A Cry For Justice

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

Prayer Requests 2013

We at A Cry For Justice desire to come along side those of you who have been wounded by abuse. We strive to do this through our teachings and through praying for the victims that we are aware of.


Karen R January 17, 2013 — Hello, Please pray that I not develop resentment toward a friend at church. For the past 3 years or so she has mentored me and knows about my situation with my husband. In August 2012 I left after 20 years including 7 years of counseling, etc. My former therapist suspects my husband is Borderline.
We (my friend and I) have met monthly for lunch and I believed she was supportive of my choice to set a boundary and separate from my husband.

Today we met for lunch and I shared with her that I may be filing for divorce soon as I know my husband won’t change, etc. I gave examples.

She then said that “You don’t leave your husband.” And she went on to say things along the lines of “Do you think you were always loving to him?” and other statements about the sanctity of marriage and the permanence of marital vows and commitment. I was floored as she knows that my decision was not in any way capricious. I have struggled financially and overall things have been quite difficult for me. I thought she understood and know I don’t know…I thought she was a safe place. It makes me fear that those who I thought supported me really don’t and at the end of the day perhaps they see my struggle as proof of God’s disapproval of my decision.

Jeff Crippen, January 17, 2013 —  Dear Karen, Well, we have certainly heard this same story numbers of times before, but it still doesn’t get easier to understand. I don’t know this lady, but the fact is that many times mentors / disciplers don’t evidence their true motives as long as the mentoree remains the mentoree. But once you step out and make decisions yourself, they don’t really like it. You see, as long as you are in some kind of difficulty (ie, abusive marriage) then you “need” such a person’s ongoing help. Again, I cannot know with certainty, but there is a good chance that your mature decision, well-thought out and not made lightly, threatens this lady’s ability to remain your mentor, your rescuer, the one you come to for wisdom. A true discipler recognizes maturity and lets the one they have taught go.

At a very minimum, this woman absolutely is ignorant to the mentality and tactics of abuse, or she would never say such things to you. But, boy, it is hard when people we have trusted turn out to be unsafe, just when you really need their support.

One thing that numbers of abuse survivors have told us though, by way of encouragement, is that though they lost friends they thought were friends, the Lord led them into new relationships with new friends – ones who really are safe. We hope that, at least in part, we here at ACFJ and our readers can provide some of that support and friendship for you.

We really find out what friends are made of when it comes time for us to say to them, “I don’t agree with you on that point. No, I cannot do it your way.”

Jeff S, January 17, 2013 — Karen, I don’t think it is wrong for you to be angry with your friend. Anger can be an indication that our boundaries have been violated- that someone has stepped over the line and invaded who we are. In those cases, anger is healthy and helps protect us from harm.

What she said to you IS violating your boundaries, and worse because she should know better.

But above all, please don’t accept an extra burden of guilt for how you feel toward this women. You have enough to deal with already. What she said was hurtful, and it is completely normal for you to feel hurt by it. Honestly, she should be ashamed of herself.

Barbara Roberts, January 17 2013 — Dear Karen, I want to give you a hug. What your ‘friend’ said to you would have HURT. I agree with both the Jeff’s and want to reiterate that it is quite okay to feel angry about the way your friend has judged you and let you down so terribly. She was a trusted friend . . . you had thought she was your supporter. Just goes to show that people can come across as well-meaning and supportive but unless they really understand the full dynamics of abuse AND how grossly out of joint doctrine has been on marital separation and divorce, they are going to let the victim down badly, sooner or later. It’s really hard for you to be finding this out now. But rest assured, your friend is wrong.

Yes, those who you though were your supporters may now be making all kinds of wrong judgments and interpretations of your situation. Jeff Crippen rightly says that divorce is a litmus test for all theology. If people get that wrong and say that divorce is not allowed for abuse, there are serious fault lines in their theology and their way of interpreting Scripture. You’ve hit the litmus test where the rubber meets the road – by getting ready to file for divorce – so all the preconceptions and misjudgements are now going to be coming out of the woodwork in you so-called friend and supporters.

I would suggest you don’t put yourself under a burden of guilt about ‘feeling resentful’ towards your friend. Resentment is a form of anger, and anger is not a sin; it’s only a sin if we act anger out in the wrong way. If you use your anger & resentment to permit yourself to form a firmer boundary against your friend – e.g. tell her you don’t agree with her, you felt hurt by her, and please not to take liberties with you and lay advice or judgements on your again – then that will be a creative, strong and godly thing to do with your resentment.

I honour your resistance to mistreatment, whether it be the mistreatment by your husband or the mistreatment by your ‘friend’. You are refusing to be content with being abused! Well done!

And keep venting on this blog if you need to! We are here for you. :)

Oh also, there is a post on this blog you might relate to quite a bit:
Second Wave Locusts

Still Scared (But Getting Angry), January 27, 2013 —  Court is tomorrow. Just prayer that the judge will clearly see the lies the idiot is spewing. And I just need to say another place, I don’t deserve the name I was just called, I don’t deserve the implied threat that came with the email that called me said name. I am walking away from the idiocy in God’s peace!

Barbara Roberts, January 27, 2013 — I understand, SS, and will pray. hugs to you.

Barnabasintraining, January 27, 2013 — I prayed for you that the judge will not be fooled and will render a sound and righteous judgment. Please let us know how it goes.

Still Scared (But Getting Angry), January 28, 2013 — So the state attorney dropped the case because my ex filed it incorrectly. The state said he can file it again anytime! Frustrated!! The State Attorney also said I am supposed to make visitation happen. How I am supposed to do that with an unwilling 16 yo. I just don’t know. And to add to the insult the idiot walked out saying “I dropped the charges” . Total and complete LIE!! I hate being lied to! The state attorney dropped the charges. anything to make himself look good in front of the kids!

Jeff Crippen, January 28, 2013 — Frustrated with you, SS. You can maybe take a 16 year old to visitation, but you can’t make him visit. Please keep us posted on how things proceed.

Barbara Roberts, January 28, 2013 — Gritting my teeth with you, SS!

Still Scared (But Getting Angry) — Learning to be a duck and let the idiocy roll off my back. Thanks!! :)

Friendinneed From Europe, January 28, 2013 — Dear All, It is terrible to read all of your stories, absolutely horrible. Sounds like my daughter and I have been blessed in many ways. I wish I could breathe peace over all of you. Thank you for increasing my vocabulary and understanding.

Needprayer, January 29, 2013 — Please pray for this ongoing situation where the ex harasses me by phone or in person. I have indicated that I will not communicate in any form but by email or text, but he won’t agree. He talks when there are handovers, and even when I try to drive away, he sometimes opens a car door when he “suddenly remembers” something else he needs to say.

The latest is that he wants to take the kids to see his sick mother and phoned to ask about it. I asked him to put the details in an email so I can see the actual dates and times and have a record of it. He said he wouldn’t because his advisors have told him not to. The next time he called I hung up. However, I am afraid that if the kids don’t get to see their grandmother that I will be the bad guy.

I wish I could just acquiese and put up with him in person or on the phone, like some do. But I find my mind getting twisted, and physiological symptoms of heart rate going up, etc and I just don’t think it is healthy. Even if he tries to play nice, I never know when he will turn sarcastic or drop a veiled insult. Mostly, I don’t want to get drawn into discussions that get me heated up or sucked in.

Due to the phone call, I missed my appointment with my psychologist and I am quite upset about that, as it would have been handy to de-brief with her. So I thought I’d drop a line here and ask for some prayer support.

Jeff Crippen, January 29, 2013 — This has to be one of the greatest trials of getting free from abuse – child custody and ongoing issues with it. The courts. Injustice. The fact that you recognize that just talking to him traumatizes you is a BIG sign of progress on your part. You are working on drawing firm boundaries and even if he is a trespasser, you are still showing courage in this regard. Praying indeed.

Colossians 1:11-12 ESV
(11) May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy,
(12) giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.

Heather, January 29, 2013 — praying for you. I know how u feel my x does the same thing an I find it hard to set the boundrys because he keeps over stepping them. every time I see him dropping off or picking up the kids or he thinks he is going to try and fix everything at my home that needs fixed.

Barbara Roberts, January 29, 2013 — Praying for you. I know this has been a longstanding issue. . . my sympathies! He is one doggedly persistent PEST.

Still Scared (But Getting Angry), January 29, 2013 — I blocked his number, telling him that he can only email. Can someone else drop off the kids and pick up so he can’t try to talk then? Will be praying!! It is so exhausting!

Katy, January 29, 2013 — NeedPrayer: I will pray that God will put a choke-chain on your ex and restrain his mouth in your presence.
you said: He said he wouldn’t because his advisors have told him not to. 
This makes no sense and is a sign that he’s just trying to call you so he can harass you better. if he tries to use his sick mother to manipulate you can tell everyone “I told him to email me the details and he refused”. End of story. Write these thing down in a journal or Word document if you need to for future reference. I kept a daily journal while my ex was still harassing us.
I will pray for your anxiety and stress too!

Barbara Roberts, January 30, 2013 — I was thinking that just this morning, BIT.  His ‘advisers’ could simply be a group of wife abusers he’s connected with on the internet! It would be typical of an abuser to convey some ‘truth’ without telling the whole truth, for the purpose of making a lie.

Revelation 22:15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

Needprayer, January 30, 2013 — Thank so much, Barb and ALL of you for your replies, thoughts, prayers, empathy, etc.

Still Scared BGA, thanks for the tip. I can’t work out how to do it on my phone! Doesn’t seem to have that function. 😦

His lies are very well covered up. I always thought he was a truthful person because he presented as such and hated liars and lying. I have no doubt that someone said something along those lines about emails, but probably not intentioned to “counsel” him to not use it. As far as I know, his only advisors are handpicked pastors (like some of your experience, he was very good at pastor-hopping, dismissing those who fell from his eyes) or perpetrators themselves.

Still Scared (But Getting Angry), January 30, 2013 — I had to call AT&T tech support to have them help me. You can pay for it but there are also many free APS!

Needprayer, January 30, 2013 — Oh I see. Does that mean you can’t text him or receive texts from him as well?

Still Scared (But Getting Angry), January 31, 2013 — I have no clue but you can ask tech support. I refuse to text messages also. All email. It was a hard boundary but now it’s in place, so worth it.

Just Me, January 30, 2013 — He’s probably refusing to use email because everything would then be nicely documented in case you need to use it in court. It’s the old adage of never putting anything in writing. Verbally, it’s your word against his.  I’ll pray for you.

Barnabasintraining, January 30, 2013 — That makes sense. It’s much more believable than “I was advised not to.” Unless that’s why he was advised not to.

Memphis Rayne, January 31, 2013 — Crazy making! My MIW put EVERYTHING in writing, hand written, text msgs YEARS of the up and down of his highs, his descents, his disgusting verbal spews, his entire mentality…EVIDENCE for sure!!!!”?? Think again, especially dealing with the church and courts, they may accept he “Did it” “Thought it” “wrote it”…….BUT!!!!……what did YOU do to make him sooooo distraught that he felt as if he was pushed to the edge?……

Most likely your refusal to be a cooperative part of the parental unit!!

Unless there is REAL understanding that HE is an abuser, its just going to be words from a frustrated, needy or depressed fellow in need of some loooooooove.

I tried for 9 years to be available to somebody who stalked us relentlessly?? To drop everything, arrange everything, make our selfs accessible to a nut job!!! It such an impossible double bind, there is no common sense applied to making people FORCED into NOT protecting themselves, then facing charges from the courts if you do not comply, so sick and disturbing how an abuser can facilitate a court system to further his abuse!!!

To stalk? Or not to stalk? The question in his mind was “How do I get away with doing this legally?…..Im tired of going to jail, how dare she tell me I cannot drive by, show up, make a scene everywhere she goes? I’ve managed to use the children to terrorize her up to this point, this is sooo awesome NOW I can not only terrorize her but I can legally USE the children to make constant contact!!!! wooo hooo!! I hit the jack pot!!! Now when people at church get tired of listening to me, I can pay an endless amount of people to listen to me whine, complain, and side with me on what a horrible person she is!!!! Oh ya, I can also visit the kids when “I” may or may not feel like it, really just depends on wether I need to check up on their MOTHER!!!!!

Something is seriously WRONG with how seriously flawed the courts handle victoms trying to leave with their children in tact!! Best interest of the child matters little, if abuse was recognized for what it was, I highly doubt there would be ANY contested custody cases, and alot of dirt bag attorneys would be short on cash….

All the years of threats about if I leave he will take my kids? Imagine his triumph when he realized he ACTUALLY COULD!!!!!

😦  so sad.

Lisa, February 22, 2013 — Please pray that my relationship will be restored with my son. And that his twin sister and other 2 sisters will have this opportunity also. His father took him from my care approximately 2 years ago. Thank you

Just Me, February 22, 2013 — Lisa, How heartbreaking! I am so sorry! I will pray for you and your family.

Barbara Roberts, February 22, 2013 — Yes Lisa, I will pray. I can not imagine how hard that must be for you.

Barbara Roberts, February 26, 2013 — Pray for the Calvary Chapel situation involving Bob Grenier. That the Lord would remove the scales from Gayle’s eyes and give her the courage, conviction, and strength to leave Bob for good — divorce him. That He would bring whatever people or circumstances she needs into her life to effect her freedom. That He would make a wide path for her steps and lead her out. That He would remove the evil, Satanic lies from her heart and replace them with His truth. And for justice for Alex and the other defendant in the law suit (whose name is Tim. He’s not a relative). That God would extract this whole stinking mass of putrescent filth from His body and bring the healing of His righteousness. And that if He does this, He would also cause the impact of it to be felt as far and wide as He sees fit, and to effect all His good purposes.

Lisa, March 6, 2013 — Please pray for my son Lucas…His father used the court system to obtain custody of the children in 2011…..Although Lucas twin sister Hope continues to live with me in another state, Lucas has had very little contact with me or his 3 sisters. We live in WY, Lucas lives in Iowa. I had been married to the twins father for 10 years and much abuse was given to myself and the children in that time frame. I was told many times to stay by clergy but I knew in my spirit if I stayed, myself and the children would never know freedom agian. Many professional and law enforcement have said there hands are tied. I have tried to fight the best I can for him but have learned unless a person has a good atty, money and lots of back-up and evidence it is almost impossible to overturn a custody dispute. I have let go alot but will never give up for the safety and freedom that my son deserves. I believe nothing is impossible with God! Thank You Lisa

Barbara Roberts, March 6, 2013 — Thank you Lisa. this reminds me to pray even harder for your case. Calling on the God who can close the mouths of the lions.

Anonymous, March 14, 2013 — The prayer requests make me so sad. I am so grateful to have found a website by Christians for dv victims. Please pray for me and my son. Still married to a verbally abusive man for almost 20 years.

He raged at me a few days ago (using words like Satan and accuser about me), I fled with our son until he calmed down & then was trying to spin it to our son last night! He was saying things to my son to try to make my son think it was all my fault and I was the controlling one.
Dealing with additional issues on top of the abuse: grief and loss, and troubles and communication difficulties in my extended family, my husband does not work sufficiently hard to adequately provide for the family.

I really need support and a few consultants! Everywhere I look there are problems, and needs but no resources. I feel powerless to do anything. I feel alone.

Even when my husband is not being actively abusive I have to listen to his opinions, stories and wants while he couldn’t care less about mine. It’s like I exist only to listen to him. Recently he was reading out loud a lengthy letter of praise from someone we know. i started feeling sick to my stomach and left the room. Really? He really thought I wanted to hear how great a person he is. Maybe he wanted me to know that he is not such a bad guy after all. Where is God at moments like this? It seems like he keeps rewarding my husband, putting him in situations where people bless him and give him things and praise, no matter how much he hurts us and refuses to provide for us.

[Note added by Barb Roberts: In order to protect the safety of Anonymous, I have edited the text to remove or alter some of the more identifying details in this comment.]

Jeff Crippen, March 15, 2013 — Anonymous,  You aren’t alone and we are very glad you have found this blog community. Everything you are experiencing is classic of abusers, and very, very wicked. Your question, “where is God?” reminds me of this Scripture –

Psalms 73:12-28 ESV
(12) Behold, these are the wicked; always at ease, they increase in riches.
(13) All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence.
(14) For all the day long I have been stricken and rebuked every morning.
(15) If I had said, “I will speak thus,” I would have betrayed the generation of your children.
(16) But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task,
(17) until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end.
(18) Truly you set them in slippery places; you make them fall to ruin.
(19) How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors!
(20) Like a dream when one awakes, O Lord, when you rouse yourself, you despise them as phantoms.
(21) When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart,
(22) I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward you.
(23) Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand.
(24) You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory.
(25) Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
(26) My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
(27) For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.
(28) But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.

Your question is an honest one — “where is God?” He is there upholding you, and He will one day set everything right. Your husband’s feet are in fact set upon those slippery places, and one day your abuser will fall to his ruin.

In the meanwhile, we are here. If you would like some books that would be a great help to you, email me at swordtrowel@gmail.com and I will be glad to send you some, no charge.

Sherri, April 1, 2013 — Jeff, Thank you for words and the verses. It was shocking and unsettling, and at the same time validating to have someone else, a pastor no less, call my husband’s behavior wicked! I’m not used to it! My husband uses that word about me and other people but he gets so angry on the rare occasions I call his behavior evil. I’ll just say, “That is evil to talk to someone like that.” He’ll say, “Don’t say evil!” over and over again.

Thank you for your encouraging and kind words. I know intellectually God is always with me, but in an abusive relationship it often feels like he is far away. Especially when my abuser “claims” Jesus for “his side” of whatever war he thinks he is fighting against me.

He has misused Scripture so often against me that there was a period of years where I couldn’t read it without hearing my husband’s voice. Not in a good way. Always in the most harsh, judgemental, using it against me inaccurately kind of way.

Thanks for being there and for praying, for this website, for the work you and Barbara and the others are doing to increase awareness of abuse.

Barbara Roberts, April 1, 2013 — and thank you for your kind words, Sherri, because it is things like this that keep us going.

Jeff Crippen, April 1, 2013 — Right back at you Sherri! Blessings on you in Christ.

Barbara Roberts, March 15, 2013 — Dear Anon, thank you so much for sharing and asking us to pray for you. I will pray. And I’m sure you will find many friends on this blog. Hugs to you from barb.

Anonymous, March 17, 2013 — Thank you for that Barb. I really appreciate it.

Barbara Roberts, March 17. 2013 — Anonymous above (with the yellow gravatar), if you feel safe to do so, could you kindly email me? barbara@notunderbondage.com

Anonymous, March 18, 2013 — Anonymous, I’m praying for you too. You will find great help in Ps. Crippen and Barb, as well as this blog and those who write and share on it.

