A Cry For Justice

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

The Most “Godly” Person You Know Probably Isn’t

Proverbs 6:12-14 A worthless person, a wicked man, goes about with crooked speech, winks with his eyes, signals with his feet, points with his finger, with perverted heart devises evil, continually sowing discord;

Just when my day is going along smoothly and I am actually getting some things on my list done, POW! Something happens that sends me back to the computer to write another post. I can’t just make a note of it. I have to crank it out at the moment if at all possible.

Recently I was reminded very powerfully of how abusers put on their convincing show of “godliness.” I know that we have written numbers of posts on this subject, but I want to try to describe this tactic to you even more clearly so that to whatever extent I am able, you can be there right with me seeing what I see.

Most all ( but not all) of the abusers I have dealt with personally share certain common aspects to the fake persona they put on. These aspects include:

1. A quietness of voice that feigns humility very well.

2. A tilting of the head and a faint, “kind” smile.

3. Asks “caring questions” about you, often reaching out to pat your shoulder.

These appearances are so convincing that if you have no track record with the person, you will most certainly conclude that you are speaking with a very kind, caring, humble, Godly person. But you are not. You are talking to a narcissistic, abusive individual who is working his game on you.

Now, I have also dealt with “cons.” By “cons” I mean the criminal mind. The sociopath or psychopath who doesn’t work so much to convince you they are humble and Godly and so on. The con is the smooth-talker, and he talks a lot, often loudly. His head is up and he exudes confidence. He is dangerous, but not as dangerous as the “Godly” type that I am speaking of here.

Truly Godly people don’t necessarily look like it! I don’t mean that they live ungodly lives, but simply that they do not work their disguise on you. The Son of God came and walked among us and many didn’t even recognize Him. But everyone knew who the Pharisees were.

So this is just to say – beware of the “most Godly person” you know. The fact that they have made their “godliness” known is reason enough for suspicion. They have to make it known because their “godliness” is the means by which they gain what they are after:

1 Timothy 6:3-5  If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.

* * * * *

Addit by Barb Roberts:  This photo may show some of the features that Jeff C has described in this post. The man in the picture is Chris Chandler who was a worker in a ‘c’hristian cult for many years. He pleaded guilty to several charges of child sexual abuse and is now serving jail time for those crimes.

Chris Chandler, jailed pedophile

Photo taken from http://www.theage.com.au/national/secrets-lies-and-sex-abuse-as-exsect-leader-chooses-life-on-the-inside-20140727-3cnnc.html

 

 

 

78 Comments

  1. Anonymous100

    “but there’s another kind of abuser who uses his calmness abusively against you.”

    Valerie, VERY well said! And oh so true in my relationship with narc-abusive husband! He speaks in sickly/sweet calm (fake) tone to want to talk about whatever, but he is really provoking. When I rightly respond in anger over his false statements and undermining ways, he then physically will stand back and lean against a wall or a kitchen counter, and then make statements like, “WHY are you getting so upset?!”, “You are too sensitive.”, “I’m sorry kids your mother is so upset.” He LOVES to paint me as the bad guy. But you know the children grew up! and see him for who he really is!

    A few years ago I asked my grown children to read a paragraph out of Lundy Bancroft’s book, “Why Does He Do That?” that addresses this very thing. I bent the covers back so they could not see what book they were reading from and without prefacing it with any comments, I simply asked, “would you please read this and tell me your thoughts on it?” One said, “OH WOW!, this reminds me of dad!” The other said, “You know, I use to think you were the cause of the arguing, but even without reading this, I came to see he (dad) was provoking you. I remember it all so clearly.”

    I was involved in a Christian ministry for many years, n/a–husband never wanted anything to do with it and many times put it down. His unsupportiveness of me was his way of undermining my efforts. But when they were seeking a married couple to become the Presidents of the ministry, because the term was up for the other couple, he had the nerve to want to fulfill that role! I said, “no way!, with the state of this marriage, I will not be parading in front of godly families and pretending everything is all right with us.” He put his head down, crooking his lips, and mumbled something like, “hmmm, yeah.” He does go to church every week without fail; and loves to slap others on the back and proclaim, “HI BROTHER!, how are you today?!” He loves to sit to next to the Pastor and others in leadership positions at fellowship events. He also (which creeps me out) weirdly goes up to young women when their backs are turned to him and then tap them on the shoulder in order to say hello to them or ask them a question. I saw one woman, turn, and look at him like, “what do you think YOU are doing?” She backed upped and walked away. YES! way to go young woman, way to go! Eye winking is one of his specialties, another thing that always makes my skin crawl.

    • Valerie

      Anonymous100, yours and Jeff’s notes on the subtle touching reminded me of something. In the book Gift of Fear, the author describes this as a specific tactic sociopaths use to bond with their target. Specifically they will do this when a person is highly emotional (any state- crying, laughing, etc). When the person is highly emotional they may lightly touch the woman’s arm. In so doing they are conditioning that person to equate this man with high intensity emotions. A subtle form of forced rapport building.

      The author also says we must teach our children (and adults?!) that niceness does not equal goodness. Niceness is a decision, oftentimes a strategy but not a character trait. The child who does the dishes without being asked may have a hidden agenda. Same with adults only many people aren’t expecting to be manipulated and so they take the behavior at face value.

      BTW- this book (The Gift of Fear) is very insightful but it can be a very triggering. It talks about the dark side of people that some have the capacity to manifest. In light of that, there were some parts I had to skip over.

    • Lynn

      Hi Anonymous100. I have been married 32 years, I always knew something was wrong with our marriage, but he was very good at making me feel I was the defective one. How you describe your husband is so much like my husband. And the reaction from my 3 grown children are the same as yours. My daughter says she doesn’t want to be around her dad because she doesn’t have a relationship with him. She says she would not have a father daughter dance with him at her wedding someday. This extremely alarms me. since I was abused in more ways than one by my own father. I cry daily at my predicament, and feel I have wasted my life with this man, and let him whittle my confidence down to almost nothing. He acts very Godly all the time, crazymaking conversations that sometimes don’t make sense, cool calm fake, provoking in so many ways. The kids can’t stand him. I can’t stand him, I cry because at 53 I want freedom,,, freedom to be who God made me to be, free to live a peaceful life, I cry for my daughter, and our 10 year old little boy, and that we are raising him almost the same way we did the other older kids.

      I hope I make sense, its late and I have fibromyalgia brain fog, and my words don’t flow as good as yours. You really hit it on the nail about abusers, but I have a question to ask you, what does God want us to do? Leave or stay,, I know whether we stay or leave the marriage he wants us to do it well. Meaning having a peace about it, and functioning well. I have never functioned well with him. I just read a great book by Leslie Vernick called The emotionally destructive marriage. She is a Christian counselor who says the church has really failed in this area,, supporting women in abusive marriages. I hope we can keep in touch through this blog. I am interested in how you are doing and how you cope and what your future plans are.

