Comments: He's Changing... I'm Not...
here is intended for educational purposes only, and must not be considered a
substitute for informed advice from your own health care provider.
Dear Kara!! I read your post with tears in my eyes....I have never experienced even one half of what you have gone through, but I DO understand what it's like to be a Christian wife who was told to just "submit". Darling? God NEVER intends for His daughters to be abused by so-called "Christian" men-He commands that men LOVE their wives and GIVE themselves for HER as Christ gave Himself for the church! It's obvious that your H NEVER gave to you....he only ever TOOK!!! Those books that Dr Irene suggested are fantastic!!! I've read them both, and they've helped me SO much!!! My H and I are on the road to healing from abuse. He abused me and my kids emotionally and physically so much, that I was forced to take out an intervention order on him, and then had to leave as he breached the orders by kicking two of my kids. After 10 months of separation, we reconciled-only bse he was working on his issues. There's still a lot we are dealing with, but he IS dealing with his stuff. My advice would be to seperate from your H, bse what he is doing to you is NOT right-not in the eyes of man, and NOT in the eyes of God!!! If you don't feel able to separate, then work on ways where you can learn to set clear boundaries with your H around his sexual abuse of you. You are NOT his sex slave! YOU are a Daughter of the Most High God, and your H should be treating you as such!!! Yes... Hugs and best wishes AuslanGirl :wub:
my pastor didn't say to sleep with my husband. but he wanted to start joint counseling (we had been going separately, each to our own counselor). both counselors had felt we (me, really) were not ready for that because i am so shattered right now. but we went to pastor (mistake, yes). he has his heart in the right place, but is too optimistic for me at this point. now that i'm not hiding, the hurt is blinding. it is so hard to understand how a person can hurt another so badly (i would even get on my knees, forehead on the floor, and beg him to go ahead and blame me, but just to please stop the accusing words) and keep doing it OVER and OVER.
i told him how it hurt me, and during his nice moments he would agree it was wrong. but then it would start all over again. he was so angry when i said i wanted someone to tell me if i'm crazy. he said he would prefer to separate. but i stuck to my guns. then before i even had my first visit, the stab incident occured. and after i regained some control, i curled up on the couch in our bedroom because i needed to be away from him and safe. he made me come back to the bed with him. he made fun of me and scolded me for being a 'bad wife.' he didn't touch me; he just wanted to exercise his control, i guess. once i had to perform with a freshly broken ankle as soon as i got home from the ER.
not pleasant. so many bad memories like this. how do you get past them and fall in love again?? Kara, sometimes you don't... i can not honestly say i will ever trust my husband again. love? i don't even remember what real love is. and to have someone say you just need to have more faith; you are not letting God work in your life... i felt suicidal after that. :( i serve Christ, first and foremost. i want to have a good home for my kids, secondly. but how do you get past this pain? he has been the perfect man lately. even does laundry. but i am not ready to be more than acquaintances. today he's down. he wants to know if things are getting a little better. i am still trying to hear my own voice, so can't answer. i lived years thinking only how he would maybe react to everything, and answered as i thought he wanted me to. even now it's hard not to just say or do what i think will please him. i am so brainwashed. goodness, i hope i can rediscover my own brain soon. This you can do. i am only like this when he's around. apart from him i am considered smart and fun to be with. i am a teacher for the first time this year (i had homeschooled my kids for 13 years).
teaching was one of the eye-openers. no one at school made me feel faulty. they praised my work. the students like me. :) that made me wonder what was wrong at home. and my husband put me in a position where i had to work (the oldest went to college; he said he wouldn't help financially, but i could if i wanted to), then made my life miserable. "you better not get behind here at home." i was getting up at 4 am to get everything done. crazy. i understand now that the job issue really set him off. i was out of the home; out of his control. made his abusiveness worse. even if he changes, i just do not know if i will ever love him with the love we once had. and that is a hard thing to have to say. But an honest thing to say...
maybe i am still just angry. it is hard not to say, "i gave you 6 trillion chances and you never cared ONCE until i totally died inside." abusers, why do you wait until then??? and now that i know so much more about abuse (i've read every patricia evans book, lundy bancroft) i am not certain as to whether his new helpful self is just trying to hang on to me, then once i go back to 'real wife,' he will go back to nasty man.
i told my pastor i have to put myself on the altar like a sacrifice to see if his change is real. i'm not too excited about that. and it irritates me that it's expected of me. Not OK. hubby has had everything his way, and wonderfully so. and now that he is 'changed,' it is all to go his way again. something about that irks me. Yes. i don't think i can last another round. his sadness today, and his wanting to hold me all the time (he never did before) make me feel pressured. Do not permit yourself to be held unless you want it. very. and he said (smilingly) he can't sit next to me too long because of his 'reaction' (sexual). Ugh. gee, where was that when i was prostituting myself? and i am not in that mood, for certain. i am getting mixed signals. i know satan can present himself as an angel of light. and i think a lot of strong Christians do great harm to themselves letting satan trick them into thinking they are doing God's will, when in reality they are getting clubbed by evil to Christ's great dismay. Good analogy. i am really thinking on that track. God knows i am willing to suffer for Him, but i want to really be sure i am not serving and suffering for my own stupidity. Or your poor pastor's stupidity, for it is not you who is being stupid. i plan to get the book dr. irene suggests. and i'm not throwing in the towel just yet. just have brain waves going all over the map. thanks for the replies. it helps infinitely to know SOMEONE (actually many) really do understand.
Kara, Your story is so sad. I am sorry for all that you have been through. It stirs up familiar feelings within me as I can identify with you...in your desire to be a Godly wife and please your husband...no matter the cost to yourself. It has finally come to a breaking point for you. And just as Dr. Irene said, it's painful but you have stopped the suffering. I have read the Boundaries book recently and it is excellent. I remember reading it 10 years ago and not being able to wrap my head around the message because I was so far gone of having no boundaries. Stick with it and it will start to make sense. It takes work but certainly work that is well worth it. You are starting on a path of healing. My Pastor was also a large part of my relationship when it broke down. And he handled it professionally and did the right thing. You were fortunate. He did not insist that I move back in with my H. He was most concerned that the both of us learn and grow and build a new foundation for the sake of the family...unfortunately my H was not interested in this. It was no surprise to me however as this had been his pattern for 13 years. I hope that your Pastor is being supportive and not pressuring you. I really like how Dr. Irene emphasized what your Pastor said, about Having Faith and Letting Him Work. Perfect advice. Hold onto these words. market130
Kara - One more thing, Now that I've read your additional comments, I understand that you hated the way your Pastor said to "have faith and let God work". Dr. Irene took them out of the context that he was using them...and changed the meaning for good - in my opinion. Have faith in God and let God work in your husband's life...not on anyone's timetable...not to have faith and suck up your pain and go back to the way things were. Absolutely not. To have faith that God will carry you through and give you the strength to do what you need to do to and let God deal with your husband's heart. Yes. You are not responsible for making your husband feel better. His constant "neediness" for you is just another manipulation. I've experienced the very same thing. When things begin to not go your husband's way...let's just see how long his "sadness" lasts. If he's like mine, he will terminate the counseling and take matters into his own hands. ((Kara)) market
Kara, Emotional Abuse is so hard to understand but the effects do rob our souls-The advice Dr. Irene gave you on not letting others pressure you into doing what your husband wants (i.e. sex) is spot on - Your husband needs to go through the pain of NOT having his needs met until he understands and proves that he can treat you with God's kind of love and respect. He needs to understand that you are not causing his pain -his choice in emotionally/verbally abusive actions toward you did. Take time to get to know you and learn about boundary setting that protects your soul. I'm still learning how to keep these boundaries in place - we so want to trust that all people will return the trust and love we extend to them. I stayed in a marriage similar to yours for 24 years -I think it was about my 20th year that I finally started to realize how much I was allowing myself to be used, manipulated and yes, abused. Unfortunately, in my situation there was no awareness on the part of my X that he was doing anything wrong, he would admit he had issues but openly said he would take years to change and that I was supposed to endure it. ...ouch... This meant that he would not be there for me when I had emotional needs- in order for me to grow as God wants his children to grow I knew then I needed to remove myself from the situation. God has met my needs in amazing ways and I'm so learning to love myself as God loves me without letting others take advantage and use/abuse me emotionally. Well said... Love yourself as God loves you, His child, He wants the best for you... Keep taking care of yourself - you're traveling in the right direction. Keep up the counseling - You sound like you have tremendous strength that you've used for others - use that strength for you for awhile - you'll find that it will help you as you help your children process the confusion they're feeling as they become aware that there are people who chose abusive ways. It's very hard on our children when one of those people is a close relative -one they want to love and trust. Guide them along gently, remind them that part of their father does love them the best he knows how but that part of him struggles with treating you (and maybe them) in a godly way - without verbal abuse and emotional abuse. Your children will gradually begin to pick these traits out among their peers and actually learn at an earlier age (than us) what EA/VA is and how to set boundaries for themselves and learn how to walk away from people who continue to make choices to use EA/VA as a control tatic.
