We are collecting stories of hope from Christian women who have journeyed down this path and are on the other side. They have divorced and healed from emotionally abusive or narcissistic spouses. These women vary in age, ethnicity, economic status. Reading their stories will surely provide hope for your broken heart!
My life seemed like a fairy tale. We were a wealthy family, respected and beautiful. We lived in a beautiful neighborhood and went to a nice church. But behind the castle walls was a dark story. Every fairy tale has a dark side or character. Mine was my marriage. It was suffocating me, taking my life, and slowly killing me. Most people had no idea because I pretended so well. I felt I had to keep up the image.
We tried marriage counseling. I went to my church. I begged and pleaded. Nothing helped. No one was strong enough or brave enough to confront my prominent husband and not believe his story of repentance. Because it was repentance in words only, not in how he treated me. The abuse continued. The drinking continued. The bruises continued.
When no counselor or person from our church seemed able to persistently hang in there and continue to confront my husband’s unrepentant sin, I filed for divorce. It was a difficult and lonely journey. I was grateful for some dear friends who loved on me, prayed with me and stuck by my side. They and God helped me get through a tough 1 year journey to finalize my divorce. I was also grateful for my sister who came to my town when needed to go to mediations or court to keep me strong.
I am now happy remarried to a lovely man who loves me and loves Jesus. I am grateful to be in a marriage where I am not afraid of my spouse- not afraid of the contemptuous comments when he walks in the door, not afraid he’ll be drunk and mean, not afraid he will twist the truth and tell me I’m the crazy one. I am so happy to be out of the abusive marriage. My new marriage isn’t perfect, but it is based on love, mutual respect, and our Christian faith. Thank you, Lord!
Stacy, late-40’s, mother of three
Finally Free! I’m not a blogger, not really sure what a blog is all about, which probably gives you insight to my age. After 12 years of marriage, I’m finally free from a narcissist. Well, not totally free; we have children together, and I’m watchful so that the spirit of narcissism is not growing in them. Like Melissa, I wrestled with leaving for years. Because the abuse is not visible, it’s difficult to identify. At first you wonder if it’s all in your head. To family and friends, our marriage looked ideal. How could I possibly tell anyone of my suffering in the midst of a seemingly perfect relationship?
I recently found a note that I wrote describing the emotional abuse and the depth of my pain; it was written more than five years before I would take my first real steps toward freedom. My former husband treated me like the dried mud stuck under the heel of a pair of worn shoes. He always made me the cause of our relational discord. I wasn’t permitted to hurt. I was expected to continue to endure. He even said as much when I finally said “no more”. His response: “Other women are treated worse and they stay in their marriage”.
If that’s you, if you’re staying in the fight, stay prayerful. Ask God to insulate you from the emotional pain so that you can be of good service to the Kingdom. Remember, you are God’s beloved; He wants the best for you and for your mate. God revealed to me that I had biblical grounds for divorce. If not, I might still be where you are. I still pray for my former husband and ask God to heal him. I’m praying for you, too, sister.
Barbara, mid-40’s, mother of three
Stories of hope…I love the title Melissa has chosen for this section of her blog. Anyone who has lived with someone battling the stronghold of Narcissism can attest HOPE is the one thing you hold on to the longest (hope that the abusers behavior will improve/change,) and yet are without the most (there is no way out for yourself,) especially those of faith.
Our introduction of Narcissistic behavior came through watching our son suffer through a failed marriage with a Narcissistic wife. I will not share the intimate details of our son’s suffering…mostly because our son himself has remained private and protective of his experience. When we first discovered the extent of the abuse within their marriage our first response was, “Why didn’t you tell us?” “And why do you still not tell people what you have endured when berated by others, as a result of the lies told & the defamation done to you?”
“Because I loved her. And love doesn’t hurt.”
That’s my son. That’s the young man I am proud to say has continued to pray for his soon to be x-wife. That is the young man who held hope in his heart that he could save her (from her own Narcissist mother,) that he could help her discover a life of unconditional love, that he could show what it was to live a committed sacramental marriage where two truly become one.
In the past several months, much like the man Jesus heals on the Sabbath (John 5:6), we are watching our Son embrace Jesus’ help to heal his heart.
“When Jesus saw him and knew that he had been lying there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?”
We are watching our son finally say, “Yes…”
Trained professionals and his strong walk with God have helped him to accept the reality that due to the inability to have empathy, change is not desired (by his x2b) nor likely. (Remember, as with most Narcissists the failed marriage is his entire fault.) And more importantly…that only Jesus Saves. He felt so much responsibility to “save her,” out of love for her.
I wanted to write, from the perspective of a mother, to share with those who are enduring similar relationships; that you must find the courage to reach out to family, friends, or loved ones to share your struggle. You are not meant to walk through this alone. There are others who will remind you that you are good, and valued, and loved. There are Simone’s along your own Calvary who will help to carry your Cross. And I am certain there is a motherly heart breaking watching your private struggle of persecution. (Because that is what most Narcissist will do…persecute you for not fulfilling whatever “their current needs” are.) Find others and LET others assist you in learning to love yourself again.
I continue to pray for our son & I will pray for each of you, just as Blessed Mary did, as she wept and walked beside her Son. Mary never stopped loving, believing, hoping, that all Jesus spoke of would come true. The hope of a New Day. The hope of a New Life. The hope of Resurrection. Believe me, you will Rise again!
Sandy, the mother of a son dealing with a narcissistic spouse
More stories to come….
Dear ones, this is challenging. You will be OK. Take good care of yourself. Remember to breathe and pray.
Love and blessings,