Part 4 is a continuation of a series on what scripture has to say about a woman’s worth and role.
If you are in an unsafe situation, please know that more than God hates divorce, He hates that you are being abused. God approves of you leaving and finding safety. In the margin of this website you will find links to help you decide if you are or are not safe; as well as, links to help you leave safely, or stay safely in the relationship while keeping a sound mind and a healthy heart.
Here is one more story of a woman who was living under verbal and emotional abuse. After 25 years she
Here is the continuation on how an abuser treats his target in the privacy of their home. It has nothing to do with theology or gender roles! Rehabilitation for the abuser is rare. I’ve never heard of it.
Read part 1 here… I know this makes many people uncomfortable. I know there are those who believe I
Saeed Abedini, former husband of Naghmeh (Abedini) Panahi, is once again making the headlines. He violated a current court
I’ve wanted to address teachings sometimes heard in the church regarding marital abuse because it is this type of teaching that kept me and countless other Christian sisters in abusive marriages. I didn’t know if I would make it out alive, but did. Some women and children haven’t made it out alive.
This week John Piper once again made the news for his views on women, and why some men abuse women; doctrinal differences. He addresses reasons for cases of widespread abuse being reported in the news.
Cases that have recently been in the headlines include, but unfortunately are not limited to:
- Bill Cosby sexual assault and rape law suits include 58 alleged victims, 19 of which will be testifying against him in court. Jury selection for the Cosby trial is set to begin March 29 at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa. The trial is scheduled for April 2.
- Harvey Weinstein is an American film producer and executive who is currently under investigation for multiple sexual assaults of at least 80 women which spanned 30 years. This scandal triggered similar allegations against powerful men around the world. It spurred the #MeToo movement.
- Sovereign Grace Ministries had multiple recorded cover-ups of sexual assault and rapes committed against children in their care.
- Saeed Abidni whose wife, Naghmeh Panahi, left him for proven allegations of domestic abuse, and unfaithfulness was recently arrested for violating a no-contact order.
- Andy Savage who is the teaching pastor at Highpoint Church in Memphis, TN sexually assaulted a girl in his youth group when he was a youth pastor 20 years ago. The staff at Highpoint supports and is attempting to save Savage’s ministry.
- Cases against Bill Gothard (and his board), founder of the Institute in Basic Life Principles. This was a ministry where teens left their homes to live at headquarters to help with ministry opportunities. With my background, I still find it disturbing that an unmarried single man ran a ministry where he had constant unsupervised time alone with individual students. This is child safety and ministry safety 101 at any Christian based institution and has been for decades: For the students’ protection they are to NEVER be left alone with one person. There is safety in numbers. (Unfortunately many pastors, staff, and teachers don’t adhere to this safety measure).
- The Catholic Church has been plagued with child sexual abuse cases for decades.
- Josh Duggar: Ashley Madison scandal and reports of child sexual molestation.
- The wife of Pastor Greg Locke of Global Vision Bible Church in Mount Juliet, Tennessee left him and is living in a shelter for safety and provisions. Although Greg Locke denies any wrong doing on his part I’ve read the hateful, scathing text messages he sent his wife about her weight, her looks, his disdain for her, and in which he used profane language against her. He was having a reported, emotional if not physical, relationship with his wife’s best friend who is also his secretary.
- Ravi Zacharias sexual grooming relationship with a woman not his wife. This case was settled out of court and neither side can legally speak about it. This is convenient for Ravi because I was sent some of the text messages/emails and there is no way he can conveniently talk his way out of his wrong doing. I won’t ever be able to listen to him teach again knowing what he wrote. Some of it was sinful and some of it was weird, but all of it was an abuse of his ministry position.
- Doug Wilson: I could write a book on the wrong theology of Doug Wilson and his wrongly placed allegiance to pedophiles who have attended his church. A 13 year old girl congregant was groomed, assaulted, and raped by a man from the church. Doug placed blame on the child because she was tall for her age, well developed for her age, and mature for her age. Doug Wilson preformed a wedding ceremony so a known pedophile at the church could marry a young woman from the church. It didn’t end well.
- I receive correspondence from pastor’s wives and missionary’s wives around the world who tell of abuse they suffer from their husbands.
- I minister to around 25 women in my area, the Christian homeschool community, who are living through or leaving severe abuse from their husbands.
- Rachael Denhollander was the first woman to publicly accuse USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar (associated with Michigan State University) of sexually abusing her as a teenager, a case that led to more than 250 other victims coming forward for their day in court.