"My mind wants to do right; but my body is screaming in terror of him ever touching me intimately again. He did everything just perfect. He did not force me physically; he did it mentally. No one can see my scars and blood. No one can know how I had to do what I did in hopes of avoiding the vicious soul lashings. Has anyone overcome this part? Have they been there? My pastor's determination almost makes me want to kill myself. I just can not proceed so quickly as he thinks I should." A few points... First, and foremost...you did nothing wrong. You have played the part of the 'perfect wife' to a man who was abusive, cold and cruel for 20 years. Nothing more, nothing less. There is nothing 'slutty' or anything about having sex with your husband YES! ...it was -he- who made it slutty by refusing to give, refusing to respond, refusing to honour the gift that he was given. He took that gift and used it to hurt you. End of story. End of story. You have BEEN the perfect wife...if is not YOUR fault that you have these scars but your husbands fault...meaning that this whole business of you 'proceeding as quickly as he thinks you should' is utter nonesense... Yes. utter nonsense.
If you had say fallen down the stairs and lost an arm or a leg and were convalescing due to that, no one would be saying "hurry up Kala, you've been at this a week now, its time to let bygones be bygones and use that arm again"...your arm would be in a cast and you would be resting it and not using it for a good month or so until it was HEALED. Great analogy! Healing takes time...and if you rush the healing so that you can jump back on the horse with your husband...then you won't really be healing at all and neither will your husband be...you will simply be going back to the status quo of doing whatever sexually to please your husband regardless of what that means to yourself.
If this means that you guys have to have a sexless marriage for the next 10 years, then so be it. Or 20 years. Or 30 years. Thats what your H gets for hurting you to this degree. Point 2. I want to congratulate you on the courage it took to be so upfront and honest about this. This is hard and tough stuff and I want you to know that I appreciate the fact that you have written so openly. Yes! About 20 years ago now, I was date-raped by a guy and got pregnant during that 'event'. And because I was pregnant I married the guy so that the child might have a decent life. Two years later I had another child with him, a daughter and that was when I decided to leave. I wasn't sure why the relationship was so horrible or anything of the like...I wasn't sure why I felt so horrid, or why I so wanted to crawl out of my skin... I explained a little of my circumstances to a counselor at the women's interval home and she mentioned sexual abuse and labeled this as such. It wasn't until much later that I began to understand...and I don't think I could ever have been so forthright as you have been. At 25 or so I attempted suicide...and then went into intense counseling at the sexual assault center...and for me, I'm glad I did this because the nature of sexual abuse is very similar to verbal abuse but in some ways it is a little bit different. (I believe) that our sexuality is very much entwined with our soul and so when we say 'yes' when we really don't want to, in order to keep the peace or to not create waves etc etc...what we basically do is cause a sort of split in ourselves...and it takes a very, very long time for this split to heal. Yes...
Your husband sort of put you in the position where you had to say yes for most of the time, and indeed, not only have to say 'yes' but had to actively pursue this whole thing...forcing you to play a part...and basically sacrifice your soul in order to keep the peace. Reading this, reading your story makes me very, very angry. Not with you, but with your husband...because in my opinion, this is one of the absolute worse things a man could do to a women, a husband to his wife. Agreed. It goes beyond physical abuse...I mean, if he had punched you and broken a few of your bones everyone would know this and it would feel far less shameful than what he actually did...and I'm sure that you would gain support and such a lot easier... Agreed. I'm ALSO sure that your pastor would NOT be saying for you to hurry up and trust him again and get back in there and allow him to punch you and break more bones. YES!!!! He'd be saying "I see the photographs...go to a shelter and make sure you are safe". YES!!!
This man has sinned against your body and your soul and in doing so, caused a split...and again, HE did this, not you. Every bit of pressure that your H puts on you to 'heal' or this pastor puts on you to 'heal' is evidence of them NOT wanting you to heal. Healing in this case, means that you have sex ONLY when YOU want it, how you want it and if after all that you have gone through, you NEVER want it again...well, your H has had his turn at control for the past 20 years... YES!
It may very well be, that your body may fool you as well...after a time, of H healing, it may be that you want H to hug you or cuddle you...and then right after that, it becomes NOT ok again...that you then want to have some space so you can cry or go for a walk to do whatever to process. It may be that you get really turned on for a few seconds and then turn right off and start bawling your eyes out...or want to hurt yourself again...and although it isn't ok that you hurt yourself, it is VERY important that you take that time and deal with WHY you want to hurt yourself... YES, YES, YES!!!
Please, listen to your body...allow your spirit to heal...to be -yours- again, not your husbands. A marriage (again, my opinion) is supposed to comprise of 2 individuals BOTH adhering to God...YES! God at the top of the triangle and the husband and wife comprising of the 2 sides...not God first, then H then you somewhere down at the bottom. God wants you to be whole, not split...YES!!!! and he wants H to be whole, not bullying or abusive...YES!!! and you can only look after your end of the triangle...your walk with God... so please, take the time that you need to heal and trust that your H will either heal or not...but, be honest with the healing...not trying to rush it so that H can continue to hide behind you. YES YES YES YES... And more YES.
Oh Kara, My heart grieves so much for you. I too am a Christian, and I spent years with my husband, trying to be meek and kind, trying to please him sexually, only to have his abuse and control continue. I also have spoken to well-meaning pastors. What happened when you spoke to your pastor is common, unfortunately--first you were abused by your husband, then you were abused by the church. Yes. Your pastor clearly does not understand what is going on... Clearly. If your pastor had understood, he would have said get out! Yes! Perhaps you need to show your pastor this. I honestly think he thinks something far different is going on... I can't imagine he is not well-meaning. I think he just doesn't understand the situation... Show him so he may not make the same mistake with others...
Telling you to go back to receive more abuse is actually a form of abuse. It's like your pastor is, unwittingly, sanctioning the abuse. Christian women are often raised to be weak and submissive, and the implication from the church and the men is that they have 'carte blanche' to treat their wives however they want. And Christian women believe they can't do anything about it. This is not biblical and this is not true. I was horrified to read that you started to hurt yourself physically. You know what that is? That is intense emotional pain that you are trying to release in a physical way. That is the result of going to your "safe place" for so many years, which is a place of denial. God does not want us to live in denial. You have never dealt with the pain of being verbally abused. I myself am just beginning to deal with it, and I'm not going to be done for a long time. It's going to take a long time to deal with what has been done to me. A very, very long time... I'm in the process of trying to separate from my husband, and I know there is a long road of healing ahead of me after I get out. Kara, you have a reason to separate--biblically, emotionally, spiritually--so that YOU can heal. YOU are a child of God and you deserve to heal from the emotional atrocities done to you. Atrocities is a good word for this. And you cannot heal while you are still with him, even if he is "changing". Correct. You cannot heal while you are constantly in fight-or-flight mode, just waiting for and dreading the next attack. Correct. It would be like cleaning a tender wound with a wire brush and course salt...
