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Doc@DrIrene.com

Comments for Verbal Abuse and the Church

Comments for Verbal Abuse and the Church

Material posted here is intended for educational purposes only, and must not be considered a substitute for informed advice from your own health care provider.

Courtesy of Dr. Irene Matiatos   Copyrightę 2000. The material on this website may be distributed freely for non-commercial or educational purposes provided that author credit is given. For commercial distribution, please contact the author at Doc@drirene.com

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, August 20, 2000

S1

My husband had my whole family fooled by his sincere, earnest and eloquent display of the "loving husband". He even had me convinced for 15 years that I was the only one with the problem because he was such a "nice guy". My family, after eventually witnessing the truth, stopped believing him and stopped listening to him completely. When we would fight, he would call my mother or sister to "fix me". When he no longer could call them to shoulder the responsibility of our troubled marriage he resorted to outside sources. Complete strangers would believe him. He had their immediate support and believed that "that poor, nice man" was married to an irrational lunatic. When he was angry at me he would go to our business (a bar) and tell all these people the most intimate details about me. These details he would distort to his advantage. He is so convincing that it terrifies me. I could easily play that same sick game. It would be just as easy for me to make inferences or statements that would attack his character, but what would that say about me or my children? 

Anyway, he started these "public humiliation games" in order to create hostility in our business and push me out. The business is half mine and he knew that I was on the verge of leaving him. He wanted to make sure that he could somehow hang onto our business himself in the event I should divorce him. I subsequently did file for divorce and the public humiliation escalated. When I would enter the business he would immediately begin harassing me hoping to push the right buttons to get me to fly into a rage. I knew that my rage was the only flaw I had that he could use. Once he had me reacting the way he wanted, he had witnesses who would see only my irrational behavior and not have a clue as to what I was responding to. I knew he had me and that I HAD TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT MY OUTBURSTS. :) I couldn't let him do this anymore. I couldn't allow myself to fall into his trap. I was destroying myself. Although I never talked about our personal life to the people in the bar, I had to set the record straight somehow. But how? Explaining myself and my private business to strangers? Impossible. 

The only way I could make a public statement without speaking a word was by continuing with the divorce. So, everyone knew that I was divorcing him. He had everyone believing that I was crazy, yet, he didn't want to get a divorce, I DID! He maintained that he was the victim, but I was the one who was leaving him! THIS SPOKE VOLUMES. He lost at least 25 pounds during the six months of being separated. Everyone could SEE that. Subsequently, I felt forced to reconcile with him. He was telling our 3 children that we would have to sell our home. They were in tears. I couldn't put them through anymore. I had to let go of my ego. This was the most difficult thing I had ever done in my life. I had no love or respect for him anymore. The hostility he perpetuated by assassinating my character to strangers was overwhelming. But I put my feelings aside. I have no control over what people think. I maintain my dignity by continuing as the good person that I am. Others can see this. It takes time for the truth to prevail. I no longer allow him to provoke me. I remain in my adult ego state when dealing with him. He has been treating me like a goddess. That is the only treatment I will accept from now on. I am in the process of balancing the power in our household. He understands that this is the only way I'll remain married to him. But if he ever, ever tries to humiliate me in public again, I will leave him. 

He still does not believe that he is abusive. But you can't convince a monster he's a monster if he won't look in the mirror. Once I have established myself financially, I still may leave him. It depends on his willingness to recognize the destruction he's caused. And on his willingness to accept at least half of the responsibility for our troubled marriage. He is 18 years older than me. At this point, I still have time on my side. And I'm not about to waste another minute in a relationship devoid of equality. At times I still feel extremely mortified by all of this. I am aware of some of the things he has said to people but I'm certain that there are some things he has said that I know nothing about. I can't even begin to imagine what these things might be. But I can't let it get to me. I must concentrate on the things I have control over. I now have control over myself. That's number one. He'll never again push me into a public display of irrational behavior. The biggest step for me was to finally admit to myself that he was/is abusive. I now know the nature of the beast I'm dealing with. And if I can keep my own "beast" in check, that's more than half the battle! Cynthia Yes. The "beast" is that part of us that chooses to compromise our own integrity...

 B1: Submit
Date: Monday, August 21, 2000

S1

Dr. Irene,

I feel very fortunate to be able to tell you that I have had the exact OPPOSITE experience.

The official position of my church's denomination is something like this: "Although divorce is never the desired outcome of marriage, at times it is the best solution for all parties."

A stronger relationship with God has been a vital part of my growth and recovery this last year. The church I attend does not have the rigid Biblical interpretations of the church I grew up in. Because I came from a more rigid religious upbringing, I wanted to know a little bit more about what circumstances the church would consider divorce to be an acceptable solution for all involved. I decided to again speak to my minister, because I felt that some of my reluctance may be mixed feelings about the religious aspects of marriage.

 

My ministers response was along these lines:

He said he had to answer the question by starting with what he believes is God's plan for what marriage is supposed to be.

Marriage is NOT about obligations, commitments, promises or vows, even though these are the things we talk about in a marriage ceremony (which by the way does not appear in the Bible.) Marriage is about a covenant relationship between two people. And not in the sense of defining a covenant as a contract, which are all of the things that we talk about in the ceremony. Because if this was the only foundation of what a marriage is, if you ever broke a promise in a marriage, the marriage would be over. And some marriages come out of broken promises stronger.

Obligations, commitment, promises and vows are ways of describing a covenant relationship, but miss the essence of what a covenant relationship is. A covenant relationship between a husband and wife, like an individual's relationship with God, is supposed to be a recipricol relationship based on the genuine desire for the growth and well being of both parties in the relationship. A covenant relationship can be thought of as a triune relationship with three entities- each individual and the relationship. The three entities interplay and affect each other but remain distinct.

This does not mean that a marriage based on a covenant relationship will not be without struggles, anger, grief, hurt or broken promises or commitments. But that these things take place in the context of a relationship that is based on the well being of both parties. If this covenant relationship does not exist then it isn't really a marriage as God intended marriage to be.

In this context, we discussed some of the Bible verses discussing marriage and why the church believes divorce is not the desired outcome, but sometimes the best solution. And that God is a loving and forgiving, and would forgive anybody that sought one, even if it is not the desired outcome of marriage. He also pointed out that Jesus' instruction on divorce in the New Testament was to men, not to women, so it probably didn't apply to me anyway!

My minister said his personal belief is that any relationship in which the premise of the relationship is one party domineering the other (any kind of abusive relationship) is probably not a covenant relationship. And that unless the abusive partner has a real commitment to real growth and change as an individual (not just for the relationship, although that might be the start of the journey) divorce could very likely be the best option, because without the abusive partner's real conviction to growing beyond his need to dominate, there would likely never be a covenant relationship that would build and strengthen BOTH parties in the marriage. God didn't intend for marriage to benefit just one.

This overall perspective was a really enlightening one for me, because I am sure that one part of what is keeping me in the relationship are my beliefs about meeting the obligations, commitments, promises and vows. It certainly isn't the covenant relationship, because not only do we not have one, I don't think my spouse is capable of having one. Wow! Smart minister...

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, August 21, 2000

S1

When you look at the history of the church, and realize how patriarchal it has been for centuries, the reaction of clergy should come as no surprise. Not too long ago abused women were burnt as "witches" in the name of religion. Ouchhh!

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, August 21, 2000

S1

This has happened to most of the women I know who went to the church for support. It happened to me too.

I was watching a minister on church yesterday talking about unconditional love and I was waiting for him to say something about staying with your husband/partner no matter what. To my surprise and delight, he said God does not expect us to stay in an abusive situation - get out - unconditional love must sometimes be from a distance.

I think I wouldn't have been so confused by this issue if I had heard this earlier. I stayed because I felt God had given me this task to help this person and I had an obligation. I've learned that I first need to love myself, and that staying is only enabling if the other person isn't willing to take responsibility for their own behavior.

Great post.

Thanks, Suzanne   Thank you.

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, August 21, 2000

S1

Victor's Views:

1. The same happens to husbands.

2. Of course most pastors are not trained in this issue.

3. Even trained professionals miss some clues, such as personality disorders.

4. The subtle EMOTIONAL abuse by one of the partners is seldom taken into consideration.

Yes Victor. I suspect it's even worse for husbands...

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, August 21, 2000

S1

Probably more men than women were burned by the Church as well, in the name of religion, though it was only a fraction of those killed for other, purely secular reasons. All this had far more to do with the cruelty of the times, thanks to the harsh conditions people lived in, than religion. 

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, August 21, 2000

S1

I went to my church for assistance. It was very disappointing and frustrating. I've been married for ten years. One year ago I filed for a divorce because my husband was being verbally and physically abusive. Because he was so pathetic and persistent and because I really was overwhelmed by the prospect of divorce, I decided to reconcile. We went to church counseling where I told the social worker that I didn't love him anymore. She told me that to serve was to love and that if I served him I would love him again. She also told me that if I had an attitude of pessimism then it wouldn't work. This all made sense to me if both parties are doing their best to work together. Yes. But I knew that wouldn't be the case. Not in abuse. My husband pulled the wool over her eyes, my Bishop's eyes and anyone else who I talked to about our problems with his knowledge. I was so frustrated by my experience with the church because I felt like it was my responsibility to "save" my husband. 

I am planning on leaving him again as soon as I can get a job. I have three kids at home. I don't even want to tell him until I am ready because he is so controlling and threatening and I don't want to leave. I want to kick him out this time. I'm tired of having to pick up and move my children around the country. He will make my life a living hell though. Any advice you have would be appreciated. Thanks, Angela  I think you are on track Angela. Good luck...

 

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, August 21, 2000

S1

Hi,

I am a Christian, and I understand the problems that go on in church. Abuse seems to be swept into the closet, or under the carpet and it is very sad. I too fell victim to this and it tripped me up for a year or so. Please first of all know that we can submit ourselves to our husbands, but they too are held accountable to submitting to God. They are to love us as Christ loves the church. We also are to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, but remember, we must love "ourselves" before we can even know how to love our neighbors. We are to walk with integrity, but to do that we must learn how to!  Yes...

I am divorced, and that's OK. I was very sad my marriage had to end, but I know God forgives me for my shortcomings, and has helped me become a better woman, one who can walk with integrity and one who can love herself along with others. I remember falling victim to the verse, to always be at peace with each other. I thought that meant me being a doormat, being verbally and physically abused by my husband. Praise God I was wrong! We are to make peace "If possible", just like clapping takes two hands, making peace takes two people, in agreement, and sometimes people don't want to make that effort. I would say to you to be strong, and educate yourself fully on abuse. Knowledge is power, self-empowering. Our bodies are a living sacrifice to the Lord, and a temple of His Holy Spirit in which we are to take really really good care of.  

My church is getting together a group for divorce recovery, and I am praying to be a part of it because I know there are some sad souls that need help like I too needed. I am not saying this for you to get a divorce, but for you to know not to make any decisions based on guilt feelings, because condemnation doesn't come from God.

God Bless, CLC  You too CLC. 

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, August 21, 2000

S1

Oh yes that sounds like me. My husband used to say if I did as he said he wouldn't get so angry. That I was not being a good wife. Everything revolved around him. I had deep depression and was very much beat down. I always thought it was my fault. I thought if I could be a better lover, looked prettier, got a better job, he would love me and not have to flirt with all the other woman. He always accused me of being jealous. That they were just friends. But he had so many. He always had a way of manipulating the circumstances that I was felt I was wrong to ask if something was bothering me. I was not allowed to ask about other woman. Eventually I became a zombie. I was a maid and at his disposal. I had no feelings and no opinions. You see I couldn't ever voice my opinion, what do I know. I used to think all of my friends like him more than me. After I left I was surprised how many people noticed his controlling behavior. They always felt sorry for me.  But no more!

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, August 21, 2000

S1

When I went to the priest, I am happy that I went alone. I did not bring my husband because I went there for me and felt that the priest did not have the "background" in verbal abuse to "catch on" to what was happening. I told him my side and asked what he would suggest. He is an old time, very rigid priest and he told me "When the marriage is dangerous to your well being and compromises your soul, then you have every right to leave the situation. You should try to reconcile the marriage if you can but sometimes it is better to remain separated." Wow! Old school, new school - this is plain common sense... With this advise I did leave my husband. Unfortunately sometimes clergy as well as many therapist have not a clue what they are dealing with and can cause the codependent person to remain in a abusive relationship with more added guilt.

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, August 21, 2000

S1

A few comments on this subject:

I have an aunt who used to be one of the most self-sufficient women I know. She educated herself through massive reading, raised a son alone and took care of sick parents until they died. Now she's been remarried for the past 15 years in a VERY unhappy marriage. She became a Christian about that many years ago and insists that "she can't leave the relationship because God says that he is against divorce". She is a changed woman - miserable, uptight and defensive. I used to love her company and now I can't bear to be in her presence as I feel like I have to measure every word and I'm walking on eggshells. I used to confide in her like my good friend and could talk to her about ANYTHING. I told her a few weeks ago that I was seeking therapy because of the recent death of my father and some past abuse issues. She flipped out at me and said "if you want a therapist, talk to God"! I was mortified. I think she is in big time denial of her own codependency issues and her continued use of God as an excuse for her own lack of inner reflection is NONSENSE! I'm so sorry...

 Likewise, I told her that I couldn't believe she yelled at me in the middle of the restaurant because I had the strength to soul search and make some personal improvements through therapy (I secretly thought it was more than she would have the strength to do, so who was she yelling at?) So, yes, religion can be used as an excuse to tolerate unwanted behaviors...then people don't have to take a look at themselves. A note to the first post...it hit home when you said that your husband would call your family when you argued so he could tell them what a sick person you were! My ex-boyfriend called my mother every time we had a disagreement to try to get her to side with him, telling her how hard he was trying and he could just "never please her daughter". Yuk yuk yuk! What a horribly manipulative technique. And to get to the closest people you know to get them to help in their brainwashing efforts! My mom would then call me after having her sympathy played on and have me reconsider my anger at him as he was only "trying to do his best". It only lasted until she caught his number if you know what I mean. The sad thing is that at first this is mis-represented as such big concern on the abuser's part as they act like they care so much about the relationship. Meanwhile, they are just skirting their own responsibility again!

