All the things I didn’t tell you — a guest post
Guest ♦ 4th June 2018 ♦ 37 Comments
You may have wondered, “How could that marriage have ended? They seemed so sweet. So together. So loving.” We made a pretty picture. Gaggle of adorable children. Serious Christians. Dedicated to our faith and family. Oh yes.
When I left, you thought I was just giving him a wake-up call, probably. You understand that. Husbands get complacent. Or grumpy. Or unhelpful. A wake-up call is OK, you figured.
But I didn’t go back, and that confused you. You still see him at church. He’s lonely and mournful, waiting for his wife to return from her straying. She took his children too, you see. He is sad, so sad.
He’s very spiritual, I know. He prays a lot. He’s good at leading prayers. He knows his Bible back to front.
He’s never been anything but sweet, humble, thoughtful, and kind to you. Surely he couldn’t be so bad?
I didn’t tell you everything when you “encouraged” me that marriages go through hard times and God will surely restore ours.
I kept it palatable and generic. “We were in trouble for a long time. The kids are afraid. I have to protect us.” And you raised your eyebrows but tried to believe me, even while my words did battle with the image of Nice Man you knew.
I didn’t want to smear him.
I didn’t want to ruin his relationships or his ability to stay in the community where his only shallow, tenuous friendships existed. I didn’t want to do that to him, as angry and hurt as I was. So I kept discussion to a minimum.
I just disappeared. And you probably wonder occasionally why I never came back.
It’s because of the things I didn’t tell you.
I didn’t tell you that he fooled you. And me. And all the people he worked for. Pretty much everyone. I think my mom knew though. She was anxious about my marriage, and I thought she was nuts. But she was right to worry, I know that now.
I didn’t tell you that the man you know is not the man I lived with.
I didn’t tell you that on the honeymoon, a switch flipped. I was his. And I would be adjusted to fit his view of how a wife should be.
I didn’t tell you that in the early weeks of marriage, when I was horribly ill, newly pregnant, homesick, and lonely, wondering why he was so angry with me all the time, I wrote a paragraph in my diary describing those feelings and he read it and then stood over me and forced me to erase every last word.
I didn’t tell you that his disdain for me in the first year of marriage drove me to self-harm. It might have driven me to suicide had I not been pregnant. My baby saved me. (1 Tim 2:15)
And my baby became another victim.
I didn’t tell you that he started calling me stupid very early on. Stupid. And lazy. Foolish. Thoughtless. Incapable. When he was talking to me, that is. Often he would simply withdraw completely, leaving me gasping for his approval and affirmation, like a drowning person gasping for air. Do you love me? Why do you hate me? What is going on? WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? I believed him. I was worthless. And he LOVED that.
I didn’t tell you about his paranoia and irrational demands. He would do things like set the air conditioning or heating in the house at some ridiculous extreme that made it virtually intolerable to be inside. He would threaten to abandon or kill the children if they did not comply with his expectations of ‘correct behaviour’. He routinely would not allow me to leave the house except to buy groceries. I hid from him how often I took the children to the park or to the library. He would call as soon as he arrived at work in the morning, to make sure that we all up for the day, and he’d demand to know what we were all doing. It didn’t matter if I’d spent the entire night tending to a sick child.
I didn’t tell you how he would deliberately interrupt my sleep, especially if I was more than usually overtired.
I didn’t tell you how he gaslighted me. How he would hide important objects from me, then ask me to find them… and he’d allowed me to go crazy thinking I’d lost them. I would be without the needed object. I could be housebound with wiggling kids and no groceries for days. When I realized what he’d done the first time, I confronted him, and he denied it so firmly that I ultimately figured I must be crazy.
I started hiding my keys myself. And my purse. And anything important to me.
I didn’t tell you about his physical abuse of me. At the time, I didn’t realize it was abuse, myself.
He never hit me.
He only threw something at me once.
But there was sex. He used that as an effective weapon. Six weeks after a child was born was too long for him. I’d be bruised and bleeding still, and he’d demand I put down the baby so that he could assert his possession of me again, lest I get too comfortable. I went along with it. I sensed that resistance was futile. And I was right.
I didn’t tell you that the one time I said, “Please no. Please not right now. Can we do this later please? Please?” he simply took what he felt he was entitled to, over my objections and physical resistance, and left me feeling used and sick to my stomach.
I didn’t tell you about the occasions where he could have killed me without touching me.