      Lets hang in there!
      Many blessings
      Lynn

      • twbtc

        Lynn,

        . . .what does God want us to do? Leave or stay,

        You may find our resource page, Deciding to stay or leave, helpful.

        Additionally I encourage you to learn all you can about abusers and their mentality. My situation was like yours in that I was married for 30 years and always sensed something was off, but could never put my finger on it until I started learning about abuser and their mentality. (And my daughter didn’t even invite her father to her wedding due to his behavior towards her)

        Our Resources page can be found on the top menu bar. I encourage you to check it out as you have time as well as read past posts. You can do a search of our categories which is found on the side menu bar.

        As Anonymous100 has already said, the decision to stay or leave is a decision between you and God. He will be faithful to direct you.

        and Welcome to the blog!

      • Lynn

        Twbtc,
        Thanks I’ll check out the pages. I’ve been waiting on God for so many years, and I have stayed put due to the age differences of all my children, one of my children is still in grade school. Also I haven’t gotten any clear signals from God to leave. I have prayed throughout my years of marriage to give me clear signs and feelings if I am to leave. All I get is confusion and up and down feelings. My husband really knows how to play me and placate. me. I know it is a very individual decision. But staying all these years, has ruined my health and functioning, and my adult children know it, and see it, and tell me I am not living up to my potential. 😦

        I want my kids to know the real me before I leave this earth……

      • Alone

        This is my life!

        I cry daily at my predicament, and feel I have wasted my life with this man, and let him whittle my confidence down to almost nothing. He acts very Godly all the time, crazymaking conversations that sometimes don’t make sense, cool calm fake, provoking in so many ways. The kids can’t stand him. I can’t stand him, I cry because in my late middle age I want freedom, freedom to be who God made me to be, free to live a peaceful life, I cry for my child, who, as an older teenager, is mostly formed now and formidably psychologically and emotionally stunted due to all this.

        I cry every day and every night. And there is nothing I can do to improve it. I can’t change h, and I can’t move the hand of God.

  2. Sarah

    there is such a thing as a sociopath and a narcissist… the con and the repentant. They are very scary as well because they are like a chameleon in every setting. I’ve seen it, I’ve lived it

  3. Valerie

    One of the common characteristics of the abuser from other targets I have talked to is his/her ability to talk very…calmly. It is one of the ways they get us to believe we are the one with the issue for being upset. There is a kind of abuser who outwardly rages, but there’s another kind of abuser who uses his calmness abusively against you. In times where the abuser should be exhibiting emotions they sit there and act as though you having emotions is evidence of you being the basket case. Ugghhh…I remember well the countless conversations where he would look at me as he was feigning humility and express how he was “trying so hard”. He indeed “was trying so hard”….not to save the marriage but to systematically destroy me.

    I think we find a noteworthy example of hiding in plain sight in Judas. When Jesus told the group one among them would betray him, they all looked at each other wondering who it was. Judas was able to hide so well among them that they had no idea. It is also noteworthy that Jesus treated him in such a way that none of the disciples caught on from how Jesus responded to him either. Since Jesus had no problem calling out the Pharisees I can’t help but wonder if he allowed Judas to remain undiscovered because it was necessary for the saving of countless others. He remained quiet for a greater good. Surely Peter would have dragged Judas to some kind of justice if Jesus openly rebuked Judas for not being loyal! 🙂 I might be completely off on that line of thinking.

    If you use the description of “abuser, manipulator, or narcissist” to the average person they often think of a used car salesmen type. We want to believe we are too smart to be manipulated so in our minds we form the image of someone easy to spot. I don’t think that people take time to think through the verse “the devil himself masquerades as an angel of light” (2 Cor 11:14). So the question for the average population is “How do you know if you’re being deceived when you consider that deceived means you are unaware?”

    Great post Jeff!

    • Lynn

      Yes. Your first paragraph I can sooo relate to. The feeling of craziness, anger, and feeling it is all my fault or that I can’t communicate well, when my husband is too calm when he should be acting with some emotion.

      • Marie3

        Lynn, I can so relate to your statement. It’s really mind boggling when you think about it.

      • Lynn

        Marie3,
        It is mind boggling! And it is hard to reason with them because they don’t see it in themselves.

    • learning2bfree

      Valerie,

      This is a brilliant question!!!
      “So the question for the average population is “How do you know if you’re being deceived when you consider that deceived means you are unaware?”

      I think pride gets in the way of people being willing to believe they can be deceived, especially pastors. Unfortunately, abusers are quite aware of this and use it to their advantage. I warned my pastor to do some reading before he spoke to my “h” because he excels at manipulation. Two days later the pastor has him into his office and then declares to me that I’m too hard on him.

      Wish I had your line to give to him, but I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t have helped him see, just make me feel better. 🙂

    • findingaquietplace

      Wow, Yes, yes, yes! You describe it so well. My narcissist would be so calm when I was upset (almost enjoying it calm) and then when I wised up and stopped letting him manipulate my emotions he would turn into a “repentant” basket case and oh how the tears would come … and then he would blame me for being abusive and controlling. It is a crazy ride that no one understands unless they have been there. I have quite literally been telling myself for years “I’m not crazy, I’m not crazy, I’m not crazy.” And I didn’t know why I was saying that to myself until I could put a name to what it was: Narcissism.

      • Personally I think the term ‘malignant narcissist’ fits abusers better than simply ‘narcissist’.
        Some people who have narcissistic traits are pretty benign — they are self-centred but they don’t have a pattern of hurting others by the use of power and control.

  4. Almost Myself Again

    this one really hit home…. i had others convinced i was marrying the most godly man i had ever known… all the while.. somewhere deep inside i knew the truth.. how do some people seem to live with no soul?

  5. I think this “godly” persona keeps them abusing far longer than others because after all, they are presenting to do the Lord’s work. This is why the church is filled with so many abusers. They know how to walk the walk, talk the talk, and there is an established, but undeserved trust with those who profess to be Christian and who are showing “godly” fruit. But those close to them know.

    • Jeff Crippen

      JA – the fact that they have chosen to be in the church, as you note here, makes them doubly deceiving. And, I say, doubly wicked. These are the kind who often rise to leadership office in the church. I find it interesting that the leaders that the Lord chose in Scripture – Moses, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Paul, and so on, did not desire the office. In fact they protested when the Lord chose them. Paul said he was the chief of sinners. Jeremiah said he was but a youth. Isaiah noted that he had unclean lips. And Moses said ‘I don’t want this job.’ On the other hand you see Diotrephes in 3 John who “wanted to be first.” This should tell us something, but we don’t seem to get the message.

      • That is an excellent observation, Jeff.

