Tag Archives: toxic marriage

My Toxic Marriage

NPD 16

A recent Toxic Tuesday post, How to Love a Woman In a Destructive Marriage, detailed how to respond to a friend who confides in you about abuse taking place in her home.

Unfortunately for some women—friends, family, and church members don’t believe her story. After all, many abusers are wonderful at playing the devoted victim! I believe this is true because many abusers suffer from narcissistic personality disorder and consider themselves special. They are not held to the same standards, morals, or laws as the general population. Even when caught, if they admit to doing it, they insist it is not who they are. It’s a twisted mind for sure!

After nine years in my own destructive marriage I finally told my parents, and my husband’s and my ministry adviser, what had been going on in my home since shortly after I said, “I do.” No one was surprised. The adviser told me that he had believed for some time now that my husband was mentally ill but he hadn’t said anything to me since he didn’t know if I was aware or if I would believe him.

Why did I take so long to tell? you may be asking.

Good Christian women don’t tell.

Good wives don’t talk poorly about their husbands. You never tell your family because that will incite them to not like him—and they might encourage you to leave him. We are taught at Bible college, in the church and by godly older women that we never speak poorly of our husbands; especially when you are in the ministry—which we were.

We are to encourage our husbands, respect our husbands, forgive them, pray for them, hope in them, help them, and make love a daily action even when we don’t feel like it. Be intentional about how we respond in love; not frustration or anger. Don’t dwell on the negative; concentrate on the good parts. Be the one to set the tone for the atmosphere in your home to keep it positive and productive. Let go of pride.

Don’t compare your marriage to anyone else’s marriage. Don’t compare your attitude or actions to his. Pray that God will change your heart and through that, improve the difficulties in your marriage.

Care, adore, smile, kiss passionately, forgive, forgive again, be gracious, listen, compliment him, comfort him, and be content. Stay…always stay the course—it WILL pay off. It will!  It does not matter how you feel; what matters is how you respond. With God, all things are possible!

Here is the catch—God gives us free choice and your spouse has a choice in the outcome. The above does not apply in an abusive marriage or a marriage plagued with unfaithfulness.

Through the advice of our adviser I confided in one local friend, a long distance friend who would help our adviser confront my husband in hope of reconciliation and healing; as well as, tell a friend/spiritual leader of ours and our advisers from a former ministry who was very concerned about my marriage, concerned about my husband, concerned about me and wanted the very best for my daughter. It wasn’t easy telling a single detail. I didn’t know if they would believe me, tell on me to my husband, or walk away from the relationship.

Two of these close friends who knew all the ugly details of the abuse and walked the road with me for a time after telling them of my destructive, abusive, and unsafe marriage, still attempted to silence me from speaking truth and achieving safety. I can’t speak for what their heart motive was; perhaps my truth made them uncomfortable. Did it hit too close to home? Was the evil, messed up truth about my spouse unbelievable? Had the narcissist won them over? Was legalism involved?

One of my friends told me, “I’ve prayed about this and God will remove his hand of protection from you if you go through with this divorce. You are taking yourself and your daughter out from underneath God’s covering, blessing, provision and protection. You are not supposed to do this and you will be sinning against God if you go through with it.”

I thanked her for her concern and told her I would pray about it more before finalizing the paperwork; however, I had only taken these measures after prolonged prayer, in depth Bible study, extensive counseling, and out of obedience to the Lord. I felt like God had held my hand while I skimmed the surface of hell begging my husband to return to me. He refused. In fact, during our time of a therapeutic separation when he was supposed to be seeking professional help and healing so our family could be reconciled; he instead took a preaching ministry and moved away. Because after all, God had called him to preach first and foremost and he was following God’s calling on His life. Good-bye to his wife and daughter—we were in the way of his career. I had spent the last two years refusing to seek another ministry because he needed spiritual guidance and serious professional emotional, psychological and psychiatric help. He decided to no longer wait for my permission; he left and moved on without me.

The other friend, George (name changed to protect his identity), whose own wife was delivered from an abusive marriage through the death of the abuser (first husband), wrote me an email after I gave him the latest report I received from my husband’s psychiatrist. I received discouraging news at every psychologist’s, neuro-psychologist’s and psychiatrist’s appointment I attended with him. But on this given day I heard the final blow that sealed the fate of reconciliation.

Unfaithfulness I had forgiven and mental-illness and a personality disorder I could live with if he would acknowledge it and seek help and stay on his medications but hearing, “He has started down the slippery slope of pedophilia from which there is no return” was the death blow.  I knew our daughter would never be safe. Before this day I kept thinking he had mental illness and a personality disorder with an addiction to pornography. I hoped that with help he could get better.

My optimism for my husband’s healing was over. I asked the doctor a few questions and sought clarity but the doctor was clear, serious, and gave me his professional opinion about my daughter’s safety.

