What I Wish I’d Done Differently During Separation and Divorce, Part Two: Survivor Wisdom Series

Here’s the second installment in my Survivor Wisdom Series. Covert abuse survivors share their advice on what they wish they’d done differently during their separation, divorce, and when talking to family, friends and their church about the abuse. They also share what they wish they’d known about the Christian doctrines that kept them trapped in their marriages.

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Unraveling Spiritual Abuse and Lies Abused Christian Women Struggle With: Part One: Our Broken Church

There are serious problems, lies, and deceptions in the church that are undermining its ability to represent Christ and fulfill His intentions. These deceptions create much of the spiritual abuse that abused Christian are subjected to. Four of those problems severely impact abused women of faith: bible mistranslations, misogyny, power and the hierarchy church structure, and a refusal to define evil from God’s perspective.

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Unraveling Spiritual Abuse and Lies Abused Christian Women Struggle With: Part Two: Lies About God

“God allows abuse to happen for a reason” “God is in control of everything (and therefore, everyone)” “God suffered, so you need to suffer too” “Because God is faithful, He will heal your marriage”

Have you heard these lies from Christians when you’ve tried to get help with your emotionally abusive marriage? It’s time to look at the misinformation and brainwashing we’ve been subjected to about who God is.

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Lies About What Godliness Is: Unraveling Spiritual Abuse and Lies Abused Christian Women Struggle With– Part Three

“It’s gossip to talk about abuse.” “You need to love your husband unconditionally.” “Love covers a multitude of sins.” “Keep no record of wrongs.” “Think on good things.”
Women are being told how to be “godly” in their marriage by pastors and well-meaning Christians who don’t understand psychological and emotional abuse, or how God’s wants us to respond to spousal abuse. They are telling us things that aren’t true.

The reason we’re susceptible to these lies is because we want to be godly, we want to have a pure heart, and we want to be loving. In fact, we want to be, and are, all the things that they are accusing us of not being.

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Lies About Forgiveness: Unraveling Spiritual Abuse and Lies Abused Christian Women Struggle With– Part Four

“You have to forgive him because God forgave you.” “He said he was sorry.” “You need to forgive him and put the hurt behind you.” “You’re just being bitter.” “It’s a sin to be angry- you need to forgive.”

When we hear these accusations, we get incredibly confused and start condemning ourselves. We WANT to be Godly, to be forgiving, and to be loving. All too often, rather than supporting us, our advisors and friends create a landmine of accusation that adds to our betrayal and heaps condemnation on us.

Those who accuse us are asking to give up our own safety and sanity to be a “good Christian” because they don’t understand what forgiveness really means in the bible. So let’s look at what forgiveness means, and the lies we’ve been told about it.

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Lies About Wives: Unraveling Spiritual Abuse and Lies Abused Christian Women Struggle With- Part Five

“You need to give God time to work in his heart.” “You need to pray harder.” “God says wives must be submissive.” “You need to give him sex.” “You need to have empathy for your husband’s failings.”

Many of the lies we’re told as wives treat men as if they need us to take responsibility for their walk with God, we need to help men with their “normal man issues” (ie lust), we have to treat them with kid gloves, we have to accept their emotional immaturity, and we have to behave perfectly or they just can’t help themselves from being “harsh” with us.

Why is it okay for Christian men to have fragile egos, to be out of control with their sexual lust, to be immature in their own relationships with God, to be emotionally clueless, and to have to be taken care of like children?

Let’s take a look at some of the damaging rubbish covertly abused women have been told about their roles in their husbands lives.

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Lies About Husbands: Unraveling Spiritual Abuse and Lies Abused Christian Women Struggle With– Part Six

“The man is the head of the household and your covering.” “You need to respect your husband no matter what.” “We are all sinners.” “He’s a Christian.”

Let’s look at the common teachings about husbands that create an atmosphere that promotes and justifies abuse.

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Lies About Marriage: Unraveling Spiritual Abuse and Lies Abused Christian Women Struggle With– Part Seven

“Marriage is not meant to make you happy, it’s meant to make you holy.” “God hates divorce.” “Marriage is a sacred oath, till death do us part.” “You have to save the marriage, even if you’re the only one trying.” “You need marriage counseling.” “It’s bad for the kids to leave because they need a father.”

Covertly abused women of faith are torn to shreds over having to get a divorce and it’s an agonizing decision that no woman takes lightly. We stick with our marriages for years and years past the point of hope. We pay for that with our emotional and mental well-being, and our physical health. And these are some lies that have kept us in this bondage.

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Lies About Feelings and Faith: Unraveling Spiritual Abuse and Lies Abused Christian Women Struggle With– Part Eight

“Your feelings lie to you.” “Just get on with your life.” “Just renew your mind.” “You don’t have enough faith.” “Rejoice in all things.” “God is all you need.”

When we are being covertly emotional and psychologically abused, our husband is creating an unpredictable environment for us, and inducing instability into our emotions and mind. We’re afraid of ourselves, full of self-doubt, afraid of the future, feeling guilty, berating ourselves for our “failures,” not trusting others, feeling alone and misunderstood. But none of this is sin. None of this is a character failing on our part. We’re the product of the abusive environment we are living in. Our feelings don’t originate in our sin. They originate in our husband’s sin against us. If you’ve been told you’re in sin, or you don’t have enough faith, when you’re having these feelings, that’s just another form of spiritual abuse.

 

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Why Was I Abused? Part One: Am I Co-dependent? Did I Choose an Abuser?

Have you ever wondered “Why did I attract / choose an abuser?” Have you wondered if you’re co-dependent? Have you been reading articles that encourage you to do deep soul-searching to find your part in being abused?

 Ouch! Take a deep breath and read on because I want to set you free from that guilt and self-blame. You’ve had enough of it from your abuser (and probably from your church).

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Why Was I Abused? Part Two: Targeted and Exploited by an Abuser

You were abused because you were targeted by a character disordered, skilled abuser who presented a false persona to fool you into trusting him. Everyone is vulnerable to covert abusers because they are experts at their game. How many people in your life believe your abuser’s a great guy? Probably almost all of them. Are they all co-dependent? I doubt it. Do they all have the traits that you blame yourself for having that “caused you to be abused”? I doubt that too.

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Learn to Recognize 26 Covert Abuse Tactics

Do you know why it's important to learn about the covert tactics that are being used on you? Because this is absolutely the fastest way to get out of feeling crazy. These tactics frame the ongoing, secret mind games that are meant to systematically manipulate your psychology and emotions. Covert abusers cloak these tactics in concern, love, charm, praise, fake empathy, trustworthiness, smiles and pretending to be your biggest supporter. They are under the radar and hidden so that you, the target, can’t easily identify what’s going on.

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8 Burning Questions When You Realize You're Being Covertly Abused

How Do I Accept That My Worst Nightmare Is True? What Do I Do Now? My Life Is Turned Upside Down- How Do I Deal With This? How Can I Fix Things? How Do I Set Boundaries With A Covert Abuser? Why Did This Happen To Me? Did I Do Anything Right? What Does Healthy Look Like?

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Sanity Roadmap- The Eight Stages to Getting Free and Healing from Covert Abuse

Your world has been spinning around in confusion- this roadmap of the stages of healing you’ll go through coming out of covert abuse can give you some solid ground to walk on. What stage are you in?

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