Anonymous, April 1, 2013 — Asking for prayer. I’ve filed for divorce and he is now implementing others to pray for restoration of the marriage and bombarding me with guilt, asking where my faith in God has gone. This guy has worked to have me excommunicated from a Church and abused us for years upon years. My desire is to do whatever God would have me to do, but I know without doubt, that I am doing that. I do not see any true repentance and even if I did at this point, I do not think I could go back, nor do I believe that God would expect me to. I know there is a lot of disagreement among pastors about this, but unless they have lived it, they really ought not to speak into someone’s situation and give counsel to stay in abuse. Please join with me, as I am left bewildered, confused and broken, yet again. I think that some people believe that if a victim wrongfully divorces her abuser, that the victim cannot be a Christian, but I believe that God never expects a woman who is habitually abused, to stay in the marriage. He does not even see that as a marriage, because it is not His idea of marriage, nor what He created marriage to be. Thank you for your prayers. Please storm Heaven for me.

Memphis Rayne, April 1, 2013 — Anonymous…..I believe “Heaven is being stormed” by all our pleas. I get REALLY angry for you, I hope that is okay? You are choosing NOT to love, honor, cling to what is EVIL. If anybody tells you that is wrong, well I can only assume they are like minded to an abuser….or just plain fools. (of course I have many other words I would prefer to call them but I am resisting temptation) I read the prayer requests, and its as if I wrote every single one of them along my treachorous journey towards that freedom we all deserve. I never know anymore how to ask for prayer? I feel I get time warped back into each and every situation I read about on this blog, because they all are so much alike, that doesnt even surprise me anymore. My most humble opinion, GOD is not in an abuser, period. Therefore the church and the people in the church that expect you to in effect honor …uh? say? ….the devil? Do not REALLY know God either, because they are choosing to ignore your and your childs sufferings, instead of being at your defense. YOU have God Almighty on your side, your abuser just has his black pit to fill up with lies and fake nicetys…someday that black pit will be filled, then what? In my mental picture THEN he will fall in it, and the ground will swallow him up to his end. Your right too, there is that wee possibility of change, and you are so smart to see that even IF (and thats a BIG “IF”) was able to convince you of his true change, you KNOW you and your family deserve what God wants for you, not this bozo. They are just so darn good at faking it in church, then flipping the switch at home, but we know God and YOU see him for what he really is.
Im terrible at praying, lately I just cannot do it, but I am with you in my heart and truly understand where you are at and just remember cling to what YOU know, shut everyone else and their mindless opinions out, in the end they do not have to live with this guy. ooxo

Katy, April 1, 2013 — Storming heaven for you Anon!!!! Let there be no doubt to the casual rubberneckers in your “church” that the Living God is moving ON YOUR BEHALF!! That YOU are under His protection and that there can be no denying it! That any believers in the presence of your husband will have their blinders removed, and their discernment from the Holy Spirit will move them to step back and pray for you and your children!
Hold on because it gets better – someday you will look back and all of his abuse will just be a memory – your life WILL be better once you are free from the abuse – don’t let anyone tell you different. Trust those of us who love God and have traveled this road before you. He loves you so much he laid down his life for you, that kind of God would never keep you in chains.

Barbara Roberts, April 1, 2013 — I like Memphis’s answer to you.  And I like the way you are reality checking all the time, so as not to be swayed by all the bystanders and allies he is recruiting. It’s sad, but normal. The abuser recruits allies left right and center, and the survivor is often left with few friends from that Christian community, but we are all your friends. Better yet, our support of you is not nearly as significant as God’s support of you. All the folk who are being recruited by your abuser may think they are doing God’s will but they’ve been brainwashed by the false doctrine about divorce and marriage that is awash in the conservative churches. Hold fast!
Remember that Sunday school song about how Jesus is the anchor for our souls? He will not let you go. No matter how the storms buffet, they cannot break you away from the anchor.

Victoria, April 6, 2013 — “Rollercoaster of tears, joy, peace and doubt” That pretty much sums up my life lately, maybe not so much “doubt” but the feeling that comes when the most godly around you reject you (not outright, but with dismissive sympathy, unanswered messages, accusatory questions about what you can do to be a better wife, and pat answer-advice delivered with glazed over eyes), when you recognize the abuse but the abuser is not an “evil” man, just a bound and deceived, wounded soul.

The peace of knowing God’s faithfulness and feeling His closeness.
The joy of revelation about my situation and being set free to be who God made me to be.
Tears for the pain that has been inflicted on my heart for years, for the realization that our beautiful children may be raised in a broken home, for the understanding that he may not choose to change, for the constant accusations and the new insecurity of having absolutely no clue how to appropriately respond.

I see the abuse, I realize I have no boundaries but I have no idea how to act towards him. I don’t want to give up on our family and reject him completely… This conflict is where the doubt comes from. The only advice/support I have (other than improve my submission to him and be a better/more godly wife) is from the internet and The Holy Spirit.
The revelation I receive from both is wonderful and overwhelming! But I have no clue what to do with this revelation! Where & how do I set up and enforce boundaries? How do I navigate this?
How do you protect yourself from your closest friend?
How do you ask someone to get help when any dissension is met with denial and vehement accusation?
How do you hope for the best and prepare for the worst when preparing is in itself is an assault on that hope?
These things I do not know… we are on a waiting list for a counselor…
What I do know is that God is FAITHFUL and I need help!
Pray for me?

Jeff Crippen, April 6, 2013 — Victoria – Will do! Very good descriptions of what you are going through. I would also suggest that if you have not done so, you begin to read, read, read so that you grow wiser and wiser regarding the abuser and his tactics and the effects on you and your children. Start with Lundy Bancroft’s book, Why Does He do That? for a wonderful, sound introduction. Barbara Roberts’ book, Not Under Bondage, addresses issues regarding separation and divorce for abuse biblically. You can read my book, A Cry for Justice: How the Evil of Domestic Abuse Hides in Your Church, which addresses the mentality and tactics of abuse, its effects, and in particular how it works its evil in the church. See our Resources page for more excellent books. As you read, the Lord will use what you are learning to help clear up the fog that abuse clouds our minds with. Many blessings in Christ.

Jeff S, April 7, 2013 — In addition to the books Jeff has suggested, I would also recommend the book “Boundaries” by Townsend and Cloud, with the huge caveat to ignore what they say about divorce for abuse (they believe in separation only). However, I really wish I’d read that book years before things got their worst- setting good boundaries is so important to maintaining your wits and being able to think clearly. Doing so will also force an abuser to show his or her hand because it makes you less controllable.

And if there’s one statement about boundaries I think everyone should learn it’s this: “Boundaries are put into place to protect yourself, not to change another person”. That helped me a lot when I finally started setting them, because it caused me to ask myself “What is it that I am saying I can’t live with here?” rather than “What about my spouse needs to change for me to feel safe?”. Even though those questions can be very similar with similar answers, the first is a lot healthier because we are focusing on what we can do something about, ourselves, rather than something we cannot control, our spouse.

Anonymous, April 7, 2013 — Praying here for you. Just one thing I would add. You said, “but the abuser is not an “evil” man, just a bound and deceived, wounded soul.” I am not certain if this is what people are saying to you, or you are telling yourself, but just to clarify for you, abuse is evil, and anyone who performs abuse is performing evil. I was really helped, when I came to understand that abuse was far more than abusers just not knowing what they were doing. Ps. Crippen’s and Jeff S.’s advice above is great and all of those books will help you to see and understand what is happening and give you advice about how to set boundaries. I will pray for you. You will also find great help here. I am also pretty sure, you have been a submissive wife already, and you really don’t have to answer anyone’s questions, at least until you are ready to and know what you want to say to them.

Victoria, April 7, 2013 — Praise The Lord! God led me to visit a different church this morning and to seek help from that pastor. Our church is not equipped to deal with the issue of abuse in our marriage for many reasons. The church we visited is familiar to my husband and I believe the pastor (if he chooses to help) will be able to discern and stand on truth. I briefly described the situation and advised the pastor that if he chooses to help he will certainly be getting in a mess and will be harassed by my husband, but he may be able to help bring restoration and glory to God through this as well. We will talk more on Tuesday. Please pray for the lord’s will. I believe this was a God appointment to lead me there this morning and hope this pastor will stand with me. Right now I am standing alone (with God but without man)…

Jeff Crippen, April 7, 2013 — Victoria, Be sure that the pastor has at least done some basic reading about abuse, or if he has not that he is willing to do so before dealing with your situation. He my have good intentions, but that really is not enough.

Anonymous, April 7, 2013 — I would just add, be certain that you also do not get wrapped up in joint counseling. It is not for situations of abuse. Perhaps after other counseling has been done and if things are restored, there may come a time for that, but not initially. As Ps. Crippen says, if the pastor has not done any studying on abuse and / or if he discourages you from reading anything about abuse, then you may be better off to seek out another counselor. Don’t get too far into it, before you check these points off, or you may end up being abused all over again. Not trying to worry or concern you, but we have all dealt with this situation and I am just trying to give you good advice about how to protect yourself from being further abused.

Wisdomchaser, April 7, 2013 — Today I finally reached a point where I felt I couldn’t procrastinate anymore. I called the local domestic abuse hotline to get some information. The local support group meets on Mondays so please pray that God will give me the strength and encouragement to go to the meeting. I am older and disabled so I feel doubly bound to my husband. I am not able to work and am totally dependent on him financially and of course, among other things, he is financially controlling. I am concerned because I am having more mobility problems. What happens when not able to take care of my personal needs, much less the house? My knees are getting bad enough that I am having trouble getting into and out of the tub on my own. Also, so far he has refused to provide health insurance so I am unable to afford any needed medications and medical care. In addition, his verbal and emotional abuse has made me feel totally worthless and I am sure that the emotional stress is contributing to my worsening physical problems. There are other issues but right now this is my main concern.

Anonymous, April 7, 2013 — Praying for you, Wisdomchaser.

Victoria, April 7, 2013 — The group may address this, but you might want to check into SSI disability, even if you have never worked you may be eligible for benefits based on your husbands income. Don’t give up!

Barbara Roberts, April 7, 2013 — Dear Wisdomchaser, thank you for asking us to pray for you. I will do so. Now you’ve rung that hotline once, you can always ring it again. Maybe they can give you more info about support and assistance for disabled people. Maybe there is even a ‘fast track’ for people who are applying for the SSI who are suffering financial and other forms of abuse in a relationship. Maybe they can refer you to somewhere that can provide assistance for your special needs.

Congratulations on ‘breaking the ice’. Well done. It must have taken a lot of courage to do that. Hugs to you!

VIctoria, April 9, 2013 — Going to call a pastor to see if he will stand with me. Please pray! Right now, with the exception of the internet & God, I am standing completely alone.

Victoria, April 9, 2013 — Call went well. I am encouraged!

Katy, April 9, 2013 — so glad to hear this… continuing to pray for safety and guidance for you! ((hugs))

Jeff S, April 9, 2013 — That is great to hear- and we ARE standing with you!

Victoria, April 9, 2013 — Jeff S, I heard your reply in my heart! I believe you “ARE” standing with me. Thank You!
Katy- Thank You so much! Safety and guidance are just what we need right now! (((hugs))) right back at cha!

KingsDaughter, April 14, 2103 — Please pray for me… separated from abuser, but still being friendly while awaiting safe confrontation. Saturday morning he cried on my shoulder, saying he’s struggling hard (porn addiction and getting angry/frustrated with our three small children), it was hard not to feel compassion for him and hope my kindness would give him incentive to turn around when the full confrontation happens. I want him to know I love him and will be here if he is willing to truly repent. We spent the weekend together doing family things, obviously there was no conflict so things were nice. I’m kicking myself for not maintaining boundaries I wanted to set (its so hard to do when he’s being kind and my world is so conflicted and lonely)! Its getting confusing! Please pray!

Jeff S, April 14, 2013 — I will pray for you for clarity and the follow through to do what is right and good. I know in your position it is just so hard to know what that looks like, so prayer is all I have to offer.

KingsDaughter, April 14, 2013 — Thanks Jeff! I keep going back to Prov 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Things get so complicated so quickly, this verse keeps reeling me back in! I so appreciate everyones prayers! This feels like such a rocky, uncharted path and this site lets me know that although the path is unfamiliar to me and it feels so far from civilization, that I am not the first to travel it!

Jeff S, April 14, 2013 — I don’t know if this will be helpful, but in my case I had two things I was looking for before I would even think about reconciliation. That is, I wasn’t committing to perusing reconciliation if these things happened, but I wouldn’t even entertain the idea if they didn’t. I also didn’t tell her this, because to do so would have allowed her to fake it.

The first was I needed her take genuine responsibility for the hurtful things she did. That didn’t mean she could never hurt me again, but it did mean she had to acknowledge her actions were her choice and not justifiable, and then offer a plan about how to make the relationship safe for me. She never did this- there was always a reason that I needed to understand that her actions were ok- that if I only understood her then I wouldn’t have been hurt.

The second was a genuine desire to be a mother to our son. This one got tricky because she did show a lot more interest in him as the divorce proceeded. He had the best relationship she ever had with him (he was 2) right after the divorce because of the structured visitation time. Unfortunately she ended up moving out of state.

So having these two things in mind made it a lot easier for me to look at the situation objectively when the emotions of guilt, shame, and a general desire to forget everything and “make it work” started to take root. I could always ask myself: “Is she taking responsibility and willing to work toward making the relationship safe?” and the answer was always “no” (though she did want to declare it safe), so I kept moving ahead with the divorce.

I prayed two things every night: that she would repent and that I wouldn’t miss it if she did.

KingsDaughter, April 15, 2013 — Thanks Jeff!
I feel like God has given me similar things to look for to demonstrate true repentance before we move forward. It was encouraging to hear that you had a similar line of thought.
I’m mad at myself for not holding firm to the boundaries I wanted to set. I can see how that could send mixed messages to him and crossing your own boundaries is almost worse than someone else doing it!
While driving to church last night, I sought out what was going on and where the confusion was coming from and saw that all of the “nice” things I saw this weekend, while they were nice, really had nothing to do with me. His tears were over his pain not mine, his hugs were for HIM not me. His behaviors are about him protecting his kingdom, not about loving God or his family. That was key to lifting the fog! Also, remembering what he has done and that he has not even tried to repent. It seems so easy in the moment to want to lovingly cling to him, to seek his covering, to be his wife, to forget everything he has done, to just love him. Ah, but just like sin, it feels good in the moment but regret is close behind!
I’m also aware of the spiritual battle that is going on and how I NEED to stay focused on God to avoid becoming ensnared.

Gal 5:1 “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” and Exodus 20:2-3 “‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
‘You shall have no other gods before or beside me.’”
This really spoke to me. I’ve read the Big Ten so many times, but verse three is now particularly meaningful. I’ve got to be careful not to let anything (feeling or desire) or anyone become elevated to the level of being beside or before God. I really never thought I was in danger of doing that before! I suppose I always saw the first commandment as “milk” for babes in Christ or for those “heathen” who had multiple gods. Silly girl! I never cease to amaze myself with how surprised I am to find sin in my own heart! lol…
So yeah, thanks for praying! I do so need it!
Blessings to you, Friend!

Memphis Rayne, April 15, 2013 — KD,  I’m just chiming in here. When you said you could see how your not holding up firm boundaries could have sent him mixed messages”” Thats really intriguing me. I think you are farther along than you give yourself credit for. I NEVER thought that my inability to uphold a firm boundary was confusing my MIW…my right to say “NO” then when I caved because of the tears, and reminders of what could be..you know..the cycle, that we all go through to some extent….most people who live with an abuser go through the same routine, and we cave because we have empathy and compassion and we love our families, and abusers are very manipulative, and very aware of what they are doing, they lack the compassion, the empathy, they don’t FEEL your violations….that is why, whether or not you are firm with boundaries they will cross them regardless, whether its emotional or otherwise. I am NOT saying boundaries are not good and purposeful, we all need them, and understanding them are important, I think all I am saying is its WAY more difficult in a MARRIAGE to accept that somebody who is suppose to love you would annihilate your right to own those boundaries. You have empathy, its clear in your writing. He however does not, and you are absolutely right about who those tears are for. I think there was post awhile back on those Crocodile tears that you have experienced.

I may be way out of line, BUT you give him a lot more credit than is due. He does not see it as his confusion, and those mixed signals he may or may not “get” only work for his benefit to blame you down the road. He has created the confusion, and created the circumstances that have made his OWN wife HAVE to install those boundaries to begin with.

Memphis Rayne, April 15, 2013 — Jeff S Good point, most of us are told in Biblical counsel “”The GOAL is to reconcile” and that is an abusers number one motivation, and the backing of the churches desire to “get” you to agree with that goal is the churches number one priority. Too bad that could not be separated in minds of counsel…they could tell the abuser your spouse, she or he WILL NOT be considering ANY reconciliation, unless he / she is believing there is absolute true repentance and regeneration..(and the church should not be allowed to make that call on whether or not change has occurred)… THEN reconciliation can begin. Also I just thought of this, we talk about how the church does not want to “Judge a person” like the theme is “”who are you, or we to judge a persons heart”” yet they are the first to fall pray to the sudden outburst of remorse alot of abusers display when they want what they want….so often times if for example I said “”I no longer wish to reconcile” then the severe manipulation of others perceptions begin to work against a recovering victim. I do not know what else to call these double binds abuse seems to create?

Unfortunately I do not see that ever happening, and in alot of abuse situations IF you tell the abuser “I have no desire to reconcile with you” they will usually up the ante to something worse…..

I have seen change in the MIW for long periods, enough that I was almost certain that God had his hand in it……but it was amazing how premeditated that “goodness” was, and how real it seemed……

I do however see that there is a NEED to remove reconciliation out of the goal to affect any changes. Nonetheless within the marriage covenant inside the church reconciliation is all that matters, nobody inside the church is going to say “Married or not, you have the right to live a life free of abuse” “”If your spouse abuses you and your children you have the God given right to NOT reconcile””

Most likely the church would view that as the victim “”holding it over the abusers head”” and the victim not loving “”for better or worse””…..

Jeff Crippen, April 15, 2013 — Cancer patient there. Tumor surgically removed over there. Let’s get them back together. Reconciliation, that’s the thing you know.

Desley Noneofyerbiz, April 20, 2013 — I am asking please would you pray for me to have clear direction from God to know what His will is and for the strength to follow through. Things are degenerating quickly in my home again. My teenaged son is waiting for me to do something about it – he is acting out and the fighting is almost constant again. This morning I realized that my husband is again deleting his phone history (hiding pornography, I imagine) and last night my four year old daughter swallowed bleach and my husband didn’t want to call an ambulance or take her to the hospital (obviously I did it anyway). My children are disgusted with him right now for this as our dog died last month (he refused to let us take her to a vet after she drank anti-freeze) and he is telling us all that we were just overreacting.

I KNOW I have to do something here. But I feel so bad doing this to him and I still have a nagging feeling that he is really a good man and maybe we could salvage the marriage. He is also going to be partaking in a program for abusive men, starting next week, at the prompting of his counselor.

Please just pray for me to be strong and decisive. Please.