It's common for an abuser, when they are faced with a crisis (such as their woman walking out), to temporarily do an about-face, only to return to their old ways when she agrees to stay again. Not only common, but inevitable. The books Dr. Irene suggested to you are awesome--read them! I also recommend "Domestic Violence: What Every Pastor Needs to Know" by Al Miles. Thanks for the reference. He gives a great Christian perspective on abuse. Please join us in the Catbox and on the Christian and Biblical Yak board. You have Christian sisters there who will support you, whatever you decide to do. God Bless You! Zoeygirl
After reading your 'add-ons' I wanted to add, that family violence counselors NEVER suggest that a couple do joint counseling until first the abuse has stopped and the H has found new coping skills and such AND until the wife is feeling strong enough that she can be honest and upfront in the counseling without ANY fear of the consequences of this. YES!!!! Should you and your H go to do this joint counseling and you open up, and then your H is again cold and critical of you...and you DO hurt yourself seriously or God forbid suicide, then it might be very easy for your H and your pastor to then say "oh, my, that's too bad, we feel sad for her, but it was her decision and hers alone" and to totally blind themselves that they were and ARE responsible.
If I were in your shoes, I would not want
to be in the same room as my H, let alone allow him to touch me...and
this would be perfectly ok with my God as it should ALSO be ok with
your H and this pastor if they are being truly sincere with the wish to
heal. I suspect her pastor does not understand what is going
may be that you guys have to separate, live apart for a good long time
before you CAN trust him again...and it may be that you never succeed
in trusting him at all. I would encourage you to look through some of
the posts in the catbox and in the forum specifically those on how to
tell if he IS healing and the ones in the Christian section on divorce,
separation and submission. Often times in so many of our own stories
and those of our mothers and such, the bible has been used to allow and
even encourage the abuse to continue and we have been further abused by
pastors and such from churches who do NOT understand the nature and
severity of family abuse. Please know that even for Christian women,
there ARE other alternatives out there...and that it is OUR walk with
God that we need to be responsible for, not what some misogynistic
pastor might think our walk with God should be.
You will be in my prayers.
Wow, reading this was like reading my own story in many ways. As I read Dr. Irene's words, it was as if she were talking to me. Very much the obvious, I call my safe place Pandora's box. I am a master at putting "things" into this box, since I was a child. My reality and possibly Kara's is that the box becomes too full. It spills out whether we want it to or not. Then we must face those things that we do not want to face. I can look back on it now and acknowledge that I "HAD" to face what was in front of me. BUT, it was not easy. It was hard!!!!! My saving grace was listening to my heart. I listened to what it told me. :) Respectfully, Me
Yeech. My ex did the same thing...the mummy stance. I had totally forgotten about that until I read your words. Everything was my responsibility, and I never did it right. Nothing was ever good enough. He'd do a little something here and there for show, then use that against me to prove that he was fulfilling his end of our marriage commitment. In my view, it never was a marriage. He never entered into any covenant with me, I was invisible, a tool, a thing to be used. I couldn't be with my soul suffering continual battering. I couldn't wait 20 years and I knew with great certainty that even 20 years wouldn't allow him to enter into marriage with me. I left that marriage and have moved on. Now I am quite happy and living a very different life, in my only true marriage. The reminder about listening to the body was very timely for me, and good advice. Listen to yourself, for all that you need to believe and know exists in there. Best of luck to you and hugs to help quell the anguish.
Dear Kara, I want to acknowledge the pain your husband put you through.. As a Christian man, I Corinthians 13 states clearly what love should look like in the eyes of God, you held up this commitment in partnership of marriage but your husband has not. The 2 books mentioned above are a wealth of Christian knowledge. They will put things in prospective for you. The Catbox group and their stories will help you too. Your children will understand, as they leave the nest, that you did your best for them. You have spent so much time trying to do your best for others, it is your time now..to take good care of you. God will guide you through the process, just ask and we will pray for you too! Lamb
I have come from a situation some what similar. I have only been married 6 1/2 years to a controlling overbearing turned verbally abusive man. i have never told my story because it hurts to much. We have a 4 1/2 year old son together. He says he is a Christian and I am also a Christian. I think over the last 4 years he has worn me down physically and emotionally till there was almost nothing left of me. On 2 separate occasions he "raped me". It is so hard for me to even say or type. to make a long story short I am currently out on my own struggling but happy with my son. I no longer have to listen to the verbal abuse or have my son hear it. He got 3 churches involved all of our Christian friends and then some. I have not been swayed or moved to take my abuser back nor will i ever. Recently I started dating a man who is wonderful and treats me with love and respect. It is an amazing thing when the scales come off the eyes and you can see your husband for the abuser and rapist he is. Best of luck to you God bless And good for you for writing about it. Do it MORE. Facing it is a huge part of your recovery.
Kara, Hi, I read your letter and I have to tell you that I am in almost exactly the same situation as you, just a little farther down the road perhaps. Please understand that I am relating these things to you because you need to know that you are not alone! Misunderstood, yes. Unappreciated, yes. And whether you believe it or not you are up against a brick wall with a cross on it!
I am also a Christian, have been married for 30 yrs, 4 sons, etc. My husband also had some very bizarre sexual behaviors which were abhorrent to me: he wanted me to have sex with another man (of his choice!) while he watched. There is a LOT more to it than that, but that was the crux of his fantasy. But he was abusive on every level and it was escalating to the point where I was very afraid for my life. When he pointed a large knife at me I knew he was capable of using it. I have been as honest as possible with my sons but they have not taken my leaving their dad 1 1/2yrs. ago with the understanding that I hoped for. Right now we are in "marriage counseling" because the church and my husband and my sons want reconciliation. I do not. Tell this to the counselor! It's nuts for you to be there!
Like the song says, I've had enough. I used to always feel guilty and try harder to love and please him, but no more. I don't know when I came out from underneath that guilt, but I have. I realized recently that I don't have enough strength to spend the last of my life agonizing over what everyone else believes is "the right thing to to." I concur with Dr Irene that your mind may be fooled but your body is not. As a person who has suffered abuse you probably haven't been listening to your body's alarms. Lately I have been discovering a feeling of panic and fear whenever the subject of reconciliation has risen. I used to shove that aside as unreasonable - what did I know about God's will compared to church leaders? I know this now - if they can't respect me as a Christian woman who has been in their midst striving against horrible odds to serve God and as such am in need of a great deal of true healing - not scriptural band aids - then I am in the wrong place. Period.
You don't have to spend your entire life being beat up by somebody, even if it is "only" with godly concern. In this 30 years my husband has only given God lip service but all of a sudden he is once again very devout. There have been at least 4 churches involved at different times of our lives to correct the situation. What has happened is that I have become less and less trustful of other Christians who give advice when they are not capable (do not have the skill or knowledge) of dealing with the WHOLE problem. My husband is the meekest he has ever been and I daresay the most desperate. In the church where I was faithful in service and attendance for 16 yrs. he is enjoying the fruit of fellowship because he has so changed and I am in exile because he chased me out of town!
