The Profile Of An Abuser

An abusive person is a controlling person. Where there is control, there is abuse. If you are married to a man who is an abuser, it is more like a father/daughter relationship rather than a relationship of equality and respect. There is nothing that will kill love and passion faster in a relationship then being married to someone who insists on being "one-up" or being in the father role. Who wants to go to bed with their father. Abuse is about power and control.

Using the power and control wheel developed by the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project of Minnesota, we will attempt to give an overall portrait of an abuser. Instances and techniques may vary, but most abusers have all or most of these controlling traits. I will use instances from my life, living with an abuser, to illustrate. I also need to state that there are overt abusers and there are covert abusers. Overt abusers come right out and abuse blatantly and boldly. Covert abusers are the worst and the hardest to confront. They do their abusing and controlling in a hidden, manipulative, secretive way (see the book "In Sheep's Clothing"). They say one thing with their mouth and appear to be loving and kind, but their actions are controlling and conveying the message that you are stupid and worth nothing in their sight. They manipulate to get their way by getting people to feel sorry for them, making people feel guilty, etc. My son calls it an evil spell when his father uses these covert techniques. When I have had my abusive ex kicked out of the house, he goes and finds people who will "pat his flesh" or sympathize with him. To get people to do this, he must manipulate their feelings and get them to believe that he has been unjustly wronged. My ex doesn't have one good thing to say about his abusive, controlling, manipulative mother except that when he was a boy, if his mother thought he had been unfairly treated or unjustly wronged, she would sympathize with him or console him.

So in order for the abuser to get sympathy or consolation from people, he must manipulate them into thinking that he has been unjustly wronged in order to get his "flesh patted" or to get consoled, when he really needs to suffer the consequences of his behavior, which is what will cause him to change. The abuser will call his mother, brother, friends or whoever will listen and tell them untruthful things in order to get them to console him. He will manipulate them to get comforted. No one likes a manipulator. The abuser tries to get people to feel sorry for him by sighing, acting hurt and so on. As long as he can find people who will console him instead of let him suffer the consequences of his behavior, he will continue to manipulate people to get them to feel sorry for him so HE FEELS BETTER and he doesn't have to take responsibility for his behavior. My nine year old son calls this manipulative, "feel sorry for me behavior" an "evil spell". One weekend, my nine year old son and I spent the weekend in a shelter for abuse victims. I wanted to go home. My son told me that he didn't want to talk to his father because he didn't want to be put under his evil spell. I asked him what he meant by that. He stated, "He will start sighing and looking all sad and he will say, "I guess your mother and I couldn't work things out." He will manipulate a person's emotions to get what he wants. He is a chameleon who changes color depending on who he is with. He will tell you what he thinks you want to hear in order to protect himself. I have seen this man give the old "Mr. Repentfull" routine to so many pastors, ministers, bible study leaders and so on, yet he never changes his behavior. A chameleon changes his color according to his surroundings in order to protect himself. A controlling abuser is all about protecting himself and that is why he controls in the first place. He is a con man, salesman, and can win academy awards for his acting ability. Why even he believes the things he says, yet the behavior never changes and the things he says never line up with the things he does. There is a big gap between the words and walk. A Christian family counselor once told my ex that he was like a dog that professed undying love and devotion to his family while pissing on their leg. He also said that, relationally, things my ex did weres like making a whole pot of homemade soup. You put in all these good ingredients and then pour in the poison. What he did was sooooooo hurtful and poisonous that it killed everybody and everything and it didn't matter what good things he had put in the pot. Death resulted.

Abusers are often extremely charming and come off as "Mr. Nice Guy" to those who don't live with him. That is part of that "evil spell" my nine year old son spoke of. He is a fake and a phony! It makes me sick to my stomach to hear someone say, "What a nice guy" because we know differently. He has everyone fooled, especially the women! Women fall for this "Mr. Nice Guy" stuff, hook, line and sinker. I did, too, until I married the abuser. I didn't have a clue to his controlling, abusive nature until a week before our wedding. I had quit my job and moved in with him, two hours away from where I had been living, away from family and friends, without a job and isolated. That is when I got my first taste of the other side of Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde. He asked me to do something, which was part of his job at work, and I didn't feel I should be doing it. Mr. Nice Guy wasn't so nice anymore when I didn't do what he wanted.

Let's go to the Power and Control wheel, going clockwise, starting at 12:00. As experienced in my marriage:

Using Intimidation

Making the family afraid by using looks, actions, gestures, smashing things, destroying her property, abusing pets, displaying weapons.

My ex said that he wanted to get the kids to the point where he could control them with just a look. He wanted to be able to glare at them and have them fear him in order to cause them to behave, especially around other people. That way he wouldn't have to correct them in public. He would pound his fist on things when he couldn't get the kids to do what he wanted. If my daughter wasn't doing her homework right, he would scream at the top of his lungs at her, lecturer her and pound on things or throw things. One particular time, when my ex was sitting in the car in the garage lecturing my 12 year old daughter, she tuned him out as teenagers often do. He couldn't control her if she wasn't listening to him. He became frustrated that she wasn't listening and he lost control of the situation, so he acted like he was going to attack her sexually by shoving his hand down her buttoned shirt, causing the buttons to rip off and pop open. He also shoved his hand between her legs in her genital area. They had been sitting in the car in the garage, talking. When my ex did this, my daughter jumped out of the car and came running past me crying as she went up to her room. Two and a half months later, my daughter attempted suicide. I had tried to go to a pastor to talk to him about our situation and get him to help us, but my ex found out about it and made an appointment to see the pastor. He tells pastors and people that we are "unstable" so that we are not believed and he comes off as the kindest, most loving man alive. When my ex tells people we are "unstable", then anything we now say is "discredited" and not taken seriously. This is an isolation technique that abusers use to isolate their family from anyone who would help them. This is also part of the "Power and Control Wheel" and will be discussed further. This cuts the family off from neighbors, family, friends, pastors, or anyone who may offer support to the abuser's family or his victims. When my ex came home from talking to this pastor, he told us all this bad stuff that the pastor had said to him about us. We felt like no one would listen to us, believe us, or help us. We felt abandoned by God and others. It was right after that, that my daughter attempted suicide and was hospitalized. In retrospect, I am not so sure, now, that the pastor even said anything at all about us. This kind of mental/emotional control is designed to isolate you and cut you off from anyone who would help you or intervene. The next Sunday we went to church, the pastor wouldn't even look at my daughter or me or acknowledge us, but he went up to the abuser and patted him on the shoulder in front of us and said, "We'll get through this together, man. Just hang in there." To this day, my grown daughter doesn't want to go to church and wants nothing to do with God. We were abandoned by anyone in a position of authority to help us. What made it worse was that this person in a position of authority was God's representative. It leaves you feeling hopeless, desperate and in despair. I can't stand to go to church today with the abuser because he is so fake and phony and he can con those, without discernment, so easily. It makes me sick! Who wants to risk being hurt again this way. The abuser used to have to control us on the way to church as well. We always had to "look good" and appear happy so that no one approached him because "my daughter looked depressed and as head of the household, the abuser must be doing something wrong. One day my young junior high aged daughter had on red pants and she put on her only hot pink coat to go to church. I didn't care, but the abuser was extremely concerned about how she looked and how this reflected upon him. All the way to church, he screamed at her and told her she looked like "a screaming circus". No wonder we didn't want to go to church with the abuser.

Another example of using intimidation to control others was the time I had asked my ex to read a manuscript I had been writing. I had been writing a book, which is now published and in distribution, and the type written material was in a large, thick, heavy binder. I wanted my ex to read the material because the pastor of the church we were going to, was preaching the same thing I was writing about and I was excited because God was confirming all around us what He was showing me and giving me to write. I felt that my ex, the abuser, was missing out on the excitement and I wanted to share this with him. He would not read the manuscript. I asked him several times after being ignored for weeks. Finally, when he sat down to read the manuscript, he started correcting it and rewording it to read as he thought it should read. I asked him not to correct. He said that he was helping me and saving me a step by doing this and he kept insisting on rewriting and correcting the manuscript. I kept insisting that he not "help" me and that I wanted the book to be done as the Lord directed. I told Him that I wanted him to read the book for the content only. He became very angry and argumentative when I kept insisting that he not "help" me "fix" the book. He threw the heavy binder down on the table in front of me spewing the contents everywhere. He said that if he couldn't "fix" the book, and "help", then he didn't want to read it. The abuser, my ex, from here on out called "the abuser", has a very chronic, bad habit of "fixing" and "helping" us. Nothing we do is right. He always has a better way of doing things and if you don't do things his way or take his advice, he uses the intimidation methods of control or he resorts to shaming and belittling you. I couldn't even unload the dishwasher right in our home. He saw a better way to do it and insisted on "helping" me do it a better way. When you are always being "fixed", "helped" and "controlled", the constant unspoken relational message you keep getting is "You are stupid, incapable, and incompetent. You can't do anything right. I am smarter, better and above you in all ways." It is a form of putting others down so that you can feel better about yourself.

Anyway, the abuser has thrown things, pounded his fist on things and used glares and gestures to cause his family to fear him in order to control them, yet he can't understand why we fear him. When you throw things, pound your fist, etc. the unspoken message that is being communicated loud and clear is: "This could or will be you I am hitting next if you don't do what I want". After divorce papers had been filed and I was no longer staying in the home as long as the abuser was there, the abuser threatened to get rid of my pets if I left the house. He used to put a nail in between his knuckles and punch my horses in order to get them to do what he wanted, yet he doesn't consider himself abusive. He wouldn't want you to mention this or say it out loud to anyone and I say, "If you are not doing something wrong, why can't we say it out loud"? The abuser is also a third degree black belt in karate, and used that to intimidate, control and instill fear in his family.

Using Emotional Abuse

Putting family members down, making them feel bad about themselves, calling them names, making them think they are crazy, playing mind games, humiliating them, making them feel guilty.

The abuser is a master at these. By constantly "fixing and helping" he is putting family members down and ruining their self esteem and making them dependent on him in an unhealthy way. The abuser resorts to shaming us when we don't think, feel, or want the same things he does. If you want to do something and he doesn't, he goes into trying to convince you to see things his way and he will debate you. If that doesn't work, he shames you and discards your feelings, thoughts, wants and needs by explaining them away with his reasoning and rationale. The constant unspoken message is "You have no reason to 'feel, think, need or want' the things you do because........" He makes you feel like a bad person for feeling or wanting what you do. He rarely says yes to anything when asked and many times I have asked for things in our marriage and he says he'll do them and he conveniently forgets and never does them. This is passive/aggressive behavior. The requests can range from not having mini-blinds in our home, to inviting some people from work over for a cookout, or to major requests. He acted like we needed his "permission" for everything and anything in life. It is his way or no way. If you think, feel, want or need something that he has judged that you "shouldn't" because of his reasoning or rationale, he will negate you and emotionally abuse you by shaming you, belittling you, calling you names, etc. Abusers want to tell you what to think, feel, look like, want and generally dictate who you are as a person. You become who they want you to be. He used to say, "God knew I needed an attractive wife" and if I wanted to get my hair cut, he would follow me around, telling me how much he liked my hair now (covert manipulation). He never told me this at other times. Only if he felt I may cut my hair in a style he didn't like. This was his way of trying to stop me from keeping my hair appointment. I was always the "trophy wife" that validated his manhood and reflected on what others thought of him and his masculinity

I have been called "mental" although the abuser conveniently forgets it when he does this. I have been called "unstable". When I confront the abuser on something hurtful he has done, many times he will reply, "Well if you say you saw me do that....." The abuser has trespassed emotional, physical and sexual boundaries with family members. He has urinated in front of my teenage daughter, when she walked into our bathroom to talk to him. As they were talking and she was asking him if she could do this, that, or the other, he walked over to the toilet and went to the bathroom with her standing right there. It is like the lights are on but no one is home. He does things out of habit without thinking, in your presence, and he can't remember doing them because he is so preoccupied in his own thoughts or something as he does these things. You can have your children removed from your home by child protection as a result of that, but if I confront him on these things, he doesn't remember them, or he states that because I was abused as a kid, I view things as being abusive when they are not. I brought these things up in counseling and child protection had been called because of the things the abuser had done. A month before the abuser molested my daughter, we went to an outside summer function. I had told the abuser how much it hurts me when he stares at other women and I had asked him not to do it. My daughter, had told me that she was afraid to bring her friends home because of the way the abuser "looked" at members of the opposite sex. He will tell you that he doesn't look with the "intent to lust", so it is not wrong to do. He thinks it is okay as long as he can delude himself into thinking he is well intentioned, even if it hurts his wife and children, and sets a poor ample for the kids. Anyway, we were at this outdoor summer function and the abuser was looking down as we walked around. His eyes caught sight of a nice pair of legs in a mini blue jean skirt and he turned and followed the pair of legs around and we turned around with him and followed him like a bunch of ducks. I ran around in front of him and confronted him and asked him, "Why don't you take a picture?" Our marriage counselor had told me to embarrass him in public when he did this because the only thing that would make the abuser change was if his behavior started to hurt him and humiliate him. The girl he was following around was all of 14 or 15 years old and she was with her parents. This episode ended up in physical abuse, because I started to leave with the kids and I was going to leave him there. He started following me and verbally badgering me and he wouldn't leave me alone as I tried to leave. The abuser has resorted to restraining me physically when I try to leave, when things escalate. He won't just leave me alone. He follows me around and makes things worse whenever I try to get away from him. This is usually when things get physical.