George had asked to be kept updated on doctor appointments, progress and prayer needs but the pedophilia information proved to be, unbeknownst to  me, the last straw. Here is the reply I received via email:

Carolyn-

I understand that life has been difficult for you. But please don’t make it more so by continually pleading your case in the court of public opinion. Whenever I hear from you it is a constant stream of bashing your husband. I’ve not said anything before, but now I must. Your husband is my friend. I know he is not perfect, but then again neither are you or I. It’s almost as if you’ve been building a case against him ever since the first hint of problems last year. Your husband has always been different. Always. He was when we were in college. He was when you fell in love with him and married him. He is now. He could make us laugh like no one else. His nice guy looks and golden vocal cords along with his love for God and the church made him a joy to be around. All he ever wanted was to succeed for God. That dream appears to be a long shot now. But give him some dignity. Stop confessing his sins for him. You said in the email that you have been able to help some women whose husbands have left them, as if that is your situation.  Carolyn…he didn’t leave you.

If you made a mistake marrying him, say, “I made a mistake. I left him because I couldn’t take him.” Don’t write husband bashing emails. What good is that doing??? Are people lining ups saying, “Poor Carolyn,” and that’s helping you? If so, then something’s wrong there.

In love (for all three of you),

George

To this day I cannot imagine how I could have made it through this time in life without my godly ministry adviser and his wife.

Sobbing, I called them and asked if I had been inappropriate with the details I had given about my marriage and my husband’s issues. They said I had not been and then asked me to read the email from George.

After hearing George’s reply they recommended I stop all contact with him; immediately. They were dumbfounded at how he could feel this way after seeing and hearing first hand, my husband’s delusional and irrational behavior and his denial of needing help for his problems, mental illness, and personality disorder. All they could guess was that the classic textbook narcissist had struck again; a professional liar and actor who had won over another pawn in his game.

As for, “His love for God and the church made him a joy to be around,” investigators from three different law enforcement agencies have contacted me through the years investigating allegations of child sexual abuse by my ex-husband. All these investigators have said they believe his pedophilia goes back to his teen years and that he purposefully chose the ministry as a way to access child victims from a place of trusted leadership; pastor. The investigators also believe the list of child victims is well into the hundreds but because he targets very young children, who are mostly too young to tell, he stayed under the radar. Until summer 2014…his reign of terror was over.

No, my husband did not file the separation papers, I did; but make no mistake…he was the one who left in every way except for the paperwork. For him to file the papers would potentially ruin any hope of his future in ministry and preaching. He HAD to be portrayed as the victim.

Had I listened to George and my other local friend, my daughter and I would most likely be dead; at the very least we would have been further abused with my daughter suffering the greatest through it.

God allowed, encouraged, and provided a way out of this marriage along with Biblical grounds for divorce.

I hope this testimony brings awareness to women who desperately need help, friendship, and love while they seek safety and support during an unsafe and/or difficult marriage.

Be a blessing. Pray scripture over them; in person. Offer to watch their children so they can see a Christian counselor, run an errand, or just need an hour to be alone. Invite them over for lunch. Take their children to the park for an hour. Give her a gift certificate for a massage. Drop a bag of groceries at the door. Or head over to Give Her Wings ministry website to find out how you can help. There is a , “Books we like” tab for suggestions on books that would make a great gift for a hurting wife, and it would be one way you could show her you understand and care.

You could not plan for this
No, there was no silhouette
Up against the pink horizon
To warn you of the hit
But you absorbed it all with grace
Like a child you spoke of faith unmoved
That holds onto you

This thing is going to try to break you
But it doesn’t have to
You’re showing us how
This thing is going to bend and shape you
But He won’t let it take you/You know it somehow
This thing is not going to break you

You could take your loss
You could hide away from us
With your grief lassoed around you
But you’re laying it in the sun
And you stare straight into the light
You say you’d rather go blind than look away
What can I say?

This thing is going to try to break you
But it doesn’t have to
You’re showing us how
This thing is going to bend and shape you
But He won’t let it take you
You know it somehow
This thing is not going to break you
This thing is not going to break you
This thing is not going to break you

Toxic Tuesday: Do You Have Biblical Permission to Leave a Toxic Spouse?

Today I’m sharing the blog post that has daily, for 3 1/2 years, remained the most read article I’ve written. I’m not an expert in the field, but rather a survivor of a student field trip. I’m passing on lessons learned that took me years of relational toil, prayer, counseling, Bible study and research. Later in the article, and in the margin, I link to Leslie Vernick who is a godly professional on this topic. I cannot say enough good about Leslie. I wish she had been around 19 years ago when I was in the middle of dealing with my toxic husband who was a n angry and controlling pastor, abuser, and pedophile who suffered from mental illness and had a personality disorder.

(*Disclaimer: Mental illness does not make one an abuser, pedophile or criminal, nor does is diagnose one with a personality disorder. Most sufferers of mental illness live a normal, productive and fulfilling life with the help of therapy, dietary lifestyle changes, and/or medications.)

Toxic Tuesday biochem hazard small

Do You Have Biblical Permission to Leave a Toxic Spouse?

No matter how they treat me; I will choose agape love.