Beware the changing rules and rewritten history of your life- you will wonder if it really happened to you! All the above is to say I truly identify with your dilemma. You have a lot of courage but you need to get more support than just one daughter. You might try online or try a women's shelter for a support group. Knowing others have been there really does help - it keeps you from feeling crazy! Eventually you will be obliged to pick up the pieces and decide what you need to do and having a net of friends who care about you is very helpful. (One word of caution about finding a support group: do not rely on your Christian friends. A well-meaning friend may betray your confidence and cause further problems for you. It is actually better for you to find kindred souls who have suffered as you have. They know the cost.) Yes... God bless you Kara, I pray you will remain strong. GE (Gabrielsemmy)
Praying for you and hope you are using the forums.
Love is about trust. Where there is no trust, there is no love. Saj
Kara, I am a woman in a relationship with a woman. I am on the verge of leaving my relationship and have been for a few years. It is very close now. I have been doing a lot of reading and talking about abusive relationships and have been in counseling for 3 years. What I find amazing is the amount of time it takes to change - not only for the abuser but for the abused. Yes. My relationship started in the typical quick, romantic way.. until we moved in together. So 7 years later I am almost ready to exit. I feel many things excitement, fear, and sometimes shame (which I work on letting go of). One of the most important things I have learned, and am still learning, is how to hear myself and know that what I need is most important to me and be okay with that. It sounds simple but if you aren't already there it can be quite a journey. You are on yours. You will get there and as you get closer it will become clearer to you what you have to do. All the best! Tracy
Dear Kara, I went through pretty similar situation myself not long time ago, I also have 3 kids same age, and I am 42. I would try to write more longer reply later (because it's very late now here), but for now I would like to say - don't force yourself into anything anymore! Enough of pleasing!!! These people never have enough!!! They are sick.
Read information on this site, other
sites, take books from the library. It helped me a lot to see what's
happening in my life. When I started reading your post - I was thinking
that you sometimes describe my life - so alike it was. Now for more
than 9 months I've been separated - I mean we (me and my kids) don't
live with their dad. I didn't force them. My youngest child spends half
time with him, because he doesn't mind. But kids understand more than
you think, just talk to them, tell them honestly that you can't live
with their dad anymore. And leave. You won't believe - how good it
feels. It's like - just imagine - you fell into a dark tunnel, feel
scared, can't see anything, don't see any hope to get out, but suddenly
you found an exit, you see blue sky, sun, flowers, peaceful nature, you
feel like you are born again, so happy!!! This site helped me, when I
was in this situation myself, I just read the information and other
people postings with Dr. Irene comments, and only twice posted to one
woman in similar circumstances.
So, unfortunately for all of us, this happens very often, as I know
But fortunately for all of us, from the other side, we can help each
other with the listening, or advice, or sharing our stories. So, stay
A. (sorry, didn't leave my real name :) )
Kara Thank you for sharing your story. My heart is with you. My story is so similar and you told it so well. I do not have any religion in my life but I have the same mentality of being kind, considerate, spiritual, conscientious, good values and morals etc. This is what I was taught in my family of origin. I love everything Dr. Irene said, it is all starting to make sense for me. I also gave my body to my husband because I thought that is what I was suppose to do. Everything in me though really did not want to. I only did it because this would keep the peace. He would stop bugging me and I usually just did it to get him to leave me alone.
I was doing what I thought I should but I always felt so bad about myself afterward. Yes... My 20 year experience was similar. But I realize that as time went on, I could not keep doing what I was doing. It was destroying me. Yes... Eventually, all I did was try to avoid him. I could not be anywhere near him. But I felt guilty. My mind was always battling itself. Yes! There are so many people on this site that know exactly what you are going through. I am not good at giving advice as I am still trying to understand it all. But this site has many different stories and many people who will be able to give you what you need. You are not alone. I hope you continue to share and seek all the help you can. I don't believe that we were put on this earth to be unhappy. I also have 3 daughters. And did everything I could to keep the peace for my kids. I tried to protect them from the pain that I was feeling and their fathers rages.
Thank you Dr. Irene for your replies to Kara. This helped me alot. :) As a child of a raging father, I also grew up to have some anger about this. I did not want my children to grow up thinking that their fathers behaviour was okay. They are grown now. I really have no idea what they knew or didn't know. This is something I will talk to them about as time goes on as the need arises. I decided to leave my marriage. This was my choice. God bless you Kara. Your story will also help many others. And I am so sorry that you are going through this. Please be kind to yourself. Cassandra
it's me, kara. the postings are all so helpful, emotionally especially. thank you every one. right now the hardest part is learning to hear my own voice. i have drowned it out for so long, i don't know how to recognize it. and because i am still at home with my hub, his presence keeps up a loud buzz that drowns me out even more. he is not being aggressive right now. he is being 'perfect.' but still, even if he truly changes, i am so conditioned to think only through his brain i don't know if i can ever be 'normal' with him again. Perfectly normal - of course you feel this way!
i would really like to get away for a while, but it's not possible right now. because i'm a Christian, or rather, because of how so many Christians have come to believe appearances are everything. i have thought about this much. and i always try to see what God wants me to learn and do from all situations He allows me to be in (though i know He lets me decide what to do with those situations). i am looking at ways to help women (and men) in our situations to be understood and properly cared for in the 'church.' too many churches have come to see divorce as the greatest evil. so much so that they overlook other just as heinous evils. in my church, if i divorce, i can no longer teach sunday school. i can not have any position. i will also lose my job because i teach in a Christian school. How sad...
BUT my husband, an abuser, as long as he doesn't divorce me can be a deacon and leader. as long as DIVORCE isn't in the picture, all other hidden evils are ok. SOMETHING is WRONG with that picture. Very wrong. i am not saying divorce is a trifle. i know God hates it and it is a last resort. but i do not believe He expects abuse to be the better option. so, i am trying to see what good i can be used for in all of this. and doing that gives me strength and purpose. it really helps.
i am seeing a lawyer today. Good. not
to make any rash moves, but to be prepared for whatever may come. my
counselor wanted me to inform my hub, but i was too afraid and did not
tell him. i am changing my will, for certain, so that if a die my
children will receive what i have, not my husband. i had money of my
own when i came into this marriage, and my husband has in some ways
abused that, too. but no more. i want to be sure my kids are the
benefactors. Good. i do not trust my husband at all any longer.
He is not trustworthy. so, these are
little steps, but they give me focus. yesterday was terrible; i was
very suicidal (saying that is like watching myself on Twilight Zone. i
never dreamed i would feel that way). but today i feel a little
stronger since i found a way to do something profitable with my
suffering. trying to find ways to help others is the greatest soother.
many thank you's and prayers to you all again. kara
God bless you Kara...
does anyone know what i mean by suffering 'amnesia'? i am so glad for the times i wrote things down because my minds seems to 'drift' when i try to remember what my husband has done. please, if any of you out there are starting to question your sanity, write incidences that pained you down. immediately. if you are like me, your hub has made you greatly question conversations you had, things he did (but says later he didn't), and has downplayed everything to make himself look better. Yes. This is very common. Our minds want to forget our pain... eventually, if you are trying hard to be a pleaser and trust the man, you start to believe him. and your own mind seems to lose it's ability to function on it's own. my journal has been a major help. when he starts to replay things for our pastor, i can say 'wait, here's exactly what you said/did.' and it helps me to remember that i'm not exaggerating. if your mind is at all messed with, you will understand what i'm saying. WRITE THINGS DOWN. Excellent advice.
Kara, THANK YOU for being brave enough to share your story. I CAN'T believe how similar our lives have been....even down to his "waiting" for sex, my excessive loyalty, and my moral world-view that it was important to always do the "right thing" (even when others take advantage of my kindness). THANK YOU also, Kara and Dr. Irene, for confirming that what I am feeling is OK. One of my steps in recently reaching this point was discovering the website, http://www.chabad.org
Although I am not Jewish, I have been studying the Jewish roots of the Christian faith for years. Please know that Orthodox Judaism has MANY issues to address in the area of women's rights (especially as they relate to divorce), but one of the ideals of Judaism is that women are more "spiritual" than men. There are many honest articles at this site related to spousal abuse and God's views of women. One recent article, "A Stranger in a Strange Land" addresses the story of a woman who was forced to go to a shelter after experiencing abuse. Interesting... Thank you. (http://www.chabad.org/theJewishWoman/article.asp?AID=505212 God bless you for helping us step-out in faith to begin the process of healing.
