of the abuse by the “people helpers”….I would rather lie and say “I’m OK. That was in the past.”

[August 12, 2022: Editors’ notes:

—For some comments made prior to August 12, 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 12, 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 12, 2022 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (August 12, 2022), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]

70 Comments

  1. healingInHim

    Thank you for the honesty … I have been belittled for being too honest and am now discovering that many would rather that I remain A LIAR 😦

  2. Kimberly

    I totally lived that way. My current marriage… well, let’s say, he likes to play word/mind games and denies a lot… He’s narcissistic. Everything is always my problem. Boy when the tables turn it’s a different situation all together. He doesn’t know how to respond. When he starts in, I just leave him be. He has a bad memory so, in about an hour he’ll have forgotten all of it. He’s improving though. I just think he wasn’t trained up properly and is learning through our marriage. He takes every too personal. I could go on… but I won’t. Suffice it to say, he’s learning and improving.

    • “He has a bad memory so, in about an hour he’ll have forgotten all of it.”

      Kimberley, just keep your antennae up for the possibility that he has not forgotten but is just pretending he’s forgotten. That is what many abusers do — as one of their ways to evade responsibility for their bad behavior.

      I’m not saying I know it’s true for your husband, I’m only suggesting you keep your mind open to the possibility of it. That’s part of what Jesus means when he tells us to be wise as serpents.

      • Kimberly

        Yes. Thank you Barbara.

  3. Finally Free

    I know the dichotomy of a church that says we need to be honest and not wear masks, but when you speak the truth of being a victim who is desperately trying to find a righteous response to the abuse and find accountability for the abuser…I am told I don’t have enough faith. I am supposed to “rise above it” and just keep taking it.

    They say the gospel can change anyone, but my pastor has told me more than once that my husband will never change. So what does he really believe? I am supposed to have hope, but he does not?

    It is easier for so many to ignore the inconsistencies in the application of their theology than admitting they don’t know how to help or admitting they don’t want to take the energy to help. It is easier than confronting a theology that says the marriage contract needs to stay intact “no matter what” in contrast to understanding the heart of the God who sees abuse and hates it. I understand, because I used to be there…until I realized how blind I was to the abuse (after all, there are no bruises).

    I have had to lean into the Lord and hear his heart beat to understand that he cares and he allows us to take action against abuse. HE knows and we can take the mask off in his presence. HE is safe. HE listens. HE has given us everything we need for life and godliness (II Peter 1:3) and HIS plan may not look like righteousness to those around us…just as Tamar’s solution did not look godly to those around her (Gen. 38).

    I am so sorry for your real pain and the real dilemma of wearing masks among the people who ought know better…but don’t.

    Joni

    • Finally Free, welcome to the blog! Sorry I didn’t do this the first time you commented. Better late than never though 🙂

  4. Gary W

    If a counselor, pastor, friend or any other person aligns themselves with an abusive Husband in opposition to the Wife, and especially if the counselor, pastor or other person begins to accuse and lay burdens on the wife, he has aligned himself with Satan, the accuser of the saints and enemy of our souls. We need not cast our pearls before such swine. To keep our pearls to ourselves by remaining silent is in no way equivalent to lying.

    Perhaps it could be better to respond to questions with something along the lines of “I’d rather not say” than to say “I’m O.K.” If even such a response seems dangerous, I submit that to say “I’m O.K.” without elaboration is sufficiently non-committal. It is not at all the same as saying “everything is perfect.”

    Or better yet, maybe, respond to questions with questions. For example, one could answer an awkward question by saying something along the lines of, “Oh, I don’t know, how is everything in your marriage?” Just be prepared for such a question to provoke a response that is spoken through tears—in which case there will be opportunity to weep with those who weep. No dispensing of advice required.

    • great comment and suggestions, Gary!

      Gee you and I think alike. I often encourage victims to answer a question with a question. It’s a great technique to practise and have under one’s belt. I gave some examples of it in this article of mine: Unhelpful Comments and How to Respond to Them.

      [This link was corrected to reflect the new URL. Editors.]

      Some people are not entitled to know the full truth about me (or you). If they have shown themselves to be my enemies, or so unwise that they are dangerous to the vulnerable and the oppressed, then they are not entitled to know the full truth.

