A Cry For Justice

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

Respecting & Listening to Victims of Violence — a handbook from Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter

Do you want to be able to support victims of family violence? This excellent handbook will show you how — and it’s also a worthwhile read for victim-survivors.

Respecting & Listening to Victims of Violence explains how to talk with victims in respectful ways — ways that will really help women who are being abused by their partners.  NB: the word violence in the title does not mean it’s only restricted to physical violence. The authors of the handbook are using the term in the way many DV professionals use it, to cover all the various tactics of coercive control that domestic abusers can use — emotional, verbal, financial, social, sexual, physical, spiritual and legal abuse.

The role that supportive people can play in helping victims of domestic violence is huge.  HUGE. Studies have shown that positive social responses help victims recover faster, gain trust in asking for help, reduce self-blame, and help the victim feel integrated again into their community.

Respecting & Listening to Victims of Violence is produced by the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter, Canada. Some readers will be already familiar with this organisation, because we have often encouraged readers to check out their publication Honouring Resistance: How Women Resist Abuse in Intimate Relationships. They readily acknowledge Dr. Allan Wade who, along with his colleagues, originated the response-based approach put forward in their handbooks. I have often praised Allan Wade on ACFJ for teaching me how to elucidate and honor victim’s resistance.

Respecting & Listening to Victims of Violence outlines five principles that supporters will find helpful when interacting with victims.  After outlining the principles the handbook goes into more detail by applying these principles to a real-life situation. We strongly encourage you to read it all, as the case study makes it so very clear!

The Five Principles

Principle 1: Acknowledging the violence.

When the victim is talking about her experiences of abuse, it is important to pay close attention to the violence and abuse she has experienced. . .

Principle 2:  Being clear that the one who perpetrates abuse is the one who is responsible.

Victims find it helpful when they have conversations with supporters who are clear that it is the person who perpetrated the abuse who is the one responsible. . .

Principle 3:  Honouring the victim’s resistance to the violence.

In our experience, victims have appreciated it when we have asked about and paid attention to all that they have done to resist their partner’s abuse. . .

Principle 4: Challenging victim-blaming messages the victim has received from others.

Many victims receive messages from others that suggest it is their fault that their partner is abusive to them.  We can also help victims challenge any victim-blaming messages they may have received. . .

Principle 5: Allowing victims the right to judge their own choices.

While we always seek to challenge victim blaming messages, and work hard to make it clear that the perpetrator always had a better choice than to abuse another person, we have also found that it is helpful to allow victims the space to talk about their regrets if they wish to. . .


Our Resources section now has links to both these publications by Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter.


  1. Letting Go

    Beautiful. Why can’t counselors and pastors understand this. Haven’t found one yet who does! Have had hard time healing. Feel an unexplainable need to justify myself even though cerebrally I know it is not necessary.

    So tired of people saying “you just need to let go and move on”.

    When there is no justice or resolution, and perpetrator has no consequences whatsoever, it is an unresolved unjustice. Can’t just “let go”.

    • So tired of people saying “you just need to let go and move on”.

      In Acts 22, After his second missionary journey, Paul returned to Jerusalem. He gave his conversion testimony to the crowd at the steps of the temple. They listened to him well, until he got the part about how he was called to minister to the gentiles. He had pricked their racial and ethnic sense of entitlement:

      “When I had returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, I fell into a trance and saw him saying to me, ‘Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about me.’ And I said, ‘Lord, they themselves know that in one synagogue after another I imprisoned and beat those who believed in you. And when the blood of Stephen your witness was being shed, I myself was standing by and approving and watching over the garments of those who killed him.’ And he said to me, ‘Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’”

      Up to this word they listened to him. Then they raised their voices and said, “Away with such a fellow from the earth! For he should not be allowed to live.” And as they were shouting and throwing off their cloaks and flinging dust into the air, the tribune ordered him to be brought into the barracks, saying that he should be examined by flogging, to find out why they were shouting against him like this. But when they had stretched him out for the whips,

      Paul DID NOT say to the centurion who was standing by, “I know, I just need to let go and move on…”

      Rather, he said:

      “Is it lawful for you to flog a man who is a Roman citizen and uncondemned?”
      When the centurion heard this, he went to the tribune and said to him, “What are you about to do? For this man is a Roman citizen.” So the tribune came and said to him, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?” And he said, “Yes.” The tribune answered, “I bought this citizenship for a large sum.” Paul said, “But I am a citizen by birth.” So those who were about to examine him withdrew from him immediately, and the tribune also was afraid, for he realized that Paul was a Roman citizen and that he had bound him.

