The pastor will rebuke and kick me out if i dont explain separation and submit

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Crayola13

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The thought of leaving this type of community is scary for most. Is that an option? Would you be able to work at a regular school? I don't think the pastor would OK the separation since your husband is getting help. He would probably try to counsel your husband to teach him not to be emotionally abusive in the future. He might be able to change, but I think you are past the point of no return. The pastor is probably going to tell you to pray that you will overcome your anger against your husband, as if he thinks you are doing this out of revenge. It makes me wonder how many others in your church and community are quietly suffering like you are. I hope the panic attacks ease up. I know all about panic attacks. You and your son need to be treated before the symptoms get worse like they did for me. It might be good for you to talk to another Mennonite or Amish person who left the community after being in a similar situation.

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moglow

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I guess you could tell him "Go wherever you like, whenever you're ready. This decision is for me, its not about you other than I still won't be with you when I leave."
“Nothing exposes our true self more than how we treat each other in the home.”  ~ Joseph B. Wirthlin

Stop Stinkin' Thinkin'!

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Upstream

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142757,
Yes, i think they think that God can fix even a PD.  Even i believe that. But God hasnt fixed my husband so far, and i will not take him back in his present frame of mind. So for the church its enough for husband to say he's made mistakes, is sorry, and is ready to reconcile. I should be willing to take hubby at his word.

 Crayola13,,
You hit the nail on the head. Except i dont think THEY could teach him to not be abusive. He has been to good therapists and the focus has always been on poor abused child as uPDh was growing up. They have tried to get him to love and accept himself. It didnt help him be less abusive or feel less entitled! 

And here i am having the gaul to not want to live under the same roof. As the pastor said, we are a problem ( for a church wanting to be without spot or blemish)  . 

I was not born mennonite. I married one, so i  do not have the necssary conditioning to put up with this marriage forever (23 yrs was too long).  Now i have stood my ground and said this separation will stand till i see evidence of change over the long term. And i havent seen it. So yes, there MUST be other women suffering in silence, just like i did! They are terrified that if i march out and get away with it that i will start sn exodus and other women will follow my example.  They are mortified  at the thought. And so they feel compelled to send a clear msg that this is not the right way to handle marriage problems.

They only reason i may get out of this is because i am basically blackmailing my husband. I said you have two options: either get me out without reprimand, or we sit down and take the pastor up on his offer to do counseling. And i will tell all, and we all know the pastors wife will start the gossip chain, and my husband couldnt bear the shame. Once i am out, i no longer have to answer to the leadership. Thats all i want! And it motivates my husband to know that i will tell them all if he doesnt help me.

This feels as tricky as getting out of the marriage was!

BTW, i got professional help for son as soon as he started having panic attacks. He is doing sooo much better. As soon as my husband moved out, my panic episodes got much better and i am still in therapy. Thanks for the encouragement!

Moglow,
He talked with an elder today and the agreement he made with me beforehand was: we will have a talk to pave the way for me to leave. What happened? He comes back and says, i got them to back off and now there's no pressure. And nobody's talking about reprimanding you. So you can stay and there's no pressure to leave right away. He wants me to stay under this leadership and paints a happy harmless picture of staying in the church. And when i said I still want to go and i dont want him in my new church, he said, as if offended, you just doint WANT ME at your church. Contrary to when he used this tactic in the past, i said, right, i dont, i have said this from the beginning!

He is gaslighting me, trying to convince me that i am reading all kinds of stuff into the church leadership. So, contrary to what the elder told me, i dont have to worry about a reprimand. His goal is to lull me in to complacency. So that i dont try to escape being under the church authority. All i would have to do is marriage counseling after individual counseling. And that he can manipulate forever by saying with empty words that he is trying to reconcile. And if i were to leave 6 months from now, then h would accuse me of just not wanting to do my share and work on my part.  The only way to leave is to do it now. Otherwise it just would look like i dont want to do counselng anymore.  And the noose around my neck will get tighter with each passing day!

The worst part about all this is that i realize the uPDh is manipulating while promising not to. He's trying to FORCE me back with him , and since that failed, he is telling me my perception of the elder is wrong (, with the desired effect that i should stop trying to escape the church! )

He is pitiful. To see how desperate he is to get that which he knows he is not worthy of is really sad.

I planned so well about financial stuff. I underestimated him using the church against me!

And if even one woman comes to me for help, i will help her, take her into my home, and support her. I would help them all.  I hope God shows them a way out. I do think there are many. They are right to fear an exodus!

Upstream

« Last Edit: February 21, 2017, 04:59:54 PM by Upstream »

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142757

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142757,
Yes, i think they think that God can fix even a PD.  Even i believe that. But God hasnt fixed my husband so far, and i will not take him back in his present frame of mind. So for the church its enough for husband to say he's made mistakes, is sorry, and is ready to reconcile. I should be willing to take hubby at his word.


Upstream

It's a legit concern. I went thru the same when I split from my ex. In fairness to elders/pastors etc, the Bible does very little to address mental illness. So unless one has a medical degree that specializes in that sort of thing or have experienced a PD person in their own lives, spiritual leaders are a bit lost in how to address it. Most likely they will remain unaware of it. You would need an elder that really truly cares & wants to help. Not one that wants to merely enforce church law. (Matt 9:12,13)

My concern is that remaining silent means they are getting only one side of the story. Even in silence, it makes you appear to be uncooperative. And after experiencing persecution in your home, I'd hate to see you have to endure spiritual persecution as well. For a spiritual person, that is worse than what your spouse can do to you. And I say that from experience.

I can also say from experience that it is the height of frustration when approaching your spiritual leaders is the same as addressing a brick wall. Many who believe in the Bible think it can cure all. It doesn't. It teaches you how to endure all. Some things are just imperfections that we are just going to have to deal with until God's Kingdom comes. Not every Bible reader knows that. I had to learn that myself after my marriage.