Rachael is a Christian who received her law degree from the Christian Oak Brook College of Law. This makes her the best credentialed child sexual abuse survivor to lead the charge in ridding our churches and institutions of predators, and teaching the public to always: believe the children first, contact the authorities second, and allow the law to sort it out.
Let me begin by stating my disagreement with Piper’s recent teaching in his article: Sex abuse allegations and the egalitarian myth. Piper’s argument is that the egalitarian doctrine, which teaches all people are equal in fundamental worth and social status and deserve equal rights and opportunities, has led to men becoming abusers since he doesn’t believe this is the way God intended men and women to function.
I highly disagree with his reasoning. Abuse is not a theological/doctrinal or marriage problem. It is an abuse problem. I find absolutely no scripture to back Piper’s claim. Jesus calls sin; sin.
Dear beloved church,
We must do better.
To be continued…
Afer all if we buy into, “Boys will be boys” we are reinforceing “Girls have no humanity; they’re just objects.”
“That’s not really abuse.”
Yes, I’ve heard this statement many times in regards to emotional abuse and I vehemently disagree with it. The Bible has much to say about abusive people and how we are allowed to deal with them.
Don Hennessy, Director of the National Domestic Violence Intervention Center, uses the term ‘psychephiles’ when referring to men who befriend women and then abuse them in long-term relationships.
“Skilled offenders are clever enough to be ahead of all of us and to be able to orchestrate our responses at every turn.” (How He Gets Into Her Head by Don Hennessy, p 100)
Here’s a word straight from our sponsor: God…
Scoundrels use wicked methods,
they make up evil schemes
to destroy the poor with lies,
even when the plea of the needy is just. (Isaiah 32:7 NIV)
…they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage. (Jude 16b NIV)
Don Hennessy says:
“We [counselors and other professionals] have all failed our clients to the extent that we have failed to understand what is really going on. (How He Gets Into Her Head, 83)
The process of being groomed by a skilled offender will begin as soon as we meet him or take a phone call from him. (157)
As a society we have already been groomed into an attitude of tolerance and this tolerance is used by the abuser to justify his continued abuse. … His experience of us is such that he believes he can manipulate any agency or individual into accepting his position. (120)
He knows above all else that we as a community will accept part if not all of his explanation.” (158) From Don Hennessy’s book How He Gets Into Her Head: The Mind of the Male Intimate Abuser
This is a series of writings from women living in difficult, disappointing, or destructive marriages…or leaving destructive marriages/relationships. When women are physically abused the harm is often visible, but what about verbal and emotional abuse? The injury is internal…on the heart, soul, mind and strength. You may never guess her husband rages in a different way but the family knows. Her body knows and it often manifests in depression, anxiety, and/or auto-immune diseases. Allow me to show you the inner cries of these women’s hearts.
These are all true accounts from women I personally know.
Many of the stories are close to identical. It saddens and frustrates me to know that most of the stories I’ll be posting take place inside the church body. These men wear a mask to church that is worthy of an Academy Award. Almost all abusers wear masks.
Domestic abuse is not a respecter of age, gender, socio-economic background, nationality, or religion.
This writing is from Melissa. Melissa has been to college, worked in corporate America, considers herself to be a strong woman, and is outgoing and friendly; so to meet her you would never guess this is her home life, or her struggle.
God, I don’t understand…
He spends hours reading his bible and praying.
He tells counselors I’m the Proverbs 31 woman
While the emotional trauma at home continues.
I cry myself to sleep more nights than not.
A child has anxiety attacks when they hear his voice or see him.
A child wishes he would move away.
A child wishes he were dead.
A child wishes he would get professional help.
A child wishes he would take meds.
Children want to have friends over to their house, but…
Children wish he would work more hours.
He exasperates his children.
The children’s bodies aren’t handling the stress well…even with counseling.
I would like to entertain guests in our home…but I would have to wear a mask.
He doesn’t understand other’s needs, not even emergencies.
The children and I live with continual traumatic stress disorder.
I asked God to take our lives and end our suffering.
My sanity is a battle .
Spending daily time with Jesus—studying and praying is the only way
I keep my mind sound.
I need an on/off switch.
This would make it easier to understand when my husband considers me
Worthy of relationship or worthy of alienation.
He tried to isolate me
Take away finances
Keep me off the phone
Keep me from friends and family
Keep me from outside commitments.
Many relational commitments were made before marriage but
At the marriage ceremony vows were one-sided…
For me to keep, for him…optional.