      Here are some examples of this principle:
      armies use camouflage in warfare;
      a man is not required to testify against himself in a court of law;
      Corrie ten Boom was prepared to say “What Jews?” when the Nazi’s came knocking on her door wanting to see the Jews she was hiding.

      There are ways to refrain from uttering a lie but at the same time not give the whole truth. I advise victims to ask themselves “Is this person entitled to know the full truth? Will they use it against me?” If the answer to either of those questions is ‘No’, then one does not have to give them the full truth. That’s what not casting our pearls before swine is about, isn’t it?

    • Ellie

      If a counselor, pastor, friend or any other person aligns themselves with an abusive Husband in opposition to the Wife, and especially if the counselor, pastor or other person begins to accuse and lay burdens on the wife, he has aligned himself with Satan, the accuser of the saints and enemy of our souls. We need not cast our pearls before such swine. To keep our pearls to ourselves by remaining silent is in no way equivalent to lying.

      like

    • IamMyBeloved's

      I agree with Gary, and give a hearty AMEN to his first paragraph above.

    • Brenda J

      “I’m O.K.” without elaboration is sufficiently non-committal.

      I have found that “I’m O.K.” is alright to say and usually those who ask can tell by your tone whether it is true or not. While still married, it usually didn’t sound true at all. Saying, “I’m Fine.” seemed like an out and out lie to me so I stopped saying it. Fine, as an acronym, is Freaking out, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotionally Disturbed, which seemed to fit the last few years of marriage especially.

      Oh, I don’t know, how is everything in your marriage?

      Gary, like that response. I like that the door is open, yet if you don’t get a tearful response, you won’t be accused of gossip. Your first paragraph, SPOT ON. I appreciate the support you have given here.

    • Andrew Reavis

      “If a counselor, pastor, friend or any other person aligns themselves with an abusive Husband in opposition to the Wife, and especially if the counselor, pastor or other person begins to accuse and lay burdens on the wife, he has aligned himself with Satan, the accuser of the saints and enemy of our souls. We need not cast our pearls before such swine. To keep our pearls to ourselves by remaining silent is in no way equivalent to lying.”
      AMEN….. I was that husband who got pastors and counselors against my wife. I now realize how I was aligned with Satan, and thank God that the Holy Spirit worked in my life and I can bring healing to her.

      • Brenda R

        Andrew,
        It is sad that you are the exception and not the norm.

    • Andrew Reavis

      “Of course the first lesson learned was we were not to speak negatively about our spouses EVER. That was disrespect and gossip and we were NEVER to do that.”

      Why,then, is it ok for a husband to speak negatively to the pastors and anyone who will listen?
      I spent many hours talking to pastors, family, and “friends”, explaining how bad my wife was. No one ever questioned me or told me it was gossip, etc.

      • I spent many hours talking to pastors, family, and “friends”, explaining how bad my wife was. No one ever questioned me or told me it was gossip, etc.

        which so proves my point that the gossip-prohibition is so often just a mask for chauvinism and unmerited male privilege. Thank you, Andrew.

      • Brenda R

        Why,then, is it ok for a husband to speak negatively to the pastors and anyone who will listen?

        Andrew, the only explanation I have for that and merely speculated is that you are the man. Women are trained differently It should not be so, but it is. We are told to do better, be more submissive do x, y or z and your man will not treat you what way. It is a lot of horse hockey, but sadly it is true.

      • Andrew Reavis

        Yes, I am a male. My wife and I plan to get our story/ journey written soon to share.
        This was a rhetorical question. Unfortunately, it is an all too common occurrence.

      • Brenda R

        Andrew,
        I knew you were a man. I didn’t pick up on the rhetorical part of the question. I would like to hear your wife’s input along with yours.