I didn’t tell you about the time that I was having a gynaecological emergency and he sat there stone-faced. And when, by the providence of God I was saved from death, he bought me a cup of coffee and I was so beaten down by that point that I raved for months about how much he cared for me.
I didn’t tell you that one time when I was pregnant and became acutely unwell, the midwife had to ask him to leave the room because he was arguing with me about what I felt. And when that didn’t work, he insisted that I was exaggerating or maybe I had made myself sick. He spent most of that time pressuring me to leave the hospital. And he said that if I died and the baby died, that would be God’s will.
I didn’t tell you that the one thing he threw at me was a huge, heavy Bible.
I didn’t tell you that he was physically and mentally abusing the children with the kinds of tactics that torturers use. I didn’t tell you that the children begged me not to leave them alone in the house with him.
I didn’t tell you that I left once, and he begged and pleaded and promised, and I went back. And it got worse.
I didn’t tell you that the day I left for good, he had not spoken a word to me for weeks, apart from demanding that I come with him to co-sign on a loan for yet another item which I knew we could not afford.
I didn’t tell you that after I left, he harassed me nonstop for a very long time, switching at a manic pace between apologies and threats and invectives.
“I love you I love you please come home….you stupid idiot…please, I miss you….those women at church who you talk to are manipulating you…I love you please come home….I will abandon you and you’ll be held responsible for all the debts I’ve run up….I miss you, come home, I promise things will change….aren’t you ashamed to have run back to your family….please come home please please….you will ruin the children….I love you…”
I didn’t tell you all these things because I was a good little Christian girl who doesn’t make waves and still thought I had to protect my abuser in some way.
Now you know why I didn’t come back.
A Letter to the Church – The Things I Couldn’t Tell You
- Posted in: Victims
- Tagged: abuser's allies, abuser's tactics, evil, gaslighting, guest post, sexual abuse, social abuse, victims' resistance
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Wow. This is bone-chilling. Minus the kids, I could have written this post. In fact, for my own sanity, I probably need to write it and send it to a few people (who won’t read it because they decided long ago that I was the bad guy for leaving such a kind and loving Christian husband).
I am so very sorry you have had to endure this. I’m sorry for every woman who is continuing to endure such torment without really being able to see it until things are such a mess the only way out is via tsunami. I pray for your healing. I know that God sees our tears. I know that He knows what really happened during those dark years. I know He is for us even when the world is against us. Let’s keep standing together and comforting each other with words and psalms and prayers. And not forget the truth.
Thank you for sharing…and oh how much some of your heart-breaking testimony is so similar to my mom’s abuse at the hands of my dad.
The cruelty, abandonment or torture related to miscarriages, pregnancies and medical emergencies. Check. My dad almost forced my mother to deliver my sister in a car, in the middle of the night, in the dead of winter. And other atrocities.
The disgusting name calling. Check. My dad NEVER called my mom by her Christian name. But he had many nicknames for her, including “Garbage” and “Putrid” (my beautiful mother, a popular honors society student, homecoming queen, gifted artist).
My mom never told anyone, not a soul, and no one in her family knew of the horrible, vile, evil things my dad did behind closed doors. I never spoke out either (for ages), as an abused daughter who also watched my mom and siblings suffer abuse. The shame, confusion and enormous buried fear all contribute to that.
The truth is, people don’t want to hear about abuse. It’s inconvenient and uncomfortable. They’d rather believe the lie.
That beautiful, artistic Christmas card portrait they received from you last year…on the sunset beach, or near the majestic pine trees, where everyone is smiling, windblown and wearing matching clothes. That’s the image of your family that outsiders want to believe and cling to. They don’t want their fun lunch date or coffee break ruined by you (me) whispering about what we’ve lived through.
Oh wow. Such a wonderful, well written comment.
I have pictures on my fridge that reflect your last paragraph, but because of things I’ve now been through, I see them as they really are: mere photographs where people know to pose, smile and reflect a certain image that may or may not be completely accurate.
I went further than you about people not wanting to hear about abuse, and I proclaimed that people just don’t care enough about it. But I totally agree with that it’s inconvenient and uncomfortable for them.
But I also tend to have a bit of grace on such persons and here is why: I don’t think most persons know what to do, what to say, or how to react when such stories are told. What SHOULD they say, and what CAN they say? How can they help? Should they try to help? If you are taken off guard (as most stories do), it’s even harder to know how to respond because you are so stunned and shocked.
