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Posts Tagged ‘self condemnation’

– Five children
– Four sons
– Two questioning their sexual orientation

How does this happen? . . . Can someone please explain this to me? . . .

How. Does. This. Happen?

***

My husband didn’t believe me. He compared our son to himself. Our son had mostly female friends, which my husband found completely normal. Especially since he often said he couldn’t relate to men himself and used that to justify his own many female friendships. I then sent my husband a copy of the e-mail.

I had to.

There was no denying the facts when he read our son’s own words saying he considered himself a gay atheist.

My husband agreed that we had to confront. We sat down with our son and told him “we knew”.
Our son began to cry.
I did too.
The phone rang.
My husband answered it.
He took the phone to the bedroom and stayed there for the rest of the evening.

So much damage. My son could barely speak through his tears as he sobbed of how hurt my husband’s actions were to him. How he wanted to be nothing like his father when he was grown.

My son and I spoke of the faith he had been raised to believe, but now discarded, because “God wasn’t real. For if He was, He wouldn’t create a boy who liked other boys, and then call it sin.” He confessed that he now calls himself an atheist, but feels like a sinner everyday.

We spoke of the fear that fueled the lies. He knew that he was loved, but was sure I “loved God more” and that my faith would force me to choose my God over my son.

So much heartbreak.

So much need for healing.

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I recently spent 4 days alone. In virtual silence. Amidst the beauty of the mountains, I walked the trails, in awe as nature lived and breathed all around me, but mostly, I listened for answers.

And I received none.

God spoke, but not in the way I expected. I was both drained and refreshed. I cherished the isolation, yet yearned for company. I grieved, and I was comforted.

But I came home still having no idea what to do about my marriage.

While I was gone, my husband sent me this e-mail:

“You deserve a vacation. You are a devoted mother of five, who works extremely hard. I recognize it and so do the kids.”

“I know that when we communicate, I feel constantly accused, which is very difficult on me since I am not someone who has any desire to be close to anyone on any level – (emotionally or physically) other than you, my wife.”

“As I’ve said before, I take my marriage vows very seriously and feel that is not something that will ever change. Our marriage is not going to end because of me walking away.”

“I understand that it is disrespect you feel by my behavior. I am aware of your feelings, however, I am not seeking anyone’s friendship, nor have I ever been in a compromising situation seeking companionship.”

***

I had to read and re-read the e-mail in order to process all the emotions that his message incited.

The first read brought feelings of guilt. My husband’s words sounded sincere and, for a moment, the memory of all that had transpired between us was forgotten history. The weight of responsibility slowly began to creep upon me as I questioned why I couldn’t be a better wife. A wife deserving of my husband’s kindness.

With the second read, I couldn’t help but notice the presence of denying any unfaithful intentions or behavior, and the absence of acknowledging my issues with his trip to Arizona. Why was that? My feelings had been hurt by his lack of communication and from excluding me in his vacation plans. Yet, he chose to address an issue that had nothing to do with either one of those.

By the third time thru, I was angry. I began reading what was not written and raged over the fact that my feelings regarding the present issue were ignored and invalidated. Was it really that unreasonable for a wife to want to know that her husband is planning to take their children on vacation and have her feelings hurt when she finds out about it after its been planned? – Only to realize she has not been included in those plans.

And as I sat with the peace of God’s nature surrounding me, so opposite of the resentment churning within me, I had to question the spiritual aspect of my situation. Was the devil trying to destroy my marriage . . . Or was God allowing me to view it from a different perspective?

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As a little girl, I longed for a daddy to pick me up, swing me around, and tell me that I was special. That I was beautiful. That I was treasured. And most of all, that I was loved. But my daddy never swung me around with great delight, and he never said the words my heart desperately longed to hear. This rejection became adult emptiness and brokenness that made me doubt I was lovable.”

“Insecurities cut deep. Shame ran rampant. Desperation for acceptance drove me to seek out all kinds of misguided remedies . . . My primary remedy was finding someone or something that would make me feel secure and significant . . . I struggled with self-doubt and insecurity paralyzed me with thoughts such as:

‘I can’t do this’
‘Things will never change’
‘My life isn’t going to get better’

In my never-ending quest to find solutions for this difficult season, I’ve started reading a new book. A Confident Heart by Renee Swope.

I shared last week with my therapist that my current goals are to deal with the insecurities I feel about:

1) my appearance
2) my worth
3) my identity

None of which are new issues, but all are at the root of the areas of weakness that the devil tries to use (and often succeeds) in pre-occupying my thoughts and paralyzing me from positive action in my relationship with my husband.