Jeff Crippen, April 20, 2013 — Got it, Desley. Will do. I think you are a strong person. And probably like all of us, you “know” the truth about all these things, but taking action steps is difficult. Actions are what measure repentance, remember. Continuing to abuse while signing up for an abuser program isn’t repentance. And as far as him being a good man – well, it is from the heart that actions proceed, from the root that the fruit comes.

Barnabaintraining, April 20, 2013 — Wow, Desley. I’ll definitely be praying about that.  I hope your daughter is OK.  Why do you think he might be a good man? What gives you that nagging feeling? If you don’t mind my asking…

Anonymous, April 20, 2013 — Praying for you Desley. I get your “feelings” about him, but as BIT asked, why do you think that? I am asking for my own benefit.

Desley Noneofyerbiz, April 20, 2013 — My daughter is alright. She vomited most of what she swallowed – but he couldn’t have known that – the paramedics didn’t even know that.

I guess I am conflicted because sometimes he is so kind to me. If I was looking at the situation objectively I wouldn’t think that, I suppose. But I guess I have to keep reminded myself as it says above, “And as far as him being a good man – well, it is from the heart that actions proceed, from the root that the fruit comes.”

Thank you for the prayers. I know deep down what I have to do… I just need the resolve and strength to move forward with it despite my emotions.

Barnabaintraining, April 20, 2013 — Ah, Got it.  I’m glad your daughter is OK.

Anonymous, April 20, 2103 — Desley, One thing that helped me, was when I was able to recognize that the nice periods were not who he really was, the abusive was who he really was. I think it is so confusing, because we want to believe the best; but the truth is, that the evil we live in is what is the truth and the niceties that come once in a while, are just that – niceties – not the true person. Bancroft’s book I believe addresses this. Once I understood that, it was easier for me to see that there was far more abuse, than niceties. Hope that helps. Not trying to confuse you further or cause you to doubt anything. Praying for you and glad your child is okay now.

Memphis Rayne, April 20, 2013 — Hi Desley! I never really thought my MIW was a good man per say, BUT I invested SO much in when he WAS good, that hope is so painful to let go of, plus you most likely still love him, or the “Idea” of him… since abusers are accutely aware of the pull they have on your “”emotion”” I can remember being so confused, and terrified of taking that leap to solid ground.  😦  I am sorry. The love for my family, rather than him specifically I think was very blurred, like marriage was the end all of things….well I am most likely not so helpful, so Ditto what Jeff C said, makes alot of sense. oxoxo

Jeff S, April 20, 2013 — Desley, I completely understand where you are at. I STILL want to think that my ex is a good person, despite the fact that I felt like divorce was a necessary precaution to protect myself.

Did you catch this article when I wrote it about struggling with this very thing?
Treating An Abuser As A Non-Believer

I think the wrap up point was very important in my journey: in the end it wasn’t about judging her goodness or badness, but what was safe for me. It can be a tremendous burden if you feel like you have to have all the answers, but you don’t. I finally found that the most important thing was figuring out what I needed to be safe and to provide my child with the home he needed.

Still Scared (But Getting Angry), April 21, 2013 — Pray for me, so much fear right now. I got the ridiculous changes to the separation agreement that my ex-idiot sent to my lawyer. I know it’s ridiculous, I know it’s wrong, it makes me so nauseous just thinking about it and it was supposed to have been all settled and done and with abusers it seems to never be. I am worn out from the battle. Needing prayer, support and to keep my eyes on Jesus.

Desley Noneofyerbiz, April 21, 2013 — I am praying for you, Still Scared.

Katy, April 21, 2013 — praying for you, that God will be your shield and rampart. ((hugs)) It’s okay to tell God that you just can’t take it anymore.

Memphis Rayne, April 22, 2013 — Ugh 😦  Feeling wretched today, all I wanna do is cry, I try to keep busy so that my mind does not wonder onto the MIW and his MANY victorys over us, the injustice is literally the lump in my throat, and its getting harder and harder to swallow.
Then unfortunately I got an email from home, and my darling MOM who does NOT get anything was complaining how much she has suffered worry, loss of sleep, because of the MIW. she does NOT want to get anything, she has NO empathy, and on a day I truly did not need that, she makes our pain about her. I know that where we are is for all the right reasons, and that God truly gave me the knowledge to stand against such decrepit evil, BUT it certainly feels like their is no hope in the air. I just feel like I am suffocating.

KingsDaughter, April 22, 2013 — MR, Praying for your dear heart, precious sister! Praying for His presence, for the rewards and victories to be peace, love and joy in The Spirit. Praying for protection for your mind over every anxious thought that they would be taken captive to Christ, for your heart to dwell the riches of His great love. When we are weak He IS strong! I’m praying for that to be your soft place to land, that He would be your strength as you let yourself fall sweetly into His faithful arms.

Was having a rough morning myself, battling with the frustration of interactions with my husband and not letting that anxiety and aggravation spill into my parenting. I was on my knees (literally) every five-ten minutes, remembering that when we pray for His peace, He LOVES to give it to us. When we pray for wisdom and guidance, He is faithful.

The book of Psalms always seems to speak such peace to my heart these days;
Look at Psalm 91:14-16
The “I will rescue and give honor” really touched my heart.

Anonymous, April 23, 2013 — Memphis-I have a post coming up in the pile, but I will share this with you here today. Affliction=to force or try to force submission; something that wants to have mastery over you. You are being afflicted. You do not have to submit to it, but it wants you to. It is what keeps us up in the air and confused and twisted and turning, not knowing which way to turn, because when it strikes, it brings that force of “submission” to it. It wants to master you, but you are God’s. Just knowing that, changed me. I realized that when I am feeling my worst, I just need to pull my Scriptures out and read them (even out loud) and stand against the evil that comes. God has delivered you out of your Egypt. You just have to do the work of standing and submitting to Him, but it is oh so hard sometimes. We long for comfort and to be loved and understood. So, here are some verses that helped me. Psalm 5, 25 and 36 to name a few. I am working on memorizing some of these, so that I have it hidden in my heart when the enemy comes stalking me, trying to get me to submit to the evil in my life, or confuse me about what evil even is, instead of living in the freedom and grace and mercy and pleasantness of God! Praying for you dear one. Don’t give up. All of the great people in the Bible, had hardship and trial and defeat, before their victories! Grab your Bible, get yourself some comfort food and drink and just take the time to rest and read those verses, and have yourself a really good cry before the Lord. His comfort, is like none other. (Followed by a good movie with your children, always helps too!)

Barbara Roberts, April 23, 2013 — Dear Memphis, do you ever let the tears flow? I know it doesn’t ‘solve’ anything, but I find letting the tears and sobs out when they come up can be a help. so long as I am in a place where I can do that safely, without it unduly disturbing other people.  I continue to pray for you.
Thank you for sharing.

Desley Noneofyerbiz, April 25, 2013 — I have finally managed to conjure up the strength to ask my husband to leave. He refused to leave and I had to call the police. The police, unfortunately, didn’t know the whole backstory and they felt sorry for him. I’m sure he told them that the problem was me and my son again…and one officer made my son feel guilty for the situation. They were only able to see the situation as isolated from our long history and so they made me kind of feel stupid and irrational for throwing him out for something so seemingly harmless as having a verbal argument with my son. My husband also went and “sorted it out” after I told him to leave and that made the officers dislike me more for my “extreme” actions. For a while there I didn’t think they were going to make him leave even though I have court papers granting me legal possession of the home.

I was feeling like maybe I overreacted and should have given in, but I managed to talk myself out of doubt for the most part. The kids are also handling the situation much better than they did the last time.

Please keep us in your prayers. Please pray for me to stay strong and not doubt myself. I don’t know what the future has in store for us in the next little while. I have no idea how my church will handle this latest development.

Thank you so much.

Barbara Roberts, April 25, 2013 — Praying for you for this, Desley. Well done for the courage you have shown. :)

Have you ever consulted a domestic abuse support service? If not, I think it would be a good idea to consider doing so. They are the experts in how your local laws and police force are likely to work, and they can explain the traps for young players.

Your situation is unusual in that your abuser is primarily targeting your son. That fact in itself would make it not a standard case for the police to handle, and so they would be perhaps more likely to make mistakes in their reading and handling of the situation. But the DV support service in your town would be able to tailor their advice and suggestions to your particular situation.

And if you have doubts about whether you have done the right thing or ‘over-reacted’, it might help you to know that many of us go through doubts like that in the early stages of separation. I found it helpful to keep reminding myself of the most telling and salient facts, which in my case were these (thinking of my last marriage): he DID assault me; the next morning he DENIED that I had any reason to fear him; he LIED about my actions and motives to his family and my family; he TWISTED THE TRUTH in a very covert and cunning fashion in the way he told those lies. That means it WAS abuse, and I don’t have to put up with abuse, in fact, putting up with it usually means it would get worse as time goes by.

Movinon, April 26, 2013 — I am requesting prayer, comments or whatever the Lord leads you to share in my behalf. I will began by thanking you for this website, for myself and those who like me have read but have yet to share.
On have I will be married 37 years. We were both divorced when we married, me with a young child, him with none by previous. Before going out with him I asked if he was a Christian. I did not even want to date him if he wasn’t a believer. He assured me he was and thus began a very quick courtship. Before I agreed to marry him, I wanted to be as certain as I could be it was God’s will for me and had him ask my Dad for my hand in marriage. I also wanted to make sure his parents agreed. I go into all this because I want everyone to understand how strong my faith was and how determined I was to be sure this was the right for my daughter and myself.
The first 14 years were physical and mental abuse. We had two more children together. The physical abuse stopped in the early 1990s. I guess the fear and threat never go away though and damage to the children is lifetime.
We continued in church, on again off again and he even attended seminary classes in the 90′s feeling he had been called to preach. The verbal abuse and emotional abuse has been constant. I am just now learning how badly I have been damaged. Not just by him but by the church. I have served so many times in churches and had so many churched “friends” who have turned on me. I am not saying this out of pity, just fact. Please understand.
My husband quit his first job within 3 months after we got married and this has been typical behavior every since. Long story short. He has anger management problems and has lost several jobs for this reason. I worked for 15 years but was forced to leave for medical reasons and am now on disability. I haven’t been happy for a long time.
What brought me out of denial though, and made me realize I must move on. He has been in a long distance relationship with his ex-wife since sept of last year. They are talking 3 and 4 times. Apparently he thinks its a “God thing” since she is “first wife” and they should never have broken up. I haven’t confronted him yet. I am afraid of his reaction. In the past when I have found out about this type of thing, FB, etc, it has been denial, trivial, etc but this time he even told our son then swore him to secrecy.
All this from a Godly man. A man who reads his Bible daily. Who claims to pray every morning. And now, I am questioning my faith. I am so fearful of the future and yet I know this isn’t what God wants for me. And even though the abuse has killed the love, it still hurts so bad to be betrayed. It is so hard to look at him at night knowing he has been talking to her and not knowing what their plans are. Mine? I am going to counseling, I don’t have money for an atty, don’t have any family and not sure what to do. Any advise out there?

Jeff Crippen, April 26, 2013 — Movinon, As difficult as all of this must be for you, truth always works to set us free. We maintain that you have biblical grounds to divorce this man, though we also realize that “just leaving” isn’t so easy. And only you can make the decision in the end. We highly recommend that you look at the resources page of this blog if you haven’t, and begin reading to further educate yourself about abuse. Lundy Bancroft’s Why Does He do That is excellent. Regarding the biblical grounds of divorce, see Barbara Roberts’ book, Not Under Bondage. And for more insight into the “Christian” abuser, which your husband is (though we certainly do not believe he is a Christian in reality), see Jeff Crippen’s book, A Cry for Justice. Don’t rule out your local women’s resource/crisis center as a help to you either.

Katy, April 26, 2013 —  Movinon,  I too thought that I was entering my marriage the right way. I also asked him if he was a Christian and he answered all the questions “correctly”. He did everything by the book, asked my parents for permission to marry me etc etc etc. He started abusing me on the honeymoon.
In the end, it doesn’t matter. We made the best decisions we could, with the information that we had at the time, and God rarely breaks open the heavens to reach down and stop us from making a mistake — so don’t beat yourself up on top of the abuse you take from this scoundrel.
I’ll pray that God opens a path for you going forward, and brings you some comfort. I know the pain is incredible. ((hugs))

Barbara Roberts, April 28, 2013 — Dear Movinon, You are indeed in a difficult situation and I wish I could wave a magic wand and solve some of these difficulties for you, opening a way out easily. Be assured I heard no self-pity in what you wrote: you just wrote the facts. Your husband has abused you for decades, physically for a long time, verbally, mentally, emotionally and financially (by not providing) for even longer; church friends have turned on you; these things hurt, hurt, hurt.

I am so glad to hear you are seeing a counselor — not because you are mentally ill or pathological, but because you are traumatized and worn down from all the abuse and want — and deserve! — support so you can find your way through the mire and potentially run the gauntlet of separation.

It is so hard, when legal assistance is out of reach. I wish I had answers for that dilemma. In Australia we used to have legal aid available for domestic abuse victims who were strapped for funds, but that is being cut back now by the government. And in many countries other than Australia, there is little or no legal aid for the poor. I believe an ethical society should provide legal aid for the oppressed and especially for those who have suffered adversity and are trying to obtain justice through the courts, but I have no control over the system.

People like your husband should be treated as unbelievers. That is what give us grounds to divorce them. Such a person so abuses their spouse that he effectively pushes her away and trashes the marriage covenant altogether. No matter how much he claims to read the Bible and pray, it is all just a sham because his heart is clearly hard as stone. The way he has treated you for years is the fruit he has shown and it is ROTTEN fruit. So we can know him by his fruits: know him for the unbelieving unregenerate person that he is.

Movinon, April 26, 2103 — Thank you for your prompt response. I will check out the resources you have suggested and will continue to go to my local women’s resource center.

Movinon, April 26, 2013 — Thank you, Katy. Knowing I am not alone helps tremendously, the reason I am so thankful to find this website. I am sorry there are so many who suffer but it does help when we can comfort each other and offer words of wisdom. God bless you.

4mydaughter, April 26, 2013 — Thank you so very much for this offer of prayer; and so very much for both “A Cry for Justice” and “Not Under Bondage.” My “Christian” husband has been abusive to me for 6 years and I just filed for divorce yesterday. He is currently attacking me with threats to take my daughter (almost 3 years old) away from me, and though my lawyer is quite confident he will be awarded nothing more than supervised visitation the stress is eating me alive. Please pray that I will be able keep my daughter and that he will have only supervised visits.
A Cry for Justice reads like a script of my relationship. I was forced to leave my home church after I challenged the pastor who had counselled me for 3 years to “submit harder.” A few days ago I forwarded some harassing emails to him from a member of his congregation I had not seen for a year asking him to intercede and put a stop to the harassment. I just received a message from him endorsing the messages. How can Christians be so hateful under the guise of biblical concern? He has been medically diagnosed as a sociopath and they are still praying that I will repent and reconcile with my him.
If I may be so bold as to ask for a second prayer request: My current pastor who supported my separation admits he is struggling with the issue, but still doesn’t believe abuse is biblical grounds for divorce. I wrote notes all over a copy of A Cry for Justice and gave it to my pastor. He has agreed to read parts of it. PLEASE pray that he will be persuaded and that I will not face church discipline or be forced to leave again. With sincere thanks.

Barbara Roberts, April 26, 2103 — Dear 4mydaughter, we are happy to pray for that second request too. I shall do so.  Giving your current pastor a copy of A Cry For Justice is indeed a good idea and I shall pray he reads it. If that book does not alleviate all his doubts and questions, he might find my book fills in some of the gaps. It is like a key fitting into a lock and turning. All the barrels have to line up and fit the notches before you can turn the key. And each person has a slightly different set of barrels and notches, depending on how they interpret and prioritize the various scriptures that deal with divorce. And it is even more complicated than that because sometimes a person has to line up one barrel and one notch and jiggle it a bit, or spray some lubricant onto it to loosen it, before working on another barrel and another notch. Eventually they all line up and the key turns and the person sees that all the scriptures do indeed harmonize and positively condone divorce for abuse.

blessings and hugs to you

4mydaughter, April 26, 2013 — Thank you Barbara. I gave my pastor a copy of your book too along with Jeff’s book. I flagged your treatment of Mal 2:16 in particular because he quoted that verse to me in our discussions. I do pray he reads and considers them both thoroughly. Again, many thanks for your work and support.

JeffS, April 26, 2103 — It’s worth noting you can show the Malachi verse in the ESV which gets a lot of credibility these days. It translates it much better than a lot of other versions.

Barnabasintraining, April 26, 2103 — That’s a really good analogy, Barbara.

Barnabasintraining, April 26, 2013 — It sounds like the original pastor has a problem if he thinks email harassment is appropriate. I will pray your new pastor is positively impacted by the books and that you have legal victory over your abuser.

Still Scared (But Getting Angry) April 27, 2013 — Praying! I am hurting for you!

Kagi, May 6, 2013 —I don’t know if – I’ve never made a prayer request in my life, because I’ve always felt like it’s selfish for me to do that when my problems aren’t as big as someone else’s, or I haven’t earned it or whatever. I know it sounds stupid, but this is like…not a crisis, I just need to —  say it, I guess, I don’t know. I’m feeling really discouraged right now…I know a lot of it is because I’m not physically in good shape, I was really sick again last week for the fourth time already this year, one of those severe 48hr flu bugs that usually gets me once or twice a year, but four times since January is a bit much. :/ I keep reminding myself that I’ve had more ‘good’ days – even some really actually good days, physically – so far than I’ve had in the last couple years combined, I think, but it’s hard.

I feel like I’m hitting walls again, not making a lot of headway with my situation and back to scraping for enough energy to just get through days, never mind actually fighting for things, and it’s really depressing when I had a couple entire weeks that I felt real, actual hope and like things were changing – I thought I had trained myself out of that whole hope thing, because this always happens, but it seemed, for once, like good things were actually happening instead of just maybe going to happen, and I had so much energy I couldn’t even believe it, I was sure that it meant things were finally moving.

There still are some things that are better than they were, and it looks like probably some of the others might still happen, but I feel like it’s all slipping away, and the energy I had to reach for it and pursue it and be a voice and a flashpoint is just…gone, and I’m so tired and so afraid it won’t come back. I’m still trying to stay in touch with my siblings, but I’ve gotten some disheartening responses from them too, lately, and it would be so easy to just – I’m getting this desperate urge to isolate again, to get away from everything and everyone, at least emotionally, stop talking or reaching out and just….stop being, and stop talking and stop caring. Because I’m so tired of it hurting and no matter how hard I try to reach out, it feels like most of what I’m saying isn’t getting through or being understood anyway.

I’m just really tired. And I feel stupid, because this always happens, and I didn’t want it to happen again.

