Face The Agonizing Truth About Yourself Will Help Stop The Abuse

In my opinion, many people confuse telling people about what they did to contribute to their own problems with who they are.

My character is made up of the little choices I make everyday, and when I take stock of all the choices, and lump them into categories, I can see clearly who I am.

Healing From Gaslighting

This process helped me come back to reality. Being married to a pornography and sexual addict who often used gaslighting to avoid As an abuse victim and the wife of a man with a pornography addiction, I had a hard time separating out reality. Was I really as awful as my husband described? Was it really wrong to ask questions and share my opinions? Was it really wrong to ask him to stop swearing? Was it really wrong to . . . 

I discovered that because of my fear and desire to control the situation I developed control issues. From the beginning of our marriage, my husband struggled with anger and depression. So I took it upon myself to help him with his mental health. 

I Tried To Manage My Husband’s Mood

One way I tried to manage my husband’s mood was to “help” him with his clothes and the way he walked. I can see now how controlling this was – and non-sensical. I wanted my husband to be comfortable and confident, so I endeavored to pester him about his shoes and clothes. I have a lot of remorse about this. At the time, I would tell myself that all women do this. Or I would justify it by my intention, which was to “help” him. But even when he had what I thought was comfortable, more up to date clothes, obviously it didn’t solve his narcissistic traits, abusive outbursts and addiction problems.

I am so sorry about that. It must have felt sad from his perspective. I really love my husband and when I think about the way my desperation for safety affected him, I want so badly to tell him how sorry I am, and for him to feel it. When we were together, I tried many times. But as he was escalating, I repeatedly asked for his forgiveness for these things, and it generally led to more gaslighting and accusations, rather than connection. 

I have not yet been able to make amends with my husband, and my therapist and sponsor say it will be a gift from God when it happens. So in the meantime, my way to make living amends to send him goodwill. To pray for him that he will have the same things I want for myself. Peace, safety and security.

I Am Right With God – I Hope

I went to the temple and participated in a religious ceremony called “sealings” with my parents last week. I was nervous, as I knew it would be facing some difficult emotions. When the first couple knelt and the sealer started, I felt a sense of peace wash over me that I had indeed kept my covenants (the promises I made to got on my wedding day). I had cared deeply for my husband and sought his welfare through-out our marriage, despite my crazy attempts to establish safety in non-sensical ways. I felt completely connected with God – for about two minutes.

Then I started crying, sobbing, uncontrollably. I gasped. I cried my way through actually performing one set of sealings, and then I excused myself. As I stumbled to the celestial room, temple workers reached out, as if to say, “Can I help you?” I just kept walking and sobbing until I got to celestial room, and sat in my usual chair at the very back of the room – the chair where I feel like I have the most privacy. And I cried. 

I have done this almost every week. I sit in that chair in the temple, and I cry. I ask for God to direct me and help me. And even though my life is peaceful now. Our home is peaceful and it has an amazing feeling, I am still struggling with grief, feelings of being abandoned, and trauma. I have learned to recognize that my feelings aren’t because things aren’t right. Things are exactly how they should be. It’s because it will take time to heal from the ordeal.

So I’m using this time to really see myself as I am. Who am I? And then I’m asking God to turn me in to who He wants me to be. It obviously a long process, but I’m on the path, and I’m grateful to be where I am.

How Do I Know If My Abusive Husband Is Changing?

For the first few weeks after my husband’s arrest, I felt like the domestic violence shelter wasn’t really helping me. I couldn’t get answers to my questions. They looked at me like I had some disease.

I know now why they were looking at me like that – they were very concerned. They were concerned because I said things like, “My husband is such a great guy! He can’t be abusive. He has an anger problem he’s been working on, but it’s not abuse.”

Then I learned more, and I realized that he had been abusive since before we married. So then I said, “Well, he’s not the typical abuser.”

I said, “He’s struggled with a pornography addiction and comes from an abusive family, he needs help! How can we get him some help.”

Basically, they kept saying, “You need to read this book.”

“Have you read the book yet?”

The book Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft. And no, I hadn’t read it yet. 