      • mrsmaryr

        Brenda R.,
        “I would like to hear your wife’s input along with yours.”
        Andy helped me set up a profile so I could reply, then life has been busy on the farm so just now able to comment here.
        There are many aspects I can relate to on ACFJ, I lived it for 9 yrs. It is by the grace of God and the Holy Spirit working in ways I wasn’t even aware of in the moment that brought me and our children out of the bondage of abuse. It takes time and work for the mind and heart of an abuser to change. I am thankful that God was able to break through and change my husband, realizing how few abusers actually overcome.
        This particular topic always left me wondering how it was okay for a man to speak critically of his wife but a wife dare not have concern over a husbands behavior. And here I was dealing with domestic violence! Of course he had already soiled my name and no one would believe my story, which I never attempted to share with those folks anyways.
        We are both willing to share our journey and validate other victims that have been down this road as well. It is time to speak up or the enemy will wreck havoc in our children’s lives and possibly take it a step further in the next generation as has been our experience.

      • Brenda R

        mrsmaryr,
        Yours is a rare story. The number of abusers who turn their lives around and make their marriage work after words is almost nonexistent. I hope you will tell us more as time goes on. God is good, and the time.

  5. Forrest

    Reblogged this on Tùr Làidir [This link is broken and we were unable to find a copy in the Internet Archive. Editors.].

  6. Grace

    I’m so sorry you need to do this too. I am particularly appalled that your pastor consoled your husband but not you or the kids. !! I have encountered the same thing myself in a milder way.

  7. Sarah

    Thank you for sharing the truth. Living a lie destroys our souls.

    One thing I have to ask – what example are we setting for our children when we tolerate abusive spouses? I know in my own case (now looking back), I should have divorced my Abuser in March 2005, when he confessed he had broken the covenant – instead, I struggled on for 6 more years. What I finally accepted is I deserve better – an abuse-free marriage – and so do my children and future generations. By tolerating my Abusers habitual, continual sin (with no repentance on his part), I was allowing him to sin against me and G-d and teaching our children how to be victims and abusers.

    I pray anyone living a lie will someday have the freedom, and joy, to live in truth.

    • “what example are we setting for our children when we tolerate abusive spouses?”

      exactly so. And that is one of the reasons that victims eventually leave their abusers. They see the damage it is doing to the kids.

      • Marah

        That’s so true. I know that for me, I never would have had the strength to “go against what God wants” and leave if not for my concern for my kids, even with the repeated lies and deceit about problem drinking.

  8. Forrest

    Theoretically, it is possible for an abuser to change. Practically, I have never come across one that has, so my advice would be not to hold out for it. Even if they did, the damage to the relationship is such that trust will never be as it should.

    Churches will generally protect church rather than individuals, so victims should not expect to be supported if their revelations make the church look bad.

    There are some good pastors out there but they are few and far between.

    So, stop lying. Tell it as it is. And if the church rejects or condemns you, then you know that they are not representing Jesus. Run from them, for they are working against Him.

    • I was thinking about that question this morning — can abusers change?
      And part of my bible reading was the story Zacchaeus in Luke 19.

      Zacchaeus was a wicked man who changed. He changed because he was thoroughly converted to Christ by the power of God.

      And interestingly, maybe that story tells us something about the likelihood of an abuser changing. As a tax collector, Zacchaeus was despised by most Jews — which would have included the religious leaders. So he was pretty much persona non grata in the ‘church’ of his day. He had no allies in the church who thought he was a good, godly man. He had no safe cushy place in those religious circles where he could hide out and pretend and get ego-strokes for his pretense. All the people and religious leaders KNEW he was a sinner, and they said so:

      And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” (Luke 19:5-7)

      If Zacchaeus the sinner had been ensconced happily in the religious clubs of the day, would he have been so likely to want to find Jesus? And to feel deep conviction for his sin when it was revealed to his soul?

      • Forrest

        Zacchaeus is an interesting character. The bible doesn’t tell us much about him. He was the chief tax-gatherer, he was rich, he was of small stature and salvation came to his house. Was he an abuser? He could have been but we are not told anything that would give us grounds to say so. Was he a sinner? Yes. We are all sinners. Matthew, the apostle, was also a tax collector. They were despised by the Jews. It was a profession that provided a means to gain riches through collecting more taxes than were passed on to the authorities.

        No matter what we may have done, salvation is available to us. Sinners can be saved. Saul persecuted Christians but was converted. Our difficulty is that we don’t know who may be saved in the future. All we can do is act in the light of how they are behaving today.