Jeff Crippen, May 6, 2013  — Kagi, much of what you are feeling may be due to physical issues more than you realize. If so, it should pass as you recover. On the other hand we would certainly very much recommend that you see a physician if you haven’t. It sounds like you are doing battle with depression perhaps and a doctor could well be able to help you with that. As to those family relationships – are they safe? If not, perhaps desiring to be in relationship with people who are unsafe for relationship is what keeps bringing you down.

Kagi, May 7, 2013 — I’ve struggled with severe depression and anxiety for years, so that’s part of it I’m sure, and chronic pain is just first on the list as far as health problems go, it’s kind of a mess of issues. Catching flu on top of it all just seems like insult to injury, you know? But it’s not really doctor worthy, at least not this time – last time I did end up going to the clinic. I don’t have any insurance or a regular GP, so that’s the best I can do.

If we can just get the house to sell – that would help a lot, with so many things. Financially especially, but other things too. I’m trying to have faith because I believe this is God’s timing for us to be selling it now, but the anxiety keeps coming back because if it doesn’t, then things are going to get really, really bad. My dad is not dealing well with the stress either, so…I’m scared either way. My sister and I are staying in the rental until the sale, so we’ve had some space, and if the house does sell then my parents will be living here too and there goes most of the space. I just feel like I got to a wider place and things were opening up and now it all seems to be closing in again, and I think it’s just perception and if I just hold on and wait, I’ll see a path, but I can’t see anything right now and I hate waiting, it’s terrifying.

…..I think that is maybe actually a trigger. I remember, I remember now. It’s so weird, you have thought and behaviour patterns and you’ve thought ‘I’m just like that’ and then sometimes you suddenly realise there’s a why, and. unfortunately that doesn’t make it any less panicking. :(

The sibling relationships are safe, insofar as I can trust my understanding of it (which is to say, I’m not always sure I know what safe is anymore), but I am eh – re-evaluating a couple of boundaries, at the moment.

KingsDaughter, May 7, 2013 — I’m not sure if this is what you meant by “safe”, but something I’m learning is that not everyone who is nice to you is safe to have a deep relationship with because they either don’t have the tools or the desire to have a healthy relationship.
I found this helpful in evaluating which relationships are “safe” (especially helpful for a wounded heart!)
What are Safe People? [Internet Archive link]

Anonymous, May 9, 2013 — Maybe this is “old hat”, but here is maybe something that would help all of us in drawing boundaries for relationships. Make a circle; put a door that opens into the circle and only opens that way. Put yourself inside the circle. You get to open the door to whoever comes in. Let no one in, that you know you cannot really trust, or that you know to be abusive and remember, you can always open the door and ask anyone you’ve let inside the circle, to leave.

Next make a small circle and put the number 1-3 in it. Then make a bigger circle around that small one and keep making circles until you’ve made about 5 circles total. The 1-3 represents only the number of people in your life, that you would share your most intimate thoughts and pain with. The next circle would include your family, relatives and other very close friends, that are not in that small 1-3 group. The next outer circle would be co-workers, Church friends and people you would call friends, but are not that close to; the next one would be people like neighbors and people close by you; and the last one would be clerks and acquaintances, people you don’t really know. I think that helped me clarify how to set my boundaries better and who to really let in the circle with the door on it.

Hope that helps some. Praying for you.

Heather, May 6, 2013 — I know how you feel. Its one step forward And two steps back. I am tired like you. I will be praying for you. remember that we can not do it on are own strength but on Gods strength he is caring us through are problems.

Kagi, May 7, 2013 — Thanks, heather. It does seem to always go that way. praying for you too….good things to remember. I keep telling myself that, but somehow I don’t listen to myself very well.  😦

Barbara Roberts, May 7, 2013 — It sounds to me like you have been so excited about the prospect of opening up more honest and transparent communication with your siblings, and perhaps even with your parents, but now it is looking like your siblings are not really wanting to go into the whole thing as deeply as you want to. So you are disappointed and ‘on your own’ again more than you had expected to be. It is hard when those we love don’t want to have a deeper relationship with us, when we are wanting more depth and they aren’t ready for it.

Kagi, May 9, 2013 — Thank you everyone, so much, I really needed….I was just in a really bad place there for a few days, but I am doing much better today, so thank you for praying. History of depression means it is easy for the bad thoughts to take hold when I am knocked down or off balance emotionally, and while I am too stubborn to ever actually follow through on suicidal-ish thoughts, I still struggle with the thought patterns and litanies of self-destructive impulses relentlessly circling through my mind when I get hit with enough triggers and dark moods, especially when I am low on energy and resources to begin with. I have learned that I need to just…reach out to someone, anyone, and say hey, I need help, please pray or talk or distract me, or else I will get pushed further down and take that much longer to fight my way out again. I’m sure some of you know what I mean, so believe me, I am deeply grateful that you all are here to ask that of; I often don’t have anyone I can ask for prayer specifically. You are all such a blessing. :)

Barbara: It is more that they are all very busy, they have several children each (except for Mart, she is the youngest & the one who is sharing the rental with me since she’s still living at home) and we just….have barely talked about anything in so long that it’s hard to find ways to break out of the default small talk, or even find time to do so. I have been mainly…just checking in with them periodically by (mostly short) phone calls, and I’ve caught them a few times with enough time for a longer conversation, they’re usually willing to listen, but I still feel like I’m struggling to make a real connection, especially with some of the younger ones – Mart aside, I just plain don’t know them as well, because of how I left home as early as I possibly could, and they were all still pretty young then.

But they’re grown up with lives and homes of their own now, and me not being married or having kids and having taken such a different path to them leaves just…a big gap in common ground. Light superficial small talk we can do, and occasional longer deep serious conversations about the issues with dad and things leftover from growing up in the abusive environment, but I’m having a hard time finding the middle – meaningful everyday conversations that are just….friendship, you know what I mean? Having things to talk about that are neither trivial surface nor ultra-heavy deep and serious, something just…warm and camraderie like. Because after a certain point, our experiences are so different, and our day to day interests and struggles are still like…apples and oranges.

And since we don’t have any practice in relating to each other and communicating well, it’s all very…not awkward, exactly, but I think a feeling on both sides of sort of helpless bemusement, no real idea where or how to start. So we are trying, but the busy or, in my case, erratic schedules means I never know quite when is a good time to call, and so far the only person who has called me without it being a return to a message I’ve left is my brother. I don’t think it’s that they don’t want to talk, it just….doesn’t occur to them, because I am not a part of their everyday routines, and we mostly don’t have the kind of things in common that would make them think of random things to call and share. It’s just long habits of only talking when we see each other at family gatherings, and changing that takes time and effort.

So, a bit discouraging when I feel like I am the only one that is making the effort, but I readily admit that I usually have less on my plate in terms of busy-ness than the rest of them. And with some time to recharge and the grace of all your prayers, I think I am good to head back in; just ran out of spoons & crashed into a wall rather messily for a bit there. :’) Thank you everyone, again, for the support. It means more than I can say.

Kagi, May 9, 2013 — I should add, it is especially depression inducing and harder to be trying to forge these sort of friendship relationships at this stage, because when we were younger, growing up we were each others best friends. We didn’t have friends outside the home, not even homeschooling friends, and so the three of us oldest ones particularly made a tight unit of doing everything together and genuinely being incredibly close – but once I moved out and had to basically almost cut ties with my parents to start sorting out my issues and finding my feet out of the fog, I lost touch with them and as we got older, everyone gradually drifted apart until we are where we are now; aside from me and Mart, who managed to click hard when I moved back into the area a few years ago, everyone is just kind of….at arms length these days. Well, a couple of them are fairly close with each other, somewhat like Mart and I, but it’s mostly just a few isolated pairs of us, and some of us aren’t close to anyone at all. So part of the kick is grieving for remembering what we did have, and not knowing where to start on how to get it back.

Barbara Roberts, May 9, 2013 — That’s hard. :(

KingsDaughter, May 9, 2013 — Kagi, Sweet friend, its OK to feel depressed and need help! Please do not ever apologize for that! We are all a bunch of hot messes and most who look like they have it all together, especially the ones who have it all together so much that they do not recognize those hurting around them, really don’t have it together.

The fact that you reached out shows great health and maturity! Your pain is just as acceptable as your “togetherness”. IMHO, when you learn to love and accept the messy parts of who you are, you can share them with others who will also love and accept them. That’s how we find safe relationships! That’s what happens here. :-) I have some random thoughts on what you shared about your physical health (I’m not a doctor or any sort of expert and you probably know all of this…I’m just a fellow struggler sharing what works for me because I care about you.):

1) Is there something in your physical environment that is breaking down your immune system? (mold, toxins?) — If so, identify, avoid and detox would help. You could add people to that list of toxins ;-)

2) Some things to help build your immune system that will help your physical, emotional and spiritual health; Take GOOD care of you! Put good things in; Physical: exercise, healthy food, vitamins, probiotics & WATER. Emotional: Joy, do things that make you smile, journal, cultivate safe relationships where you can love and be loved. Spiritual; Find some key verses to take with you when you start to feel discouraged, remember to put on the full armor of God, pray pray pray, feast on The Word (I’m a recovering spiritual anorexic… eating once or twice a week left me famished and grumpy).Glad to hear you are feeling better, hope some of this spoke to you!

Kagi, May 9, 2013 — KD, ahhh, thank you for the link! I think that is what I am meaning, yes. Something like that, anyway.

Kagi, May 11, 2013 — Thanks for the tips, KD, I have been trying to implement some of them over the past couple of years, some more successful than others. Exercise is a problem because of pain and limited mobility to start with, and I can’t afford much in the way of vitamins and such, I just take one multivitamin plus omega 3 and hope that covers it. I definitely need to drink more water, and have been trying to, but it’s a hard thing to get in the habit of when I am used to mainlining coffee and tea all day, lol.

I certainly do cultivate relationships and activities that make me happy; for a long time I was guilty about it, because I grew up believing anything that makes you happy or that you do just for fun is worthless and unedifying, and if you are enjoying it, it must be wrong somehow. I got to the point eventually, as an adult, where I was like I’m sick of the joy part missing in this whole ‘righteousness peace and joy’ thing, and decided things that made me feel happy or peaceful were important, even if they weren’t necessarily spiritual.

I still struggle with reading the Bible; I have a lot of triggers there, but I have a lot of it memorized so I do let God bring verses to mind that are relevant to my situation and hold on to them.

But anyway, those are all good things I am trying to work on, thank you!

KingsDaughter, May 12, 2013 — Kagi, Those were just some things that came to mind and I shared as (hopefully) an encouragement. I know they are nothing we all don’t already know and try to do, so I wasn’t sharing anything “profound”, just thoughts. Thanks for receiving them graciously!
Water & The Word are my two greatest needs and also two of my biggest deficiencies! I’m often physically thirsty and spiritually anorexic – Just where the devil would like to keep me. Too bad he can’t! ;-)

KingsDaughter, May 25, 2103 — Needing prayer for my child! I’m sick to my stomach about how “Daddy” has manipulated them! He’s has convinced this child that his abuse is not abuse at all! What the child was complaining about previously as Daddy being too rough, the child now explains is just Daddy teaching them by giving consequences. When they candidly shared that Daddy was too mean to Mommy, he glared at me saying ideas were planted in the child’s mind. I know the next private visit with the two will be trying to change the child’s mind about that too. It makes me SICK! What an abuse of power! Using your position (one of adoration and trust) to manipulate a child’s feelings only to protect yourself!
Please pray for my child’s heart and mind to be protected!

Barbara Roberts, May 25, 2013 — Dear KD, what you have shared here I understand. My daughter had visitation with her father for years, every second weekend, and the only topic of conversation they had (apart from everyday stuff) was “how bad mummy is” (her words, as spoken to me). Yes it is sick. Yes it is an abuse of power. Yes it is unethical, totally immoral and ghastly. Manipulation . . . the bread and butter of an abuser’s techniques. . . and done to children it is the worst.

Unfortunately I don’t think there is a way to totally protect the child’s heart and mind in circumstances like this. But although the child will be coerced by the abuser to believe certain things, it does not mean the child will always hold those beliefs. As children grow up, they become more able to form and hold their own opinions. So don’t despair; it seems horrible at the moment, but you child will grow into maturity and independence, and the abuser’s sway over his or her mind will not last forever. I suggest you focus on modelling mature Christian behaviour yourself, as that is the thing over which you have control. Your child will see your conduct and attitudes. They may not be able to do anything other than follow suit with the abuser at the moment, given how young and vulnerable they are, but in the long run, your modelling of Christian conduct will be a very powerful influence on them.

(((((hugs)))) to you!

KingsDaughter, May 25,  2103 — Thank you!  It makes me sick to have to have conversations at such a young age explaining that a person should never be told how/what they feel is not true, that God made each of us different and our unique feelings are valid even if someone does not agree. Then how we can be respectful of authority but still hold our own opinion. It felt contradictory to teach a child to be respectful to someone who would manipulate them! However, I do see the value in teaching how to honor authority without sacrificing your own thoughts. I also told my child that their feelings and thoughts belong to them, that Mommy and Daddy are here to help and teach but not to tell how to feel and as long as the child is respectful in their actions they are free to disagree.

I know what I shared is truth and was very careful not to point out specifics, just teach the child that their thoughts and feelings are valid. However, at the same time I feel like I am shoving the child into a lions den with no warning. That is HARD!
Another thing I shared with my child is that we have always tried to teach not to tell a lie, now that they are growing up they need to learn how to not believe a lie too!

Please pray! I know that I can trust light to shine and Jesus to have the victory! Pray for me also that I would live the truth in EVERY way, that I would have endurance to continue doing the right things to grow more into the likeness of Abba and for wisdom in training up these youngin’s in the way they should go!

Thank You!

Still Scared (But Getting Angry), May 26, 2013 — Praying for you, King’s Daughter!!

ForyouRtruth, May 30, 2013 — I am a relatively new wife of almost 4 years. My husband has threatened divorce again and again for at least a year, maybe more. He says that the “problem” is me and that I didn’t change like he told me to. From talking to pastor and close Christian friends I have realized I am being abused. I have moved out of our “home” and been staying with an awesome Christian couple who have helped me tremendously. The fog is really clearing, and quickly too! PTL! I am worried most about my son who my husband and I had together. He is almost 2 and a half. He obviously has the memory factor going for him at this point- he probably won’t remember this mess. My husband is asking for a divorce and to get our son almost half of the time. He is so young and is closest to me (really he is). I don’t want to get the court involved but I do not feel comfortable with him gone that much. I feel selfish for thinking this way, any advice? So far my husband has not gone to the courts or “system” yet. He also hasn’t handed me any papers. I am riddled with anxiety and worry. I truly only want what is best for my son and what is right with God.

Jeff Crippen, May 30 2103 — FYR, “Change” of course in these kinds of cases translates into “do what I say.” Repeated threats to divorce is plainly a control tactic by a person who sees themselves as entitled to have power and control over their spouse. And who lacks empathy. You “didn’t change like he told you to”? Well, unless that “change” is something of the nature “you have to stop getting drunk every night” or “you must stop beating the children” (i.e., plain and obvious sin), then a dictate like that from one spouse to another is a massive example of a person who sees themselves as little Caesar, entitled to have their spouse jump at their command. And as most all of our blog readers will tell you, there will be no consistency or logic to those commands. They will change from day to day and even contradict.

In the end, the decision as to what is best for yourself and your son (“should I stay or should I go?”) is yours. But just be certain you educate yourself about the real nature and mentality of abuse – and the tactics of abuse as well. Lundy Bancroft’s book Why Does He do That? is excellent. And if you have any doubts about whether God permits divorce for abuse, read Barbara Roberts’ book, Not Under Bondage. Abuse destroys the marriage covenant.

JeffS, May 30, 2013 — So painful to hear about you going through this and the struggle with your child.

I divorced when my son was 2 1/2, and when I did I knew she would have some time with him that I could not control. I decided it was better for me to provide a safe place where he knew he did not have to fear than it was trying to navigate the issues in the home. However, in my case I was able to get full custody where she only has visitation, so that helped. Also, to date, she has never done anything to him beyond neglect (which is certainly painful and I’m beginning to see the effects of this, sadly), but at least I was generally able to feel if she was engaged with him, she probably wasn’t hurting him.

Not sure how I’d have handled your situation where you are most likely looking at joint custody. My heart goes out to you.

Memphis Rayne, May 30, 2013 — Try not to guilt yourself, your thinking is correct and clear. Your spouse no doubt is aware of the fear you have about the issue of your son with divorce….he is enjoying threatening you. I agree with Barb, there is no matter what a double edged sword within the court system…. I would personally try to reason with him (not that that is REALLY possible) But your best bet would be to try to find out what HE wants, or expects, BEFORE anybody files papers, just so you have a better idea of what he is intending to do, even though I know that can change from day to day. Also once lawyers get involved they all push there own agendas. So its a very slippery slope. You could also plan visits, that include you there, keep a log of wether of not he shows? I had a friend do that, and through divorce that help her, although her spouse really had no interest in the children, plus luckily for her, he also did not catch on what a neat tool they would be to use against her during a divorce. Its like a land mind, so just be alert, aware and move with caution and trust your instincts!! oxoxo

Barbara Roberts, May 30, 2013 — Dear FYR, Since there has been no court stuff yet, nothing formal in the way of arrangements for your son, I would like to give you a tip, based on my awareness of how things have transpired in various cases similar to yours. If the protective parent (which in this case is you) allows the child to have informal visitation with the other parent (the abuser), that visitation can set a precedent:– later on, if the matter goes to the family court for a determination of custody and visitation, the abuser may say, “Well, she let the child visit me for days/weeks at at time, in the early months after separation, so clearly she did not think I was a danger to the child! Therefore, Your Honor, her current allegations that I am neglecting or mistreating the child, or the child may be at risk while under my care, are trumped up! I am a good parent, and she showed she believed that by letting the child come to me on many occasions before we embarked on this court process.”

Can you see how this can be used against you?

Now, on the other hand, if you do not allow the child to have any contact with the other parent, the abuser— and the court — may say that you are alienating the child from that parent, and are causing the child to suffer ‘Parental Alienation Syndrome’. Allegations of PAS are a big deal in family courts these days: abusers have learned and coached each other in how to allege that the other parent is guilty of PAS, and sometimes courts are persuaded of this and come down really heavy on the protective parent, because they have been persuade by the abuser and his attorney to see your allegations of his abuse of you as exaggerated or fabricated. Some lawyers and custody evaluators and psychologists are very happy to go along with this agenda. It’s a tough road for the protective parent and the kids, especially when the protective parent feels that she (or he) MUST try stop the child from having access, especially unsupervised access, with the other parent because that other parent is indeed a grave danger to the children. E.g. — the parent sexually abuses the children or is grooming them for sexual abuse, or fails to change dirty nappies on the baby, or doesn’t feed the children, or spends the entire visitation time talking to the children about ‘How bad mummy is’, or lets (or makes!) the children watch M or R rated movies.

