Thursday Thought — He May Never Get It

One of the most natural and universal human impulses is our desire to get people who have wronged us to recognize what they did and admit that it was wrong.  We want to hear a certain soft sound in their voice, see sadness in their eyes, showing that they feel genuinely bad for having harmed us.  We want them to understand that we didn’t deserve their actions.  And then, if it’s at all possible, we want them to actually do something to make up for the damage they caused.

Unfortunately, this natural longing for justice can sometimes backfire.  When you have a destructive partner, the desperate need you feel to have him see what he has done is, ironically, part of what keeps you trapped.  If you end the relationship, then he is never going to admit how badly he treated you, and he’s never going to make it up to you.  And that reality can feel unbearable.

But the alternative is to stay involved with him, where he will keep harming you more, and the pile of things he needs to face up to will just keep growing.  Longing for justice can keep you roped into unhealthy circumstances.

Start letting go of the hope that he will see.  Even if he admits one day that he was wrong, he’s likely to just take it back in a few weeks or months.  See if instead you can focus on:  (1) Knowing — really knowing — inside yourself how deeply wrong his behavior has been; and (2) Building close relationships with other people who can really get it and express it to you.

Someday this pain will pass, and you’ll stop caring what he thinks; hundreds of women have told me that this is what happens.  Have faith.

(entry from Lundy Bancroft’s book, Daily Wisdom for Why Does He Do That? [Affiliate link] p318-9)

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

31 thoughts on “Thursday Thought — He May Never Get It”

  1. Very well stated and very factual indeed. The more I recover and heal and as time goes by, it is true, I care less and less about what he thinks, about anything really. I’m beginning to think more about taking care of myself, resting and growing in the knowledge that my shattered dreams were just a dream. My abuser always had another agenda and of course now it is crystal clear to me. For the first time in a long time I can truly say I’m looking forward to building new dreams in an abuse-free environment, thriving and flourishing and being the woman God created me to be and rest in his plan for my life. Even though God allowed our circumstances, and will use it for good, never does he want his children to be at the hands of an abuser. We truly can smile at the future and never look back to what was a horrid and traumatic experience. Letting go actually feels amazing. Let God deal with your abuser; and indeed He will !

    1. God is soooo good! I could not agree more! After God so beautifully led me to the knowledge that my h was a covert narcissist, through the exact same source He had used earlier in my life (some twenty years prior) for another reason, I began to feel the freedom I didn’t even realize I had longed for, for sooo very long. When I began seriously searching for an answer, it never even occurred to me to reach out to the same source, but God knew, that I would know, it was Him. It still humbles me to my core that He weaves such a beautiful tapestry in our lives to show us how much he loves us, knows the tears we have cried and that He alone has had us all the way through. Even down to the tiniest of details that He magnifies to make it known.
      He moved out a few months ago (the way God orchestrated that was amazing) and I can honestly say I have never felt better. I have let it all go, and have forgiven him for all that he did to me. I have no ill will towards him, and I wish him well, he is no longer my concern. I know God has a wonderful plan for my life moving forward. I am so excited to see it all unfold! Sometimes I actually feel sorry for him, he lost the “good thing” that God gave him – me.

  2. It was soooo freeing when I finally got to that point of knowing that he will never “see it” and that it didn’t matter. The need to have others “get it” left me as well and that was a good thing, too. But, since I still need to have contact with ex there are times when “conversing” he slips in statements like “2013 was the year of rebellion” (the year I had divorce papers served to him), that his counselor helped him to see that he was actually the abused one, that he loves me still and can’t even take off his wedding ring, etc. etc. etc. Although I know this is all false those words do this horrible thing to me. For the next couple of days I am depressed as if I had been “washed with the word of dung”. I am really grateful for this site. This past Sunday’s word washing/poisoning is just lifting and today’s post helped. I guess I was surprised how his words still got to me. I thought I was free from the affects. Love this promise in Prov. 4:18…….”The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines brighter and brighter until the full day.” It’s coming!

    1. This brings to mind —

      To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.
      (Titus 1:15-16)

  3. In the early years I thought we had a difficult marriage and did everything I could think of to make it better assuming for a long time that if I just hit upon the right things to do it would get better. I though we were both equally at fault but I was wiling to take the lion’s share of the effort to make it work. Then I passed into a phase of realizing I had legitimate complaints but I thought he just didn’t get it. I tried everyway I could to communicate with a person who wasn’t interested. I thought if he would just stop and listen he’d realize what he’s doing. I thought “he loves me and can’t possibly want to hurt me this way” so I just need to get through to him. I also thought all the difficulties he had in life with jobs and other people were causing his difficult behavior and if those cleared up–he got a better job, better friends, etc–that things would get better. Now I know his attitude caused all those problems not the other way around!