If you grew up with the attitude of “mind your own business” or “it’s none of your business” or “don’t get involved with personal, private affairs,” then I can see how such persons would instinctively withdraw. Also: “this isn’t your family, so it’s not for you to tell them how to live or how to raise their kids or how manage their marriage. Stay out of it and let them work it out.”
My personal reaction to all that is this: I will give a bit of grace that you didn’t know how to react when I first told you. It’s understandable; I kept this hidden for so long and built up a false image.
But I gave you a chance to let it all sink in, after the initial shock. I gave you time to pray, to ask the Lord as to how you could help me. When I told you, I needed someone to trust, someone to believe me. I needed someone to be praying for me, because I don’t know what to do! I need His help, and I needed your help to stand with me and pray.
I cringed at your story. The name calling, the atrocities. No one, no matter how much it defies the “norm” of staying out of the business of others—should EVER go through that.
When the authorities “get involved” like CPS or other organizations who are duty bound to protect children, I highly doubt they are telling themselves that “it’s none of my business.” It’s their job to get involved in the business of others, even and especially family situations.
I could have written this and then some. By listening to the so called women “counsellors” in the church and my choice to “obey” them I barely missed losing my life.
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I completely understand this. Some of what I experienced was a little less overt, simply because my (now ex) husband was trying to [details redacted to protect commenter from being identified].
Sex can definitely be a weapon. My wedding night was horrific, as was my honeymoon. I kept reading from some crazy Debi Pearl book about submission, all the while thinking everything was my fault.
Some time later he tried to rape me in my sleep. Then a few years later, one of my children told me that he sexually abused him / her as well.
Currently, he works [in a Christian organization] where he has lots and lots of contact with children.
Blessings to you and your children as you raise them in love.
Words fail me when I read your story, knowing not even the half of it has been written or told. I cannot comprehend your level of suffering, your tenacious will to survive.
Words fail me every time I encounter stories of such egregious abuse.
Yet I only have words to share…
I cannot reach through the screen with a light touch of comfort. And even if I could, I would be terrified of causing another trigger.
Words and touch are my mainstays of communication. My face and voice are usually expressionless.
Since I am unable to reach through the screen, can you accept my words instead?
I’d like to say that anyone who heard this from a victim of abuse couldn’t help but see the truth and do what they could to help and validate her. But I know that it doesn’t happen that way. People believe what they see, and if they see the abusers act (loving husband and father, good Christian man leading prayers in church) they’ll deny the testimony of his victim with zero effort to establish the truth. That’s why it is so difficult for victims to escape. Abusers weave a web of lies that both entraps their victims and insulates them [the abusers] from any culpability for their heinous sins.
My situation wasn’t nearly as bad as yours – very subtle and sporadic spiritual and emotional abuse (oh, and the one incident that finally got me to leave), not enough for me to pick up [on] his manipulations – but that desire to not taint his reputation… Even though I knew leaving was the right thing to do, I still didn’t want people to think he was a “bad” person. I took the “high road”, and only told the truth to a select few people I knew I could trust and that would have my back. Like your situation, when my Christian friends would talk to me, I chose my words very carefully, hoping they would pick up my hints that things weren’t what they seemed, instead of possibly coming off as an embittered wife who was looking for an excuse to leave.
There is a part of me that wants to reach out to his family, to my old church friends, and tell them what actually happened – but I wonder if that will do more harm than good. Now, however, when people ask why I left, I don’t shy away from the truth. I don’t feel obligated to protect him anymore. What I, and you, and any other person who was able to finally free themselves from their abuser, are is brave and strong, and we have a story to tell that others need to hear.
Thank you for sharing your story. I hope and pray that someone reading it will have their eyes opened and will be able to take the necessary steps to leave whatever abusive situation they’re in.
Thank you for this well written post. I found myself relating to so very much of it. Yes, I could have written it myself because my story is very similar in many ways. I also left and did not say a lot to people about why. I didn’t want to smear his reputation, and in fact he was adamant that I not speak negatively about him publicly. So in many ways it looks like I am “the bad guy”. But I don’t care. It’s so very good to be free, that it doesn’t matter to me what people think. My real friends know the truth. And it’s been so great to find people here at this blog who understand.
When people like her tell of their stories, I’m always amazed at how well they speak, and how well they communicate what they’ve been through. They are able to draw you into their tortured world with their words. My hat is off to this woman.