Sorry to paint such a dark picture for you, but I think it may be best for you to have an idea of the possible future landscapes you may face, so you can prepare yourself and make informed choices.

Some protective parents have found that if there is to be a period of informal visitation (not rubber stamped by court order) the best way to navigate this landscape of potential landmines is to allow limited (maybe supervised) visitation, and document any concerns about the visitation in a diary. And consult a lawyer if you possibly can. And try as far as possible to have all communications you must have with the abuser in writing (email, or better still letters written on paper, or perhaps SMS though I don’t know how much weight an SMS has in court) so these communications can be kept and shown to lawyers and the court if necessary.

But please make up your own mind, don’t take anything I say as gospel. I am only a survivor myself and a volunteer advocate for other survivors: I am not a professional. And you know a lot more than most other people know about your abuser’s character and tendencies, and you are the one who can make the most wise decisions for your own case.

Barbara Roberts, My 30, 2013 — And by the way, FYR, I don’t think you are selfish for thinking this way. You have seen your husband’s controlling and abusive ways towards you, and you know how defective his character is. A person of defective character is not going to be a very good parent because they won’t be able (or willing) to teach their child how to develop good character. I sounds to me like your belief that it wouldn’t be good for you son to have lots of contact with his father is based on your empirical observations of the father’s character, rather than your own supposed selfishness.

Mama Martin, May 30, 2013 — Very interesting that although your husband (and son’s father) has threatened divorce, he has not served papers while you have made a move away from him to keep yourself and your son safe. Serving papers and moving towards a divorce means that he is going to lose even more control over you and your son. It is so much better, from his perspective, just to keep you waiting, wondering, praying, through the tension building phase and then push you into making a move (ie filing for divorce). If you file, then you are the ‘bad guy’, in his mind, although it is his words and actions that have threatened you. Well done for getting yourself and your son safe! Continue to keep yourself free and learning more about abuse.

Memphis Rayne, May 30, 2013 — MM SO TRUE!!! I rode that tension building phase for years, and the MIW was wanting me to file that way he could get the pitty party from church, I did he protested, then we did the legal seperation thing as his way of holding on, and still being able to not committ to anything on his part, THEN he gets news that IF HE filed first somehow he would WIN BIGGER, so on purpose he filed so I was served the day before Christmas…(because that gave him the satisfaction of knowing our Christmas would ruined) The sad thing is, that since he had the leverage at all times financially he loaded up on attorneys that made sure he understood that he could sue me for custody(even though I retained sole) and he refused the entire time to “talk” about set visitations because he did not like the fact that I refuse to leave them alone with him, rather he spent the time stalking and harrassing. So divorce become his pivotal point of control, in order for me to protect my kids I would have to committ to reconciliation with him, or he would continure pressing charges, and wheeling control over me by threatening the un supervised visitations that come with the finality of divorce. = ( This is just about the worst aspect of what abuse victoms have to face.

King’sDaughter, June 4, 2013 — Requesting prayer for my family;
I’ve been proceeding very cautiously thus far. Two reasons 1) Giving Husb opportunity to change. 2) To prevent a vindictive fight.
We are separated, I’m beginning to suspect serious character disorders (NPD and paranoid- PPD?) and my hopes of reconciliation are dwindling…
I have received very little help from our church and family in confronting him.
He has started making vague threats about taking our children away.
I need wisdom in deciding how to proceed in a short amount of time (leaving for a road trip next week). I am looking forward to getting away with just the children but am uneasy about what we might return to.
Please pray. Thanks!

Lisa, June 5, 2013 – Pray for me — I looked up a Christian counselor who specialized in domestic violence according to her website, yet when I got there, I was asked if he has physically abused me, and then told I did not seek God in my life, thus why I was with an abuser, and that I don’t have a prayer covering……I have been in bible studies and prayed with a friend in the past, so not sure what that even meant, but when I was leaving she prayed. “Thanks for bringing (my name), I think. I had a great Christian counselor with compassion and non-judgement, but since her site said she specialized in this, I thought she would be familiar with how abuse is about control and verbal just as harmful. I live in the South, though I was not born here, and she was a typical, Pharisee acting Southern Baptist person….some are wonderful, but many are harmful to the name of Christ. Today, I am sick that I paid to be hurt and more damaged by a counselor……..thank you for your book and this site – She actually said bc of people like me, she had to start a prayer ministry bc she took home a demonic force from another client – It was like she thought she could catch demonic attack from me……maybe you can be a target, but don’t blame the person coming to you in need……her attitude matches perfectly what your book talks about……and so many here in the South think only physical abuse justifies divorce….verbal is dismissed and the woman often blamed…..I am hurting today from this lady’s harmful ways. This subject is my mission – to educate on domestic violence is and why it needs to be understood. I pray more and more

Christians would rise up and speak the truth. Thank you for your book and ministry. I look forward to getting the book.

Jeff Crippen, June 5, 2013 — Lisa,  If at all possible, I suggest that you report this “counselor” to whatever state agency oversees counselors there. If she is charging for her services then it is possible that she is subject to certain state requirements. The things she told you are totally unethical and false. Consider them the ramblings of a fool and disregard them.

Barbara Roberts, June 5, 2013 — Dear Lisa, this counselor advertized herself as knowledgeable about domestic abuse, but she is ignorant and dangerous to victims. I pray that she will one day wake up to her ignorance and come to you asking for forgiveness.

Maybe (let’s dream!) she will come to you one day and say “Remember when I talked about taking a demonic force home from a client? Well I think I was mistaken. That client was a victim of domestic abuse, like you, and I was not understanding her situation. I thought I was resisting the demonic, but what I was resisting was the truth about the awfulness of abuse, and how abuse victims are angry because they are (RIGHTLY) not content with being abused.”

I am sick that I paid to be hurt and more damaged by a counselor.

I think quite a few of our readers can identify with these words.

Welcome to the blog! And hugs to you in your pain.

4mydaughter, June 7, 2013 — Update: First of all THANK YOU for your prayers and support! I have great news! My current pastor and my Christian counsellor read A Cry for Justice and Not Under Bondage and BOTH have CHANGED THEIR OPINION that adultery and desertion are the only biblically sound reasons for divorce!!!! Praise God!!! Both now believe that “abuse should be added to that list.” I cannot tell you how huge this is. After reading your books and sitting down with them for 1 1/2 hours to hammer out some of the hard scriptures, they have become convinced that “my” (really your) arguments have merit. He now wants me to go before some of the members of the elder board to present my case. This is such good news. This could be a real policy-changer in the evangelical church in my city! I believe God has just moved a mountain! My pastor has assured me that I am “no longer alone” and that he has my full support in this journey no matter how it turns out. PRAISE GOD!!!!
Second, please continue to pray that God will keep me and my daughter safe as things have escalated to a very scary level with my soon-to-be ex. The court date for my divorce and decision regarding court-ordered supervision is set for August 26th. Until then I have the legal right to enforce supervision, but my husband is going ballistic because he cannot stand losing control of me and his daughter. He is attacking me any way he can. My birthday present from him two days ago was a surprise visit from CAS. He has been slandering me, trying to make me look like an unfit mother and even tried to make it look like I was committing fraud involving my daughter’s daycare. I have managed to handle and disprove all of his attacks, but as I do his anger escalates. I ask again that you please pray for our continued safety and also that God would allow me to continue to press forward with the elder board. Pray that God’s words and message would be heard by these elders and that the way for freedom would be paved for the women who will no doubt come along behind me. Thank you.

Barbara Roberts, June 7, 2013 — 4myD,  this is very encouraging news indeed! We rejoice with you.

And I’ll pray for your discussion with the elders (I do hope your pastor will be there to back you up, not just put you out in the front line to take any push-back from the elders on your own).

Regarding the tactics of your soon-to-be-Ex. Sadly, the escalation of abuse is par for the course when they see that without doubt they are losing control. I will pray that you will be divinely empowered to stay strong and be kept safe, and that the abuser will hang himself on his own rope.

If your pastor or counselor are interested in writing a guest post for this blog, explaining their journey and thought processes as they came to change their minds about divorce for abuse, we would love to hear from them. Stories of awakening like theirs would be inspiring and thought-provoking for other pastors and counselors to read, I’m sure.

Barbara Roberts, June 17, 2013 — Please pray for one of our regular readers / commenters. She is in the kind of housing and safety crisis that often accompanies separation and her abuser is playing dirty. Please pray for her protection, strength, wisdom, stamina, and that the Holy Spirit will lead her in complex decisions she may have to make, and that those who have the power to help and protect her will do so.

Coco, June 24, 2013 — Kids are seeing the custody evaluator now, and have already met with her once. Their Dad is manipulating them into saying they need to see him more. Please pray for wisdom for the evaluator, for peace for me and the children, the truth to be revealed, and for God’s will for all of us.

Barbara Roberts, June 24, 2013 — Okay Coco, will do.

Sophia, June 30, 2013 — Please pray for me. I still have nightmares from my abusive parents and because people sense me as weak (or broken) I attract people/men who want to use me or hurt me. Recently, I was getting stalked by a man who lives with his gf and has three kids with her. At the same time, I was getting followed by a police officer who was harassing me. He threw me in jail for trying to get away from him, and was aggressive. He charged me with “fleeing from law enforcement” but he was following me while I was walking down the sidewalk in the morning and detaining me out in the cold, near an alley where nobody was around, when I was not breaking the law. I need to be protected. I have a fever right now from anxiety and got in a car accident trying to leave this town. I need prayer. I have no energy to pray for anyone right now and am very sick because of all the abuse I have received in my life. Maybe God will do me a favor if he takes my life away, because I am in pain. I don’t get much love in my life and I don’t really want to live anyway. All the good things that I have worked for have been messed up by the people who abuse me.

Barbara Roberts, June 30, 2013 — Sophia, I will pray for you. I tried to have a quick look at your website and didn’t find much, but there was a hint that you admire Saint Christopher, which tells me that you may be a Roman Catholic. I would like to gently suggest to you that the Roman Catholic religion will not save you as it is not consistent with the Bible.

But you may not be at the place where you can examine and think that all through right now, since you are suffering so much. So I shall pray that God would give you protection from harassment, and lead you into His true peace.

Mae, July 1, 2013 — Hello, I am so grateful to have found this site. I hope I am not posting in the wrong place!

I thought I was going crazy during the two years my husband and I were together. I thought that somehow I really was holding too high of a standard for him and that I was provoking the emotional and verbal abuse.

Please, please pray as I raise money for a psyche evaluation because that’s the strongest way to prove his unstable mental state…..and God willing keep our little one year old and unborn child safe from him in the 50 – 50 state we live in.

I am in my early twenties and have no idea what I am doing. If there is any counsel out there for me I would be immensely thankful.
He has supervised visitation three times a week at a total of four hours. I am trying to not come across overly protective but the negligence breaks my heart. I am keeping documentation (journal) and using a camcorder when needed but find myself living in fear of the 50 – 50 state I live in! I feel like I’m in a lose-lose situation as mediating this with my soon to be ex is impossible as he has “done nothing to warrant” me getting sole custody. Not to mention the discouragement that not a few weeks after filing for divorce his new church is putting me under church discipline and threatening excommunication in the future.
I am pregnant, hated by the man I was committed to and awfully scared.
Please someone pray for me and my babies.


Still Scared (But Getting Angry), July 1, 2013 — Praying Mae! Praying!

King’sDaughter, August 14, 2013 — I know prayer for an abuser is somewhat uncomfortable for survivors, especially those who have encountered false repentance time and again, but I know of no other place where I could so openly ask or with folks better equipped to do so. So, would you please pray for my stb-ex?
Its been seven long hard years of living in the fog but my eyes are WIDE open.
There has never been any repentance on his part, always just “I shouldn’t do that but you do xyz…” you know the story…
He still has yet to repent (something completely necessary before I would ever start to consider reconciliation) however I do believe that his eyes are possibly being opened to see what he has not seen about his behavior in the past. If there is to be any hope for repentance, he will have to see what he has been blind to and this might actually be happening! I almost missed it!
I’m NOT in any way saying he is or has repented or that I need to endure further abuse. The line in the sand is quite clear and permanent (thanks to ACFJ), NO ABUSE, NO TIME, EVER.
Here is what is prompting my request:
A few weeks ago there was an incident (pretty minor compared to past “arguments”) where we had a little disagreement. He, being prepared for our upcoming legal battle pulled out his recorder and listened to it later. He never said much to me about it other than he was reviewing it with his counselor. His attitude had completely changed after that, however I just took it as a phase or part of the game as there has been no evidence if true repentance and I can still detect the unhealthy patterns. So, I didn’t think much about any of his recent kindness or patience. Until today, I got another piece of the puzzle that leads me to believe that his eyes are possibly being opened. He actually confessed that when he listened to the recording, if he didn’t know what was actually going through his mind at the time, what he heard was a man with some serious issues and he is working through some of that with his counselor.
I believe the issues run deep and if he will ever be able to be set free, some serious warfare needs to take place.
Would you join me in praying for his deliverance and repentance? Not just in hopes that our family might be restored but that his testimony might impact many others for God’s glory.

Barbara Roberts, August 14, 2013 — I am happy to pray for that KD. Since you are thinking on these lines, you might like to read “The Verbally Abusive Man: Can He Change?” by Patricia Evans. I am reading it at present. I’m not saying that I know Evans has the whole thing nailed, as I’m not really able to make that judgement, but she seems to have some good ideas to offer.

Another book along similar lines, which I have not read yet but others have told me it is good, is “Should I Stay or Should I Go? A Guide to Whether Your Relationship Can—and Should—Be Saved” by Bancroft and Patrissi.
(Not that I’m implying you need to be staying in the relationship, or that you’re on the wrong track with moving towards divorce.)

Kagi, August 15, 2013 — Will be praying! It would be wonderful if he could come to truly understand the pain he has caused and repent of it – even if you are unable to restore the relationship, I would think that would be a healing thing, to know that his eyes are opened and he regrets what he did.

hugs for you

Annette, August 24, 2103 — I and my young adult son (21 years old) need prayers please.

My son is behaving abusive towards me (shouts and swears at me), is lazy, filthy in his room, messes in the rest of the house, for years has been taking my things without my permission and does not put it back – items even get lost…

He works but refuses to give me a contribution, his assistance come on his terms, he feeds his friends from my stock and when they are finished they leave the items unwashed in his room.

He does not bath for long periods, he dumps clean and ironed clothes on the bottom of his wardrobe and everywhere else (including in my lounge).

His father was abusive and years ago I and my son was in a haven for abusive children because his father abused me. I have been a single parent since end 2001 and have brought up my son mostly on my own (financially and otherwise).

When I try and discuss matters with my son in a gentle way, he becomes arrogant and shouts and swears at me, this makes me unfortunately very upset. I feel so helpless that I would even complain on his Facebook page about his attitude.

He does have good qualities such as going to Christian youth, not sleeping around, and not drinking or smoking.

We are both Christians. I am sincerely praying about this matter. I realize this is a test and an attack from the enemy. I buried my middle child 3 months ago and my oldest child has brain cancer. My oldest child is receiving a healing miracle and it is being manifested for which I very much praise God!

I love God very much! Nothing will stop me from serving Him and being His disciple all the days of my life…

I feel uncomfortable in my own home because of my son’s abusiveness. I know satan wants to attack me at my home base, because its where my prayer closet is.

Your prayers would be much appreciated

Barbara Roberts, August 24, 2013 — Dear Annette, I am happy to pray for all this. And please accept my condolences for your recent bereavement.

Regarding the son who is abusing you and refusing to treat you respectfully, I suggest you consider setting very firm consequences for his bad behaviour. This could and perhaps must include telling him that because of his conduct and attitude towards you, he must move out of your house. This would probably be the best thing for him as he would then have to live in his own pigsty and fend for himself, which might prompt him to learn to be more responsible. I also suggest you read George Simon’s book The Judas Syndrome.

I also encourage you to read the old posts here at this blog (check out the TAGS tab in the top menu to find topics that most interest you). And you might also like to read Jeff Crippen’s book A Cry For Justice. Jeff’s book is mostly about marital abuse, but the stuff you are suffering from your son has many of the same dynamics as marital abuse.

Annette, August 24, 2013 — Dear Barbara, Thanks so much for your prompt response and prayers.

I will certainly try and read the books you recommended. Thank you.

I am not sure how to set the house rules, as my son cannot afford to live on his own with his salary and the culture of the community (xhosa) frowns upon the notion of unmarried children living on their own. His dad has a small place, but refused to take my son in… And when I once tried to get my son to move out of the house because he kept on challenging my house rules, he and his father threatened to take me to the police as I apparently have to give my son at least 3 months’ notice to move out.

Its so difficult. I love God deeply and I feel this is an attack of the enemy because of my stand for Jesus. And I love my youngest son very much. Whilst being abused by him, I have pity on him.

Barbara Roberts, August 25, 2013 — he and his father threatened to take me to the police as I apparently have to give my son at least 3 months’ notice to move out.

So, sounds to me like he and his father are birds of a feather and banded together to bully you. And that thing about you having to give your son 3 months’ notice to move out sounds like a lie and a bluff. Did you husband used to tell the truth all the time? I bet not. Does you son always tell you the truth? I bet not. So why believe what they said here? Hmmm?

You mighty like to ask a legal service for where you stand in relation to making your son leave home. Some communities have free legal centres (I know mine does, where I live in Australia).

As to you church’s line that unmarried children should not live alone, why let them control your decisions? They sound like a very legalistic and heavy shepherding church which has cult-like characteristics in some ways. There is no law in the Bible that says unmarried children should not live alone. If they maintain there is law like that, they are going beyond Scripture. And we are told not to add to scripture: in fact, legalism comes about because people add to scripture. They take scriptural precepts and emphasize, hammer and over-stuff them till they become legalistic rules that give them control over the individuals under their ‘care’. It’s ungodly power and control; it’s violating the freedom of the individual Christian’s conscience, and it’s Pharisaical.

You might like to listen to Jeff Crippen’s sermon series on The Religion of the Pharisees. You can download all the sermons for free. :)

BTW, what is xhosa?

Annette, August 25, 2013 — Thanks so much for your comments. I find it very helpful!  Lol, the “Xhosa” people are a South African group of people. Nelson Mandela, for example is a Xhosa. Their custom is different from some other people’s – they have an extended and inclusive family system

Barbara Roberts, August 25, 2013 — Oh thanks for explaining that, Annette. I was on quite the wrong track! My apologies.

King’sDaughter, August 25, 2013 — Daughter’s first day of kindergarten and our first day in court, (pre-trial) tomorrow (Monday) morning. I already have temp sole custody but he is asking for that, claiming I am the abuser. Praying the magistrate sees through his lies and the most they grant is supervised visits. Trusting God for the very best outcome for our children! Please pray! Thanks

Barbara Roberts, August 25, 2013 — okay, will do.

