Spiritual Abuse

A woman, who has commented on a couple blogs I enjoy, shared some of her story of physical abuse from her father growing up … abuse he perpetrated in the name of God, which elevates it to Spiritual Abuse.

Unfortunately, I understand Spiritual Abuse … from my own parents, from my first husband, and especially from my ex-in-laws, retired from a career in ministry.

I was pondering the story of this precious woman, whose experiences drove her to atheism …  and the things I experienced … and then swirled around to what my daughters experienced.

Separating God from Church

At this season in my life, where life is relatively calm compared to most all the previous years of my life, I have time to ponder the past, the choices I made, the things I did and didn’t do as a person, a woman, a wife, a friend, a mother. Some of that pondering is good, and some I just need to stop thinking about. One thing I often think about is when I pulled my daughters and myself out of church in the wake of the divorce. I did so because every Sunday something happened that left at least one of us crying all the way home, and I decided I did not want my girls to equate church and church people with Jesus and God. So we stopped church, and I separated God from church and those church people who do stupid, harmful things.

Contemplating the Past

Hindsight is not 20/20, as is often stated; rather, it’s distorted. We cannot recreate the past in the present. Much of the time I find myself deflated and critical of myself when I look back; some of it is justified, much is not. And this hovering question of whether or not I should have removed us from church wavers in and out of my conscious thought from time-to-time. Did I do the right thing? Was it best?

In light of this woman’s story … my personal experience … and pulling my girls and me out of church – and one other thing I will share last in this post – I have concluded it was the right decision. And here’s why:

The Store Incident

There was a pivotal incident years ago when my girls’ Dad tried to force them to do a terrible thing. My Aspie Girl fell into an autistic meltdown and was incapable of obeying him, causing him to become intensely angry. This was in a large store, and he was so angry he commanded Oldest to come with him and leave her sister, whom she knew was incapable of controlling herself or of helping herself. He left the premises and proceeded to leave all together (I do not know if he actually drove away and came back or simply went to his car and came back.)

Oldest fell apart. She was still young – middle school – and incapable of handling all of this but knew it was wrong to leave her vulnerable sister unprotected. She found herself curled up in a corner of the large store, calling me, crying, begging me to come get them right away because Daddy left them. I left immediately to drive the 45 minutes to get them. In that time, she was able to get her sister, tell her Mommy was coming, Dad came back in, they left, went to his place, packed their things, and met me at a restaurant parking lot. And this was when he did the unthinkable … this was when he told our Oldest, who had been a Daddy’s Girl since she was born, that he didn’t like her and didn’t want her and if she was going to be like that, then call her Mom to come get her; he didn’t want her.

Using the Bible to Justify Wrong Behavior

Two weeks later when he picked them up for his regular visitation time together, as he drove off he handed Oldest a sheet with Bible verses about children obeying their parents, chastising her for disobeying him and not leaving the store with him, leaving her sister alone. She threw the sheet back at him, told him she already knew those verses (and she did) and that she would never abandon her sister. Again he told her he didn’t like her and didn’t want her and to call her Mom to come get her, which I did.

A Pivotal Moment

As I thought of all these things – the woman who shared her story of spiritual abuse, my own spiritual abuse, and what I will share at the end of this post, I realized that it was for that one, pivotal moment, and the days and years that followed, that I believe God led me to pull us out of church and separate God from church all those many years earlier. If they related God to church people, and therefore related God to their own Dad – who never, ever missed a church service even to be with them, at that moment my Oldest would have turned from God.

The Funeral Incidents

Another incident ocured several years later at their Daddy’s funeral where their grandfather and uncle (both pastors) led the service. The things their paternal grandfather and uncle did and said surrounding his death and in that service and the days and weeks and months following were nothing short of deplorable. It was so bad that people of great respect came up to us later and told us they were sorry for what happened. It was so bad that the funeral director, even though she was bound by law not to reveal details, said to me, “It’s because of people like him that I do not believe in God.” They did terrible things and said terrible things, even of their own son/brother at his own funeral.

If I had not separated God from church people, my beautiful daughters would not be able to separate God from what these, who call themselves children and representatives of God, these who are biologically related to my daughters, did and said (and continue to do to them and me).