    To this day he holds all those efforts against me! I was sincerely trying to make things better and he twisted them into me disrespecting him!

    After reading Lundy’s book and visiting this site often I realize he thinks I deserve everything he does to me. It does hurt to know that someone you “love” and who suppose to love you thinks you deserve to be treated badly.

    Of course, I had the fantasy that he would wake up one day and realize how he created the mess we’re in–how we could have it better.But I finally realized he is living his fantasy–having someone who can be his scapegoat for everything!

    1. Dear Annie
      we received a comment from you just now, on another post. There’s nothing wrong about the comment, but I’m not sure about publishing it as there are things you said in it which might be identifying if your husband were to be reading this blog.

      Please contact twbtc if you want to discuss this. She can edit the commment if need be, to remove the identifying details, but since there were quite a few of them, it might be better if talked it over with her.

  4. abusers never ever truly repent or apologize. They might say sorry, but they dont mean it because they lack empathy and understanding of another’s human beings feelings and emotions. They are void of any true emotions and their world is all about them and what they can get and use others for!!! Their sense of entitlement does not allow them to see the wrong and / or hurt they have caused another, they are pure evil

  5. So very true! Excellent quote, thank you for sharing.

    I stayed too long. I was waiting for him to be TRULY repentant and was watching for those changes. He said he loved me and would do whatever it took, but his actions proved otherwise.

    Like all the people commenting on the Josh Duggar story, my ex only confessed when he got caught, and I truly believe he is livid about it, as evidicended by all he has said and done through this long process. The fear of God is not in him.

  6. I am really struggling with this! He just walked out and never looked back because he knew that would hurt me the most.

    Separated 3 yrs, divorced 1 year.

    His alienation of our children makes it worse and te-triggers the hurts. It’s like I never existed to them. They never call or check on me. I’m in my 50s and all alone and isolated. Trying to re-enter workforce after 20 years. No calls for interviews. Tough place to be.

    1. Yes LG it is natural you want justice, validation and it sounds like it will not be coming from your family.. you didn’t ask for this situation but here it is- where to from here?
      I got Lundy Bancrofts Daily Wisdom CD (where today’s post is from) and I run a bath and put it on and let that wisdom soak in while I relax and have time to reflect- works for me and helps me with acceptance of what is and where to from here.
      Looking for jobs can be soul destroying (I too am in my 50s)- I think there is a lot to be said for volunteering as a stepping stone to employment- it provides meaning and purpose, builds self esteem and confidence, new skills can be acquired or old ones brought up to speed, you can make a great network of new friends who relate to you as you are now and often jobs come through personal recommendation or being in the right place at the right time- it also looks great on your resume because it shows you have initiative and motivation and commitment.
      my counsellor told me something I found very helpful with respect to abuse and my concerns about my children He said “you’re not the only victim here (meaning that they too were victims) and that by making a stand to end the abuse I was helping them have another vantage point to view their own lives from and perhaps promote healing for them too”
      Even though you had your situation thrust upon you and it sounds like your children are still under his influence, they will be watching you and can only benefit from seeing what ‘healthy’ looks like as you rebuild your life.. keep loving them and communicating with them.. and be there for them. I guess for a while it will be one sided.. they have a lot to process too.

      Someday this pain will pass, and you’ll stop caring what he thinks; hundreds of women have told me that this is what happens. Have faith.

  7. The greatest justice we can give ourself to is let the dream die, leave them (the abuser) to Lord of perfect justice, then leave the abusive relationship to heal. My experience has taught me these actions are difficult but wise and true.

  8. Oh my, this post is so true. It still hurts to know that they give false apologies and even then only after being caught. 😦

  9. It is mind boggling to have found words that explain exactly what I am and have been going through. the H keeps saying he is sorry, but doesn’t have a clue what he is sorry for or why he is sorry! He only wants to save face and I keep believing that he couldn’t possibly be intentionally doing all this since he constantly claims his “love” for me. This cycle is sick and it is exhausting.

  10. I need to get to the place where I don’t care, and where I can let go of exactly what this post talks about, for my own sake. Thank you for posting this…. it articulates so well what I struggle to put into words.