And then I read it. And then I understood why they were worried. I was in denial. I was in danger. I was the one who needed help. I needed some serious help. Around this time, I started working on my own recovery.

Here are some excerpts taken from Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft.

Abused Women Need To Know What To Look For

Bancroft says, “My fifteen years of working day in and day out with abusive men have left me certain of one thing: There are no shortcuts to change, no magical overnight transformations, no easy ways out. Change is difficult, uncomfortable work. My job as a counselor is to dive into the elaborate tangle that makes up an abuser’s thinking and assist the man to untie the knots. The project is not hopeless – if the man is willing to work hard – but it is complex and painstaking. For him, remaining abusive is in many ways easier than stepping out of his pattern. Yet there are some men who decide to dig down inside themselves, root out the values that drive their abusive behavior, and develop a truly new way of interacting with a female partner. The challenge for an abused woman is to learn how to tell whether her partner is serious about overcoming his abusiveness.

“The first challenge with an abusive man is to motivate him to work on himself. Because he becomes attached to the many rewards that his . . . intimidating behaviors bring him, he is highly reluctant to make significant changes in his way of operating in a relationship. This reluctance cannot be overcome through gentle persuasion, pleading or cajoling by the woman. I am sorry to say that I have never once seen such approaches succeed. The men who make significant progress . . . are the ones who know that their partners will definitely leave them unless they change, and the ones on probation who have a tough probation officer who demands that they really confront their abusiveness. In other words, the initial impetus to change is always extrinsic rather than self-motivated. Even when a man does feel genuinely sorry for the ways his behavior has hurt his partner, I have never seen his remorse alone suffice to get him to become serious [about changing his behavior].

After a few months of deep work . . . some men do start to develop intrinsic reasons for change, such as starting to feel real empathy for their partners’ feelings, developing awareness of how their behavior has been harming their children, or even sometimes realizing that they themselves enjoy life more when they aren’t abusive, despite all the privileges of abuse they have to give up. But it takes a long time for an abusive man to get to that point.

” . . . the majority of abusive men do not make deep and lasting changes . . . For an abusive man to make genuine progress he needs to go through a complex and critical set of steps . . . “

When I learned about these steps, my first thought was to give my husband a copy of this chapter of the book. Then he would know what to do! I thought. But my victim advocate, my sponsor, and my therapist advised against it. Over the seven years of our marriage, my husband had become expert at mimicking healthy behaviors, without really changing. He was an actor. And I did not want to give him the script. I needed to see real change to amend the Do Not Contact order, and he had to figure that out for himself.

Same goes for you. It is not advisable to give your abuser or the addict in your life this list. The wise thing is to set boundaries until you see the following behaviors. That is the only way you can know if they are really changing.

Signs The Narcissistic Behaviors Are Changing

Taken from Lundy Bancroft’s book, Why Does He Do That?

1. Admit fully his history of psychological, sexual, and physical abusiveness toward any current or past partners who he has abused. Denial and minimizing need to stop, including discrediting your memory of what happened. he can’t change if he is continuing to cover up, to others or himself, important parts of what he has done.

2. Acknowledge that abuse was wrong, unconditionally. He needs to identify the justifications he has tended to use, including the various ways that he may have blamed you, and to talk in detail about why his behaviors were unacceptable without slipping back into defending them.

3. Acknowledge that his behavior was a choice, not a loss of control. For example, he needs to recognize that there is a moment during each incident at which he gives himself permission to become abusive and that he chooses how far to let himself go.

4. Recognize the effect his abuse had had on you and your children, and show empathy for those. He needs to talk in detail about the short – and long – term impact his abuse had had, including fear, loss of trust, anger . . . And he needs to do this without reverting to feeling sorry for himself or talking about how hard the experience has been for him.

5. Identify in detail his pattern of controlling behaviors and entitled attitudes. He needs to speak in detail about the day-to-day tactics of abuse he has used. Equally important, he must be able to identify his underlying beliefs and values that have driven those behaviors, such as considering himself entitled to constant attention, looking down on you as inferior, or believing that men aren’t responsible for their actions if “provoked” by a partner.