No matter what they do; I will forgive. Over and over.

No matter how messed up they are; I will be their helpmate.

No matter the mental illness or personality disorder; I will love in sickness and in health.

No matter the inability to parent; I’ll keep the children safe and sheltered.

No matter the addictions; I will pray for healing and restoration to come.

No matter the anger; I’ll wait for the therapy to work. I know they will get better with the help of a godly professional.

No matter the grounds for divorce; I will pray for forgiveness, restoration and family unity. After all, as Christians with God on our side, we can do the hard thing and make it through.

But what happens when you are the only one practicing these principles and actions?

Have you been to counseling, done the homework, practiced the applications, prayed and fasted but you are the only person in the equation who participated in all the above? This is the point where putting all the marriage and Christian help books away is beneficial. These books are for people in a relationship with a mentally healthy spouse. We all have issues. We all sin. But living with a toxic person is not the subject of these books. They are terrific books—wrong subject.

Did you attempt an intervention with the goal of leading your spouse to repentance, restoring the relationship, and providing emotional healing only to be told, “It’s all you. You’re the one with the problems. There’s nothing wrong with what I do or how I treat you”?

Did you serve them therapeutic separation papers to show how serious you were about saving your marriage and saving your family? Have they shown no serious action to remedy the situation? Or have they shown minimal—surface only, “Is this enough to satisfy you?” action. Yet there is no change in heart, attitude, addictions, words or actions.

If you feel led by God through much prayer; keep going: Agape, forgive, help, remain true to the covenant, protect, seek professional help, pray, fast and pray some more. Over and over. If this is your decision I highly recommend you visit Leslie Vernick’s website.

 Here is where the strategy must change:

Are you concerned for your safety and/or and the safety of your children due to abuse?

I want you to hear this in the sweetest most tender voice as I envelop you in a hug and gently declare, “God does not expect you to live like this.”

Are you concerned you will not be alive come tomorrow morning due to an angry and/or violent spouse?

Imagine I have my hands on your shoulders, as we look at each other tear-stained face to tear-stained face, “God does not want or require you to live under such conditions.”

Many theologians, pastors, and Christians with the best intentions have written on this subject. I am in no way an expert or professional and this is why I always reiterate the importance of praying, fasting, and seeking godly professional counsel.
I grew up believing divorce was wrong. Period. Christians work it out.
It took years of experience and additional years of biblical counsel, Bible study, prayer, and fasting to realize there were biblical grounds to leave a toxic relationship.
For more background information on toxic relationships, toxic people, boundaries, intervention, and therapeutic separation please read past ‘Toxic Tuesday’ posts.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
God states that He hates divorce; not the divorced. God has experienced what it feels like to have someone leave Him. He knows the heartbreak His loved ones will endure and He understands the generational stronghold Satan will attempt to wield over the family members. He desires to protect us from the hurt, pain, consequences, and future oppression of divorce.
Scripture does not clearly address divorce due to the circumstance of being married to an abusive; toxic spouse but we know, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” 2 Timothy 3:16. If we have a question about life we know we can find applicable help in God’s word. Here are some verses to consider when in an abusive relationship:
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church.” Ephesians 5: 25-29
“The same goes for you husbands: Be good husbands to your wives. Honor them, delight in them. As women they lack some of your advantages. But in the new life of God’s grace, you’re equals. Treat your wives, then, as equals so your prayers don’t run aground.” I Peter 3:7
“But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.” I Corinthians 5:11
“Do not speak to fools, for they will scorn your prudent words.” Proverbs 23:9
“As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly.” Proverbs 26:11
“Stone is heavy and sand a burden, but a fool’s provocation is heavier than both.” Proverbs 27:3
“Though you grind a fool in a mortar, grinding them like grain with a pestle, you will not remove their folly from them.” Proverbs 27:22

“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” Matthew 18:6

 “Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh.” Philippians 3:2 

“Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” Proverbs 13:20

 “Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them.” Titus 3:10

“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” Matthew 18: 15-17

 “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” Ephesians 5:11

Stay away from a fool, for you will not find knowledge on their lips.” Proverbs 14:7

Our nation and our individual states have laws regarding abuse. If  something below is taking place in your home it needs to be reported to a law official immediately and you need to take safety.

  •          It is against the law to abuse another person.
  •          Physical and sexual abuse against children is against the law.

Also report it to the social welfare/department of family or child services office, a doctor of psychology, a local child advocacy center and possibly the Victim Witness Advocate at your local District Attorney’s office. You can call the Victim Witness Advocate at the state Attorney General’s office if you need help locating an advocate in your area.

Yes, your spouse may be arrested, but maybe this will make him/her realize the seriousness of how out-of-control they have become; possibly leading to real help, true repentance and possible restoration; although statistics backing this up are slim. You have every legal right to defend and protect your children and yourself. God does not expect you or want you to endure such abuse.

To say your abusive husband cannot change would be to deny the power of Christ. The flip side of praying, waiting and hoping for an abusive or severely mentally ill husband, or a husband with a personality disorder, to change is this: They have free choice and God will not make them do what they do not ask for or want.