LHW      

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, August 21, 2000

S1

This happened to me so many times that even I was beginning to think I was imagining things. My ex had affairs, that in itself was not a good thing. More to the point, we reconciled but I did know everything that happened while he was gone. Who they were, things they did. When we agreed to reconcile we agreed to not bring the places and things he did with them up. It just lead to bad feelings, pain and upset. For me, not him.

This was a mutual agreement. We both did want to work through issues and make our relationship better. Learn from mistakes and move on. He was great with all of this when we were alone but sometimes we'd be with another couple, or at a party together and when I'd be standing there, he'd start telling these people in wonderful detail about this place he went and all the wonderful memories it brought back to him when he thought of it. Of course the people would be enraptured with this wonderful story and I'd be getting more and more furious because I knew and he knew that the story he was telling was about him and this other woman and the wonderful warm memory was between them. So then, do I interrupt him at the supper table, for example and say.. quit telling that story, making me look like a moron because the other people want to hear the story, or do I pretend I don't know he's telling this story (leaving out the part that he was actually there with another woman) and just go along with it? I just couldn't find the right answer for this. After we'd be going home, I'd ask him why he did this knowing I was being held captive to listen to him talk about his excursions with someone else. Of course his answer would be to get angry and that he hadn't even thought of the other woman he was just telling about his adventure.

Crazymaking behaviour. All I can say is "thank God" he left and I have the chance to re-build my life with someone who has more honor and respect for my life and feelings. Life is too short for this kind of dis-respect and covert abuse.  Amen!

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, August 21, 2000

S1

what if the abuser is the clergy? Sometimes abusers are shrinks...  Abuse is an equal opportunity employer.

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, August 21, 2000

S1

You are absolutely right on! I went to my minister to ask advice and for prayers about my marriage of 17 years. The minister had been involved in a bible study with my husband and "the Other Woman" when I brought the adulteress affair to his attention. He said, "I thought something was not quite right when you were not involved with the study also but I didn't want to start any trouble for him because I know he is having trouble with his business and with you in counseling - I thought my suspicions would be taken out of context."

The minister had been told that I was acting crazy and crying all the time and making something out of nothing -- because I was the one who went to a counselor. We lost our home to foreclosure, his company went bankrupt, and I lost him to the "Other Woman"--the church was absolutely no help and no comfort to me even when I specifically asked for prayers. The Elders of the church presented me with a book that on the first page stated that Divorce was a sin. My counselor helped me see how inadequate the minister and Elders were in dealing with the situation and that I was the one who needed to "find my own power" and stop being the "codependent love addict." Recovery is a journey and I am taking it one step at a time. Yes. And, it sounds like you "got it."  Keep up the good work.

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, August 21, 2000

S1

Dear Dr. Irene, I would like to say that I love this site! I think that the advice you give is centered and thoughtful. I have had my own experience with this issue. I posted this on the Christian Yak board about a month ago.  Thank you.

My husband and I began biblical counseling at our church in early November 1999. We started counseling because when he had walked out on the kids and I two weeks before, I said that I wouldn't take him back unless we made an effort to put God back into our lives. When we began counseling, it was like a flood of emotions took over my body. I couldn't stop crying during the sessions. My husband would just sit there, staring at the floor, very quiet. I would emotionally break down. I really liked the counselor we had because she seemed to know what to say to me, for me. I felt that she had great advice to give for me, as a person, but not to us as a couple. Doesn't make sense, huh? Actually, it does. However, I am still stuck on one point she impressed upon (which I didn't agree with): She stated to me that NO MATTER what my husband said to me that if he wanted to be intimate with me i.e. hug me, kiss me, hold me, or make love to me; I was to submit to him. Yuk! I'm having a very hard time understanding how a therapist can say that....

I just can't see myself making love to someone who is calling me names and making me feel lower than dirt. Does anyone out there think she is right???? It doesn't matter who does. You don't. Trust the body God gave you!

I received various responses and support from the other posters. Becky is one who I really identify with. Then again, maybe just the manner in which she expresses herself and her experiences with her SO grazes my nerves. The way she expresses her feelings validates the feelings that I have experienced and continue to experience. Not a good or bad thing just an observance. Keep observing, as in "know thyself." Good stuff.

I made the following response:

My husband and I attended biblical counseling once a week from 11/99 to 3/00. We quit because I suggested that we were "cured" and that we should start taking marriage classes (individual improvement) instead of counseling (couples). 

I did this because of several reasons.

Primarily, as you all have pointed out to me :o), I realized that this counselor was, in her effort to help us, was making the situation worse. We were becoming better at practicing the patterns of conflict that had brought us to see her in the first place. This aspect of couples counseling has been discussed on both boards many times, so I won't get into that here. :(

The second reason was because of the "argument" that has commenced in this message thread about translation. You know, in my inexperience, I find that everyone has his or her version of literal and contextual translation of the bible and they use it every time it suits their need to be righteous. Even if someone has good intentions to minister to a fellow Christian with verses from the Bible. I know, I have done this very thing myself. I minister to someone thinking that I am saying all of the right things and quoting the right scripture. The good thing is that at least we try. At least we are trying to give a piece of Jesus' love to someone. What discourages me is when the Word of God is used to discount, demean, invalidate or abuse.  

I am not trying to generalize or stereotype Christians or translation. I am not trying to offend anyone or accuse any one of misinterpreting the bible. I am merely stating that in arguing about how the Greeks and the Hebrews and Americans have made this version or that version (which ever is better, so be it) of the bible.

TOOK AWAY FROM THE REAL PROBLEM.....my marriage/the abuse issue.

My husband would "take sides" with our counselor when I would ask about a certain translation of a verse. Namely, verses regarding submission. After counseling he would yell at me for even asking the counselor about the meanings of verses and how they should apply to my life! Can you believe that? I thought that is what I was there for! I thought that I was there to ask, to learn, to apply God's word to my life... Maybe it was me. Maybe I should not have asked those questions. I don't know. I think you do know...

I learned a few things by this experience and I appreciate your feedback!

Take care @~>~~

May God give you all the wisdom and strength to keep on.

-Monica  And you too Monica. Your head is nicely screwed on. My feedback: I respect your common sense and wisdom... 

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, August 21, 2000

S1

I would suspect this will become a greater problem, since the Southern Baptists have determined that a wife must "follow her husband's servant leadership" (whatever THAT means). Of course, those folks supported slavery, too. Consider the source. :(

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, August 21, 2000

S1

Dear Dr. Irene, When I tried to submit my letter I didn't think it posted because a screen came up saying that the connection timed out. My letter is posted 3 times! Ooops! I'm so embarrassed! Can you delete them? Please? Cynthia  Happens all the time Cynthia. Don't worry; it's all history...

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, August 21, 2000

S1

My mother has spent all of her "happily" married 25 years in this type of a relationship. There are 5 children in our family, I am the eldest and we have all been exposed to our father's verbal abuse and our mum's hysterics since young. My father is Protestant, mum Catholic. She has always been shy, insecure and passive and unfortunately also now deals with the guilt of her hysterics over the past 25 years. In my angst at dealing with this in my late teens/early twenties I have tried to discuss their relationship with them, and expressed distress in trying to see them as good role models.

Communication is not a forte in our household. When trying to open conversation I am told I think too much.

The daughter of. The good news is you get to structure your own life now! Make it the way you want it to be!

 

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, August 22, 2000

S1

Many years ago my first husband and I attended a church whose minister told the congregation that the wife is to submit to her husband and that if her husband is doing wrong, she doesn't have to worry because HE will answer to God. (I'm paraphrasing). Another church "leader" said that if the husband wants sex, he should tell his wife to "get in the bedroom and get ready." In other words, he gets what he wants, no matter how she feels. And this was NOT a typical fundamentalist church, either. In fact, most of the members had broken away from those kinds of churches to form this one! (My ex and I didn't buy this line of you-know-what, by the way)!

I understand the confusion of those of us who want to be true to our convictions, and who place a lot of importance on seeking God's leading. Complicating matters for me is that I feel my first divorce could have been avoided had we both had the smarts and the tools to handle our problems--we had had a lot of good years. I feel guilty about that, and I feel guilty about getting myself into this situation. In my more "insane" moments, I feel that I'm getting what I deserve, and I have to serve out my sentence. My religious upbringing plays a part in this, and I am really working hard at getting a balanced perspective that reflects my desire to honor God and myself. I wonder: if I am not honoring myself, how can I be honoring God? But how can I be sure that it's honoring in the true and pure sense, and not just selfishness? Ask the Big Guy for guidance; be honest with yourself; take in the information offered you; recognize the difference between selfish and self-caring.... i.e., caring for the body and mind that He created that were were gifted to you to care for. I don't think it's that hard.... It's just too easy to become confused when not guided from within. At least, that's my opinion.

Becky 

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, August 23, 2000

S1

Dr. Irene, I stayed in a soul killing marriage for 16 months because the church, my Sunday school teacher who also did our premarital counseling said, "God is making you more into the image of Christ." The week we returned from our honeymoon I put on a beautiful night gown and kissed my new bridegroom on the cheek He immediately went into a rage saying, "You are fat, wrinkled and you disgust me. Get out of my house. I have made a terrible mistake." The rage went on and I called our Sunday School teacher who was also a lawyer who did not believe in divorce. He said, "E is going through a big transition. Pray for him. It would be better if you did not get anyone else involved in this. Our goal is to become more Christ like. He uses these trials to make us more like Jesus." I was on my knees all night that first night crying, "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ lives in me." E's abuse continued. He didn't want to sleep with me so I slept in the extra bedroom. He kept kicking me out and going into rages. He talked suicide and guns. Your husband probably had a chemical imbalance... Yet we went to church 3 or 4 times a weeks. In church he was quiet and holy acting. He took every dime I made and kicked me out on a regular basis with no money. I was bond believing if I left I would be committing a terrible sin against God. E's prayer was scripted and his life was filled with rituals and rules. I was a slave. It was not until I went to a Psychiatrist from our church that the light was turned on. He asked, "If you are a submissive wife and your husband kicks you out what do you do." He also said, "If you stay around when he is in a rage are you helping or hurting him if he hurts you?" I had a prayer partner whose husband was the head of Family Ministries. They did not believe in divorce. But as they watched my spirit die, they began to encourage me to leave. The church is blind. They have been deceived just as we were deceived into marrying our abuser. I thought I had married a holy, Godly man. I was deceived and they were deceived. We as women of God must speak out and tell them. There are wolves in sheep clothing and God does not expect us to stay with them. We are mortal; therefore we make mistakes. All of us. I'm glad you are OK now. But, the Big Guy did give you that psychiatrist - because you sought him out. (Remember that good stuff about those who help themselves?)

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, August 23, 2000

S1

Dr. Irene, I am in the midst of a roller coaster that I used to call a loving marriage. I am the youngest daughter of a former Pastor. I have been married for nearly 6 years. [Forgive the disjointedness of this post, please. Sure!] In November of last year an argument led me to an epiphany of sorts that I don't want this type of treatment. The argument involved a pushing. No hitting, no slapping, more pushing really. Physical abuse. But I have been separated from my husband [though not legally] since Easter of this year. We live in the same town. Now for my comments. Being raised in a Christian family, I struggled with how I felt and what should be done. Was what I felt justified? Was I right to be hurt and angry both with myself and him? I am far from a theologian, but if you feel hurt and angry, I think you have a right to feel hurt and angry! (It's what you do with your hurt and anger that concerns me most.)

Was I wrong to expect him to forgive me for the financial hardships I had imposed upon us? I don't know. Was I wrong to want my husband to find something positive about me? Not right or wrong, but if his positivism is not forthcoming, why knock your head against a wall? So many questions....so few answers. I attempted to seek answers in my own way. That didn't work. My husband was a STRONG advocate of counseling, so I agreed. In the process, I talked to my parents about things. Amazingly, it was my father that said something that stuck with me. He told me that he didn't like Divorce, but if I tried and my husband refused to even be positive about what he loved about me....then I had tried. Never have I been this close to a decision to divorce my husband. I simply would not entertain the idea. However, my CHRISTIAN family and CHRISTIAN friends have gently told me that their opinion of me will be no less if I am no longer married to this man for what may not [before] have been obvious reasons. People's opinions of you don't really matter... I suppose that it would have been easier if there had been affairs or blatant physical abuse....but I am faced with the fact that there was abuse, no matter what my husband says. While many pastors would have encouraged me to "save" her marriage, God knew what went on behind closed doors. I have realized that I am not insane... I didn't make this stuff up because I wanted out..... I didn't do anything bad enough for this! I am slowly [with the help of God, Family, and Friends...and counselors] realizing that I have a RIGHT to be happy and well-treated. YES! A RIGHT and, I think, obligation to your Maker to insist you be well-treated!

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, August 23, 2000

S1

Dear Dr. Irene,

I didn't realize until recently that what I was experiencing the last 4 yrs. of my 18 yr. marriage was verbal abuse. Looking back over the years it was always there, just not to the extreme of recent years. My husband, 2 years ago, went through the motions, it was actually his idea to see our priest. A ploy, as I had just kicked him out. He doesn't remember threatening to kill me, the kids & himself. Ouchhh... I saw our priest the day after my husband. He saw what a miserable life I was & still am living. He didn't suggest that I leave or stay, he did say, " God, gave us this life to live & he wants you to be happy in it". My husband said his problem was alcohol. I didn't see him drink, but says he was consuming a 12 pack a day. He quit drinking for 3 months. It's not the alcohol per se. The alcohol abuse is the symptom. It is the underlying personality disorder he needs to correct (loose translation: loss of soul; loss of integrity). Quitting is a critical step in the right direction; no more.

Well, I like many women, have wasted too much time on the roller coaster ride. always getting sucked into his kindness & hope makes us believe.