      • KayE

        That is so encouraging Barbara. I’m tired of being told to move on too. People often have a view that because my abuser has moved, on everything is alright now. They even think I need help because I’m not willing to keep the evidence buried.
        But everything is not alright. I’m not the one who needs help, the next victim does. And all other victims.Therefore I won’t be silent, I can’t be silent.

      • thank you KayE!


      • KayE

        Actually I was so encouraged by this that I put in a submission to the Ministry of Justice, as right now they are consulting about the family violence laws. It probably wasn’t the best submission I could have written, but it felt really good to do that. I’ll do it again.

  2. healinginhim

    The role that supportive people can play in helping victims of domestic violence is huge. HUGE. Studies have shown that positive social responses help victims recover faster, gain trust in asking for help, reduce self-blame, and help the victim feel integrated again into their community.

    —This quote sums it up quite nicely. Thank you for posting this, Barbara. —

  3. Herjourney

    If it could add to this info
    DV when brought before a court of law in a civil matter is viewed to the court as mainly physical violence. The law in Washington State needs a makeover.
    Depending on how long the marriage lasted is a big criteria for who gets what.
    Abusers know how to work the system.
    If the wife acts out due to his abuse, the abuser will try to hoodwink the court and family into believing she is the abuser.
    She needs help. If your looking for help? This forum is an excellent place to visit.
    I have heard just about every excuse out there.
    Thanks again for this blog.
    It’s where I go to know I am not alone.

    • a prodigal daughter returns

      Herjourney, this is so true. The victim acts out and few are insightful enough to get what is really going on. Abusers often know how to work the system, they are quick studies about what “works” in the realm of manipulation. What is horrifying as well is when the abuser IS the system. The police chief in a large city that used his police force to intimidate his battered wife is an example. He killed her and then himself. Her family established a DV center which an abusive partner I was involved with used to solidify his position as the victim. He got the ear of a worker over there and she assisted him in filing a restraining order for free after I’d been granted one against him.

      I’m extremely fortunate that the judge granted my restraining order while throwing out the false claims of my abuser. The judge said “I recognize a lie when I hear one and you are lying get out of my court”. The DV center wasn’t so insightful and the true victims are run off from getting the help they need.

      • Herjourney

        A prodical daughter returns
        This story is a fearful reminder that
        Those in high places
        Can be dangerous
        If you hold a high position
        Fear God
        God can take you out
        Take care!

  4. Anonymous

    As I read the stories of these victims, it leaves me with a very heavy heart. We certainly all do have a story, don’t we? My own pain and suffering some days just seems to never go away. Good days, bad days. I am eternally grateful to have committed family and friends to stand with me through these dark days. More and more I realize how important it is for the cries of our hearts to be heard and believed. Anything to the contrary, is abuse heaped upon abuse for the victim. I find, too, survival for me, is to remain No Contact. And on those dark days when it seems to never stop, and the tapes play over and over in my mind, to the degree that I can hardly believe I lived through the horror of it all, my only true comfort is at the foot of the cross…at the feet of Jesus. I am drawn closer to Him and have even more tender compassion for that which He suffered for me. In NO WAY am I saying I compare my suffering to that of our Lord, but what I am saying is that I know He feels and understands my pain and weeps for me; and He comforts me. Stay at the feet of Jesus and truly heal and be comforted and know that you are complete in Him. He allows injustices for reasons known ONLY to Him. But be assured that day will come when justice will be done. May we all find comfort knowing He sees and hears all things. Learning to be still and patient and wait for the Lord, for me, does not come easily. But when I stay in prayer and lean into Him from a position of total dependence and weakness, He “settles” me! It’s actually amazing to me. Thank you to ACFJ for your ongoing dedication, passion, commitment and service for abuse victims everywhere!

    • I’ve been feeling in need of encouragement the last few days, so your gratitude is appreciated!

      • a prodigal daughter returns

        I hope you can be truly encouraged and pray that the God of all encouragement will do so to your bones. I didn’t have supportive family and friends, I didn’t have the voice of reason and justice and compassion in my corner in the midst of my struggle. Its only now, in finding this web site that I feel any sense of healing even though I ended the abusive cycle with no contact years ago. Its one thing to end the abusive relationship it is another to heal from it. This is a place truly healing place where being allowed to speak the truth without censure and hear other people share their own similar story sets captives free.
        You are involved in setting the captive free, this is Gods work of the highest order.