The Bible clearly states two reasons for divorce; adultery and abandonment. The Bible also leaves precedence for leaving a foolish abuser. (For further study look up all cases of fool and foolish used in the Bible). Theologically many argue abandonment strictly means the physical state. I submit, in the case of abuse they have  emotionally and physically abandoned you through; abdication, blocked intimacy, isolation, loneliness, neglect, rejection and lack of protection. They have also; most likely, physically abandoned  a sexually monogamous relationship with you. I mention infidelity because I am yet to hear of abuse that did not include unfaithfulness; it’s possible but rare. They have left you with permanent psychological scars, often financially restricted or stranded you, verbally destroyed you (at this point many women wish they had the bruises and broken bones to prove the abuse) or; physical and/or sexual abuse of you and/or your children.

I view abuse as abandonment for these reasons: When the marriage covenant is made on your wedding day your husband promises, (the wife’s covenant is the same to her husband) “To have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, honor, cherish and protect her, forsaking all others for as long as we both shall live.” When a husband is verbally and emotionally assaulting, beating/abusing his wife and/or children (I am not talking about thoughtful and lovingly administered spankings to teach your children right from wrong and to keep them safe from danger) he abandons the vows he made to his bride on their wedding day. Women who have suffered through a sexually unfaithful husband and an abusive husband can testify that the abuse is worse than the sexual infidelity. When her husband beats her, verbally shreds her, emotionally rejects her, or sexually assaults her, he has abandoned their vows and his relationship with her.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Do you feel trapped, despairing, brokenhearted, hopeless, devastated, betrayed, frightened or dead due to abuse?

Christ came to set the captive free as prophesied in Isaiah 61.

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.  Isaiah 61:1-3

Freedom is found in Jesus.

Boundaries are necessary.

Safety is essential.

Healing is possible.

Tomorrow will come with ‘the oil of joy instead of mourning.’ It takes time; time does not heal. God heals—in time—even though scars remain.

The Emotionally Destructive Marriage

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:

Follow Leslie on Twitter

On Facebook

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

 

Naghmeh Abedini: How Do We Respond? Part 2

Save Saeed
One of many times Naghmeh brought her husband’s unjust imprisonment to the attention of the world.

 

Domestic violence and abuse of any type is not a marital issue; it is an abuse issue.

The abuser needs healing.

If a woman’s husband has cancer she cannot go to the doctor and receive treatment for him, nor can she consume half of his prescriptions for him. He would need to take all the treatments and meds by himself; for himself. In the case of marital abuse; experts recommend isolated counseling for the abuser. Alone. Long term. Without the spouse.

 

This is a continuation of my last blog post, “Naghmeh Abedini: How Do We Respond?”

Saeed prayer vigil
One of several prayer vigils and times of fasting and praying, Naghmeh, led on behalf of her husband.

Today I again write from a place of vulnerability for the sake of abused Christian wives, especially pastors’ and missionaries’ wives, who are in abusive marriages. My heart goes out to hurting women who are not believed when they finally muster up the courage to tell their family, friends and/or church that they have been secretly abused in their own home and are now seeking help and healing.

As I wrote in my last blog post; Christian women are taught to stay, pray, hope, encourage, love through actions, and wait on God. Here is the catch—God gives us free choice and the spouse has a choice in the outcome. The above does not apply in an abusive marriage or a marriage plagued with unfaithfulness.  God does allow for separation and divorce. See Toxic Intervention. A Toxic Relationship and a Therapeutic Separation. Biblical Permission to Leave a Toxic Spouse.

You never know what goes on in someone else’s home. You have no way of understanding if the woman sitting next to you in Bible study, or worshiping next to you in church is secretly being mistreated in  her home. If she should muster up the courage to tell you; please listen. Please believe her.

GRACE 11

What is at the root of abuse?

Most abuse comes from one, or a combination, of these factors:

  1. Pornography and sexual addictions
  2. Substance abuse
  3. Personality disorders or untreated mental illness
  4. Deep seeded societal and/or nonbiblical religious views of women as objects/property
  5. The abuser has a background of victimization
  6. The abuser is emulating what they learned as a child from their own dysfunctional parent/s.

Yet an admission of guilt from the abuser is rare; and more exceptional is an abuser seeking heartfelt help to overcome their attitudes and actions. What’s more common is the abuser denying responsibility, placing the blame on the victim, and justifying every unloving word, dishonorable behavior, and/or violent act. As if this isn’t difficult enough for the wife to survive (or in some cases the man because there are abused men too) she has to endure his grand acting ability to win over anyone who will listen to him.

By the way; the above is not limited to marriages. It can be found in other relationships: Friendships, significant others, extended family, siblings, co-workers, politicians, community leaders, or neighbors.

In Naghmeh Abedini’s case she has to endure seeing television and internet interviews, and reading newspapers, blogs, forums and Facebook posts where Saeed acts like nothing is wrong except a wife who has undergone extreme stress for the last few years during his imprisonment and needs help overcoming her issues.