  6. soldiergirl

    You would think that the people would see the type of fruit produced, and know what type of tree that they are dealing with, but the people instead are swayed by the smooth oil words that proceed out of their mouths. Side note to Valerie’s observations, Judas true to his nature betrayed Jesus with a kiss.

  7. Jesus' Beloved

    Wow, Jeff, you nailed it once again.

    This:
    1. A quietness of voice that feigns humility very well.
    2. A tilting of the head and a faint, “kind” smile.
    (I left out item 3 because my husband doesn’t ask caring questions)

    You just described how my husband behaved when we both met with our children’s therapist, whom I had talked to one on one numerous times before then to tell her our children were subjected to watching me be abused, and were abused themselves. Then she met with this “version” of my husband in her office, and also one on one without me. After that, her conclusion was that he was just an overall good guy that might say the wrong thing every now and then. And our children, when they completely freaked out when he came to pick them up for his custody days, crying and hiding from him, were just upset about our divorce. Not about being with him. I told her very specifically these kids are scared of this man, hoping she would help us, and she did the exact opposite and sided with him. I thought, how on earth did she, after all I shared with her, and after all the kids told her themselves about how their dad is mean to them, did this happen?

    Well, it was that quiet, humble voice of course, and that faint, kind smile of his. She fell hard for it. He’s also very good looking and I’m sure that worked in his favor as well.

    By the way, he’s not a believer. The atheist narcissistic abusers use the same tactics as the fake Christian ones do.

  8. nessa3

    When I was in college a couple of instructors one male one female..gave me alot of needed attention what I never got at home…and they gradually gained my confidence…and found out their intentions were to groom certain people to join in their sex games….when it was very obvious and I couldnt explain away their attention I left…but the betrayal still has it impact today.

  9. Anonymous100

    Oh Valerie thank you for highlighting the difference between niceness and goodness! When our children were between the ages of 2 and 8 narc husband would always tell the children (while at a check out counter) “say thank you and goodbye to the nice man (or lady).” It upset me so much! and I would tell him, Don’t say that to the children! How do we know they are truly nice?!”
    Now I know I was really trying to say goodness.

  10. Anonymous100

    Valerie, I forgot to say, “thank you” for sharing the book “Gift of Fear”; I want to read it. My husband always put me down for being cautious and I’m afraid he has dulled my God given sensitivity to truly fearful situations and people!

    • twbtc

      Anonymous100,

      Yes, we highly recommend Gavin de Becker’s book, The Gift of Fear. It is on our resources page and at Amazon through our affiliate link here.

      • I found it to be a very good and enlightening book too, but I would recommend to be in a safe place to read it.

  11. bright sunshinin' day

    Jeff, your comment to Julie Anne re “godly” abusers is chilling, but true: “…the fact that they have chosen to be in the church, as you note here, makes them doubly deceiving.”

    “Doubly deceiving” is chilling, but true. These are the ones who have “…crept in unnoticed…” (Jude 4) and often work their way up the ladder to leadership positions. Women and children who are hurting beyond what most can imagine are in need of support and after failed attempts to resolve issues with the abuser may seek help from the church since they read in Matt 18 to “go tell it to the church.” Then, to their surprise and great dismay, the “godly” counselors often coach the woman to continue in the abuse with more submission, etc, which only keeps them imprisoned and in a sick cycle due to the misinterpretation, misapplication, and mishandling of God’s Word.

    Doubling Deceiving, Doubly Dangerous, and Doubly Doomed. Ezekiel 34 speaks to these irresponsible “shepherds.”

    • Enduring

      Jude 1:12
      These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withers, without fruit, TWICE DEAD, plucked up by the roots;

      Matthew 23:14-15
      Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. 15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him TWO-FOLD more the child of hell than yourselves.

  12. Anonymous100

    Wow! this topic has really brought to the surface things I had buried for years!
    I almost broke down sobbing thinking about the next thing: A disheveled man in his late 30’s was sitting in a car outside our home. He came to our door, my husband answered and the man said he was hot and needed something to drink and could he use our bathroom. My husband let him in straight away! I was terrified! Our infant son was in my arms and our other small children were right there when the man came in! I kept thinking “what if he has a gun or a knife?!” He drank the water, used the bathroom, and left. I asked my husband “WHY did you let that stranger in our home, especially with having small children?! He said, “the Bible says sometimes we entertain angels unaware. We shouldn’t turn people in need away. I felt torn and guilty then. But NOW I think my husband was NUTS for doing that! and I would never allow such a thing today, small children or not.

    • Lynn

      I agree, my husband used to pick up hitchhikers that were men when my kids and I were in the car. I felt very uneasy about that.

  13. Anonymous100

    Hello Lynn,

    Let me reassure you that you are not defective.
    My #1 rule now for having a conversation or hearing comments by an abuser are take what they say, turn it around, and there’s the truth!

    Staying or leaving: I’ve been told only God can tell us that. He sees the beginning to the end. I hear your weariness and understand wishing you could know right this minute what to do. Staying well, I see it as being primarily for myself and the children not for “the marriage.” Getting rest, eat well, learn a marketable skill (then you can get a job whether you stay or go), watch funny movies, enjoy God’s creation, think about the greatness of God, buy something just for you. Go places that become all yours where he hasn’t been with you. You don’t feel well?, don’t push yourself to do more just so he doesn’t criticize you, rest MORE! You have to separate yourself from him in whatever way you can so you can start to feel like yourself again, to know your worth. Once you get even a glimpse you will want more and begin to brake free even if your still in the same house. Stay open to God’s leading—be anticipating it–He will show us what to do. He will provide the answer and the means to carry it out.

    • Lynn

      I agree. Love all your great ideas of things to do. I’m just hanging in there. I would Love to be who I am or who I’m supposed to be. I live in so much fear of my H’s anger and silence and his anger toward our kids who are still at home. I know your comment on not pushing myself to do more so he doesn’t critizise you. Doesn’t fit with my H or I. My H must feel he is better than me and that he is needed, so if I’m happy, organized and have the house cleaned and in order, he gets angry, and picks on the kids about any little thing. He wants me to not function, in my mind, body, home ect. I feel so crazy and weird and question my mind and perception cause I hear most women have the opposite. Their H is nasty mad when they’re not together and not functioning and the house is a mess. My H’s excuse for getting mad and acting scary when I’m doing good is that he wants to train our kids to pick up ect. Now that I’m doing it???? I don’t feel that makes sense. He gets mad at them for many dumb reasons when I’m doing well. I just want peace in my home. But I’ve lost myself and my perception gets questioned by me and councilors. Am I making an excuse not to function and blaming it on my husband. they say, bla. My intuition knows I’m right. I’m just so fearful of him and his anger and quarreling and mind games, and calm mind games provoking me to make me look and feel bad. BTW I have so many health issues now its hard to do anything anyway.

