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religious devotion as a tool to avoid abuse


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#1 curlytop

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Posted 12 November 2004 - 11:08 AM

My husband is the worship leader at our church. He abuses me verbally. It's constant and I'm at the breaking point. I've been here many, many times before. I've reached out for help and support from the pastors and counselors. Their help was to get us into marriage counseling. He wan't ever held accountable for his abuse. They just treated his abuse an a sin, and well, since we all sin, he was no worse or better than me. That was useless, so I set out to find a solution to my husband's abuse myself. I got my hand on books, tapes, and videos on marriage, roles of a wife, etc. I figuered maybe if I became holy than I wouldn't be abused any longer, or if I was abused, than I would be stengthened by my hope in the unfailing love of Christ and I would be alright. I won't slander any of the authors or speakers, but I will say that this was the "good" stuff. It was rich in gospel and really helped me. I began to see that I was not a very good wife, so I changed myself. I started to pray a lot and tried to do whatever I could to make my husband happy. He seemed very happy with my changes and for a while life was really, really good. So, I thought, it was my fault alll along. He just had a rebellious, unsubmissive wife. (This wasn't entirely true, and certainly didn't qualify me for a verbal beating.) I learned how to avoid fights or arguements by speaking with kindness and meekness; a kind of dumbing-down. At one point, I started to wear very modest clothing, and for a brief period I even wore a headcovering, so that I could pray constantly and be in a state of grace all day. I was really sick, ladies. I actually listened to what these respectible church leaders were saying and warped my mind to fit our situation. So, after some time, all of this sacrifice of mine, fails. He finds a way to abuse me and he literally breaks me down. I find myself being trapped by his words and rattlled for days and weeks after one evil sentence from his mouth. It doesn't help that he is loved at our church and most people find me odd and too fanatical in my faith. Those tapes and books didn't work. Reading the bible only made me feel worse, so I am very much a big void, a useless mass of a human being. I really have no place to turn, but here, I guess. Thanks for letting me get some of this off my chest.

#2 GuestCat_gomanngo_*

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Posted 12 November 2004 - 11:58 AM

Curly,

Welcome to this forum, I am sorry that you need it. You will get the support you need here. These women are wonderful and many are followers of Jesus Christ.

I had mentioned a book a week or so ago, but in case you didn't see that thread I would suggest you get Paul Hegstrom's book Angry Men and the Women that Love Them. Another source the article the Silent Killer of Christian Marriages (it is here some where). The more information you gather, the stronger you will feel. Keep seeking the Lord, He will reveal to you what to do and when to do it. You may need to approach the pastors of your church again, you may need to find another church. But in the mean time you have us.

Blessings, Gail

#3 LilyBlossom

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Posted 12 November 2004 - 12:20 PM

Welcome, Curlytop,

You have sort of outlined my marriage life and years-long efforts, too! I understand from personal experience what you are saying.

I echo Gomanngo's suggestions -- keep reading, learning, growing, posting here, etc.

God has a plan for your life and He will never abandon you! Don't ever forget that!

By the "end" when I was really, really exhausted, I found that I survived the days best when I took my eyes off circumstances and just praised and thanked and worshipped God whether I "felt" like it or not.

Please let us know how you are, day by day. We all care here!!

#4 BikerOK

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Posted 12 November 2004 - 04:45 PM

Hi Curlytop,
"The person that others see is not the same one we see at home."
That is a familiar chorus here. I don't know why God has allowed my stbx (soon to be X) to abuse me while professing to be a Christian man. We do have to remember that God allows free will.
It sounds to me like you have done everything "humanly" possible to save your marriage. I did much the same as you - tried submission, changing myself, etc. Now I'm in the process of learning who God created me to be. I've lost myself while trying to please the stbx.
I'm learning to focus on HIM & not pray for my marriage to be healed. Now I pray for Him to put me where HE wants me to be. He has the plan for my life & all I want is to obey HIM. It has taken distance from the stbx for me to see only God as first in my life. Pray unceasingly for HIS will to be made clear to you. Sometimes the answer is not what we are expecting.
Read "Codependent No More" by Melodie Beattie.

Blessings & prayers to you. Mary

#5 curlytop

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Posted 12 November 2004 - 06:28 PM

Read "Codependent No More" by Melodie Beattie.


You are sweet to suggest such a great book. I read that book years ago when I was a newlywed. I have read a bizzilion books on this topic and much more on marriage (I even have Dr. Laura's new book), listened to tapes of inspriation and guidance, gone to counseling, group therapy, hypnotherapy, prayer meetings, and was once hospilized for ten days for severe depression. I think marriage can be looked at like a birth. A normal, loving marriage, needs to void of anything that would compromise it. Just like a normal, natural birth, all interferance in this process can cause the birth to go wrong. My marriage and the good books are like oil and vinegar. It doesn't mix. It never will. I can't change my husband and he is the ONE thing that keeps me stuck, humiliated, hurt, defeated, sad, and alone. I'm tired of reading yet another book that tells me that my marriage sucks or I suck. Sorry for venting. It wasn't your suggestion to read that book that made me vent just now. I know you were trying to help. I just feel so helpless.

