Abuse, Church, Narcissism

Introduction: Thinking out loud…

I like to write but never considered having my own blog. Sometimes getting things out on paper (or a computer screen) is cathartic. You feel better having written it and can move on. But I never considered writing my thoughts out for other people to read. There is a lot of risk going public, not to mention the terrifying thought of baring my soul. In writing….

On a blog….

Publicly….

(Blink Blink)

I have gone back and forth on this, writing for my own amelioration or writing to reach out and attempt to help others, but it comes down to this. Do I have anything of value to offer? Can sharing my struggles and thoughts and battles and experiences be useful to other people in my situation? I believe the answer is yes.

When I was searching for answers and information on the internet and I would come across another woman’s comments, posts or stories, I saw a reflection of myself or a description of my former spouse and either it was revelatory or confirmed that what I was experiencing was not right or normal. I found a lot of good information on the web, but I also saw a hole. A big gaping hole. I will describe this hole in a moment, but first allow me to explain exactly what this blog is to be about.

In 1997, I met the man I was going to marry. We dated and 3 years later we married. Things went wrong from early on. Some of these details I will not share as they are not necessary and intensely personal, but I will give examples and recount details along the way that I believe will be important in helping identify common traits of a narcissist. While not officially diagnosed as a narcissist, my husband followed the unwritten rule book I will refer to as “Narcissism 101.” He was very textbook. In fact, after I separated from him in January of last year (more on that later),  he did some of his own half hearted research on narcissism and was shocked to find out how much of his reading described him. (That has changed now)

I did not share with anyone what I was going through except for a few details with one person whom I felt I could trust. What I shared though did not even scratch the surface.

Fast forward 15 years and my situation had really started getting out of hand. My husband was unraveling. He was not stable and constantly angry. In one of the hardest decisions I have ever made, I left the state with my children and drove 900 miles to take safe-haven with my family. I thought I would return in a few weeks and things would be better. I could not have been more wrong. His behavior became worse.

I did return to the state; six months later with a divorce underway and legal protection.

It is these events and the struggles I went through that I intend to share with you. Many of the articles I will post have already been written. Many were written as I was going through the worst of it. Some are very raw. You will be reading my heart on paper. My intent, however, is not just to write a public diary for all to see. My hope is that my writings will fall into the hands of other women who feel alone, ashamed, helpless, or hopeless and give courage to these women to take control of their lives and put an end to their suffering.

Believe it or not, you do not always recognize what you are going through as abuse. For those of you who have never been through it, that is a hard concept to get. But if in reading these posts you see yourself in them, you need to keep reading. I will recommend some credible sources where you can get valuable help and advice.

Which brings me back to my point about the hole. My situation falls into a particular niche. I was in a fundamental Baptist church. That has been my denomination from the age of seven. A few years ago I went to my pastor for help. I went back to him for help again nearly two years later. This was because the first time I received “help,”  it lasted approximately two months. I went to several church leaders. Every single time the ball was dropped. I will not go into detail right now how I finally got help but that will come. I was told that I needed to consider my part in my situation (despite my husband’s abusive behavior).  I was advised to seek couples counseling. Meanwhile, he was allowed to be a leader in the church and continued to be so even after I went for help. Lastly, I was going to be church disciplined for having an unresolved conflict with my brother in Christ (my husband). This is how my seeking divorce was viewed by the church leadership at that time. I am no longer a member of that church.

I was let down by my church, church leaders and pastor. I went for help and received none. I am fortunate however, to have had friends in the church that saw this and went so far as to terminate their church membership as well at the threat of also facing discipline for their involvement in my situation and their refusal to back down. I want to make it clear that I do not believe that all churches are like this. That all church leaders and pastors are like this. That Christians in general will hold to these views. I know plenty of Christians who were appalled by this. However, as much as I would like to believe that mine is an uncommon situation, it is not.

Time and again you read personal accounts of other women who were advised to go back into abusive situations and try harder. Pray. Work on themselves. Many were told they were bound to the covenant of marriage and had no right to leave. It is these women in particular that I hope to reach.

Even if that is not your situation, I hope you find hope and encouragement and strength in my posts and learn what you need to know about gaining freedom in your life. Freedom comes in many forms. It will not look the same for everyone. My hope is that if my story sounds familiar and either you are someone you are close to are in the same situation you will be inspired to get help and find freedom.

Becky

 

 

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6 Comments

  • Reply Carol January 18, 2017 at 4:02 pm

    Beautifully written! May God redeem your years of pain by helping you help others. I look forward to reading more.

    • Reply Rebecca January 27, 2017 at 1:50 pm

      Thank you for the encouragement Carol!

      Becky

  • Reply Joyce January 19, 2017 at 5:20 pm

    I’m so glad you are able to not blame God for this church’s actions. How sad, but true, that Christians are often least willing to believe the abused and know how to help. And how blessed to have someone who did believe you and knew how to help. Keep writing ..

    • Reply Rebecca January 27, 2017 at 1:51 pm

      Joyce,
      I do hope to help other Christians see that abuse is alive and well in the church and most often hidden behind smiles and seemingly happy families. I hope that my personal accounts will help others recognize signs and not be afraid to get involved and believe what is being said even if it appears very different from the outside.
      Thank you for your encouragement,
      Becky

  • Reply Laura January 28, 2017 at 12:14 am

    I am immensely proud of you for summoning the strength to get out of such a vicious situation and have been praying regularly for you ever since I heard of your plight. I pray you will continue to stand strong with God’s help. Never let yourself be entrapped by your tormentor again for I know he continues his evil onslaught even now- remember there are many who love and pray for you. You have value beyond all measure given to you by God, need I say more?

  • Reply Ginger June 27, 2017 at 3:06 am

    Dear Becky,
    I am so very sorry for what you and your children have endured. Thank you for sharing your story to help others. If you are looking for a church home, the Episcopal Church welcomes you!
    Sincerely,
    Ginger
    https://www.episcopalchurch.org

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