      • Anonymous100

        Well, it sounds like you lose if you are the one cleaning and lose if you get sidelined when you don’t want to be. Sounds typical; they try to make you feel lousy no matter what you do, right?! If he is scary and you fear he may act out physically, than to me, the only thing you could do is let him do the work! Let him think he is the end all and be all because he is doing it, does it make it true–NO. You are not valuable because of what you do; your worth is because God created you and Jesus died for you. Use that time he’s being “primo housecleaner” [maybe you should buy him a cape! 😉 ] to focus on recovering your health—research and start taking care of you. Your children will thrilled to see you making strides in that direction. Most of what we experience are head games; I’ve learned a lot of my n/a-husband’s meaningless interactions with me. I am learning to not entertain them and quietly go about what truly makes me happy.

      • Sunflower

        I just have to say something here. I was married to an abuser for about 25 years, many of which I was ill. When I was sick, he was kind but the minute I could get out of bed again, I saw like an ugly shade go over his eyes and the anger was all back. In the evenings we would lie in bed and I’d try to explain something……..for hours……and he just wouldn’t get it. Yet when I’d cry, he’d suddenly get smart, the light went on! Not that he actually followed up on it, but he’d get it, and we could go to sleep. It took about 20 years for me to recognize the pattern, so one night he was provoking me again to explain something, and I said, “I’ve discovered that you’re kind to me when I’m sick, or when I finally break down and cry, if it takes 10 minutes or 6 hours, you’ll harass me till I break.” He looked at me and said, “Well yes, don’t you know that if I can make you sick or cry, that makes a man out of me?” Then he rolled over and went to sleep. I quickly found a pen and wrote it down because I knew he would never admit to having said that. I call it ‘putting the light out.’ When I or the children got sparkly-eyed and excited about something, or wanted something, he had to put out the light, he couldn’t stand it. They like you weak. I used to think I’d love to be at my funeral and watch him put on the bereaved poor widower act, that would be a performance worth seeing!! ha!(sorry, couldn’t resist that one)

        I’ve gotten really leery of pastors and leaders that everyone seems to be oohing and aah-ing over, that come across as oh so godly.

      • Wow. just wow.
        That was a lightbulb moment, if ever there was one!

        thanks for sharing this, Sunflower, it is iconic. I’m going to memorize your little story and tell it to others to educate them about the mentality of abuser. It has so much packed into it, that small story!

        And this too:

        I call it ‘putting the light out.’ When I or the children got sparkly-eyed and excited about something, or wanted something, he had to put out the light, he couldn’t stand it. They like you weak.

        you’ve summed it up brilliantly. 🙂 🙂

      • Hi Lynne, welcome 🙂
        I think your story is a good illustration of one of the things that makes it so hard to explain what domestic abuse is like to the general public. One of your husband’s common tactics is to parade as a husband who does housework and trains the kids to do housework. That’s a ‘good’ trait. But the underbelly of it is that he abuses you more intensely when you have been doing housework really well, so that he can grab the halo from you. (Not that you do it to wear a halo. . .)

        In contrast, other abusers may be bone lazy about housework. They may be more intensely abusive when their target has been a little lax with housework.

        The behaviours of abusers may look different when one abuser is compared to another, but their mentality of entitlement and their exercise of power and coercive control is the same.

        BTW, I’ve disidentified some of the details you gave in your comments, for your safety’s sake.

      • Valerie

        Yes, so much truth in all this. Putting out the light. Exactly.

        Years ago I wrote in my journal that it seemed my husband NEEDED me to be weak and that made no sense to me. Of course I felt I had to be crazy because what kind of sense would that make for a husband to want his wife weak??? Yet I know now as I gained clarity about the abuse this last year that my observations were correct. The disconnect for me was not realizing there were people out there who functioned this way. I was sick for several years and when I was at my worst health-wise he was kind to me. Yet as soon as I started feeling better he would pick fights and give me the silent treatment. He hated when I was happy and would do things to bring me down and then when I did manage to smile again he would say it was so good to see me smile- that I didn’t do that often. Oh, the mind games. 😦

        It really resonated with me what Anonymous100 said about the window shade. I have questioned why I tend to be negative, esp when people ask me how I am. I recently explored this on a deeper level to try to make sense of it. What I realized is that it has been a coping mechanism. He conditioned me that if I was happy he was going to put out my light so I learned to speak in a more pessimistic way about how I was feeling. Sometimes I would even walk away from a conversation thinking “Why did I say that when I’m actually feeling good today?”. I know now that I responded that way much of the time in a desperate attempt to hold on to the good I was actually feeling for fear of it being taken away. My husband was usually agitated around me and treated me like I had done something wrong and that it was my job to figure out what that was. I felt like I was being disloyal for being happy when he was clearly so agitated so I would feel guilty for feeling good as well.

  14. Lynn

    Very enlightening posts. I am going to bookmark this page.

  15. Anonymous100

    Sunflower,
    Thank you for capturing an abuser’s covert suppression: “putting the light out”. Barbara that belongs on the Gem page!

    A dear Christian once said to me, “you start out conversing happily, but I notice you just as quickly pull back and become withdrawn.” It took me by total surprise; I never even realized I was doing it; that’s how much narc husband had conditioned me. It’s like lifting a window shade only to slam it back down once the light starts to peek through. I’ve since asked other friends for their honest observations. My best friend’s daughter, who babysat our children when I was sick for a few months, sees my husband as being disingenuous and doesn’t like his tone and bossing me and the children around. I never thought others noticed, because they never said anything. But give them what they feel they need, your permission, and watch the floodgates open! It has been validating to hear.

  16. Lynn

    I call it ‘putting the light out.’ When I or the children got sparkly-eyed and excited about something, or wanted something, he had to put out the light, he couldn’t stand it. They like you weak.

    Oh my! exactly. well said. I started crying when I read these words. This is my husband.
    I guess what I was trying to say is summed up with sunflower’s words. And she said one more thing that hit me like a mac truck. When I was doing good and not sick it was like a shade would come over his eyes and the anger would return.

    Sunflower also said something that I have gone thru a lot over the years,about how her husband’s communication changes. When she is sick and weak and cries her husband gets it understands right away. But when she is doing good he does not get or understand what she is trying to explain. That is exactly the way my husband is. That’s why we fought so much in the early years in our marriage while we were raising our 2 older kids. I would be feeling great about life and functioning well. He would just provoke and infuriate me by not getting what I was saying. I would go on and on trying to explain it as best and different as I could but to no avail. We would argue and yell and it got physical at times. The kids didn’t witness that but they heard our many many fights.

    Thank you Anonymous100 Barbara, and sunflower for your words. I have had a huge aha moment of truth. I have gone back and forth for years on my sanity of my mind when it comes to my marriage!!!! I feel I can stay in the truth because of this moment of clarity!