#6 Chelli

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Posted 12 November 2004 - 08:04 PM

he is the ONE thing that keeps me stuck, humiliated, hurt, defeated, sad, and alone. I'm tired of reading yet another book that tells me that my marriage sucks or I suck.


You're going to hate me for saying this, but your husband is NOT the one that is keeping you stuck. Yes, he says mean and cruel things to you KNOWING that YOU will internalize these things and believe them. That they are not true is something YOU, and only YOU can tell yourself.

My dear. You are co-dependent. That does NOT mean that you suck. It means that you have low self esteem and rely on other people to give you permission to feel good about yourself. Please read the information on Dr. Doc's site regarding Co-dependence. Co-Dependence is NOT a dirty word. It's the reason most of us are here HELPING one another to move from being co-dependent to interdependence.

The ONLY person that can fix the pain you feel and help you feel interdependent is YOU. The only person that can restore your self esteem is YOU. You will have to learn to dis-engage from your husband and stop believing the terrible things he says to you. One way to do that is to read the book. Or attend a Co-dependents Anonymous or AL-anon group to learn to recognize co-dependent behavior and how to stop it.

Hang in there. Post here. Read, ponder, pray and post some more. This is one of the safest places that you can be to get in touch with you.

Chelli

#7 curlytop

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Posted 12 November 2004 - 09:46 PM

he is the ONE thing that keeps me stuck, humiliated, hurt, defeated, sad, and alone. I'm tired of reading yet another book that tells me that my marriage sucks or I suck.


You're going to hate me for saying this, but your husband is NOT the one that is keeping you stuck. Yes, he says mean and cruel things to you KNOWING that YOU will internalize these things and believe them. That they are not true is something YOU, and only YOU can tell yourself.

My dear. You are co-dependent. That does NOT mean that you suck. It means that you have low self esteem and rely on other people to give you permission to feel good about yourself. Please read the information on Dr. Doc's site regarding Co-dependence. Co-Dependence is NOT a dirty word. It's the reason most of us are here HELPING one another to move from being co-dependent to interdependence.

The ONLY person that can fix the pain you feel and help you feel interdependent is YOU. The only person that can restore your self esteem is YOU. You will have to learn to dis-engage from your husband and stop believing the terrible things he says to you. One way to do that is to read the book. Or attend a Co-dependents Anonymous or AL-anon group to learn to recognize co-dependent behavior and how to stop it.

Hang in there. Post here. Read, ponder, pray and post some more. This is one of the safest places that you can be to get in touch with you.

Chelli

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

No, I don't hate you. Loving people are the ones who can tell the ugliest of truths. So, I thank you for your honesty. Thank you for your belief in my strength and ability. It's nice to know that someone believes in me, even when I don't. You give me hope.

#8 LilyBlossom

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Posted 13 November 2004 - 07:38 PM

Dear Curlytop,

I'l been thinking about and praying for you.

This afternoon, I came back and reread your thread. I think I truly did miss your main point -- that you have found that all of these "good books" (even the Bible), fixing yourself according to their suggestions, trying, trying, trying, etc. are all like "oil and vinegar" because they don't mix "with your marriage," such as it is.

I understood that point when I first read it but I don't think I responded "correctly" to it.

What I have been thinking about were the YEARS AND YEARS AND YEARS of reading "good" Christian self-help books, even the Bible, learning, learning, growing, growing, changing my own personality to accommodate what my then H wanted, talking to counselors and pastors and more counselors and pastors, all while being true to my own Christian ethics, etc. etc., etc.

Yet, the reality (which I couldn't see) was that those very good activities (for a normal marriage relationship) led me to what were YEARS AND YEARS AND YEARS of living in misery, confusion, periodic terror, thousands of nights and days spent in worthless (yes, worthless) tears and emotional pain and .....and....and.... you know personally so I don't have to go on.

Yes, indeed, like oil and vinegar (I usually say oil and water) these things didn't mix!

Looking back, I realize that it was GOD HIMSELF, not any "learning" I had done, that released me from this EVIL (yes, evil) bondage when I abandoned everything except praising and thanking HIM no matter what the awful circumstances were (all behind closed doors, hidden from others.)

Actually, I realize today that really "nothing" from the 3D world had contributed to my being finally able to HEAR God's still, small voice speaking to me (He even called me by name outloud!) It was just my desire to do what GOD was telling me to do through His Word -- Praise and Thank Him!! I obeyed HIM and He answered!

