When you’re on the precipice, asking yourself, “should I stay or should I go?” after betrayal and abuse, it can be helpful to ask yourself questions that will guide you to safety.
Claire is on the podcast, finishing her four-part interview with Anne. Tune in and read the full transcript below.
Do I Have to Babysit My Husband?
Ask yourself: Am I my husband’s babysitter? Healthy, mature, adult men do not require babysitters – in fact, they understand the entitled, controlling, and misogynistic attitudes that fuel abusive men who treat their wives like babysitters.
You may be your husband’s babysitter, if you:
- Have to check computers, phones, search histories, phone histories, bank transactions for signs of betrayal because he isn’t honest with you.
- Have to bail him out of legal, work, or other situations because of his inappropriate and abusive behaviors.
- Have to prod, encourage, beg, or bribe him to do basic, decent human behaviors.
- Endure his sulking, coercion, manipulation, and other forms of abuse when he doesn’t get his way.
If I Were a Billionaire, Would I Stay With My Husband?
The fear of financial insecurity can keep many women from setting safety boundaries, including separation and divorce.
Ask yourself honestly: If I were a billionaire, would I stay with my husband?
Financial insecurity is completely normal – especially if you’ve experienced financial abuse. However, consider exploring some of our resources here at BTR.ORG that can help you make decisions regarding your safety based from a place of confidence and reality rather than fear and insecurity, including:
- The BTR.ORG Workshops
- Our daily, live Group Sessions
- The BTR.ORG Books Page
- Individual Sessions with the BTR.ORG Coaches
- The BTR.ORG Podcast
Do I Have to Educate My Husband About Basic Human Decency?
Many victims are conditioned to accept this as just a part of life – having to educate their husbands on basic human decency.
- Don’t cheat on your wife and expose her to STIs.
- Don’t view pornography where children can be exposed to it.
- Don’t lie.
- Don’t punch walls/destroy property/yell in other people’s faces.
These are basic, decent human behaviors. It’s sad that grown men choose not to abide by them.
But guess what? He already knows.
And he chooses not to live like a decent human being. It is not your purpose on this planet to teach a grown, adult, fully-mature man simple, basic human behaviors like, “Don’t lie.”
If he wanted to be a basic, decent human being, he would.
Asking Yourself, “Should I Stay or Should I Go?”
BTR.ORG Is Here For You
At BTR.ORG we know how difficult it can be to ask yourself these hard questions, and even harder to answer them honestly.
If you’re on that precipice, asking yourself, “Should I stay or should I go?” then please attend a BTR.ORG Group Session today and find the validation and compassion that you deserve as you make your way to safety. We believe you. We love you.
Welcome to BTR.ORG. This is Anne. Claire and I are back on today’s episode. If you have not heard the first three parts of this conversation, go back three weeks. Start there and then join us here. Now, last week I talked about editing out a bunch of stuff. For her safety, it was really important to edit it out and so the conversation ended up seeming really intense cuz you guys don’t know a lot of the background information. That’s the same situation with this episode. We’ve edited out a lot for her safety. When I say get to safety and then observed from a safe distance, I’m not necessarily talking about divorce. What I am talking about is getting to a place where you’re separated from the harm so that you can take a breather, you can reset, get outta that fog of abuse and understand what’s really going on. So that’s what I’m talking about here.
Enroll in Our BTR.ORG Workshops TODAY!
We have a bunch of workshops to help women really understand how to do this in strategic ways. It starts with our BTR.ORG Strategy Workshop and we recommend that they’re taken in a certain order. So you can go to our workshops at btr.org/workshops and check those out. This episode starts with the end of last week’s conversation where I’m talking about perhaps different prayer strategies for women of faith. One of them being knowing that God does not want us to be abused if we feel like our situation is impossible. And this woman’s, if you knew the details which we have edited out and it you knew kind of exactly what was going on, you would understand how impossible her situation seems. And so laying it out and saying, considering that this is an impossible situation but you are God and you can do the impossible, what would you like me to do? Instead of thinking about like is he gonna change, it’s not gonna change. Be like, okay God, where are my tools? I’m gonna now build this boat. You have told me that I am a beloved daughter, that you love me and that you don’t want me to be abused.
God Does NOT Want You To Be Abused
Thank you. I appreciate it. Now where are the tools I now know about abuse. Thank you. You parted the sea. I appreciate that. Thank you. I would like to walk across, now consider there’s a scripture that says consider the armies. It’s like the Israeli something to do with Israelites in the Old Testament. I’m gonna completely butcher this. My scriptorial friend Sarah McDougal will be like, why did you even try that is so bad. But anyway, they’re like, consider these armies, they’re all powerful and they’ve got all these like weapons and resources and stuff and we don’t have anything but we want to do what’s right. God, like what do you want us to do? That type of a prayer. Like consider his abuse. Consider that I am your daughter, that you love me, that you care about me and you don’t want me to be abused and you don’t want my kids living in a home where their dad is abusive to me and is a like not a good person. Like where are the tools? I wonder if you consider praying like that for a minute.