      • Thanks Forrest. Your are right; and I was unclear in my comment. When I said Zacchaeus was an abuser, I was thinking of how he exerted power and control over others in the way he collected the taxes from the Jews for the Roman Emperor. We cannot say (and I should not have inferred) that he abused his wife, or his children.

        Your comment made me think some more about Zacchaeus. It’s true that we know very little about him for certain: only the things you mentioned, Forrest, can we know for sure. I guess there are a number of reasons why a man might end up as a tax gatherer in those days. Most probably greed and callousness played a big part; but it’s possible that some men ended up in that profession (game) because they had suffered such adversity and social opprobrium that they felt they could fall no further by becoming a hated tax gatherer. So yes, I was unduly painting Zacchaeus with a broad brush, by calling him an abuser in my comment above. Thanks Forrest. Good to chew this over with someone who thinks deeply and carefully. 🙂

      • it’s rather like a girl who has suffered child sexual abuse who chooses to become a prostitute.

      • Forrest

        I love how the bible gives us examples of sinners being turned round completely. What I don’t see is any examples of abusers doing that. They tend to become worse with their condition becoming fixed upon them.

        Salvation is open to all but those who don’t think they need it will never benefit from it.

      • Marah

        On that note, I wonder how many “Christian” abusers actually do think they’re part of God’s kingdom. I’m certain my husband does. In fact, he’s so convinced (and convincing) that I wonder myself. When I stop and review the facts of his behavior, he certainly isn’t demonstrating the fruit of the spirit. But boy, it’s hard.

      • Marah, I think it’s impossible, and can be a giant waste of time, trying to figure out what the abuser really believes versus what he says he believes. As Lundy points out in his book, all abusers lie very often, and some of them appear, sometimes, to believe their own lies.

        So does your abuser believe he is in the Kingdom? He may believe he is in the Kingdom. Or he may just be saying he believes that, but knows he really isn’t in the Kingdom. Or he may partly believe his own lie on Wednesday, Saturday and Monday afternoon, but on other days he knows full well it is a lie. .. . . I mean, is it worth trying to wrap our heads around all that goes on in his deceptive, twisted, self-justifying mind? And even if we were ever to come to the point where we thought, for a moment, that we had really pinned down what he believes and what he doesn’t believe but is just claiming he believes, in the next breath we would doubt our conclusion and start down the rabbit trail again wondering what does he really believe anyway?

        Can you see why I say it is a waste of energy, trying to figure him out?

        Dis-attaching from that puzzling rabbit trail is part of recovering from the long sleep in which we were spell-bound in the thorn-surrounded castle.

      • Barnabasintraining

        Marah,

        That’s a good question. The abuser I know seems to think he is in the kingdom and has used that against his victim, whom I know actually is. However, what lurks in their hearts is impossible to say for sure. Perhaps he thinks he is. Perhaps he knows he isn’t but doesn’t really care and has only used the Christian community and God to try to get a wife who won’t leave him because “God hates divorce” and “no Christian woman would ever do that” so he’s good once he’s got her. Impossible to say for sure one way or the other what they really think.

      • Forrest

        One of the common mistakes people make is to assume that abusers operate normally, that is that they operate the same way as we would. Abusers will do whatever they think will give them the result they want. It’s not about the victim or about God in their eyes.

      • Marah

        I get what you’re saying about not trying to figure it out, Barbara. I’m in a much better place than I was even a couple of months ago with respect to getting sucked in to worrying about him.

        I am still trying to sort out reality from fantasy though, not because I’m unsure of my own actions now, but to try to reframe my history. He got to determine truth for over twenty years. I want it back. Or at least as much of it as I can recover.

      • Barnabasintraining

        However, what lurks in their hearts is impossible to say for sure.

        I mean what lurks in the hearts of abusers regarding whether or not they think they are in the kingdom or whether they care, NOT what lurks in the hearts of both the abuser and the victim! 😦 I see the way I wrote that it would be easy to misinterpret my intent there. 😦 Beg pardon!

      • Charis

        I think there is a tendency in the Christian subculture to divide Biblical characters into 2 groups: heroes and villains – and the subculture, along with it’s pastors, does so easily, without much thought or care; and exhorts us to be like the heroes and not like the villains. Abraham: hero. Jacob: hero. Noah: hero. Moses: hero. David: hero. Jonah: villain. Samson: villain. Rich Young Ruler: villain. Martha: villain. Judas: villain.

