Friday, April 04, 2008

My Christian Husband isn't Emotionally safe! My Protection or sin?

Posted by Hannah at 9:00 AM

Focus Ministries as a piece called "Walls", and it really hits home for a lot of people that are experiencing all forms of abuse including emotional abuse and verbal abuse. I found that a lot of it pertains to most circumstances, but remember all doesn't have to apply for it to have the same effect. Some people call this detaching from their spouse due to the abuse within the relationship. It speaks to how the relationship starts, and how it continues. Its very moving!

The Walls are used to protection, and they are normal response to Emotional abuse, Verbal abuse and other types. This piece speaks about how they can be removed. Its not an easy journey, and it will require both parties to participate fully!

I had mentioned this article before, but wanted to repost it for others that may have not seen it.


I have built a fortress around myself . . .

to protect my emotions
to protect my self-esteem
to protect my individualism

This fortress will not allow me to share my heart with you, or express any affection toward you. It protects me from you.

Once, before I built this wall, I trusted you completely—enough to pledge my life to you and my future. When you first wounded my spirit, I believed you when you told me it was my fault. Yes, I was naive, but I trusted you. I believed the lie—if I could look different and act different, then you would be pleased with me.

For many years I continued to believe and trust you while you continued to express your disappointment in me and made me the scapegoat for all the reasons why you weren’t happy. I was so vulnerable to your opinion of me that I accepted what you said about me as true.

I tried in many ways to please you, but you were never satisfied. You pointed out numerous areas in my life where I had failed. The talents and gifts that I had to offer were either never good enough or taken for granted.

When I tried to share my deepest feelings with you, you made fun of my sensitivity by lecturing me or making me feel stupid.

You were the one who controlled what I should think, what I should say, and who I should say it to. If I made any comments of which you did not approve, you would lecture me and question my motives. If I was too quiet, you told me I was self-centered and didn’t care about other people.

You demanded all of my time and emotions for yourself, and when I didn’t meet your expectations, you broke my spirit by constant criticism. You even justified slapping me occasionally. You assured me that if I had performed to your liking you would have had no reason to hit me, so therefore it was my fault. You placed all the responsibility of your actions upon me.

Picture me as a woman who was constantly trying to please, but could never meet your demands; one who didn’t know whether to speak or keep silent; and one who withheld her emotions and deep feelings so she wouldn’t be ridiculed and embarrassed by the one who should have understood her the best.

This defeating cycle of co-dependency had such a hold on me that my worth as a person was dependent upon your value of me as a woman and a wife. It was easy for you to use me as the reason for your problems . . . because I let you and I believed you!

As I struggled with my own feelings about myself versus the incompetent, uncaring person that you described me to be, the Lord was working through many sources, and I began to find my identity in Him. I began to realize that I had allowed you to close my spirit, and I had believed your perception of me to be true. This had paralyzed my ability to function, and several years passed by without any real growth and progress.

When I finally accepted and truly believed that my self-worth is only found in the Lord, it changed my life!

My first reaction was to put the broken pieces of myself back together, and escape from the awful control and manipulation in my life. I began rejecting your perception of me, and yes, I began rejecting you! I built walls of protection from you so that your verbal vomit and cruel attitudes would not hurt me any more.

I began to live my own life, making my own plans, and daring to dream of living free and happy without your control. I built walls so high and so thick there would be nothing you could do to penetrate them.

When we began talking with a marriage counselor, you wrote a catalog of sins—my sins that you believed had caused all our problems. Where are your sins? When have you taken the time to take a really good look at who you are?

Look at the man who screams and strikes out when he’s upset, and then denies or pretends that he’s not guilty; who manipulates the facts to make his wife look like she’s either crazy or lying.

Look at the man who frowns and sneers when he talks to his wife, and then accuses her of having a bad attitude.

Look at the man who is a master of manipulation, demanding his own way, his opinion, and then accuses his wife of controlling when she is simply assuming the responsibility he has declined to take.

You are so full of rage and bitterness that you have to blame someone, and that someone has been me. It is interesting, however, that the very things you have said about me are actually reflections of you.