    • Glad to hear you feel you can stay in the truth, Lyn! I know what you mean. I had so many little insights — where a penny dropped here, or there, or a ray of light broke through the fog — but often the fog would close in again, or I would lose the penny. The epiphanies which are big break-thoughs, where the fog does not rise up again because enough light has come in and enough dots have been joined. . . they are marvelous!
      bless you.

      • Lynn

        Barbara,
        Yes! One day latter, I still feel the same, as I’m getting older the truth stays longer, and I cope better than when I was younger. I’m glad you shared that you struggle with that also,, that denial and self deception that comes and goes. It is a very lonely road for women in abusive marriages. I feel comfort when women share their struggles.

        What a thought provoking thread.

    • Valerie

      Welcome Lynn! This site is full of aha moments!

      • Lynn

        Thanks Valerie!

      • Lynn

        Thank you Valerie! I really relate to what you said about how your husband wants you to be weak, and how it took years for you to believe that he was that way. Same thing for me. I just couldn’t understand why my husband wanted me to be unhappy and weak and sick even. All I can come up with is he wants me destroyed. Do you think that is true? All I know is that I am happy when I don’t have to be around him and converse with him. how sad for me and him.

      • Valerie

        Lynn, I just saw this earlier comment you made. You say how sad for both of you when you don’t have to be around him and this makes you happy. This reality is indeed sad…likely devastating for you, but this is not true for an abuser. An abuser does not desire unity or mutuality. In their eyes to be equal is to lose and everything is a competition in which they must win. Their goal is not closeness, its power over. We respond to them based on our goals and desires which is why we get nowhere with them because their goals aren’t the same as ours. This one truth (outlined in the Evans book) was a game changer for me. So many of the confusing things in our relationship made sense when filtered through that truth.

    • Sunflower

      Two of the other things I remember him saying:
      He ‘couldn’t remember’ that I had said something several times to him. He said, “C……, don’t you know that what I don’t want to think about, I just block out?”

      I said, “Why is it that whenever I say ‘A’, you say, ‘B’, then if I say, ‘OK then, ‘B’ ‘, you look confused and say, ‘No, I didn’t say that, I said ‘C’, or even ‘A’.” His reply, “C……, don’t you know you’re always wrong?”

      Well then.

      • Lynn

        sunflower, I can really relate to that. Confusing conversation,,, My H says he forgets to0, esp. the things that are most important to me. Also I have experienced the a, b and c conversation.

        I can’t believe it took me so many years to understand these crazymaking tactics. I really thought it was me, that I couldn’t explain things good enough. Sometimes I felt as if I could lose my mind trying to converse with him. When I’m doing well it gets worse. . . when I’m really happy (which is never anymore) it is ridiculous, he is so confusing in his conversations that he doesn’t even make sense. . . in the old days we would fight, and I would get angry and frustrated trying to get my point across, but now that I understand what he is doing, I don’t even react anymore, I see that he is just circling, and acting like he doesn’t’ understand.

        One difference: your husband seems to end the conversations with a blatant putdown. My H Is really careful not to do that, he has not called me names or put me down either, which is even more confusing because I wonder if I am really experiencing abuse. . .

      • he sounds like he is one of the abusers who specialize in gas-lighting and other forms of coercive control, rather than overt name calling or belittling. Have you read Lundy’s book yet? If not, I’m sure it would help clear up some of your confusion.

        ((hugs))

      • Valerie

        Lynne, I second Barbara’s reply. Your post describes point after point of abuse 101. It is so confusing because it is confusing by design. They need us to be confused so we keep chasing our tail and not get to the real issue – their abuse. I, too, got frustrated trying to get my point across but in time I realized he absolutely got my point – his confusion wasn’t the issue. Trying to make an abuser understand is like going outside and calling your dog whose in the house. You can yell for him all day long but he ain’t comin’.

        Another book recommendation is the Verbally Abusive Relationship by Patricia Evans. Their tactics are laid out in a way that bring much clarity to when it is confusing with the abuser.

        Is this abuse? What comes to mind is the game “keep away” that adolescents play. Its called a game but really it is quite evil. One person takes something of another’s then a group of people throw it to each other to keep it away from the owner. Imagine this is a birthday present for the person’s mom they spent all their allowance on and it’s breakable. They laugh and giggle as they throw it back and forth while the owner is begging to have it back. Now, has the group called this girl names? Have they physically hurt her? What if one of them had asked to see this present and she willingly gave it to them to see? They didn’t steal it then. What if they tell her it’s just a game and she should be having fun…that they are playing this “game” to include her in the group? Its not a game, it’s an example of evil abuse centered on dominance, control and helplessness.

  17. Rebecca

    What an excellent post Jeff, followed by the compelling shares and stories have provided to me as well, incredible insight, validation, and peace knowing what I see and know. The spaz abuser is easier to spot, but a false humility one isn’t. Spot on.

    Sunflower- “Putting out the light”- a second ‘brilliant’ to this type of abuse and precisely describing! Boy can I relate and put this to good use.

    In all due respect to the masses, I believe most people are as sheep and believe whatever they see and hear from ministry leaders. It’s less work and requires no personal introspection (gotta own your owns stuff-scary) or involvement (I might not be liked by everyone or it’s too messy) … or just plain ole apathy …either in supporting the survivor/victim or confronting the abuser. As well, I know I was conditioned *not* to question ‘spiritual authority’….not God, but specifically people. The combination of the two is the perfect breeding and hiding ground for abusers.

    “So the question for the average population is “How do you know if you’re being deceived when you consider that deceived means you are unaware?” jmho- They won’t, until there is a willingness of the heart and folks to allow God to open the minds of those refusing to see the truth, to see the truth and THEN call it out. It can happen because God can do what we can’t. Making a difference, as in sharing here and not being afraid to speak up, is what I believe is doing my (our) part. Thank you Jeff and Barb for doing just this! With you all the way.

    • Lynn

      Valerie
      Barbara
      I feel that this is his specialty to. Gaslighting and pretending, and putdowns with nicer words in a sickly sweet tone,,, makes my head spin. In the middle of our marriage I started fighting back and getting angry, mostly trying to call him out on his communication and pretending. I would sometimes say a few naughty words if we were alone ,, or I would say mean things like I want a divorce,,, sometimes I would act like a 8 yr old….. I regret all those times,, especially since it was my older 2 kids growing up yrs. I felt bad about myself and it hindered my walk with the Lord. Then I read a book called Stalking the Soul,, and it explained that is the worst thing you can do,, stoop to their level,, and your self esteem plummets. Plus this is what they want ,, they want you to react negatively. So I stopped doing this. Anyway,, I can’t go back and change it now,,

      This was a really thought provoking thread, I know the subject was hijacked it seems, but it all fits.,,,, the kind of abuse that is so well hidden with the guise of gentleness and godliness, Which to me hurts worse.,, and makes me more angry that abusers are hiding behind the the name of Christ.