Oldest’s Thoughts

I shared these things with Oldest recently and asked her how that first experience would have altered her perception of God had she not already separated who God is with what her Dad and grandparents and uncle did and do … I asked her how she thought that would have changed the trajectory of her life from that point, and with realization she soberly said, “I’d be really messed up right now.”

Mama’s Gift

It is HARD to be a parent, and it has been super hard for me to face these things and these choices and the years we’ve lived after them … wondering if I did the right thing … hoping I did the right thing.

And then these moments of revelation come about. A gift from God. And I am grateful. So grateful.

Spiritual Abuse

Any abuse done under the umbrella of God: supposedly in the Name of God, for the supposed glory of God, to supposedly honor God, supposedly because of God, using the Bible to justify the acts and/or words, or done by a person who represents God … all of that then is elevated to Spiritual Abuse.

And I’m beginning to believe that of all the forms of abuse, Spiritual Abuse is the most severe. Why? Because, in the words of Andrew Klavan, “It destroys the pathway of faith to God.”

Andrew Klavan’s Thoughts

In all honesty, I do not know who Andrew Klavan is. A friend on facebook put up one of his video shows highlighting a totally different topic than I am addressing here (he covers many topics in the episode I am fixing to share). In the midst of this video, Klavan begins to talk about the sexual abuse in the Catholic church and says some very profound things.

I take this further and relate it to all Spiritual Abuse as I defined above, not simply in the Catholic church. All Spiritual Abuse has devastating effects because again, as Andrew Klavan states, “it destroys the pathway to faith in God.”

In Ep. 560 – Hell on Earth | The Andrew Klavan Show, Klavan talks about Sexual abuse in the Catholic Church from 15:00 – 21:49. Here are some quotes that struck me – which I personally relate to all Spiritual Abuse in any church and/or by any person who represents God or does anything in the Name of God or uses God for their own purpose:

(16:00) Andrew Klavan:

“What does it [spiritual abuse] do? It puts up a barrier …”

(17:00) Andrew Klavan: quotes Matthew 23:13-15 NLT:

13 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces. You won’t go in yourselves, and you don’t let others enter either.

15 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you cross land and sea to make one convert, and then you turn that person into twice the child of hell you yourselves are!

(18:35) Juliann Bortz (molested by a priest in her Catholic High School):

“The collar is still a trigger for me. They murdered something in me. Something died. Everything I believed, died.”

(18:40) Andrew Klavan:

“They took away her faith. They closed, did what Jesus said, they closed the door of heaven.”

(20:00) Andrew Klavan:

“If you are closing the door to the Kingdom of heaven, you are committing a sin against the Spirit that is immense.”

(20:23) Andrew Klavan:

“The enemy is the devil who is in your church. He is in your church. This has got to be pulled up, root and branch.”

(20:50) Andrew Klavan:

“Seventy years of taking away from people their path into the Kingdom of God.”

(21:15) Andrew Klavan:

“It destroys the pathway of faith to God.”   

Consequences

How this world thinks it will escape the consequences of their actions is beyond me because they are all through the Bible and history. Yes, His grace and mercy and love are great … but it is because they are great that we face the reality and consequences of sin.

If it were, as some claim it should be, that God excused such behavior because He is a God of love, then His grace and mercy and love would be weak and powerless. We know that this is not true and cannot be true because God is All-Powerful. Therefore His grace and mercy and love are powerful and come from a place of power, never of weakness.

Many times the Bible says, “Woe to him who … ” God is very serious about life and how we live it. And He is very serious about those who hurt others.

Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. Luke 17:1-2 (NKJV)

“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes! Matthew 18:6-7

Help

There is help and healing for those of us who have been abused in any form, including Spiritual Abuse. I am not a counselor or expert of any kind, but please do seek out qualified help in your area if you’ve experienced any of this on any level. God really does exist, He really is God, He really is Holy, He really is Healer, He really is Love, and He really is Good.