You tell me not to get hysterical when you’re the one screaming and out of control. You tell me to change my attitude when you have the sneering, frowning face, and have made the sarcastic remarks.

You call me the liar when you have an ingrained habit of constantly manipulating and exaggerating the truth to meet your needs.

You call me compulsive when you are the one who rearranges the refrigerator and pantry shelves after I’ve put the groceries away.

Because you are always on the edge, I walk on eggshells around you, never knowing when something I say or do is going to set you off and cause an explosion. It’s almost like being in a war and never knowing when I’m going to step on a land mine and get blown up.

Now look at the way it could have been—my talents and abilities complementing yours, and instead of rejecting, criticizing, and destroying me because I am not like you, we could have established a wonderful friendship and partnership with each other, with each of us compensating for the lack of the other.

When you begin to care about me instead of verbally attacking and blaming me, then maybe some of the walls I have built up will come down. We can both learn how to honor and serve each other, with one of us carrying the entire load at times (giving 100%) when the other needs help, without complaining about it later or keeping a scorecard to see who is giving the most.

This is not about who cleans the house and who takes out the garbage. It is about accepting, forgiving, caring, tolerating, and loving—without deliberately hurting, controlling, and keeping score.

Let’s give up the war and begin reconciliation. The next step is up to you . . .

Focus Ministries has released a book, and I wanted to endorse it at this time!

Does any of the article hit home for you? We look forward to hearing from you!

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Hannah on 3:13 PM said...

The ministry that publishes this book is called focus ministries, and from what I hear they are struggling moneywise!

I agree it would be nice if it was advertised more! I pray that people step up and help pay for that!

SUZ on 11:54 AM said...

It is MY LIFE! I am lost at my age (42) and I should know better by now- it is my 2nd marriage of only 2 years. I feel like I am the crazy one when we talk or he screams and I can't get a word in between insults after being his with a ton of bricks and unable to catch my breath. He rages into this cyclone of anger and hostility. I cry, and then he scoffs and makes fun saying I can't deal with anything. I back away and try to leave and he comes closer, screaming and foaming at the mouth, scrramng so loud and furious he spits while doing so, he towers over me and screams very loud right up against my face with his fists clenched and face red, walks away and comes back immediately to start all over again. When I shut the door to get away to the bathroom, he slams it open and I crouch on the floor crying-he looks at me and says "Pathetic". I am also Seriosuly physically ill with Bleeding tumors and he says that the pain is in my head, that I am also to leave him, or he kicks me out. I am So ALONE and So Frightened and SO depressed and ashamed. He tells me I am Siritually DEAD and that he is apparently more Christ like than I..

Anonymous said...

Suz.. if you read this please email me. I am going through exactly the same thing. You can reach me on God Bless x

Anonymous said...

Yes, I too can relate but not to the degrees you are going through, the lonelyness, and sadness are the worst. He tries to turn everyone agianst me. He is jeoulous of me and wants me to have no friends and any friends that I may have are not good for me. He controls my life were I can not watch t.v. and have to sneek to watch a movie. but he can go over the pastor house and watch ultimate fighting and come home and say the holy spirit was so there during his visit. Why does he hate me. I dont understand. please help me understand, if I get emotional he calls me crazy and I he gets emotionaly its God. Im sick of all the hypocissy.

Hannah on 10:12 AM said...

Keep in mind Anonymous you don't have to have ALL the traits spoken about. I fell into that trap as well. lol I'm sure WORSE than what you are talking about! I was WAY to black and white - if all traits were not present? It didn't apply. I think it was a coping mechanism of mine personally. It was to much for me.

He doesn't hate you - he is insecure with himself. He may hate himself, and takes it out on others. He needs to control of something, and since he can't control his world...he will control yours.

You are NOT crazy! On my home page - off to the top left I have a resource called, "Our Place". It is broken into sections. The main board gets the most traffic, but there is a spiritual section as well. They actually have a Pastor there that posts very often, and looks for people like yourself.

Focus Ministries is another good resource.

Calling your local DV (domestic violence) shelter is another.

If you speak to people about this - for example at your church - and they make you feel confused or even worse? Chances are they aren't understanding the position you are in. I don't think they realize it, and aren't doing it to be mean in most cases. They just don't grasp the reality of what you are dealing with.