Do You Believe You Can Deliver Yourself From Abuse?
How you would feel. Because I strongly believe that like even though your situation by the way frankly seems impossible, but with God all things are possible. Like when you told me that, I was like, oh crap, there’s no way she’s getting out. And then I was like, like that’s what I thought in my head. And then guess what I thought then I was like, wait a minute. No, no. The only thing that is holding her back is her belief that she can’t do it.
And if I were you, I would think the same thing. I’m sorry. I would, I would be like, this is impossible. There’s no way I can do this.
But I do believe that with God all things are possible. And it might be just through your strategic sort of communication and being able to live in the same house. You know? I don’t know what the answer is. I’m not saying what I do, but like just think God consider the situation and what are the tools? Where are the tools? What do you want me to do?
“If You Were a Billionaire, You Would Not Want to Be Married To Him…”
No, I really, I really like that. I think that’s beautiful. Focusing on me getting to a healthy place. Cause I do feel like my focus has been on like when is he gonna get healthy all the way? Like get healthy all the way, you know, then everything will be okay.
I mean if you were a billionaire, you would not wanna be married to him. He’s not an appropriate person to be married to.
He’s so that, that like answers your question and because God is like God is the way I, well I don’t know, but I mean that’s how I feel.
Do You Have to Manage Your Grown Up Husband?
I could be totally full of crap.
Well it is possible that he, that God could help him mature. But I feel like I know my focus needs to be on, on me getting to a healthy place. And I do think that’s more what I should be praying about and focusing on.
Even God can’t change his heart if he wanted to be a healthy person. I mean, it’s ridiculous if you have to like manage him to get him to be just like a semi-decent person. Like no, he’s not doing it on his own. If he was going to, he would’ve done it already.
Yeah. That’s a really good point. I I feel like yeah, if you were mature, if he cared about growing.
If He Wanted To, He ALREADY WOULD HAVE.
If he even cared about you.
Well it is possible though because he, he has been lying to himself so much that and telling himself everything’s okay and I’m a good guy. And because I do feel like the source of it is like the whole entitlement belief. And so if he does actually choose to change that then –
And he could.
Yeah. But I, I like what you’re saying that it’s, I need to be more observant and less scripting <laugh>.
He ALREADY Knows Everything He Needs to Know
He knows everything he needs to know.
He doesn’t need to know anything else. If he chooses to actually care about you, which he should have chosen before, you don’t know if he’s actually chosen that or if he’s grooming you, you just don’t know.
Holding On To “Hopium”
I have thought it’s, it’s really sad that you don’t choose to try to mature until somebody leaves. That seems I do think it’s possible. That’s one of the first things that I like. It was kind of the Lundy Bancroft moment for me where it’s like your eyes are opening. Cuz I didn’t really hadn’t heard anything. Like I was like, okay, this is the pattern, but I couldn’t see anything and so she said that, she said the same thing you’re saying, but she said it like maybe 2% will change and she did just say, just get out because they’re not gonna change. But her husband did change but it took two years. And so even though her husband changed, she did also say it like the odds are they’re not going to so just get out. But, but there’s, there is a possibility but it’s really small is I guess where I’m at.
“Get to Safety Now And Observe From a Safe Distance”
And I’m actually not saying just get out. That’s not what I’ve said. That might be the impression that you’re getting. What I am saying is get to safety now. And observe from a safe distance rather than being like, oh, I’m gonna let the fire touch me. Yeah. And be like, I’m not getting burned. Cuz I said to the fire, you burnt me.
I feel safe because I, I maybe cuz our therapist is so like, he’s not allowed to touch me. I don’t have to do anything with him that I don’t want to, I don’t have to go on a date night. I don’t have to do anything. And the focus is on like me saying like figuring out what I want to do. So I feel safe. I am focused on the relationship, like what you said and focused on his behavior.
You are not safe because the reason that you feel safe is because he’s being managed by a therapist.
Does Your Husband Have to be Managed By A Therapist?
Which does not mean that you’re safe. It just means that he is the type of person that has to be managed by a therapist at that level.
Which is not a safe situation.
What Is Safety?
But except for I still feel like even if I’m able to know what I want to do and I’m able to put boundaries down. And I say you like I’m done and I walk away and he doesn’t handle it well and then it’s over. Then I’m still safe. Even if he’s not managed by a therapist because she’s helped me, she’s helped me say no.