King’sDaughter, August 26, 2013 — Standard unsupervised visits. :-( I was able to play recordings of him verbally abusing our children and while the judge did find his behavior disturbing enough to chide him, since he was not out of control beating them, she granted unsupervised visits. The recordings did seem to have an effect on him and he seemed remorseful after …

I’m emotionally drained, broken and confused. I KNOW God IS working for our good but I’m still a little scared. I’ve been a SAHM for six years, have no job or family in the state and have been awarded child support that might cover food costs if we lived in a 3rd world country, it won’t even cover our mortgage (that’s a little scary).
And on top of that, I feel myself getting angry with his family for keeping the abuse hidden (he abused his previous wife) and casting aside anyone who might disagree with them. For a family so dedicated to church work (pastors, deacons & missionaries) the lack of character they are displaying is really getting to me. Please pray for mercy, grace & forgiveness.

Much Love to you all!


Barbara Roberts, August 27, 2013 — Sorry to hear it didn’t go as well as you hoped, KD. More to pray for now! 

Still Scared (But Getting Angry), August 27 2013 — KD, It does get so exhausting and confusing and not a clear path as to how to keep going. God is good, that I know and you are HIS daughter!! Will be praying.

MeganC, August 27, 2013 — KD,  I have been following your case and have been praying. I know you are scared and I will continue to pray for you as you navigate through the next steps. There ARE next steps. There is so much hope for you! You are smart and capable. I believe in God’s work in your life. I really do. Big hugs.

King’sDaughter, August 27, 2013 — Thank You for praying! I didn’t know how I would get out of bed today no less care for three small children… it has been a good morning (no breakthroughs or anything but I survived without getting short tempered -quite the feat with 3 little ones!)! God is carrying me through this. I don’t know what I would do without Him and His people? Thank You, please keep praying.

Child Of The One True King, August 29, 2013 — I’m just starting to read this blog, but already feel thankful. I see so much strength from the women on here.. and I appreciate seeing an acceptance of the need to walk away within a Christian context.
I left my husband almost 5 months ago, with our 2 1/2 year old son. I’m having a really hard time knowing what the next step is. He has been back and forth about taking responsibility and seeking help. At times, he states that he takes full responsibility, and he will go to therapy. At other times he is so angry and is refusing to do anything.. making all kinds of threats. Through group therapy and some individual, I’m seeing this as the cycle to abuse.. and the ups as not necessarily real change, but simply the calm before the storm.
I see a lot of women on here have taken the step of divorce. When do you know that this is “OK”? I’m so scared of doing something “wrong.” I really want to live within God’s will. Part of me feels that I just need to have strong faith, and know that God can work miracles.. and wait. But another part of me is hurting so much… because I feel like I can only get so far down the path to healing myself, when I’m “waiting.”
I really feel like I can’t win… I can’t imagine ever returning home again. I can’t imagine trusting that things have truly changed. I also can’t imagine being divorced. I need to meet with a lawyer about custody, because he has been begging to see our son.. and I don’t trust him with him. And I’m terrified of all the legal processes. I’m scared of them giving him anything more than supervised visits. He’s stated he’s fine with just this.. but what if he meets with a lawyer and thinks he can get/fights for more? I just feel broken and lost… Sick of living in limbo, but not ready to take a step in either direction to get me out.
Please pray for me, and give me insight to what God’s word says about this. How will I know when/if it’s time to fully walk away?

Barbara Roberts, August 29, 2013 — Dear CotOTK, welcome to the blog :) I understand these thoughts, feelings and fears you are having. Most of us have had very similar thoughts and feelings at one stage or another on our journeys.

We have lots of Resources that we recommend — and our new Resources pages will go ‘live’ tomorrow, so check them out!

The ones I would most recommend for you, given the issues you raised in your comment, are my Checklist For Repentance [Internet Archive link], and my book Not Under Bondage and Jeff Crippen’s book A Cry For Justice (both these books are in our sidebar at this blog).

Leslie’ Vernick’s soon to be published book The Emotionally Destructive Marriage will also help you work through a lot of your doubts and uncertainties.

It is often hard to see whether an abuser is (1) actually changing or (2) just feigning change in order to win you back or to at least keep you hanging by a thread, uncertain and fearful of doing the wrong thing. From what you’ve described, it sounds to me like number (2), and that is what abusers do in most cases of domestic abuse. You might like to check out the Repentance tag in this blog, which will take you to all the posts we have about the subject of repentance. To find the tag, look in the TAGS tab in the top menu.

blessings and hugs

Child Of The One True King, August 29, 2013 — Thank you. I’ve read something similar to the checklist for repentance.. I think it was from Lundy’s book. This one, however, seems slightly different… and also very helpful. I definitely come to the “just feigning change” when I go through it. Than this little voice says “just because he hasn’t changed yet.. doesn’t mean he won’t.” I wonder if I’ll ever stop having doubts.. no matter how many times I come to the same conclusion: that he’s not repentant. I will check out the tab. I’ve been exploring different parts of the website since I posted this, and I can see that there is a lot of helpful information. Thank you for all the recommendations. I know that the more I read, and the more I talk… the stronger I feel.

Katy, August 29, 2013 — I understand your fears about the child custody issues. I had the same terror – and there’s not a whole lot you can do besides go see a lawyer to fully discuss the laws in your state. Every state is a little different, and a lawyer can give you an idea of what kind of judges you’ll be facing in your county, etc. And whether you can document the abuse, etc.
One of my friends in California used a free paralegal service to file all of her court documents, she never had to hire a lawyer. It all depends on where you live.
I will pray for you and your son, that you will BOTH be protected. We have to throw ourselves on God’s mercy and ask for His promises. There’s nothing else to do. I also wondered if I was doing the wrong thing, and if God was going to abandon or punish me for going through with the divorce.
I will just tell you that God did not punish me at all. Instead He has taken care of me and my kids every single day for the past 4 years since we left. And He has answered a lot of my prayers and blessed us very much. I will pray for your guidance and peace too.

Child Of The One True King, August 29, 2013 — Thank you for your sharing your thoughts and experiences. It is… so terrifying. I so desperately want to protect my son from everything. I’m constantly questioning my decisions and trying to figure out what is best. But I know you’re right, that in the end.. all I can do is have faith. I know that God loves me and my son.. and He wants and knows what is best for us. It’s just soooo scary not knowing what the path ahead looks like. It’s hard to let go of my want to know what’s going to happen, and just have full faith. Thank you for your prayers. They mean so much.

Jeff Crippen, August 29, 2013 — CofOTK, You are very welcome and we are quite glad you found us. Barbara’s advice to you is well put. You are on the very same journey – and it is a hard one – that so many others who come here have been through or are still in. We hope you continue to come here regularly. Blessings in Christ, JeffC.

Coco, August 30, 2013 — More of a praise report here and a thank you to everyone that prayed for me and my kids. We mediated everything a few weeks ago, and praise God, the parenting evaluator saw right through my ex and did not grant him 50%. In fact, it stayed at every other weekend, and his off-week dinner became an overnight, only because she wanted us to have almost all pick ups and drop offs at school. I know that the emotional bit is continuing with them, but they have a great psychologist that will help them through. I think the financial settlement is fine too, but I haven’t been on my own in so long, I won’t know until I do it. Anyway, thanks again, and to God be the glory for all the things he has done (and will do).

Barbara Roberts, August 30, 2013  — This is very good news, thanks for letting us know, Coco. Blessings and hugs to you.

Child Of The One True King, September 3, 2103 — Having a hard time with Christian friends who are trying to be supportive. Starting to consider divorce, and getting the “please, keep waiting, keep praying.. God will work a miracle in your marriage,” response. I know that it is said in love.. but it breaks my heart. I’m so tired of waiting. i have a lot of guilt when I think about divorce.. but continuing on is SO painful. I want to ask “How do you know He will work a miracle?” I know he CAN.. but will He? Is it in His will for me to stay in this marriage? Maybe.. but maybe not. He must state that when you are abandoned by your non-believing spouse you are free from your marriage for a reason. Right? There must be some marriages He chooses not to heal… because He allows my husband free will. My husband chooses not to change, and God allows this free will choice. The specific woman I’m dealing with is a strong Christian woman, someone that I look up to, and would love to have more of in my life… but hearing this hurts. I don’t know how to respond or process this. Prayers and thoughts would be soooo appreciated.

Barbara Roberts, September 3, 2013 — You might like to suggest to that woman that she reads my book Not Under Bondage and also Jeff’s book; see our sidebar for link to them on Amazon. And Leslie Vernick’s upcoming book which we list on our Resources pages. This lady is like so many Christians, she just doesn’t understand the dynamics of abuse or the biblical principles that most apply when dealing with it. She needs education! If she is unwilling to be educated, you may have to relinquish her as a friend, or at least as a close friend. :( Many of us have been in similar positions with Christian friends.

Your question is good: “How do you know He will work a miracle?” If you ask her that and keep pressing it home, she may realise that she is making some assumptions. Stand your ground! Don’t let her shift you from what your gut feeling is telling you.

Barbara Roberts, September 3, 2013  — Another good reply to people like that is “I have been waiting and praying. . . for years! You have no idea how long I’ve waited already, and how much I’ve prayed! Please stop telling me what to do. I need good compassionate listeners rather than just advice being doled out. I need you to believe that it really is as bad as I’m saying it is.”

Child Of The One True King, September 3, 2013  — Thank you. I’m seeing more and more how many good Christians there are that desperately need an education about abuse. It hurts to see someone I respect invalidate what I’m going through. And I KNOW that’s not the intention. I think referring her to some books is a great idea.
I always want to say how long I’ve been praying… and how much it hurts to have someone tell me that I just need to keep doing it.. “keep having faith,” but I feel like they’ll just tell me something about God working on His own time.. and needing patience.. and it’ll just hurt more.
Before reading your wonderful suggestions, I managed to come up with a response (her comments had come in the form of a FB message… after asking me how it was going.. she gave her advice . :/ .. ) This is where I just left things:
“I will continue to pray for my family.
One realization I’m coming to through praying for guidance and studying His word, is that God will not force my husband to change. He can. He is all powerful, and abuse is certainly not within His will for a marriage. But He won’t. He will allow my husband the free will to turn toward or away from Him.
The majority of abusers will choose to continue to turn away from God’s will.. forever. I could lose hope in this.. but I know that He has an awesome plan for me, regardless of my husband’s choices. I will keep asking Him for guidance.. I so need it right now. I know that if I keep coming to Him, studying His word, and choosing to follow His guidance in my life… everything will be okay. It may not look how I envisioned my life, but I know that God’s plans are bigger and greater than mine.
God absolutely uses trials to draw us closer to Him. Super thankful for how alive He is in my life during this difficult time. I am so hungry for the word, prayer, and worship… and I just praise God for that.
Thank you for your prayers. They mean so much to me.”
Just added book recommendation, with a gentle message that “wait and pray” can be unintentional re victimization (bleh, that was a mouthful)… hopefully it’s well received. 🙂 I’ve been trying to build up stronger friendships with the Christian women I know in this area (since moving out of where I was living with my husband 5 months ago)… but all of “this” certainly makes it harder. 😦
Thank you!!

Rhonda, September 13, 2013 — Prayers for a new friend who has moved to the Northwest after leaving her abusive husband of 27 years. May she experience the healing Love of God here in her new home, be guided to the right church community and find work that is meaningful to her. Thank you for keeping “Annie” in your prayers!

Child Of The One True King, September 13, 2013 — If there was a like option I would click it. So excited for her and her fresh start!

Barbara Roberts, September 13, 2013 — Okay! Will pray for Annie. And if she’s in the Northwest she might like to visit Ps Crippen and his church in Tillamook.

Barbara Roberts, September 18, 2013  — Please pray for an anonymous survivor who contacted me by email. She has a court hearing next week and has suffered much legal abuse and dishonesty from people in the legal system. Her stbx is a very religious abuser and she has no supportive family. She also needs employment and has been trying hard in that direction but with no success. Her pain sounds heartbreaking.

Jeff Crippen, October 3, 2013  —Anna in the temple,  I am very, very glad you are here at the blog. We are not licensed counselors or therapists, but I can certainly answer your questions. You said:

Do you think I was abused? I think I was but it has taken many months to get to a point where I am fairly sure I was. I guess my biggest concern is that I broke down mentally and this has been something my husband has used to say he wasn’t abusive and that he just didn’t know what to do, ie he was out of his depth because I broke down and he had no experience with mental health. I still don’t think this accounts for his cruelty however.

The other concern I have is that I am basing this on just a short period of marriage despite the fact that he definitely had an anger problem for years before we married. So I really wonder if I am being unreasonable to make a decision on either ending or saving my marriage over just a few incidents. What do you think? However on the flip side, the things that happened had a drastic impact on my life and losing my licence and my job was a terrible consequence.

And you asked “Also did I sin by being afraid???”

First, yes, absolutely yes this is abuse. In many ways it is the most horrid kind. Before I forget, please get a copy of Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft and you will have many of your questions answered. If you can’t afford to buy a copy, email me at swordtrowel@gmail.com and I will see that you get one. Your husband evidences all the characteristics of an abuser – he is a man who has a profound sense of entitlement to possess power and control, and who believes himself to be entirely justified in using whatever tactics are required to get it. He does NOT have an “anger problem.” Everything he does to control you is very calculated. Even the apparent “loss of temper” and outrages are very intentional. He can turn them off and on as he wills. Do not blame yourself (your breakdown) in any way for your husband’s evil. He would love you to believe that. But it is all his own doing.

This evil man has shamed and guilted you falsely. You need not be ashamed at having a mental breakdown. I mean, who wouldn’t in such circumstances? In ways your breakdown was more normal than going into a cycle of denial of the abuse. Abusers work hard to make their victims feel crazy. And that is simply what happened to you. (I would also highly recommend that you read Trauma and Recovery, by Judith Herman to help you understand how you have been traumatized and the effects it has had upon you).

As to the shortness of your marriage and whether you can make the determination to end your marriage this soon — you have more than enough data to end it immediately. To end it is wisdom. You have God’s blessing for ending it. You did NOT sin by being afraid. You have been victimized by bad theology, and wrongly guilted by it. The fear that you have felt in response to the evil you have suffered is totally normal and God-given. If you did not fear your husband, you would not be normal. Fear is a gift from the Lord. It is a warning light in our radar system. It is not sin to be afraid of something or someone who is out to kill you, and make no mistake, that is exactly what your husband is trying to do. There is plenty of reason to be concerned about him killing you with an overdose, based upon what you have said here. Don’t go back to him. The very high probability is that he will kill you.

And Anna, it is good to pray and fast. I would say however that with your physical conditions you have described here, you should not feel like you are some second-rate Christian lacking faith if you do not fast. And also, let me add that praying and looking to the Lord is certainly the starting point for any Christian, but as things become clear to you, as I think they are, you should take action. Like not returning to your husband. Getting an order of protection if necessary. Getting away from any church or Christians who are telling you that divorce is a sin (it is not — you would merely be filing the paperwork. It is your husband who has sinned by smashing the marriage covenant).

You are most certainly, as you will learn in reading books on abuse (see our resource page here on the blog for other resources), you are certainly not the only woman whose new husband came out of his disguise on the honeymoon. And always remember – when you have a person who appears to be a Jekyll-Hyde combo, the evil Mr. Hyde is ALWAYS the real person you are dealing with. Why? Because wolves pretend to be sheep, but sheep never pretend to be wolves.

Many blessings in Christ upon you, Anna. Please keep in contact with us.

Katy, October 3, 2013  — oh My goodness, thank you for this response Jeff. I was sick reading her account. My husband behaved exactly the same way on our honeymoon and I remember the terror of it – I certainly had moments where I tried to “escape” the torture in my own mind. Dissociating is not uncommon, it is a normal method of self-protection. Poor sweet girl please get away from this evil man! !

Still Scared (But Getting Angry), October 4, 2013  — I was often told that I was wrong to be afraid. And I pushed it away, helped by people on this site and other blogs that pointed out they purpose of fear and that it was logical to be afraid of my abuser. I thought I had totally relieved myself of the guilt of being afraid. Then I read 1 John this weekend and realized I hadn’t. 1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear”…My abuser did not have love for me, so of course I would fear him!! His obsessive need to control me does not drive out fear, it increases it. But God, He loves me truly and His love drives out my fear of GOD and eternity!! I don’t fear God anymore or worry about my salvation because I know this perfect love. But I still fear my abuser. He had moved but is in the area today picked up some of his furniture and his gun…boy am I afraid!! Praying for you Anna.

Barbara Roberts, October 4, 2013  — And praying for you, Still Scared!

Anonymous, October 3, 2013 — Anna, I was deeply moved by your story and sad for what you have endured and concerned for you. I prayed for you, for your safety, comfort and recovery. I am shocked by the abuse you have endured. I would be worried for your mental and physical safety & your future if you returned to him. I am sorry to hear that the doctors did not believe you, but it is my understanding that this is sadly common, especially given abusers’ Jekyll and Hyde behavior. It is common for abusers to be nice to everyone but their victim. I am glad you have some supportive friends. I think the confusion comes because it is our husband who mistreats us. We love them, we think they love us. But abusers love control more. It helps me sometimes if I ask myself, what would I do if it were a stranger or acquaintance who did this to me or treated me this way. Or, if it were your dear friend in the same situation, what would you advise her? It takes some of the emotion out of it & helps me realize that if it were someone other than my husband (or other loved one who verbally abuses me, I would walk away if they were yelling at me, or end the conversation, etc.

Yes, marriage is important to God, but so are you as an individual. From what the rest of Scripture says about God and how he expects people to treat one another, how he has a heart for the oppressed, I cannot believe that he expects a woman to stay in a marriage where she is tortured or in physical or in danger of losing her mental health. I feel he basically tortured you. Cut off your communication from others, for 10 days & force fed you meds? That is torture in my opinion. Are there dv shelters in your area? Even if you don’t stay in the shelter, they might offer free counseling and legal services to help you sort this out. Physically restraining you and force feeding you sounds illegal to me, but I’m not an expert.

I nowhere in Scripture see God commanding us to submit to torture or abuse or death, to endanger ourselves and not flee. Do you really think God calls you to sacrifice your health, safety and profession just so someone can take his anger out on you?

I wrestle with the issues of God’s view of marriage & abuse as well, but I have not endured the degree of abuse you have. I have found Jeff’s book helpful and some of Leslie Vernick’s posts on her website. Also Focus Ministries has some excellent articles on their websites (Articles by FOCUS Ministries, Inc. [Internet Archive link]) including one about signs that he’s changed.

I don’t think your abuser has changed at all. He feels he had good reasons for what he did (he’s not repentant) and has no plan to treat you differently and he blames you for his behavior.

Stay safe & well.

Jeff Crippen, October 3, 2013  — Anonymous, You are correct. The supposed repentance of Anna’s abuser is absolutely false. I always advise abuse victims to function on the assumption that “abusers never change.” If the Lord once in a while wants to surprise us with a miraculous transformation (which would only come in conjunction with real repentance and some humble submission to a long, long course of therapy for abusers), then that is His choice. In the meantime, we assume that conscienceless sociopaths never change and then base our course of action upon that thesis.