      • healinginhim

        Praying for you Barbara and all ACFJ ministry keepers. Many have expressed their profound reliance on this ministry to keep their focus on the truth of what God commands. Praying that any attacks from the enemy and others would be demolished. ((hugs))

  5. LorenHaas

    Barbara, how do feel about supporting DV victims by expressing anger about what has happened to them? I honestly do feel anger and frequently show it when presented with victims stories. Afterwards I wonder if a consistent calm presence might be better.
    Any thoughts?

    • a prodigal daughter returns

      As a person that experienced passive counselors register no emotion when hearing about what happened to me, I assumed it wasn’t really that big a deal. Either it wasn’t that big a deal to be beaten and have black eyes or I just didn’t matter as much as someone’s pet dog might matter. When someone modeled tears and outrage, I began to see my life mattered, the suffering mattered, the pain mattered and that no, it wasn’t acceptable to treat a woman that way in anyone’s standards and turning the other check didn’t meant being battered and accepting it.

      Really people get more upset seeing a dog cower after being kicked than seeing a woman get slapped. Even asking this question implies that we’ve bought a lie that the “counselor” is a step above the rest of humanity and Spock like has no emotion. Its a dysfunctional way of interacting with other humans. A caveat to this is when the counselor makes it about themselves and their anger and the victim needs to then “care take” over the counselors emotions.
      Balance…but human. Watching someone express righteous anger is modeling anger with self control instead of anger to control a partner.

      • marriedtohyde

        I understand what you mean. At the time, there was only one person who expressed righteous anger at X’s abandoning us…and she only just met me the week before he left. God surely put us together at the same place for a reason. She gave advice that saved my son and I from utter financial ruin through the 12 months it took to become employed full time again. Her demonstration of anger helped me so much. I was so confused, naive, and devastastingly unsure of myself that her outrage became my north compass point…it affirmed that my perceptions were not wrong. Thanks be to God for blessing me with her presence.

    • I think it’s very helpful to support DV victims by expressing anger when hearing about the mistreatment they were subjected to. As Lundy Bancroft says: when it comes to DV, the right outlook is outrage.

      Whenever I told people what had happend to me, and they didn’t show outrage about the abuse, I felt they didn’t care.

      • Anonymous

        I work with a therapist from my church and she does indeed express anger as we interact and work through the many tormenting questions in my mind. It has been an emotional roller coaster for me…from anger to disbelief to shock to wanting revenge and then back to tears. I know that she cares greatly and has her own history of abuse from a deceased husband. She is a professional therapist and keeps her anger in check, but displays it nonetheless and I have no doubt she is walking through the valley with me in my darkest moment and understands my pain. God puts those on our path to help carry our burdens. It’s one more blessing from HIM showing just how loved and cared for we truly are!

  6. Brenda R

    If anyone is not angry over the mistreatment of another, I have to ask, “Why Not?”

    • healinginhim

      Exactly Brenda. It was not until discovering ACFJ that I realized the lack of empathy from professing Christians and others is what kept me in “the fog.”

      • Hope

        Me too, fog of turmoil, distress, fear, pain, confusion and more – for decades. Last week a trusted friend told me that 4 years ago she figured my ruined health was all the stress that my H put me through. I told her she could have told me, I wouldn’t have been angry, quite the opposite. Her response? “No, you wouldn’t have believed me.”
        She did not say she wasn’t sure how to say it, or that she wasn’t sure she should, or even that she wasn’t sure that she was right. She certainly didn’t say ‘well, maybe I should have but I just didn’t know how.’ No; she argued with me by that one sentence; she negated my suffering and my own ability to recognize truth when shown. She withheld information that may have saved me 4 years, and may have made a difference in my life. She basically called me an idiot!

        How is that not a betrayal of trust?
        How does that help me, her supposed best friend?
        How can she “know” what I will or will not believe?
        How can a true friend make my decisions for me, and remove my own choice and decision making capability?

        I am devastated by this, but I have better friends that would never say such a thing, or do it. Friends that know, that believe, that support me. She is still my friend, but no longer a trusted one. I have relegated myself to the role of listener, but not sharer with her. I now feel that she is unsafe to tell things to, and I will keep it all surface-deep.