That is not to say that I haven't gained MUCH from this board's postings and from the beautiful people who have written them. I have!! I have even regained self-esteem, self-confidence, and received needed "earthly" affirmations of my choices from the books I continue to read.

But, ultimately, I have mostly learned that I need to keep my eyes on Jesus only or I can easily fall into other "evil" choices stemming from my co-dependency -- like letting a narcissistic, abusive woman share my home for a few miserable weeks!!!!

I even praise and thank God for that recent 7 week rental experience, though!! I learned that I can recognize "evil" -- even if it took me 3 weeks this time! (At least it wasn't over 40 years as before!!) And I only "hurt" myself (and probably her) by enabling the renter to leave her stuff here for 4 more miserable, complicated and confusing weeks although I had "heard" God telling me to allow her to suffer her own consequences for her actions and behaviors at the time I asked her to leave
! I disobeyed (thinking I was doing the loving thing) and suffered the consequences of my own choice! I also let my own worries about what SHE might think of my Christianity if I did not allow her to keep her things here!!

I hope you don't care that I make this post longer by telling you that two of my neighbors told me TODAY that they ADMIRED me for "kicking her out" -- and they won't have to worry about me anymore!!!

I was stunned when they also assured me that I don't have to worry about MY reputation at all because the renter's reputation was already known. What she did to me she has done to many others!! They had been SICK -- 7 weeks ago -- to learn that I let her move and they didn't know how to warn me!!

Yep, I'm going to listen to GOD -- and GOD alone -- from now on!! He is faithful to His promises as well as being the Way, the Truth, and the Life!

I'll bet you are learning the same lessons, right?!

Love and blessings!!

#9 Anaiis

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Posted 15 November 2004 - 02:45 AM

Dear Curly,

Has your husband ever been jealous of your relationship with Jesus?

Has he been drawing off of your spiritual strength?

Does he want you exclusively for himself? If he isn't getting enough love, you can't love anyone else (including your children?)

I believe that you will not get help from your pastor. You need an DV expert, a Christian if you can find one, but not a Christian that is not an expert. (If you have cancer find a Christian cancer doc, but if there is none, go to a non- Christian doc who specializes in cancer. ) Same here.

The three things above are gross, criminal sins! You need special professional help! One last question for you: If your husband had the PERFECT wife, would he be happy?

She would be writing to Dr. Doc's site now too!

Patricia Evans, The Verbally Abusive Relationship is the book which caused the scales to fall off my eyes.

Lord,
Please be with Curlytop as she faces the most shocking revelation of her life, how an abuser really is! Be with her and let her know that you have been hearing her all along and are now bringing her the answers to her cries! Give her a sister in You who has gone through this already and an expert therapist I pray. Release her to be free to be with you in Your good and holy presence and not in oppresion. Gaurd her from evil. Save her again and bring her out of danger! Give her understanding so she may act as is appropriate to the situations she faces today. Help her to know what to do next so she need not go looking for others to confirm her truth in You! At the same time give her loving, gentle support and the validation of her experiences which can be so strengthening! You are Good. You promise that ALL THINGS work together for good to those who love You. It is obvious to me that she loves You! Have mercy to save Lord Jesus. We know Your name and we know You and we know whose we are. As Curlytop looks at You may she see reflected back who You see her to be and believe this! And STAND on this as a firm foundation amidst a seething tumultuous sea of sin! Her sin need not interfere with this promise. You are the one who is made to deal with sin, not any of us! Thank You and we Praise You for what You have DONE COMPLETELY ALREADY! Glorify Your name on the earth!

#10 curlytop

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Posted 16 November 2004 - 01:20 AM

The definition of JEALOUS:
"Fearful or wary of being supplanted; apprehensive of losing affection or position.
Resentful or bitter in rivalry; envious: jealous of the success of others.
Inclined to suspect rivalry.
Having to do with or arising from feelings of envy, apprehension, or bitterness: jealous thoughts.
Vigilant in guarding something: We are jealous of our good name.
Intolerant of disloyalty or infidelity; autocratic: a jealous God."

I needed to read what jealous really means, and yes, I can say that is is. He is always fearful of me "knowing more than him." He is always using our past seperations as fuel to keep me summited to him and for him to use my devotion of God against me (envy, bitterness). He says to me all the time, "If you love God, then you wouldn't bring accusations against me that are not true or not loving." (Intolerant of disloyalty)

Yes, he most certainly draws off my spiritual strength. Yet, mostly I feel like I am sucked dry of all my need for God and the only thing that keeps me focused of God is how to make myself a better wife. :(

Maybe he does what me all to himself. Maybe it's the position I put myself into. I don't have any close friends, although I am working on that. The friends I do make he forgets their names, or isn't really interested in. I sometimes feel like not connecting with the kids when he is home becaue I feel it is abnormal. He doesn't connect like I want to or do during the day, so I fell a bit resentful of my own children at times. Yuk!




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