Last April it took all I had to file for Divorce. Of course he begged, wouldn't give me any peace, went to the Dr., went to AA, said he knows his problem is alcohol. He got on the prescription for antabuse & an anti-depressant. Good start! But he needs therapy and real motivation as well. Unfortunately I gave him yet another chance. I completely opened up to him, forgave & try to forget. Well, it took him 2 months & still sober... We took the day off work together. We were suppose to go to brunch & then for a hike along the river. Well, we barely got a mile from the house. I was excited & happy when he found something wrong with something I said and proceeded to scream at me. Half way to our destination I got out of the truck at an intersection. That was after he threw whatever he could find at me in the truck. Well, I closed back up...big time. Here I am again, just biding my time, dying inside w/no money. 

Another sober day for him he asked how my morning was going, "How do you feel?" When I actually disclosed how I felt, which was sad, frustrated....(he doesn't seem to know HE is the cause of my pain) I got screamed at over the phone, hung up on, called back & hung up on again. Not OK. You must pull away for the sake of your self. I have since read that alcohol does not cause the abuse. It simply increases the frequency. The abuser feels freer to be abusive while under the influence. Yes. No one on the out side could ever imagine my husband the way I see him. He is so charming to everyone else. And, I am such a fool for still being here, so many excuses I have, I'm ashamed of myself. Stop with the shame. Abusive individuals fool many people. Just do what you have to do to care for your self.

Julie

 

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Date: Thursday, August 24, 2000

S1

Dear Dr. Irene,

Ah...I know the feeling all too well. I have been in and out of Pastor's offices during the course of my 17 year abusive marriage and I have found out that the biggest problem with a Pastors advise is when he gives it...he generally does not know the whole story. My husband, who was very abusive, and a very controlling man never 'let' me tell the counseling Pastor the whole story. My husband was verbally, physically, mentally emotionally abusing me, and my three children. My husband instructed me on the 'points' he would allow me to discuss...he left out the 'little things' such as his pornography addiction, sexual abuse of me (which he never saw as sexual abuse...he felt he had the right to what ever sort of sex he desired whenever he wanted and however many times a day he wanted it...) he viewed these 'little things' as personal...thus the Pastor never knew about it...and if the Pastor called him on too much of his abusive behavior...my husband would just take it out on me and have us attend a new Church. 

The kicker was, when God finally got me out of this mess, and I contacted the police, had a restraining order placed against my husband, so I could safely leave with my three kids, I felt I would get sympathy from the Church. Not SO! My Pastor made me feel like I was the 'bad guy'. Ugh... Like I was wrecking my childrens lives because I wanted a divorce...he STILL wants me to get back together with my husband...even though my husband has already BROKEN the restraining order! My husband is great at turning on the tears, he lost 25 lbs (so did I, but I don't make a big deal over it) he makes a big deal over it (he needed to lose it anyway...), and is very manipulative and controlling. So...it seems everyone is drying his tears and feeding his needs, while I am relocated, and in my parents home with three kids licking my wounds (with the help of a great Christian therapy group in New Jersey and a great therapist I may add...) :) and all the Pastor does is call once in a while to see if I have come to my senses! Oh boy... I think Pastors really NEED to take a few courses on Domestic Violence...maybe through their local hospital...so they get a much needed reality check. The Church cannot be a sanctuary for those who abuse their partners...if so...I believe this is the ultimate abuse. I am a journalist and am currently writing on this subject...anyone who would like to contribute, let me know in your future posts...I'll e-mail you.  Mary    Thanks Mary for your candor and for your efforts to educate clergy. Good idea on the domestic violence training. I'm happy to assist you in any way I can. By the way, I think your pastor in particular has some sort of problem: this seeming personal investment in your husband's plight. Why is he still calling you? 

Also, anybody wanting to email Mary but reluctant to leave their address on this board is welcome to email me here and I will forward to Mary. Dr. Irene

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Date: Friday, August 25, 2000

S1

This is such a great site. I was the victim of verbal/mental/emotional abuse for several years. I put myself in that situation though. But the more it goes the harder it is to get out of. I divorced my husband which was the hardest thing I ever had to do but now I wish I had done it earlier! Life is so amazing when you're not worrying about anyone else but yourself. :)

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Date: Sunday, August 27, 2000

S1

I had a great conversation with my pastor when it was time for my husband to leave. I asked him if divorce was a really big sin. He smiled and told me that if I put it into perspective, I sin every day in in some way or another and God forgives all my sins. He said he believes God does not want me living like I am and that God wants me to be happy. I thought about this on the way home and realized; God is not going to say, "Well, I forgive you for this sin and that sin, but divorce... No way, your going to hell for that one. I think that was the last thing that cleared the way for me, My conscience was clear then. Kathie Smart Pastor!

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, August 27, 2000

S1

This happened to my brother. His wife had the preacher convinced he was abusive, and that she was scared of him. But in reality, she was the one with the abusive temper. She had an affair, married the guy (who is much younger and had several DUIs). One day he was messing around with my then 3 year old niece, something (which he refuses to admit) happened, and she now has a incomplete spinal cord injury, and we don't know if she will ever walk normally again. Ohhhh....

We believe my brother's ex-wife is a sociopath. The state is helping my brother, but the church is no help, This story goes very deep, our whole family has never needed the church more, and I have talked to the preacher a few times about this, but he has never called my brother to see how my niece is doing, they just ignored this whole thing. I consider this abuse because, we are a burden to them, we are not important. This is a horrible feeling, and we as a family do not know who we can turn to.  

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Date: Monday, August 28, 2000

S1

I grew up being sexually, physically, and verbally abused by my father for 12 years, until I had the courage to stand up to him and tell on him. I had been going to this church I fell in love with and decided I would tell the pastor so I wouldn't have to bear the burden alone anymore. My pastor spoke with my father, and said my father was very sorry, but it had only happened once and he said I often blew things out of proportion. This resulted in my pastor telling me I should forgive and forget, and I shouldn't even had brought it up. That only Satan throws things such as this into people's faces. Soon most of the church knew about all this and everyone had 'well-meaning' scolding for me. Trying to expose my father had turned into a greater nightmare than I had ever imagined. I am so sorry... missmystikal80@aol.com

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Date: Thursday, August 31, 2000

S1

My comment is that the episode here may involve the abuser being the man towards the woman. But lets talk about the cases where the woman is the verbal abuser, which may lead towards physical abuse by the man as a cry for help. Yes. But, the person in question, man or woman, victim or otherwise, needs to find other ways of getting help!

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, August 31, 2000

S1

My husband, now ex, and I went to church off and on (mostly me going and taking our kids)  through the 16 years of our marriage. I don't know how many times I asked for help with the way he treated me (i.e., being demanding of a clean house while I was too sick being pregnant or whatever). The only answers I got were "are you SURE you are doing the best that you can?" You know, its hard to keep a house clean with 8 kids born 18 months apart. Yikes...personally, I think you qualify for a housekeeper! 

I didn't deserve to have him come home and tell me to pack my things and kiss the kids goodbye. I didn't deserve it when he walked out on us last December. I didn't deserve to be the only one picking up the pieces of our children's broken hearts. I deserved equality, not servitude. I deserved respect, not temper tantrums and belittling. And I seek a church who will accept me as I am, a divorced mother of eight kids who wants to be loved by someone who loves me back. Yes, no doubt you deserve all the things you mention, and more. So, be glad he's gone and go out and find what you need! And, most important, don't be disrespectful; and don't settle for disrespect ever again. Good luck!

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Date: Friday, September 01, 2000

S1

Dear Doc- I left my verbal/physical abusive husband around two months ago. I have an order of protection, so he is unable to make any contact with me or the kids. This is the second time I have left. A year ago I filed for divorce, moved with the help of a restraining order, and started my life in the town I lived in prior to our marriage. I started attending the church that I belonged to before I got married. My husband talked with the pastor of that church and both called me and asked if I would go to marriage counseling through the church. I agreed. 

We got back together and my husband continued in his old ways. Now after the second separation my pastor apologizes for encouraging me to seek marriage counseling. Your Pastor is a big man. Good for him. Now I am on my own again with a lot of feelings. Unlike messages that I have read on your board about problems with sex, our problem is that we didn't have any...almost never. In the beginning he insisted and I agreed to do it God's way with no contact before marriage - but this continued after we got married. I know his problems were not physical. I think he enjoyed fantasy rather than reality. Of course my husband had a thousand and one excuses "The kids can hear, I am so tired, A hug is my way of showing love" and finally the excuses became attacks on me: "You have gained weight. You don't wear the kind of clothes I like". Cop outs. Yuk. Then he says I am attracted to you but some people don't show their love with sex. This is true. He would eventually give in but only after months of fighting about it. As a result to having to beg, plead and fight to get any physical affection my self esteem is almost nonexistent in that area. 

Now get this...my first husband was the same way! So here I am. I wondering to myself if he didn't use sex as a form of abuse, withholding it to hurt me because I was trying to be in control by asking. I guess it's possible, or perhaps it evolved into that. It's more likely that it took him kinky stuff to get turned on, as you imply earlier. My question to you is why you persisted in wanting sex when it was not freely given? That one is your problem.

I know he is the one with a problem. I would do the flirt thing he would always come back with anger. And when we talked about it he would say "I'll do better". But here I am alone and lonely. I just want a final answer to that nagging question "How much sex is too much?" Please do not throw that answer "It depends on you partner." It's true. Different people have different levels of sex drive. A mismatched drive level is a problem in any marriage.

I asked my husband a hundred times what he thought was fair but he would say "Every night" just to shut me up. I am not unattractive. I am feeling a need to be needed. I do not feel able to talk to my church. By the way he is still going there even though he live in another town. I guess there are probably more issues I will have to deal with but doesn't sex come with the wedding vow? Was I so wrong to expect that? Not wrong to expect sexual love as part of marriage, but wrong to keep insisting on getting it when it is not forthcoming. Since you found yourself in the same predicament twice, you may want to rule out sexual compulsivity. If you are a sexual compulsive, you need to get treatment and/or find another person like yourself. 

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, September 03, 2000

S1

My husband just left the house to live in an apt. We have been married for 18 years. A freind gave me some books on verbal abuse 4 months ago and I saw myself for the first time. I have since found a Christian psychologist that told me I may have to leave this man to enable him to take action to heal himself. Yes, I am wounded, broken and have trouble not believing I really am the __itch he said I was. Our Christian friends don't understand this thing. They don't see visible signs of abuse, it's all inside me. But it is no longer locked away. I feel as though I have exposed a dirty little secret and I can hardly forgive myself for letting it get to this point and covering up for him all these years. He verbally abused our son terribly and this boy's heart is broken. He is in rebellion and at 17 just enlisted in the military. I pray he is safe there from his own destructiveness. I find myself hating this man for the emotional damage he's done. Now, I know I have to help my 14 year old daughter. He's fine with her as long as she does what she's told. She just stays away from home. It breaks my heart to know that our home is not a safe refuge for our children. He blames me for everything that has happened. He says that I am not a Godly wife. My worst fear is that both of my children will repeat this cycle in their marriages. How do I explain to them that this has been all wrong without tearing their father down to them? I am trying to have hope for the relationship but i know from all my reading that unless my husband is able to see the truth, there is no hope. thank you for reading this. I am alone tonight and sad. The best thing you can do for your children is to attend to your own recovery and to mend your own wounds... Better late than never.

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Date: Tuesday, September 05, 2000

S1

Verbal abusive is like a continuous and unseen smack to the heart, soul and mind. I used to tell myself if I do this better, do that, if I don't make him mad maybe he'll??? ...... I have been afraid for so long now its time to stop the pain ... stop the hurt. Last year health issues came up for me.... when I tried to tell him of my concern and needed his support... his response was "I hope your ass die" and the only support he needed from me was to "Kiss his ass". He stop speaking me for 5 months (as he's done in the past). The pain must stop, his cruel verbal abuse stop, the cheating will stop, sitting in front of me talking to his female companions will stop, the staying out all night long will stop, walking in on him talking about me will stop. Yes. Do not allow his abuse to continue. Don't put up with it anymore. Keep plugging; you're learning how to do all this now.

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Date: Monday, September 11, 2000

S1

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, September 11, 2000

S1

Who posted MY scenario? I can't believe this is my circumstance to the tee! I have left my Christian school teacher husband for nearly a year now and I'm the one who is "crazy." My children refused to go with me after several attempts to convince my verbally abusive husband to leave. They said it was wrong for me to leave and so did the principal and the pastor. It has been an extremely difficult year and even more so now as my husband was not rehired. Everyone wants to blame me but none have any idea what emotional pain I've gone through. I asked my pastor what he would do if I came to church with broken legs or arms and he said he would find out what was going on. I told him my heart and soul have been bruised and broken and asked him what he would do to help me and he said,"Nothing!" Fortunately my current pastor is aware that verbal abuse occurrs in Christian homes and has been able to give me some counsel but does not feel qualified to give professional advice. I have been getting help and taking responsibility for my own abusive behaviors from a family counsellor for over a year and am progressing slowly.

I'm constantly dragged into manipulative and abusive conversations with my husband because I want so badly for things to work out. My close friends, counsellor, and pastor have all recommended that I get healing and spiritual strength before I consider returning to my family. Many others, including my husband and children view this as totally selfish and avoiding resposibility.

I miss them and can only see them when I'm not working since I get no financial support since our separation is not legal. Could someone respond?

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Date: Tuesday, September 12, 2000

S1

Have you read Abused Man? The statistic shows that man and woman are equally abusive in relationships!