A month after the abuser followed a 14 year old around, he molests my daughter, who was soon to be 13. A month after that, when I had started working a part time job, my daughter stated that she wasn't going to go to school because she was sick. I was already dressed and ready for work and so was the abuser. He told me to go ahead and go to work and he would stay home with my daughter. Sirens went off in my head after the way he had been acting lately. A 13 year old can stay home by themselves for a few hours when they are sick. There is no need for the abuser to stay home and if you think I am going to play "blind" and not protect my children when I see major warning signs here, you need to guess again. When I have confronted him on this, I am "dirty minded" or seeing things through my abusive childhood. I get shamed for listening to my "internal checks" or radar and vocalizing my concerns. He tries to minimize the whole thing and he can't understand why I would be concerned. The message is "There is something wrong with you"! When this came up in counseling, the abuser was no longer able to be with the kids alone. If I left the house, he had to leave the house. The only reason our children were not removed from our home was because I stood up to him and our counselors stated that if I stopped standing up to him and stopped protecting the kids, they would be removed from our home.

The abuser tries to make us think we are crazy by changing the story many times. He conveniently forgets things or he rearranges the details to suit him in his controlling. He tries to get you to question your view of things because "you were abused and you are unstable and you see things through abused colored glasses, when they were never intended to be abusive." He told me one morning after he had molested my daughter, that God had given him a dream that my daughter was giving a different version of the time the abuser had molested her because my daughter wanted us to break up so that we would go back to Delaware to live so that my daughter could see her natural father. You see, my daughter claims that the abuser actually touched her when he molested her in the car. The abuser claims that he was under perfect control and that his hands never actually touched her. Never mind that her buttons were ripped open and all that. The abuser will have you know that his hand was closed, too (minimizing). Like that makes a difference. In his mind it makes a difference, because having your hand open when touching someone's sexual organs is worst than if you have your hand closed, so he was trying to make it not look as bad as it was. This is called minimizing and it is a defending technique. Anyway, God gave the abuser this dream, which was intended to cause me to question my daughter's motives and it would discredit her story. The abuser knew that the last thing I wanted was to see my daughter's natural father, so he used my fear, as well, in order to control the whole mess. It didn't work. By this time I had been doing too much reading and confronting and I knew the abuser's manipulative, controlling techniques. There is a scripture in the bible that states that God will set the oppressed free with truth. The more truth you have, the less you can be controlled and manipulated. Only the ignorant can be controlled and one reason I go about educating people on these things is so that the person can't get away with the manipulation and control anymore because people are educated on the ways and techniques and it doesn't work anymore and they get confronted and held accountable. That is the only way it will stop.

The abuser is a master emotional abuser and a master at playing mind games. I had recently stayed at a shelter and had a restraining order placed against the abuser because one Sunday, when an argument was escalating, I needed to leave the house. I walked by him in the kitchen on my way out to the garage. I got in my car, started it up and put it in reverse and was backing out of the garage. He came running out of the house (remember I told you that the abuser follows you and that is when the physical stuff usually happens) and grabbed the passenger car door handle and tried to open it as I was backing out. He thought I would stop, but I kept right on going, because I wasn't going to stay and get hurt. He got thrown up against the garage wall, a foot away, because he tried to get into, or open the door of a moving vehicle. He told me later that as he was going for the door of the moving car, he was thinking in his mind that "This probably isn't a very smart thing to do." Yet, he told his attorney, later, that I tried to kill him and that I was an "unstable person capable of harming myself and others" and he proceeded to file a restraining order against me throwing me out of my house while he got the house and kids. I had no job, money, credit cards or anything! This falls into another area of abuse on the power and control wheel, though. What the abuser tells other people and what he tells me are two different things. What happens in reality and what the abuser tells others are two different things. The judge saw through this and denied the abuser's restraining order against me.

The abuser's lawyer claims to be a Christian, yet because of his ignorance in the power and control methods that abusers use, he was now being used by the abuser to exercise power and control over the lives of his victims. Because of the ignorance of the "system", abusers use others to help them gain power and control over their spouses and family members. It is time the "system" becomes educated to stop the abuser from using them to maintain power and control over "their" family, which they perceive as property. You can always tell when someone views you as property, or something that belongs to them by how they refer to you. If you hear a lot of "my family" or "my wife", and do not hear a name spoken in reference to who he is talking about, chances are you are viewed by an abuser as something that "belongs" to him. Putting a name to someone gives them individuality and autonomy. Abusers do not see you as individuals separate from themselves. Once attorneys, judges, ministers, neighbors, family members and others become educated, they will not be pawns in the game any longer, unless it is for the money. I do not know how a true Christian lawyer, once learning these things and becoming educated, could actually help an abuser do these things to continue to victimize his family. The attorney would have to be in it for the money or be deceived. He cannot call himself a true Christian and participate in the victimization of abused family members knowing what God thinks about abuse and how God will hold him accountable now that he knows the truth. Christianity is the only religion that requires a decision and being a Christian requires that you continue to make decisions and choices in your life that come under the Lordship of Jesus Christ and God's will.

The abuser wants to tell his family members what to think, what to feel, what to want and who to be. A person's identity is or comes from what they think, feel, want, etc. This is what makes them up as an individual and gives them a special identity. People lose their identity by coming under the brain washing techniques of an abusive, emotional controller. They use the same brain washing techniques that are used on prisoners of war, and that is the truth. The very same brain washing techniques are used in cults to control their members and brain wash them. Dysfunctional families and emotional abusers use the same techniques and the results are depression, repressed anger and post traumatic stress disorder. I dropped my restraining order against the abuser and when he got back into the house, he said to me, "You can't win with me. I am a master! If you state how you feel and I don't like it or I don't accept your feelings, I will debate you and shame you for them. If you don't talk, then you will have to stuff your anger because I won't allow you to confront me with things I've done to you. You can't win with me!" The abuser has since found that Jesus is the true "Master" and the one who is in control and He has set me free from the power and control that the abuser has held over me. Jesus has given me the Truth that has set the oppressed free.

I remember one time where the Lord was telling me to "Guard my heart because out of my heart flows the issues of life." I felt like I was always having the life sucked out of me by the abuser. I told the Lord that I didn't know how to do this. "How do I guard my heart?" About a half hour later, I started ironing and I turned on the TV and started to listen to a man preach. He was preaching on why God reveals Himself to some people and why God doesn't reveal Himself to others. He said that God wouldn't cast His pearl before swine and He didn't want us to either. He stated that revealing yourself to someone who takes that information and turns on you and tramples the pearls in the mud and then rends you is a pig or swine. Don't tell pigs what you think, feel or want because they will take this information, trample it in the mud, use it against you, turn on you and rend you. That is what the Lord was telling me. "Guard your heart by not revealing yourself to unsafe, abusive people who will use the information against you and not respect your heart and the contents of your heart as "pearls" or treasures. They will trample your delicate pearls, or contents of your heart in the mud, and they will turn on you. They don't regard or respect your pearls as something of value." That is how God sees a person who shames you, fixes you, belittles you, etc. while not respecting and valuing the contents of your heart. It doesn't matter how the pig sees himself, and he will always see himself as well intentioned and trying to resolve something, but God views him as a pig!

I was hospitalized in March/April of 1994 for depression. I have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and severe depression, which you don't get unless you live with an abusive person. My doctors have begged me to leave the abuser and have told me that my depression is situational, or caused by my situation. A person with PTSD and depression are not "insane", "unstable" or anything else. PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression come from living your life everyday in a battle zone, or living in a survival mode constantly. A person with PTSD suffers this as a result of having something done TO them. They suffer the same effects as a prisoner of war or veteran that has been in combat. As a result of living in a "survival mode" or the "fight or flight" mode for long periods of time, because of living with an abuser, and as a result of living with the severe, extreme stress that comes with the various methods of abuse they use, chemical changes take place in the brain which cause depression and other illnesses like Fibromyalgia. I have a friend who has Fibromyalgia and her ex is also abusive. She used to say that if you didn't weep, then the body would weep and that is what Fibromyalgia was about; stuffed negative emotions. These chemical changes have various physical effects. The chemical changes in the brain cause you to slow down and not be able to function as well. Your brain cannot stay in a constant high adrenaline state of fight or flight without burning out some neurological functions in the brain, resulting in Fibromyalgia, depression or some other disorder. They told me in the hospital that you cannot be emotionally healthy while living in a home with an emotional abuser. That was like living with severe pollution and expecting to be physically healthy. I had a terminally ill cousin my age, tell me right before her death, that she only surrounded herself with people who loved her. Her words have had a tremendous impact in helping me go through my divorce and not stay in relationships that were dysfunctional and unhealthy, even if those relationships involved family. The hospital staff stated that most people who entered the hospital for treatment were actually healthier people because they wanted to change, versus the people out in the world who didn't want to change and didn't think they had a problem. People who enter the hospital for treatment, are open to learn new ways of living, functioning and communicating in order to grow and mature. Many other people are not open to growing, maturing and learning. They stated that you have to change your emotional climate by setting boundaries with abusive, controlling people, or choosing not to have relationships with people that were like that in order to be healthy and have children that were healthy. They said that people didn't start setting boundaries until they became severely angry and that anger actually led to healthier relationships. Sometimes, relationships need to be severed when one party doesn't change. My mother is controlling, shaming and always trying to give advice or fix, much like the abuser. I basically married my mother when I married my ex. When I have had to give the truth to my parents, confront them in their controlling/shaming behavior and they negated and explained away my feelings and didn't change, I had to sever my relationship with my parents. The Lord told me, "Forget the household of your youth, I am your Father". I cannot be around people who do not care about me and how I feel, who will continually hurt me and don't care that what they do is hurting me as they negate and rationalize away my pain and feelings. They are not people who love you and you shouldn't surround yourself with these kinds of people. My adult children never cared about how much pain I was in or how much I was hurting emotionally. They didn't care about how deeply depressed and suicidal I was. All that mattered to them was that I remained in a marriage that was killing me, literally, and that I didn't break up the only semblance of a family they had ever known. It was all about them and not disturbing or changing their world or disrupting their life and no one thought about or even cared about what the marriage was doing to me. I had a cousin my age who died about a year ago. She told me something that changed my life and the decisions I made about my future. Before she died, she told me, "Joanne, I only surround myself with the people who love me. Not people who say they love me, but people who actually do and they treat you like they do". If you want to communicate to someone that you love them, stop doing things that hurt them and don't justify your behavior. The unspoken message you are communicating when you justify your behavior is "You have no reason to feel the way you do. I do not accept your feelings. I had a good reason for doing what I did and therefore will do it again. I don't care about you or your feelings. You are nothing in my sight. I don't value you. " If someone confronts you about something you are doing that bothers them, apologize and JUST STOP IT! Period, end of story! The bible says that where iniquity abounds, the love of many wax cold. The word "iniquity" translated from the original language in the bible means: "You've been told that this is wrong or hurtful and you continue to do it anyway". When you have been told by someone that you are doing something that is wrong or hurtful and you continue to do it anyway, regardless of how someone feels about it, you are practicing "iniquity" and there is nothing that will kill love faster in any relationship. The only way you will communicate to others that you care about them and love them is if you listen to them. If you listen, then you will also be listened to. I have always found, in my family, that people who so desperately want to be listened to, rarely listen. They want something from you that they will not give to you. They don't grasp the concept of reap and sow; If you listen, you will be listened to. That is how my mother is. A person cannot go through life being constantly negated and rejected by people who explain away their feelings. The feelings don't actually go away. They just get stuffed, never to be resolved. These negators believe they are fixing the problem, smoothing things over or throwing water on the fire. It really has the opposite effect. It is equivalent to throwing gasoline on the fire. They are trying to have you believe the best about them by explaining away your feelings and you go away feeling worse about them. It blows up in their face. I don't allow someone else to dictate or judge me on "how I "should" feel. Feelings are not right or wrong, they just are, and when someone tries to fix your feelings regarding their behavior, they are avoiding taking responsibility for their hurtful behavior. Fixing your feelings is also a form of control and it violates an emotional boundary. A controlling person would rather fix your feelings regarding their behavior, which is not their responsibility, instead of take responsibility for their behavior and change it.