I am a Christian woman and the thought of divorcing my husband was extremely difficult to overcome. He was not doing the right thing but I felt like I needed to look at all my faults and work on those while praying that "I" would change to be the "wife" that he needed. I prayed, prayed and worked and bottom line the Lord will help people see and change but each of us has free will. The Lord did change me and I allowed it to happen. I no longer accepted the disrespect and verbal abuse and set the boundaries of what I was willing to tolerate. He continued to cross those boundaries, clearly knowing what they were. We are now divorced. My children and I are doing well. I am the awesome woman that the Lord wanted me to be. :) Someday maybe my ex will allow the Lord to mold and mesh him into the perfect design he was meant to be.
Dear Kara, My heart goes out to you. I don't have a whole lot of insight, except to echo what Dr. Irene says about listening to your body. I am in a similar process to you, in that I am recovering from marital rape and trying to save my marriage. So, my insights and advice are given from the context of my own situation. It seems that you, like me, have a habit of putting other people's needs above our own. This can be a very christian or loving trait, and it can also be to our detriment when we ignore and disconnect from our feelings and our bodies. Exactly...The process takes as long as the process takes. And for me, it actually is likely to get worse before it gets better. Like you, I went into a numb phase, cutting myself off from my body and my feelings. For a while I just made myself have sex to please him. Now I don't feel much of anything - but definitely not connection and love with my husband. Being in therapy has been great for me - if you haven't yet, you might consider taking that path. And spiritual advisors/pastors can be a wonderful part of the healing process. But neither has the right to tell you what to do or how to feel or when to feel it. That is up to YOU and you alone.
It is completely appropriate for you to
not be having sex with your husband now and even for the foreseeable
future. I'm struggling similarly to you: My husband just wants to know
when we can have sex again. He's even persistently asked when *HE* can
have sex again (without me, with someone else). Ugh... He feels like his life is on
hold. He's upset that I don't have empathy for his situation. He feels
rejected. The rape was nearly a year ago and he can't understand why
I'm "not over it". The fact of the matter is that no amount of apology
or contrition can hide what his true motivation is: to meet his OWN
needs and wants. He seems to miss the fact that *HE* raped me, and that
our sex life didn't used to be messed up. This is an opportunity to be
true to yourself and to honor your body, mind and spirit. You are a
gift from God. You are *of God* and deserve to be honored and
cherished. Be gentle with yourself. Be compassionate toward yourself. Yes...You know the 1st Corinthians scripture on love? Apply that to *YOURSELF*.
And please update us as time goes by. You are not alone!
with thoughts and prayers,
it's me kara. i keep forgetting to sign posts. not a good day today. my hub was looking for a checkbook and saw some emails in my purse. so he read them. that made me mad. Yes. No boundaries. You do not belong to him. invasion of privacy. they were ones i had written to my daughter; i had a very bad day on tuesday. i printed them to share with my counselor. so i ask hub what he thought about them. how does it feel to know you destroyed a real, live person? your wife, even? the one who trusted you with herself completely? he just gives me a blank stare. DUH. he looks sad, pathetic. "oh, honey, i'm trying to understand..." that's just it. he doesn't. can he ever??? I'm glad he saw what he saw.
Has anyone's partner ever really 'got' it?? that's what hurts the most. i told my pastor this, too: if i hadn't snapped and sought outside help, MY HUB WOULD STILL BE HAPPILY ABUSING ME. HE ONLY 'REPENTED' BECAUSE HE GOT CAUGHT. Correct. This is the pattern in abuse. The problem is in most cases, it does not last. It is more likely to last in a small percentage of men, and they have to be married to a woman who has the disposition to become a "drill sergeant." You do not have this disposition. IS THAT REAL SORROW?? THOUGH OF COURSE HUB SAYS HE DIDN'T KNOW HE WAS DOING IT. WELL, HE ADMITS IT HAPPENED BUT DOESN'T KNOW WHY HE DID IT. BUT HE'S FOR SURE SORRY NOW!! He is sorry for what he sees, yes. But the "engine" that powers him only sees what was pointed out to him. Any situation that is slightly different will not be recognized. So, even with the best of intentions, he will commit abuses again. And again. And again.
yeah, right. it would be so totally different if he had seen me on the floor that last time and said, "man, what have i done? what is wrong with me? i need help!!" Exactly. THEN i could really feel some hope for us. but as it is, i can't. and believe it or not, i still feel guilt. I believe it. Your mind is "trained" to respond this way, even though it works against you. So, feel the guilt for a few moments - then let it go. i feel badly that i am not being a true wife to him right now. OK. Feel badly for a little while.. Maybe a minute. Then move on. that's how it always has been; i feel the concern and love for the two of us and he feels nothing at all. Yes. i carried the whole load. man. i am tired of that. About time! i told him this morning to go find a better woman than me. :) i am positive i can make a normal man satisfied and happy. Yes... then he cries. i told him his head is like a block. no comprehension going on. for now he listens. because he knows everyone is watching. BUT if i had never screamed for help... we would still be in crazy land. Exactly. And I can promise you that if you let your guard down even just a little, or once time passes and people forget, he will be back in his full-feathered abusive glory. He can't help it. He needs treatment. And there are NO guarantees. Prognosis is not good. I'm very relieved to see how much stronger you are...
Kara, your story brought tears to my eyes. You gave everything you had for your kids -- that is never wrong! Your pastor is wrong to expect you to act like nothing happened. That is more abuse. Yes. Your husband cannot be trusted. Yes. He has deep seated hatred in his soul and is a master of disguise. Yes. He lives in denial unable to acknowledge the viper that lives in his mind. Yes. Otherwise he could have NEVER conducted himself as he did. You are not the cause of it and did nothing to deserve it.
At this point, your children may be better off without him. He is so psychotic that he probably hurts them too, but in such subtle, manipulative ways that they don't even know how to put a finger on why he makes them feel bad. Yes. God didn't create marriage to be like this. God doesn't want any of us to suffer cruelty. Please see your God-sent therapist and ignore the ignoramus pastor. If you feel that staying with your husband is best for you and your family, build up your defenses, help your children defend themselves and keep the realization that your husband is a monster in the forefront of your mind.
The only way he could begin to rebuild trust is for him to explain how he hurt you. He must fully articulate the pain he caused, without any backsliding. If he even once uses phrases that indicate you were part of the problem, he is still one sick puppy and has limited, if any, understanding of what he did to you. He lacks insight and empathy. If he had developed a level of insight that acknowledged your pain and the ability to discuss his actions and why it was wrong, there might be a ray of hope for him. Just because he is being nice for the time being does not mean he has changed. He may be building up for something worse or trying to strengthen his position. There is little humanity in him. Take care of yourself and love your children. Good advice. I will be praying for you.
There is nowhere to click on the original letter in order to read other responses. http://www.drirene.com/hes_changing.htm Thank you. I corrected that.
it's me, kara, again. yesterday was rough. he has lost weight. he looks like he's aged 10 years. he says he wants to love me now the way he should have before. there's only one problem: my love died. Correct. This is a natural part of the process. it was a slow, agonizing death that i tried to pretend wasn't happening. but it kicked off for certain the night i stabbed myself and he made me come back to our 'marriage' bed. Yes. Your love died because it should have.