  18. Marie3

    I’ve been married to mister nice guy for 18 yrs and just recently learned he is passive aggressive. He is the guy that does dishes and laundry, shampoo’s the carpet on a regular basis, keeps the yard work done, cooks for me sometimes, pours my drink, you get the picture. In 18 yrs he has only raised his voice to me 3 times. He is APPEARS to be very calm when he speaks, he has a very calm, quiet voice. I always thought the problem was me because I was raised in a home where screaming, yelling and arguing happened on a daily basis. I have prayed for the Lord to show me the truth about our marriage and what I was doing wrong because I was so convinced it was me.

    I came across an article written by a lady that spoke of her years of abuse with her passive aggressive husband. Her article was a carbon copy of my marriage. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. Now it seems so obvious I can’t believe I missed it all these years. He with holds affection, refuses to even tell me good night. Looking back I can see where if he thought something would upset me, him leaving on hunting trips for days, refusing to take me out to dinner or anywhere for that matter, anything he thought would get me upset he would do it, but in a covert way. Once he got me to explode, while he would sit quietly, saying nothing, showing no emotion, doing nothing, he would be fine. Almost like a drug for him, he enjoyed it. I had another one way conversation with him several weeks ago and told him that after all these years I finally figured out that I am not the problem, he is and he will never get me upset again. I went on to tell him that a person that can not show emotion has some type personality disorder and needs professional help.

    For me, the gig is up, I refuse to be abused any longer. As a matter of fact, since this revelation I can’t stand the sight of him, much less want to talk to him. Everyone thinks I have this perfect marriage to Mr. Wonderful. I live close to work and use to bring a divorced co-worker to my house for lunch and my husband would fix our lunch if he was home, and set the table, fix my drink, wait on me, etc. My friend would always respond, I hope you know how lucky you are, I’m going to have a man like him one day. I heard about how wonderful he was from so many people, I was convinced I was the problem in our marriage but could never put my finger on it. I thank God for bringing this to light. I am just biding my time, I have already spent too many years in this abusive marriage.

    • Hi Marie3, welcome to the blog.
      You might like to read this post we have about covert aggression. We believe that the term ‘covert aggression’ is more a accurate term for the kind of thing you are experiencing than ‘passive aggression’.

      https://cryingoutforjustice.blog/2013/01/30/covert-aggression-is-not-the-same-as-passive-aggression/

      • Marie3

        Yes Miss Barbara, you are right. I can say, the truth really does set you free. Since I have learned the truth about my spouse, I am not imprisoned any longer in his sick games. He will have to find another way to vent his hidden anger because I will not allow him to do it to me any longer.
        I must say this blog is wonderful. It is very therapeutic to be able to read others stories and realize you are not the crazy one after all!!

    • Valerie

      Marie3, my journey into the enlightenment of the abuse in my marriage also started with finding out about passive aggressive personality disorder. Yet there was still a few pieces that weren’t explained by PAPD. I then learned about Narcissistic Personality Disorder. If this isn’t something you’ve yet explored, it might be something to look into. The features are similar but NPD is more malevolent. Many of the things you mentioned sound eerily familiar. 😦 We’re glad you’re here Marie!

      • Marie3

        I’m glad I’m here too. Everything is becoming so clear after all these years. Years of having “normal” conversations about work and other things yet no affection of any kind for years. Never raising his voice, always calm. Always doing things around the house to cover his covert abuse. He goes off alone on trips in an attempt to punish me. I keep telling myself it should have been obvious but I am just now seeing the truth. Yes, knowing the truth sets you free.

      • Lynn

        Thank you for all your warm welcome. I had felt so alone in my life in the pain of my marriage. I couldn’t tell anyone all this craziness I lived with, cause they knew him and wouldn’t understand. Now every one who is posting on this one thread has had a similar husband as mine.

        So much of what of what all you Ladies have said about your husbands , is very similar to mine. The communication problems, the doing nice things but neglecting the more needed manly jobs, the withholding affection , sabotaging special trips and times. And the biggest and the most unthinkable of all is……Putting the lights out!!!!!( the gem from sunflower)

        That is the very thing that scares me about my husband. That he doesn’t want me to succeed and be the best me. It frightens me that he wants me sick and weak. I am molded into what keeps him on an even keel. I don’t even know who I am anymore. I get rewarded by him … by me not being joyful or happy. having a sloppy household, not being successful because I don’t try or do anything. being depressed. My reward from him when I’m this way is, a peaceful household, communication with him that makes sense, thus fewer arguments, mind games and confusion. I can ask him to do something important around the house and he will do it. He is more agreeable and willing to compromise. He is less angry with the kids, and patient and tolerable with them. We as a family can have fun without him sabotaging our outing. is another reward.

        But as soon as he senses I’m getting stronger, happier, more together, more organized, healthier, or might have a success of trying a new project or something…then he starts to come apart, he can get scary. And all the rewards are GONE.

        I would like some ideas on how you Ladies rise up out of the mire pit of this control! How does one get over the fear of your husband.

      • Hi Lynn, I took out the second paragraph of your comment because it might have been too identifying. If you want to discuss this more with me, email me at barbara@notunderbondage.com

        You asked “How does one get over the fear of your husband?”
        First of all, I think it helps to recognise that that fear is well founded — you have ample evidence of his multitudes of abuse tactics and manipulations of you. It is healthy to be afraid of someone who has evil intent towards us. So don’t try to tell yourself that your fear is foolish or sinful.

        We have many testimonies at this blog from survivors who, even though fearful, were prompted by God to get away from their abuser and how God made the way open and helped them on that journey. So you might like to read those testimonies just for encouragement. You can find the testimonies under the ‘New Users’ tab in the top menu.

        We encourage you to read Lundy Bancroft’s book (look in the Resources tab) as it really helps us understand the mindset of the abuser and to see his tactics for what they are even more clearly than we might have seen them already.

        We also encourage you listen to Jeff Crippen’s sermon series on domestic abuse. You can find it in the Sermons section of the Resources, and the Resources tab is in the top menu.

        The more you read and learn about abuse and the abuser’s mentality, the more equipped you will be to make choices about how you could best have a safe and secure life for the future. You cannot change your husband, all you can do is decide whether you wish to stay with him and if you do wish to stay with him, how you might be able to set boundaries to protect yourself from his most egregious abuse; and if you decide to leave, how you might choose to extricate yourself and your kids from him.

        There are no easy answers. We understand this. We respect the right of each survivor to make her own choices at her own pace. Bless you.

    • Alone

      Marie3, you just explained my h’s behavior!

      He is secretive about everything. […details redacted…].