Anger is caused by hurt. It is a secondary emotion, which means that you are hurt first, then you feel the anger as a result of being hurt. The degree to which you are angry is the degree to which you are hurt. Anger does not equal unforgiveness or bitterness and people will tell you that you are unforgiving or bitter in order to shut you up and keep you from expressing your anger. This is a form of shaming, also, and it is a form of controlling you from expressing your anger or hurt. If anger and hurt are not able to be expressed, it gets stored up in the person and results in depression, suicide, eating disorders, addictions, fibromyalgia etc. This is why I refuse to be in relationships with controlling people who deny and justify their behavior. The fruit of being in a relationship with them is depression, suicide, eating disorders, addictions and illness. If a person who has been hurt confronts the person who hurt them, and all they get is denial, justifying, rationalizing, minimizing, blaming, defending, etc. and they are shamed for their anger and the unspoken message they receive as a result of the person defending themselves is "You have no reason to feel the way you feel. I don't accept your feelings and I don't acknowledge your hurt. You have no reason to feel the way you do to the degree you do, etc." The hurt person's wounds never get acknowledged because the abuser won't acknowledge and confess it, and as a result, the victim or wounded person is not given the opportunity to heal and to have reconciliation take place in the relationship. If anger equals unforgiveness and is a sin, then Jesus was guilty of sin and can be called unforgiving. God himself has the attribute and emotion of anger. He created it in us to tell us that something is wrong and that we have hurts that need to be healed. I have had people tell me that I am bitter and unforgiving because I was angry. They were shaming me for being angry so that I would shut up and not confront them on their hurtful actions. The constant message is that there is something wrong with you for feeling something that you are not in control of. They told me that I should be like Jesus who spread His arms and said, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing" (shaming you). This is what Jesus showed me. Jesus was beaten and so badly wounded by His enemies that He almost didn't even live to get to Calvary to be crucified. He was dependent on God the Father to even get Him to the place to say. "Father, forgive them." The Father sent "Simon" who helped Him and bore His cross for Him and helped pick Him up in order to get Jesus to the place to even say, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." I need Simons in my life to lift me up and help me carry my burdens and hold my abuser accountable and help me get to the same place that Jesus did, but most people or Christians don't want to be bothered. All they have is judgment, not love or compassion. They want to fix or advise and add more insult to injury, rub salt into your wounds and shame you more, thus kicking you when you are down. Whatever happened to the scripture verse to Christians that say "Weep with those who weep. Bear one another's burdens and thus fulfill the law of Christ". They don't or won't just come along and love you, and help you lift your burdens. Do I love the abuser? Yes, I do and it is not based on his works or actions either. I believe that this is unconditional love. That doesn't mean I don't confront his behavior and sin, though. I love him in spite of his behavior. The other thing I want to point out is that it is easier to forgive someone who is ignorant of what they do. When someone has been given the truth for years and years and God has confirmed it for years and years in their life and they reject it continually and continue to live and do what they want to do, and they are not ignorant of what they are doing, BUT INSTEAD THEY KNOW WHAT THEY DO, it is much harder to forgive them or be reconciled to them, because they just don't care. In order to be reconciled to God, we must confess our sins and then we receive the forgiveness and grace. God requires that in our human relationships as well. There is a saying that goes, IF YOU DON'T ADMIT IT, YOU WON'T QUIT IT! That is scriptural. Where iniquity abounds, the love of many wax cold. Iniquity means "you ëhave been told something is wrong or hurtful and you do it anyway". No bigger love killer then this.

A depressed person is a severely wounded person who lives with an abuser who will not confess his sin. He is in denial. His denial states that he had a good reason to do what he did and given the same situation, he would do it again, and he does and this is what causes him to continue in his sin and this is what causes the feelings of hopeless, despair and depression in the victims of abuse. We have had two members of our family hospitalized for depression and suicide on several occasions. I've been hospitalized and my daughter has been hospitalized. Denial is the opposite of repentance. Repentance means to change your mind and turn back to God and His ways. Denial keeps you from seeing, admitting and repenting of your sins. Denial causes the hopelessness and despair in family members. Denial causes the anger from all the deep wounds to be stuffed. That anger turns to depression and results in addictions as well. You can't be emotionally abused and be emotionally healthy and not affected by it any more than you can be physically abused and not be physically affected by it. Your emotions are going to be wounded and hurting until you get to the point where you just can't take any more pain. That is when you become suicidal and it is at this point that lawyers, ministers, family members, neighbors and so on should take special precautions not to pile more burdens and wounds on the victim and abandon them because it could just be the straw that breaks the camels back, so to speak. It is time to be a burden lifter and listen, believe and be loving and caring, not wound the person more. They are already wounded to the degree that they cannot take any more pain. The abuser knows this and I believe that when he got a restraining order to have me thrown out of the house, that was his way of saying, "There, go do it. I don't have to kill you. All I have to do is put my foot on your back and give you one final shove when you are so hurt and you are sitting on the fence. This will shove you over the edge, and I know it will, that is why I am doing it. I can take away any guilt feelings I might have about it by saying that it was your choice and if you are going to do it there is nothing I can do." This is what I hear from the abuser all the time. What he fails to acknowledge is that he was the one who put you on the fence in the first place. It was what he did to you that put you there because of his hard hearted choices. He could do what is right according to the truth God has taught him and bring reconciliation and healing in our relationship, or he can be in denial and cause more harm, depression. etc. A person cannot heal if they are continually stabbed and wounded, even if they have the best surgeon around. If you physically hurt someone, you are legally held responsible and can go to jail. The person who is wounded is not at fault and they did not ask to be hurt and they cannot do anything about their condition apart from going to the doctor. The same holds true with emotional abuse. You can open up the door to the devil in other people's lives by how you treat them. We need to hold the emotional abuser accountable for the wounds he inflicts on others and what it causes in their life. They didn't ask to be stabbed emotionally and they can't do anything about their condition apart from going to a doctor. Many times they don't have the emotional strength to leave the abuser, because this, also, is painful and they are already at the point where they just cannot endure any more pain. Suicide seems to be the only relief from the pain at times because you know it will continue as long as you live with the abuser and divorcing is also too painful and the abuser continues to victimize you even more when you go through the "system" to divorce them. Now they use lawyers to help them abuse and gain control and intimidate. Women who are killed by their abusers are usually killed when they plan on leaving or have left. That is when the men become the meanest and are most dangerous because they are losing control. Divorce just means more abuse, worse abuse, possible death by your abuser, lawyers empowering and helping your abuser victimize you more in the ugliest, meanest ways possible, etc. How can anyone endure this who has been beaten down to a pulp emotionally, especially when they have been isolated from any form of support, which leads to the next section in the power and control wheel.

Using Isolation

Controlling what she does, who she sees and talks to, what she reads, where she goes, limiting her outside involvement, using jealousy to justify actions.

When the abuser has found out that I went to someone outside the family for help, like a pastor, bible study leader, etc., it has resulted in physical abuse. He has shoved me after finding out that I went to our bible study leader and his wife for help. The leader's wife had called me to find out what was going on and how I was doing. The abuser walked into the room as I was talking and he wanted to know what they called about. He kept badgering me and following me around and I told him that I went to them because of his abuse and that I made an appointment with the pastor as well. He shoved me hard up against the dresser and started choking me and said, "I'm going to go to them and tell them all kinds of things about you and they will never believe you." While I was being choked, I thought I was going to die. My sneaker was laying on the dresser and I reached over and grabbed my sneaker and slammed him on the side of the face as hard as I could, laying tread marks on his face. He was so shocked that he let go of me and I fled the house. That is when he tried to jump into the moving car in the garage. That is when I realized that that is what he did with the other pastor I went to before my daughter tried to take her life. He told the pastor all kinds of garbage about my daughter and me to discredit us and then he came home and told me all kinds of stuff about the pastor that the pastor had said about me, all bad of course (triangling - which is extremely dysfunctional). The abuser has told my neighbors, or anyone else that has heard even a small portion of what goes on in our family, that I am "unstable, or mental or unfaithful". Then he will come home to me with bad stories about the neighbors or anyone else that he suspects I might have talked to. This is to isolate the person from anyone who may give them emotional or any other form of support or strength. He is trying to stop his wife from having "Simons" help her. As long as she is isolated, he can control her, her thoughts, her actions, etc. He can continue to abuse and control her as long as she is limited and isolated. He will discredit her to people outside the home, as well, to maintain his power and control. After divorce papers were filed and the abuser was still living in the home, I would have a male come to the house with me in order for me to get things. If the abuser assumed that this was a male I was dating and that I had a romantic interest in, he would tell them that I paraded men through the house to discredit me in their eyes, hoping that they would no longer render help and support. He hoped that this would have a detrimental effect on a relationship he ASSUMED was a romantic one. This was a blatant lie and I had never had men in the house at all, as he was implying that I was a whore. In fact, one of the only two men who came to the house with me, for protection, was in law enforcement and the abuser had no idea what my relationship was to these protectors. The lies told to my male protectors were designed to isolate them from me so that I would not have their support. This type of isolation, earlier in the relationship, left me with no other choice but to go to a women's shelter with my children. All other support was cut off by the abuser's lies. We were left feeling hopeless, depressed, suicidal, abandoned by God and anyone else, and in deep despair. I live in a state far away from family and relatives and I had no one there for me.

In my relationship with the abuser, he hasn't wanted me to work. If I wanted to work, I was a terrible mother. The abuser told me to get rid of my books because he didn't like me reading and getting the truth. God's word says that He will set the oppressed free with truth. Jesus is the Truth and to reject the Truth God gives you in your life is to reject Jesus. About four years ago, the Lord showed me that someone only has as much control over you as you give him. So who really has the control? That was when I stopped giving the abuser control over me, especially in regards to who I was as a person in what I thought, wanted, felt, etc. I didn't let him tell me who to be anymore and I started to become who God created me to be - Joanne - and not a clone of the abuser. The abuser didn't like this because it meant that he could no longer exercise control over me and oppress me because I had the Truth that set me free. That's why he wanted me to throw away my books.

When I finally did start to work outside the house, the abuser would call me at work frequently. He would come to my place of employment and put his hands on me whenever a male would walk by. I felt like a piece of territory or property that a dog was marking, to claim that it was his. The abuser did this because he was insecure and he was trying to get me fired. When I married the abuser, I had to quit my job and move two hours away from family and friends. I was not allowed to work or have access to money. I had to ask him for money if I needed to buy groceries or something else. In order for me to go back into the workforce, I had to have the abuser enter abuse counseling and we went to marriage counseling at the same time. The marriage counselor and abuse counselor talked to each other so that the abuser couldn't con anyone and this was the only "safe" way for me to enter the workforce and gain some financial independence and have some money of my own. Abusers want you dependant on them so that you do not leave them and they are very threatened by you earning your own money and working outside the home. The marriage counselor called me at work several times a week to make sure I was not being physically abused during the process. If physical abuse took place, then the abuser would end up going to jail and probably lose his job.

We have lived in Minnesota for almost 16 years and we don't have any friends. We have lost the friends we did have and we have had to leave churches and fellowships so often. I am quite isolated as well because we have moved around the country a great deal because of the abuser's job and I don't have any form of family around. I really am quite isolated and don't have any form of support or anyone to go to, that I haven't been called "mental, unfaithful or unstable" or some equivalent, in order to discredit anything I would say. Needless to say, nobody wants to befriend a "mental" now do they? All these techniques isolate the woman and family so that the man can maintain his power and control over her, and he will use these other people to do it - neighbors, family members, ministers, lawyers, etc. The abuser has often told people that he has tried for 10, 15 or how many years to keep our marriage together. He gets people to feel sorry for him and goes on about his suffering living with an "adulterous, unfaithful, unstable, mental (add whatever label or name he feels will gain him sympathy or support)" Anything he can say to others to discredit you and isolate you from them, all of which are lies, he will do. Unfortunately, he has also done this to my kids, now, and they will not even read or study anything to learn the truth. They'd rather be in denial than believe the truth. My family has always been all about denial. I am the bad and evil one and they believe the con artist and brain washer, even though I have all the documentation and counselor's notes and letters stating that abuse took place and what type of person the abuser is. In the end, they will eventually know the truth and I have faith in God that He will lead them to the Truth and bring them to a place where they are ready to hear it and know it. I have talked to other woman with adult children, who have left their abusive exes and they all have the same story to tell.

Minimizing, Denying and Blaming

Making light of the abuse and not taking her concerns about it seriously, saying the abuse didn't happen, shifting responsibility for abusive behavior, saying she caused it, provoked it, etc.

Minimizing, denying, blaming, rationalizing, justifying, explaining, giving your intent, are all forms of denial. This is used so that the abuser does not have to look at or accept responsibility for his behavior and how it affects others. It actually gives him permission to continue his controlling, hurtful behavior. It is a defending technique and the abuser is all about self defense. He has been involved in karate since he was 15 or 16 years old up until he was 30 years old. He is a third degree black belt in karate and he is drenched in self defense. Talk about a mental stronghold!!! Many of his relational/emotional techniques are block/blow techniques. He will block the incoming confrontation about his hurtful behavior with rationalizing, justifying, explaining, etc. and then deliver a shaming accusatory blow to you to put you down to take the focus off himself. He would rather change your feelings about his behavior then accept responsibility for his behavior. An abuser believes he is well-intentioned many times and has the interest of the victim at heart and wants the best for them. The end justifies the means. He will cross lines and boundaries in order to "help or fix" his loved ones because he knows what is best for them and he doesn't respect their identity and boundaries. He looks down upon them and their abilities and he places himself above them. They are incapable, unable, not as smart as, etc. so he must help them. This is why he gives his intentions to justify his behavior and this is why he doesn't see his behavior as abusive. He "loves" his family and is doing what is best for them. The abuser gives his "good, loving" intentions most of the time when he is confronted with his abusive behavior. Because he does things out of "love", he doesn't see it as hurtful and abusive. He does not accept your feelings of hurt because he is "well intentioned" and therefore you have no reason to feel the way you do. The abuser molested my daughter because he loved her and wanted her to allow us to intervene in a situation at school and he couldn't do that if she tuned him out and wouldn't listen. An abusive person's love really amounts to fear and because they are afraid of the outcome of a situation, they try to control it and they will violate physical, emotional, mental, and sexual boundaries in order to do this.