Holy God, spiritual abuse is so overwhelming for me. I cannot think of it for long or it completely pulls me under into dark places. But You can handle it. You are God. Nothing is too big or too much for You. There is no place we can go that You cannot find us. Thank You. My heart is heavy for this woman who was turned from you because of the violent abuse of her own father in Your Name, but not nearly as much has Your heart is burdened for her for Your love for her is greater than all other. I lift her up to You, Jesus, and I pray that, in Your time, You will gently draw her back to You in ways that only You can. I pray for anyone reading this that has experienced abuse in any form, especially spiritual abuse. Draw them into Your loving arms. Lead them to places and people who can help them heal. May they know they are never alone and that You are God. Thank You for protecting my daughters and me. Thank You for loving us and caring for us and healing us. Thank You for being God. I need You, and I love You, in Jesus’ Holy Name, Ame

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. I Peter 5:6-7 (NKJV)

12 thoughts on “Spiritual Abuse

  1. In light of this woman’s story … my personal experience … and pulling my girls and me out of church – and one other thing I will share last in this post – I have concluded it was the right decision. And here’s why:

    The Store Incident

    There was a pivotal incident years ago when my girls’ Dad tried to force them to do a terrible thing. My Aspie Girl fell into an autistic meltdown and was incapable of obeying him, causing him to become intensely angry. This was in a large store, and he was so angry he commanded Oldest to come with him and leave her sister, whom she knew was incapable of controlling herself or of helping herself. He left the premises and proceeded to leave all together (I do not know if he actually drove away and came back or simply went to his car and came back.)

    Oldest fell apart. She was still young – middle school – and incapable of handling all of this but knew it was wrong to leave her vulnerable sister unprotected. She found herself curled up in a corner of the large store, calling me, crying, begging me to come get them right away because Daddy left them. I left immediately to drive the 45 minutes to get them. In that time, she was able to get her sister, tell her Mommy was coming, Dad came back in, they left, went to his place, packed their things, and met me at a restaurant parking lot. And this was when he did the unthinkable … this was when he told our Oldest, who had been a Daddy’s Girl since she was born, that he didn’t like her and didn’t want her and if she was going to be like that, then call her Mom to come get her; he didn’t want her.

    Using the Bible to Justify Wrong Behavior

    Two weeks later when he picked them up for his regular visitation time together, as he drove off he handed Oldest a sheet with Bible verses about children obeying their parents, chastising her for disobeying him and not leaving the store with him, leaving her sister alone. She threw the sheet back at him, told him she already knew those verses (and she did) and that she would never abandon her sister. Again he told her he didn’t like her and didn’t want her and to call her Mom to come get her, which I did.

    What the flip gets into a father–ostensibly a Christian one–that he does this to his own children? I’m sure his parents weren’t exactly all that and a pound of bourbon-cured honey bacon, but, still, that is no way for a father to treat his own children, or–heck–anyone else’s for that matter.

    I realize that some children are easier than others–so far, Abigail has been the most laid-back, well-adjusted baby on the planet. Most of the time, all I have to do is give her a serious–but non-threatening look–and softly tell her to do, or not do, something, and she’ll comply. But it also helps that we’ve been very intentional and generous with basic affections for her 18 months out of the womb.

    Still, I look at my job–and MrsLarijai’s job–as one of providing her a childhood that, while there will be times where we have to drive that rebellion out of her, she will be able to see how we love God, each other, and her and will be able to taste and see that the Lord is good.

    And abandoning her at a freakin’ store for having a meltdown is not part of that calculus.

    • Abigail is adorable and amazing and all those wonderful things and i deeply regret not living close enough to get to know her 🙂 ! what an immeasurable blessing she is to y’all and so many others, too 🙂

      Aspie-Girl was high-maintenance from the womb. it was a hard pregnancy. she scared me multiple times and had to go in for specialized sonograms to check on her. and from birth she had lots and lots of issues that continued and compounded.

      he did not believe any of her issues were valid; he believed they were all disciplinary issues b/c i was a bad mother. so when she was with him, he determined to prove himself right and me wrong.

      he did not believe she had autism. he did not believe she had any of her diagnoses, which are many. he believed it was discipline.