I don’t know what others thought when she wrote that, but I completely understood, even though her description of him afterwards might cause us to wonder why. He was horrible, cruel and monstrous in his abuse.
This is just IMO: Even though this man clearly did not love her, or his own kids, there is a part of us that still wants that love so bad. So we won’t do anything that jeopardizes that small, minute chance that he might do so. And smearing him (revealing him as he truly is) would certainly shut down that possibility, remote as it is.
She did try to explain how afraid she and the kids were. BUT:
The things she “didn’t tell” were very private, personal and beyond painful. I don’t blame her at all her for not revealing them, and for keeping it as generic and palatable as possible. Even that didn’t work.
But I hold fast to the idea that even if she DID tell the full story, gory details and all (which made me cringe in just reading them), that very powerful “Nice Man” image would still have remained intact, or at least not fully torn down.
It might have become: “okay, he did those things (or at least some of them) you talked about, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have some good in him. He does “x, y and z” for the community, the church and provides for his family. He’s not all bad. He’s not all evil. He is capable of doing good things, so he is not a total loss. There is still hope for him, so you should still have hope for him. Give him another chance.”
It’s obvious that she really wasn’t listening, right? How could anyone even consider, or entertain the idea of sending her and the kids back to that snake pit? Or that “some good” still exists in a man that chooses to be so evil behind closed doors?
I also hold fast that even if her friend DID see the abuse in real time with her own eyes and ears, she still would have found a way to say “it’s not so bad” or “it could have been worse.”
I would have to ask, how bad does it have to get before it’s officially “worse” or “unbearable” or “life threatening”?
All the Things I Didn’t Tell You. Lord let Your mercy be great upon us. Surround us with Your loving truth that we are persons of worth, worth loving and worth saving. We commit ourselves to Your compassionate care as we seek, yet again, another way out of our pain.
Thank you for your honest guest post. It took courage to relive it as you told it so honestly. You are to be congratulated for your strength.
So much of that was my story too. Although I told some friends the truth when I finally realized that what I was facing was abuse, not “me not being good enough and deserving his treatment of me”, I found that most ‘friends’ at church did NOT want to hear / believe the truth because of his Mr. Good Guy image. It took 10 years before I was willing to go public, speak the truth, and not worry about tarnishing his image.
I find even now that some of my family members will occasionally act like I must be exaggerating and I have to stop myself from defending the fact that I divorced him because of abuse, not just difficult circumstances. I know what happened, and I have to ‘let it go’ when other people don’t want to face how evil he was behind closed doors.
Very powerful post. As LH says, so much of that was my story too. Down to the pleading to defer sex and it being ignored. SO much pain. Like LH, it took ten years after I got out to even start to face it. Two years later I am still grappling with the reality of what happened during the quarter century of abuse, and WHY didn’t ONE SINGLE PERSON in my church even try to believe me? No one even listened to the sanitized version I was capable of telling them then; their eyes would widen and they would back away and say trite phrases like, “I’ll pray for you,” as they turned around and walked away.
To the writer of this guest post: Thank you from the bottom of my heart for expressing so eloquently why our voices are silenced. You have helped me to regain my own and not feel so alone in my efforts to become whole. God bless you, dear lady.
To LH and the other women who understand this post all too well: I am so sorry we lived this awful hell on earth, and grateful ACFJ is providing us a safe place to learn and share and support each other as we come out of it with the love of Jesus. My prayers are with each of you.
😥 I’m in tears, I relate to so much of this. Thank God you got out. God bless you.
Thank you so much for sharing. I can imagine how hard it was to put that down on paper. Doesn’t that make it even more real?
Thank you for saying what so many of us need to say. There are WAY too many of us who have lived this, in some fashion or another.
I always struggled with how much to tell, especially when what I shared was so often discounted and brushed off. Mine is no longer alive (not sure what to call him….), and I do not want to tell tales about the dead, so I rarely mention it any more.
My family knows. And they still love me wholeheartedly. My true friends understand and totally support me. As for the others, if they cannot see that I have consistently been a decent, kind, honest person for as long as they have known me, how would I convince them with just words anyway?
Thank you again. I am amazed at your strength. I pray the Lord will continue to guide and direct you.
Thanks also to all the commenters who shared and supported us here.