Anonymous, October 3, 2013 — I didn’t see Jeff’s reply before I commented. He said everything so much better than I can. Please listen to him, for your safety and health.

Anna In The Temple, October 3, 2013 — Dear Jeff, Katy and Anonymous, Thank you so much for your prayers and advice. This has been the hardest thing I have ever been through. I had so much hope that my life was going to be wonderful and then everything was destroyed in only a few short months. I have been so confused by all this. I never thought someone I loved so much and was so good to could possibly treat me this way. I thought that he would be good to me and many times he was. I kept turning the other cheek and it got to where I hardly noticed when he was angry with me in daily life.

I feel like my heart has been smashed to pieces. I pray God directs me now. I have been healed of the diabetic-type condition so I am ok to fast now so please don’t worry. I have cried out to God over and over for Him to speak to me. I even asked God to send an angel to my husband and show him he needs to change. A few months back I feel like God said twice it was ok to end the marriage and move on but I want to be sure and I really don’t want to be in sin. More recently after my husband seemed to say he would keep getting help I felt like God said there was a little bit of hope. In some ways I wish my husband had actually continued on saying he hadn’t done anything wrong and never admitted fault to any degree because it seemed there was no hope then and it would have been easier to go through with ending it on the basis that I felt the relationship would actually destroy me.

In many ways I want to end it and move on with my life. If I did go back then I wouldn’t want to live in that terrible fear. If I did move on I hope I could remarry and maybe have a family one day as I am still fairly young. I just wish this terrible guilt that things would change if only I prayed harder or did something more would leave me.

Is it wrong to feel like that week was torture? That is how it felt to me… I look at everything that happened and it seems that at some point he could have made better choices or done anything to bring in someone to help me that I felt safe with (especially my parents). I felt trapped and terrified. I locked myself in the bathroom a couple of times because that was the only place I could get away from him. Surely he knew I was scared…and surely he knew it was wrong to terrify me like that…??? I begged him to stop at one point but that didn’t seem to make a dent at all. I know I was disturbed but I tried to show him that I had done everything I could to be a pretty bride and a good wife thinking he would love me and stop hurting me.

I have read all the posts I could find on this site and I have read Lundy Bancroft’s posts too. Jeff you are so kind. Thank you for offering to get me a book. I will be ok though but it was nice to have an offer – so few things have been good for me in all this and I start crying every time anyone is even a little bit nice to me.

I think once God speaks to me to confirm I can leave I will go ahead with that decision.

Many many blessings. Thank you to you all. Thank you for this blog. It has been one of the best resources I have found.

Anna In The Temple, October 3, 2013 — Other things happened to that concern me too. For example when I was in the hospital with the low blood sodium his parents came in and yelled at me – when this happened my parents and a friend walked in and heard his family yelling at me. I think it was really wrong that he brought them but that is another point. I tried to talk to him later about his parents yelling at me and he told me that I didn’t remember things properly because I had been really sick. I was able to check with my parents as I was sure I remembered properly and they said I was right. I went back to him and told him I was sure and suddenly he told me he did believe me and of course he was on my side – but this was the opposite of what he had said before!!! He also told me I was in the emergency department for “two or three days” on the resusitation table. But in the hospital notes I was only there one day or possibly less (I read this a little while back so I would have to check again to be completely clear but it was definitely a shorter time than what he said). I tried to clarify this with him and then he said he doesn’t remember properly because he was so distressed. It makes me think he wanted me to think I was crazy and to disregard my own thoughts. One other thing I have wondered is if he “tried to take me down” so to speak rather than let me leave…but I am not sure about this.

Barbara Roberts, October 3, 2013 — Dear Anna,, I think he played horrible crazy-making mind games with you. Saying one thing, then denying it later, is a classic mind game that abusers do to their victims to make the victim doubt herself. He sounds like a very wicked man. Bringing his parents in to the hospital so they would yell at you… he was arraigning his allies against you, like a military tactician. I endorse what other commenters have said about him torturing you. Force feeding food or medication can only be done in a hospital setting where there is a legal order in place, signed by at least two physicians, which permits the staff to do that even when the patient is unwilling to comply. Your husband did that to you at home, he is not a qualified health professional and there were no orders in place for that to take place. So the legal definition of what he did is A.S.S.A.U.L.T. I am sure of this because I know the law on this matter in the country you live in, and I have received professional training myself in this area.

And that force feeding is only one of many things he’s done to you. It doesn’t matter how short the marriage was. He was abusing you severely during the honeymoon — and you had grounds to end the marriage right then and there. I am so glad you are alive and I encourage you to stay safe and to not let the devil torture you with doubts about “Should I go back? should I wait for him to change? have I waited long enough? was it my fault? was he really abusive? is there something wrong with me?” . . . (ad infinitum) We all know, from lots and lots of collective experience among this blog family, that those self-doubts are part and parcel of how the devil wants to keep us in bondage to abuse. And let me assure you: the doubts will gradually (or quickly!) evaporate like the fog evaporates once the sunshine burns it off.

Anna In The Temple, October 3, 2013 — I don’t think he would actually kill me however.

Anna In The Temple, October 3, 2013 — Dear Barb, Thank you for what you have said. You are a dear. 🙂 I can say for sure that it really did feel like assault and it was terrifying beyond words. I have never seen anyone be so hateful or cruel.

I am looking at the scriptures again because now I am really starting to wonder if he was a Christian or if he was just lying to me so I would marry him. I am confident that what happened in my case was a good example of constructive desertion – this is particularly in the sense that remaining in the house would require me to submit to crimes being perpetrated against me.

I was just looking up the meaning of “separates” is from 1 Cor 7:15 and this is the link to the Greek meaning 5563. chórizó [Internet Archive link] – it notes that this word means separates, vacates, divides, put asunder and refers to separating from the marriage relationship in body and soul.

I can say for sure that he was very hateful to me and therefore it seems possible that on the basis of 1 John 3:15 and 1 John 4:20 he was not a believer. Here hate is the word ‘miseo’ (4625. skandalon [Internet Archive link])

I also believe the meaning of reviler from 1 Cor 5:11 also applies (3060. loidoros [Internet Archive link]) as this includes the meaning of someone who is verbally abusive and damages another’s reputation.

I have no question that I am not required to submit to my husband in the perpetration of illegal and immoral acts against me as this is not submitting to the authorities and I think the admonition of Col 8:13, Eph 5:22 and 1 Pet 3:1 should be taken in the light of Rom 13:5. To submit to such acts is not to submit in a way that is fitting in the Lord.

I also think that it is possible to see that 1 Tim 5:8 applies in that it can be said that my husband did not “provide for his household” and thus has denied the faith. Here ‘provide’ means properly, to think (plan) before, showing necessary forethought to act properly (in God’s will). 4306. pronoeó [Internet Archive link].

Likewise 2 Tim 3:5, 2 Thess 3:6, Rom 16:17. Here in Rom 16:17 (Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them.) hinderances includes the meaning of “putting a negative cause and effect relationship into motion” (4625. skandalon [Internet Archive link]).

What is not completely clear as yet is if my husband is absolutely not a believer and whether we falling into the category of 1 Cor 7:15 or 1 Cor 7:10-11.

I think that it is very clear that the Bible does not show divorce itself to be a sin or otherwise God would not have divorced Israel and Judah. I believe God included provision for divorce in the Old Testament to protect the innocent. Likewise, from reading the arguments between John Piper and David Instone-Brewer I am believe that weight of evidence in relation to Jesus’ discussion with the Pharisees is that Jesus was addressing issue of “any cause” divorce rather than being a discussion of all divorce. I think this is particularly persuasive in that I don’t believe Jesus intended to contradict the OT here where there was provision for divorce for abuse and neglect in Exodus 21:10.

I think it is interesting the word ‘unmarried’ in 1 Cor 7:8 carries the sense of those who are not in wedlock irrespective of whether or not they were married previously (Strong’s 22. agamos [Internet Archive link]).

I also note that in the outlined church discipline procedure in Mat 18:17, the word pagan or unbeliever refers to someone who is outside the covenant of God’s salvation (22. agamos [Internet Archive link]). On this basis my unrepentant husband could be said to be an unbeliever.

I am going to keep praying and seeking God to confirm which category we belong in…

Anna In The Temple, October 4, 2013 — The other point I am not clear on is how to judge someone as an unbeliever but I am looking into it. I think the following is true

–we can use church disciple according to Matthew 18 and consider someone to be the same as an unbeliever (but I am not sure if this entitles me to consider my husband an unbeliever on the basis of unrepentant sin and act on 1 Cor 7:15) If anyone has any thoughts on this point then that would be good

–some people may be false believers(I need to look into this more)

–some people are definitely false teachers

–being a disciple of Christ requires both faith and acts

 –it is possible to lose one’s salvation and sin unto death- it is acceptable / we are admonished to separate from those who act contrary to scripture and say they are brothers (as noted above)

–some people may appear before the Lord and not go into heaven (Mat 7:21-23) These are massive issues to grapple with and not anything I have ever had to contend with before. Never have I seen someone who professes to be a Christian do such terrible things. It is a big thing for me to conclude he is an unbeliever… If anyone has any thoughts or scriptures on this that would be appreciated….

I do think that if it is ok for me conclude he is an unbeliever then 1 Cor 7:15 applies and I am not under bondage (1402. douloó [Internet Archive link]) so I would not be enslaved to the marriage or to persevering in the marriage. I think that to suggest I would be indebted to remain unmarried on the basis of being “bound” to my husband on the basis of 1 Cor 7:39 as this is referring to widows who are not bound to their deceased husbands is a misreading of the freedom 1 Cor 7:15 offers which says I am NOT bound.

Barbara Roberts, October 5, 2013 — Anna in the temple, you really do your homework! I admire the way you intensely search the Scriptures.

Here is another one for you to consider:

If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.” (John 8:46-47, ESV)

Have you told the truth to your husband? Yes.
Has he read the word of God that tells him the truth about how heinous his sins are against you, his wife? Yes.
Has he believed this truth? No.

So would it be reasonable to infer that he does not hear the truth because he is not of God?

Anonymous, October 3, 2013 — I need some prayer here. My abuser has had papers filed in the court falsely saying that I am mentally ill, bi-polar, drug addict, and alienating the children from him. All this because I went and got an OP. He and his lawyer also falsely accuse me of getting the OP out of spite. Of course he denies any and all abuse. This is the same man, that the pastor told me to take back into my home, because he was “repentant”. The Hearing is scheduled for the next week or so (don’t want to give exact date) and I know God is on my side and knows the truth and that I am telling the truth. I actually see this venture of his and his attorney as just more abuse, but I am praying God will allow all who need to see the truth to see it and that the two of them will fall into the pit they have dug for me. He is just running up the financial figures to an exorbitant amount and now also wants my children to be placed under the care of a psychologist who hypnotizes people. The one is almost of age (months away) and the other has a few years to go, but neither of them desire to have anything to do with him as he has abused them – even if he never admits it – judgment day is coming. Please pray protection for us and also peace, as his continued actions cause unrest in our lives. Please also pray for my attorney as he represents me. I am trying to be at peace, trusting and awaiting, like Jehoshaphat did, the Salvation of the Lord.

Xmeriwetherz, October 3, 2013 — This must be so scary for you! I will be praying!

Barbara Roberts, October 3, 2013 — I will pray.  I’m glad you see his accusations as completely false and just more abuse, because that is what they are

Summer, October 10, 2013 — Please keep praying. I have tried calling different counselors and encountered all manner of reasons not to be able to get through to see one (just like all the other situs and the abuse center here is of very limited ability unfortunately in a county that when I called the HQ at the state capital they admitted this county and one next to it is extremely difficult to help women in due to old boys club legal system). I don’t know what is going to happen on all fronts.

But the main thing is not being able to shake an overwhelming all pervasive fear and terror no matter how much I read the Word and pray.
And as hard as I tried to do the right thing always, no matter what decision I make it is always wrong and I fear always will be. I get George Simon’s book on Wolves and Sheeps clothing but even having just read that book I cannot implement changes with x because x is not here to try ‘win-win’ approaches and since he knew he was playing games with me and I didn’t fathom his deliberately doing that and still struggle with that; and I tried all the traditional books and approaches before finding out about domestic violence period, and those approaches just made things worse since I couldn’t talk to anyone or I was in the wrong. I am going to always be guilty according to someone.
I can’t seem to get back to where I was once able to trust God cared though I can’t stop talking to Him.

IamMyBeloved’s, October 25, 2013 -— Summer, you do not have to go to the Abuse Center in your county, you can go to anyone, anywhere. Maybe try another county and see what happens.

I get your fear. I wish I could give you a formula for it, but I think it stems from living in terror for so long with an abuser, and then facing even more terror after he is out, as well as the confusion that exists about how we as Christians are to handle abuse. Let me just encourage you to keep reading the Word and praying, but also to realize and begin to tell yourself that you are connected to God and that He is in you and you are in Him and there is nothing that can come between that. He is not an outside entity that we grope and gasp for. He is right there, like interlocking fingers, never to leave. He is with you in this storm and is upholding you. He is on your side and is fighting for you.

You may be guilty according to man, but that does not matter. If you are in Christ, then you are NOT guilty, as He is standing in your place and He has perfectly fulfilled everything for you, on your behalf. There is a lot of misunderstanding about how to handle domestic abuse, but that does not change God’s position on it. I would just suggest to you, that you cleave to those who will understand and help you as you go through this, and just talk to those people.

Reading other books can be very helpful. That doesn’t mean you have to digest the entire book. You can read here and there and pray about it and then read what you feel led to. You might try the book on traumatic bonding. There is a blog post on that here if you think you might be interested. Just read what pertains to you. I’m not certain how to link you to that post from here. Sorry.

One piece of Scripture that has helped me immensely, was Exodus 14. God tells us to stand firm and do not fear. I love how He moves and gets between His people and their enemies and tells His people to “move forward” and also how He casts confusion in the enemies’ camp, as he is saving His own. I just read that over and over again and also lots of other verses, that were just very helpful and healing to me. I would mark them in my Bible and then read them morning and night. I also printed them out on note cards, so when that force of fear came upon me all at once and I felt overwhelmed, I would pull them out and read them and just say to Jesus that I knew He was right there with me, in me and I in Him and that He was working in me and through me and that I was safe with Him. Eventually God will straighten it all out, as far as your beliefs and trust and faith in Him. It is just part of healing from such trauma. You are okay – He is right there with you. Praying for you.

Barbara Roberts, October 25, 2013 — Thanks for the update, Summer. It’s awful that the boys club has such control of the legal scene in your county.

It seems to me that your ex is way too abusive to be able to try ‘implementing changes with’ even if he WAS around. Yes, he was playing games with you, Covert abuse is so hard to see, and even when we start to see it we don’t want to believe that is what is happening because is us just so evil and malevolent. It’s hard to wrap our minds around the fact that some people are just not at all like us — us being the people who have active consciences and feel bad when we do wrong. Abusers don’t feel bad when they do wrong. In fact, many of them feel delight and glee when they do wrong. UGH.

All that effort you made trying to work out the marriage issue, and no one saw it was abuse, so no one said “It’s Not Your Fault!” That is tragic.

In my experience, our trust of God can be restored, but it usually entails understanding what was done to us (a) by the abuser — all the tactics he used to abuse us — and (b) by the so called helpers who badly mis-advised us. And it also entails recalibrating our theology: our ideas of faith, how God works, how prayer works, how churches and leaders should behave. . . and often in this process we realise that our thinking may have been blighted by bad leaders and bad teaching in the church. . . So I encourage you to read as much as you can at this blog and from the things we recommend on our Resources pages. I believe there is light at the end of the tunnel, even if you can’t see it right now.
Hugs to you.

Xmeriwetherx, October 16, 2013 — I wanted to share a praise report.
I had a hard time (about a month ago) after a sermon at the church I’ve been attending since leaving my husband. I wrote the pastor and also attached Jeff’s “letter to other pastors” about why this sermon was difficult for me to hear.
Here is a piece of his response:
“God’s perfect intention is for one man and one woman to marry for life. But as you pointed out, we have to deal with sin. In so many marriages, sin rears its ugly little head and it destroys what God has put together. It’s interesting that when Jesus was asked about marriage in Matthew 19, he said that Moses permitted divorce, it was because of a “hardness of heart.” I have seen this in every single situation I have ever counseled. One or both parties has a hardness in their heart toward God, their spouse, their sin, or all of the above. In an abusive situation, there is indeed a hardness of heart and we do everything we can as a church to protect the offended party.”
I had a hard time sending the letter, but I’m glad I did! I was encouraged at a divorce/separation support group for women (at the church) to send the letter. I was told that the church had recently changed it’s stance on divorce (where only adultery was an acceptable reason) and added in domestic violence after a different member of the church had spoken with the pastor.
Although I don’t think the church is perfect, I do think they have an open heart.. and I’m thankful that God has placed me here. I’m getting a lot of support from members, and I’m glad to know that it’s also safe to talk to my pastor… even when it’s in a slightly confrontational way.
Praise God for the strength He gave me to speak up and for the openness of my pastor’s heart to hear things that go against what many churches/teachings say. Also, praise Him for putting it in Jeff’s heart to create this letter (what a wonderful tool!) I pray that He keeps working in my church, so it’s always growing into a safer place for survivors of abuse!
Also praise Him for all the support I receive here. 🙂 So thankful!

Katy, October 16 2013 — Yay!! that’s so encouraging Meriwether – thanks for posting! There are safe churches out there. :)

Crossroads2013, October 28, 2013 — I really would appreciate your prayers and thoughts on my situation. As I have indicated previously; I have experienced verbal, emotional and “low level” physical abuse. I don’t know what to do anymore, I feel really stuck and am having trouble making a decision. My husband and I have been together a long time and we have one child. We separated last year for 10 months. During that time, we did marriage counselling, individual counselling and my husband also attended a secular men’s program on domestic violence for a year! My husband started coming to church too and got saved. But my husband started saying he couldn’t keep living this way forever being separated from us. My husband threatened to divorce me if he didn’t come home. He kept telling me he couldn’t prove to me that he has changed and become a better man unless he was living back at home. I felt like I had to give him a chance to prove himself. So we re-united. It was only one month later and he had another blow-up. We continued marriage counselling and individual therapy. Later on, when I told our pastor what was happening, our pastor also confronted my husband about his behaviour. After everything we have done, we are still facing the same issues. Things are good for a little while and then there is another blow up. Its just so hard to get back on track again, again and again. Last time my husband was saying horrible things and I asked him to leave the house to cool off. He refused. Things were escalating. He threatened to hurt me, “Just to teach me a lesson”. Eventually he left to cool off. Other times he has threatened to kill himself or hurt other people. When things are good, I find it hard to trust my husband and be close with him. My husband in turn finds this hard to live with and cant understand why I don’t want to be intimate with him and blames the lack of affection for his outbursts. I feel like we have ticked all the boxes so to speak to try to work on our marriage. So it may be time to leave. But its such a hard decision to make. The thought of leaving terrifies me. I desperately need guidance.