A boundary is an invisible line that determines where one person stops and another person begins. We see boundaries with our neighbors. There is a line where our property stops and theirs begins. The same is true with countries, personal body space, etc. There are also emotional and psychological boundaries as well. This is a line that determines where one person stops and the other begins. To cross a boundary against another person's will constitutes abuse and this is why Jesus said, "If your brother trespasses against you, rebuke him. How do you know if you have been trespassed against if you don't even know where the boundary or line is? Jesus observes our boundaries and expects us to observe and respect others. Abusive, controlling people do not respect, observe and know about boundaries. They want to tell you what to think, what to feel, what to want, who to be, what to look like, smell like and they want to determine who you are and what your identity is. You loose your identity when living with an abusive, controlling, shamer. I know that I did for most of my life. I let other people tell me what to think, feel, want , look like and so on. I let other people determine who I was so that I could be loved and accepted. Problem is, with these people, you never feel loved or accepted. Nothing you do is ever good enough. They never see or acknowledge anything good you've done or any accomplishments you have made. They are quick to point out your faults, failures, shortcomings and things you don't do as well as they do. They are quick to help you or fix you and inform you that there is something wrong with you and that you don't measure up. They do not accept your feelings, wants, needs or thoughts. They rationalize them away, like they don't exist, and in their mind they don't because you don't have a good reason to feel, want, need or think the things you do. Feelings are not right or wrong. To label a feeling as wrong is judging and nobody has any right to tell or determine what another person should feel, need, want, etc. To do so is crossing an emotional boundary and it is emotional abuse. We have no right to tell another how something should be that belongs to them. This is like telling your neighbor how their lawn, home or children should be. Their property is not ours to determine how it should be. To do so is crossing a line or a boundary. It is violating the other person's property either physically, emotionally, psychologically, or sexually. To touch something that is not yours to touch without the other person's permission is called abuse. We can touch it with our hands, a weapon, our words, actions, etc. The part that makes up you as an individual is: your feelings, wants, needs, thoughts, appearance, etc. To not accept these things is to not accept you. A person is not what they do. Who a person is comes from their wants, needs, desires, thoughts, feelings, etc. This is what makes you who you are and this is what makes you an individual. Controllers use the same brainwashing techniques on their families as they do on prisoners of war or that they do in cults. They explain away or rationalize away your feelings, needs, wants, thoughts and so on. They don't accept them. They try to fix and change them and then shame you for them if their attempts to rationalize and convince you fail. In negating your feelings, needs, thoughts, wants, etc., they are negating you and not accepting you as a person. They put you down for not feeling, thinking, needing or wanting the same things they do or for not being like them. You loose your identity and become a clone of them. The problem is that just because they explain away your feelings, doesn't make your feelings go away. You just deny and repress your feelings, needs, wants, thoughts, etc. You become numb, emotionally frozen and dead inside, which is the kind of mother my kids had for a number of years, or you get angry and start setting boundaries with abusive, controlling, boundary bashing people.

During the Iraq/Kuwait war, I kept praying and asking God why it was that people thought they could do this. What makes people think that they can invade the boundary or border of another and think that was o.k. I had learned about boundaries in relationships and I had tried to establish boundaries in my relationships with controlling people, only to be physically abused and shamed all the more because they couldn't control and manipulate me anymore the way they were used to. The more control a controller loses, the more insecure and angry he becomes. Anyway, I had just prayed this prayer or asked this question of God one day in frustration. I turned on CNN News and they were covering the Iraq/Kuwait war. Saddam was invading the physical boundary and border of a neighbor in an effort to take over. In the news, they were interviewing Iraqis and asking them why they thought they could take over Kuwait. Each Iraqi had the same answer, "Because Kuwait belongs to us." What causes someone to border bash or cross boundaries of another person is because they believe they own them. It is a matter of possession and ownership. You are a thing, not a person. What you want and need do not count. God answered my questions within ten minutes after I prayed it. The attitude is the same. This is why abusers and controllers don't necessarily do it to others outside their family. They do it to those "they own" or those "within their possession" or control. You amount to their property. They refer to you as "my wife", "my family" and so on and they do not mention your name because giving you a name individualizes and personalizes you.

Anyway, back to denial, through blaming, minimizing, rationalizing, explaining, etc. There is a saying that goes, "If you don't admit it, you won't quit it." This is also scriptural. Until you acknowledge and accept responsibility for your behavior and what it causes in others and in your relationships, your behavior won't change. As long as you have a good reason for doing what you did, and you are deceived enough to believe that because your intention was good, the behavior and results of it couldn't be bad, and as long as you are deceived enough to believe that someone else caused you to behave the way you do because they "provoked it", then you will never change. The abuser's lawyer told him that I provoked him to be physically violent, and shove me and choke me. Tell me, what is a good reason to physically abuse your wife? I had gone to a bible study leader about what was going on in our home. I wanted a male Christian to hold the abuser accountable and step in because the abuser wasn't changing, he was only getting worse. The bible study leader's wife called to see how I was doing. The abuser walked into the room as I was talking to her. After I hung up, he wanted to know why she called and what we were talking about. After being verbally badgered, I told him. He exploded and started saying how he would go to them and the pastor and tell them all kinds of stuff about me so that I would not be believed. This is an "Isolation" technique that we talked about earlier. This cuts the woman off from any support, emotionally or otherwise, that she could receive. As long as she is isolated, he can continue to control. If she receives help, support and the things she needs, he loses control and now is accountable to others. Anyway, when the abuser told me that he was going to do this, again, to us, I started yelling at him. Then he started the shoving and he began choking me. He said he felt "betrayed". He goes and tells people that we are "unstable, mental" and so on and so forth and he is the one who feels "betrayed". I'm suppose to worry about him feeling "betrayed" because I'm going to someone outside the family for help so that an end can be put to all this control and abuse because he will not accept responsibility for his behavior and what it causes. The abuser tries to change your feelings and thoughts regarding his behavior. That way he doesn't have to change and accept responsibility for what he does.

The abuser has a good excuse, explanation, reason or whatever for everything he is confronted on. If he looks at another woman, it is my fault because I would not make eye contact with him, or he wasn't looking at her with the "intent" to lust and so on and so on. The abuser is a womanizer. He will look or follow woman or young girls in our presence, no matter how much I have asked him not to. It has cost him physical intimacy with me because I won't be intimate with someone who has so little regard for me, our marriage or my feelings. After years of this with me expressing how much it bothered me, the last time the abuser stared at a woman, I told him "I hope she is worth it because that is the closest you'll ever get to sex again from now on" and I have kept my word. A Christian counselor told me that I should openly embarrass the abuser in front of the women he stared at to get him to stop because the abuser was the kind of person who would not change until he started to hurt and he had to start hurting badly enough before he would ever change. This counselor told me this in front of the abuser and gave me examples of ways to embarrass him. Women are not people, but things to him. He has no respect for women and when women are promoted into positions at work that he interviewed for, he never believes that it is for their abilities or talents. He believes that there is some other political or sexual motive for why the woman was promoted into the position he deserved more. Woman are inferior or not as good as men. It has always been my fault that the abuser does what he does. If he tries to jump into my car while it is moving and he gets thrown up against the garage wall, it is my fault. If he becomes physically abusive, it is my fault because I provoked him. Everything is always someone else's fault and it appears that everyone else has the power to control the abuser and that he has no self control. A person with no self control trying to control others is what it amounts to.

There are several scriptures that deal with denial:

Some men love darkness rather than light and will not come to the light that their deeds can be reproved that they were wrought in darkness.

Light and Truth expose darkness, or hold the mirror up to someone's behavior. A person who explains, rationalizes, justifies, minimizes, gives his intent and so on do not want to see the truth and they want to remain in their deceived state of darkness. They would rather smash the mirror, than see their true reflection.

A man who covers his sin will not prosper. How does a man cover or hide his sin? Through denial, explaining, minimizing, rationalizing, giving his intent, blaming, etc.

Denial, explaining, rationalizing, minimizing, giving intent, blaming, etc. all keep us in darkness and keep us from seeing reality.

Another scripture: Whoa to them who call evil, good.

How do we call evil, good. By having a good explanation, rationalization, intent for what we did.

Want to know why Jesus never defended Himself? It crosses an emotional boundary and equals abuse. You can never resolve anything or be reconciled to anyone, even God, if you defend yourself by denying your behavior, give explanations for your behavior, rationalize your behavior, minimize your behavior, give your good intentions or blame someone else. When you defend yourself using these techniques or even have a defensive attitude, you are closed to anything that anyone else has to say. You are intent on being heard and "understood" and you are not open minded or willing to hear and understand. You are protecting yourself and your heart at someone else's expense. Jesus never did anything for Himself at anyone else's expense. Example: A boy scout is standing on a street corner waiting for someone to help. He spies a little old lady and assumes that she wants to cross the street to wait at the bus stop. He runs up to her to escort her across the street and she protests saying that she didn't want to catch the bus. The boy scout drags her across the street while she protests and the bus hits the old woman, critically injuring her. As she lies in the street bleeding, the boy scout leans over her explaining and giving his intent. Who is this boy scout thinking of? Himself! He is focused on himself and what the old woman might be thinking about him rather than getting her emergency care. How would this sound at this time to that old woman? Selfish and stupid? Worse? You bet! When a person explains, rationalizes, justifies and gives their intent, they are focused on themselves and what you are thinking of them, not on other people and relieving their pain. They are all about themselves. To defend yourself means that you negate someone else's feelings and abuse them emotionally. Even when others were wrong and Jesus was right and He, of all people, could have justifiably defended Himself, He chose not to out of love for other people. He was focused on them and their needs and not His own, even when His very life was threatened. The word "betray" in the bible means to protect yourself at someone else's expense. When we defend ourselves, that is what we are doing. We are more concerned with ourselves and our own needs, than we are about someone else's and walking in love toward them. We sure won't be listening to them with an open heart seeking resolution and reconciliation. The bible says that in end times mother will betray daughter and sons will betray fathers. People will be seeking to protect themselves and their own interests and hearts at the expense of others, especially other family members, in end times. I sure see that today. That is why Jesus never defended Himself. He trusted the Father to vindicate Him and I have that same faith and trust in My Father to vindicate me as well. If He knew He was wrongly accused, then He believed that God the Father would vindicate Him. Because He believed this, He didn't have to vindicate Himself by defending. A person who truly believes in his heart that God will vindicate him, doesn't vindicate himself by defending. What a person does, says what they believe in their heart, even though they may say the opposite with their mouth. The abuser says all kinds of things, but his actions do not line up with his words. If you believe that someone is capable of doing something or handling something themselves because they are capable (like the abuser says) then you don't keep trying to fix, help, control and do things for them. If a person truly believes something in their heart, their actions will line up. If they don't, there is deception within that person. You have a deceived person on your hands. Many people claim to be Christians and say that they believe in their heart, yet their actions don't line up and result in obedience and works. That is why James says: "Can such a faith save you?" Basically, James is saying that you are deceived. That is not saving faith. To these kinds of people Jesus says, "Why do you call me Lord, Lord and do not the things that I say." Basically, this is a person who is deceived and he calls Jesus, Lord and Savior, when Jesus does not have Lordship over his life,

ABOUT DENIAL, BLAMING, RATIONALIZING, EXPLAINING, MINIMIZING, GIVING INTENT, ETC. (It is a short term fix, to meet your immediate needs, that leads to long term destruction)

In the book "Changes That Heal" by Dr. Henry Cloud, he talks about how denial comes from a person having an "Ideal Self". This is an image they have of themselves as they would ideally be. This is a fantasy. It is not reality. A person sees himself as being a certain way and when you confront him with reality, the denial comes and you get all the defending, denial, explaining, justifying, minimizing, good intents, etc. If you confront a person who has this ideal image of themselves, and, if what you confront them with doesn't line up with their false, but ideal, image of themselves which they perceive as real because they are deceived, then they don't accept what you confront them with because it "doesn't fit". "It isn't me, so you must be wrong." They don't see themselves as the person who would do what you just confronted them with. Their actions don't line up with their words and when you point out the discrepancies, you get the denial.