6. Develop respectful behaviors and attitudes to replace the abusive ones he’s stopping. You can look for examples such as improving how well he listens to you during conflicts and at other times . . . He has to demonstrate that he has come to accept the face that you have rights and they are equal to his.

7. Re-evaluate his distorted image of you, replacing it with a more positive and empathic view. He has to recognize that he has had mental habits of focusing on and exaggerating his grievances against you and his perceptions of your weaknesses to begin instead to compliment you and pay attention to your strengths and abilities.

8. Make amends for the damage he has done. He has to develop a sense that he has a debt to you and to your children as a result of his abusiveness. He can start to make up somewhat for his actions by being consistently kind and supportive, putting his own needs ton the back burner for a couple of years, talking with people who he has misled in regard to the abuse and admitting to them that he lied, paying for objects that he has damaged, and many other steps related to cleaning up the emotional and literal messes that his behaviors have caused.

9. Accept the consequences of his actions. he should stop whining about, or blaming you for, problems that are the result of his abuse, such as your loss of desire to be sexual with him, the children’s tendency to prefer you, or the fact that his is on probation.

10. Commit to not repeating his abusive behaviors and honor that commitment. He should not place any conditions on his improvement, such as saying that he won’t . . . [swear] long as you don’t raise your voice to him. If he does backslide, he cannot justify his abusive behaviors by saying, “ButI’ve done great for five months; you can’t expect me to be perfect,” as if a good period earned him chips to spend on occasional abuse.

11. Accept the need to give up his privileges and do so. This means saying good-bye to double standards, to flirting with other women, to taking off . . . while you look after the children, and to being allowed to express anger while you are not.

12. Accept that overcoming abusiveness is likely to be a life-long process. He at not time can claim that his work is done by saying to you, “I’ve changed but you haven’t,” or complain that he is sick of hearing about his abuse . . . and that “it’s time to get past all that.” He needs to come to terms with the fact that he will probably need to be working on his issues for good and that you may feel the effects of what he has done for many years.

13. Be willing to be accountable for his actions, both past and future. His attitude that he is above reproach has to be replaced with a willingness to accept feedback and criticism, to be honest about any backsliding, and to be answerable for what he does and how it affects you and your children.

Abusive Men Must Give Up Their Attitude Of Entitlement

Bancroft asserts that, “Abusive men don’t make lasting changes if they skip any of the above steps, and some are easier than others. Most of my clients find it fairly easy to apologize, for example. In fact, an abuser may weave apologies into his pattern of abuse, so that when he says “I’m sorry” it becomes another weapon in his hand. His unspoken rule may be that once he has apologized, no matter how cursorily or devoid of sincerity, his partner must be satisfied; she is not to make any further efforts to show her feelings about his mistreatment, nor may she demand that he fix anything. If she tries to say anything more about the incident, he jumps right back into abuse mode, saying such things as, “I already told you I was sorry. Now shut up about it.”

“But even a genuine and sincere apology is only a starting point. Many of my clients make it through the first three steps: They admit to a substantial portion of their abuse; they agree that their actions resulted from choice rather than a loss of control; and they apologize. Then they dig is their heels at that point. An abuser’s sense of entitlement is like a rude, arrogant voice screaming inside his head. It yells at him: “You’ve given up too much already. Don’t budge another inch. They already talked you into saying your abuse is all your own fault when you know she’s at least half to blame because of [what she does]. She should be grateful to you for apologizing; that wasn’t easy to do. She’s lucky you’ve gone this far; a lot of guys [wouldn’t do that]” And the voice drags him back into the mud that he had finally taken a couple of baby steps out of.

“Step number four, for example, demands that the abusive man accept his partner’s right to be angry. He actually has to take seriously the furious things that she says and think about them rather than using her emotional pitch as an excuse to stuff her opinions back down her throat. When I explain this step, my clients at first look at me as though I had an eye in the middle of my forehead. “I should do what?? When she is yelling at me, I’m supposed to just sit there and take it??” To which I reply, “More than that, actually. You should reflect on the points she is making and respond to them in a thoughtful way.”