Love, cherish and honor… he’s not capable.
Forsaking all others, me yes; him no.
I’m nothing more than an object he owns.
You do not love, cherish, and honor your kitchen blender.
He cannot love that which needs his time, space, energy, emotion, or money.
Boundaries have helped…some.
Grateful lists have been beneficial to see the good God has brought through the pain.
Conversation…I listen; he speaks; after all a kitchen blender should not speak.
I have talent, accomplishments, and stimulating conversation…not in his eyes .
He doesn’t recognize much of what I do beyond providing meals.
No encouragement, no affirmation.
To him I’m a mom, cook and housekeeper.
I’m a human with worth, dignity, talents, and relational needs.
I often live with avoidance, neglect, and withheld relationship; emotionally, spiritually, sexually.
Who knew a man wouldn’t want to have sex with a spontaneous, fun, attractive, fit, creative spouse?
A wife who doesn’t use headaches or anything else to ever be a reason for ‘not tonight’.
A man who cannot deal with being pursued by his lover. Total turnoff.
I’ve lost my health, energy, creativity, zeal, hospitality, spirit.
It’s been years since I’ve had a normal night of sleep. Insomnia, night mares, restlessness.
I used to enjoy life, find purpose, make decisions, feel secure, speak freely, and feel capable.
I used to think I did a good job at whatever I set my hands to do.
Now I feel like a failure.
My mind can’t stay focused.
His rejection of me changed how I think God feels about me.
A difficult lie to see through.
You couldn’t understand unless you’ve lived it.
SARA GROVES: Cave of Adullam lyrics
Speak to me, speak to me in my cave of Adullam.
Reach to me, reach to me.
No one cares for my soul.
I thought I saw your kingdom,
But it’s not going to happen like I thought it would happen.
Remind me, remind me of the vision you gave me.
Remind me, remind me what anointing oil is for.
I need to know you’re near me.
I need to know you are holding me just as closely
Chorus: as the day you took my life and gave me a vision,
As the day you poured the oil and gave me a dream.
I can’t believe this is happening.
How does a shepherd become a king?
Even the most well trained counselor can have a difficult time discerning between the two; after all, wolves are experts at deceit. Here are 3 ways to spot a wolf. Disclaimer: Usually only family members know the truth.
A new report finds that most female homicides involve domestic violence.
Most murders of American women involve domestic violence, according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday.
The CDC analyzed data from 18 states, finding 10,018 female homicides between 2003 and 2014. Over half ― 55 percent ― of cases where circumstances were known involved domestic violence. In 93 percent of those cases, victims were killed by current or former intimate partners: boyfriends, husbands, and lovers. The other 7 percent of victims were female friends, family members, first responders and bystanders who were killed during a domestic incident.
While the facts seem shocking at face value, they’re not surprising or new.
It is already well-established that women in the U.S. are far more likely to be killed by an intimate partner than by any other group of people. As HuffPost previously reported: It’s not strangers, friends or acquaintances who pose the biggest threat to women’s lives. It’s the men they date and marry.
According to the report, one in 10 victims of homicides involving domestic abuse had experienced some form of violence in the month before their death, suggesting an opportunity for intervention.
“These assessments might be used to facilitate immediate safety planning and to connect women with other services, such as crisis intervention and counseling, housing, medical and legal advocacy, and access to other community resources,” the CDC report read.
If you believe you or another person is in danger right now,
contact police immediately.
If you question if you are in danger or not; take the Mosaic Threat Assessment: MOSAIC is an error avoidance method, a computer-assisted method for conducting comprehensive assessments – in the same way that diagnosis is a method used by a doctor. An effective medical diagnosis results when a doctor knows which questions to ask, knows which tests will produce the most accurate answers, and then knows how to draw relevant conclusions from all the answers combined together.
If you wonder if you are in a destructive marriage, or if you know a friend or family member who is in a destructive marriage and you want to support them, this post will help you.
Last week a dear friend reminded me about Leslie Vernick, and her Christ-centered counseling. It’s perfect timing considering the content of some of my recent articles. I often blog to validate women who are living in abusive marriages, or who have left abusive marriages; specifically those who endured someone with narcissistic personality disorder.
Leslie Vernick picks up where most counselors leave off. It’s rare to find a counselor who fully understands the dynamics of living with an emotionally abusive husband; Leslie does.
If you don’t know who Leslie is, and you’re living in a difficult marriage, consider Leslie your life line…the key to your sanity…a gift from God. She will teach you how to thrive in difficult circumstance and how to set boundaries.