Jesus exposed the discrepancies as He ministered to deceived people to bring them to salvation and into the truth. They were deceived and thought they were already there. These people thought they were something they were not and they truly believed what they thought and they would have passed a lie detector test. That is why the bible says that our hearts are wicked and deceitful above all things. We are blind to what is truly in our hearts and we need our hearts exposed to us and searched out and Jesus did this, does this and will continue to do this. The people who love darkness rather than light, won't like it when their hearts or true motives are exposed. They will try to remain in the darkness through their defending and denial. They want to continue to believe the false ideal of themselves than to see themselves and their actions in light of reality and truth. Example:

The story of the rich young ruler: This rich young ruler had heard Jesus preach and watched Him perform miracles. He comes to Jesus one day and said, "Good master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus replied, "Why do you call me good. There is none good but God." What was Jesus saying? He was saying that you just called me good and there is none good but God as the bible states, so you just acknowledged that I was God. Then Jesus replied, "What does the word of God say?" The rich young ruler replied, "To love God with all your heart, mind and soul, and to love your neighbor as yourself." Jesus said, "Well you have said." The rich young ruler replied, "I have done that from my youth. What lackest I?" Jesus said, "Sell everything that you own, give it to the poor and follow me." The rich young ruler went away sad. What just happened here? This rich young ruler had an image of himself that was an ideal image. Unfortunately, it wasn't reality. He saw himself as loving God with his whole heart, mind and soul and his neighbor as himself and he thought he had been doing that from his youth. Jesus pointed out to him the reality and condition of his heart by giving him something to do. Basically, what Jesus was saying was, "If that is true that you love God with your whole heart, mind and soul, and you just acknowledged that I was God by calling me good and by realizing that I have the ability to give eternal life, and you truly love your neighbor as yourself, then you will be able to sell everything you have and give it to the poor. This would prove that you love your neighbor as yourself. The second command Jesus gave him showed that he didn't love God with his whole heart, mind and soul, because if he did, he would be able to follow Jesus and give up everything for him. Jesus confronted this man's ideal self with the real self because Jesus knew the condition of the man's heart and ours as well.

When I have done this to the abuser, then he complains that I am trying to tell him what he feels and he has told counselors that. It is not that I am trying to tell him what he feels, I am just pointing up the discrepancies between his image of himself and reality. It goes like this....... "Well if that is true, then do this or that...." and he can't seem to do it and it ruins his ideal image he has of himself and the abuser goes away mad and sad like the rich young ruler, only he blames me and says I am trying to tell him how he feels instead of taking a look at reality. Next thing you know, we have a counselor approaching our counseling sessions as if I am the one trying to tell the abuser how he feels, because this is how the abuser views this when I do this. It is the same thing Jesus did in order to bring the person to face reality, their sin and their condition in order to accept Jesus. Now the whole counseling session is getting off track because the counselor thinks I'm the one telling the abuser how he feels, and I am the one who is controlling and the counselor has been conned. It is not that. I am just not buying the phony, false image he has of himself. I see what he does and how it doesn't line up with what he says. I am going to hold up the mirror to him every time and I am not going to allow him to stay in his deception and believe that he is something he is not. If you will read your bible, you will see where Jesus did this repeatedly to people who thought more of themselves then they ought.

Bottom line: The ideal self is the one we wish to be and the real self is the one we truly are. The real self is not ideal. Some people value the ideal self more than the real. The problem with the ideal self is that it is a fantasy and people who believe the fantasy are people who are deceived and they need other people from the outside to point out the discrepancies in what they believe and what they do.

(Excerpts from Changes That Heal by Dr. Henry Cloud)

"The inherent problem in the relationship between the ideal and the real is that the ideal judges the real as unacceptable and brings down condemnation and wrath on the real (and anyone who points out the real). This sets up an adversarial relationship between the two, and like all adversaries, they move further and further apart. The further apart the real is from the ideal, the greater the deception and the more the person lives in a fantasy.

An important aspect of the relationship between the ideal and the real is its emotional tone. If we adopt a judgmental tone, one of condemnation and wrath toward what is real, then we have a divided house. Our ideals will judge and condemn our real self into nonexistence. We will use shame, guilt, hiding, denial, splitting, and other defenses to hide the real self. Whatever we do not accept in grace will be under judgment and condemnation, and we will hide it behind a psychological fig leaf".

Bottom line: Where there is defending, denial, blaming, minimizing, rationalizing, explaining, etc. there is deception. If a person does this continually, there is a major problem and that person lives in a fantasy world, not one of reality. This is a person that loves darkness rather than light and will not come to the light so that their deeds can be reproved, that they were wrought in darkness. This is where condemnation comes from. These are the people who are condemned and hell bound. This is a serious thing. This is a person who will betray his closest family members to protect himself and his own best interests. This is a person who calls evil, good and says that there is nothing wrong with what he did because.........

This is a person who will never admit that he has a problem, that he lives in a phony, fantasy world, yet he has the nerve to tells others that his family members are "unstable or mental" when he, himself, doesn't have a grip on reality.

A condition that needs to be met in order for a person to be saved and forgiven their sins is one of repentance and confession. The word "repent" means to change your mind about what you are doing and see it as God sees it and call it sin and go God's way and turn back toward God. Denial is the opposite of repentance. Denial and defending keep you from changing your mind about your behavior and it keeps you in your sin and darkness. It blocks you from receiving any grace, forgiveness and reconciliation, both from God and the person you are in a relationship with.

Judas was a manipulator and controller, not to mention a thief. Judas was a zealot. The zealots were rebel groups of people who wanted to overthrow the Roman rule over the Jews. The Jews believed that the Messiah would overthrow the Roman rule and return the kingdom to Israel and the Messiah would rule and reign from there. The disciples believed that Jesus would do this as well. One reason Judas joined Jesus as one of the disciples was because of this belief. When Jesus wasn't doing things the way Judas thought they should be done, then Judas thought he could force or manipulate the situation for everyone's good and best interest. You see, Judas was well intentioned. Jesus wasn't just taking over and ruling and reigning the kingdom and overthrowing the Roman Empire as he wanted and thought he would. Judas thought that if he could force Jesus' hand and get them to take Him into captivity and force a confrontation between Jesus and the rulers, Jesus would have to fight then, and surely, being the Messiah, he would win and overthrow the Roman Empire and the oppression of the Jews would end as the scriptures had promised. Judas thought he was helping God fulfill the scriptures differently than the way he really ended up helping God fulfill the scriptures. He thought he would help God move in and obtain His rule and reign over Israel and set up His kingdom while overthrowing the Roman oppressors. Well intentioned Judas didn't think that Jesus was doing things the way that he should. Judas thought he knew best how and when things should be done, so he tried to control and manipulate the situation to get what he thought would be best for himself, the Jews and the everyone concerned. In taking matters into his own hands because he thought he knew what was best and Jesus wasn't doing what he thought Jesus should, he tried to force Jesus into a situation that would cause Him to fight and set up His kingdom in Israel, thus freeing the Jews, and in the meantime, earn a little pocket money in the process. He thought he knew what was best. When Jesus was being crucified, and it didn't go down like Judas planned, then poor, deceived Judas went and hung himself. The bible says that Satan was behind all this and it was Satan who had entered Judas. Just because a person is well intentioned, doesn't mean that Satan won't use that. Satan is behind all deception and darkness, manipulation and control. Manipulative, controlling people, even though well-intentioned, will betray you and God Himself.

What are the effects of living with someone who will not accept responsibility for his behavior and keeps making excuses for it? It leaves his family with hopelessness and despair and feeling that things will never change. It leads to repressed anger and emotions that turn to depression, addictions and suicide in family members that live with an abusive controller. It hurts and affects them physically, emotionally, spiritually and psychologically. It ruins and affects the victims relationship with God because they feel abandoned by God and His people because God doesn't step in to do anything and so called Christians turn their back on you or make things worse by telling you that God will not permit you to divorce this man, or that if the wife and kids would just obey and submit, there wouldn't be a problem. They don't know the same God I know.

Jesus never placed the rule above the needs of the people. That is why he was persecuted by the legalistic, law worshipping religious people. These people kept the letter of the law and missed the spirit of it. I had a pastor tell me that God would not permit me to divorce the abuser because "God hates divorce". When I read the scripture in Malachi which states that God hates divorce, it is talking about domestic abuse. God is rebuking the church leaders and the men for the way they oppressed their wives and because they dealt with their wives treacherously. God was speaking to the husbands and religious leaders and calling them to accountability. God said that he hated the violence done to the wives and the fact that they covered the violence with their garments, and that they went to worship the Lord like everything was great and wonderful and they thought their relationship with God was great and wonderful. God was severely angry because these men were oppressing, controlling and abusing their wives and going into the house of the Lord like nothing was wrong. Then the Lord calls these men to repentance, and he finishes it off by saying "I hate divorce". What was God's point in saying that he hated divorce? What God was saying was that He hated the consequence of the sin of abusing, oppressing, and controlling their wives. The men would come into the house of the Lord to worship like nothing was wrong, and nobody was doing anything about it and calling these men into accountability. The consequence of abusing your wife, controlling and oppressing her is divorce and God permits and prefers divorce over what you are doing. Divorce, in this situation, is the consequence and provision permitted by God for the safety and protection of the woman and children. Divorce hurts and God hates it, but God permits it and allows it because God hates violence, oppression, abuse, and acting like nothing is wrong with it when coming into the house of the Lord to worship even more, so the Lord was calling them to repentance so that they would not have to go through the consequence of divorce or suffer God's judgment. Most pastors quote the verse about God hating divorce in order to control or keep people from divorcing and they miss the whole point that God was trying to make.

More people need to read their bibles asking themselves this question, "What is God's point"? I'll give you a scripture verse and show you several ways people can read it.

People were questioning Jesus about divorce. The Jewish people were divorcing their wives for every cause. If the woman didn't make the man's breakfast just right, she was given a writ of divorcement and put out on the street with absolutely nothing. She could not remarry, get a job or anything. To a woman, this was equivalent to a death sentence and many women did die as a result. That was why the Jewish women started to take the dowry money and make it a part of their wedding veil or headpiece. That way if the man put them out or divorced them for any cause, they had their veil and the money in it to live off of. This is why God permitted divorce through Moses. It was because of the hardness of the men's hearts. The divorce procedure that Moses put together said that the woman were allowed to remarry and that if the man was going to divorce them, he had to provide them with a home and everything they need. They were free to work, remarry and go about their life again. This was the provision God permitted through Moses because of the hardness of the men's hearts. It was not God's perfect will, but it was His permissive will. Billy Graham states that alimony or spousal support is the price a man pays for dealing with his wife treacherously.

Anyway, there were two schools of thought in Jesus' day. One said that a man could put away (divorce) his wife for any cause. Another said that he could only divorce his wife for adultery. They asked Jesus which it was. Jesus replied that a man cannot put away his wife, except for fornication or adultery. Then he went on to say that if a man marries a woman who has been divorced, then he is guilty of adultery as well. What was Jesus' point? The point Jesus was trying to make was that most of the Jewish society was like our society today. Just about everybody is or has been divorced and remarried and therefore guilty of adultery. It was a major problem in their society just as it is today. What Jesus was trying to get them to see was that they were all in sin and in need of a savior and they were no different than anyone else! They were trying to justify their sin or divorce and trap Jesus in His words. He was trying to bring them to salvation by posing their sin AS GOD SEES IT.

The abuser has used this scripture to blame me for the problems in our marriage. He said that we had all this trouble because he married a divorced woman. That way he didn't have to look at himself or his behavior. He had something else to blame it on. He forgot the scripture verse that says if a man marries a woman who has been divorced, he is guilty of adultery as well.

A legalistic person would read and hear that scripture as: "Whatever you do, don't marry a divorced person or you are guilty of adultery." For those people, Jesus goes on to say, "and if you even look at a woman and lust, you have an adulterous heart." Adultery is not just an act, it is a heart condition. Just because you don't perform the act, doesn't mean your heart isn't adulterous. Jesus pretty much posed the heart conditions of those who thought more of themselves then they ought because they kept the rule. He showed them that none of them were free of adultery or an adulterous heart in order to bring them to repentance because they could not or would not see their sin or heart condition, and they all had the same heart condition, which many self righteous people refused to look at or accept.

Read your bible by asking yourself, "What is the point"?

My own adult children cannot deal with reality. They choose to be blissfully ignorant of things in life, pretending things are fine, when everything points to the fact that they are not. That is why they were so shocked at the divorce. My daughter dated a guy close to my age. He had a lot of money, a huge home on the lake, investment properties, etc. He told my daughter from the beginning that he would never marry. My daughter was convinced that she could persuade him otherwise. He only dated my daughter during the week and he was frequently away on weekends or out with the boys. He never took her to his family functions and all the signs pointed to the fact that he was seeing other women, as well. He was totally honest with my daughter and never led her on. After a year of dating this man, she felt that the relationship was not "progressing" the way she would like. I kept trying to tell her that he was not going to marry her and he probably was seeing other women. She pressured him more and more about marriage and he stopped seeing her completely and they later resumed seeing each other. She still had it in her mind that they were going to get married and he would come around, until she walked in on him having sex with another woman. He kept telling her, I kept telling her, all the signs were there and she refused to see them. She was so hurt and so shocked that she slit her wrists. My family is all about denial and not seeing the truth, facing reality or the facts until they hit you in the face and you have no choice but to see them. Then they are so totally devastated and shocked. I don't get this. I would rather know about something and deal with it, than pretend a problem doesn't exist.

Using Children

Making her feel guilty about the children, using the children to relay messages, using visitation to harass her, threatening to take the children away, brain washing the adult children and denying that abuse ever took place.

Most of this consists of how a controlling abuser continues to victimize the woman after separation or divorce.

The abuser used to control me by making me feel guilty about the kids. I couldn't work because it was horrible for the kids. I would be a terrible, selfish mother. Anything else he didn't want me to do because he was insecure, he would come up with some excuse as to why it was bad for the kids and why I shouldn't do it.

I can't talk about my feelings, hurts or anger in front of the kids. He really wants me to shut up and this is his way of silencing me.