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Date: Saturday, September 16, 2000

S1

Dr. Irene: I have struggled with this problem for almost 7 years, and have finally overcome it all and filed for divorce after 3 years of separation. There are some really good books out to help churches improve on their "help" to abused people--such as SPIRITUAL ABUSE and WHEN GOD'S PEOPLE LET YOU DOWN. My story is typical in many ways: I married the "perfect Christian man", to begin being emotionally and verbally abused within days, leading to physical abuse within 2 years. I reconciled several times with my husband because of the church leaders insisting it was God's will--and because they didn't really believe me, even when my husband spent time in jail. He was a master at deceiving everyone--me, friends, the church leaders. He did no work around the house, abused me in all ways, verbally & emotionally abused my children (from a previous marriage), wanted everything, tried to control everything. I thought I was going crazy for a long time--and my husband promoted that belief. 3 years ago I got a restraining order when he tried to harm my daughter. Since then he has not paid one dime toward our mutual debts although I had to take on 2 full time jobs to cope. I had been regularly going to the church leaders for help--counseling became how I needed to be more "understanding", help became telling ME to pray harder, what sin was God punishing ME for, for ME to be a good Christian wife and let God take care of my husband, God will provide financially if I would just believe, etc..... Of course, during this time we would reconcile based on promises of change or temporary changes made by my husband--these would last only days before the abuses would start again and I would make him leave again! Last year I went to an elders meeting taking all my proof and several witnesses and they agreed to help me. After many broken promises and agreements and their continual minimization of my circumstances, I called it all off--stopped the weekly meetings. I was then asked to come to a final meeting to "tie up loose ends". I agreed and was verbally and emotionally abused by 4 church elders and my husband in a room where they would not let me leave. It was the most humiliating and horrible experience of my life--these men I had trusted trying to force me to look in a mirror and admit I was a "bitter and vindictive woman" who had "made her husband what he is". Thank God, He had led me to many resources during this time--including your site and the local women's shelter. I was able to stand up to them and let them know I was not to blame for my husbands abuse. Their intention seemed to be to either make me "submit" to my husband or drive me from the church (probably because I was an embarrassment to them or because they believed my poor, mistreated, misunderstood husband). I did leave, never to return to THAT church, although several of the women are still my very good friends. I later pressed charges against the leader of the group who is a clinician with a local mental health agency. The church has since then helped my husband by letting him live rent free with various people...until they can no longer stand him because he won't pay for anything or do any work including taking care of himself! But they continue to be deceived and are still enabling and caretaking for him. I have since filed for divorce and moved on in my life. I tell this story for several reasons--first, I have finally been able to forgive these men and move on. God showed me how he used these incidents to help me rely on Him rather than on fallible human beings. Second, if a person is not getting the support and help they need from their church--find another church. There are others who understand God's true meaning of a covenant relationship between husband and wife and will give you emotionally & spiritual support. Third, just because someone claims to be a Christian does not mean they really are--many statistics show that abuse of all kinds happens at a high frequency in "Christian" homes. Fourth, I hope the Christian community will become more aware of domestic violence of all types and begin helping the victims, rather than enabling and supporting the abusers. If someone quotes to you the verse from Malachi 2:16 saying "God hates divorce..." read the rest of the verse...“I hate divorce…AND I hate a man’s covering himself with violence, says the Lord God Almighty. So guard yourself in your spirit and DO NOT BREAK FAITH” . Previously, beginning at verse 13 He says…”You weep and wail because he no longer pays attention to your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. You ask, WHY? It is because the Lord is acting as THE witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant…” Another excellent resource is Dr. James Dobson's LOVE MUST BE TOUGH book. LOVE is not enabling. It might be letting go, taking care of yourself and your family... Thank you for this site, Dr. Irene. And encouragement to anyone going through domestic violence--follow all of God's scriptures, keep the faith, follow the instincts that God gave you to keep yourself and your family safe. I made it....so can you! Miriam

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Date: Wednesday, September 20, 2000

S1

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, September 21, 2000

S1

Dear Miriam:

I appreciated your honesty. Many of the things you said grabbed my attention. Would you e-mail me at gaines_chrissa@hotmail.com? I'd love to chat with you. I left my "perfect Christian husband a year ago and I have never been able to find a verse yet in the Bible where I could justify my actions. I recall Jesus saying God hates divorce and that it was because of the hardness of men's hearts that Moses allowed it. I've always been told that means we should forgive our partner no matter what happens. I don't agree with it because my gut tells me if I go back to him he will be even more abusive.

Waiting to hear from you.

Chrissa

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Date: Friday, September 29, 2000

S1

Dr. Irene,

I am twenty-five and have been married for four years now. I have recently realized that my husband is very verbally abusive not only to me but to my oldest daughter from another marriage. I am at my wits end with all that I have been through because I have tried to bring this to his attention. I never realized until I read all the posts how manipulative he is in this marriage. He is very controlling in everything that I do and it has only gotten worse. I am going to attempt one more time to get him to get some help. Otherwise, I don't feel that I have any choice but to leave. He is slowly destroying my daughter's spirit and has already destroyed alot of my spirit. Thank you so much for this site as it was a big help in showing me that I don't have to do this alone. ADL

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Date: Saturday, September 30, 2000

S1

After leaving my abusive husband I felt I needed something more. I fell in love with the Catholic Church and I began to go to Mass regularly. I felt guilty and sad over the way the marraige ended, yet ending it was so clearly right! Unfortunately my husband is still trying to manipulate me through our son, and on the advice of my new, caring, compassionate companion I sought the advice of a Priest. What he told me was this: That in the eyes of the Church, nothing is more sacred than human dignity. Not life (although that is very high up there), and certainly not marriage. Nothing. Therefor the greater wrong is staying in a relationship with someone who is denigrating and destructive of your human dignity, not leaving the relationship. There is even the implication that it was not a real marraige in the first place. I was a little surprised and very relieved, and I left knowing the path to self-love was also the path to God-love. There are good, supportive, and experienced clergy out there, you just have to find them!

Meg

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Date: Wednesday, October 04, 2000

S1

I am in the middle of this RIGHT NOW - now what?

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Date: Friday, October 06, 2000

S1

After being verbally abused and very violently physically abused once by my then husband, I have come to realize how little the clergy knows about this subject. I AM VERY INTERESTED IN FINDING A WAY TO EDUCATE THE CLERGY ON THIS IMPORTANT TOPIC.

I have spoken with my distict attorney about setting up a seminar to cover healthy/unhealthy relationships with the local clergy. Anyone with any ideas please forward them to me at julesbudd@aol.com. Thanks.

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, November 06, 2000

S1

I have recently realized that I am in an abusive marriage. My first instinct was to go to my pastor to seek counseling and advise. He provided some insight and was empathetic but he advised me to stay in the marriage because it wasn't violent YET! He said it might take years for him to see his wrong and that when he does he will be repentent and be astonished at why I stayed. I don't know if I can take years more of abuse. At first it was only directed at me but now it is being directed at my 2 1/2 year old because she is becoming more independent. If he isn't willing to change and change soon I feel I have no recourse but to leave. In the same breath I feel very guilty for failing in our marriage, I feel I've let God down along with my family. I don't feel happy or safe in my marriage but according to the church I have no biblical way out.

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Date: Tuesday, November 07, 2000

S1

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, November 12, 2000

S1

I don't think it is always the church as such that is at fault but rather that the kind of churches where submission is preached are those that collect together people who are very wounded. That is fine as jesus did that too.

But the difficulty is that you then get men with control issues - or it could be women in positins f authority and this makes it difficult. This makes it hard when the subject of submission gets preached from the pulpit by someone who has control problems of their own to people who want to control.

The codependant is likely to try to be in submission as they will want to be people pleasers and that brings out the worst in potential abusers.

I have been in churches where I have sen this happen not only to wives, but to unmarried women and the worst thing is that many of these women then, to escape the unhappiness of the marriage start to relate and rely on leaders.

I have done this myself. I have also tried the 'submission bit." I guess that the thing women should be taught is that you NEVER give an abuser the power to hurt you and if your husband is hurting you then he is not loving you as Christ loved the Church. Therefore you submit to your husband 'only in the Lord. It is a love submission. A conscious choice which has to be made not once unthinkingly, but in the light of each new event in each new day. The strongest Christian wives I know are those who stand up to anything they see as wrong and follow their convictions and not what Church leaders say.

I think ALL church leaders should have training in abuse and counselling issues. I have this, and I am often horrified at what Leaders do not know.

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Date: Saturday, November 18, 2000

S1

OH MY,do i hear you-sad to say,it isn't just the church who see's this woman as such-it's much of society otherthan other women who 'have been there,done that'-the police get a call and think'not that address again'(i couln't live with that woman either!)or the doctor who tells her-'there's nothing really wrong with you'-so she thinks it's all in her head or people at work who give her a bad report or other people in her own family who think she's loosing it! LOOK AT NICHOLE SIMPSON-i've been thru it and now my daughter so the court looks at it "as something that runs in the family" I'm not saying we don't have some things to work on but that doesn't deserve broken bones,deep contusions,and insults! vicki444

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Date: Sunday, December 10, 2000

S1

I met my husband at a singles conference to church. He seemed like a Godly man. I started going to the Singles Sunday School class and the teacher was great. We went to church together, Bible study and Sunday School. It all looked like we would have a wonderful Christian marriage. Our Sunday School teacher did our pre-marital counseling. Most of it was centered on submission.

A few days after getting back from the honeymoon my now ex-husband went into a rage and kicked me out of the house saying I was fat, wrinkles and disgusted him. I called our Sunday school teacher and he said my ex was having a hard time adjusting and that this situation would make me more Christ like. I prayed, stayed and prayed some. The rages continued and got worse. In my cry for help no one came to confront my ex about his behavior. Instead they just kept telling me to be more submissive. When I finally got so physically ill I knew I would die if I stayed, I left. I stayed 16 months. My ex is in counseling. He sends three letters a day, leaves stuff on my door and has gone to my work leaving presents. I had to deal with my anger toward the church as much as my anger toward my ex. Where is the compassion for someone who is being deeply wounded? Why didn't they help me? Why didn't they call when I was left homeless?

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Date: Wednesday, December 20, 2000

S1

I love this site! It has changed my life over the past few months!

Anyway, I did it...I MADE MY ABUSER LEAVE THIS HOUSE!!! This comes after, a 20-year "marriage" filled with verbal, emotional, psychological and could it be: religiousness abuse. I am a strong Christian, with an ever-increasing faith in God and His involvement in our lives. I prayed about this constantly for a long time, but it took a few incidents in the past few months, our pastor's attempts to get my husband to admit to these problems, and finding this site, to get me where I am today....free!!

I thank God for this! I have such and incredible sense of Peace now, and power! I went to my pastor a few weeks ago, to finally let him know why my husband had not returned to the mutally-agreed upon counselling. (he simply refused).I told him what had been happening the last few weeks before that, and that for the children's sake, I had hoped that the showdown, which I knew was coming, could be put off till after Christmas. After hearing what had been happening, the pastor looked me in the eye and told me that that was admirable, but the abuse had to stop, no matter what. So, a few nights later, after my husband had also gone to our pastor, but as usual, twisted what he said around to fit into his (hubby's) reality, the inevetable happened. The whole thing "clicked" and I realized by what my husband was saying and how he was saying it (arrogant, utterly prideful), that there was no hope for our relationship at this point. When he told me that he had stopped taking the Paxil he was on, without talking to me about it first, that was the last straw. I told him that if he wanted to make a decision which affected everyone around him, all by himself, then that is how he needs to live, and that he needed to move out.

Keep in mind here, we have been married for 20 years, have 7 children, and I have resisted this all this time because of my sense of loyalty, the teachings of the Christian society that divorce is wrong under only the most dire circumstances and fear.

Now, my problem is not the church or the pastor. The outpouring of love and support from them these past weeks has ben tremendous! My problem is that my "stbx" is stuck in his arrogant, holier-than-anybody, self-righteous mind set, and takes absolutely no responsibility for his part in our relationship, scripturally or otherwise. He sent me a letter (on my Birthday, no less) which consisted of using scripture pulled out of context to try and prove to my just how wrong I am. YUK. He says that I am the one who is going totally against scripture and so angry that I "losing myself". Can we say "projection"?!

I have my moments, but the feeling of freedom and peace and right-ness show me that God is there, and I'm doing the right thing for me and my children. Around Easter, God gave me an impression; that my husband has to be totally broken, then put back together by God, if he'll let Him, and that I just needed to get out of the way so that He could accomplish that. Hasn't happened yet, as far as I can see, but then only He sees the big picture. It's scary, though, when stbx gets in that absolute right mood - had that yukky feeling this evening after he called for some information. But, I don't have to live with him anymore!! The yukky feeling is gone - I'm leaning on God. I am His Princess, and deserve to be treated well!

The fear is gone and I'm going to sign my name this time!

Love and Peace, Laure

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, January 01, 2001

S1

I got married to my boyfriend of 7 yrs this past july. he has always been controlling and verbally abusive. When I talked him into going to church w/ me last summer and for a long while things changed, he stopped gambling, yelling so much and smoking pot. Our pastor was constantly nagging me to getting married telling me how much God would bless me. So, like an idiot I listened and it was a huge mistake. My husband is now back to smoking pot, and is more verbally abusive than ever. I am leaving him and moving out. I know that God doesn't expect me to live in misery the rest of my life bringing up 2 children to be like thier father. In fact, it was a week or so ago, i prayed to God to either make my marriage work or give me the strenth to get out of it and he has done just that. I know he will take care of me and my kids. I have prayed for my marraige for over 6 mths and it has done no good. It is clear what God wants me to do. Sometimes he has a strange way of answereing our prayers, but he always does if we just listen. Shurl

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Date: Saturday, January 13, 2001

S1

Dr. Irene, Please consider what God does say about marriage. If both people have come to the relazations, of their problems and are woking toward, a Godly marriage, there is no reason, to end the marriage. If however one of the parners, doesn't want to work on the problem, I think even most Pastors would say it is best to get out, of a destructive realtionship.

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, January 23, 2001

S1

Hi, this is Katydid (I happen to be home from work and doing some research).

Yes, my pastor not only told me to stay with a verbal/emotional abuser and not get a restraining order to keep him away from his child when he was drinking, but told me I had an OBLIGATION to take him back, no matter what. When I didn't do that (I didn't need the TRO, he agreed not to drink when he has my daughter, and in two years, he has stuck to it. He visits her only in the supervision of family members, too.), he accused me of not being a Biblical wife. My counselor, who is a Christian, told me that Biblically speaking, once he left, he abandoned us, and I was free not to let him back in.