ANYONE, has anyone ever been to where i am and then fallen back in love with the man who did this to you? Honestly Kara, sometimes there is just too much water under the bridge... my 12 year old wanted to know how things were going last evening. i said i am trying, i really am. but that daddy has done some very bad things and it is not easy to get over them. she said, 'but he's trying now.' i gently tried to explain that i knew that, but that what he's done to me is very awful. Yes. the kids. that is the hardest part for me. as hub and i were 'discussing' our situation, i told him the sexual abuse was the worst of all. I am so happy you are talking honestly with your children...
we talked about him wanting sex right
after i had my ankle set. and how the weird position i had to do it in
hurt me. and how he got ANGRY when i had to leave right after his
climax to go to the bathroom to see what was so wrong inside of me. i
hobbled back to where he was and tried to say what happened. all he
said was that it was wrong for me to leave suddenly like that. no
concern for me at all. and then yesterday he says, 'you mean it hurt?'
Exactly. MAN. i about lost it. Good! can he really be that stupid?
He's covering up. The day it happened what he felt inside
was POWER. Ugly, cruel POWER that made him feel good. Good for God's sake! And
he's not even admitting it! Very bad prognosis here Kara. Be careful, this man
will manipulate you and the children if he can. or he'll say, 'i kind of remember something about that...' talk about minimizing or downplaying.
Yes. This is not repentance. He is trying to save face.
he tries to pretend he's completely unaware. that really hurts.
really, really. he is seeing his counselor today. do the abusers really
not know to this extent? and they say they 'love.' are they truly
capable of love?
Oh, you didn't ask this one before... Perhaps not. i am serious. i want to know about that.
Read Lundy Bancroft.
Kara, If you really want to know, read this book: Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men , by Lundy Bancroft. Click on the book shelf link at the top of the page with your original letter, and you will find the Amazon link to this book. It is written by someone who has counseled thousands of abusive men. He really lets you know what is in their minds.
Honey, Why give this man even one more day of your life? Sounds to me like you've given enough.
Please Kara don't give up hope...I will not tell you your marriage will survive . I was a dedicated Baptist disciplined woman/wife for 17 yrs...I found that to be a hindrance than a help...Christian beliefs revolve around a "twisting" of scripture to make woman docile & submissive in a very negative and ungodly way...Remember theologically (ponder this) "GOD" is genderless...man has made what we practice in the pulpit to hear and (to a woman's' demise ) believe from a male perspective... To clarify I was a Feminist before a Christian.. but as I have seen the evolution of incongruity and demise of woman in the Christian world.. a woman needs to come to the understanding that she is greatly respected and revered in the eyes of GOD...never forget this ...it will be your salvation....Jean I think various parishes treat this issue differently. Not all Churches are not OK...
Dear Kara I to have been married for 20 yrs and have reached the same milestones as yourself. My humiliations were more verbal and physical, and still continue even though my husband is in therapy. The most empowering book I have ever read is Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men by Lundy Bancroft. It put so much in perspective for me, it was as if the 'lights came on '. Read it, and god bless you.
dear kara, i am a man and wanted to give you another perspective. I cried too when I read your original posting (and I certainly do not consider myself a wimp). It was simply written so well and very compelling and moving. I have been married for over 30 years and would die to have love like you have given. And then to read how in return a husband would treat you like your's treated you, it is way beyond my comprehension. To even think a man would humiliate his wife one time is too much for me to accept let alone day after day after day. It is impossible for me to grasp how any human being could do that to another human being, let alone to his wife. How will you ever be able to trust another man again? Ever? I say all that just to assure you that there are more than just women who are sickened and disgusted by the actions of men like your husband. Thank you for this. It is not about sexuality; it is about Humanity.
Dear Kara, It's mp again - hi. I've read your more recent posts on this thread along with all the replies. I don't have answers to some of your questions about whether abusive partners know the extent, or whether abused partners can ever develop a level of trust that intimacy and love can be present again. Typically not. I'm in the same inquiry as you right now. My H wanted sex 4 weeks after the birth of our baby because he'd 'waited long enough'...and wanted sex during the height of (my) neurological symptoms that we feared were multiple sclerosis last year (turns out I had something called transverse myelitis and it's mostly resolved). Whew! And when I wasn't available (10 weeks of bedrest for preterm labor), he brought another woman into our marriage bed. I am soooo sorry.... At this point I don't know whether I have PTSD or whether I just have an appropriately healthy contempt and disgust for my H. Same thing. PTSD is the most normal thing in the world after what you've been through. So is contempt and disgust. Your questions are valid - perhaps others could speak to them. My suspicion is that abusers either (a) do know the extent and relish in it or (b) are incapable of seeing any other perspective but their own. My H seems to have both of these going on. And then there are these glimmers of empathy, apology, contrition....that seem *completely genuine* until they are then followed by the punch line, "when are we going to have sex?" or "so can we have sex now?" I'm to jaded to believe anything he says right now...maybe forever...i'm still, like you, working that out. My very best wishes to you, kara. mp Stay jaded. With him you have to be.
it's kara here. i have an appt with my counselor today. hub went to his yesterday. i write. better than i speak. so i write what happened, how i feel about it, etc. and i send them with hub to go over with his counselor. i have met with his once; hub's request. he told me that he doubted my hub's salvation, and that an unsaved man acting saved is worse than just an ordinary unsaved person. Yes. i agree. but anyway, his counselor told him yesterday that i am going through torture as each suppressed memory surfaces. Yes. just being in the same house as hub is torture. seeing his face. well, he has that one dead-on. he also said he disagrees with my pastor (my pastor said my safeplace was a 'stronghold' or sin). Pastor is wrong. hub's counselor said safeplaces are necessary, especially in my situation. Yes. he told hub to hold and comfort me when i was upset, if i would allow. otherwise, back off. Right. And, trust me, you WON'T want him comfort. hub wants to hold me. NOW, can he not see how sick that is? he created the emotional state i am now in, he caused my pain, and he wants to comfort me?? that's like a doctor beating you up so he has a patient to work on. Great analogy! PARADOX. IRONY. YUCK!!!
and sicker still, is me. i still sleep in our bed. sometimes i let him hug me. Why? i still talk about everyday things (wow. he's really a conversationalist now that he's not busy abusing me). WHY? IS THERE SOMETHING WRONG WITH ME????? Listen to your body. The answer to your question is within... is it just that i am so used to pretending that i just still do? Ask yourself that question, and wait for your body's answer. i do not love him. not that i want any bad things to befall him. i still feel sorry for him when he cries (is that normal?) Yes. You are a compassionate person. Allow yourself to feel your sorrow, then let it go. DO NOTHING ABOUT IT. Feeling what you feel is good. Stop co dependently acting on all your feelings. is it because i am so used to living alongside my greatest fear, and am so competent at it, that i just keep doing it? You've just gotten into some bad habits you'll have to work on. It is fine to feel badly for another person - and give them the space they need to work out their own pain. The sick part is when you jump in and fix it for them because you can't tolerate their pain. Learn to tolerate it. Pain is a part of life.
now i am worried about myself. maybe i am nuts. partly, i told him i want to act 'normal' in front of the kids as much as possible. for their sakes. but, goodness, this whole situation is so complex. yet, i read your posts, and many of you are still with your abuser. why are we women like this? i think women are 1 million times stronger than men, internally. they have the physical strength, usually, but we have REAL strength. core strength. now, if i can figure out how to get my brain back on track... You want to figure out how to hear your body, and allow your mind to take a back seat.