One day, I was depressed and just wanted to be left alone. The last thing I wanted was to talk to the abuser because he would just shame me for my feelings and try to fix them and negate them in order to make my negative feelings go away. I tried to avoid him. All I wanted to do was to be left alone to think and pray. I have learned not to open you mouth if you don't want to get hurt and a depressed person is a hurting person and they don't want to be hurt anymore, so I wasn't going to talk to the abuser about anything this particular night. The abuser saw how depressed I was and he kept following me around asking me what was wrong. I kept setting a boundary by asking him to leave me alone. I just wanted to be left alone. If the abuser doesn't know what you are thinking, He can't fix it, so he gets real afraid and upset if you don't talk, so he follows you around and badgers you in order to get you to spill the beans. That is what he was doing. The more I insisted that he just leave me alone and let me think and pray, the more insistent he got that I talk. Finally, he gets all upset and starts saying how I was going to kill myself and how I was going to make this big mess in the house. He is saying this in front of the kids, too! I never said anything about taking my life and I wasn't planning it either. I just wanted to be left alone. He got the kids all upset and afraid because he is all upset and afraid, because that is what he is thinking and he needed to control the situation. I had no intention of taking my life. I had every intention of guarding my heart so that I would not be wounded though and he viewed my silence as a suicide contemplation. He starts getting everyone all upset because he was telling everyone that I was going to kill myself and make a big mess in the house and he was going to take the kids and leave that night so that they wouldn't be harmed by seeing the mess. And this man says that I am the one who harms my children. He doesn't see his behavior as harmful or cruel to anyone, because he is trying to protect and help. He is oblivious to the effects that this had on everyone that night. This ended in physical violence as well. A paranoid schizophrenic does this kind of stuff. They have a fear and that fear takes on a life of itself and they follow that fear in their mind to its logical conclusion, and they try to take control of a situation that doesn't even exist, but in their mind it is real. What do you think that does to children to be told that their mother is going to take her life that night and make a big mess all over the house and that they must leave, now! How sick is that!

The abuser is afraid of his own emotions and other people's emotions if they are negative. He believes that some emotions are bad and you are a bad person if you have a "bad" or negative emotion. He thinks that if you feel something, then you will act upon it. That is the way the abuser is - controlled by his emotions. He thinks everyone else is the same way. A person can be depressed, sad or angry and not choose to do anything about it. Some people are comfortable with their emotions and accept them and don't label them as right or wrong, because they are not. It doesn't mean that you have to act upon them, though.

Now that I have divorced the abuser, he has brain washed my adult children into thinking that abuse never took place. They do not understand that abuse is a dynamic of control and manipulation and not one of the husband always being physically abusive to the wife. Any physical abuse that happened in our home never happened in front of the kids and because of that, they now believe that I have lied about it, even though I have everything documented as proof, in the event anything is needed in court. My adult children are in denial and believe their charming father who lies about me to isolate me from my children and gain support for himself. He is so needy when it comes to people liking him and thinking the best of him, and just like I used to be brainwashed by this charmer, so are my adult children. God will vindicate me, though. I have faith in Him to do that. This is a way of punishing me, isolating me and using the kids to do it. How very sad for the children who are so blind, as I once was, and who are in such denial that they won't read any documentation. They don't get it because they don't want to right now. It is less painful for them to believe the lies than to believe the things that took place in the 21 years their parents were married. The abuser still communicates to me that the kids believe this and that about me, all bad, in order to punish me. He refers to them as "my family" because they are a possession and he is driving home the point that I am isolated from them and they are in his control because they are dependant on him. I am sure they are being told things about me, as well, in order to isolate me from them. How abusive and sad it is to use children of any age to punish a spouse. I believe this is sick and this is the reason that some states make parents take classes on what a divorce does to children, especially when they are used as weapons to punish the spouse. It is the kids that loose. I will keep all the documentation that I have when the kids want to know the truth and when they want to stop being used and manipulated. Maybe some day they will realize that it must have been pretty bad for their mother to be so depressed that she would rather die than live another day married to their father. It must not have been "made up lies" if their mother was hospitalized with "Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome" and depression that was off the charts. They have been convinced by their father that I have made it all up and they won't look at any of the documentation. Unfortunately, my kids never cared about my pain or my feelings. My feelings were always openly negated in front of them, so I guess, to them, I never had any or they didn't matter. I was always treated disrespectfully in front of the kids as they grew up, so they never respected me. Because I was treated as one of the kids by my ex, my daughter always felt and acted like she were my equal. This came up in counseling several times. They were only concerned with themselves, their feelings and what they wanted or needed. I have always been invisible to everyone most of my life, even my parents. Rationalize my feelings and pain away and they don't exist in their eyes. My parents, ex and kids have never cared about me or how I might be feelings or how much I might be hurting. My kids will treat their spouses and their kids the same way. My daughter already is with her daughter. In order to punish me, my daughter has told me that I will never see my granddaughter again. I cut the cord when my granddaughter was born and I practically raised her until age four, when they moved out as a result of the divorce. My granddaughter called me "mommy" because her mother was rarely there. My daughter is a single mother and my granddaughter has never known her father and they have lived with me since birth, practically. My granddaughter and I have a really close bond and she has been told that she can never come back to my house and see me. She has never been able to say good bye or grieve the loss of the relationship which was a primary one in her life. My daughter used to say that everything was about her daughter and she just wanted to be the best parent in the world to her. She used to say this, but she has never lived it and this is a prime example of putting yourself and your anger and need to punish someone else over what is best for your child. It is tragic for the child and sick for my daughter to do. I am absolutely sure she has rationalized this in her mind so that she can sleep at night. Even when I didn't have a relationship with my parents, I still allowed my kids to see them and have a relationship with them. They were allowed to call them, write and I even paid for airline tickets so that they could visit them. My daughter has learned well from my ex and using the kids as weapons is a prime example of this form of abusive technique. The sins of the forefathers have been visited upon my children. Oh God how I wish I had gotten out years before when they were young. Oh God, how I wish I had the support years ago to have gotten out of the marriage so that these dynamics were not passed down to my kids, who will do them and pass them down to theirs. Their own marriages and relationships are doomed as long as they are not willing to come out of their denial, learn new, healthy ways of relating and change.

Using Male Privilege

Treating her like a servant, making all the big decisions, acting like the "master of the castle", being the one to define men's and women's roles.

Putting yourself above her and treating her like a child. This is the way the abuser has treated me. If I said that I was going to do something and the abuser didn't disapprove, he would say, "That is all right with me". It was like I needed his approval, permission or something in order to do things. I would say to him, "I don't need your permission". He would have to give his permission or approval to things.

Whenever I gave my input to small or large decisions in the relationship, if they were not the same view he had, my opinion, feelings, wants, needs or view was explained away or negated. If I persisted, I then got shamed or put down. I learned to keep my mouth shut if the thing was not that important to me because it was not worth the pain and shame inflicted on me in order to press my opinion or wants or to get what I wanted. I rarely got what I wanted because the abuser thought he knew what was best for everyone and if you weren't in agreement with him, you were going to be hurt if you expressed a different view. It was the abuser's way or no way. We have mini-blinds and things in our house that I absolutely hate because they are huge dust magnets, but the abuser wanted them, no matter how much they bothered me. I was the one that had to clean the little dust traps. The abuser has his superior male role thing and everyone else was subject to him and beneath him and that is how he treated all of us, as less than or not as good as. The kids had no respect for me because the abuser didn't. They started to treat me as their equal and as one of their playground buddies. They wouldn't listen to anything I said because the abuser didn't. He negated me in front of the kids on a continual basis, all in the name of what is best for the family. How do you expect the kids to respect the mother and obey her if the father doesn't listen to her and shows no respect for her and he is in control and runs things? This translated to even the smallest of things in the household. The bath soap that the abuser picked for the family to use, burnt and irritated my private parts. I had to ask if we could switch soaps and he wouldn't let me. I was not even permitted to buy another bath soap for myself that didn't make my genitals raw. He was the master of the home and he decided what went in the house. As you can guess, this became a major issue and this was about the time I started sticking up for myself. I can't tell you the abuse I took over buying soap that didn't make my skin raw. This is how insensitive the abuser is.

Using Economic Abuse

Preventing her from getting or keeping a job, making her ask for money, giving her an allowance, taking her money, not letting her know about or have access to family income.

Abusive, controlling people are fearful people where money is concerned. They are so tight with money they squeak and they are constantly sending a message to their family that their money is more important than you and your needs.

When we first got married, I had to ask the abuser for money for everything, like a child has to ask his father. I didn't have access to the checkbook to get groceries or anything. I didn't have a credit card or anything to buy gas with. The abuser has tried to prevent me from getting a job by making me feel guilty. No matter how much money we had in the savings account, I was made to feel guilty about buying things for the kids, myself or the home. It got so bad that I couldn't buy anything without suffering from extreme guilt. I had always wanted a bird and when I went to buy a simple bird, I couldn't even bring myself to pay for the bird. That is how pathetic it had gotten and that is when I realized there was a major problem going on here. It didn't matter if we had $15,000 in the savings account at the time. I was not allowed to work from the time I married the abuser until about 13 years later when he was in abuse counseling and we were in marriage counseling. That was the only way I could safely enter the work force without suffering abuse. The counselors would call me at work to make sure I wasn't being abused and they would hold him accountable. The abuser would try to get me fired by showing up at my place of employment all the time and whenever a male would enter the room, the abuser would put his hands all over me, like he was marking his territory just as a dog would. I definitely felt like a piece of property and it was extremely inappropriate. He would try to get me fired from any job I took.

After divorce papers were filed, it was court ordered that I was able to refinance the house in my name. We had three mortgages and one was a line of credit. We had $18,000 on the home equity line of credit and we were able to go up to $50,000. It was also court ordered that neither one of us could run up credit in the other person's name. The abuser went to court and under oath he lied to a judge saying that only $18,000 was on the home equity line of credit. When I went to close on the house and pay off balances were verified, it was found that the abuser had run up the line of credit to $50,000 and taken the cash and he did this before we went to court, so he bold faced lied under oath to a judge. Now that the line of credit was up to $50,000, I could no longer close on the house because I no longer qualified. My employment is directly connected to the house. I run a pre-school and day care out of the home. Without the home, I do not have a job. Closings were canceled. Emergency court hearings were order because the abuser was in contempt of court and had violated court orders. He had his reasoning and rational as to why he did it. What it boils down to is that laws, court orders, restraining orders or anything else do not apply to him if he has a good reason and rational for not obeying them. This ran up attorney fees, court fees and it cost me clients because day care parents left. He was ordered to put the money back, pay the legal fees and sign the necessary papers so that I could close on the house. Once I got the house, he wouldn't leave. He had to be court ordered out of the house. Before moving out, he trashed the air conditioner which cost me $1650 to fix and he made a lot of long distance calls to all his friends and he left me to pay for all his long distance bills. He refuses to pay spousal support and he will not negotiate to settle the divorce and a trial date has been ordered 4 &Mac189; months from now. He is in contempt of court and no one is going to control him or tell him what he has to do with his money. After living in 21 years of misery, quitting my job to marry him and giving up my career and any ability to save for my retirement, and moving all around the country so that he can be making what he is making today, he doesn't think I am entitled to anything that "belongs to him". He will drag out paying me anything, even if it means he faces charges, fines and jail time. This man who trashed the air conditioner and ran up the long distance bills for others to pay, thinks he is a Christian, and innocent. Do real Christians do this? He is a sheep in wolves clothing. Sigh! Anyway, economic abuse is an abusive technique used by domestic abusers to control their victim. He tries to control and hold on to this right to the very end! He'll swear up and down that he is not an abuser.

Using Coercion and Threats

Making and/or carrying out threats to do something to hurt her, threatening to leave her, divorce her, to commit suicide, to report her to welfare, making her drop charges, making her do illegal things.

Oh, here is a good one. The abuser did this just today. He threatened to divorce me if I go to someone outside the family for help and acknowledgment or if I tell anyone that what he does that is controlling or abusive. He wants me to shut up and he doesn't want anyone to know what he does and what he is like. We have to keep up this image of "the perfect family". I've been physically abused for saying anything to someone outside the family and what I have said is true, but if he goes and tells people things about me, that is okay? It is okay for him to tell people that I am mental, unstable, adulterous or unfaithful, but if I tell pastors or people of the abusive, controlling things he has done, I get abused and threatened. The abuser has tried to make me drop an order of protection against him by having one served on me saying I'm a threat to the children because I may harm myself in front of them, so he tried to have me thrown out of the house when I had no job, no money or credit cards and no place to go and no one to support or help me. This he tried to do while he got custody of the house and kids. He didn't have a basis or leg to stand on and the judge denied his order of protection. The thing is, they threaten you with this stuff in order to control you and get you to drop charges or orders of protection. They lie to and use, manipulate and control their attorneys in order to revictimize the victims. They will use the "system" to maintain their power and control. They feel betrayed if you go outside the family to get help, but they do not feel they are betraying you when they tell others that you are unstable, mental, adulterous or unfaithful in order to discredit you and isolate you from anyone that would help or support you.