Abusers often think, “I don’t mind changing some of what I do as long as I don’t have to give up the attitudes and behaviors that are most precious to me”

“At some point during the first few months that a man is in my program, I usually stumble upon the core of his privilege, like a rear bunker on his terrain. He may abandon a few of his forward positions, but this fortification is where he surrounds himself with sandbags and settles in for protracted war. A client may agree to [answer his wife’s questions in a calm voice], for example, but when I tell him that he needs to [stay engaged in a conversation, even it it’s uncomfortable], he draws the line. If being a respectful partner requires [he stop stomping out of the house when his wife is trying to talk to him], he’d rather be abusive.

“An abuser who does not relinquish his core entitlements will not remain non-abusive. This may be the single most-overlooked point regarding abusers and change. The progress that such a man appears to be making is an illusion. If he reserves the right to bully his partner to protect even one specific privilege, he is keeping the abuse option open. And if he keeps it open, he will gradually revert to using it more and more, until his prior range of [intimidating] behaviors has been restored to full glory.

“Abusers attach themselves tightly to their privileges and come to find the prospect of having equal rights and responsibilities, living on the same plane as their partners, almost unbearable. They resent women who require them to change and persuade themselves that they are victims of unfair treatment because they are losing their lopsided luxuries. But they can’t change unless they are willing to relinquish that special status.

Signs He Is Not Changing

Mr. Bancroft gives a list of things that indicate for certain that the abuser is not changing:

  • He says he can only change if you change too.
  • He says he can change only if you “help” him change, by giving him emotional support, reassurance, forgiveness, by spending a lot of time with him. 
  • He criticizes you for not realizing how much he has changed.
  • He criticizes you for not trusting that his change will last.
  • He criticizes you for considering him capable of behaving abusively even though he has in fact done so in the past as if you should know that he “would never do something like that”, even though he has.
  • He reminds you about the bad things he would have done in the past, but isn’t doing anymore, which amounts to a subtle threat.
  • He tells you that you are taking too long to make up your mind, that he can’t “wait forever,” as a way to pressure you not to take the time you need to collect yourself and to assess how much he’s really willing to change.
  • He blames his behavior, the situation or his choices on you.
  • He says, “I’m changing. I’m changing.” but you don’t feel it.

I encourage you to read Why Does He Do That? It helped me put all my husband’s past and current attitudes, behaviors, and choices in perspective. It gave me a way to tell, even with a Do Not Contact Order, if my husband was safe enough to interact with. Because I did not see my husband take those critical steps, and he was exhibiting the behaviors listed in the “Signs He’s Not Changing” category, I held my no contact boundary and will continue to hold my boundary until my husband exhibits the recovery behaviors from this list.

Why Completing A Painful Step 4 Helps Victims Of Abuse?

Other Women Express Their Pain From Betrayal & Corresponding Narcissistic Behaviors

Here are a few of the emails I’ve received since starting the podcast.

My love and support go out to all women who are harmed, neglected emotionally, financially and physically, abused, and abandoned by their husbands – and then blamed for it. The pain and burden we carry is excruciating. Stay the course, and God will come to our aid. I love you! God loves you! 

Crying For Three Days Non-Stop

I’m so amazed and grateful to have come across your podcast. I’ve experienced your devastating sadness at not only the abuse, but the loss and subsequent emotional confusion and inconsolable emotional pain.

I’m a 57-year-old woman. I was married for 28 years. My marriage fell apart. I have three daughters: 36, 26, 25.

I can’t write anymore, as its too painful and I’ve been crying for three days non-stop. Today I’ve been a bit more together. Finally aware now that my husband abused me. I have no idea how I come across your beautiful courageous podcast. Thank you !!! God Bless !!!

When You Cried and No One Came, God Was There

Thanks for this podcast. You are not alone in your grief. I just want to let you know that in the podcast when you say you cried and cried and felt like no one came to help you, God heard you. I am going through the trauma side by side with you. Although it’s a different situation, it’s similar, and it all leads to betrayal.

Betrayal hurts.