    1. Dear Survivor, sorry we didn’t welcome you to the blog when you first commented.
      Let me offer you a belated welcome! 🙂

      You seem to be well aware of how to guard your safety while commenting here, but you might like to read our New Users Info page in case it has anything useful for you.

      blessings to you

  11. They do not get it, because they do not want too, something about the abuse scenario profits them to much. When someone explained to me that my batterer wasn’t just “losing control” he was systematically gaining control by using terror, I saw the truth of it. Having a subservient wife running in circles trying to explain themselves and win Mr. dense over is gratifying to those that enjoy that kind of power and have no interest in humanity.

    Then there is a special class, beyond the intentionally dense, that just truly enjoy and get a high out of watching suffering. I remember a sociopathic former friend that liked to play with people like a cat plays with a mouse. We went somewhere in which a waiter spoke English as a second language. My friend understood the waiter in his near accent free service. He repeatedly said “what?” to him, forcing the man to repeat himself over and over. Finally in mock exasperation he’d yell “learn English” to which the waiter would sputter, stammer, apologize and question himself. My former friend chuckled having thoroughly enjoyed humiliating someone. In time I saw this repeat itself in various ways. I remember trying to explain that his frequent attacks on Christians were insulting to me, until I finally understood the truth. His entire intention was humiliation for fun and games. In my case he played the role of “friend” while I kept jumping hoops, thinking I’d convert him to the faith. He used that leverage to humiliate, insult, degrade and enjoyed himself doing so. In time I understood what sociopath meant how charming they could appear, how ruthlessly and sadistically they could undermine you. Oh, he understood precisely what he was doing and the more I tried to explain that his actions hurt me, the more he enjoyed the power of his abuse while pretending he did not know what I was talking about.

    That particular kind of sociopath feeds on his victims trying to “explain” how hurt they are. Its rather like my ex friend saying “what, I can’t understand you. over and over until his victim is frantic. “Maybe if I say it just the right way, ….what a delusion I lived in!

  12. I have experienced many times that which “Greater Glory” (one of the names who posted a comment) described about how she feels after interacting with her abuser. I have gone No Contact with my “husband” (separated, not divorced). However, on several occasions after he would plead to have dialogue, I would fall for his cunning and without question suffered horribly every time. I would have a major setback: migraines returned; I would need another session with my therapist; depression and fatigue returned; sleeplessness and anxiety along with panic attacks returned.

    I realized that any interaction with him was dancing with the devil. I do not say this tongue in cheek! His ferocious, unfounded, personal, cruel attacks would literally leave me numb and debilitated. All the horror of living under the same roof with him returned in an instant upon interacting with him. I realized I was giving him the “oxygen” he sought after in getting me to respond.

    Then I began to question why did I respond? Was it out of the anger I felt from his abuse toward me? Was it because I actually thought I could change him!! Was it because my efforts are necessary in order for the Lord to defend me (absurd)!! And so the bungee cord whips me back into the peace-less confusion of it all. Abusers intend to confuse…we are easier manipulated when broken down in confusion. God never confuses! Satan always does. My therapist helped me see that I needed to honor the Lord for what he clearly has done for me, rescuing me from that insane house from my abuser, To honor the Lord is to not return via verbal back-and-forth. “Leaving” is exactly where the Lord wants me; and that “leaving” should not be backtracked. I am on solid ground because I am coming to the Lord from a position of complete brokenness and dependence on him. This is good ground in which to stand! So, for us to wait for the abuser to “get it”, forget it, it will never happen. It is their choice to be blind. To face the reality of who / what they are would be to implode. And so they scapegoat to avoid seeing their own filth. They must put it on us. We must refuse to allow this…it actually will empower us in ways we never though possible. And besides, we can never forget our true Defender sees all things, and in the shelter of His wings we must flee!

    1. … we can never forget our true Defender sees all things, and in the shelter of His wings we must flee!

      Anonymous – your story resonates with me. Your above quote is what I needed at this moment as I’m having one of those ‘foggy and tiring days’ … feeling guilty for not accomplishing much and yet feel so many expectations from those who are insisting I move on … this includes a counselor who I’m sensing putting more burden on me rather than being there for me as they claimed to be? — beginning to feel like a client rather than a person with a soul 😦

      1. Dear anonymous, I would like to encourage you to not allow your counselor or anyone else to put pressure on you. What we face on a daily basis as Overcomers of abuse is not a one time event in the healing process. It’s a journey toward healing and wholeness. And we get to pilgrimage together.