I will post a series of short videos over the next few weeks. If this is your first time to stumble across Leslie Vernick, and you realize you need her help now, and quickly, then you can find her on Youtube and binge watch all day long. It’s good stuff! You can also locate her books the Emotionally Destructive Relationship and The Emotionally Destructive Marriage at your local library, bookstore, or on Amazon.
“They’ve diagnosed cancer of the marriage as a common cold.”
~Leslie Vernick on the state of counsel abused women receive from pastors, teachers, lay people, counselors and authors.
Watch this 3 minute introduction video:
For women who are still struggling with what is required regarding submission in your marriage, I beg you to watch this 8 minute video, by Leslie Vernick, at Visionary Womanhood.
Do You Think You Might Be in an Emotionally Destructive “Christian” Marriage?
“This is a serious problem in the Church. There are many women married to “Christian” men who only see their wives as objects to be used, mocked, and criticized rather than valuable co-heirs of the grace of life. (It can be the other way around too, but this blog is written for women.) These women are encouraged by their church to submit, overlook, forgive, and shut up. If they try to get help, they are told they are angry (as abused people often are), whiny, and ruining their husband’s reputation. What they really are is confused, brainwashed, and gagged. Their children grow up believing that to be a “Christian” is to pretend, hide, and cover up. They end up despising Christianity and marriage, seeing these as hypocritical cesspools of evil. If you suspect you fall into this category, or you think you know someone who does, here are some places to start getting help in seeing your situation clearly:” ~Natalie at Visionary Womanhood READ MORE HERE
There is scriptural precedence for blame not being split down the middle. This is a point we all need to understand when it comes to marital problems.
In C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, no one believes Lucy when she tells them she has found an entire new country… there are only three logical possibilities: either Lucy is lying, she has gone mad, or she is telling the truth. Lucy was never a liar nor had she gone mad. Not only that, but the Professor asks them which one of the two children (Edmund or Lucy) was most likely to tell the truth. Lucy was more likely to tell the truth. A new perspective had developed. This perspective is what is sadly missing in the lives of so many people surrounding abused women.
Intervention occurs as a means to involve yourself in a person’s life. Your goal is to alter their life, and your relationship with them, for the better. It will most likely come across as threatening and forceful to them, in a negative way, so great care needs to be taken in order to help them understand it is for their good, short term and long term.
Intervention is greatly enhanced by the help of persons close to them; such as mentors, friends, family members or respected leaders. They need to be people who have noticed throughout their relational history that something is strangely amiss. I do not recommend enlisting the help of a boss or supervisor; unless this is a work place intervention being used for the purpose of helping the toxic person remain employed.
This will be a sensitive issue to deal with because it means positioning yourself to be vulnerable before someone who may say, “No,” or who may sound a warning to your toxic person. Prayer is of the utmost importance. Ask God what His heart and will is for this intervention and petition it in the name of Jesus. After God confirms through scripture, prayer or a godly friend that this is the path He has for you; find safe, sincere and helpful people who have your best interest at heart and your toxic person’s best interest at heart.
I must remind you that I am not a professional. I am simply passing on situations I have lived through and life lessons from which I have learned. Seeking godly professional help or prayer support is a wise choice before beginning an intervention.
The intervention may require paying travel expenses for, and/or providing food and lodging for, your support help. Ideally this will not be provided in your home if the intervention is for your spouse.
Make a list of applicable concerns, grievances, infidelities, hurtful behaviors or possible mental illnesses. Your goal is to bring the person to repentance, restore the relationship and provide emotional healing. Make a list of behaviors which must stop immediately. Include the requirement of seeking godly professional help immediately. It would be sensible on your part to have already located names and phone numbers for professionals in your area. If you need help locating godly help go the right margin of my blog and locate: Resources. Click on Counseling Service & Referrals: One Time/Complimentary. You may arrange to speak to a licensed Christian Counselor at Focus on the Family. Focus on the Family also keeps a data base of professionals in your area. In your letter include goals, and dates you expect them to be met by. An intervention cannot be left open ended or it will have been implemented in vain. If the intervention is for your spouse you may also prayerfully consider mentioning a therapeutic legal separation if the conditions in the letter are not met.