This same pastor (a year later) encouraged a relationship with a so-called Christian man, who turned out to be the biggest abuser of all my husbands (if you don't count No.2 who is still trying to control me)!

On the other hand, my old pastor told me No. 3 shouldn't come back unless he had fixed his problems on his own. He told me not to marry No. 4 because No. 4 moved too quickly and he thought No. 4 was a fake, and he was right on all counts! So, you can have bad advice and good advice, just learn to get more than one opinion!

No. 3 always made "jokes" about me in public, and has since acknowledged doing so, too. He had a spiritual awakening, and seems to be sincere. He has admitted he is unable to love women (who knows why??), and has apologized for the way he treated me. He said had he not beaten me down for so many years, I would have seen through No. 4's manipulations and gotten out early. I said what I did was my own responsibility and although I appreciated his willingness to take the blame, I still contributed to the situation. The upside is that No. 3 and I are getting along and co-parenting pretty well. We had a very short legal agreement about our daughter and have managed to be open and flexible about her, which has helped her enormously!

The only comment I guess I have, is live and learn. Seek out another opinion when the one you get feels "hinky." Respect what your feelings are trying to tell you, and move on.

Thanks for allowing me this forum in which to share. It is great, and Dr. Irene, you are wonderful!

Katydid

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, January 29, 2001

S1

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, January 29, 2001

S1

Yes,This has happened to me. When I would go in to see our Clergyman, he would talk to us together and alone. My H would say things untrue or exaggerated. The arguement he brought up was..Isn't he better, hasn't he improved over the years. Well, I would say yes and no. The abusive behavoir is there and my H will even admit to some of it in front of clergy. He has improved himself but he still is physically, verbally abusive. He kept arguing that with me over and over. But you said he was better??? He said that my husband said that he is willing to do anything he can do to change. I told him that he has said that 2xs in the past 12 months. He has gotten better but still name calls, strong holds and watches and checks my every move. He never trusted me and never will, even though I have done NOTHING to lead him to think that. Needless to say, we got nowhere with our conversation. It seems as though every time I do something different to push him to change someone has something new I did not try. I have tried counseling, threats of divorce, arrest etc... but he always goes back to some of his old ways. The Clergyman said well try this or that and i said yes I tried that. Okay so try something like this. UGGGH! Like there is a magical formula for my H to permanently change. At what cost do I not give up. How much suffering will take place before I finally give up. It is time for damage control I say. Marie.

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, February 05, 2001

S1

NO!! That is NOT the advice I found when I spoke to the Monseignor at our parish about my husband's extremely verbally abusive behavior.

Long story short, I have been married to my husband for six years and we have five children (our oldest is five, our youngest is 12 weeks--we have a set of twins in there). He has always been verbally abusive to me from the beginning, but I didn't really see it that way until the past couple of years. I always thought I could make him happy if only I did this or that, etc. I would pray, etc. that God would change him, etc.

Well, over the past 3 months, he has started slapping me hard across the face when he gets angry. Realizing that his extreme verbal abuse had now turned physical, I left the house with our five children, contacted a lawyer and now he has two restraining orders against him. He is not allowed to come to the house, take the minivan or otherwise harrass me. After he got over his initial fury that I would do such a thing as take "his" children, he was very repentant, telling me that he would do ANYTHING to save the marriage. As we are Roman Catholics, he went and talked to the Monseignor at our parish about our troubles, conveniently forgetting the part about verbally abusing me and hitting me (and by verbal abuse, I mean EXTREME verbal abuse, such as calling me horrendous names, screamed loudly, telling me repeatedly that I am stupid, etc.).

Anyway, because we have five children and while he is horrible when he's horrible, he can also be very romantic, etc, if it is at ALL possible for us to reconcile, I went and talked to the Monseignor myself. After hearing my side of the story, he was MOST sympathetic to the verbal abuse. He advised to NOT let him just move back in (I wasn't going to anyway). He said we needed to live apart while he had intensive counseling. Then, if I saw NO remnants of his abuse, we might be able to go on. But if I saw any hint of his previous behavior (which also included basic controlling behavior, undermining mean comments, etc. in addition to his outright rage), then we needed to get divorced. This is from a Catholic priest.

He told me he really only gave it about a 50 percent chance that he could actually change.

And again, he made it clear that the really horrendous thing was the verbal abuse, even without the physical abuse.

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, February 07, 2001

S1

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, February 16, 2001

S1

I am in this situation. My husband and I are members of a church where he has convinced "everyone" that he is a wonderful, loving "Christian" man. (and also brainwashed me into beleiving it) I know otherwise now. The pastor wrote me to tell me I was wrong for leaving him and that I should do everything I possibly could to reconcile with him. Of course the Pastor believes only my husbands side of the story and won't even listen to my side. I've found it extremely difficult to convince anyone that he is abusive and has been for years.

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, February 21, 2001

S1

I have been emotionally and verbally abused over the past 15 years by a pastor. This man is my husband. I endured it for years thinking that all men behaved this way or that it was me that provoked such anger. I made the mistake (or maybe it wasn't) to open up to a male friend of mine who has been my friend for more than 10 years. When I described some of the things I had endured he gently and calmly encouraged me to start researching and looking more at couples and so forth. When my eyes opened it scared me to death to see the truth of my situation. Unfortunately, my husband found out that I had been talking with this friend and all hell broke loose. Literally, my husband put me through an intense time of blame and insulting comments about my morality and so forth..I will come back and finish later........

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, March 04, 2001

S1

I experienced this with my pastor. My spouse was verbally abusive and has been for many years. The pastor counseled me that making a good marriage would take years and that I needed to do everything I could to make my husband happy. He suggested long talks and told me to take time every day to focus and communicate with my husband. Since I believed that pastors "speak for God," I followed his advice carefully, and became more depressed and sad and angry, until about a year and a half ago, when I could see clearly that nothing I was doing or had done had any effect at all on my husband, except to make it worse. I have since left my husband.

I still wonder what might have been different if the pastor had said, "You are being verbally abused. You deserve better than this. Here's what to do, " and counseled my husband to seek help and treatment for his anger and abusive behaviors. This was 12 years ago, before things got really bad. Perhaps my marriage might have been saved. At least much of the suffering I have experienced might have been removed.

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, April 04, 2001

S1

I was married to a Christian whom I met at church. I wanted to do things God's way. God's way is not the way of control and abuse. His way is love, compassion, understanding and wisdom. The abuse began the week we returned from the honeymoon when he kicked me out of the house saying I was fat (Not true) and old (Not true) and that he had made a terrible mistake. I could not see how I could break the vows and covenant I had made before God and everyone else. Now I see that one can not keep a covenant by themselves. I called our Sunday school teacher who said, "God is making you more Christlike. Give your husband some time. This is a big adjustment." The more time I gave him the weaker I got and the more I wondered if God loved me. I left twice before leaving for good. The first time I left the pastors wife said I needed to be more submissive. She said that when he goes into a rage I should sing praises and pray. I had been doing that but thought I would do it more. I went back and did what she said. He went to the pastor for counseling but lied about the things that were really going on. The second time I lift I came back saying, "You ever do this to me again and I will be gone for good. That is it. I will not walk on eggshells any longer." For three months he controlled himself. There was no sexual relationship. There was no real relationship. After 16 months I left with nothing but the clothes on my back. But it was a loving Christian couple who prayed with me that helped me get out. God is good. Sometimes people aren't and maybe it is best to get away from those kind of people.

I had a difficult time forgiving the church. The church did not understand any more than I did when I married my ex husband. If he could fool me into marrying him, why couldn't he fool a whole church? I go to another church now and I work with young couples who are at risk of child abuse.

I asked a young lady who was being abused the following questions: 1. Do you think your husband is rational? 2. Do you think his anger and irrational behavior is getting worse? 3. Are you afraid of him? 4. Do you think it is safe for you and the baby to stay with him? 5. Do you feel you are helping him by staying? 6. Knowing that he is irrational, angry and could hurt you and the baby....if you stay will you be helping him?

She called her parents and got a ticket to another state. She took the book, "Verbal Abuse" with her. He is in counseling.

I love God and the church... But I also see that the scripture that says, "My people perish for lack of knowledge" is true.

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, May 17, 2001

S1

I am the victim of a verbal abuser and he is a pastor. He has demonstrated everything that a "christian" is not supposed to do. The treatment that I have been subject to in the past 10 years has been totally unwarranted and undeserved. He constantly is demanding, constantly trying to tell what my role is as a wife and a woman of God but each time I point out to him his faults he downplays it or totally discounts whatever I say. I have never in my life been subject to such treatment especially from a man who is supposed to be God-fearing and is supposed to "love" me. Now and I pregnant with his second child and I want out!!! I have no idea how to deal with this. I have already tried to leave him once because I could not take it anymore but he convinced me to come back (how dumb was that!) But I tried to make it work I even suggested counseling but he only went once. He tried to make it seem that I was the problem and he had to deal with "sicko" me. Now I see problems arising from my 6 year daughter which again he totally dismissing and says that I am putting things in her head!! That there is nothing wrong with her. I really need help. Please help me!!!!

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, June 02, 2001

S1

Exactly, exactly...

I spent years having pastors tell me that I needed to stay, my last pastor agreed that I needed to leave. Finally, a wiser man. The quiet needles that would be placed into my skin became unbearable and I was the one who looked crazy...it's been two years now since I've gotten away, and even in my new church, which is very healthy, the pastors don't like my ex. They can't stand the way he doesn't ever come to see his kids, pay his bills or the way he acts when he's in public. He's a farce...and now they finally see through it. I wish the other pastors would have seen, but not all are "called" to wisdom, most would rather put the blinders on. The call to ministry is not a light one and pastors who don't have a heart for people and what they go through shouldn't be in the job, in my opinion.

Ramy at anointedhealer@aol.com

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, June 14, 2001

S1

Interesting posts. My verbal abuser is the pastor of our church and my boss. Verbal abuse doesn't happen only in marriages! Unfortunately being in ministry has a lot of the same problems as domestic violence. I'm afraid if I leave this church I will be pegged a trouble maker in our denomination and not be able to get another job!

Although I must say he was floored the other day when he called me over-sensitive and I said "Thank you, Jesus keeps making me more and more sensitive like him!" He's been avoiding me ever since! :)

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, June 15, 2001

S1

This has happened to me. Over 18 yrs of well meaning Pastors telling me that I need to keep my marriage going no matter what. Just do what he says and everything will be alright. Its not alright and I don't except it anymore.

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, June 17, 2001

S1

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, July 03, 2001

S1

It is exactly what happened to me with my husband and I am still trying to recover. In his case he used that in court to win custody of our son and won.

I was and still am a dedicated mother and helped my husband by working full time and caring for our son while he went to dental school full time. I went to school full time then became pregnant with our son. I took excellent care of him form the time he was in my wombed. Eating the best I could, taking yoga classes, so I could have a healthy child. Then once he was born I breast fed him, took him to all the child groups so he could socialize with other children, I home schooled him and enjoyed our time together which I gave him the best quality time I could even obtaining a job as a bookkeeper so I could take my son with me. I took my classes when I could and cared for my husband the best I could,trying to be available and never dening him time wiht me either. However the last year of his school coinsided with my school telling me I had to attend school with 15credits in order to be considered into professional school I discussed this with my husband who said I should go to school stating all the women he admired for going to school. So with is supposed approval I went to school fulltime during the day, which I did by putting my son on the campus nursery and seeing my son inbetween classes. But I also had to work fulltime to support the family so I got a job 4-12mid. I often tried to get to talk to my husband because I knew it met extended myself to much and I would need his support but he always had an excuse as to why he could not have time to talk. This led me to seek counseling to see if a third party could get my husband to talk clearly because I felt he gave me mixed signals confusing me. He would talk about other women being in school and succeeding and saying yes I should be in school but he would go to his mother and she would call me complaining that he complained about me being in school. When I comfronted him with this and not in an angry way just in a way so I can communicate with him so our family could make the changes it needed to without us being hurt and avoiding disaster he would deny that he ever expressed this and that I was crazy. This in turn would make me frustrated because I lived through confusing signals while being someone who truly wanted to meet my families needs but was be treated as if I was inconsiderate or a witch. I finally had to tell my husband to deal with his families issues or leave and he choose to leave. I stood up for myself and I lost my family that was the result of being assertive. I did not want to offer him an alternitive I tried other ways but I went from weighing 130lbs to weighing 104lbs and he only saw that change as me being defective not because he was not helping the marriage. I went to counseling to help us to communicate ours needs better and all it did was to create a record so that after the seperation and he filed for custody of our son he used that information and that time of our lives to say I was not a competent mother. I did more things then mothers who had both husband and wife working together and yet I had to sit in court next to mother who had custody of their son and they were drug addicts and fouled mouth women but I had to sit in court to defend myself after all the care and dedication I had given to my family. This is a long message but this is the most hurtful thing in my life and I felt it has been the most destuctive thing someone could have done to my life. My husband waited to file for custody after I got accepted to professional school and after I had completed my first year at school. I had to leave school in order to fight for custody of my son since my school was in Oregon and the custody was being fought in my home state of New York. I had asked my husband opinion of my going to school before I went to that school asking him if he would mind if my son lived so far I said he could spend summers with him and the school year with me and spend holidays split between us.I said if he did not approve I would wait to see if I could get accepted to New York but he said no that I had been a good mother and a good wife and I sould go. Now I was being taken out of school because the court papers said if I did not show up to court that I would lose custody of my son automatically. I was not properly legally advised and the torture of my losing my son who I had cared for with such dedication I could not believe. My husband won the case with lies and although his family apologized to me for not testifing on my behalf they told him that that paper did not mean anything that he lied to get it. I had the court forencics evaluate him as being narsasistic and manic depressive and evaluated me as just having mild depresion relating to facing life streesor and that I was the parent that understood my son needs and I was dedicated to him. The law guardian recommended that I should have my son and my son wanted to be with me but I lost because of his lies and because he was a Doctor and had the finances and I was just a student. I survived partially throught the ordeal. My husband got what hewanted which was not to have to pay alimony or child support. I saw my son despite what the courts decided because I knew what kind of mother I was and if my husband was going to put me in jail for spending time with my son as he often treaten I told him to go head I would be willing to go to jail. My son sould see both of us freely and fairly and that is how I see my son but it was an emotional fight because for 3yrs I had to live with him trying to use the court papers as a tool to control me. The courts enabled a manipulative person to use papers to manipulate me and I fought back but at a cost of placing my body and mind under a great deal of stress and all the while I had to be the best mom I could with holding anger at times and trying to communicate to my son what was going on in a civil manner and without being vindictive so that my son could enjoy having a father and not grow to hate him because of what he was doing to me it was and is a battle. As for my ex he says I do not have my school and that is my fault that I could have stayed in school when I got the papers from court. His mother says the same thing but adds that my son would have forgiven me if I stayed in school and left him with is father. I want to jump out of my skin when they say that. Not only do have have to endure the damage to my name the lost of my school and the financial problems that come with it but now they want to blame me for leaviong school to fight the custody battle. Even writing this down on paper causes me to want to scream out and ask God for justice. Even after all I have done to try to make the best of this diaster doing thing that would take even longer to write in order to expalin all I did to help my son and I to overcome the destructive things his father has done. I just can not bear it at times. Currently I am trying to return to school at 40 years old but with anger because all those years of study went done the drain by what this man did. My mistake was yto have fallen in love with someone who lived only for himself. Now I am the one who has to seek help when I would have done just fine had I been with someone who would have appreciated an wife that was willing to work so hard. Now I have to label myse4lf codependent and regain mylife back. Inside though I wish the person who is guilty of committing lieing decent and manipulation to use others should pay. the ultimate hurt is that it falls in our laps to fix it and they get away with it with out any damage. I will do my part to change what I have in my life now so I can live what ever is left of my life as best I can and with the least anger I can and to be fruitful as much as I can with what God has given to me that is my responsibility to myself. I pray I can obtain that goal and learn what I can from these sites so I do not fall into the same traps as before but I can help to also pray that God do something so these people who do abuse and use others be made to be responsible for what they have done without having to have them point another finger at those who they hurt as to be the blame to add hurt upon hurt. I know this was to long but I had to vent this because it was the traumatic event that most hurt me I could live with the divorce even though that hurt but my son was sacred to me. Try to seperate a lioness from her cub and see if she will alolow it with out a fight. Well I never thought this man would ever touch that which was a gift to both of us from God to use as a source of control and hurt.