        I am still with my abuser, trying to figure out what to do. I have no career, and am too old to be hired, so leaving scares me to death. I stayed to raise my children, never knowing that this was abuse. I just thought, especially from all those that I asked for help and advice and who turned a deaf ear, that I was in a difficult marriage. It never occurred to me until last year that this is what abuse is.
        It never ceases to amaze me how similar these abusers all are. Our stories may each be a little different, or a lot, but the perpetrators are all so terribly similar…
        Thank you for listening, and God Bless you all for this site and all the help I have received through it.

  7. loves6

    I had a lady that phoned me the other day … she is in her 70s .. she said these things to me after hearing I am not in love with my husband anymore.

    1) He is the father of your children
    2) He is your husband
    3) His needs come first before yours … you are his wife
    4) Sex is important to a man. This is a priority that I have to consider. My needs one after his
    5) What have I done to provoke his bad behaviour?

    After this conversation I was a mess. UT triggered a PTSD attack. I was wrenching on a bowl… the thought that I had to have sex with this man repulsed me

    What an unwise women … I felt like it was a script I had read from this blog … unwise Christians

    • Brenda R

      “Sex is important to a man.” This has got to be one of the most ridiculous things I was ever told. Many others were offensive, untrue and belittling, but this one stands out. At the beginning of the “marriage” to the xh I had a precious grandbaby who died from SIDS. XH wanted sex the night of the funeral. I cried before, during and after. XH never acknowledged that I laid there like a dead animal or was crying. He rolled over, had a cigarette and went to sleep. I went to a ‘c’hristian nurse where I was working then and told her what had happened. Her reply was, “men need that”. I have not ever forgotten that conversation. Where were my needs of being held and wiping the tears from my eyes. There was absolutely no empathy or compassion whatsoever. The “marriage” never got any better, only worse.

      • Anotheranon

        BrendaR, My husband coerced me to have sex the night before my parent’s funeral. He was “upset” because I didn’t spend enough time with him at the funeral home during the visitation. I was sobbing but he didn’t care. I get sickened thinking about it. It just gives me more determination to finally leave. Hopefully the timing will be right soon.

      • Brenda R

        Praying for a swift Exodus!!

      • Anotheranon, I understand about how sometimes it’s good to wait for the timing of certain things to come about before one leaves. But at the same time, going by what I’ve heard and read in other survivor’s stories, some of those victims thought that were waiting for ‘the time to be right’ for them to leave, but that ‘perfect’ time never came, and while they waited they were just sinking deeper and deeper into the black hole.

        I trust you understand this. And I’m not the expert on your situation: you are! But I want to put out this idea just in case you are waiting hoping (so to speak) for the planets to be all in alignment for you to leave, when in fact the planets may never all come into alignment. . .I hope that makes sense. And I’m not wanting to guilt you or twist your arm.

      • Estelle

        That is awful, Brenda. That man has no heart. Men are not all like that, there are kind, caring men who put their wife’s needs ahead of their own needs. I have never felt so loved by my husband as when he accepted my ‘no, I can’t right now’ while I was grieving the death of my mother.

      • Hi Estelle
        I changed your screen name before publishing your post — by changing it to the one you’ve used previously on this blog.

      • Brenda R

        Thank you for your comment. I would certainly like to meet one of those men who has concern for their wife….one who isn’t attached that is!! I am ready for one. I have a lot of love ready to give.

    • Anotheranon

      Loves6, If that woman had to be married to your husband I wonder if she would still give that advice! Probably not.
      You have not caused his bad behavior. He chose to abuse you. It makes no sense but that’s the way it’s been. I know, because I’ve been there too. No matter how hard you try it doesn’t make any difference, he will still find ways to abuse you. And the more years it goes on the more entrenched the bad behavior becomes.
      The Lord Jesus came to set the captives free. Embrace that saving freedom. You are a precious child of God, through faith in Jesus Christ.

      • healinginhim

        Anotheranon — re:

        to have sex the night before my _______ funeral. He was “upset” because I didn’t spend enough time with him at the funeral home during the visitation. I was sobbing but he didn’t care. I get sickened thinking about it. It just gives me more determination to finally leave. Hopefully the timing will be right soon.

        Been there. It almost seems like he was turned on during these circumstances. It’s been very humiliating as I kept having to smile in front of family and friends for years as I was put these episodes of ‘sexual pleasure’ (for him) many times. He claimed it was his way of showing ‘me’ that he cared??

  8. loves6

    This is a very timely post for me to read
    I have become deceitful .. I don’t tell the truth to protect myself .. I was reading about this in Lundys book today and a printout I received from a women’s group I’m attending.

    My situation is now … I have said I am no longer in a marriage … I’m under the same roof co-parenting the youngest two. I am finding it hard being around my sulking feeling sorry for himself husband.