I understand some of Naghmeh’s heartache and frustration, but I never suffered in a media driven, national and international, environment as she is.

By the way—you’ll notice I don’t refer to Saeed as, Pastor Saeed. It is purposeful due to the fact that he is not an ordained pastor through any church denomination, or non-denomination; rather he purchased a mail order certificate.¹ Plus the Bible has clear teachings about those in leadership and teaching positions in the church for which Saeed does not presently qualify.

“Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.” I Timothy 3:1-7

 

In a statement to the Idaho Statesman (January 30, 2016), Saeed thanked his wife for advocating on his behalf. He said that his marriage is troubled and that he is not perfect, but he downplayed the allegations of abuse.

“Much of what I have read in Naghmeh’s posts and subsequent media reports is not true,” he said in the statement. “But I believe we should work on our relationship in private and not on social media or other media.”

“In private.” “Not on social media or other media.”His words.

Two weeks later on social media Saeed posted this:


FACEBOOK:  Saeed Abedini
 added 2 new photos — with Saeed Abedini.

February 14 at 8:38pm ·

Warm Greetings Dear Saints!

We Love because He first Loved us. (1John 4:19)

This is my first post on Facebook after 4 long years of imprisonment. I see there is a LOVE story between us as I went through hardship of imprisonment by you showing your support with sending hundreds & thousands of letters of encouragement and LOVE to the prison. 1000’s of cities and countries and locations gathering for pray vigils, sending gifts to my wife and children, etc.. .
You created a LOVE story that even Muslims in Iran talked about.

My beloved sisters and brothers, I want you to know how much I LOVE you and how much Your prayers and support changed my situation and how much I am thankful for your heart and Care.
I am grateful for marriage counselors who have been helping me but my wife’s relationship with me is not good at this point, so we need prayer that she joins this counseling process with us.

Free By Christ For Christ
Saeed Abedini

 

An emotionally and spiritually healthy husband would not put such a spin on his words. I read an agenda, an ulterior motive coming through loud and clear. He could have requested, “Please pray for my family” but didn’t. He referred to marital problems and stated, “My wife’s relationship with me is not good.” He manipulated words to indicate to his readers that Naghmeh is the one getting in the way of reconciliation; not him.  Please refer to my opening paragraph, “Domestic violence and abuse of any type is not a marital issue; it is an abuse issue.”

Abusers lack humility and honesty. They fail to take responsibility for their role in the condition of their family and marriage.

A godly man would not treat his wife like this—he should advocate his willingness to seek healing and restoration, or make a full admission and acknowledge she has biblical grounds to leave him. Publically, Saeed is making no attempt to win her back. We read nothing like this.

 

This reminds me of my own ex-husband. He was abusive in the home, ripe with mental illness, and void of conscience all while publicly portraying the godly, soul-winning, personable, full of charisma, scripture quoting, dynamic speaking pastor.

While he was sitting in jail, awaiting trial for being a child molester he penned a letter. The letter was downright disturbing for me to read but what angered me was the fact that the evangelistic association he sent it to believed him. Then they adored him—and praised him—and forwarded the letter to their prayer and financial partners all over the world so they could pray for this (supposed) humble, misunderstood, wrongly accused man of God. Read the letter here: Man Sentenced to Life in Prison Under Jessica’s Law

 

Based on personal messages I receive from readers; abusers know no boundaries and come from every walk of life including Christian ministry homes. I read of abuse in evangelical homes being common place. I read of some church ministries which recommend the wife stay silent for the sake of Christ’s reputation. What!

Christ does not need us to protect His reputation. He is completely secure in who He is. There is nothing we can do, good or evil, that changes who He is and what He can do.

The book of Isaiah holds a prophecy of the coming Messiah: “He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,  to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,” Isaiah 61:1b

He came to set us free; on earth, and for eternity.

“Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead expose them;” Ephesians 5:11

 

Sincere sorrow, true repentance, and a renewed heart toward his wife and children would keep Saeed Abedini out of the spotlight, or at least initiate confessing his problems so healing and reconciliation could happen in his family.  Instead he is enjoying the fame and taking advantage of the free press, television air time, and financial help while it is available while showing no remorse for his actions toward his wife.

 

As my ex-husband insisted, God had called him to the ministry and not even his wife and child were going to keep him from his calling. The truth was he relished the public popularity ministry afforded him, and he enjoyed his sinful, messed up choices in life more than he desired healing and reconciliation.

Many friends, mentors, family members and church leaders attempted to call my ex-husband (at the time my husband) to accountability. People saw character flaws, sin issues, and leadership problems but he refused help, church discipline, and would not listen to those in authority over him.

 

I’m glad Saeed Abedini was delivered from an unjust prison sentence. I pray he finds the strength and courage to repent, honor God and honor Naghmeh, and show both God and Naghmeh respect from a grateful heart; a heart full of healed, true love.