        I’m not so easily convinced that 1) it is our job to judge these people and condemn them to such categories nor 2) that they can be so neatly divided. As people they are much more…dimensional! And often we are only given a chapter of their life’s story from which to draw any Divinely inspired lesson. Sometimes we are only given a few verses…Methuselah, for example – and yet I’ve heard a whole Father’s Day lesson on him.

        Shoe on the other foot: If someone were to write about my life for the purposes of enlightening others and sharing truth in experiential ways and the author only chose a chapter of it, say my late 20s or early 30s – it would be simple to conclude that I am a villain. But that is not the whole of my life; my story doesn’t end there. It is merely a snapshot. The story would be much different if another chapter were shared – that of my 40s – the resulting conclusion would also be different.

        There is a little of them in each of us…flaws and all. Still, God used each of them for His glory. Perhaps that’s the point.

      • Brenda R

        Beautifully said, Charis.

  9. Katherine

    I’m seeing how people were in the past and I see how bad everything was. I don’t see the steps to getting out of the mess. I am asking for prayer from all that read this. I need a good push in the right direction. Courage,strength and determination. Also….that My brain doesn’t go blank and forget again. That I would see the truth so clearly there would be no doubt or excuses that could change my mind.

    • Praying, Katherine

      • Seeing Clearly

        One way I found to clear a path through the confusion was to state the truth. It helped to stay on track through my divorce. To myself, I would repeat his simple lie. Then I would declare it a LIE. Then, in a simple sentence, I would state the truth. The simpler I could state it, the more clear it became. I hope this could be helpful.

      • Clarity

        Oh Katherine. I can relate so much. The brain going blank and forgetting….again….it’s all a fog….I began to look for the Lord’s light and follow it, just like the wise men followed the light they saw, even though they didn’t know very much about God, they followed. I am praying.

      • What a good analogy, Clarity. When following a star, the star can sometime be obscured by clouds, buildings, trees….just like it can be obscured temporarily by the abuser’s lies, our own self-numbing, the shoulds and false guilts of our ‘s’hepherds, and the demands of what seems most urgent in our lives and the lives of our children.

        That’s just given me an idea: ‘s’hepherds = ssssshepherds. Those wolves in sheep’s clothing who are hissing the snake’s seduction to so many sheep today.

      • Marah

        If there was one single thing I did in the beginning that helped clear the fog, it was reading through “The Verbally Abusive Relationship” very slowly, taking copious notes. I copied down any passage that seemed relevant (because I couldn’t use highlighter on a library book!), and I stopped and thought carefully about how I was reading might apply to my situation.

        My husband (on the way towards ex – I’m filing paperwork next week!) is probably the most subtle abuser I’ve seen, even in all the reading I’ve done here and other blogs, in books, and at Abuse Recovery Ministry meetings. And he’s extremely successful and charming. We’d also been together for more than twenty years, so I was thoroughly brainwashed. So finding my way out of the fog has been a laborious, painstaking process. But now that my eyes are opened, after about six months of continuous work, they will not be closed again.

      • Marah, the first fog-dispeller for me was The Verbally Abusive Relationship [*Affiliate link]. So I relate to you there.

        I actually had my own copy of it . . . and I lent it out so many times to other survivors. I’d written heaps in the margins, and every time it was returned to me it had more written in the margins. But in the end I lent it to someoneone who never returned it. I like to think it is still doing the rounds somewhere, helping victims.

        Years later I read Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft. Boy oh boy. It was even better, way better than the Verbally Abusive Relationship. But I don’t denigrate anyone for singing the praises of whatever book first turned on the light bulb for them. When you have been trapped in the dark dungeon, any light, even a poor or impartial light, will be experienced by the victim as amazing and stupendous! Shows how starved for validation and true explanations abuse victims are, when they are kept in the fog by their abusers and the namby-pamby, Pollyanna-stuplistic teachings that go under the name of Christianity.

        PS here is our Amazon Affiliate link for Why Does He Do That? [Affiliate link], for readers who are wanting to buy it for themselves.
        If you purchase via this link ACFJ gets a small amount of the retail price. For more info about what it means for us to be Amazon Associates, see the About tab at the top of this blog.