    I have told him I don’t want him and never will ever again. I don’t love him anymore.

    We are still in the same bed with a pillow between us. I want out. I have considered leaving the children with him and boarding with a friend of mine. It seems to be the best way … but still undecided.

    I cannot stand the site of him. He repulses me. I see him as a spinless pathetic man. I do not say this but I think it

    I am attending a women’s groups for Domestic Violence and seeing a counselor that had a master’s in Domestic Violence Councelling. Finally found an experienced councillor.

    I’m told I’m a battered woman … very hard thing to hear … but has made me more determined that it’s over … never ever be in a relationship with him ever again

    • Letting Go

      Loves6 please talk to an attorney if you are safe enough to do so before leaving your children. It often makes it harder to get custody as some interpret the move as “abandoning” the children. Wouldn’t want you to suffer through that too.

      • loves6

        The way I feel at the moment is .. I just want to get away from him. I know my children will be safe with him. I’m the one that is not safe emotionally.

        I do not particularly want to be a solo mum that cannot give my children what the need. The a child benefit here in this country mets your needs just. I see many so single mums struggle.

        I told my husband last night I would rather do this without courts and without orders and i would like to be adults with the way we handle this. I said to him .. I could leave with the kids .. I could get him kicked out through the courts … he leave or I leave … he gave no comment

      • so glad to hear from you, loves6!

      • I second that.

    • Dear Loves6, would you like to articulate why is it hard for you to hear you are a battered woman?

      I confess that I’m a little surprised you are finding that label hard to own. I must have wrongly been assuming that you had already realised that you are a battered woman.
      My mistake. I should not assume.

      And regarding being a solo mum — I suggest you trust that the Lord will meet your needs and those of your kids. I know that sounds pat and simplistic, but many of our readers testify to being amazed at how God has met their needs in ways they couold not have anticipated when they were still in the marriage.

      And needs can be different from wants, too. . .

      • loves6

        I find it devastating to consider I’m a battered woman. Battered … wow .. really?? That sounds so dramatic. I have felt battered many many times. It’s taken me weeks and months to get over a verbal bashing. I’ve never been told I am a battered woman until a couple of weeks ago. Never ever considered myself one. Just consider myself a woman that has been in an abusive marriage.

        My trust in God and anyone else has come to zero. I love God, believe in Jesus, believe in the grace and love of God etc., but I’m hammered spiritually. I haven’t given up on God but I’m numb.

        One thing I’m not doing is being hasty. One thing I do know is I’m getting myself ready to leave at some stage. If I leave I may be going on “a break” at first … part of my plan to escape.

        One thing I know for certain is that there is no way my husband will not allow me to see my children. He is a weak pathetic man these days. My children love me so much and will make his life hell if he says no to seeing me. He needs my support in helping out with the kids as his health isn’t great.

        I know if I leave without my children I will be misunderstood. Another member of my husband’s family did exactly the same thing for exactly the same reasons as I’m considering.

        I was looking at the cost of rent here and what I have left over … oh my gosh over half of my earnings would be rent and all other expenses.

        I had a chat to a lady from the women’s refuge last week and told her my thoughts about Co parenting from a distance. She shocked me in her response. She said she could see how I was thinking outside the box and saw where I was coming from. My H abuses me … he also picks on our adult child who is independent. Other than that he does not abuse the others.

        I have come to realize it’s all about power and control of me. At the moment he is not listening to the “I don’t want to be with you anymore” as in he makes coffee for me and sits in the bed and has his with me… he talks about us going away as a family at Christmas… he does a lot of this type of thing. I’m going to have to go to the next level of separating myself as in moving into another bedroom and distancing myself even more. He knows I am exhausted and need to get away for a break on my own but he is of course not interested in helping this to happen … I have to do this myself.

        My needs at the moment is I need space … I check out when at home .. he is basically a solo dad already. When at home I hardly say a thing. I hardly do a thing .. hardly cook .. hardly do the laundry … many household chores I just don’t do .. it’s like I’m stuck.

        When I’m out of the house I’m full of energy and my outgoing self .. it’s the most noticeable than its ever been.

        So I’m getting as much information as I can … I saw a lawyer last week and also got information.

        [Eds note: comment edited to protect the commenter’s identity.]

      • Herjourney

        I read your story. It appears you might be dealing with some depression.
        Also … a spiritual battle is brewing.
        I will pray for you!!!