Thank you for bravely sharing. So very heart-wrenching to read and sadly so many of us have our own “I didn’t tell you…” testimonies. Your sharing has encouraged me to perhaps write down my own I Didn’t Tell You testimony and include it with my Last Will and Testament. Maybe then, they will be interested in knowing the truth.
I pray you have the opportunity to share your testimony and have it recognized / validated as truth long before then…
Writing it down and putting it with your Last Will and Testament — what a great idea!
I feel that the real tragedy here is the fact that this woman, as well as millions more, don’t know what to do to help themselves, or where to go or who to talk too. What could we do to change that? How could we break the brainwashing that happens to girls in the church and culture in general?
I think it’s a very very long process to undo the brainwashing that happens to girls in the church and the culture in general.
The professionals in the domestic violence sector call this ‘primary prevention’. Many of them believe that gender inequality is the underlying driver, and that needs to be changed by programs that change attitudes and assumptions about gender. I’m not convinced that addressing gender inequality will mitigate the problem. It may help somewhat, but I don’t think it would be a sufficient remedy. And all the time, the porn juggernaut is influencing many boys and men to be more abusive and more disrespectful to women.
Very few of the professionals are talking about the mentality and tactics of abusive men, and how to recognise the abusers’ manipulative tactics from the very start. The skilled offenders, the abusive men, are using their manipulative tactics from the very beginning, even in the way they are selecting their targets and then cunningly hooking them in to groom and abuse and re-abuse.
One professional who does talk about this is Don Hennessy, whose work I showcased here:
Don Hennessy Digest.
I wish every church leader would read that link I just gave. The link is also very helpful for women who have suffered abuse from their husbands.
It would be a great start if the public school system could teach a few basic, generic signs of abusers and how to protect oneself from them. They were so quick to teach young kids to have sex yet they do nothing to try and help the kids with the problem that they have had a large responsibility in creating.
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Thank you for pouring your heart out in this write up. The writer’s story is very similar to mine. Abusers seem to share many traits.
Unfortunately for me my real life drama has not concluded yet as I am still living with my husband. I am planning to leave him although I don’t know exactly when as I cannot tolerate him much longer. He is charming to other people but a different man behind closed doors.
My husband is very untrustworthy with finances and has used my money on his affairs etc without my knowledge. For many years he has been spending my money freely like there is no tomorrow. He has not worked close to 2 decades. As a defense mechanism, I started setting aside money for my future and my children. My husband is not aware of this. I also use my money to purchase personal stuff for me and the children. I do not tell my husband how much I spend. Because if he knows, he will try and stop it.
To get this off my chest I told my pastor what I did and I was chastised. I was counseled that whilst my husband was not trustworthy, I was also being deceitful as I concealed money from my husband. The pastor in fact went so far as to say that my husband is like a wife who chooses to stay at home to look after the children and home, where the husband has to take care of the wife and share everything with the wife. Bottom line is concealing financial activities draws the wrath of God.
I am somewhat disturbed by this counsel. If the husband is abusive, financially untrustworthy and refuses to honor the marriage covenant, is the wife still expected to be transparent with her husband?
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Dear Planning Ahead,
I am sorry that the pastor was of no help to you and only complicated things. My suggestion would be to speak with an attorney. You are doing nothing illegal and THERE IS A REASON you feel the need to save money. Saving money in itself is wise and prudent.
My opinion is that God is not ok with the choices your husband is making or with the way he is treating you and that your husband is breaking his marital vows to you daily. God is an advocate for the needy, the widow (abused women) and orphans (children who’s parents / fathers will not provide for them). The Bible has a LOT of negative things to say about men who fit your husband’s description. Please take confidence in this. I am in the process of leaving my financially irresponsible and deceitful husband and God has been with me every step of the way.
I’ve been divorced for 14 years. People in my church community have no idea what it was like. I didn’t want a divorce. I was comfortable with being told I was his possession because I didn’t want to [be] shamed and humiliated in front of everyone I knew. I didn’t want to be abandoned. I welcomed everything he did to manipulate me because I was so afraid he would leave. And then he did. It took my counselor 3 years of weekly work in my head to get me to where I could recognize that this is not God’s design for women. Because he hurt me in ways that I will never be able to forget, I will never date again and I will never trust another man. It doesn’t mean that I don’t forgive him, but it does mean that I have learned my lesson. Not all “church” men are who they pretend to be.