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, July 03, 2001

S1

I have been divorced from my abusive x- husband for 13 years. Only in the last 1 1/2 years have I been in a support group for Domestic Abuse survivors. I am healing. When I went to my pastor because my husband had left home for several days and I didn't know where he was, it was too late, my x had alredy gotten to the pastor. The pastor said "guess who I have been talking to" and then he said to me "Barbara, you hate men". I stood up and ran out the door completely demoralized. I was so distraught that I almost caused a car wreck. It has been a very long journey to recovery but have made strides since learning about abuse & how it works. Thanks

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, July 12, 2001

S1

this has happened to me many times. i guerra, gunpowder MD.

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, July 12, 2001

S1

this has happened to me many times. i guerra, gunpowder MD.

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, August 24, 2001

S1

Dear Dr. Irene, I am a 43 y/o man, recently separated (escaped) from my abusive little sweetheart. This web site has brought me a lot of comfort and imformed me well about what I was in and facing! and I'm now finding & reading about my way back to wholeness. I have no intentions to go back to her despite the sweet fasade. Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to divorce court we go... Sad, I believe in marriage 'forever,' but know this one will more than destroy me. I'm just writting to say.. Thanks Yours, determined to make a come back Shane ShaneSFK@netscape.net

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, October 03, 2001

S1

I can hardly type, I am crying too hard... This is exactly what I am going through. It has been eight years of abuse, two years of it being really bad. I finally reached out for help last year, and was "diagnosed" as depressed, melodramatic, etc. My "perceptions were way out of line." My husband is upstanding, even was a youth pastor in our church. He would lie to their faces when I would call them over to make him stop. (We have three little girls, and sometimes I couldn't make the raging stop.) then, my husband would tell them that I was the one who was yelling the obscenities!!! I did react hysterically when they wouldn't believe me. My only ray of hope came when it was revealed that he had been cheating - because - then our pastors could actually believe me that he may be flawed in some way. He still plays it really cool in counseling, so there are still doubts in the counselors' minds about my "perceptions." They even gave me a tape recorder to see if I could get proof of the outbursts. (Unfortunately, I'm no good at covert operations, and he saw the recorder.) It has been 11 months in counseling and after some scary episodes in our home, we are living separately. He still blows up when he picks up our daughters for visits, then denies the whole incident in counseling. Then I get the heads shaking, "Well, maybe your idea of 'yelling' is different from our idea of 'yelling.'" or "Maybe you're just so hurt form the past that it's just built up & you are hyper-sensitive." If anyone can relate...Please post back. I feel so alone & judged. It is so bizarre to me how much easier it is for people to believe him than me. Why?????

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, October 27, 2001

S1

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, November 14, 2001

S1

Wow, what an incredible world of hurt and horrible memories this one just brought up. I thought this couldn't come back to haunt me. But, I guess some pain never really goes completely away, does it. The good thing is that I don't dwell on it now. First of all, thank-you, Dr Irene for having a "safe place" where we can openly share our stories and heal together. I'd like to share just a small (very small) piece of my history concerning this very thing. But, before I do, it is important that the readers understand that I am no longer in the abusive marriage. After two years of battered wives therapy and 11 yrs (this week) of marriage to an incredibly loving and understanding man, I am in a much healthier place today. Okay, so now we begin...I was married to a very abusive man (who was very careful never to actually hit me). Part of his control was to drag me in to see our clergy to "fix" my problems. Of course, he was always certain to go to the Bishop first so that the Bishop would understand that I was a slothful, disobedient wife. And that the Poor Dear Husband was simply at the end of his rope with me. The Bishops were loving and concerned and very MISLED. I finally summoned the courage to tell this man that I wanted a divorce from him and the first thing he did was meet with the Bishop and cry about how much he loved me and didn't want to lose me, blah, blah, blah. So, one night, he takes me in to see the Bishop and I was told that divorce was absolutely NOT an option. Ten I was given several kind suggestions as to what I needed to do to save my marriage. "Sister *****, you are married to a good, kind and caring man who loves you very much and is very concerned about you. The Lord will not look favorably on a divorce and he will not bless you in it." I felt like the only door out of my horrible situation was to just get out and now that door was slammed and locked. I went home depressed and defeated. That very night, after putting my two little boys to bed, this "good, kind and loving man" tied me (arms and legs) naked and blindfolded to the bed (the bible says for wives to submit themselves unto their husbands). I was left laying there for several hours shivering and terrified. I really thought he was going to kill me. When one of the boys cried in his sleep he was yelled at to 'shutup and go to sleep'! I imagined that after he killed me, he'd go in and kill both of the boys also. It truly was terrifying. I prefer not to go into what happened after he came back into the room. Suffice it to say, that if he hadn't been my controller, he'd have been jailed. It took me a full 2 more years and one more child, before I found the strength again to try to leave. So, what I would like for everyone to understand is that God is loving and merciful. He does not want his children to suffer at the hands of anyone, even their own family members. Yes the bible does say for the wives to submit themselves to their husbands....but it is in RIGHTEOUSNESS only, not in ABUSE. How sad that some abusers twist the love and words of the Savior to suit their selfish and controlling needs. The clergy are not bad, they are simply misled by these conmen/conwomen. What we need to remember is that they are victims of the abuser as well and after all were WE not conned, misled and used for the abusers purposes also? It is with the hope that my story will inspire someone to heal or get out of their situation that I share this with you. God loves you. He doesn't want to see you hurting. Don't give up like I did. Keep reaching out. God Bless! ~Juli

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, December 12, 2001

S1

Yes, it happened to me with Clergy and in session with the male therapist who showed his own exasperation--yet didn't see abuse. I left years ago, have gone beyond rage but am stuck in fear. It was very abusive.I got all the blame, lost all the social-supports (which I cannot seem to rebuild), and still suffer much self-doubt.

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, December 27, 2001

S1

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, January 10, 2002

S1

This is so true. My second husband did this exact thing where out in public and in our church he lead everyone to believe how calm and rational he was and that it was my emotional instabilty that was the cause of all the problems. All i ever heard was how "wonderful" my husband was and how could i do such miserable things to him. I was married to my abuser for 3 yrs. In that 3 yrs i left 3 times and went back 3 times w/ my kids, after the guilt of my life as a Christian Wife and counseling of Christians around me. When i left the last time i stood firm I deserved better. With Counseling (Christian) of someone who understands the verbal abuser i have been able to let go of the guilt of ending this abusive marriage and to go on with my life. To this day my husband has others believing that i am mentally ill and and the total cause of our divorce.

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, February 09, 2002

S1

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, February 09, 2002

S1

I can relate to this story.At the church I've went to, everyone thinks my husband is great!They've told me how lucky I am to have him.They think he's some great worker that supports me & if I say anything against him that I'm just unappreciative. I've never had counseling there,but I definetly feel that they just wouldn't believe me if I told them how my husband cusses & verbally abuses me. bye myownprison

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, February 20, 2002

S1

WHOA. You hit the nail on the HEAD. I have run far from counseling since I realized I could never get anywhere and would always look like the faulty party... Thank you for your insight and for publishing this -- perhaps counselors and pastors will read this and get wise...

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, March 15, 2002

S1

I could tell you things on both sides. The pastor my husband trusts vs. the pastor where i now go to church..........it breaks my heart. I've been separated for one month, and I am in a deep period of mourning. Please feel free to email me directly at duqlady@hotmail.com Time to get some sleep so I can try to accomplish something [anything] tomorrow.

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, April 02, 2002

S1

Yes, My husband and I went to our pastor to council about my husbands "anger" problem. The pastor told us that if I was a better wife to him then he would not have to lose his temper with me. Needless to say I quit going to church there not to long after.

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, April 04, 2002

S1

For Christian spouses trapped in a marriage with an abuser there are two Radio Bible Club booklets which give scriptures that provide release from both physical and verbal abuse situations. They can be accessed online at www.rbc.com

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, April 12, 2002

S1

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, May 07, 2002

S1

It wasn't just the pastor, it was my personal views about divorce. I just plain didn't want one, knew the Bible discouraged it, and didn't want to upset our household and our kids. All I did was show my kids what a sick marriage was about. I finally divorced him, my final ultimatim and he "went away" for 5 years with a girl young enough to be his daughter. He is still blaming me for the divorce and is now living with the younger girl's boss. He made a suicidal gesture when the younger one left so the kids are STILL walking on eggshells so's not to "make dad mad". He still rules us in his way.........

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, May 10, 2002

S1

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, May 13, 2002

S1

I just recently left my husband of 10 years. We met at church. He was very "strong in the Lord", or so I thought. He was always eager to "jump in to help out." He would lead singing, teach classes, participate in classes, ask questions. He seemed like such a wonderful christian man. He became abusive as soon as we got married. I would try to talk to him about the way he treated me. He often would cry, admit his wrong doing, and say he would never do it again. I believed him. After 10 years, I don't believe him anymore. The problem is: alot of loving, caring christians believe him. He is seeing a psychologist since I left. But he is going to other christians, crying to them, telling them that "he is doing everything I have asked him to do." They are coming to me asking me to reconsider my decision. They don't ask me anything, like what my decision is. They just tell me that I need to give him another chance because "he is such a good guy." Yes, he has faults but so do I. All of these "conserned christians" are just confusing me even further. I want to believe that he can change, but I don't trust him. How do I know unless I go back? But I am afraid to go back. All I do know is that I am not ready to go back right now (if I even go back at all.) I feel like he is trying to manipulate me. He is trying to control me by getting our friends to influence me. I am constantly reminding myself that they are just being fooled by him as I was fooled. They know nothing about him. I want to be pleasing to God and do the right thing. I know God does not want me to be abused. I know people can change with God's help, but how do I know he is truely changing?

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, May 27, 2002

S1

I married at the age of 20. Both my huband and I were virgins (so I thought). He was twenty-four years old. We were not able to consumate our marriage on the first night of the honeymoon.

Being a college student whose family encouraged her to keep in school, I did just that. However, with each passing semester he became more distant and withheld sex. His direct comments were "I don't care what you do or who you do it with--just leave me alone."

After a few years of this behavoir, I finally graduated from college. He refused to ride with me to the ceremony and said he would follow me--he never showed. My husband would sleep on the floor rather than sleep in the bed with me.

After graduation, I met an exciting man and became acquainted with his circle of friends. Well human nature took its course and we began to see each other.

Later in the marriage, my husband decided he wanted the marriage to work, so we went into counseling with a pastor. The pastor met with my husband privately and shared with him only his responsibility in my affair.

The pastor advised me that I had sinned, but never told me that my husband was bibically responsible for withholding himself and treating me the way he did. My husband was also receiving calls from a former "friend" at his mother's house.

One day he phoned home and asked me to go into his wallet and get a phone number that was obviously not in his wallet. What was in the wallet was a picture of his "friend" wearing a bikini along with a love letter from her.

Never was I counseled that I was within my rights to divorce him. Years went by and I eventually could not live under the banner of institutional dictatorship. I divorce him and 15 years latter I still have a bad reputation for divorce.

Life went on

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, May 27, 2002

S1

I married at the age of 20. Both my huband and I were virgins (so I thought). He was twenty-four years old. We were not able to consumate our marriage on the first night of the honeymoon.

Being a college student whose family encouraged her to keep in school, I did just that. However, with each passing semester he became more distant and withheld sex. His direct comments were "I don't care what you do or who you do it with--just leave me alone."

After a few years of this behavoir, I finally graduated from college. He refused to ride with me to the ceremony and said he would follow me--he never showed. My husband would sleep on the floor rather than sleep in the bed with me.

After graduation, I met an exciting man and became acquainted with his circle of friends. Well human nature took its course and we began to see each other.