      • Thanks for explaining that, loves6. 🙂
        You’ve taught me something: that a woman can realise she is “in an abusive marriage” but not realise she is a “battered woman”.
        On reflection, that’s obvious! I mean, ‘battered’ is such a harsh word. It suggests to one’s mind the kind of beating that would put a person in hospital. But verbal battering is included in the term ‘battered woman’ just as emotional and verbal violence is included in the term ‘domestic violence’.

        Silly me ! 😦 — but thanks so much for helping me understand.

        When at home I hardly say a thing. I hardly do a thing .. hardly cook .. hardly do the laundry … many household chores I just don’t do .. it’s like I’m stuck.

        When I’m out of the house I’m full of energy and my outgoing self .. it’s the most noticeable than its ever been.

        Wow, what a big contrast! It must be helping your exhaustion in some way, to shut down like that when you are at home. And the fact that you have so much more energy when you are not at home: that is really encouraging. It means you have that window of opportunity to gather information and make decisions.

      • loves6

        Her Journey. . I am on antidepressants .. I have my ups and downs.
        I am burnt out from battle .. spiritual or abuse battles … I need respite to gain strength. I’m exhausted.
        One thing I know for certain is I never ever want to be in a relationship with my husband again. I don’t love him anymore.
        I don’t feel depressed. I feel assertive and I feel like I am thinking clearly in that I know my situation well.
        I am burnt out from people’s opinions. I have opened myself up to anyone to give me advice and opinion of what I should do etc. I cannot act out anyone’s advice or opinions anymore. My situation is what it is and I can sense it will be what it will be.
        I’m not a hasty person .. I take my time .. but I’m a different woman than I was 1 year ago.
        Thank you for your prayers

      • I’m so glad you’re feeling assertive and that you’re thinking so clearly and realistically about your situation. Well done! 🙂

      • Herjourney

        Abuse has a way of changing the way we look at our walk with others.
        Who we let in to our reality. Putting up healthy boundaries for our own sanity is esential for continued healing.
        I love the fact that you are not making hasty decesions. I know several women who are dating again so soon after an abusive relationship just ended.
        It takes time to trust again.
        Time to get to know who we really are.
        I am not the same woman either!
        I now can speak light and accept that for many decades I was blinded by the enemy.
        Stay the course.
        Love the journey.
        God knows what He is doing.

      • loves6

        Her Journey. . I have men as friends. My husband has never allowed me to just have men as friends and it be OK. He has had women friends, in that he would talk to one in particular on his own for hours. I would never have done that but it was OK for him. I now have a few men that I consider friends. These men have helped me tremendously in seeing my value and that I can get through this and that there is a brighter future ahead. At the moment it dosent feel bright. I’m not ready to even consider a man in my life but I feel more confident that I have allowed myself to have men as friends with healthy boundaries. I see them as a gift at this time in my life. They speak truth and encourage me .. which is what I need.
        … the servants of the Lord are not to make haste …has always been a scripture I have considered in matters of life. I weigh everything up .. I ponder … I think … and then I make my decision.
        I can see that each day I’m distancing myself a little more… I feel like I’m in a war and I’m being very strategic. I am sorting out money, my personal possessions, etc bit by bit
        As for staying the course .. that is something I literally have to take a day at a time. I cannot hold on to God anymore .. He really does have to hold in to me. .. I’m exhausted.

      • I can see that each day I’m distancing myself a little more… I feel like I’m in a war and I’m being very strategic. I am sorting out money, my personal possessions, etc bit by bit

        Fantastic! I have confidence in you. This sounds very authentic. It sounds like you are grasping the silken thread which will lead you out of the labryinth!

  9. Letting Go

    My ex was like that. Just rolled over when done. Turns out he was porn addict since before we met.

    Turns them into childlike animals who feel entitled to “services”. Eventually it makes them impotent too. It is rampant, and many women do not know their husbands have the problem. We only feel negated, belittled … used and discarded.

    • Brenda R

      Letting Go,
      Having ED from diabetes only made matters worse. He tried forcefully to make intercourse work and hurt me to the point of bruising. The pills didn’t help him. Post divorce for 2 years+, I am seeing someone more off than on, the idea of having sexual intimacy scares me to death. I don’t think I even want to go there again. Short of God putting a righteous man in my path with his arm wrapped around him saying “this is the one”, I think I will live alone in dignity.

      • Letting Go

        Brenda, a few years out from the separation / divorce process. It’s all still raw for me too. Same thoughts of being terrified to trust another man. And only one God brings, and is sold out to Him first.