        And I would further like to encourage you not to be hard on yourself when you have one of those days, and there will be others, when you feel as though you have not accomplished anything or that you’re tired. And you do have a soul, and as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, you were bought at high cost. This is assurance you do indeed have a soul and are of great value in His eyes. And remember too, what your abuser intended for evil, God can and will use for good. Some days we literally must peel our eyes off our abuser and raise them to the Lord Jesus and keep them fixed on him. Make every effort to see yourself worthy and do not be afraid to take those “off” days and just rest and be good to yourself. Healing will come.

        There’s no day in the healing process that can ever be as bad as a day spent with an abuser, who deep within hates himself for his evil and wicked deeds and therefore must use us as scapegoats. They have to dump on to us the horror and shame of who they are. This is pure evil, straight from the devil himself. REFUSE to take this on yourself and be beaten down as a result. Rise above it all and on those days when it seems nearly impossible, rise even higher and be assured your Savior will greet you with open arms; and rest therein.

    2. Thank you Anonymous for your very kind words of encouragement. Covet prayers for clarity of mind as I move forward. I know many think I am expecting too much; the fact that I take time to get physical exercise everyday has been recommended by doctors for many years. Others would say, “Well, if life were so bad for her he wouldn’t even allow her out of the house.” There’s so much more to emotional and sexual abuse that others just don’t want to understand. The abuser gives me the freedom so it makes him look like a very likable easy-going man. Meanwhile his heart was never with me but with a fantasy woman.

      1. Anonymous, the Lord put you on my heart this morning and indeed I did lift you up in prayer. Just remember, our Lord never, ever wants us to be in the hands of an abuser. Taking too much in of what others say that have never walked in your shoes, can be harmful as well. I cried out to the Lord with a desperate plea and he took me out of that insane house and out of the hands of my abuser. Keep crying out to Him; I promise you He hears you and will help and defend you. Cry out to Him and then truly listen to His voice stirring within you – listen to Him and not so much others who have not walked in your footsteps. Our Lord was abused, mocked, ridiculed and beaten and so indeed he does understand and does weep for us. But He doesn’t stop at that, He delivers us. Listen to Him!!

        Come unto me all who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

      2. I am praying for you for clarity this morning. The word tells us if anyone lacks wisdom let him ask God who will give it liberally and not withhold it. I call the illusion of freedom “plausible deniability”. In my book this means that the abuse is calculated in such a way as to cover it up to the public. An example might be the person that batters a wife but all the bruises are placed where they won’t show in obvious places.

        And like another writer said, those with good advice aren’t in your shoes. I’ve seen people heap on advice in situations they could not bear themselves were they subjected to them.

  13. a prodigal daughter returns and saved by grace your comments are most helpful to me today. Thank you.

    Prodigal this took a long time for me to realize: “That particular kind of sociopath feeds on his victims trying to “explain” how hurt they are.” I truly thought he didn’t get it. Now he uses all my past explanations as evidence against me and a spring board for his monologues about all my transgressions against him. Funny– all my “bad” behavior1 is always exactly what I complained about him doing!

    1he actually talks about my behavior as if I am a child

  14. I thought I was getting to that place of not caring….. but several months ago all the feelings came back.

    And I find myself praying constantly that God will change his heart. But then, even if he does – what then? How can it work when so many people, who love me, know what he did to me?

    I have no way to know right now, if he is truly sorry. I pressed charges over the assaults and he is in prison – he pleaded guilty, and his lawyer said he was exceptionally remorseful – but of course he would say that, wouldn’t he – to try to mitigate it.

    Maybe he’ll change. He has to do anger management and alcohol rehabilitation courses once he is released, so I guess at least he will be able to get the right help if he does really want to change. But who knows where he is really at…. the Judge let me speak, in court, about how it had affected and hurt me, and he LOOKED like he was sorry, but when he wanted to say something the Judge wouldn’t allow him – so I don’t know.

    Maybe I am just stupid…. even in court, I couldn’t help smiling back at him and thinking how gorgeous he is. Is that just crazy or what…. I never knew that my heart would still love him after all this time. I just pray that God will use this time to change his heart.

  15. 1 Peter 3:1-4 (1) Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives,
    (2) While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. (3) when they see your respectful and pure conduct.

    (4) but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.

    What does this chapter mean to us and for us?

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