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This so inspired me to write out my own version, which I will be putting on my blog next week. So much pain, yet so much bravery, from all of us here.
I, too, like the idea of making a copy a part of my Will, but, there will likely be no one there to hear it that should hear it.
RM, I feel like you, lesson learned, embrace singlehood. How much this affects us – 14 years for you but like it was yesterday. I have been reading and studying, trying to understand what does the Bible really say about men and women and their roles. It sure is eye-opening, but at the same time hard to get the reality in my heart. Sure glad God is patient with me. Opinions out there run the range from one extreme to the other, with every possibility in between, and so thankful for this blog to help me see truth.
Hi Moving Forward, when you publish your post, can you please give me a heads up by email. Thanks.
Be glad to.
Add 20 years… and a split life (one while he is home / on the phone) another while he is at work. Add hating who you’ve become and the lies you tell to keep him off your back (not that it ever really works, it delays the predictable).
You forgot the sweet Christians who tell you to forgive and say if you’d just forgive him, your marriage would magically heal and be restored. The caring sisters who tell you that your problem is you gave up hope- “how can you have no hope?? Our hope is in the Lord, so you are sinning by not trusting Him.” The stone-faced pastors who strong-arm you every bit as hard as your abuser ever did, which makes you feel doubly crazy.
Like me, you chose to disappear. I chose to LIVE over being married. I chose to be the seen as the bad guy, so I could find a place to breathe. I have a life now I couldn’t have imagined 20 years ago, when I didn’t have a reason to get out of bed. I rejoice in your courage and praise God for rescuing you, when no person could or would. LIVE!!
Your second paragraph, Free to Live, is so, so true. I’ve seen, heard about, and experienced these same things, too.
People are rendered disabled or dead (because of what abusers do) and the bad advice given to the abused.
So much of the Bible is about evil, wicked people, cautioning us, and yet this seems not to be the content of much Christian radio programming, church sermons, Christian discussions.
Sending you out as sheep amidst wolves.
All I know is I cannot wait for this life to be over. My hope is in my death [is] coming about soon so that I can be rid of this wretched life of pain, trauma, anguish, abuse, victimization, suffering, etc. In Revelation it says there will be no more tears or pain in heaven. There won’t be any wicked abusers there either. How lovely will that be?!!!!
Boy, Free to Live and Anonymous I understood some of what you spoke of. Blessings to you both and prayers going out for you both as well.
I recall hating who I had become, but my situation(s) were different, but I still did not like myself one bit. I’m still working through that, because I’m letting Him have the final say in that area. It’s quite a tangled web of chaos and confusion.
To those I used to know and thought were my family and friends, it’s like I don’t exist anymore.
Most of them don’t know this, but I tried to kill myself before I became a believer. My parents were so upset by my actions that they pretended I didn’t exist when I came home afterwards. To experience that sort of thing again gives me no pleasure.
Ironically, in order to move on, I have had to take something of the same route. I don’t wish ANY of them to not exist, but I have to move on as if they do not. I need to not get involved in their lives, send gifts or packages on their birthdays, and sadly, block them online so that I do not get sucked in again. None of that has given me any pleasure, and I hated myself for making those choices. But I would not have done them had the Lord not given me the courage to do so, and the understanding that it needed to be done.
I wouldn’t label them as “bad people” per say. I just don’t understand any of them. Many of them claim to be Christians, but some or much of their personal belief systems make little to no sense to me.
It’s interesting when you [are?] told to have hope. I recall being rebuked by God for attempting to put my hope in my marriage, or in any relationship with human beings. My hope is in the Living God, not in them. And yes, there is a BIG difference. The anchor to our souls lies in Him, not in marriage:
No matter who does or doesn’t know or care if I exist—HE knows. And your last paragraph about knowing we will someday be free from the trials of this world is so true. No more sorrow or sighing when we are with Him again, for eternity.
That is beautiful. Thanks for including that Bible verse. Very fitting for what you said so well.
I’m so glad that you are safe and can see the past clearly (for what it was) and now share your story. I dated my minister and after 1-year could see these tactics (finally, after going to therapy and getting additional feedback from people watching us up close). Possessive / Controlling men are very dangerous, and very often present themselves publicly as sweet, kind and a survivor of abuse themselves (a well crafted narrative), and often know exactly where to stop before their action is classified as “criminal” (and some cannot even stop there). It angers me that this happens. You are making change and this can change the world for us all. Blessings to you and your family.
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