Dear Kara, that's A. again (i promised to return later). though shortly again, sorry :) .I have 3 kids, same age: one just turned 18, another 16, and 12. I wanted to tell you, kids first of all need FAMILY. And this is not family, how you all live now. I went through this, I know first hand, what it is like. I don't live with my husband for more than 9 months now. Kids are happier!!! My older kids live with me, my younger half time with us, half with his dad. I said in the beginning, I won't force anyone to live with me. you can decide yourself. But my older kids could not wait , when we leave the old place, it was SO unhealthy. Even my youngest son (though he goes to his dad regularly half of the time), said to me one day (before we left, while we were still 'together'). 'Mum, if you are so unhappy, you should leave - 'separate'. SORRY, have to go again. But I will be back again soon. (I am Reading all the posts regularly). All the very best to you, Kara and all! And think, why do you need to suffer any minute longer?!!! PS. My husband (or EX-h) still didn't get it. Unfortunately, that's usually the case. :(
Dear Posters, you've been - once again - absolutely wonderful. Each and every one of you have given Kara great advice. But even more importantly, you've validated her. Kara came here frightened and broken and alone. She was filled with self-doubt. Hearing your stories has been a validating experience; she has begun her walk down recovery road. She has found strength. And hope. And healthy anger. Once again, I thank each and every one of you for taking the time to help a person whose story you are so emotionally familiar with... Thank you...
Dear Kara, I'm relieved to see that you are on your way. See, you are not alone! You sound much better. You have lots of recovery ahead of you. Let your body guide you in healing your mind. Your anger/irritation is your friend. It's telling you there is something going on that needs your attention. Heed it. Have faith and let God work. Listen to your body. If it feels not OK, it probably is not OK.
God bless you Kara and all you wonderful people out there... Dr. Irene, April 28, 2007
Dear Kara, I think you are a wonderful and giving person. My death was slow.I tried for 25 years not to die.Then it happened, sudden death.I realized, I do not love or respect my hus any more.Mine was an arranged marriage.I was supposed to make the marriage work, no matter what.On the 3rd day itself I came to know that there is some thing that is not right.He was doubtful of everything.Letters, telephone conversations, looks, smiles, what to say, even he doubted me coming home after having sex with my co workers.When he cannot keep it any longer in his mind , he would say someone's name (that he knows)even. All these years I tried to get him to marriage counselling.He would not come.Attempted to bring him to family court after physical abuse.He would promise to go for counselling and would not go.So I went for two years continuously.All this time, listening to his verbal abuse.Children were small.My son(now 23) was more aware of what was happening.He was afraid of him.My daughter who is 18 now and she had not witnessed much as an adult.Every time, it seems they hear only my raised voice. So now he is telling the children that all stories that mom says is fabricated.My son stopped functioning 2years ago.he stopped going to school, he did not graduate( shy of 7 credits only. Good student)He does not go out or call anybody or no one comes home.He shuts himself in his room and watch TV or sit and think. He witnessed my hus hitting me last year with out any reason ( only his doubts about where I went). Now my son does not remember any incidences in the past, or do not want to remember.I am devastated about my family.My daughter was supportive of me in the beginning.Now that her cousins think that she supports mommy. she is indifferent now.I have no one in the US.Dr,Irene helps me thru.I did not divorce him because it is not something practiced in my culture.I was afraid no one will accept me in my community.I will write my story in detail some other time.Kara, you are not alone.I thought I am alone ( I certainly am alone in my community), but I am not.Being a christian does not mean that I have to take abuse all my life.I was emotionally distraught for past two years.I saw that I was changing, I did not like it.Here I am trying to figure out what to do next...sally
Kara, I'm in much the same boat as you. I come from the same philosophies about being a Godly wife and faithful to my children. I have 7 kids and my oldest is in junior high. My realization came because I do volunteer work with military families. A wife came to me telling about how her husband treats her. The chaplain and commander told her that if she would just behave and not have any friends, everything would be okay. That made me so angry. I helped her get in touch with the Women's Shelter in our county. Funny how I had no trouble seeing that something was wrong in her life, but lived in hell for 14 years in my own before I began to understand. The boundaries book Dr. Irene recommends is an excellent one. I highly recommend it. That man deserves absolutely no access to you whatsoever. He has defiled the marriage covenant. Someone who is capable of that kind of emotional torture is most likely not capable of understanding the meaning of covenant to begin with. Because the marriage convenant is an agreement between a man, a woman and God--and because your husband has demonstrated that he has been completely incapable of honoring that covenant, I would say that no covenant has ever existed. Can you honor a marriage if you are severely mentally disabled? Certainly not. For whatever reason, your husband is severely emotionally disabled. Just because it got progressively worse over the years is no proof that he wasn't disabled from the very beginning. I bet your started looking back, you'd see signs from even before you were married. I don't believe men like our husbands were capable at the time we married them of understanding how solemn and holy a marriage commitment is. It was just an act for them. You have no obligation to someone who couldn't take his marriage vows seriously. Whether or not you choose to try to build a marriage starting today is completely your perogative. I went to my pastor and others regarding my marriage problems. Their advice was basically, "Pray for him." The truth is that we live in a patriarchal society and come from a patriarchal faith tradition. That doesn't make our society or faith automatically bad, but it does give men a lot of room to be lazy and self-centered. Most male pastors are CLUELESS about domestic violence and abuse. The chaplain I spoke of earlier is a good example. Remember that our God is the God of all things, including secular psychology. Don't be afraid to seek out a secular counselor. I did and it was exactly what I needed. I am grounded enough in my faith to avoid the pitfalls (my counselor is pretty liberal about sexual mores, for instance). I don't fear now, though I did at the beginning. Find a woman who can help you. Your domestic violence center or women's shelter is a great place to start. I suffered a lot of misconceptions about what God expected of my in marriage. I also suffered from a lot of magical thinking... "If I just give enough of myself, then my husband will come around." That's not the system that God created. God gave all of us free will. He made all of us in his image. We all have a responsibility to love one another... as we LOVE OURSELVES. Loving ourselves comes first. Would you sentence your daughter to continue to live with a man who has treated her as your husband has? Trust that God loves you enough to want you to have freedom, safety and happiness. Your faithfulness to your husband despite his being such an awful man tells me that God has given you immense grace and therefore has big plans for you. Your living under the tyranny of a selfish, abusive man is a waste of grace. God deserves more of you than that. You deserve more too. "The Lord is kind and merciful." Psalm 103 GettingMySeaLegs
it's kara. i am getting stronger (i think). i really struggle with the co-dependency part, and think my faith is a hindrance there. but it's not God's fault; it's mans because we read things into God's word that He didn't intend. but anyway, i think i'm finally getting a grip. and each of us has a different battle to deal with, ladies. i can't just up and leave right now (i mean, i could, if i put myself first, but i'm not like that) because i am trying to make this as easy as possible on my kids. to leave now would mean i lose my job and they would be humiliated in front of all their friends whom i teach! plus, my older daughter is in a christian college and has been 'teaching' me how wrong divorce is, though she does recognize how bad my hub has been. i told her i would like to see the teacher there go through abuse and THEN teach on divorce. life is not always so black and white, but it's hard to understand that when you're only 18. but i went forward last sunday during the altar call and vowed to listen only to the Lord and NO ONE else for the summer (disgustingly enough, my hub followed me up. he has NEVER gone up there before. he's always saving face) :( at summer's end, i'll evaluate the situation and take it from there. for now, i am treating my hub (and it comes naturally) like a friend, someone i know very well and care about, but who means nothing to me beyond that. i give him no false hope and i tell him no lies (like "i love you"). we are both continuing to see our counselors; his will most likely this week go over the letters i gave him on the sexual abuse. they read what i write together and discuss. my hub has not seen these letters; i want him to have NO preparation time! i am LIVING for the first time! i am not irresponsible at all, but i don't worry 24/7 about if i will anger hub. that is liberating in a BIG way. so...this website has been a lifesaver for me.