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

        I love the Lundy book, although I haven’t read it all yet. It’s a little too intense for me when it gets to the chapters on abusers and the family court system a given that I’m about to enter it myself. But it really is fabulous overall. I’ve been married to a Mr Sensitive, for sure.

      • Yikes! Mr Sensitive! My second husband had quite a few of the Mr Sensitive characteristics. I feel for you, Marah. With that type of abuser, it is really hard to identify the abuse and convince others that your husband is abusive. He is so sensitive. Lots of other wives envy you if you are married to a man who seems so sensitive and caring.

        But the psychobabble they spruik is deadly poison. . .

        My computer tells me spruik is not a word. I think it’s Aussie slang. Here is a link spruik [Internet Archive link]

      • A deaf and blind person would find it harder to resist the abuse. It’s well documented that disabled people are targets of abuse at a much higher rate than the general population.

        Yes, he gave himself away there: what he wants is a non-resistant slave, a dog’s body who will remain inferior and not cause him any real problems, so he can continue to laze away in his irresponsible lifestyle while having all the grunge work taken care of by his slave.

    • Grace

      I prayed for you. Hugs.

  10. Sarah

    I am open and honest and yes, I get in trouble all the time. I’ve been threatened by so many and at times I want to give up. I’ve lost a lot of “friends” and a church I loved. Judges and lawyers and counselors and pastors don’t know what to do with me. But God encourages me. He said he has heard the cry from his people, his bride. He says he has sent us …who know what it is like and have a heart for the walking wounded. Take heart, beat up women, this is not the end. If we stand together, we will win. If we shrink and run, we won’t. Inside we are warriors, we just need to know who we are and what our mission is. Easy? No. Worth it? Yes.

    • Brenda J

      Sarah,
      Beautifully said.

      • Sarah

        Thank you, Brenda

  11. Brenda J

    the first lesson learned was we were not to speak negatively about our spouses EVER. That was disrespect and gossip and we were NEVER to do that.

    Been there. I was asked by a woman several months ago who didn’t really know the situation directed questions, so I answered truthfully. Another responded, “Oh, is he still doing that?” while chuckling and I knew it was to shut me up. I wasn’t suppose to gossip. How is answering questions about MY life, gossip? I don’t get it. I wasn’t even coming close to telling the worst of the details.

    • the first lesson learned was we were not to speak negatively about our spouses EVER. That was disrespect and gossip and we were NEVER to do that.

      Hmm. The spouse of Jesus (his bride) is the church. Through an angel, Jesus told the Apostle John to tell the seven Asian churches certain things for each church. Last time I checked, five of those seven messages were predomintly negative and critical.

      Funny how Pharisees grind our noses into the Christ:church / spouse:spouse analogy when it comes to some things, but ignores it when it comes to other things.

      Oh no; not peculiar at all. Within their system it’s quite logical really — if you buy their wooden view of marital roles which really just upholds chauvinism, male privilege, unmerited male privilege.

      They would rightly state that Christ can say negative things about the church because He is perfect and she, the church, is fairly deeply flawed. But all husbands (and wives) fall short of Christ’s perfection; they sin. And when a spouse sins against his or her mate, it’s not wrong for the other spouse to say so.

      Of course, the hidden presupposition in the minds of many is that it’s okay for a husband to say negatives about his wife, but it’s not okay for a wife to say negatives about her husband. All of which comes from that ole boil on the bum which has festered in society ever since the Fall: unmerited male privilege, husbands ruling over their wives.

  12. Grace

    Barbara, I really liked your comments on Zacchaeus, and on things that obscure the truth … been there.

    PS Can I have a welcome to the blog too??

    • Grace — welcome to the blog dear sister 🙂
      My apologies for not doing this before. I usually notice the screen names (and email addresses, which we can see at the back of the blog) of commenters to see if they are newbies. I must have missed your debut comment. I’m sorry.

      • Grace

        No problem, thank you! I love the blog and am very grateful to you, Jeff and the other contributors.

    • Ellie

      Welcome grace. So glad you’re here.

      • Grace

        Thank you, Ellie!