Educate yourself on controlling behavior, and if you can go the library? Lundy Bancroft's book, "Inside the minds of controlling men: Why does he do that?" was eye opening for me.

I found with my own situation we were both broken, but in different ways. It had nothing to do with communication - it was resolution of issues. He just wasn't capable of it, and felt my actions were causing most if not all the issues. No human is that perfect they can't contribute ya know? Its a diversion for them.

I will be praying for you!

Anonymous said...

someone in this same situation please contact me...I am afraid of putting my email address here for fear that someone will recognize it. I am 20 years old and he is the music minister at our church. So many things that Suz said are in my relationship and are escalating..everytime I tell him that I am honestly hurt by his abuse, he tells me that the devil is putting thoughts in my head to be angry with him. When I tell him that no, this is really just my own feelings, he says that I am going against what God told him, I am spiritually dense, or I am far away from God because I haven't read my Bible all morning like he has. It becomes a battle every day, if I forget to read my Bible one morning or read it for an hour less than he does, it becomes his excuse to justify emotionally abusing me.
I am so scared and no one understands because to them it looks like he's trying to make me be closer to God. This is terrifying because when I talk to his mom she says the same thing. I have no one to turn to...and I know I'm not spiritually dense, I am a strong Christian woman. He has slapped me before and when I tell him that it was not right in mine or God's eyes to do that, he tells me once again how he has been filled with the Holy Spirit all day today and that if I would not have made him angry he would not have slapped me.
I pray every not for God to rescue me from these situations...but when he fills that he has a better relationship with God than I do, I am left helpless once again and things go his way.

Anonymous said...

Please for your spirital and emotional well being get away from him to get yourself healed he will not get better un less he wants to he is controlling and abusing you in every way possible he apparently has low self esteem being cruel to you helps him feel better about himself Christ loves you his plans are to prosper you I'm not saying he won't change but first he has to want to and realize what is going on then admit it to Jesus then the changes will start to take place

Anonymous said...

i too am a christian wife and i have a very abusive husband 23 years i stay because i think i can be an example but he hates me more he use to be pysically abusesive but stopped after almost going to prison i have spent many nights sleeping in my car church and crying myself to sleep it always happens when he drinks and latley everyday iam can never be good enough he says he wishes i would leave and never come back and that cutts like a knife. i just feel so broken am i diong something wrong i just cant hear him anymore.i pray all the time i never tell anyone what i go through with him i dont want them to think bad of him whats wrong with me?

Anonymous said...

I am a Christian. I hate reading this & I hate living it. I don't want to get a divorce, but I don't know what else to do. My husband has a temper. He'll get mad if I look at him too hard if we're arguing and tells me I had better not "mean mug" him. He has never punched or slapped me, but he has poked me, held me down and just recently doused me with water after he told me to be quiet and I wouldn't. He told me I didn't know who I was messing with. He has told me before that I was lucky that I wasn't a man. He often brags about his temper and what he is capable of. I was about to leave for an important meeting on the day he doused me with water, I immediately called the police (Something he warned me never to do to him.) Once he calmed down, I told the 911 operator not to send anyone that he was leaving. Of course after I hung up, he didn't leave. The police still came, but I let them know he hadn't hit me. We haven't spoken since. I thought he was packing, but he's still here.

I think he was just using me. He never wanted me to take his last name. (He said it was because of all his debt.) During premarital counseling he agreed to children, but since then, he adamantly refuses to have children with me and he has told me that he can't stand me. Because I seem strong and successful other Christians assumed It was my choice & I didn't want children and I chose not to take his last name. They implied I was at fault. They have no idea what I have to go through at home and none of these things were my choice.

Other people consider me attractive and I have reasonably good self esteem, but he tells me that I think "I'm all that" and talks about me being heavy. He tells me that people aren't really my friends. It seems like he would prefer me to have low self esteem and no friends. I never invite any body to my home because he would be angry and for fear of him embarassing me.