In my next post I will give scriptural precedence for blame not being split down the middle for a marriage in crisis due to abuse.

Naghmeh remains verbally, publicly challenged by many who do not believe her story.  I hope through sharing my history and insight with my readers that more people choose to trust her testimony, and lift her up in prayer.

 

GRACE 5

 

_______________________

¹. Facedbook; Naghmeh Abedini, public profile page, March 1, 2016, 6:07 a.m.

love and admire for strength

Why I Chose A Toxic Husband; and He Me

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I was recently asked if I received counseling before, during or after my divorce from my narcissistic, delusional, abusive, sex addicted, first husband; who was also a pastor. This was followed up with an inquiry of what I learned.

Here are some details of my answers.call on Him in truth

Yes! Yes, I went to counseling…for several years I went to counseling; in fact, any time I feel like some aspect of my life is consuming my thought life or spiraling out of control, I seek a professional, Christian counselor or psychologist.

My personal opinion is: Strong people seek help when feeling weak.

The first nine years of my first marriage I had avoided counselors for three reasons. 1.) I was constantly told, by my husband, that our marriage and ministry problems were because of me.  2.) I could not afford a professional.  3.) By the time I realized it wasn’t all me I felt I didn’t have anyone I could tell. We were in the ministry and seeking help meant telling someone what was going on in my marriage, but a good wife doesn’t say bad things about her husband and I had some serious issues to reveal.

In year nine, of eleven, I decided I was seeking help no matter who I had to tell, or what I had to tell. God provided a safe person, a safe married couple, for me. And guess what? They already knew from observation that I was in an unhealthy marriage with a mentally ill man who was refusing help and healing. From there I sought a godly Christian counselor, who as God would provide for me, had also been married to a man with narcissistic personality disorder. So she had in-depth knowledge of a portion of what I had endured.

My question to my helpers, counselors and doctors was, “What is wrong with me that I choose someone this mentally ill; this messed up? I have to be suffering, untreated, from mental illness myself. Please help me find what it is so I can heal.”  Sobbing and pleading, I begged people to tell me what my mental illness was. After all, you can’t receive help and healing if you don’t know what is ill, or wrong.

I never asked myself, “Why me? Why did this happen to me?”

I knew why. It was a consequence of my own sinful choices and actions before marriage. Yet I wanted to know why I was drawn to him.

Here is what I found out about myself:

I gravitated toward what I knew.

There was some generational bondage that needed to be addressed.

My track record of boyfriends was heavily dotted by young men with emotional problems; not all of them, but most of them. In hind sight, picking an emotionally traumatized husband was no shock.

I was a huge enabler. Not only could I handle my own life; including, my own junk, I took on his too.

I did not know how to set boundaries. After all, having my own opinion about something had not been optional that I could remember. Voicing my own opinion usually landed me in trouble or an argument. Narcissists respect no boundaries so I was  textbook prey.

I liked to find the positive traits in people and overlook the negative. I greatly desired to please others and put their needs ahead of mine. I could not stand the thought, or feeling, of being disliked. These are highly attractive traits to a narcissist because they need an endless supply of reassurance that they are wonderful, beautiful, highly talented, intelligent, gifted, funny, extremely amazing, nice, and the utmost special person on planet earth. They surround themselves with, ‘Yes’ men and women who would never want to hurt the narcissist’s feelings by saying, “No.”

I was accustomed to being treated harshly while being told I was loved.

Narcissists are attracted to strong women. The problem is that once they have you the strength they were attracted to becomes an object of the narcissist’s wrath; they despise your strength. They hate their own lack of self-control so they want to control you. They want to absorb you; become you because they don’t have their own identity. They spend their life demolishing the essence of who you are; or at least, chipping it away piece by piece. They want you to believe the lie that everything is your fault, and since I was a young, boundry-less, enabling nineteen year old when I married a minister five years older than me; I assumed he was right. Even when he lied to me about me I thought there must be something terribly wrong with me.  They know you are strong and that you won’t put your problems on their shoulders. In fact, since your shoulders are so strong they want you to solve and take care of their problems too; hoping you will heal their wounds.

I was a pro at picking up subtle hints and catering to them.

Narcissists are experts at manipulation and control so he used my big heart for his own ill purposes.

Waiting for a narcissist to love you is like waiting for a person whose eyes are gouged out to see again; it is not possible for a narcissist to bond or love.

Although I should have known, I did not know crazymaker (gas lighting) was a real term that embodied human flesh.

I learned that being too nice can cost you and your child your safety, your life, and your sanity.

I also learned that when the line of safety is crossed with your child; fierceness like no other can come out of you.  It’s a healthy fierceness that should have been employed sooner than it was.

I’m grateful to say I learned I am not suffering from mental illness and I don’t have a personality disorder. My life’s traumas did; however, leave me with auto-immune diseases.

So…if you or a loved one is in a relationship with an abusive, addicted or mentally ill person who refuses to acknowledge their struggle and seek help; please know, they can’t stop you from seeking help, safety, protection and healing. There is help and there is hope.