    • Barnabasintraining

      Hi Grace! 🙂

      • Grace

        Hi Barnabasintraining 🙂

  13. NotHeard

    I used to honor the Code of Silence and say the required answers ‘yes I’m fine’ etc. but then I learned I was contributing to the facade. Then I tried answering the questions honestly and mostly got the Silent Treatment. People didnt know what to do with the real answers. Didnt want to believe them. Now my communication goal and challenge is measured honesty without too much woe. If I want to say, ‘no it hasn’t been a good week’ I do. Only the genuine people will prompt further. I think even to say, I’m okay (when not) is giving in to the Code of Silence. It is a big challenge to make safe, honest conversation without getting caught between the Code of Silence and the Silent Treatment, but it’s worth it. I hope it might even help someone else to break out of the codes and expectations, toward more honest communication!

    • Forrest

      Great balanced post, NotHeard.

      • NotHeard

        Thank you Forrest 😀

  14. Cindy

    Today was an aha moment for me. It actually has been becoming clearer but the light fully went on today. I had a hard time being truly open to people because it was used against me and I was judged. I was told when I reported abuse I was not enough, good enough, kind enough fill in the blank enough often by people that did not even take a few minutes to get to know me or knew me superficially. I was recently told that someone would pray that I would be forgiving and have a soft heart, really, really? I have to tell you that gutted me for awhile. I have worked really hard and I know what unforgiveness feels like and I know that isn’t my problem. I do however have a problem where someone thinks that means unconditional relationship with the person that harmed you.

    I was condemned for staying in an abusive relationship, I was condemned for leaving an abusive relationship. I was condemned for speaking out about the abuse (gossip/disrespect). I was condemned for remaining silent about the abuse. I believe the old saying damned if you do and damned if you don’t is quite appropriate in my case.

    Anyway back to my aha moment after that rabbit trail. When people judged me or said something harsh about me I took that to heart immediately and accepted that I was that bad or negative thing. So I tried really hard not to be that way and please the person that criticized me. Now when you are in an abusive relationship it is just not possible to please them but I still tried and I tried pleasing the “people helpers” that knew the situation. Oop rabbit trail again.

    I thought that people judged me based on my character and my actions and my AHA moment is many times I was not judged by my actions and behavior I was judged by the other person’s heart or by their misconception. Now if you are Jesus I will accept you judging me by your heart because as pictured that is His heart, He loved me and was willing to die for my sins. He came not to judge me but to take my punishment.

    There was a post I found this morning by Jason Staples that nailed it. “There is a recognition of the human tendency to judge based on our own heart; that is, we tend to see ourselves in others. (The postmodern recognition of essential subjectivity is closely related to this concept.) Just like a man with a splinter in his eye, we see that splinter (only much larger than it really is—as a beam) everywhere we look. If we are arrogant, we tend to see arrogance in other people. If we are cruel, we tend to suspect cruelty in others. If we are lecherous (an outstanding and underused word—isn’t that a great word, “lecherous”? Even better is the noun, “lecher,” as in “you filthy lecher!”), we tend to suspect sexual motives, desires, or behaviors in others. It is extraordinarily hard for us to break out of ourselves enough to truly empathize, seeing from another’s viewpoint, and Jesus makes the case that it is far harder—perhaps impossible—to do so when we are not pure hearted ourselves. As long as we hold to our own faults, we will see them in everyone else. But, as Titus 1:15 says, “to the pure everything is pure.”

    So when I am being judged by someone I am going to take more of a look at what they are saying and if they don’t know me, don’t know my heart I will not feel the need to disclose what I don’t feel like they should have access to.

    Per Barbara Roberts on a discussion about feeling the need that people are entitled to know everything.

    “Some people are not entitled to know the full truth about me (or you). If they have shown themselves to be my enemies, or so unwise that they are dangerous to the vulnerable and the oppressed, then they are not entitled to know the full truth.

    Here are some examples of this principle:
    armies use camouflage in warfare;
    a man is not required to testify against himself in a court of law;
    Corrie ten Boom was prepared to say “What Jews?” when the Nazi’s came knocking on her door wanting to see the Jews she was hiding.