The thought of my husband doing this to me has taken time to grasp. Once light is shone on the darkness that lingered in my marriage it all began to make sense. In my despair, I cried to God and He opened my eyes. Lifted the blame and guilt that my husband was transferring to me and He allowed me see what was really going on.

I thought I could make my marriage work. Not break our family. I thought I could stick it out. But as I tried harder to get through to my husband, to make him understand how his behavior hurt me – the coldness in my husband made me realize this was not ok.

15 years of marriage and God lead me to discover the truth. Painful and difficult to come to terms with seeing my marriage and family falling apart. I too have cried many nights days in a state of disbelief and pain unlike anything I have ever experienced. The man I thought cared loved and understood me, my husband, has caused me so much pain.

It all make sense now. His lack of empathy. His dishonesty. His indifference. As reality as been brought to light, so to has pain. A pain that seems too painful at times to bear. Loneliness, despair accompany it. However, mighty is our Heavenly Father who does not forsake us. Who comforts us. 

Psalm 23: The Lord Is My Shepherd.

 1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

 3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Somehow I found your podcast. To hear someone me else going through this trauma at the same time as me brings me comfort that I am not alone. Neither are you. God is there with you
through His guidance you inspire me. I feel your pain. You are not alone. Through the strength He is giving you, you are comforting others.

God’s Hand Is In This Somehow

I just wanted to say thank you for creating this podcast!

This is exactly what I’ve been needing. Your story is similar to mine. After promising myself if he ever hurt me again I’d call the police, I called when my husband threw me across the room.

He broke my trust again. I was trying to talk to him about it, expressing my pain, and he responded by throwing me across the room.

I don’t know why things have played out the way they have, but all I know is that God’s hand is in this somehow. I think God knew I would always stay no matter what, and now He has given me an opportunity for a way out. I am seeing now that the way my husband chooses to deal with the situation has caused further damage to my children and me. He has caused us so much more pain.

I too have been given the answer to wait as I ask God what I should do. I don’t know how it’s all going to end, but I know if I trust in God, He will take care of me.

Thank you again! 

God Will Not Suffer Their Cries Any Longer

Righteous women across the globe are feeling the weight and suffering the consequences of their husband’s sad choices. The following scriptures give me comfort that in the end, God will give us rest from our worries and troubles.

If it’s not fine, it’s not the end:).

Mormon 8:41

41 Behold, the sword of vengeance hangeth over you; and the time soon cometh that he avengeth the blood of the saints upon you, for he will not suffer their cries any longer.

Doctrine and Covenants 109:49

49 O Lord, how long wilt thou suffer this people to bear this affliction, and the cries of their innocent ones to ascend up in thine ears, and their blood come up in testimony before thee, and not make a display of thy testimony in their behalf?

*Emails have been edited to protect anonymity and to correct spelling/grammar errors.

How To Feel Peace When Your Husband Is Unfaithful

Defining Boundaries In Relation To Sexual Addiction & Narcissistic Behaviors

Thanks to Dr. Adam Moore for this description of boundaries:

Boundaries are like fences between neighbors. They define the limits of a relationship. They give us safety and structure, define appropriate and inappropriate ways to interact. 

When a husband uses pornography or engages in emotional or sexual infidelity, emotional abuse and narcissistic behaviors generally result. The abuse can be in the form of angry attacks, criticism, or stonewalling. Emotional neglect is also a form of mental abuse.

These behaviors affect wives. No matter how we try to avoid it, we can’t control our husband’s behavior or the affect it has on us – UNLESS we learn to set boundaries.

Wives of Sex Addicts Feel Confused

Wives of addicts often struggle with confusion about how the set and enforce boundaries. Most are confused about what to do, and how to solve their problems. Also, because we are frequently victims of gaslighting, it’s hard sometimes to sort out the reality of our situations.

Generally speaking, they look to change their husband as a way to avoid being abused, but that only perpetuates the problem.

What Are Boundaries?


1. Define limits of relationships.
2. Are healthy responses to someone violating you.
3. Serve to keep you safe while someone who has hurt you rebuilds your trust.
4. Protect you from repeated harm.

Boundaries Are Not:

1. Retribution.
2. A way to force someone to act the way you want.
3. A way to avoid emotional pain.
4. An excuse to emotionally disconnect.