Barbara Roberts, October 28, 2013 — Dear Crossroads, you are at the place many of us have been at. No one can tell you what to do or make the decisions on your behalf, but I think you may find many of the posts on our blog helpful in your decision-making.

Here are all our posts tagged Awakening Moments. And here are the ones about Couple Counseling (we believe couple counseling is generally not advisable in domestic abuse).
Here are the ones tagged Separation

What you have described about your husband’s behavior is very typical of abusers: the occasional blow up, the pressuring you to reconcile “so he could prove himself” (and he’s failed to prove that he has truly changed, hasn’t he?), the ‘converting’ to Christianity and joining a church is just another tactic to keep you hanging in there hoping for the best . . .

Also, here is our Resources page for Deciding to Stay of Leave

Do avail yourself of our search bar and the tags menu at the top of the blog. I think many of your questions and doubts will be answered if you keep digging into the blog. :) We know it’s not easy, and the fear can be immense, but we are willing to support you whatever your decision may be.

IamMyBeloved’s, October 29, 2013 — In a way Crossroads, you have answered your own question. It IS very hard to leave, but it sounds like perhaps you may have some support in your pastor. Do you think so? Your story sounds so much like mine. I heard over and over again, that I could not know if my abuser had changed, unless I let him back in. When I did not allow him back in, the abuse escalated so badly (and still is) that I was much safer with him out of the home. That in itself was a huge indication that there in fact, had been no change. So, I understand the pressure to let him back in.

I see so much abuse of you at his hands, that I would have to say that in spite of his salvation experience, I don’t think it was genuine. Christ brings change, a new heart, a new creation, when He saves us. I don’t see that from what you described here. It also sounds like he is escalating and the threats to harm you to “teach you a lesson”, and his threats of suicide put him way up on the scale for dangerous.

What do you think would happen if you separated from him again? I am not the best person here to give counsel to you, but my suggestion is that you just read your prayer request again and ask yourself if things are truly better, or if they are worse – are you and your child safer with him in the house or with him out of the house. I am certain you will come to your decision and I will be praying for you. In my opinion, he has broken covenant with you in the marriage and while he said he had changed, he has not, but is doing further damage to you and/or your child.

Xmeriwetherx, November 10, 2013 — I could use prayers (again! constantly I guess..)
I can’t seem to let go of hope that my husband will change.
I’m not at home…. been gone for over 6 months now. Have a PPO against him, and only see him for couple’s counseling (which is written into the PPO). He hasn’t seen our son and we have a custody hearing coming up soon (praying he’ll just get supervised visits… and we’ve agreed to that, plus my lawyer thinks that’s all he’ll get). So I’m physically safe… keeping my son safe.
But emotionally… I’m a wreck. I have a therapist and support groups…. I’m working hard to take care of myself, but it still hurts so bad. I wish there was some clear guidance as to if holding out hope is the “right” thing to do… or if I’m just hurting myself. If he’s never going to change, I want to know and let go now. Holding on hurts so much. But I’m not ready to let go. I’m scared I never will be and he’ll never change.
I don’t want to be in this place of pain forever.

Barbara Roberts, November 11, 2013 – Dear Xm, I’m so glad you shared here. I’m pretty sure others will chime in with some good replies. I can’t give you any lovely pat answers, only the Holy Spirit can, and your own observations of your husband’s behaviour (in particular, how his behavior differs from his words. . . ).

One thing I can make a pretty sure guess about though: I think it is most unlikely you will never be ready to let go. Pennies will drop, cards will line up, reality will become clearer and the balance will shift so that you will not be so stuck in ambivalence and fear. Fear may still be there to some extent, or in waves, but it will not keep you paralyzed forever.

Like you said: “Holding on hurts so much.” But letting the hope go hurts a lot too, I have found. While we still hope, we do not face the full weight of grief for our lost dreams, and the often cold realities of life as a single person / parent. Like most grief and other big emotions, it seems gargantuan when we apprehend the fact that it’s rising in our belly about to launch a tidal wave. But when we let the wave start rolling, it is not often so impossible to endure as we thought it would be. I’m talking about suffering in grief, not the kind of ongoing suffering that comes from enduring the oppression and abuse our abusers subject us to. The conduct of abusers causes us suffering that is never easy to endure: it is not life-giving suffering, it is life wasting and life destroying. But suffering grief from the loss of dream and hopes is healthy and life giving, when the dreams and hopes that we let go of were not aligned with reality.

Xmeriwetherx, November 11, 2013 — Thank you for your words of encouragement…Part of me knows that things will change and progress and that I am (and will continue to) slowly healing… but lately I’ve seen so emotional- it’s overwhelming! … and draining!
Always good to know others have been here… and survived!

Laurie, November 15, 2013 — Please pray for a friend of mine, she is struggling to find the love of God and the freedom of Jesus in the midst of conflicting views of His word and teachings of bondage.

BeginHealing, November 16, 2013 — I have a prayer request. My husband has finally found an apartment and is agreeing to move out. For a while he was not willing to go until I would agree to a mindset of reconciliation. I could not do that because it would have been a lie. He tried to twist my words around to make it seem as though I was agreeing but I held strong to my truth. He also relented and is no longer asking for a timeline or a list of things he needs to accomplish in order to move back in.

Anyway, for my prayer request. We have to tell the kids and I am terrified. I am not good at doing things that cause others pain. I usually take the pain on myself. So, the impulse to change my mind is strong. I feel myself sliding back into denial and minimization. This is for the best right? If there is any hope for true and lasting change I need to hold him accountable for his actions. If he is capable of any change I need to see this through for my boys. Right? Addressing my needs and hurting my boys at the same time just feels selfish on some level. This is where the pull back into denial is strong…..”It wasn’t that bad…”

Please pray that I stay strong. Please pray for my sweet boys. Please pray that my husband and I handle this in a way that is pleasing to God and supportive of our children.

Ellie, November 16, 2013 — Oh, hugs to you. I will pray. I know the pain and the impulse to minimize. I hated it when I realized he couldn’t change. He wanted me to help him change. That was a trap. I told him to go change and stay changed and then we could talk. He didn’t. It still hurts. But it was necessary so that there could be healing. God will give you strength.

Barbara Roberts, November 19, 2013 — This prayer request comes from an anonymous reader who has asked me to submit it under my gravatar.

I am asking for prayers for my sister. She has been married for thirty years and I become more certain every day that her husband is abusing her financially, and physically .
Although she has never said he is abusive she has said he is very controlling.

We come from a wealthy family and it has been obvious to my younger sister and I that her husband is after money. My mother is still living but has given sizable monetary gifts and he totally bulldozed her into spending it to fulfill his “dreams”. The first amount was spent for his dream house on a lake. They put every penny into the downpayment. The second amount was used to fulfill his dream of opening his own business.

He decided to open his own business after his employer had the ” nerve” to fire him. They had been giving him notice for over a year that they wanted to make changes but he refused to look for another job. He sat around for two years collecting unemployment and “planning” his business.

My sister says she was in agreement with these decisions. She always talks about him as if he is the most wonderful man in the world. She says they have a wonderful marriage. Her mouth says one thing but her body language is telling me the opposite is true. She is a totally different person than she once was.

She broke her arm or wrist three times in the past five years. Her husband never went with her to the emergency room nor to any follow – up appointments.

Is there anything we can do to help her realize that things are not right?

I am praying that God will remove the scales from her eyes. So that she may see and reach out for help.

Mama Martin, November 23, 2013 — A book to help you: Helping Her Get Free (A guide for families and friends of abused women) by Susan Brewster. The last thing she needs is you to make decisions for her. She must learn to make decisions for herself and it will take immense courage.

Summer, December 9, 2013 — RE: prayer request from earlier and today’s blog by Jeff C and response by Now Free on Christ and the Cross:

Thank you to Jeff C. and thank you to NF. I just got back from waiting another two months to try and fix what was illegally done to me at the hands of a judge and ex’s lawyer and the lawyer I had then. The judge again refused to look at anything which by law the new lawyer (this time finally an honest lawyer, too late though) said the judge was required to do. The lawyer said the judge simply ignored everything and said ‘too bad’. Only slightly good thing other than the non-decree decree which the lawyer has never seen in nearly 30 years of lawyering but the judge said ‘so’ is going to cause horrendous legal problems down the road, it was affirmation of a sort finally! and within hearing of another person!, in that the new lawyer said the judge once again! broke the law, but without millions of dollars, which most divorcing women don’t have, the judge knows he can do whatever he feels like. This judge has done so many things to so many women. That judge said to me back during the first part of the divorce after my husband went in first at the request of the judge and gave his side and then it was my turn, before I said one word, that judge said ‘I think I have the picture now” what does one say to that and I didn’t even know what had been said. And then to have the then lawyer then admit that he never said one word on my behalf and laugh. This new lawyer said I got “royally scammed” to put it nicely.

Then too like Jeff C. said above, I was struggling for the last year with the fact that these lawyers and judges are doing what they are doing because they have all had horrible divorces because they are all vicious bullies. They do what they do not because they know I am a Christian, but satan knows like Jeff C. said above, it is the result of who my Father is, they want to hurt people? especially women.

I wish I were at the point you are NF. Yesterday, I tried calling one last person and ended up having to defend ‘how could a judge be dishonest?’ just because a person is a judge doesn’t make him honest;
‘why wouldn’t you go to joint counseling?’ because I just explained he tried to blame me for everything and refused to get counseling for 15 years (even his BET counselor tried to get the establishment to help me by confronting him) but he only tried going the day before the protective order;
just got done explaining the incredible process I have been through to find a job and she says ‘you need a job of any sort to get up each day……’ just explained how that is what I have been doing…., it is pointless trying to explain to anyone, I have so many applications in on foot and by internet, I am working late hours min. wage part time finally but that means at night which I have always been an early morning person and then no sleep and up again to get classwork done online, meanwhile trying to keep doing legal stuff all alone, always alone, alone. Have done that a year and half with no support of any kind (except the one witness that has remained a true Christian and truly tried to understand what is impossible to explain and reads all the books Jeff C and Barbara recommend).
At least I wasn’t afraid so much this time walking into that horrific building…..

Thank you also to Barbara and all of you for continuing to pray, not sure of next steps yet…

Barbara Roberts, December 9, 2013 — Dear Summer, Whew! You must feel exhausted. At least this one lawyer has finally affirmed and validated you. :) After so many put downs and so much injustice and side-swiping, to have one validating voice — from a professional person, especially — is like finding gold in a dung heap. I hope you can hang on to his belief in you and his affirmation you were ‘royally scammed’ (what a great expression!) Chew his affirmation over and keep mulling on it, milk it for all the nourishment it can give you.

With that person you called who didn’t get it — ugh. It’s awful when people who we reach out to for support end up hurting us more. Sounds like some shaking dust off your feet might be in order, with her…

Summer, December 26, 2013 — Please pray. Tomorrow is another meeting in front of the corrupt judge. I’ve since found a website ‘a terroristic divorce’ and its FAQS section talks about all the corruption going on…still, everyone I have encountered has family to fall back on for, at minimum, moral support…still no’s for jobs, trying to keep trusting. The judge had one heart attack in the middle of all this, but didn’t change his heart. Thank you.  

Psalm 37, January 1, 2014 — My dear Summer, you and I must be dealing with the same evil, unfair judge. I’ve been stuck with the same smug jerk for five years and have been revictimized by him every time I have to go before him. The ex is a self-employed plumber who this judge never requires to provide proof of income other than the obviously doctored (and very deficient) bank statements. I absolutely know the exhaustion you feel having to deal with this. It’s come to the point that I feel like this judge and the ex are two playground bullies attacking me, and I cry for help but nobody makes the suffering and hurt stop. I wish God would give both of us justice this year.

Summer, January 3, 2014 — Dear Ps. 37. I was going to write a prayer request and came here and you had written something. I just spent an hour pouring everything out but I removed it because no can do anything, only God can and He doesn’t want to, never has, and it is not a season like people keep saying on the radio and in books; it has been my whole life. Thank you for praying. It means a lot that someone might actually understand. My ex is an ATC and 4th man at last place of work, 2nd at previous place to abuse wife and abandon her and force her to file for divorce for some sort of support, so the lawyers said, what they meant was the wife sees no support period but the lying lawyers and the lying judge get tons of money. All six of them have moved up into management. Found out the judges keep postponing to keep filing their EIN number to make more money. But the worst is the constant constant lies and they are so good at it, there is no way to refute anything and I had witnesses for everything absolutely everything and in the courtroom and the judge has ignored it because he can. And ex is a Christian. His family is a Christian. The only 50% decent judges were the ones for the OPs. They actually admitted the evidence was beyond doubt (this divorce judge would have ignored it as he undid about ten OPs the day I was to go before him). Do you know I told the pastor’s wife that last year I was living in a “sort of prison”, I told her that last year things were not well in the marriage, I told others hints. No one wanted to hear and she and her husband ended up trying to help get the OP removed. They didn’t settle anything; made another hearing day to check on ‘progress in two months’ for something I was told should have taken one week six months ago. Anyway this has become so abbreviated all the context is missing-rather, Thank you to all of you praying.

Summer, January 4, 2014 — I am sorry about yesterday’s down response. I had just gotten another answer from the lawyer who earlier said we could get the support from ex, now back to saying we can’t get it direct deposited without ex say so and still more job nos. I am so grateful to all (Barbara, IAMB, Pastor C, TPW, AITT,Ps. 37…) of you for praying. Everything is so constantly confusing. I even once again started the read thru the Bible in a year which I have completed every year for years. But the harder I try to make sense of all this, the less anything makes sense.

Barbara Roberts, January 4, 2013 — Dear Summer and Psalm 37, your voices on this blog are important. Here’s why, and I’m quoting from an email I received recently from a woman who supports a survivor:

“I’ve heard that when an elected official receives a letter from a constituent it is said to represent 1000 other voices that haven’t written. I must believe that when I see letters written to blogs from women in such obvious pain from the unseen abuse of a “Christian” husband those letters, too, represent 1000 other voices too frightened, too restricted and/or too despondent and without hope to write a letter themselves.”

So let’s do that math. We have Summer and Psalm 37 sharing their stories of being horribly treated by their two respective judges in the family court. That suggests we have potentially 2000 other readers or would be readers with similar stories, who are not sharing on this blog but they may be reading it and will be encouraged as they will know know they are not alone when they read your stories.

Anonymous, December 19, 2013 — I know it may seem petty, but my abusive husband has been asked by the pastor to write a devotional for the Christmas Eve service. Someone else will read it, so I won’t have to endure listening to my husband speak up there. But when things like this happen, it is such a shock & I was overwhelmed in the moment by anger and a sense of reality slipping away from me. The pastor knows my husband has been abusive. It’s just hard to see him honored over and over again at church. People love to come up to me and tell me how great he is. It doesn’t help that he is in a perceived caring profession – hospice chaplain. This is one of the many things that makes it hard to leave – if I leave, I lose my church and church friends. Please pray for me to handle the craziness and the accompanying emotions appropriately inwardly and outwardly. Just help to not let i eat me up inside and rattle me. On a positive note he has been nice lately.

Barbara Roberts, December 20, 2013 — Anon, (((hugs))). That pastor is foolish in the extreme. Inviting a man who he knows is abusive to his wife to write the Christmas Eve devotional is as stupid as inviting Hitler or Goering to present a devotional so their self esteems will improve and they might not be such murderous demagogues. That pastor needs to read Jeff C’s book and all of George Simon’s books. And that church is a heavy place for you to be in; I hope you can get away sooner rather than later. Praying for your resilience and wisdom especially the wise as serpents kind, because what you are dealing with in those two men is devilish. Losing church friends is hard, yeah, but if a friend cannot or will not walk with us in the truth when it’s tough, are they are real friend?

Barbara Roberts, December 20, 2013 — and by the way, your complaint is not petty at all. NOT AT ALL. The insult your pastor has given you is enormous. He is virtually saying that he does not believe you are being abused, or at least “it’s not that bad”.

Barnabasintraining, December 20, 2013 — But when things like this happen, it is such a shock & I was overwhelmed in the moment by anger and a sense of reality slipping away from me.

I know what this is like, especially the sense of reality slipping away. I agree with Barbara it’s not petty at all. No more petty than those first bites of fruit were petty in the garden.

I will certainly pray for you. I also know how difficult it can be to try to manage yourself in a community situation that is overwhelmingly wrong.

Jeff Crippen, December 20, 2013 — Anon, Barbara, and BIT’s comments to you are right on. Please be assured that we validate you and your observations on all of this injustice. You aren’t crazy. In fact, it sounds like you are one of the few sane ones there. The leopard cannot change it spots, even if it is asked to write a Christmas devotion. Apparently your pastor thinks otherwise. He is wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Anna In The Temple, December 26, 2013 — Anon, Barbara, and BIT’s comments to you are right on. Please be assured that we validate you and your observations on all of this injustice. You aren’t crazy. In fact, it sounds like you are one of the few sane ones there. The leopard cannot change it spots, even if it is asked to write a Christmas devotion. Apparently your pastor thinks otherwise. He is wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Barbara Roberts, December 26, 2013 — Thanks Summer.  I shall pray for tomorrow.


  1. JW

    my trouble is reading the old testament & how women were treated. I wake up in the morning and as i’m opening my eyes I feel dread about being in the old testament portion of my daily quiet time. the last two days especially I have felt sick (and weakened even). I read about the bitter water, trial by ordeal, where if the jealous husband is wrong there is no punishment for him but he’s allowed to be suspicious of his wife and she has to sit bare-breasted & drink some water with dust off the floor. must be a sick horrible HUMILIATING trial for the wife based only on his jealousy and if he’s wrong everyone leaves like, oh well… I can’t even pray because how could GOD be part of this. I can’t even pray I don’t know who GOD is anymore. why would he hate his creation like that. what did that woman go through. and other passages make me feel like crying like my best friend has betrayed me. I want to love GOD again. I want to think the bible is good and that God is good.

    • JW, I understand. BTDT myself, quite a bit, but I don’t feel that way any more. You might find it helpful to watch my Levite’s Concubine video and read these posts:

      She did not cry out while being raped, so is she guilty?

      The Bible’s view on premarital sex – is the remedy always “get married”?

      In my book Not Under Bondage [*Affiliate link] which you can find in the side bar to the right, I don’t go into a lot of detail about Numbers 5 and the trial of bitter water, but I do allude to it in passing (p. 65). I also have a whole chapter on Women’s Vows and Numbers 30, showing that if a woman is constrained to break her marriage vows by divorcing her abusive husband, the husband is the one who bears the guilt for her no longer keeping her vows. I think that points to how in the OT laws and narratives God is actually giving a lot more honour and protection to women than most people have heretofore understood.

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

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