 LYRICS:

You could not plan for this. No, there was no silhouette

Up against the pink horizon; to warn you of the hit

But you absorbed it all with grace; like a child you spoke of faith unmoved

That holds onto you.

Chorus:

This thing is going to try to break you, but it doesn’t have to

You’re showing us how. This thing is going to bend and shape you,

But He won’t let it take you. You know it somehow.

This thing is not going to break you.

You could take your loss. You could hide away from us,

With your grief lassoed around you, but you’re laying it in the sun.

And you stare straight into the light. You say you’d rather go blind than look away.

What can I say?

Chorus:

This thing is going to try to break you, but it doesn’t have to

You’re showing us how. This thing is going to bend and shape you,

But He won’t let it take you. You know it somehow.

This thing is not going to break you.

This thing is not going to break you. This thing is not going to break you.

Why Wait Till Marriage: What No One Tells You. What I Wish Someone Had Told Me

Written by Ann Voskamp; this is by far my favorite explanation and sound reasoning for teaching why God’s way is the best in every way.  CLICK the above link.

Toxic Tuesday: I Am Known As a Liar

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Today I am reminiscing of the road I lingered on for several years to see my former husband go to prison for sexual crimes against children.

For more on this read: Reversal of Destiny, Mene, Mene, Tekel, Parsin, Church Leadership Supporting Sexual Offenders-Part 1Church Leadership Supporting Sexual Offenders-Part 2and Church Leadership Supporting Sexual Offenders-Part 3

Sixteen years of anticipating justice was a long wait and the only reason I kept my sanity was that the Lord’s great love endures forever. And I understood His voice in my heart, soul, mind and strength telling me to trust Him because He was working. I was to keep silent, except for prayer, and wait on His sovereign timing.

God did use other people to stand up for the little children but when a defendant suffers from a narcissistic personality you can bet your bottom dollar most people will believe and defend the accused. Why? Narcissists are the best of the best actors and liars.

A few weeks ago I shared in, My Destructive Marriage, about a friend who knew the extreme depravity of my husband and yet was not able to come to terms with it. I posted the letter of rebuttal I received from this friend.

Well, George (from My Destructive Marriage) wasn’t the only person who didn’t believe me. Truth be told; I lost most of my closest friends and dozens of ministry friends. While my soon to be ex-husband made his rounds to secure believability and support; the Lord gave me His peace, provision, a supportive family, and some of the most amazing female friends for which I ever asked.

I had to live with the reputation of being a liar; of lying about my husband because that is what he told anyone and everyone who would listen. You may know the saying “People believe the first thing they hear.” This is especially true when it is the only thing they hear.

Here is another letter.

Please note as you read the below letter that the Christian association which sent out the letter did not bother to tell their supporters the charges for which my ex-husband was arrested. I think the supporters deserved the whole truth so they could make an informed decision about continued financial and prayer support.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Dear Co-Laborers in Christ,

In past years you have read of Evangelist S in our newsletters. S joined as an Overseas Evangelist several years back and served honorably and successfully winning many souls to Christ. S was not full time, he was part time. His full time service was as the Minister of a Church in Independence, Kansas, where he preached and was loved by that congregation for over 6 years. One year and a half ago S was suddenly arrested and jailed in Independence and he has remained in jail ever since. Many of us are grieved because we believe S is 100% innocent of the charge that has been made against him. We are asking all Christians to pray for Evangelist S. He is your brother in Christ. He was baptized as a boy at the County Christian Church in Kansas, where his father and mother were among the founding members of that church. S was also ordained to the ministry by the Elders of the County Christian Church after graduating from Bible College. S’s trial will take place at the courthouse in Independence, Kansas, the first week of August. Several of us who live in Joplin and surrounding towns plan to be present for the trial and will be in constant prayer that God will lead the Defense Attorney to accurately present S’s side of the story. Please pray for S, pray for his wife, pray for the Judge and for each member of the jury. Pray that S may be acquitted so he can continue his effective work as an overseas evangelist. Thinking about the Apostle Paul. During S’s incarceration I have often written to him and he has written many letters to me. Receiving a letter from S in jail is very similar to reading Paul’s Prison Epistles in the New Testament. I want to share with you one of S’s letters:

“Dear R and E,

Thank you for the wonderful and encouraging letter I received from you. I so much appreciate the news of our evangelists’ work around the world. I am keeping these in my thoughts and prayers—and hope to join you in the work again soon. How could I possibly express how thankful I am to both of you for watching out for, comforting, and encouraging my wife through these terribly difficult times? May an abundance of grace be credited to your account. (Philippians 4:16-18). Jail has exposed me to men who have engaged in the worst of all behaviors. Many brag about their addictions to drugs and sex—the most lewd descriptions I have been forced to hear. It is sickening to hear it day after day. The word to best describe it is TORTURE! The good news is that one-by-one, they have come to me and asked questions about the Bible. There are moments of shame and despair. I pray throughout the day for all of them—for the Lord to reach their hearts.