A Healthy Way To Respond To A Sex Addict When Narcissistic Behaviors Are Present

Many wives of addicts find themselves taking responsibility for the behavior of their husband, in an effort to stop the negative consequences that naturally occur from such behavior. Boundaries are the opposite of becoming responsible for his behaviors or recovery. 

Some warning signs that you may be crossing into becoming responsible for the negative behaviors of a sex addict are:

1. Giving constant reminders of recovery behaviors (have you set a therapy appointment, are you reading your scriptures, etc).
2. Experiencing trauma (intense, consistent emotional reactions) to his lack of recovery behaviors.
3. Pushing or coercing him into doing things he has committed to do, but is not doing.
4. Basing your commitment to your own recovery on his progress in his recovery.
5. Numbing or disconnecting from your emotions.
6. Manipulating or controlling the addict.

Good boundaries will help you abstain from these unhealthy responses. 

Personal Boundaries And Relational Boundaries

You set personal boundaries for yourself. Your own trauma may sometimes lead you to unhealthy responses to your husband’s perceptions and behaviors. This might include zoning out, punishing, controlling or managing others. Examples of personal boundary statements are:

1. I can choose my responses to my husband’s behaviors. I do not have to let my trauma control how I respond.
2. Instead of shaming him for hurting me, I’ll take care of myself in a healthy way. After he’s earned my trust, I’ll share my feelings and needs with him.
3. I’ll decide when and how I begin to trust him again.
4. I’ll work my own recovery, regardless of what he is doing.
5. Instead of numbing or disconnecting when I’m in pain, I’ll reach out to safe people and share with them how I am feeling.
6. I choose not to be responsible for his choices.

Relational boundary statements sound like this:

1. Even if you decide not to work recovery, I will continue to do my own recovery work.
2. If you act out in your addiction or abuse me, I’ll ask you not to sleep in my bed until I feel safe with you again.
3. I will feel much safer and consider trusting again if you are attending weekly SAL 12 Step meetings. If you chose not to go, I’ll be limited in my ability to emotionally connect with you.
4. If you blame me for your behaviors, choices and perceptions, I will not argue with your or defend myself. I will stop communicating with you until I feel safe again.
5. I will not have sex with you when I feel coerced or emotionally disconnected from you.
6. If you don’t work toward understanding how your addiction and abuse have affected me, and if you continue to excuse your behavior, I will move toward separation from you. In this state, you are not safe to be around.

Defining and enforcing boundaries is very difficult for wives of sex addicts. However, our safety depends on it. It’s often the defining process of our recovery and the true start of our healing.

Much of the content of this post is from Dr. Adam Moore’s post: Defining and Enforcing Boundaries In Sexual Addiction Recovery.

Boundaries And Surrendering Go Hand In Hand

When I started to set boundaries, things got much worse for me. At first, I stopped initiating sex with my husband. Instead of connecting with me and initiating sex himself, he started isolating more. Then I asked him to sleep downstairs. He didn’t work toward getting back upstairs, but told me that he planned on living like that. He also told me he was using pornography and masturbating again, so I asked him to move out.

He refused to move out, but was eventually removed from the home by the police when he physically assaulted me. My boundary after that was that I would not have contact with him, except for texting about the kids or through my father. He did not use his ability to contact me through my father to build safety or trust, but rather to continue to abuse me. Then he abandoned his family by deciding to file for divorce.

Before this, many many women in recovery told me that when I focused on my own recovery and set boundaries, things would get better. Even my husband told me that if I focused on my recovery he would do better.

For me, things just got worse and worse. Until my family was destroyed. Does that mean I shouldn’t set boundaries, heck no! I wasn’t safe. Not setting boundaries didn’t make me safe. Setting them has kept me safe from an abuser and addict. 

I have had to surrender my husband’s choices to continually take one step after another away from recovery and away from our family by separating bank accounts, moving all his stuff, not seeing the kids often, etc. It has been extremely painful to watch. But because I was in recovery, I was able to watch him make these choices, feel the pain of the consequences without taking responsibility for his choices.