<Laugh> the problem is the safety issue is ongoing. So like right now you feel safe, but let’s say he is getting better than you would actually be getting more safe over time. Right. So you’d be getting more and more safe because the harm is reducing and that is totally a possibility and it and could be happening. Then there’s the other scenario where he’s grooming and is not safe at all. Yeah. And it’s the management. And in that case you actually do not become more safe with divorce, he’s just as dangerous and he becomes actually more dangerous. It’s just that you get better with skills and stuff and boundaries of separating yourself from the harm, but he’ll still continue to be on fire. Right.
What’s The Point of Divorce, From A Safety Standpoint?
Well, so then what’s the point <laugh> then? What would be the point of divorcing? Like what you said, if I’m able to say within, you know, if I’m never gonna be able to have boundaries –
The first scenario was he’s actually is improving and getting to be more safe. Okay. The second scenario is that he’s not safe at all. He’s just grooming,
But, and then you’re saying I get a divorce and then I’m still not safe. So that really sucks. <Laugh>.
Divorce Puts Proximity Between You & The Abuser
But the but the thing is he’s, you’re either getting burned every day.
Or you’re getting burned way less and like the second they get outta the house, it’s really weird. It feels so different. It is like, like I did not realize this was, I mean it is a huge revelation. So having like an actual safe space is huge. So I always recommend an actual house where they get out. Like do not make the decision without them being out because then you’ll never, you’ll never get of the fog. So if he’s actually out of the house, and then you’ll be able to think more clearly and decide, oh, I actually do want him back in the house. Right. Or you’ll be like, oh, what, oh my, this is so different.
This is Why Physical Proximity is a MUST
Yeah, I see what you’re saying. Because it should be where he’s healthy enough to a point where I’m choosing to reengage based on what I’m seeing, based on what I’m observing. Not that I’m engaged in it and then I’m being lulled into it. Whereas if he’s out of the house, then it’s more like, okay, I see that he’s not off the deep end or whatever.
And so here’s a really good example that may or may not help you. There was a woman who had filed for divorce. Everything was ready to go. They were having a hearing and suddenly outta the blue. The soon-to-be ex who hadn’t talked to her for years actually was like, Hey, can we just talk? All right. And then he started being all great and they, and he had all these reasons for being gone and all this stuff was going down. Okay. So she was like, I think this is good. I I, I don’t know. And I’m like, that hearing is coming up. Like he wants you to not have that hearing. And she was like, no, he seems amazing. He seems like he wants to come back in. And I said, well, if he’s really changed and if he’s amazing and if he’s like, awesome, then what you wanna say to him is, Hey, after everything we’ve been through, let’s just get divorced and then we can date.
“Then You Have Your Answer.”
Because I, we haven’t lived together in years. We haven’t even talked for two years. So I hear you that you wanna be with me. I hear you. That we wanna be together. I actually would like that too. That would be really cool. But because this divorce has been going and we’ve got this hearing, let’s go ahead and go through with it. Let’s go ahead and get divorced. We can just split everything up and then I would love to go on a date with you if you wanna ask me out. And in fact you can ask me out now. As long as we’re proceeding with the divorce, I don’t mind updating you while we’re divorcing, but the divorce is still happening. And guess what she said? She’s like, I, I could never do that. And I said, why? And she’s like, because like the second I say that he’s gonna be terrible again. Okay. And I’m like, then you know your answer. Right?
How Would a Healthy Partner Respond?
Like, you know your answer. So, so that like, think about that like think about like if you kindly asked him, Hey, I know we’ve been working on me having more space and you know what? I think the thing I really need is for you to get your own apartment. I really hope we don’t have to get divorced. But that would help me understand. And then if you want to see me or talk to me, you could text me –
Yeah. Yeah. And that would be very helpful. And then I think I could make more progress.
Yeah. That is really interesting.
“He’s Not Gonna Like That, Because He’ll Lose Control”
And, and that way I can, I can feel more safe in the home and I can feel like I have my own space and that will really help me. And he, my guess is he’s not gonna like that because he’ll lose control.
Yeah. Hmm. I actually think, I actually think that he will, I think he’ll react the way he reacted when she, when I told him, she said it was gonna be several more months at least. He initially got mad and looked like he’d been like, he kind of staggered <laugh>, but then he was like, that’s okay, that’s okay. Like <laugh>. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. So I think that’s what would happen. But I’m – That’s it. That’s a very, that’s a very interesting experiment.
If he’s like, how long, how long are we gonna have to be in an apartment? Just say, let’s do a minimum a year. And if you wouldn’t mind, let’s just go back into dating mode. Let’s just date for a year. Be like, let’s just go back into dating mode. You can ask me on a date. I can say yes or no. You can see if you wanna talk to me, I can say yes or no. I’ll just feel like I have more of a choice in this situation.