    There are ways to refrain from uttering a lie but at the same time not give the whole truth. I advise victims to ask themselves “Is this person entitled to know the full truth? Will they use it against me?” If the answer to either of those questions is ‘No’, then one does not have to give them the full truth. That’s what not casting our pearls before swine is about, isn’t it?”

    • Brenda R

      Cindy,

      “Is this person entitled to know the full truth? Will they use it against me?” If the answer to either of those questions is ‘No’, then one does not have to give them the full truth. That’s what not casting our pearls before swine is about, isn’t it?”

      I’m thinking if the answer to, “Will they use it against me?” is yes, it could be far more dangerous to give them the whole truth.

    • I was condemned for staying in an abusive relationship, I was condemned for leaving an abusive relationship. I was condemned for speaking out about the abuse (gossip/disrespect). I was condemned for remaining silent about the abuse.

      That’s so good I’m quoting it on our FB page.

  15. Anonymous

    Thank you for this post! Your heart and desire to be truthful after such severe and decades long abuse is stunningly beautiful!

    I was watching a movie the other day about people who were using a 12-step program to kick sexual addiction. I’d forgotten how destructive these programs can be to people who were the victims of abusers–when the abusers don’t have a conscience. We are NOT all the same and a person with a conscience does not operate from the same desire / motivation / viewpoint as a person who is a psychopath. Psychopaths ONLY care about gaining something for themselves whether it be power, control, attention, money, allies, victims, resources, to keep from being bored or anything else that they feel they deserve or that is something that they want. Think the “terrible two’s” mindset of a toddler but with a better vocabulary and taller.

    A person with a conscience who has been raised with or by a psychopath(s), with no one to point out the differences between them or to help them see that people who are like this must manipulate in some form or fashion and as another website pointed out–if you were raised by psychopaths you WILL NEED to learn how this has affected you. They are simply an evil entity that produces a fog that others who live with them are forced to “inhale” (emotionally), and it has to be dealt with.

    In the movie, the wife of one of the addicts who had been married to him since they were teenagers, was talking to the new girlfriend of a friend and fellow addict of her husband’s. The girlfriend was stating that she didn’t think she could handle dealing with this, and how could the wife stand it for all these years? The wife replied back something like, “Well, I married an addict, so what does that say about me?”

    This is so dangerous and WRONG! It includes the victim in the blame which forces the victim to waste precious time and emotional energy focusing on what is “wrong” with them when instead they should have been taught about how differently true abusers brains function. But this is what these programs do. They refuse people the right to place the RIGHTFUL BLAME on the abuser and insist that the victim take some of the blame because they are defective too.

    My family tree is loaded with psychopaths, many who faithfully attend 12-step programs for one addiction or another. They are “famous” among this crowd because they love the limelight, love the chance to prey on new and weak victims and to garner stories to replenish their supply. They love saps like I used to be who will endlessly dig within myself to make sure I am absolutely perfect and clean before I dare look at anyone else as being at fault. Of course I was NEVER perfect or clean enough to look at others abuse because they make sure we are so self-focused as to be ineffectual and bound up. Sure, my family members may not have drank alcohol for decades, but they are still abusive and still dangerous to people with a heart to love others–and they always will be.

  16. Anonymous

    This seems to be the way that our entire society is set up–we have to lie in order to live.

    While going through an educational program recently, it was constantly stated that we learn the RIGHT way in the classroom but the REAL way on the job. It seems as though laws and rules and regulations rarely match the REALITY it takes to complete a job in the recommended time while adhering to all the safety standards. It’s a game that was played in nearly every job I’ve had over the years. We are all basically FORCED to be “criminals” in the sense that in order to complete a job, we must take shortcuts.

    Why don’t we instead match the standards to the reality? Cuz then there wouldn’t be a way to manipulate people! After all, most of us need to “cut corners” in order to produce, and the people that work these jobs and supervise these jobs, KNOW this, so it is an ever-present threat they can use if they decide they want to harass or get rid of us. We are all forced to collude in order to stay employed.

    End times are da bomb! Making people with a heart to be transparent and without deceit into people who go against their own standards, which harms them; while those without a conscience find it great fun to “get away” with something! “Here we go loop-de-loo, Here we go loop-de-lie…..”

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