I often hear the life stories of others and the difficulties they are enduring. That is when I realize just how busy the devil is in propagating lies and twisting the truth to cause us pain. But I also consider how although I am actively pursuing God, I am still so FAR from a life of victory and blessing. Instead, I am hanging on to my faith for dear life, grasping the hem of His garment with all my might, and hoping, He is holding on to me just as tightly.

The story of your life is the story of the long and brutal assault on your heart by the one who knows what you could be . . . And fears it.” – John Eldridge

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I am guilty. Of many things, be assured. And in thinking about the ways I have contributed to the issues in my marriage, I acknowledge that I have been desperate in seeking the affirmation of my husband. I have been driven to gain his approval, thinking, if I could only improve myself in some way, I would stop being invisible to him. But because of the state of dysfunction I have been in, it has taken much time to realize that no amount of affirmation would ever be enough. I was letting his lack of attention determine my worth, and fell for the lie that without his approval, I was worth nothing.

“One of the most common actions of an ADD spouse is that he stops paying attention. A wife will then feel abandoned and ashamed that she is no longer attractive to her husband. But what is really occurring is the defining symptom of ADD – distraction.”

Regardless of whether a husband is intentionally ignoring his wife or being ‘distracted’, the results are the same. His actions are speaking louder than his words. The hurt caused by his behavior elicits a series of bad feelings and behaviors on her part which compound the problem.”

“Loneliness is a key component for the non-ADD spouse. It comes from many things:
1) the distraction of the ADD spouse which makes the non-ADD spouse feel ignored and unloved
2) a sense of never being heard since so many patterns of bad behavior are repeated
3) the fact that few people outside the marriage ‘see’ what is going on

After so many years of living with this cycle of behavior in my marriage, my self-worth has inevitably become a casualty. Only through this blog have I been able to realize that. And through the information that I’ve learned about ADD have I gained an understanding I did not have before. But having realization and knowledge is not where I want to stop. While I don’t think I could have reached this point without realization and understanding, I now want to heal. And as I heal, I want to become stronger, I want to move forward, not in circles, I want the realization and knowledge that my worth is given to me from God and not from man to become my reality.

I John 4:9-10 God showed how much He loved us (me) by sending His only Son into the world so that we (I) might have eternal life through Him. This is real love. It is not that we (I) loved God, but that He loved us (me) and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our (my) sins.

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not calamity, to give you hope and a future. In those days when you pray, I will listen.”

Psalms 139:17-18a How precious are your thoughts about me, O God! They are innumerable! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!

(Excerpts taken from ADHD Effect on Marriage by Melissa Orlov and Is It You, Me Or ADD by Gina Pera)

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“As God is my witness!”

Words that used to work in convincing me that he was telling the truth. Why would he bring “God” into our conversation if he wasn’t telling the truth? I mean, if he were using that phrase AND being dishonest, I would have expected lightning to surely come bolting out of the heavens to strike him down . . . right? But there had been no lightening . . . or had there?

When I recently caught him in a bold-faced lie and he used that phrase in his defense, while looking me straight in the eyes, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. Not only did I KNOW he was lying, but his use of that phrase brought to memory every other time he had used it . . . and I couldn’t help but wonder if he had been lying those times too.

I felt scared. For myself and for him. Where was his fear of God? The One he so vehemently called on to be his Witness as he denied the accusations . . . even as I presented the proof that countered his exclamations of innocence.

I have never been a “name-caller”, but realizing that my husband was a liar and that this was probably not the first time he had been dishonest with me left me shaken. I felt like an idiot for believing his deceit as truth, when my intuition (the Holy Spirit?) had been telling me otherwise all along. Mistaking lies for truth can leave one’s mind clouded with self-doubt and confusion. Whether his behavior was intentional, compulsive, or self preserving, his deception resulted in me believing more than just the words that came out of his mouth. I began to believe what his denial of reality insinuated about me. Crazy . . . Insecure . . . Demanding . . . Suspicious.

There may not have been a visible bolt of lightning illuminating the sky that night, but denial in the face of unmistakable truth is just as jolting.

If only I had learned to recognize it sooner.

Psalms 119:66 Teach me good discernment and knowledge, for I believe in Your commandments.