      i knew the difference btw a child pitching a fit to get their own way and an autistic meltdown b/c you can see it in their eyes. if you look in their eyes, you can see that their brain is not connecting. when i went in for my six-week check up after she was born, i had to hold her for the whole checkup b/c she could not handle not being held by me. if i put her in her carseat or gave her to someone she didn’t know, she would cry.

      there were other things … like she couldn’t get the latch, suck swallow sequence down when nursing and was close to ‘failure to thrive’ at her two week after birth check up – and that was not many months after i had weaned her sister. i drove straight to a friend’s house who was also a lactation consultant, and we both needed help for her to learn this process. my friend had a very sensitive baby scale, and we’d weigh her before and after nursing to see how many ounces she actually did consume.

      and so.many.other.things … that grew and magnified. he was consistently angry at me for not disciplining her into submission, and i was constantly trying to help her and figure out what she needed and protect her from him when he was angry.

      (i know your sweet wife probably gets tired of me telling her what a blessing so many things are with Abigail. i KNOW she had a tumultuous and harrowing start in life, but that sweet disposition is such a beautiful gift for all three of you – and many of us who get to watch from the sidelines, too!!! 🙂 )

      Aspie Girl was just an intense amount of work from the very beginning (and still is – she’s going in for another full eval in a couple weeks; please pray it’s accurate and we get the results back in a timely manner – there are some specific reasons she needs this eval as an adult that are critically important).

      his parents did not believe in things like this … and b/c his deepest, most insatiable longing was the approval of his father, i believe it drove him to be irrational about many things in life, including the truth about his own children, specifically Aspie Girl. even when the specialists proved to him their diagnoses, he just couldn’t compute that.

      – – –

      however … given all that … what he did was despicable, deplorable, and i cannot even articulate it completely. a few months later he turned around and, after a school incident, called Aspie Girl and told her the same thing … he told her she could not behave appropriately and therefore did not deserve to see him and therefore he didn’t want her and wouldn’t be allowed to see him any longer. she couldn’t breathe she was hyperventillating and crying. in the months to come she would call him, sobbing, begging to see him … “Daddy, please! I just need a hug! Can I please have a hug!” and he’d reply calmly, “No, you can’t behave properly yet. Good bye.”

      it was the christmas before he died four months later that he, by the Grace of Almighty God, agreed to see them each at a local restaurant. they each got 20 minutes with him. he never apologized, neither did he agree to regular visitation again, but, in a sense, he made peace with them. his death was sudden and unexpected, so my girls and i look at that as a gift from God. they needed it desperately to help them heal.

      the healing has been long and arduous and exhausting, for all three of us, since he died.

      and there are many other things … like the neurological effects this had on Oldest after the above incident. there are things she cannot do. it broke her inside …neurologically. there are things her brain cannot do that it could before.

      but … she still loves Jesus. they both still love Jesus. deeply. *tears* and for all the subtle negative stuff about us not going to church, i see now how God pulled us out so that i could separate God and Jesus from that … for such a time as this that would occur years later and become such a pivotal, life-changing moment in their sweet, little lives.

      • From here, not knowing anything else, it seems that he may have been raging at God: he checked all the right boxes, and yet he has an autistic child who won’t obey him? He didn’t sign up for that deal!

        • that never once occurred to me. thank you. that makes me cry for him 🙁

          there were so many things … so many things that were incredible about him. where he was good, he was beyond incredible. but where he was bad, he took it to dark levels 🙁

          my heart breaks for his soul 🙁

          • After what Abigail went through her first week, I don’t care how many meltdowns she has. I don’t care how many diapers she blows out. I don’t care how loud she screams. It beats the Hell out of her not making it out of the hospital.

            In fact, when she has a really messy diaper, I’m like, “Way to go, Abigail! You’re poopin’ like a champ!”

            And if she starts crying really loud, I am careful about being soft and calm, “it’s ok…you’re going to be alright.” And the hugs and kisses are plenteous. She laughs when I kiss MrsLarijani.

            I realize she’s not a teenager, and that is a different ballgame. At the same time, I figure these early years are where her dad needs to lay down that foundation where she can trust and call on her dad.