Very good, Kara! You sound so different now! :) congratulations. yes, kids is the hardest part. I did the same, as you do now. Give your daughter some information to read. My daughter knew all first hand, because, when I sort of block myself from my h. verbal abuse, she started to suffer more and more. So for her it was not a question - to leave or not. sorry, have to go now. Will write later :)...GOOD LUCK!!! A. again :)
Dearest Kara, I have been in a similar relationship for 38 years. I too was blind (for whatever reason) to what was happening to me. I found the most wonderful therapist about 1 1/2 years ago and she has been my rock. My H was furious AND threatened by me going for help. I continue to see her, but pay by cash instead of check; leaving no trail...how sad. I didn't notice how he initially controlled who I could have as friends or what I could and couldn't wear. I didn't understand when he made me dress for sex or do things I didn't want to do. I didn't understand why he didn't respect me or love me or treat me with dignity. I DO understand now and I mourn the life he stole for me. My situation is complicated by the fact that my elderly, dying mother lives with us; our two daughters are grown and living on their own. I am so past the point of caring who thinks what about the situation. You see, as a verbal/emotional abuser these people don't do it in front of anyone so I know that when I leave...and I WILL...our daughters will think I have gone crazy and will feel so sorry for their poor dad. I will live with that because I have no life and haven't for 38 years...
Dear Kara, As I read your words and the powerful words of the other women who have written to support you, I am amazed at how common this experience is. I am not Christian. I am an Orthodox Jew. There was a post from April 24th relating the spiritual nature of women vs. men in my religion. I was not raised with the idea that intimacy or intercourse was a sin, rather it was a mitzvah(Commandment)that could only be performed between a husband and wife. That said, the requirement of the mitzvah, along with my husband's abuse,made the act both painful and robotic. This permeated every other part of our lives together. I am allowed,(even expected) to refuse my husband for various reasons. Unlike some men who became pleasant for a few days after intercourse, my husband returned to being a tyrant. He would be kind and considerate while waiting for me to relax and initiate intimacy. I knew that once his needs were sated, the other husband would appear. Consequently, I put off my own needs and desires, fearing the outcome of such events. Our rabbi intervened on several different occasions, strongly suggesting various ways for my husband to treat me with more respect, in addition to anger management. He made severaly feeble attempts to change, refusing therapy of any kind. His anger toward me grew in intensity and as time wore on I became suicidal. Divorce is extremely uncommon in my community, even though there are very specific rules and requirements relating to it. There is a certain ammount of ostracizing that goes on, particularly for the former wives. Our rabbi agreed that it was the only remaining option for me. Our children (teenagers)see me as the villian, having left thier father alone and (according to him) shocked and bereft. I am more worried about my daughters repeating my mistakes than I am concerned for their thoughts about me right now. I'm uncertain what I can do about that. I am finally at peace; relearning about myself. I don't want to think of the last 25 years as a waste. I maintained a Jewish home and raised a family. For some, that is a life's work. Like you, I came into this marriage with some financial substance. I am lucky enought to leave the same way. My life is really only beginning. Kara, you will come out of this whole. From the postings I read here, you have come so far already. May you go from strength to strength. Bu
Hello, Your site is great. Regards, Valintino Guxxi
Hello, Your site is great. Regards, Valintino Guxxi
I am a 43 year old woman who has been married 22 years with two wonderful children. One has learnt to be submissive like me and one who has learnt to be controlling like her father. I was lived very much like Kara. Out of fear of rejection and need acceptance I gave my body to be used by a man who says he loves me but truly doesn't. I do not feel safe with this man. I can't sharing anything with him. I need to leave in order to start to heal but I don't know how to do it. My self-esteem is so low and my parents would never support me emotionaly for they have closed there eyes to the verbal abuse and think that I should never leave because of the kids. I feel so trapped and some days just want to completely give up on life. What do I do?
it's kara. for sure, these are difficult decisions. i, too, am finding it very hard to act or move because of my children. it is a nasty trap. verbally abused women already have their esteem whacked out of them, and then they are supposed to make such heavy decsions. i live one day at a time. my hub is still in good boy mode. great. fine. he did have one small ugly moment. and because i'm so well trained, i caved. he just thinks all will be great in TIME. i am not so positive. he still can not satisfactorily answer the reasoning behind his abuse. i can not accept 'i was just so insecure.' i made a list of all the contradictory statements he has made and gave it to his counselor. things like, (this is something that happened to us a few years ago; my dogs were shot while on our property by a violent neighbor. i was crushed. i love my animals.) "i lashed out at you because i knew you were so sad the dogs were shot. i felt guilty they were shot and took it out on you." WHAT? and like, "even though i did those things, i always loved you." HUH? i gave hub an analogy: say you grab hold of the electric fence. i tell you that you won't get shocked. you do get shocked. i keep saying you won't, but you do. eventually, what will you believe, my words or the shock? i have told him many times his words to me are empty BECAUSE his actions were the exact opposite of his words and nullified his words. now the things he says mean nothing to me. my counselor told me that when hub says he loved me, i am to ask him how he showed that love. and let him answer. that should be fascinating. thank the Lord for exercise. without it, i would be dead already. the worse i feel, the harder i push myself. sweat can be sweet.
Kara, Your story is riveting to me. I had no idea there were others living my life. I know exactly how you feel except that I have not yet 'snapped' but I feel it coming on. I'm 42, married 20 years, 3 children 14, 10 & 7, the verbal abuse came on slowly as did the emotional abuse, my hubby lies like a statue in bed and expects me to initiate, etc... I have learned to read the signs and detect the beginnings of his verbal attacks - it goes in phases. I've become a liar - both to myself and others. I also deal with his alcohol abuse and bouts of depression. I admire you for finally coming out of your quagmire. Good luck. Sue
Sue, please. it's me kara. DON'T WAIT UNTIL YOU LOSE IT. if you feel you are close to harming yourself, TELL SOMEONE. i didn't realize how far gone i was; my snap just hit. Thank God, for real, i was in my bedroom and not the kitchen where the knives were. i had no idea i was so desperate until i lost it. if you feel you are getting there, listen to yourself. that is where i always fail. i am so trained (by my religion- and i fault myself there, not God; by my father- who was abusive; and by my hub)to ignore how i feel and to just do what is 'right.' dr. irene drilled me on that several times. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. the brain can be deceived. i am having a very down day today myself (some days i am STRONG and ENERGETIC; other days i am wet noodle). i went out during a break at school and ran 2 miles. then when i came home i walked the mountain here. that helps me. i work off some stress and can think. (i told my oldest daughter that if dad and i stay married, she can thank this dang mountain). man, i wish i lived next to every woman on here. that helps, too, helping others. you vicariously feel good through seeing others feel better because of you. i KNOW how hard it is. i live here smack dab in the middle of my husband's family (like LOADS of them; it's a rural area and no one LEAVES)and all of his acquaintances since forever. it is hard. i feel very alone. i know everyone will blame me. i already have a low esteem problem, so that is painful even more. it's not like you can just explain to everyone, 'yeah, he was so nasty. i tried to kill myself. and the sex, wow, want to hear it?' so, no one understands. can you get a counselor? are your parents or any close friends aware? I THINK THE WORST THING WE CAN DO IS HARM OURSELVES BECAUSE OF THESE #^$*$*% MEN. THAT WOULD GIVE THEM ULTIMATE VICTORY. LET'S NOT DO IT. THEY ARE NOT WORTH IT. LET'S GET COMPETETIVE. not saying to treat our men like they did us; that is wrong. we must rise above. to remain 'good' and regal, and to learn not to react to their anger/hatred/wickedness, to learn to say 'i feel him affecting me. now is the time to leave the room/house, to say 'stop it,' whatever; that is what will save us and give us our confidence back, and will restore our respect for ourselves, and from others. and maybe it will help our men to change, even if they end up changing for their next wife. now that i've written this pep talk, i will concentrate on following it. i feel better already. ONWARD HO!!