One man, convinced that “all men are equal,” (not believing that anyone was better than him)  reacted violently toward me when I said, “Yes, I believe there are some who are better than others.” I used examples like Noah and Job and Enoch and Elijah. He nearly hit me he was so angry; he said that I was Satanic. Then after telling him that I loved him, I left the room. Later that day, I handed him a Bible reference…”Consider others more important than yourselves…” (Philippians 3:2). It amazes me how so many do not esteem others beyond themselves. Needless to say, there is little to no respect for authority. I have always had “heroes in the faith”. These men refuse to consider anyone as being better than themselves. While I understand that “all have sinned” and “all need the Savior”, there are many who are “walking in a manner worthy of their calling.” We are to “Give honor to whom honor is due.” These are foreign concepts; they demand respect, but often forget to give it. The hardships are discouraging, and sometimes I lose hope—but my faith is strong. I cannot deny the Lord’s word, nor can I deny His faithfulness. Thank you again for all you are doing to help us in this difficult situation. I believe the Lord will deliver me home and restore my joy. I love you both beyond words.

S,   Psalm 103

OUR APPEAL IS THAT A LARGE ARMY OF PRAYER WARRIORS WILL SURROUND S WITH YOUR PRAYERS TO GOD FOR HIS ACQUITTAL.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A friend messaged me as an alert that this letter was circulating to all the world-wide prayer and financial supporters of this evangelistic association.

Weeks later, a different friend, called to tell me they had spoken with the man who wrote the letter. They pleaded with the man to step back, pray about it, research narcissistic personality disorder, and allow the law to do its job because this arrest was overdue, necessary justice and future protection for innocent children.

The evangelist found my friend’s remarks impossible to believe. He said he knew the defendant intimately from traveling the world with him on mission trips and had spent much time in prayer with him. He would consider it but doubted what he was being told by my friend.

I would like to ask this man, “How did you think I felt? I was his wife. I loved him, supported him, was intimate with him, believed him, and listened to him preach, pray and lead people to Christ week after week. It took years to rectify my heart and mind with facts—years!”

This letter literally made me sick to my stomach for multiple reasons.

This evangelist later attended the trial and the sentencing as a supporter of the defendant.

Twenty three plus years ago I knew this evangelist, and his wife, from North American Christian Conventions that I attended with my then husband; the defendant. We would visit with them at their exhibit table and eat meals together with our mutual friends; Dewey, Barbara and their daughter and son-in-law who were close friends of mine.

Did the evangelist and his wife ever wonder what happened to me? Why didn’t they inquire about why the defendant was divorced? Did they not find it odd that he had no contact with, or rights to, his biological child? Did they not remember that far back? Why did they not have questions or concerns since this man would be traveling with them to foreign countries for the purpose of working in orphanages?

I saw the evangelist’s wife stare at me multiple times in court. I wondered if she remembered me, if perhaps she thought I was an absolutely wicked woman, or if she was trying to make sense of the difference between the defendant’s first wife and second wife. I held out little hope that everything was adding up to her and she now realized the defendant’s guilt.

There is NO understanding this without understanding the influence and believability of a narcissist.

“Though I am glad this predator was finally caught and removed from having more opportunities to abuse little ones, I am sickened by the fact that the faith community has embraced him and advocates for his innocence. I have no doubt these individuals will one day be called into account for their failure to protect the vulnerable as they were too busy protecting evil. So glad that justice finally arrived…” ~Boz Tchividjian @ G.R.A.C.E.

The moral of my story is this: Narcissists are nearly impossible to identify. This is maddening to any woman who finds herself married to one because when she finally finds the courage to tell the nightmare she has lived through; very few people believe her since the narcissistic husband has hidden his real self to the world while letting it all hang out at home. The extended family knows, the wife knows, the kids know. The sad aspect is the wife is considered the crazy unstable person by many friends for exposing her reality when in fact, the opposite is true; the husband is unstable. Narcissists mirror all accusations toward the accuser, framing the victim as the perpetrator. Read more about this aspect of NPD here..

To this day I have people who believe I am a liar and who still believe I lied about the reasons for which I divorced my husband. This—after his conviction which led to being sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 25 years. I can live with it because I know who I am, I know Who loves me, and He who loves me knows the truth. Nothing else matters.

This article is for the women out there in cyber space living a similar nightmare. Many of you arrive at Spiritual Battles from countries all over the globe looking for answers and help for your toxic marriage. You are not crazy, you are not alone, and you are not wrong. You are a woman of God!

“I am a woman of God

Redeemed by Jesus Christ

Loved, pursued and chosen

Equipped with words of life

Clothed in strength and dignity

Commissioned here and now

Gifted by the Spirit

Forgiven and unbound

Blessed is she who believed”

~Living Proof Live with Beth Moore

Click below to listen to the song version and commit it to memory. Next time you feel crazy or like you might lose your sanity at any moment; sing the song and remind yourself who you are according to your creator and the lover of your soul.

Click here to download this song to your computer from the Living Proof blog.