You will notice that physical violence is not listed on the power and control wheel. Abuse is about power and control and it doesn't always mean or just mean physical abuse. A man usually resorts to physical violence when the other methods of controlling his family don't work anymore. A light bulb went off in my head years ago. The Lord said to me one day when I was praying, "Joanne, he only has as much control over you as you give him. So who really has the control"? I do! And I wasn't going to give it to the abuser anymore. I started setting boundaries, which he would not respect. When the abuser could not control me anymore with all the things listed on the power and control abuse wheel, that is when physical violence resulted. Abuse is about control and power! God does not want a woman to submit to this. We are to submit to God first and if the husband wants you to do something that God does not, Jesus is your Lord first and foremost. Jesus said to think not that He came to bring peace, but a sword. A man's foes will be those of his own household. When you are living for God and passionate and on fire for God, those in your household who are in rebellion to God will be your enemies as you become a doer of the word.

As I have said to the abuser, "If there is nothing wrong with what you are doing because you have a good reason, excuse or intent, then why can't I tell anyone?" Why are you so afraid and upset and threaten me if there is nothing wrong with your behavior and what you are doing?

This is what I have suffered with for 21 years and this is why I am hurting and have been depressed and isolated from people. I need Simons, not judges. While I have been working on this, I got a newsletter in the mail from a ministry and the Lord used that newsletter to validate my feelings about how life can be so bad that you despair of even living and you wish you were dead. Many Christians living for God have experienced the same thing and there is no shame in feeling that way. If you believe and live according to God's word and you will not compromise, then Satan is going to make your life hell and he will use the people closest to you to do it, too! The God I know and worship validates and accepts your feelings. He doesn't negate them and he comes into your life to let you know that He knows how you feel and that you are not alone. There is a song by the Christian group called "Go Fish". The song is called "You're My Little Girl" and God has used this song to minister to me, comfort me and validate my feelings as someone who has been abused. It is a song that God is singing to His little girl who has suffered abuse at the hands of "the ones you love" who have let you down. Go listen to the song. That is the God I know and worship.

It is February, 2002 and I am now updating this. The abuser claims to be a Christian, but there is no fruit to this day. He has still not put into practice any truth that God gave us 10 or 15 years ago to bring healing and reconciliation into our marriage and relationship. He doesn't allow Jesus to wash Him in the water of the word with the truth and the abuser believes that he is okay with God, even though he has not repented or changed his mind about his behavior. He said that we need more tools for our tool box and God said that the abuser hasn't even used the tools God gave him a decade ago. The abuser is not a doer of the word. He is a hearer only and he will agree with the word because, in his mind, it never applies to him. He gives lip service to any biblical teaching and agrees with it, he just doesn't think anything applies to him. He is passive and will not take the initiative to bring healing, even though I have told him what is needed to do just that. He claims that he has fruit. He believes that less rot and worms on the tree is the same as having fruit that feeds, heals and nourishes someone. He has prayed about how God would use him and God's answer to that was that the abuser's first ministry was at home and if he couldn't be obedient there and be a doer of the word God has given him, he wasn't going to be used by God anywhere else, except as an example and teaching tool to the world which will be humiliating. The word "humiliate" means "to humble". You can fall on the Rock in brokenness and humility or the Rock will fall on you and grind you to powder, as the bible states. Because the abuser has such a fear of man and what others think of him, he wasn't worthy of Him, meaning Jesus, as the bible states. The abuser is like the tree planted, in the bible, where the owner came looking for fruit after many years. There wasn't any there. The gardener told the owner, "Let me dig around it and fertilize a little longer to see if it will produce anything". Years later, the returns and still no fruit and he says, "Dig it up. Don't let it burden the ground any further ". There can come a time when God cuts you off because you have wearied Him! You can miss the hour of your visitation and God will remove His protective covering from you and you will receive His judgment. The word "judgment" means "crisis" or the "time when it is decided when something shall live or die". The lack of fruit on you after Jesus, the Truth, has dug around you, watered you with the water of the word and fertilized you can be the determining factor of whether you will be judged. Passivity is not an option when God has brought Truth into your life to wash you in the water of the word in order to change you. As Jesus told Peter when He knelt to wash Peter's feet and Peter wouldn't let Him, "If you don't allow Me to wash you, you have no part with Me"! No part means no part, period. When God gives you the Truth, He expects you to act upon it and we are judged according to the Truth God has given us in our lives and what we have done with it.

I have told the abuser that healing can be brought about by his acknowledging what he has done and the immense pain that He has caused because he has spent so much time and energy denying it. I told him that the next time someone says, "Oh what a nice guy", he could let some puss out of the wound by telling whoever said that what kind of guy he has really been, in my presence. I told him to look at it as an opportunity to bring healing. He'll never do it. I can't stand to go anywhere with the abuser socially because I can't be fake or phony and I don't want to pretend or act like everything is okay. It causes so much immense pain when someone mentions how nice or considerate the abuser it. I cry hard for long periods of time because it makes me sick to my stomach and I get angry with God for not doing anything about him. I don't want to attend church, nor does the rest of my family, especially with the abuser. He has conned people who are supposed to be the most discerning in the world, thus mocking God, and the fact that he can remain in their company without being discerned keeps him in his state of denial and mental stronghold of deception.

C. S. Lewis said that there are two kinds of love. The first kind of love is NEED LOVE. Need love looks good on the outside to the undiscerning. They appear kind and considerate or the "nice guy" to others. The difference is that they go out empty and do something for someone else so that they can feel good about themselves. They use others to meet their needs and get their self worth. This is the abuser and my mother. These people look very responsible and considerate as they go about doing things for you. They do these things to get filled up and they are very concerned about how others view them and that you notice the things that they do. They are very self focused and self centered and they will suck the life out of you, just as a tare. The abuser has a reputation of: If you ask him what time it is, he will tell you how to make a clock. He loves to talk about himself and loves an audience. As the bible states, "Where there is much talking, there is sin".

The second kind of love is SACRIFICIAL LOVE. This person goes out full and gives out of their own fullness at their own expense, expecting nothing in return. They use themselves to meet the other person's needs. They freely give what they have freely received from the Lord. They are the wheat that die to self to bring forth fruit in order to feed someone else. They are not concerned about how others view them or if their efforts get noticed. They say what they mean and mean what they say.

I have told the abuser that I am like the man who fell among thieves and lay dying, in the story about the good Samaritan. I have told him what I need in order for him to bring healing. He claims he wants to wait for the right time, etc. etc. He always has a good excuse. I have told him that the man was laying there dying and needed help and healing now and it was the two religious leaders who passed the man by because it wasn't convenient or timely for them to stop to pick the man up and tend to his wounds in order to save his life. Did you know that you can be critically wounded emotionally? If I were found to have cancer or some other terminal illness, I would rejoice, because that is my ticket out of here. I heard Mrs. Mooney, a woman at church, explain how she was angry with someone who had cancer for not taking better care of herself in order to fight the cancer and live. You never know about someone and what they are going through and you shouldn't be too quick to judge someone for making the choices they do in regards to this. Maybe death means the absence of unbearable pain at a time when everyone is quick to judge you, reject you and not pick you up out of the bloody mess you are in to show love and minister healing, pain relief and compassion or help you bear your burden. Maybe a little less pain and a little more compassion would be all it takes to have a person choose life over death. Right now, I would choose death and not resort to any medical surgery or intervention to save my life. Cancer, fine and dandy, I'm out of here!!!!!!!!!!!!! Anyway, I have told the abuser what it takes to start to bring some healing and let some puss out of the wound and that it needs to be done immediately. That was back in the fall of 2001. The longer things go, the more painful it becomes. To you who know to do good and do it not, it is sin. I spent all day Christmas day sobbing over this because of someone's comment (the Pastor's wife no less) about the abuser being so wonderful. Oh vomit! January church couples dinner and another similar comment. I just can't take the pain of another similar comment and I cringe at how much it will hurt my kids if said in their presence. The abuser is a chameleon that turns any color his surroundings demand in order to protect himself. I have tried to go to this pastor and his wife for help. I have given them all this material and other various things found on my web site. I was desperate and suicidal and I just couldn't take anymore pain. I was ignored, again, by a pastor when I was at the end of my rope. I ended up overdosing on two months worth of muscle relaxers. After I had swallowed all the pills in desperation and enormous pain one Sunday afternoon in March of 2002, I realized the severity of what I had done and that I probably would die. I thought to myself, "You are not going to make it out of this one. There is no going back and it is too late!" Most suicidal people do not want to actually die. Their pain is so great that they cannot bear it anymore and they just want to stop the pain, not end their life. When I realized the severity of what I had done, I asked the abuser to call 911. He calmly sat by the phone guarding it, just watching me. His response was, "No, you want to die anyway"! I asked him again to call 911. He refused and said, "No, I'm going to watch you die"! Then he just sat there with his hand to his face as he watched me. When I started to go for my cell phone, he finally called 911. This is what a pig the abuser is. Not only that, but this is illegal in probably any state in the United States. You cannot keep anyone from getting emergency care, or refuse to call emergency medical help to save their life without committing a crime. It needs to be done in a timely fashion, as well. An ambulance came and off to the emergency room I went and after I was stabilized 14 hours later, I was sent to a hospital 2 hours away so that I wouldn't be near the abuser. Doctors there begged me to leave him and even called him in to talk to him. When the Christian psychiatrist found out the extent of psychological, emotional and mental abuse the abuser was exercising on me and his history of physical abuse, the psychiatrist looked at him with his mouth open in utter astonishment and point blank asked him "Why don't you just stop hurting your wife the way you do? My God"! I was prescribed some medication for depression, which finally helped me and allowed me to become strong enough inside to get out of the marriage and divorce the abuser. After returning home from the hospital, I received a cold letter from the pastor I had gone to for help prior to overdosing. His letter stated that he didn't find it practical to counsel women. When my 18 year old son found out that I had gone to this pastor for help and was ignored until the pastor found out I had overdosed and was hospitalized, my son refused to go to church or any youth meetings which were usually held at this pastor's house. He was enraged at the apathy and insensitivity shown by a pastor when a suicidal person approached him and asked him for help. I was referred to a wonderful psychiatrist locally, after I was released from the hospital, who was monitoring my medication because I was being given a brand new medication on the market. This psychiatrist told me that he has had more patients or people actually commit suicide as a result of being ignored by someone in the clergy or because the clergy handled the situation poorly. He said that they are so uneducated in this area and are one of the last people suicidal people approach for help and they end up pushing them right over the edge into death. To this day, this pastor and his wife cannot look me in the eye when I see them in public. From what I have been told, the Pastor's wife found me to be a threat to her marriage because mine was so unhappy and theirs probably wasn't all that great either and she didn't want her husband "counseling" me. I don't know if that is true or not. Because I didn't want them to think that I was remotely even interested in this pastor in that way, I went to both the pastor and his wife. I thought that I had gone to great lengths to make sure that wasn't a concern and I would have gladly received any compassion that just the pastor's wife had to offer. I didn't find any fruit on that tree when I needed it either. Not only that, but I never asked to be counseled. I have been counseled to death and I am so educated on the dynamics of abuse and abusers and what it does to the victims that even psychiatrists don't even try to counsel me or teach me once they find out all I know. I am exposing this to save the lives of others who may want to go to pastors. The sad and scary thing is that the highest rate of domestic abuse in my state occurs in the area in which this man pastors according to hospital personnel.

I don't know how the abuser can claim to be a Christian and not be a doer of the word. He is blind and mightily deceived. No fruit after all the truth and tools God has given us for years. He hasn't applied any of it. How long will God let him continue? You can't give out anything you haven't received. There is no death to self. He sucks the life out of others. Anything he does for others is to get them to like or notice him, accept him and think well of him. The abuser calls it "ingratiating himself to others" in order to obtain something from them. He does this with my kids, now. It is not done out of love or done freely. He is codependent. Dead men don't harm their families. I heard Derek Prince preach about a little old Christian lady who was known for being "holy". When she was asked about how she dealt with temptation when it knocked at the door, the lady replied, "I just let Jesus answer"!

After 21 years of marriage, the abuser is no longer physically abusive (less worms and rot), but he is still emotionally and psychologically abusive and practices all the abusive controlling techniques described above. Behind closed doors with just me, though, he is very argumentative, controlling and defensive when I set boundaries with him. I heard a Promise Keepers blurb that talked about the integrity of a man. They said that if you want to know the integrity of a man, look at the countenance of his wife. The abuser has no integrity and will tell you what he has to in order to appease you. He says one thing and does another. Gary Smalley teaches that the way your wife looks (her countenance) or is, is a direct result of how the husband is loving her and giving her what she needs. He can either harm her emotionally, physically, spiritually and psychologically and create more needs and wounds or he can be loving her as Christ loved the church. Christ gave up everything in heaven in order to come into His brides world (the church) to love, nourish, heal and give Himself to her in servant hood., meeting her needs.