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“Whenever I speak on the subject of forgiveness, invariably, someone will say, ‘I’ve never been able to forgive myself for what I’ve done.’ Interestingly, the Bible never speaks of the need to forgive yourself. What these women are really saying is that they have never been able to feel forgiven for what they’ve done. They are still carrying a sense of guilt and shame over their failure. Though they know God can forgive them, they find it difficult to accept God’s mercy.”
(DeMoss – Lies Women Believe)

Lie: God won’t forgive what I’ve done.

In my case, I feel like I am confronted with the consequences of my sins / mistakes / choices on a daily basis. And it is that, which leads to thoughts of self-condemnation . . . “If I didn’t ________, then my life would be different and maybe I’d be in a better place . . . “

For others, they choose to believe the lie that they have no need for forgiveness. They’ve done nothing wrong . . . Or at least, nothing as bad as their “neighbor”. I’ve been there, too. Having a Pharisee mentality when I hear of someone’s struggles and think, “I may have problems, but I’m sure glad I don’t have their problems.”

And then there’s the ones who can’t / won’t forgive. Those people who can never remember their own mistakes but keep the mistakes of others fresh in their memory. Victims who seem to always be licking the wounds inflicted on them by others. I’ve known one or two of them in my life and could quite possibly even be accused of being one myself.

Forgiveness is:

A process
Admitting that we hurt/hate
Not saying it didn’t happen or didn’t hurt
Realizing that we have a choice to release
Not something we can do with our own power
(taken from my pastor’s Sunday morning sermon)

What was it about Jesus that enabled Him to be big enough to take the blame for our sins? – to own sins that were not even His to own? The sins of the past, the present and the future. The sins of the victim and the perpetrator? . . . simply put, it was love.

Because of so many of our human flaws, we fail to see ourselves as the Father does. We doubt our worth to Him. We hang on to self-imposed guilt and shame, while the fear of that guilt and shame causes others to be resistant to owning their wrongs. But the Truth is as sweet as water to the thirsty. The Truth sets those captive of self-condemnation free. This is the Truth:

“If we say we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves, and refusing to accept the truth. But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong. I John 1:8-9

God is good. He loves me, has forgiven me, and will never leave or forsake me. My “feelings” are always changing but the Truth never changes.

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The house was quiet, clean and I still had another hour before it was time to pick up the kids from school. I sat myself in front of the computer to browse Amazon for an author whose words would help me heal and gain insight. With each click of the mouse, the website would suggest more authors and titles for me to peruse. Beth Moore, click, Rob Bell, click, T.D. Jakes, click. After a few more clicks, my attention was captured and I found myself unable to turn my eyes away – like one who is passing a tragic accident on the road . . .

” . . . We’ve had many blowouts about his behavior. I thought I had unreasonable expectations, perhaps I was too needy . . . I have years of pent up frustration over his behavior. He can be amazingly inconsiderate . . . But yet, if I express that frustration, I am accused of disrespecting him. If he has let me down by another broken promise or more bad behavior, he says I am over reacting and looking for a reason to start a fight . . . ”       Lynn

” . . . I dream of a home with stability, a spouse who exercises mature decision making skills and takes responsibility for his own actions . . . Where calmness resides and there is some sort of structure . . . Where I am not blamed for things because now there is a man in the household who will be responsible for his own behavior instead of turning it around on me or the kids . . .” – Sheila

” . . . It wasn’t that I didn’t want there to be genuine warmth and affection in our relationship, but because I was angry there was no room even for respect . . . “ – Amber

” . . . The chronic communication issues have left me feeling hopeless. My husband has decided that I had problems long before he ever met me . . . “ Kimberly

” . . . Because of my husband’s irresponsibility, I am often stuck with so much responsibility . . . It’s always something and I am so sick and tired of the excuses whether they’re valid or not . . . I’ve pretty much become numb to his endless tales of woe . . . I have lost nearly all respect for him . . . I resent what he has put me through . . . “ – Lauren

. . . Over the years, we have gone to marriage counseling with no change. I am extremely hurt by it all and I still feel very alone. He will not change. He can not change. In his never ending – last minute emergency – drop everything – never available for me life, I can hardly catch his attention unless, I too, am in crisis mode. I am tired of repeatedly having my hopes dashed. To sum it up, if it all depends on me, then I guess I am not a big enough person to do it. I can do a lot, but I can’t do everything, and at this point, I feel like doing nothing . . . ” – Ann

What did these stories have in common? Stories that could have been my own. These women were all married to men with ADD.

(Excerpts taken from “Is It You Me or ADD” by Gina Pera and “The ADD Effect On Marriage” by Melissa Orlov)

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