The goal is to always be moving forward. Always be growing closer to Christ. If it be up to you; Satan WILL NOT WIN this battle which means every morning when you wake up; you must put on the FULL armor of Christ. Pray it to God and ask Him to arm you with it: I have rewritten Ephesians 6:10-18 a bit to make it personal as you pray: “Finally, I will be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. I am putting on the full armor of God, so that I can take my stand against the devil’s schemes. For my struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore I am putting on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, I may be able to stand my ground, and after I have done everything, to stand. I will stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around my waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with my feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, I take up the shield of faith, with which I can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. I take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
“And I pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, I am alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (NIV)
Prayer and fasting are necessary before undertaking an intervention. Ask your helpers, and a close friend and family member, to commit to fasting one day a week with you for the purpose of a successful intervention.
Intervention can take place at a counselor’s office, in your home (if the intervention is for your spouse), or in the person’s home.
Have with you the people helping you and have a copy of your letter for each person in attendance. This makes it clear that the situation requires accountability.
You may have to be clever in arranging the meeting. Your person should have no previous knowledge as to what is about to take place. Set the day, time and meeting place. This may be easy or this may require calling them home from work for help with an urgent need.
Read the letter. Allow a time for questions and answers if the person desires it.
Have a hand written note assuring them of your good intentions, stubborn love and unwavering concern. Encourage them to do the hard thing and seek help by reminding them of what is at stake. Lastly remind them that your mind is resolute and the letter is not debatable. Excuse yourself from the meeting and leave the (unread) note with the person.
If your toxic person is your spouse, you will be wise to have sleeping arrangements elsewhere for the next two to three days while they decide their response. In your hand written note; let them know when you will return.
Have your intervention helpers stay behind. It is important to have more than one helper; two is plenty. Remember there is power in numbers. They can ask the person how they are feeling, what they are thinking, and if they understand the letter. They could even lighten it up a bit by offering to go to a restaurant to eat together.
Hopefully your helpers will let you know how your person received the letter. Were they remorseful, repentant, angry, aggravated, or completely in denial? If your helpers report back something like: Your person said you have a lot of problems and you are simply mad at them about ________ or ________ (you fill in the blank) but they are willing to give you the time you need to get over whatever problems you have; then you have a long messy road ahead of you. Toxic people tend to be in complete denial; and even worse, they are good at undermining others, manipulating them and putting on such a grand act that anyone would believe their side of the story. Even if they are in denial they may still be open to professional help for the sake of saving the relationship and they may attempt to meet your requirements and goals. This is good so seek all the help available while you can.
If possible pray out loud, together, with the person you are providing intervention for. I would like to say that Christ will not allow your relationship to deteriorate when the two of you are actively seeking His heart and will together. But since many toxic people are suffering from personality disorders even praying together can yield no change in their attitude, behavior or sin.
The most mind-boggling prayer can be praying with someone who has Narcissistic Personality Disorder. You can certainly be left feeling like a crazy person. They may be sexually, physically and/or emotionally abusive to you but when you hear them pray they sound like they are sitting at the throne of God. You wonder how these two extreme opposites can come out of the same person/personality. This is crazy making at its finest because upon hearing their prayer you may feel like you are, without doubt, the person in need of serious professional help. This is where journaling will help because you will have a written record of their behavior instead of wondering if you dreamed it or made it up. (For more information on Narcissistic Personality Disorder and crazy making; read through earlier ‘Toxic Tuesday’ posts.)
If you are interacting in this type of relationship the enemy is undoubtedly trying to destroy your life and the life of those you love. It is essential for you to pray truth (scripture) to God for provision, protection and guidance.
Needless to say, if you have not experienced interacting with an extreme toxic/foolish person you have no idea as to what I am referring. Good for you—praise God—football stadium type cheering and foot stomping. I am happy for you!
For you who are in a seemingly impossible toxic relationship, certain you may lose your sanity; take heart. Study your Bible. Pray. Christ will not leave you alone in your despair. Remember: Your work is prayer. God’s work is what He does on behalf of your prayers. This means when you are in total hopelessness you must call out to God in prayer. He will not leave you there; alone. He will lift your head, put you back together, stand you up, dust you off and give you strength for one more day. He will do this for you. Every—Single—Day. Ask for it.
A toxic person’s behavior can be made worse when they feel helpless or trapped. If your life is in danger or you think these responses could place your life in danger use your good judgment and refrain from possibly making the situation worse. If you are in danger please leave immediately and seek help. In the right margin of my blog you will find links to articles on abusive relationships and a link for those who are victims of domestic abuse.
At times I felt as though God held my hand as I skimmed the surface of hell begging and pleading with my person to leave their sin, make things right, do the hard thing, seek help, choose their family and their God; not their messed up life and their vocation.