        We were married 20+ years, and he had begun to hurt me too. Typically they are quite deep into their porn addiction when they reach that state of carelessness. They become quite vengeful in casting all their shame and responsibility on the wife. She becomes the ultimate target for everything wrong in his life.

    • healinginhim

      Letting Go — “childlike animals” was a trigger reference for me. “Makes them impotent…” Makes me wonder if he no longer wanted intercourse but other forms of sexual control over me because of this? AND YES, VERY MUCH USED AND DISCARDED. 😦

      • Letting Go

        Eventually only the perfect porn images arouse them, and a real woman over time becomes a turnoff. In their shame, they heap all their blame a little at a time on their wives. Dismantles who we are from the inside out. In our ignorance of what’s going on, and in our desire to trust our husbands, and in our innocence, they go after our character and devalue us. They walked into sin, the devil’s playground, and have hardened their hearts.

        Then we are left bewildered and destroyed and weakened. Trapped in a cycle of trying to figure out what happened and what other secrets we still do not know.

        Undermine our relationships and authority with our children, make the home a den of confusion and tension. Destroy the children’s security, stability, and sense of self-worth.

        And it’s all the wife’s fault…. “because men NEED sex”. What about the emotional support a woman needs? Somehow that does not factor in. Her needs are not as important.

        Again the submission scriptures get upheld, but the husband’s duty to love the wife sacrificially as Christ loves the church get left out. There’s nothing in our society to hold these childish men responsible. Even churches do not confront affairs and adultery anymore. Mine didn’t. Our elders felt “sorry for what he’s up against”. No support for me whatsoever.

        I dont know if your husband is involved in porn, but I truly believe hidden porn addiction is the real cause for today’s divorce rate. And porn is being covered up and ignored.

        It is so hard to recover from the trauma, bewilderment, manipulation and betrayal. I too am tired of being told to “get over it.”

      • healinginhim

        Letting Go — Your last comment echoes my life. He claimed to not be involved in porn and didn’t have the typical PlayGirl mags at home, however, the workplace had them available and most men have been influenced by that first encounter as a teenager with the porn mags.
        I have to be careful what I share because ‘he’ scouts this blog and has used some articles to imply that I am an abuser and that he has been the compliant one. It’s been a total turn around in the last few years of what he used to imply about our relationship.

        It is so hard to recover from the trauma, bewilderment, manipulation and betrayal. I too am tired of being told to “get over it.”

        I’M WITH YOU ON THIS …
        The Lord is witness to ‘it all’ … I’ve had many tears each night as I pray for little loved ones who are going to be affected by all of this. Praying that the Lord will save them and open their eyes to sin otherwise they will also become abusers. 😦

      • Letting Go

        Yes they all deny it. Denial is #1 on the list of porn addict traits. It is easier to hide now because of internet, smartphones. And infinitesimally more available to them. And becoming free because so many private people posting it. Nationwide escort services they can have an account with and set up encounters anywhere in the country. The entire travel industry is set up to help men hide affairs. And simply hotels selling it on TVs in the rooms is highly irresistible to many.

        Even the Miss America contestants on E News tonight was soft porn.

        Women choose not to notice in many cases because it is such a shock when they do see clues.

        Such a national problem. Destroying our families. Our nation.

      • Herjourney

        I am assuming we all agree to the scriptures
        Hate evil!
        Don’t walk in the counsel of the wicked.
        Expose evil.
        If the world hates you… You are blessed by God.
        Your family will disown you. Keep walking the straight path. Love your enemies with truth.
        Anyone have others they cling to?
        These are paraphrased btw.

  10. Anotheranon

    Barbara, No worries! Thanks for your concern and comment. 🙂

  11. Barb

    Going back to the “letting it go” thing: I wonder if what we need to let go of, is the bitterness. We can’t have any victory if we remain in unforgiveness and stay in the gall of bitterness. Then we can go on. But, I agree, that there is still that unmet need for justice. Here we need to have faith in God’s Word about vengeance being His, and that He will repay. Another huge thing to remember is that our battle is not with flesh and blood, but with principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of the word, and spiritual wickedness in high places. Know who the real enemy is. That means we need to be healed, know how to love with God’s love and know how to intercede for the one who is captive to the evil one. And let God take vengeance for you. In the meantime, we are led by His Spirit, day by day, in our victory and in our walk with God, who is our real Husband.

    • Barb, you might find this a helpful post:
      How can I know if I am bitter or righteously angry?