We no longer sleep in the same room and I lock my door at night. I want him out and I have asked him to leave, repeatedly. I don't trust him and it seems no matter what I say or do I make him angry. I used to cry when he would be mean and he called me weak. Lately, I've been fed up and calling his bluff. Now, when he says I better not do this or that, I've been responding "or else what? What are you going to do?" He is a very large man who works out every day. I'd never be able to defend myself physically if he ever decided to seriously hurt me. I don't want things to escalate, but I think he'd be afraid to full out assault me because now he knows I'll call the police. He also knows that I have a firearm. Pray for me. I'm considering filing paperwork this week. If I do that, I'll hide the firearm incase he totally loses it. A few years ago he told me if this relationship didn't work, he didn't know what he'd do. I will continue to pray. He is not open to counseling or to discussing our marriage. He gets agitated the moment I open my mouth, even if I'm just asking what he'd like to eat. I'm worth more than this, but I want to be a good Christian and not file for divorce.


Hannah on 1:43 PM said...

Stuck - I know it doesn't sound like it to you, but you seem to be in a very dangerous spot. Yes, I agree hiding the gun would be a good thing when/if you file the paperwork.

Please make sure you get a safety plan together in case you need it!

He is trying to tear down your self esteem and worth - believe that!

I will be praying for you.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Hannah. Intellectually, I know this is potentially very dangerous, as my husband is so explosive and irrational.

I told my Dad today, that I was fed up with my marriage. I'm known for being silly and joking alot. So, I'm not sure if my Dad took me seriously. I didn't go into detail with him, yet. (My husband also warned me, repeatedly, never to tell my Dad anything.) Telling my Dad, will be the beginning of my 'safety plan' (if I really know what that is.)

Because of an incident involving an allergic reaction I had about a year ago; I already told my husband that if anything happens to me, he wouldn't get anything. I am severely allergic to some items. I don't really think my husband wanted me to die that day, but none the less, all my accounts and insurance are arranged so that my parents and siblings would control the assets. (We married later in life & this house and my accounts are all in my name. That's why I can't leave.)

Even though, I've taken these precautions, I choose to remain optimistic and faithful that I'll be safe. I'm still praying. Thanks Again.....


Hannah on 8:03 PM said...

I hope I got that link right for the safety plan. Look at the top under links, and then 'possible other sources of help'. Its good to keep these things OFF SITE - even if you don't plan to leave.

Speak to your local Domestic violence shelter, because they maybe up on the laws. Keep in mind some volunteers there are more 'helpful' than others, so if you get a bad apple try again a different time. Of course your lawyer would be UP on things as well.

Keep in mind also he may scare you, and you can get a temporary order of protection - which means he has to leave. Every area is different as far as time frames for that, and your lawyer can tell you how long - and how to keep him out. I mean he seems to have already started that with little things to try to imtimate you. He will get worse if he knows you wish to separate/divorce or what have you.

DO tell your father, and anyone else that will listen. Sometimes you might be surprised at how much they suspected anyway. Other times they are good at seeing things that you have got used to dealing with - that aren't healthy.

Keep in mind under the links section? There is a website called, Our Place. Its a haven for people like you, and a great resource for support, experience, and other things.

Anonymous said...

I am a christian wife of almost 10 yrs of marriage. I have 3 kids, ages 16, 10, and 8. My 16 yr old is not biologically his and the bio father has not been involved in 12 years. I go through day after day of being ignored, and if I do talk to him about anything he is really annoyed when he chooses to open his mouth and talk to me. Im not lazy, I work, do all the housework, homeschool, and drive kids everywhere from swimming lessons to youth group. My husband doesnt want to spend any time with me or our kids. He will choose to go help a friend or hang out on days off with them or play on his phone or ipad instead of the kids and I. He snaps at my 16 year old and looks like hes going to beat him the way he talks but hasnt. If I mention anything to him in the nicest way possible about him being so distant, he gets mad and says that I need to get closer to God. Im so close to God and read and cry out to Him every day to fill my empty spaces and to give me wisdom and strength. I dont want to do the wrong biblical thing and leave, plus I cant afford to find something for my kids and I and hes flat out stated he will not leave. Hes said that if anyones leaving it will have to be me. What do I do?

Hannah on 5:01 PM said...

You need to find real life support! Please find a good counselor, or look at my section above for some leads to find them in your area.

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