            I realize autism is a tough challenge. I’ve had autistic kids in Awana; it can be nerve-recking, especially if mom and/or dad is a douche flute. But still, it’s not the end of the world.

          • It adds up:

            (a) You were supposed to save him from his sexual demons; that didn’t happen. (And, as I’ve pointed out, nothing you could have done would have saved him from those. He had a pathological problem, and he needed serious therapy.)

            (b) Through you, he has an autistic child that did not fit the deal for which he thought he was signing up.

            In his eyes: you failed him, and–worse–God failed him. And if he was a narcissist, only a miracle could have blasted that wall.

        • i don’t think he ever reconciled that with God. he was sooo … mean that i was begging God for it to end … not for his life to end, but for the meanness to end. my girls could.not.take.it.anymore. they were dying inside, traumatized. dysfunctional. there are those, and my girls are included, who believe that God finally said, “Enough!” and took him out of this life. i do hope he’s in heaven, honestly and truly i do. and that’s how i think of him. i cannot even think otherwise; i can’t function thinking otherwise.

  2. no, autism is not the end of the world, but it is … intense. 24/7/365 … and it wears on you. it’s … it’s just a different kind of hard. it’s like, idk, navigating stormy seas every.single.day knowing there will never be an end in sight … and if you don’t stick with it, people will die … and you’re the ONLY one who can stick with it and keep these people alive.

    some autists are easier than others. Aspie-Girl is also bipolar, with increases the intense level exponentially. she’s also adhd and sensory and extremely dyslexic (they couldn’t even score her to test her when she was in 1st – it was the earliest they would test in that school district at the time even though we all knew she had it), and she has issues with vision tracking … and full-gut issues … and now this allergy thing … and i know i’m missing something bc i always do.

    there are these times when she’s sooo ‘normal’ you think it’s all in your head … then she’s totally behaving within the confines of her disorders. it’s takes frustrating and raises it infinite degrees.

    she might be able to do something one day but can’t at all do the same thing on another day. and you just have to look in her eyes to see if her brain is connecting or not.

    i think this is much more challenging for a very logical man b/c there is no logic to it. and he was an extremely logical, type A, man. it didn’t make sense that she could do xyz on one day and not on another.

    there are so many outside factors … like … if the weather is fixing to change and it’s not yet noticeable, the barometric pressure begins to change … they change the ingredients in a food she’s been eating (this is b4 allergy) … she sees something or hears something that triggers some unknown thing deep in her brain that you won’t know about for, well, could be years, because although she keeps everything stored in her memory, she is not always able to recall everything – her recall memory is unpredictable. and on and on and on.

    and being a man, a very intelligent and successful man, he wanted to fix her … but he could not fix her. and he had no way to process that.

    these behaviors were evident from birth but it wasn’t till she was older than i understood why she had certain behaviors or patterns.

    i think she is also deficient in certain minerals, but i cannot figure out what they are yet.

    another thing about her is that she has a hyper-keen ability to sense when people can handle her and when they cannot. so if she was around an adult that she knew could not handle her, but she was not yet old enough to express that, her behavior changed b/c the connections in her brain changed.

    and there were very few people we could leave her with. Oldest’s first babysitter, whom we loved and was very capable … the first time she watched aspie-girl she cried the whole time we were gone. babysitter should have called us – four hours of crying is too much. but that’s water under the bridge.

    and there’s a whole bunch of other stuff that’s not appropriate to post publicly.

    the thing about kids like her is that they have to work a thousand times harder than every other kid out there just to function well through one hour of the day, not to mention a whole long day … or days strung together … or a whole week … or weeks strung together.

    still … it is extremely rare i make any commitment that i NEED to keep b/c she can’t always handle it.

    kids like her need a ‘home base’ person, and anchor person, and i’m it for her. Oldest fills that role sometimes, but she is not capable of doing so full-time at this point in her life. my Husband does a pretty good job, but he can’t do it full-time. her dad was able to fill it until he bugged out. and i totally get wanting to bug out. i fantasize about staying in a cottage by the water with someone to serve and wait on me so i don’t have to cook or clean or even think for myself … for a whole month! ahhh 🙂 … but that will never happen this side of eternity for me … because she simply cannot do it.