      Also, regarding praying for the person who is captive to the evil one, here is a post which is relevant:
      To pray for our abusers…or not? (We don’t need to pray for the sin that leads to death)

    • Letting Go

      Barb, already know all that. Always someone posts as if the abused person is somehow faulty for not being pious enough to just turn it all off. I know it is not intended that way, but it comes across as an implied insult to those of us who have not yet processed all the emotion and are not where you are yet in healing.

      Even David fully felt his emotions, and cried out in the caves in the Psalms for God’s vengeance and justice when he was being pursued by King Saul and his enemies, and asked God that he / David be allowed to see God’s vengeance and experience justice. Knowing that revenge belonged to his Lord, David had no intention of taking revenge for himself.

      Feeling and resolving the emotion is part of the grieving and healing. “Be ye angry and sin not.” We should not be ridiculed for it.

      I have been in the Scriptures and prayer and counsel throughout the loss of my family, and saw God’s protective hand and rescuing every step of the way, and still cling to Him. Still have to grieve and work thru it. So much done in secrecy still coming to light.

  12. rhonda

    What a remarkable resource! Thank you so much for sharing.

  13. Shattered not broken

    Today I am exhausted from the treatment I’ve received over the holidays from my husband. His favorite move is to leave the house on any holidays important to me or United Statesians (such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s). Leaving me alone with the kids as often as possible seems to really be his favorite punishment b/c he knows how tiring it is to care for little ones after I’ve been up all night. One of my children has been sick as well, resulting in a lot less sleep for me. He rarely helps unless I am at my breaking point where if I don’t get sleep I will pass out… I was wondering something. It occurred to me that my husband feels connected, loved and respected only when we have sex. I, and many women in general, feel connection emotionally, as well as sexually. Is it possible for a man to feel emotionally connected? Is it just a lie used to keep women lassoed by pastors and counselors and people that sex is how a man is fulfilled in the relationship? Is it too much to ask that a man not place so much stock in a purely physical relationship but to also feel something like love? I hope my question is coming through clearly but I’m not sure it is. What I’m trying to say is, is it correct to assume that all a man needs and wants is sex and food? Men can’t really be that dull, can they? I’ve been told so many times by church, the pastor and church women that it’s all men want and it’s how they get connected. And that as women we have to give it up. But I feel sick when I hear this because it’s ALL my husband wants and sees me as. Even though I have cut off sexual contact b/c of how he has treated me, he still will stare at my body in a way that makes my skin crawl. Because of how sex has ruled him and been his top priority, even more important than my health or getting much needed sleep, I have an aversion to sex. So I’m wondering, is it normal for men to only want sex? Or only feel connected when there’s sex? Is it really a top priority? If so, it makes me sad.

    • standsfortruth

      This is an exellent question Shattered not Broken.
      I will comment on this also because this too is something that has destroyed my desire to entertain any future “beyond friends” relationships with men..
      Not that good men that are led of the Spirit dont exist, but that they are what I feel are extremely rare…

      I feel so relieved now being freed from the demands, expectations, and frustration games to try to guilt, hoodwink, and manipulate me into “putting out more” for a evil husband- that I never want to entertain a close relationship with a man again.
      Never Never Never.

      If this is how men are wired, then no thanks, I’ll pass.

      But I really think that what you have described is a man that is all about himself and incapable of true sacrificial love.

      One that has never experienced the new birth conversion of Christ.
      Because his fruits are all about him and his desires and needs and requires you to orbit around them, or you get blamed if he doesent behave just right.
      It becomes a catch 22 to be married to this type of man.

      I can also relate on other issues in your comment as well.
      Mine disappeared one Thanksgiving day many years ago- knowing that I was preparing a large dinner for us-by myself with our very first three month old baby..

      I had made 15 seperate dishes to make it special.
      He finally came home around 10:00 pm after I gave up waiting and said he spent the day at a friend’s house.

      Needless to say I never liked fussing for Thanksgiving since.

      • Jeff Crippen

        That conscienceless wickedness of his on that Thanksgiving Day in and of itself, as I now have learned, is absolutely grounds for divorce and I would counsel a victim of that kind of thing that she is facing decades of the same abuse. It is soooo revealing as to what he is. Yet in many circles today his absence would be excused as “an isolated incident,” “boys will be boys,” “the time just got away from him,” or “you must be a real witch for him to do that.” Christ has invited all of us to His banquet table. We can take satisfaction in knowing that such people as this guy are not invited.

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