Okay. You’re right. I feel like, yeah, I’m terrified. <Laugh>.
Like do you think if you did that he’d be gone?
“I’m Afraid He Would Give Up”
Yeah. I don’t think he would, I don’t think he would tantrum, but I’m, I don’t know what he would do actually. But I’m afraid that he would give up and I don’t think he would hurt me, but I, I’m afraid he would just be completely done. Yeah. I’m afraid he would give up.
Okay. So let’s talk about that. Give up for just a second. If you’re afraid that without your intervention he would give up, that is the most giant red flag of the year.
Because a year – I think he would be like, a year. Like that’s so long.
Logically speaking be like, okay fine, we can get divorced then and you can go date someone else for a year. Go for it. You don’t share kids with her. Would you rather do that with a new person or with me?
You Don’t Need to Teach or Explain Things to Him – HE ALREADY KNOWS
Yeah. But I shouldn’t argue that with him. Right?
No, but in your head, in your own head. If I’m 45 and I can think that like through that pretty clearly, pretty quickly. Like wait a minute, like spending a year to get my family back.
Yeah. And I don’t know what he would do, but that’s, I guess that’s my reaction because I know he’s been hyperventilating about it even being like possibly six months that he’s been like, oh my gosh. So –
Well and he’s still been in the house so he hasn’t actually had any real consequences. So. Well what I mean is he’s still able to like have influence over you. He’s still able to go in and gaslight you every day. You are saying that without you he wouldn’t do it is like the most giant red flag there is.
“If He Were Going to Do It, He Would Be Doing it Already”
And isn’t that true of, of all of these guys that they’re, they weren’t choosing to mature on their own.
Yeah. That’s the problem. That’s what I’m saying. They have to choose to do it on their own or they’re not ever gonna be appropriate people to be married to ever. And that’s why people say they never change is because if he were going to do it, he would be doing it already.
If it was that he was lying to himself and he didn’t know that he was abusing at this point he does at this point he’s seen the patterns and so from this point he could totally mature up if he wanted to and treat me like a person and –
How a Healthy Man Would Respond
Yeah. And at this point, if you said, Hey, you know what space would be good for a year, he’d be like, you know what, after all I’ve done to you, I totally get it and I’m looking forward to dating you. Like this will be an exciting time. We can go out twice a week. Like I can come over and do like mow the lawn and like, these are the things I can do. This is the way I can help contribute even though I’m living in the apartment. That’s how you would talk, right? If if this were the case, you’d be like, you know what I’m excited about this time I’m gonna come over and I’m gonna cook for you every day. Maybe or I’m, these are the things I’m gonna do to make sure this works.
Yeah. This is exciting. Well it would be sad though. I think it’s understandable to be sad, but then also to be completely respectful about it.
Do You Have to Babysit Your Husband?
Well instead of thinking I’m losing control and I’m never gonna be able to get control back, he’d be like, oh my gosh, we can finally have a good relationship. We can start over. Those are just all thoughts. I’m just saying, I really genuinely don’t know what’s right for you and I genuinely don’t know about him or, and I don’t know if he’s gonna change or not.
I don’t know him either. So it’s really, and it’s really up to him. And I do think I need to be more observant and I’m for sure gonna talk about all these things with my therapist and I do think I need to stop babysitting him.
You’re great. I care about you. I want you to be safe.
Thank you. I will talk to you in six months and either way I will be in a safe place. So yeah. Thank you.
Support the BTR.ORG Podcast
You’re welcome. I’ll talk to you later. So this conversation kind of ends abruptly because I had to edit so much out for her safety. So just know that we are going to be checking back in with Claire in about six months to see where she’s at, to see what has happened. And I’m hopefully gonna keep my mouth shut more in that conversation and listen and see how she’s doing. And you can hear how it is too. See if her perspective is the same. See how her strategy that she’s been using is working for her.
I’m looking forward to talking with her again. And I hope that you are too. If you are interested in coming on the podcast and sharing your story, please contact my assistant Kari, email@example.com. I’m so grateful for all of you who share. If you are of a different faith or you’re an atheist, you are welcome on this podcast to share. I love listening to women’s stories and how they’re processing their experience from every faith paradigm or non-faith paradigm, agnostic or otherwise, cause everyone can learn from all of our experience. And when one of us has an epiphany, all of us do. So I really look forward to reconnecting with Claire in about six months. If this podcast is helpful to you, please support it. And until next week, stay safe out there.
You are brave and amazing.
My story sounds so much like yours. I never knew it was abuse I just couldn’t wrap my head around what was happening. As I have listened to these 4 podcasts I have tried to fill in the edited parts only because your story validates me and my abuse. I thought I was the only person in the world in my circumstances. It’s a lonely place to be when you feel alone.
Stay strong and may God bless you as you figure out your journey.