      He never volunteers information. Never. He seems to be incapable of being open or even honest. That would somehow make him vulnerable or something, right?!? He also seems to be incapable of setting/creating any actual life goals with me, or hardly any for himself. He almost never ever keeps his word, denies things. Always angry at me, and denies this vehemently. He prides himself in masquerading the poker face. He has pretty much zero empathy. Honestly, after 11 years, I’m not even sure he knows what that means!

      He works for himself [so] he has no accountability. It starts an actual fight when I ask how much he made that month, or what bill is coming out when… He’s almost always angry. So negative. He witholds intimacy from me all the time. It’s his favorite spiteful thing to do. He’s not romantic or emotional, so that’s the most concentrated form of love I can get from him. And it’s only when he wants. Keeps all the money in separate business account and a personal account for himself. I don’t have access to those. He keeps the [loan repayments] in the joint account, but he desperately has to control so much that instead of transferring the money for the bill payments the day before or morning of so I wouldn’t ever have access to any money, he now waits until the bills bounce, and then transfers the exact amount the day after. Sure enough, it incurs a […] charge from the financing company, but he’d rather that than I have any money.

      He knows all the verses about not providing for your family is worse than an unbeliever, but he actually believes that because he is paying off [the money we borrowed for basic needds], he’s “providing for his family”. It’s most certainly not the Biblical way! — which is God’s way. And the only right way is God’s way, but of course, he then twists all that by saying that that’s simply my interpretation, and that I always “interpret the Bible to suit my own needs”.

      This is the same guy who, when he left me for several yrs, when my child spotted a woman [with him] while we were driving one day and I confronted him later about it, he informed me (in a firm tone that, that he hardly EVER used with me!) that he was “in a God-honoring casual dating relationship”.

      He has started calling me self-righteous for asking him not to call me names when we’re trying to sort out our differences because I say why are you saying things like that to me? That’s so hurtful. I don’t do that to you. He rarely, rarely makes up with me, staying angry and vindictive for weeks, and is furious when I do anything autonomously.

      He called me pious for going to church when HE won’t make up with me! He refuses to even talk to me, but he’s furious if I go to church!

      The best part? He totally claims to be a Christian, too! Oh, honey! He’ll talk Christianese better than any pastor or theologian! He prays all these Christianese prayers at prayer meeting, but in [x] years of marriage, he’s only prayed with me a dozen times or so. And yes, stupid of me to pursue him for several yrs to get him back. He’s been back for [a few] yrs now, and we have all the same problems and issues we did in the beginning. He’s always disconnected from me. Never offers anything from inside himself, unless he gets something back. Very self-serving. Ugh. The things I could tell you. He argued with me all year to quit working, and now I’m creeped out being around him. He hasn’t spoken to me in [x] days, many of those nights he slept in our vehicle [….].

      I’ve been having nightmares, and anxiety attacks and nausea and nearly fainted trying to leave the house the other day. Now I’ve started hyperventilating! What a horrible thing that is! I always thought it was a little melodramatic and intentionally brought on by the individual, but now I know how real it is! Ok sry… writing a novel here. And I was initially determined to be succinct! 😮 Anyway, my pastor isn’t helping. He’s told h flat-out that he’s a failure as a husband, failure as a father, and failure as a man of God. Somehow he just sat there and took it?!?!? That’s tough for any man to hear, esp from his pastor! Yet, in the end, y’know what h’s stand is? I’m unsubmissive, so I’m the prob. So everything stops functioning in our home because he decides he’s angry and gonna make a stand.

      And another creepy thing I discovered: whatever he accuses me of is what he does to me. So that’s when we stopped seeing the pastor for counseling 😥 I feel so alone and helpless and hopeless.

      Ok I’m taking over the whole webpage lol. Sry guys.

      • Dear Alone, it took us a while to edit your comment. I know you were needing to vent, and that’s okay on this blog 🙂 , but some of the details were too identifying so we held it in moderation for a while. If you want to see what we removed/ airbrushed, look over the published version.

        Yes. You are definitely being abused by your husband. And while your pastor was right to tell him he was behaving really badly, this has not been much help in prompting your husband to change. I encourage you to give thought to whatever steps YOU want to take for your longterm well being and the wellbeing of your kids.

  19. Lynn

    Since I am new, and exploring this site, and the blogrolls listed. I just read on the side of this page abuse is murder. And that it takes away a victims personhood. That reminds me how deadly serious our Lord Jesus was when he said if we call someone empty-headed, we might as well hit him over the head with a hammer.

  20. thepersistentwidow

    Lynn, Welcome! Yes, abuse is hatred and murder. Hatred of one’s spouse also breaks the marriage vow. Abuse is very serious and not to be glossed over as church leadership often does.

    • Marie3

      Amen to your reply!

    • Lynn

      thepersistentwidow,
      Thank you, I have yet to find a paster to help me. Or even friends from my own church. I just can’t confide in anyone. He is too involved in church. I’m thankful I have been welcomed warmly on the site.

    • Lynn

      Thanks for the welcome ,, good to be here.

  21. soldiergirl

    Hi Lynn, I got over my fear of my husband by realizing he was “playing me” for his pay off.
    I was 100 percent invested, and seeking truthful answers, and he was messing with my head and spinning the truth into a lie to keep me off balance. It was hard for me to take a stand at first because I more easily would defend my own children before I would defend myself. I was too discouraged to defend myself.
    But one day I was out in the back yard trying to make sense of it all, and I recalled a scripture from the bible that was mostly used to inspire people,- and started thinking about it..
    It was “God is for you, He is not against you”. and then realized at the same time that my husband was against me, and his behavior showed that he was defiantly not for me..
    So I thought to myself how odd that these two ( God and my husband) influences in my life contradict each other. And found it baffling.
    And then I recalled another scripture that said “let every man be found a liar, but let God be true.”
    So I concluded that since my husbands ideas about me didn’t begin to line up with what Gods word speaks about me, well then he must be the liar.
    I thought about all the wasted years I poured into this marriage only to realize all the “gas lighting” he did during the marriage to make me doubt myself and my perceptions, and how many opportunities I had missed out on, due to his manipulation, and how many friends he scared away so he could control me more, and how he undermined my parenting skills, and caused my children to fall way short of their potential, and how half of them don’t even profess to believe in God anymore. . .
    I started to realize that there was also a innocent little girl inside me, that was ruthlessly “taken advantage of,” and mistreated, and I needed to step up and be the “Big sister” and defend her. (since nobody else would)
    I became determined to become that person, and get her out..
    I am not out yet, but am making progress towards that goal, and I hope that someday you can find a way out too.

    • Soldiergirl, that is such a great testimony! May we add it to our Testimonies page?
      (if you haven’t seen it yet, it’s under the New Users tab)

      • soldiergirl

        Yes, Barbara, It was what gave me the strength to fight the battle. If we can rise up and find that “Big Sister” defender that is in each and every one of us, we will be able to rise up against this injustice.. .