Later in the marriage, my husband decided he wanted the marriage to work, so we went into counseling with a pastor. The pastor met with my husband privately and shared with him only his responsibility in my affair.

The pastor advised me that I had sinned, but never told me that my husband was bibically responsible for withholding himself and treating me the way he did. My husband was also receiving calls from a former "friend" at his mother's house.

One day he phoned home and asked me to go into his wallet and get a phone number that was obviously not in his wallet. What was in the wallet was a picture of his "friend" wearing a bikini along with a love letter from her.

Never was I counseled that I was within my rights to divorce him. Years went by and I eventually could not live under the banner of institutional dictatorship. I divorce him and 15 years latter I still have a bad reputation for divorce.

Life went on

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, June 03, 2002

S1

My preacher has treated me like I'm the problem. I asked for prayers from the whole congregation, and he expected me to come forward to confess sins publicly. He even knows that my wife is one of the rare few women who have even been arrested. I'm feeling like I need to change congregations.

Caleb

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, June 06, 2002

S1

Oh yes. The situation arose with me when I went to my hometown church and told them I was getting a divorce. I explained the situation in full, unrelenting terms. The pastor sat back and chuckled, "Well you know our stand on divorce. Just turn the other cheek." I then expressed my feelings to him in no uncertain terms.

"I the victim do not feel that God meant for women to take their lives in their own hands every day with a spouse abuser. I believe God will condone this divorce."

I walked out of his office and haven't returned since.

I am now an advocate for women who are or have been in domestic violence situations. I will not let my abuse be in vain.

By the way, this is a great site.

Gardn

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, June 06, 2002

S1

Oh yes. The situation arose with me when I went to my hometown church and told them I was getting a divorce. I explained the situation in full, unrelenting terms. The pastor sat back and chuckled, "Well you know our stand on divorce. Just turn the other cheek." I then expressed my feelings to him in no uncertain terms.

"I the victim do not feel that God meant for women to take their lives in their own hands every day with a spouse abuser. I believe God will condone this divorce."

I walked out of his office and haven't returned since.

I am now an advocate for women who are or have been in domestic violence situations. I will not let my abuse be in vain.

By the way, this is a great site.

Gardn

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, June 07, 2002

S1

lol,,,,,,,,,yep,,many times........

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, June 11, 2002

S1

I am the 56 year-old wife of a minister, aged 71, who is diagnosed with NPD. The ministry attracts a larger number of men with manipulative, domineering or otherwise unstable personalities than is generally realised by the laity. At best, ministers do not have sufficient training for counselling as their education is almost entirely in theology.

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, June 11, 2002

S1

I am the 56 year-old wife of a minister, aged 71, who is diagnosed with NPD. The ministry attracts a larger number of men with manipulative, domineering or otherwise unstable personalities than is generally realised by the laity. At best, ministers do not have sufficient training for counselling as their education is almost entirely in theology.

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, June 24, 2002

S1

I am sorry if I sound as if an anti-religious (or worse) person, I am not. Because-any-person has a position of authority, prestige, etc. that does not instantaneously makes them knowledgeable of 'all things'.In addition many Pastors and other religious people are not only uneducated about verbal, physical and other abuses, but they are also human with their flaws and prejudices. And let's face it...most if not all of these abusers are master manipulators that can give a run for their worth to many a psychologist. (Law inforcement people are notoriously ignorant of abuser recognition and in order to avoid -paper work-often place a victim in worse danger than if the did not come at all-I know by experience-).Most Pastors are male, humm... let's see...is that only a coincidence?... I don't think so. What is at fault is not being religious nor religion per se, the problem is in the way it has been for centuries and still sometimes is ''interpreted''. Lets look in retrospect that women were often denied of an education(still are in other countries, and coincidentially by religious reasons also)until somewhat recently in this very century, then continued to be limited with ''appropriate''and role-casted types of education. And who held the control to their destiny?= The authority figures, males in their lives, from the craddle to the grave. They -the males-had the education, therefore they did the ''interpreting''... after all the translating that is... which was also done by them. Of course there will be plenty of justification on any interpreted scripture to support those who clearly saw they could always stay on top that way. I have been there also, even more sadly, told by other church leaders women the same thing Dr. Irene says here. I realize that I am extremely fortunate in having-perhaps too much-an education. After much debating theologic subjects, philosophical aspects,soul searching, feeling guilty, afraid of the promises of hell for transgressions and all that; I decided that 'hell' was the perfect place for all of that, got rid of the abuser-the first lawyer in the divorce case also- and never shed a tear,looked back nor regreted becoming free (in spite of all the economic hardships I still undergo). A trade off you may say? Yes, but worth it! We women need to stop acting to fulfill the submissive pattern of behavior we were taught as children and not only take action, but stop perpetuating the pattern by teaching it to our children both males and females, specially our daughters.Get involved in any capacity you can; distribute material from this site, from books on the subject you have read,share solutions you have taken in similar situations. The worse thing is to do nothing.C'mon... M'l˙.

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, June 24, 2002

S1

I am sorry if I sound as if an anti-religious (or worse) person, I am not. Because-any-person has a position of authority, prestige, etc. that does not instantaneously makes them knowledgeable of 'all things'.In addition many Pastors and other religious people are not only uneducated about verbal, physical and other abuses, but they are also human with their flaws and prejudices. And let's face it...most if not all of these abusers are master manipulators that can give a run for their worth to many a psychologist. (Law inforcement people are notoriously ignorant of abuser recognition and in order to avoid -paper work-often place a victim in worse danger than if the did not come at all-I know by experience-).Most Pastors are male, humm... let's see...is that only a coincidence?... I don't think so. What is at fault is not being religious nor religion per se, the problem is in the way it has been for centuries and still sometimes is ''interpreted''. Lets look in retrospect that women were often denied of an education(still are in other countries, and coincidentially by religious reasons also)until somewhat recently in this very century, then continued to be limited with ''appropriate''and role-casted types of education. And who held the control to their destiny?= The authority figures, males in their lives, from the craddle to the grave. They -the males-had the education, therefore they did the ''interpreting''... after all the translating that is... which was also done by them. Of course there will be plenty of justification on any interpreted scripture to support those who clearly saw they could always stay on top that way. I have been there also, even more sadly, told by other church leaders women the same thing Dr. Irene says here. I realize that I am extremely fortunate in having-perhaps too much-an education. After much debating theologic subjects, philosophical aspects,soul searching, feeling guilty, afraid of the promises of hell for transgressions and all that; I decided that 'hell' was the perfect place for all of that, got rid of the abuser-the first lawyer in the divorce case also- and never shed a tear,looked back nor regreted becoming free (in spite of all the economic hardships I still undergo). A trade off you may say? Yes, but worth it! We women need to stop acting to fulfill the submissive pattern of behavior we were taught as children and not only take action, but stop perpetuating the pattern by teaching it to our children both males and females, specially our daughters.Get involved in any capacity you can; distribute material from this site, from books on the subject you have read,share solutions you have taken in similar situations. The worse thing is to do nothing.C'mon... M'l˙.

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, June 24, 2002

S1

I am sorry if I sound as if an anti-religious (or worse) person, I am not. Because-any-person has a position of authority, prestige, etc. that does not instantaneously makes them knowledgeable of 'all things'.In addition many Pastors and other religious people are not only uneducated about verbal, physical and other abuses, but they are also human with their flaws and prejudices. And let's face it...most if not all of these abusers are master manipulators that can give a run for their worth to many a psychologist. (Law inforcement people are notoriously ignorant of abuser recognition and in order to avoid -paper work-often place a victim in worse danger than if the did not come at all-I know by experience-).Most Pastors are male, humm... let's see...is that only a coincidence?... I don't think so. What is at fault is not being religious nor religion per se, the problem is in the way it has been for centuries and still sometimes is ''interpreted''. Lets look in retrospect that women were often denied of an education(still are in other countries, and coincidentially by religious reasons also)until somewhat recently in this very century, then continued to be limited with ''appropriate''and role-casted types of education. And who held the control to their destiny?= The authority figures, males in their lives, from the craddle to the grave. They -the males-had the education, therefore they did the ''interpreting''... after all the translating that is... which was also done by them. Of course there will be plenty of justification on any interpreted scripture to support those who clearly saw they could always stay on top that way. I have been there also, even more sadly, told by other church leaders women the same thing Dr. Irene says here. I realize that I am extremely fortunate in having-perhaps too much-an education. After much debating theologic subjects, philosophical aspects,soul searching, feeling guilty, afraid of the promises of hell for transgressions and all that; I decided that 'hell' was the perfect place for all of that, got rid of the abuser-the first lawyer in the divorce case also- and never shed a tear,looked back nor regreted becoming free (in spite of all the economic hardships I still undergo). A trade off you may say? Yes, but worth it! We women need to stop acting to fulfill the submissive pattern of behavior we were taught as children and not only take action, but stop perpetuating the pattern by teaching it to our children both males and females, specially our daughters.Get involved in any capacity you can; distribute material from this site, from books on the subject you have read,share solutions you have taken in similar situations. The worse thing is to do nothing.C'mon... M'l˙.

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, July 09, 2002

S1

Yes, It has happened to me.. I am in my 3rd divorce from abusive husbands. I am addicted to alcoholic, both verbal and physical abusive husbands. I am the crazy one to everyone else, he is the sane one, the last one was a Con artist too, I am from a string of women all his adult life. He did me in for over $40,000.00 I will never recover. He has since moved on to the next one. I just came home one day and he was gone. Th stress of living the straight (my Christian type) lifestyle was too much for him. He left me broke and in debt that will take 5 years or longer to get free of. I need help. I need to get free of this type man. e-mail me @ Len1045@hotmail.com

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, July 09, 2002

S1

Yes, It has happened to me.. I am in my 3rd divorce from abusive husbands. I am addicted to alcoholic, both verbal and physical abusive husbands. I am the crazy one to everyone else, he is the sane one, the last one was a Con artist too, I am from a string of women all his adult life. He did me in for over $40,000.00 I will never recover. He has since moved on to the next one. I just came home one day and he was gone. Th stress of living the straight (my Christian type) lifestyle was too much for him. He left me broke and in debt that will take 5 years or longer to get free of. I need help. I need to get free of this type man. e-mail me @ Len1045@hotmail.com

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, August 06, 2002

S1

dr irene; I think your web site is great and you too. There is one problem/question I have for you. What was it like when you were a virgin and found out you were pregnant. Can you imagine the terror. See a child going through a pregnancy. The Christian religion is woman hating in my opinion. Look at the effect of having the ideal woman be a virgin mother. No matter how perfect a woman is she is always lesser and dirtier. Superman does the superhuman but gets acknowledged as being from another planet and a cartoon. Also the least important member of the family is Joseph. I think he was written in to prevent any empathy with single mothers and to confirm that a cuckold has the least status accenting the paternity of the child and ignoring the importance of the adult relationship. Also Joseph and Marys romance while she was pregnant, are we supposed to believe he's just the nicest guy in the world and self sacrificing. read some feminist views of the bible stories and you will see the bible establishes women as commodities, setting the scene for male indifference.

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, August 16, 2002

S1

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, September 13, 2002

S1

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, October 09, 2002

S1

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, October 17, 2002

S1

I have my own experience with a pastor who failed to help. I was married in 1977 to a man I met in Church. He turned out to be so mentally and emotionally abusive that I won't take up space to explain much because it is so hideous. But this is the main reason I could never allow him around my daughter and a pastor didn't help me when I needed it. Unfortunately, in 1980 he did some horrible things to my pets. I apologize for typing this. Its not pleasant. He severely beat my dog, but it recovered and I gave it away. Then over the next year he killed six of my cats using them for target practice. I am sorry that is so horrible to read. He was like Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde. The point is that after he left I found out I was pregnant. My ex threatened to take my baby if the govornment ever came after him for support. He threw me out of our apartment into the parking lot, pregnant and with what little belongings he allowed me to have. The pastor had come over and picked me up and took my things to the church. My family was not supportive. I went on welfare and moved out of town. When my daughter went into the first grade I called the pastor for a very important favor. I asked him to write a letter to the government stating that I was too afraid to call the police the day my ex threw me out, but that he (the pastor) had witnessed the whole incident. The pastor refused and got mad at me. He adamantly refused. I had to hide for years from my ex because the pastor didn't want to help me. One night he found us, but we got away. We just happened to be moving that very night. I will never understand why the pastor didn't help. I am not sure he knew about the animals, but I think he did. Still, I was so frightened and probably told him why. Later I moved back to the town (my daughter is now 20) and I see the pastor every once in a while. I have written letters to him about what happened and then torn them up. I want so badly to let him know, but I always chicken out. All of this was simply the bad behavior of men and I don't think it reflects the way Jesus wanted either of them to act. I think the pastor was standing up for my ex because he was a man and didn't consider I was the responsible one working hard to raise the child and love and care for her. So, if anything good can come out of this it is that I do not blame God for man's foolishness. 22 years later I am still trying to recover from severe childhood abuse and this abuse. I have been on a long journey of discovery and figuring out that it is okay for me to face the pain of my past. For so long I completely blocked it out. If I am blaming and bitter, I will only hurt myself and others. I am starting EMDR trauma therapy this week to help me. I am so ready to change my life and so grateful to God for watching out for my daughter and I all these years.