    it’s like living your life with the rubber band always stretched tight and never being able to relax it, ever, for any reason, ever. 24/7/365. there are not days or hours or minutes off. even if she’s with someone else, i’m ALWAYS on-call, and i’m often called.

    it’s really impossible to imagine. i don’t expect people to understand anymore, b/c they cannot … i simply ask that people acknowledge they don’t understand and are forgiving and compassionate and non-judging. i judge myself harshly enough, i don’t need others adding to that.

    the good news is that, at 18, she is doing amazingly well. truly, we did not think she would be capable of attending school in kinder. we began working with the principal of the school the spring before and had tons of stuff set up in place, ready for her to begin school. every.single,moment was a challenge both at home and at school. i cannot even begin to relate how intense it was. every.single.day i picked her up, she would start crying b/c it was too much … every.single.day for years. her brain just could not do it. it wasn’t that she didn’t want to – she did. she truly, truly did … and she was/is so smart that she KNEW she was different, that she KNEW the other kids could do all these things she couldn’t, and she desperately WANTED to be like them, but there is no bridge to get her brain there. breaks.my.Mama’s.heart over and over and over and over and over unending.

    when my second husband and i got married nine years ago, we took two nights alone, and my then-18 year old niece stayed with my girls. by the time we got home she was out-of-her-mind frazzled even though she knew youngest well. we weren’t even gone a whole 48 hours. husband and i took one other trip when my girls were with their dad to visit his relatives, and that’s it. we never take a vacation. we never go anywhere. because she.cannot.handle.it. she honestly cannot do it. and if we make plans, they ALWAYS have to be tentative b/c we never know if she can or cannot handle something at that given moment or not. and i’ve been doing this for 18 and a half years. and i wouldn’t trade it for anything because … her life is valuable.

    no, i do not have any help. to be able to help, you have to take the time to really get to know her and then be available … and people just can’t do that. and i don’t have the money to pay anyone to learn, so that’s out.

    i can leave her by herself for a few hours at a time, but if i do it too often, like multiple days in a row, she starts to get to where she can’t handle it.

    if things go as we think they probably will, within a year i’ll need to work outside the home, and i’m just praying about that … because God is bigger and knows her better than i. and He’s already there … in the future.

    in her dad’s family, public perception and public appearances are EVERYTHING. i mean … they’re EVERYTHING. having a daughter who was autistic mean he could not control her behavior in public, and he had no place to process that.

    my girls and i have just come to believe his life was very tragic. he had so much ability and potential but he was consumed with the demons passed onto him by his father … and that strong-arm of control suffocated him … and for some reason, despite having every resource available for him to do so, he wasn’t able to break away from it. and it’s … tragic. we all three love him, but we see him as he was – the good and bad. i told them after he left us that there would be no lies, only the truth, no matter what. and that’s how we’ve lived. the truth is he did lots of horrible things that we all three have to live with for the rest of our lives. and the truth is that where he was good, he was beyond exceptional; amazing, really. we don’t deny any part of who he was. we remember and talk about it all – he is a continuous part of our conversations and our lives and who we are. we have all 3 forgiven him. aspie-girl is still working thru forgiving his parents and brother – that’s a hard one.

    when he died i told them they would do nothing else until they worked thru forgiving him. it took them a good three plus years, but they’ve both forgiven him. it’s put them behind their peers in lots of ways, but they’ve forgiven him. and that … that forgiveness … the value of it cannot be measured.

    i do still write about it from time-to-time b/c it’s all still inside. his choices have hurt all 3 of us deeply, and some of those wounds will never fully heal; they are permanent. to be honest, my girls are doing better than i am … i think that’s b/c my Mama’s heart is mixed up in it all, and i cannot separate it out.

  3. It adds up:

    (a) You were supposed to save him from his sexual demons; that didn’t happen. (And, as I’ve pointed out, nothing you could have done would have saved him from those. He had a pathological problem, and he needed serious therapy.)

    (b) Through you, he has an autistic child that did not fit the deal for which he thought he was signing up.