The molesting of my daughter was done because she was being held down and molested on her bus by several boys. When we reported it, the boys were removed from the bus for a short time and when they were allowed to ride the bus again, they got off at her stop and threw clobs of wet sod at her. Her life was miserable. One September after being at the state fair, she was expressing concern about returning to school because of the boys and the abuse she endured. She was in the car alone with the abuser while she was expressing her concern and how her life became worse when we intervened. The abuser started to lecture her about how we need to get involved and my daughter tuned out. In frustration, The abuser got mad and started to act like he was going to attack my daughter, while saying to her, "What are you going to do, let boys do this............(as he jams his hand down her shirt ripping off buttons) or how about this.............(as he jams his hand between her legs in her genital area)". Nice guy, huh! It wasn't done for sex. The abuser crossed sexual boundaries in order to control my daughter and gain her cooperation. I am not making excuses for the abuser's behavior. It was wrong and ugly and abusive. I just don't want people to think that he is a pedophile and harmful to children or people outside of our family. Everyone outside our family thinks he is wonderful, because he is to them. He doesn't "own" them. I am still blown off and not listened to. I did make him go to abuse counseling and marriage counseling years ago after staying in a shelter and getting a restraining order and I started to work full time outside the home. He couldn't con the well trained abuse counselor and our marriage counselor knew the abuser's abuse counselor and he obtained permission to talk to the abuse counselor so the abuser couldn't get away with anything with these two counselors in terms of conning them, as abusers do. The abuser finally quit going when he ran up against people he couldn't con and he said that he wasn't going to throw his money away any more by going. He said he knew what he had to do and that he just had to do it.

The only reason I have stayed with him for 21 years is financial, he will use the court system to revictimize and cause more pain at a time when you just can't take any more and because of my chronic pain. I can't do a lot of things I used to. I have my own business and income so that I am not as dependent on him and this removes a lot of his ability to control. The abuser says that he wants to bring healing in our marriage, but he doesn't do what it takes to get what he says he wants. He is passive and extremely lukewarm as a Christian and gives only lip service to Jesus Christ. He is a hearer of the word and not a doer of it. How bad could he really want it? Again, his actions say one thing while his mouth says another. This shows the degree of deception in him. As I said, he is passive. That is not a Christian! Controlling people would rather be right, than do what is right.

Update: August, 2003

God, in all His mercy and kindness, has brought a wonderful man into my life who is willing to learn and DO what it takes to have a healthy, loving relationship. Men, if you do not take care of your wife and family and love them the way God wants you to and if you do not put to use the information that God has given you, God may give them to someone who will. He will not allow you to destroy your wife and family to the point that they would rather die than spend another day suffering the pain you inflict on them. Divorce and judgment are never God's perfect will. Repentance and reconciliation are God's perfect will. When someone refuses to repent and reconcile, then judgment takes place and this is God's permissive will. The word "judgment" means "crisis" or "the point where it is decided when something will live or die". It means to be "cut off". The man in my life now is in the aviation industry. He inspects and fixes airplanes and as he stated, "I have to be able to follow directions and do things by the book. If I don't, people die. I can't make a mistake in my job. People die." More men should take their marriages and families that seriously. God has written and given the instruction manual to us on how to treat and take care of our wives and children. If we will not follow instructions or do things by God's book or according to God's way, your marriages and the love between you will die. God is attempting to "Turn the heart of the fathers to the children and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse". There is a blessing that comes to those who hear, obey and apply the truth. "But unto you that fear (holy reverence that causes you to listen and apply) my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in His wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall". I have experienced God's mercy, healing, tenderness, compassion and blessing through this person that chooses to follow the "instruction manual" and love me the way God intended. I am blissfully happy and thriving in a healthy, Christian, relationship with someone who is a doer of the word, not just a hearer only. The foundation is on the Rock only when one is a doer of the word. You are not founded on the Rock if you are a hearer only. You must apply the Truth the God gives you to survive the storms that beat against you. Without applying them, your house will fall, because it is founded on the shifting sand. I don't let a day pass without profusely thanking the Lord for the gift He has given me in the man he has brought into my life. I have never felt so much gratitude for anything, ever, other than for my salvation, as I have for this person in my life and the healing he has brought me. God uses him to validate my past hurt and heal them. One such example was when we went grocery shopping together and we needed to buy soap. I asked him what soap he preferred and he said, "Whatever soap you use sweetie will be fine with me". You have no idea the healing impact that his words brought me.

This man and I are so much alike, we have the same hobbies and interests and we have been married to the same kinds of people. His first wife was irresponsible and put partying above everything else. My first husband was an alcoholic and substance abuser. We both married the first time when we were extremely young and stupid. My guy has custody of his two twin sons from this marriage and he has raised them himself and I believe he has done a fine job and he is a wonderful father. We both, subsequently, married controlling abusive people. His second wife was just like the abuser. All the same personality traits and using all the same control techniques as mentioned above. When the abuse became apparent in his second marriage and he started to confront his wife, she became physically violent and he took his boys and left. Four years after divorcing her, we meet. We both love hobby farms and animals. He lived on a 58 acre hobby farm with his second wife and I currently live on a hobby farm with horses and animal. We are both body builders and into fitness. He is sensitive, tender, kind and compassionate, even to all my animals. My bird has started to sing all the time and my animals are noticeably happier and they are showered with attention and treats. That is the kind of person he is. His 17 year old boys have never had a mom in their life and they do not take me for granted. They seem to appreciate me and they are very respectful and they have brought me a great deal of healing as well. God kills more than one bird with one stone, so to speak. I needed kids that treated me with respect, gratitude and appreciation as much as they needed a mom that loved them, respected them and wouldn't abandon them. My kids were never around on Mother's Day and never did much of anything for my birthday, if they acknowledged it at all. These boys and their dad threw a birthday party for me and made a big deal over Mother's Day with cards, gifts and everything. I had always been forgotten and ignored by my own kids and family. I hope and pray that I can bring as much healing and love to them that they have brought to me. God knew. God will supply that which is needed. He is merciful and gracious.

We went out to a German restaurant one weekend and my significant other (we plan to marry) was explaining the roots and origin of his family tree in Europe. His last name is Armstrong, which suits him because he is a body builder with very strong arms. I didn't realize just how well the last name suited him until he told the story. His ancient relatives were "lowlanders" in Scotland that kept to themselves and had no ruling kingdom or government over them. During mid-evil times, kingdoms tried to conquer kingdoms and many battles on horseback occurred. Falling or being knocked from your horse during the heat of battle meant absolute death in those times and it was imperative that you were both a good horseman and that you had a good, steady steed. Having all your armor (as the bible speaks of having) and being able to skillfully use the sword (the sword of the spirit which is the word of God) were mandatory to your survival. One day, in the heat of battle, a king was knocked from his horse. He knew this meant ultimate death as the battle raged around him. One of these Scottish lowlanders saw the predicament of the king and he rode in swiftly, leaned over as he approached the king, grabbed him and swept him up onto his horse, saving the kings life. This Scottish lowlander was knighted and renamed by the king. His last name now became "Armstrong" because the strength of his arms swept the endangered king, dressed in full heavy armor, up onto his horse during the heat of battle, thus saving his life. I think he was given some position of authority for his act of bravery and strength. As my significant other was telling me this story of his ancestry, I started to get goose bumps. I knew that God was showing me that this same story was relating to me. I felt like the king who had been dressed in full armor, using the sword. Knocked from his horse by years and years of domestic abuse and control, which was the battle I had been fighting. With my horse gone and no way of escape, I knew ultimate death was near. I looked around for someone to notice my predicament and help me, but no one cared. I called out to those around me whom I knew, who were able to rescue me from my plight, but they ignored me and only showed me indifference. I felt helpless, hopeless, betrayed and abandoned waiting only for death to take me. Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a horseman thundering toward me. This is it, I thought. Death's blow awaits. I turned to meet death head on and my eyes locked eyes with the horseman that rushed toward me. I did not see death. I saw hope. I did not see hatred and indifference, but instead, mercy and compassion. As the stranger rapidly approached, he leaned from his horse, gesturing me to grab his strong arm. I reached out for him and that strong arm swept me up out of deaths grip and onto the back of a brave steed called life. I was met by hope, mercy, love and compassion. God had sent this man, with the strong arms, into my life and the Lord was letting me know it. God has let me know this many times and confirmed it and many people have been judgmental, critical, hateful, attacking and full of gossip and many of these people claim to be Christians. I am so glad that the Jesus I love and worship is not like these people. I am glad that the Jesus I love and worship is not like the Jesus they worship. The Jesus I know does not place the rules above the needs of the people, as the legalistic religious leaders did in Jesus' day and the way many legalistic Christians do today. Quick to throw stones, condemn, judge and gossip and gather a crowd against you. They are full of hatred and indifference.

I heard on the radio today that the opposite of love is not hate. The opposite of love is indifference. Indifference to other people's pain and suffering, needs, wants, feelings, etc. That is what I have grown up with. That is what I have been married to in the past. That is what I have encountered in the church, especially among the leadership. God has sent me a gift, with a strong arm, who was not indifferent to my pain, suffering, situation, needs, wants or feelings like my ex, parents, kids, pastors and friends have been in the past. The bible says of Jesus, "A bruised reed shall he not break and the smoking flax shall he not quench". The Jesus I know does not kick you when you are down. He does not break you when you are already so crushed and broken and full of pain that you can take no more. He does not extinguish the flame in you when your spirit or flame is barely lit and the liquid wax is creeping up your wick barely allowing any wick left exposed to burn as it smokes and threatens to extinguish. Jesus doesn't treat these people that way. He offers them a "strong arm". The bible says that God's arm is not too short that it cannot save you and it is never too weak to rescue or deliver you. Needless to say, I will be reading and meditating on the strong arm of the Lord.

There are four stages that an abused person goes through. The last stage is the stage of abandonment. This is where you feel abandoned by God and others who claim to be followers of God. The victim of abuse says thing like, "Why are you letting this happen, God? Why don't you do something? If you were just here, this wouldn't have happened". God understands and validates these feelings of abandonment and He weeps when we feel abandoned by Him. This is what He has shown me. When Lazarus died, one of his sisters said to Jesus, "Lord, if you had just been here, this wouldn't have happened". The shortest verse in the bible follows and it reads, "Jesus wept". Jesus didn't weep because Lazarus died. He knew Lazarus would be raised from the dead and God would be glorified. Jesus wept because Lazarus' sister (I forget which one) felt abandoned by God. Jesus weeps when we suffer and when we feel abandoned by God. Some of my favorite versus in the bible are, "I will never leave you or forsake you. I will not leave you comfortless. I will send you a comforter". The Lord addresses and validates the abandonment issue of victims of abuse. He has always validated my feelings and has shown me that He is here, knows of my feelings and situation and He weeps when we feel abandoned by Him.

The name "Joanne" is a Hebrew name meaning: Divine oracle or God is gracious. Literally translated it means that God will supply you with whatever it is you need. God has used my name many times in ministering to me and confirming, not only the call that is on my life, but in instilling faith in me in my hour of greatest need. God has truly been gracious and faithful to supply me with whatever it is I needed, including this new man in my life after judgment/crisis/or the cutting off of the marriage was determined. God had tried to dig around the tree that was bringing forth no fruit. He had fertilized it and watered it with the truth and He had checked it and supplied it with more and been long suffering with the abuser in producing fruit, only to find that none had grown. The Lord has said, "Cut it down. Don't let it burden the earth anymore". So be it. Just as the marriage ceremony is an external ritual that shows what has already transpired in the hearts of two lovers, so is divorce. Divorce is just the ritual or legality of something that has already transpired in the hearts of two people. Marriage doesn't make you fall in love. Marriage is the result of two people falling in love and divorce is the result of two people not being able to love because of selfishness and pain. A piece of paper or a ring does not make one married and vice versa regarding divorce. It is just the outcome or result of something that has already transpired in the heart and God looks at the heart. My marriage to the abuser was long since dead, irreconcilable and not able to be saved long before divorce proceedings ever were started because of the denial the abuser was in and his inability to repent or "change his mind". Repentance is necessary for reconciliation and it is a requirement that God has of us in order that we be reconciled to Him and it is, also, necessary in our relationships. Please remember this the next time you deny, justify, rationalize, explain, give your intent and minimize your behavior in order that you do not have to "repent or change your mind". A man who covers his sin with the above techniques will not prosper. It doesn't work. You are throwing gasoline on the fire, not water. You are accomplishing the opposite of what you are trying to accomplish. There is a way that seems right unto a man that leads to destruction, as the bible states, and this is it. God's way works! Man's way does not. I have set before you this day, blessing or cursing, life or death. Choose you this day whom you will serve.

I pray that this article will bring healing, hope and a closer relationship to Jesus as it reveals what the Lord really feels about abuse and divorce. Let the Truth set you free from all the judgmental and legalistic, shaming attitudes in the church or in families. Please read the words to the song, "You're my Little Girl" that can be found on this site. That is how God the Father feels toward you as a victim of abuse. If you have read this article, please know that God has directed you here and He wants you to be set free with the Truth. The Truth is a person named Jesus. Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life", To reject Jesus as the one and only way to salvation and heaven is to reject Jesus. To reject truth that God brings into your life is to reject Jesus. To get your life, value or worth from something other than Jesus, is to reject Jesus. The Lord doesn't want you to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil as Adam and Eve did in the garden of Eden. He wants you to eat from the tree of life, which was the other tree in the garden of Eden. Whatever it is that you need, Jesus will supply it for you. Need hope, strength, the ability to forgive, finances, love, mercy, validation, kindness or anything else, go to Jesus. He is the source of that and that is what is meant by Jesus being the Life. Ask Him into your heart, read the bible, talk to Him and have a relationship with Him. He is waiting for you with open arms full of love and mercy. God bless!