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, October 18, 2002

S1

Please sugguest to me some good support groups in the LA area...focusing on verbal abuse....not phyical abuse (yet0

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, October 22, 2002

S1

I have read all the posts on this subject and find them very helpful. I have been divorced for 2+ years after a 31 year marriage of verbal, emotional abuse, financial control and extreme anger. When I was separated I called a phone counselor at Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs, CO. When I heard a male voice on the phone I was sure that I would hear that "submission" part of the Bible. However, when I described my situation the counselor said, "You don't have to put up with that stuff." He told me that God did not intend for us to live in fear and oppression. Never did he say I should try harder or longer. Nor did he say to try more counseling. There many passages in the Bible about rath and anger being the way of the wicked. And in talking with this Christian counselor I think that God feels that marriage vowes are broken by using abuse instead of loving your wife as Christ loves the church. I really did love my X at times in our marriage. But as years went by and I could no longer trust him I lost that love of the early years. The last few years I did not live in the marriage, I only existed. God bless us all and help us to treat ourselves as He would want us to do. A Midwest Survivor

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, October 24, 2002

S1

oh Yes!! After one of my husbands many outbursts I told him that I would not move back into the bedroom until we had counseling. I paid for the Christian counselor and it became a big fat joke. He tried to remain so calm and so nice and innocent. He danced around the mans questions. The counselor never ever used scripture. After each session my husband would laugh and either say "How long do you think it's going to take to fix us" or he would say"Boy that guy sure is raking you for your money". He conviently changed his hours at work so we couldn't go. That was in March of 2002. We went on a family vacation August 10-17. On that vacation my husband put on the preformance of his life!!! Never in front of family or friends he accused me of wanting to have an affair with my sister's fiancee just because he wanted me to go to the store with him so he could make us(my husband and I)dinner and he wanted to make sure he bought the right things. He would never do this in front of friends or family but he never seemed ashamed of doing it in front of the children. Jumping up and down screaming cussing. Like he was demon possessed. Well, when we came back from our vacation August19 I became really sick. Sick enough to go to the emergency room. My sister in law took me and she immediatly knew that I was stressed because of her brother. Well after x-rays and tests I found out I have Non-Hodgkins Lympoma! That was it!!! I was able to go to another state and recieve my treatments with my parents and I will be gone for maybe 7or more months for chemo.This is now October. But you know what?! I am at peace. It will be a long time if ever I go back. I don't believe in divorce but I know that the husband is suppose to treat his wife like Christ loved the church and be willing to give himself up for her(Ephesians 5:23) Mine does not and until he back in his rightful position and fellowship with God, I will NOT go back to anymore abuse!!!

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, November 12, 2002

S1

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, December 05, 2002

S1

This happened to me a year before I finally got out of my marriage. My husband at the time insisted we visit with a former pastor of ours. He said all kinds of things and I was so beaten down I didn't say anything. In the end the pastor and his wife insisted that I was basically full of beans and needed to work things out with my husband. Within a year I thought of suicide andthat's when I left. But not before he started throwing things at me and swore that if I left I would come crawling back. That has been eleven years ago. I am now remarried(which took me 6years to do) and very happy in my current marriage. Other women can do it too!

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, December 05, 2002

S1

This sounds so much like my case. My husband and I are good friends with our pastor and wife. I have confided in our pastor and my husband doesn't know this. Of course, my husband seems so funny and charming to them that I am afraid that I am going to seem like the one who is out of control. I was really at the end of myself when I even went to him(our pastor) because I don't want him to think any less of my husband because they are friends. I have another friend that suggested that I seek some kind of help and that was all that I could think to do. He would never let me get help....because I don't need it (right?) I just hope that my pastor is smart enough not to fall into his trap. :(

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, December 21, 2002

S1

Yes, very much so. My husband and I were in marriage counseling with my pastor and his wife. However, it went no where because my husband told them something different than what he told me- referring to what he thought the problems were in our marriage,etc. I was also told that if I left him, the power of God would not be on my life anymore. Also that if my relationship with God was right, my relationship with my husband would be right. And I was made to feel guilty that I didn't want any sexual relationship with him. My husband was very good, and still is, at hiding the abuse.

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, January 02, 2003

S1

what about pastors that are the abusers ??? (Spiritual abuse...with an enabling church council)

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Date: Thursday, January 16, 2003

S1

As I read this, I felt like I was reading the past ten years for me. The name calling , the sarcastic remarks in public followed by flowers and presents. Somehow I was always responsible for his behavior. He did this to me so much that my step children started verbally abusing me. As I spent time with his family, I saw this pattern in his father. I am in the process of divorcing and I am no longer in love with the "potential" of this person. I do not feel like I have to fix everything. I am physically healthy and emotionally healthy for the first time in a long time. I no longer allow him to push my buttons or do I play his control games. I love myself and I hope to attract other mentally healthy people as well. No one deserves to be treated this way!! FREE AT LAST.

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, January 18, 2003

S1

Is manipulation a sign of emotional abuse?

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Date: Thursday, February 27, 2003

S1

This is happening to me! Finally, everyone sees that he is crazy and abusive. I am confused on what my responsility is for me and my daughter. We have separated from him while he gets help (again). As a woman of God, when is it right to divorce a verbaly abusive husband? I can't tell where God is leading me! Respectfully, bdana_renee79@yahoo.com Dana

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, March 31, 2003

S1

I am a verbal abuser. I grew up in an abusive home,verbal abuse being one kind. I believe that my husband is an abuser also. He is emotionally and physically (not hitting) breaking up stuff in the house and verbally abusive. I want to break the vicious cycle in our life. We have been married for less than one year. We are both born again -Spirit filled believers who are struggling very much in this area. My husband has move back into his mothers now and I am trying to seek God once again for help. Last night I just ripped y mother in law apart with my mouth and today I am so ashamed. She called me and started with me, but I don't want to justify this behavior I want to stop it. I fast, pray , go to twelve step meetings, I just cannot seem to stop. I only have this problem with my husband, and now his mother. I do not have any respect for his mother and I know that is not right either. I judge her and hold her past against her. She is always saying things that just drive me crazy. She will not take any responsibilty for the things she says and wont' apologize for them either. Her behaviors are bad and so are my husbands. He has spit on me, pushed me, threatened me and prevented me from moveing in the past. I am 46 yrs old and he is 39 years old. He is a recovering crack addict and I am a co-dependent. I was married to an addict for twenty years prior to marrying my husband. I have repeated my cycle and want to know how to stop. I know God does not want me to live this way. I do not like hurting people, and I don't like being hurt. Can you help me ?

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, May 09, 2003

S1

As a new Christian, I first attended a church that was very strict regarding the place of women in the church. At that point in my life, I was hurting pretty badly, and bought what they were saying completely. After all, I was a new Christian, and they were the mature ones. They were supposed to know. I remember how they interpereted Genesis 1:16 "...your desire shall be for him and he will rule over you," to mean that the woman will always try to control her husband. This has certainly never been my wish or intention, but with this belief so firmly grounded in their teaching, of course everything I did was seen as proof that I was trying to control my husband, and it also happened to be a perfect set-up for an abusive situation. They also pointed to Eph. 5:22 "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord." and that wives were to behave toward their husbands as Sarah did toward Abraham in Genesis12:11 - 19 (and in my opinion God supernaturally protected Sarah in her decision to do as her husband said). I guess this whole model still works...if you are dealing with a man who loves his wife as Christ loved the church, and they are both walking in Spirit and in Truth. But in my experience, if the man is passive agressive or physically abusive, and especially if she doesn't have a clear God centered Biblical view of her role as a wife, this whole thing tends to backfire, and you end up with abused wives and children. I've read tons of material about women who do not respect male authority in churches, and honestly, I've been branded with that label before. But at this point, I struggle with the idea of sitting under the authority of anyone who supports or turns a blind eye to violent behavior in church members or leaders. Now I know that abuse has become a buzz word in our culture. A huge industry has grown up around creating and discovering abuse, creating victims, treating perpetrators and victims, and so on, and I'm reluctant to support such a self serving industry. I believe the pattern of abuse of women in the church, and the acceptance of it by leadership is widespread and, and in my experience it is rare for emotionally abusive husbands to be dealt with in a biblical fashion, unless the abuse is also physical, and so obvious that the authorities are called in. In one (rather small) church I attended, two elders were abusive(passive agressive behavior and drinking). Even though the pastor was told of this several times by the wives, nothing was done. It appears to me that often the wives of husbands in leadership have no where to turn because if they bring it out in the open, they are accused of gossip. Counseling often doesn't work either, for the type of guy I'm talking about can convince anyone that SHE is the one with the problem, when in reality, it's both of them (he the abuser and she the co-dependant victim) I also am aware of several Christian couples in churches where the husband was abusive toward the wife and or kids, and yet, somehow, the church leadership either rationalized it or was blind to it. In two cases I am intimately familiar with it, appears that folks believe an abusive situation doesn't exist if the guy is good enough at covering up. Still, I can also see the pastor's view of it. The wives I'm speaking of already had a "history" when they went to the pastor, so they were disregarded because they were viewed as trying to create trouble for their husbands. Sadly, the more you promote such a man, the worse things get, because after all, he looks good, and he has God on his side! And in promoting him, it actually becomes more difficult for him to repent, because he has farther to fall. I don't want to appear cynical, but this scenario sounds like a "good ol' boy's" club to me. I wonder if churches that "see women as equals" see mistreatment of its members differently, and therefore deal with emotional abuse in a clear headed manner.

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, May 14, 2003

S1

How do you help a woman in an abusive relationship get out? So abusive she has the deer in the head light look. The family and clergy think she is the one who is "crazy." She left and was forced to go back by her old time family for the sake of the marriage. She is th eone blamed for the problems. He and her family watch her every move. How does one get her to seek conseling?

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Date: Tuesday, June 10, 2003

S1

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, July 04, 2003

S1

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, July 04, 2003

S1

Well this could be me. I have stayed with my husband for the last two years believing that it would be out of the will of GOD for me to let him go. After much fasting, praying and counsel from my new pastor I know that I finally made a good choice in sending him packing. The peace and joy that have returned in just the week he's been gone are a testimony themselves. My husband and I were separated for 2 years due to his being in prison and during that time I had aquired a drug habit. (Married 4 yrs., Together 6 yrs.) Well needless to say during this separation the LORD delivered me from my addiction and I begin a new life serving JESUS. While in custody my husband convinced me he was serving the LORD also and me the co-dependent believed the lie, upon his release the truth slowing started emerging. I look back and see the things I overlooked and now see how they just kept getting worse. (He had always been a liar, cheat and abusive, all 6 yrs.) We have been to 3 marriages counselers, 2 were Pastors, 1 secular, the 1st 2 refused to see my husband anymore because he didn't have any willingness to change and the 3rd and last one thought there might be some hope if my husband would just get to the appointment. HA HA. My husband's sick opinion is he's fine that's why they don't want to see him anymore, and he believes this. I have done everything in my power to save this marriage but GOD gave my husband a free will so I have finally decided that he can take his prideful, arrogant will and get out. I deserve to be loved, not spitted in my face, not hit, not told what a f***ing idiot, the stupidist b***h he knows, the only thing I do good is f**k, that I don't deserve to be treated good, and cheated on. The Devil is a liar and that's who my husband serves. I am worth so much more, I do deserve a good life and intend to get it. The one thing I am very disappointed about is that when I went to brothers in our old church and told them my husband was abusing me they never would confront him, so he never had to be accountable to anyone. That is thier Christian duty to confront a brother in sin. I also went to a marriage restoration class at another local chruch that teachs submission at all cost, if your husbands abusive stay and GOD will change everything and if youv'e left go back GOD will protect you, I tried, but it just gave him more power and I became a slave to him. Well by the grace of GOD I have found the power and strength to end my oppression. I know GOD can do anything but he also has empowered us to take the steps to make our lives better. I still believe that he will save my husband except now I except the fact that it may have to be without me in his life. I filed for a divorce 2 weeks ago and I have no regrets it's given me peace. So my christian sisters as much as GOD hates divorce he doesn't expect us to be beaten down for him. He says he gives life abuduntly and living in oppression is not abundence. Use my name, Denise Campos

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, July 15, 2003

S1

I spent years and years praying. Fearful of ending my marriage and making God angry. Fearful of becoming less than the loving wife. Even when my Pastor saw and commented on the "hate" that my husband spewed when in counseling with Pastor, I was never ever told that I was in an abusive relationship. I was encouraged to read the Bible, to emulate other congreational marriages. Over and and over again I forgave, and forgave, and forgave. I was hopeful always that he would change, that he would see the other marriages as desirable. When the abuse turned to rage and became the only emotional response my husband gave to me, I ended the marriage. Now, at church I feel like an outcast. Failure is felt from other sources besides my abusive husband. What others in my town think of me is the result. Please listen to your heart not to your Pastor. And don't wait so many many years to do it. Broken in Helena

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, August 17, 2003

S1

Dr. Irene, Last September, to save my sanity and soul I ran out of my $1.0 Mil. house with just a half packed suit case. At the time I knew nothing about BPD. I am an engineer with a MBA, I just work hard, raised my sons and did volunteer work to boost my beaten up self-esteem. I had no idea why my wife was so cruel, unpredictable, and always filled with rage. One Sunday morning a minute before our service, the day of our annual meeting, she confronted our pastor and insisted I resign. She made all kinds of wild accusations, I had learned over the years to play dead and not be provoked. In the end I was ask to step aside. She is happy with this outcome and now sits at the front of the church. Most people see through what has happened, but it still hurt alot. Two months ago, using an engineer's hunch I figured there are no mysteries just stuff I don't understand. I knew my wife had an awful early childhood filled with neglect and abuse. I started to do research and came across the works of Drs. Robert Gordon, and Allan Schore. I started to understand brain development and the nature of emotions and what gives rise to BPD, finally I found BPD Central, and tonight your site. I am getting better. Before all of this research, I had been so abused, I had little in the way of job security and my wife had threatened to destroy me financially and emotionally. I felt nothing but hopelessness and despair. I joined the gym and prayed a lot. Her deception is so incredible I feel it an insurmountable task to try and set the record straight with my friends. The duplicity, lies and cruelty...oh boy am I glad I found you guys. Keep up the good work. You are right! The churches are completely out of touch with the reality of peoples lives in this area.

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, August 21, 2003

S1

I had a typical example of this when My husband who has been accusing me of sleeping with evry man and any man because I worked in a hotel came one day to my office. I was not at my seat and was paged. When I got to the bar where he was waiting for me he said I should do up my zippers cause I obviously dressed up in a hurry to come and see him. I of course flared up and he not innocenly looking asked my colleagues if there was anything wrong in a man asking his wife to dress up properly. Of course they did not see anything wrong in what he siad but I knew what he meant hence my reaction.