    In his eyes: you failed him, and–worse–God failed him. And if he was a narcissist, only a miracle could have blasted that wall.

    wow, Amir. Wow. thank you. this makes sense. it would take a man to figure that out; as a woman, i don’t think my mind could have gotten there.

    it’s so very tragic. i hate it. i hate it for my young, innocent self who thought he was rescuing me from the life of my childhood. i hate it for the me who had to wonder who he was over the years and see the hate and pain and anger and, occasionally, love, all fight and war within himself and flow from him to me.

    i didn’t know. i didn’t understand. i was so very confused. and those were the years no one mentioned the word ‘porn’ much less talked about it – or at lease good, Christian girls didn’t. i remember the first time i mentioned it to my best friend; i thought i was so filthy and bad to even say the word out loud.

    my Oldest and i were talking about our wedding not long ago, and i told her that as soon as i took my first step down the isle, i started crying b/c i couldn’t believe God was going to allow me to be this happy in my life. 🙁

    he did end up blaming me … for everything. he left behind his workbook for his sexual addiction group, which he stopped going to b/c he didn’t think he needed it … but in every question to which it pertained, he listed me as the reason why all the bad in his life; it was all my fault. he parents believed it, too, and still do. and they have all gone to extreme lengths to punish me for that. one of the ways he did that was to beneficiary ALL of his monies to his parents and brother. idk the details, only that he did; nothing to his daughters … why? so that there would be no chance i could ‘get ahold’ of any of it.

    so, much … there’s just sooo much. wow. this makes sense. but it’s so tragic, too.

    i know the spiritual war was intense in our home. i prayed and prayed and prayed. i prayed the armor of God over me and our girls all the time – i had it on a sticky-note beside my bed. i prayed for hedges of thorns around me and our girls … i prayed that God would protect them from all forms of evil. i remember looking into his eyes, and he wasn’t there – it was all only evil i saw. but God … God was. it was sooo powerful. i was not afraid in the midst of it … because God. wow. that is so powerful.

    that intensity, though … living in that intensity for so long … keeping up that intense protection … when he left, there was so much relief in some ways, but … others … my physical mind and body paid for that. it takes it out of a body. i wish i could get some of that energy back i had back then – i could really use it now 🙂

    • Oh, and here’s another angle….

      If he had a porn addiction going into the marriage, here is why he [wrongly] assumed that you could fix that. A friend of mine on Twitter, a therapist, pointed this out…

      Your brain, biochemically, responds differently to porn than it does to real sex. With porn, the response is overwhelmingly a dopamine response, much like you get from taking opioids whereas, with sex, the response is an oxytocin response. This is one fundamental reason why marriage will not solve a porn problem. It’s like trying to fuel a diesel engine with gasoline.

      He was expecting you to give him the dopamine response. That would not have been possible. The only fix for that would have been for him to realize that he, not you, was responsible for his problems and that the resolution of them required for him to take ownership of those problems.

      Did he necessarily acquire his porn addiction by choice? I don’t know the answer to that. If he was exposed at an early age–and/or had been shamed over it–that might have given him an 0-2 count going into puberty.

      That does not excuse his sins, but it would explain how he could get snagged. That same dynamic happens on a mass scale today with teens, given the easy-availability of high-def porn on the Interwebz.

      Had someone with gravitas sat down with him early in life and explained to him that self-regulation in this department will not be easy and may take years–and that marriage alone would not fix that–he may have had a different outcome. But with a hyper-fundamentalist paradigm in which these things never received sober, rational treatment, his issues were buried.

      • he did have the addiction before we met, though i didn’t know it then. this was the 80’s, so not internet 🙂

        and he did tell me once that he thought getting married would ‘cure’ his addiction, and he was very disappointed when it didn’t. and … now that i’ve been married to another man and have a point of comparison … although i knew how he did things in that area were … not right, now i can really know they were not right. it was as though he was trying to get something that he could never get and therefore was perpetually unsatisfied and even angry with/after sex, and that was always extremely frustrating and perplexing to me. add to that he would always say, “It’s me, not you.” but i didn’t know what that meant … until i did, and by then he was blaming me for everything.

        sigh.

        so much sadness and tragedy in all of that. 🙁

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