    • Lynn

      soldiergirl,
      I too can relate to your feeling of having wasted your life with your marriage, and how it has negativily affected your kids. Over the last few years I have grieved deeply over this, and cried almost on a daily basis because of having lost my potential, and the potential of my children, and grieving on the fact that I will be in this marriage for the rest of my life. I wish I could get out, but I have too many reasons to stay right now. I hope someday God could find a way for me to get out because it is sure painful to stay. It sounds like God has given you a breakthrough and you are at peace and without fear. That’s awesome, what a gift. I know God has that for me to, but I need to get right with God and obey him and get my health under control. I have so much pain from my health issues that it rules my thinking and life right now. and I have to make some lifestyle changes to improve my health. That is another grief – now I’m paying the price for the neglect of my health. I know it was my own fault, but the stress my husband put me thru didn’t help.

      I will always fear my husband, but I know I can be delivered from the bondage of it someday, if I get my health and pain under control.

      I guess I am making steps to being independent, so I could leave. I took a job which really is hard for me to be on my feet. And I’m seeing a Dr. who is tough on me about my health issues. Sadly this probably wouldn’t be enough to leave, but it is a step in the right direction on staying in the marriage well.

      (Eds note: changes were made to dis-identify this comment.)

      • soldiergirl

        Hi Lynn, I just now saw your comment tonight, and so wanted to still reply. (So many blogs to keep track of. lol)
        I honestly was ready to give up on things, as my health also was being affected by all the abuse, when I first came out of the FOG..
        But I saw that with every positive step I took to help myself, God parted the waters for me to go further, (however small that step was)..
        It was as if he was saying just do one thing in the right direction, and I will make another step possible for you.
        After a while I had accumulated quite a few “one things” in the right direction, and was feeling empowered by my progress to do more..so one step at a time is the way.
        But I was very discouraged, in the beginning.
        It is Great that you took a job ..
        This is huge, and will be so validating for you. as It was for me.
        (I feel safe working around respecting people than I do around my abuser.)
        I was so happy to be out of the house working- I forgot to pick up my check! lol
        Anyway Stay positive.. God hears your heart and will help you in making strides in the right direction just like with me..
        Anyway my abusers church going enablers of abuse,( including the pastor) wont be slapping their false sense of guilt or shame on me. ( it belongs on them)
        They tried to accuse me of un-forgiveness and anger and bitterness too..
        .I cant accept that, because those accusations do not fit, so their bad medicine does not apply..!!
        They can only rightly accuse me of “wanting free from my abuser”
        I know their game all too well. . They all belong to the same “Good Ole Boys club”.
        And although they may have a “numbers game” over me, their “skewed agenda” is against Gods oppressed people that are seeking freedom,,and it will not prosper.
        Take heart my friend, If they do not repent, God will ultimately avenge us .

      • Lynn

        Soldiergirl, I really like what you said ” But I saw that with every positive step I took to help myself, God parted the waters for me to go further, (however small that step was).. ” That really gave me hope, I’ll try and remember that.

        Yes, that is so true, good ole boys club. I have had really bad experiences with pasters at Baptist churches,, we have gone to 2 different churches. They would not call my husband out on anything,, including when he got physical with me. This just made me an angrier wife!

  22. Lynn

    Barbara,
    In my heart I know there are wives out there that do not fear their husbands. I just don’t think it will ever be possible for me to live without fear when he is around all the time. He works from home. We all stay for all kinds of reasons. I guess I’ll just hang in there, and pray I can forgive him for so much heartache thru the years. Sometimes I think the only way I can truly forgive him is to put physical distance between us. When a person does not forgive you have no peace and feel like your going crazy. In my unforgiveness I sometimes feel I could lose my salvation over my marriage.

    • Dear Lynn
      forgiveness is simply the determination (an inner vow) to not take vengeance on the one who hurt us. As Christians, we are told to leave vengeance to God. I am pretty confident, from the way you write, that you have already done this and you will continue to do it . . . as your husband continues to mistreat you, which is likely given the pattern he has displayed for so long. 😦

      I think you may be confusing the emotions of hurt and anger and discontent that you may have, with unforgiveness. It is normal and healthy — and not ungodly — to feel hurt and angry and discontented with being mistreated and oppressed by someone. Especially when their oppression is an ongoing and longstanding pattern of conduct towards us. You discontent with that shows you are emotionally and spiritually healthy because you are unhappy about being repeatedly injured and mistreated.

      God is not content with the mistreatment He receives from unbelievers and the wicked and evil people of this world. He does not say “Fine, chaps, just hate me and I’ll brush it off! Who cares how you treat me, the God of the universe; it’s no big deal!” No. Rather, He says “Repent, turn from your wicked ways, soften your stiff necks, humble yourselves and believe in Jesus the Redeemer I have provided for you. But if you do not repent, beware the wrath to come!”

      Forgiveness is much misunderstood in Christendom. You might like to read these posts which help untangle these misunderstandings.

      The f word — Forgiveness
      Christians are very confused about forgiveness
      What does forgiveness require?
      Forgiveness requires justice
      Contrition, repentance, forgiveness
      Forgiveness with boundaries
      The b word (bitterness)
      Let her be angry

      also helpful is this sermon by Ps Bob Kerry
      What Forgiveness IS and what it is NOT (PDF version)
      What Forgiveness IS and what it is NOT (audio version — mp3)

      We also recommend the chapter on forgiveness in Mending the Soul by Steven Tracy. [that’s an Amazon Affiliate link, by the way. See our disclosure in the sidebar at the right to understand what that means.]

      • Lynn

        Barbara,
        Thanks for reassuring me that I have chosen to forgive,, I have,,, it just doesn’t feel like it. You are right,,, I really get confused because I am so angry ,, and having to forgive over and over again,,

        I did send you an email the other day. Hope you got it.

      • I’ve been super busy looking after my father. Sorry. I’m way behind on emails. . . I will try to get to it eventually. Maybe you could also send it to TWBTC and anyone else on the team if you feel they could handle your query. Sorry.

        My dad is very frail and need a lot of hands on care.

    • All of which was to say, Lynn, that it doesn’t sound to me like you are in danger of losing your salvation over the way you feel about your marriage. 🙂

  23. Lynn

    Barbara,
    Hi, I understand, No worries.

    I wanted to tell you that I ordered Lundy’s book, and your book to,,, off of Amazon. I’m excited to read your book,,it has very good reviews.

  24. BreatheAgain

    This one sentence speaks volumes to me…. Gets right to the heart of things~

    The Son of God came and walked among us and many didn’t even recognize Him. But everyone knew who the Pharisees were.

    wow~

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