So I can just say I pray you won't have to have any more burden on your shoulders. If so, remember 1 Corinthians 10:13.
"Somedays you just can't get rid of a bomb."

Adam West (Batman)
9/19/28 - 6/10/17

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liftinfog

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Any elder who has the true gift of discernment IMO, will see through the H's BS. If you have to work at convincing them of the truth, I think you should just walk away from that whole church structure you're involved with, as scary as that might be. If they were connected to God/the truth, they would know this a NPD charade. Granted maybe not in PD/Psyc terms, but the bible is VERY clear about lying cheating, emotional abuse, manipulation, etc. If you have to prove your case to them, IMO they are already blinded and in the dark, and your case will most likely not wake them up to the light. But i do think its important to at least state your side once, if you havent already.

“Only people who are capable of loving strongly can also suffer great sorrow, but this same necessity of loving serves to counteract their grief and heals them.”
― Leo Tolstoy

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tommom

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Upstream, I have followed your story with a lot of empathy, but really didn't have anything to add until now. One of the problems I have had with leaving my PDh was the belief (fervant prayer) that God would "fix" my h's PD. 

I wanted to say something now, if I may. You are very right about his current "state of mind".  In my church, our archbishop's testimony includes the fact that  God healed him of a mental illness - don't know what type it was- but his wife is psychologist, by the way. But he has been very specific in saying that it was because he wanted so desperately to be healed. I don't believe that is true for my H or yours. They want everything else to change, but not themselves. Yours sounds like -with the manipulations, etc. -he has no interest in changing either. I am an Episcopalian, but I know other denominations also confess their sins before they take communion, for example. We are saved through repentance. God expects us to admit out wrongdoings before he acts. It sounds like the it is the furterest thing from your h's mind. Sadly, as much as my husband cries and feels victimized, it seems impossible for him to accept that he has made these problems, not me (or the rest of the universe).

I wish you the best. Hope you find a wonderful church home.
"It is not my job to fix other people; everyone is on their own journey."

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Spring Butterfly

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Upstream, I'm somewhat familiar with the situation you are facing and am sad other women in the community also suffer this way. One scripture I cannot get past is Matthew 19:9 where Jesus clearly gives grounds for leaving due to fornication. In the original Greek the scripture was written in this means all forms of illicit sexual behavior apart from ones mate.

While I understand how some churches try to explain that away, the original Greek and the verse applies to marriage as is clear from the verse and the context.

The marriage is sacred and I do understand why attempts within reason would be made to preserve it but there are also limits and boundaries to keeping it sacred by both parties. Your marriage was not sacred to your husband. Matt 5:28 says to even look at another with passion is to commit adultery in one's heart.

You are right to look for signs of repentance 1 Corinthians 5:11 tells us clearly not to be involved with those who don't show repentance.

One book that helped me feel comfortable that boundaries and limits have God's backing is the book Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend. It's full of Scripture references that helped me see things clearly. My situation is different but I also needed a graceful exit out of my community. Wishing you peace and freedom in God's grace.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2017, 04:01:57 PM by Spring Butterfly »
each and every contact with a PD person results in damage. Plan accordingly and make time to heal. See Toolbox for tips.

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Rubytown

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Hi Upstream,

It sounds like you are handling this very well.  You are a strong and smart woman.  It sounds like things are moving in a better direction if he is willing to go to a new church to give the impression of "moving forward."  And yes, I wouldn't get too attached at your new one either, since he will be around to start a smear campaign.  It is hard to imagine he will back out and leave you to worship in peace.  Besides, it sounds like that may be one of few points of contact he has with you now, so it doesn't seem he would want to give that up.

I think it's imperative that you remember your relationship with God is yours alone and don't get human failings mixed up with your faith.  You need to be able to turn to God more than ever while going through all this. 

Blessings and Prayers,
Ruby
"Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding."  Proverbs 3:13

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1footouttadefog

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There are many rules about marriage and they are often reacted in the many vows most couples make.

As others have pointed out fornication, lust, going after the unnatural desires, are all part of it.

Do remember that your relationship is with God first and not the church.  Also remember its God's rules you need to be mindful of not mans.  A great many things in the Mennonite Community are tradition and are believed to help the community live more morally, but their are not specifically mandated by scripture.

You know if your marriage is abusive.  Your spouse is asking you to go against Biblical church discipline guidelines and it seems church leadership is willing to go along with it as well as gossip about it all.

You can be free of abuse from both fronts and still know God.

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Totallytickedoff

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I would run like the wind from this church. You owe no one an explanation. I'm sorry this is even an issue for you. Your conscience should be clean!!  :sadno:

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Rubytown

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Hi Upstream

I wonder how you're doing?  I remember you from when I first found OOTF.  You were such a help and encouragement to me then.  I hope things are going better.  You are in a terribly difficult situation.

Love,
Ruby
"Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding."  Proverbs 3:13

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Upstream

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Hi all,
It has taken me some time to work through this whole church leaving ordeal. I found a new church and told my uPdh that i would leave with or without him. I reminded him that by staying, he would continue to be at risk of exposure bc the elders would want an explanation if we didnt reconcile. By getting him toagree to leave with me, the witch hunt for me was called off, since i was leaving together with my husband. The only reason he did it was to avoid exposure. I was just glad to be out without reprimand so that my job is secure, at least for now.

 This has certainly been quite a Trumatic experience for me. I did not see this coming with the church. It's a terrible terrible thing to have gone through. As you all know.

 I can't even put into words how grateful I am to you all for your support during this really hard time for me. I don't think I could've made it without you!

142757,
Thanks so much for your thoughtful reply! You are so right!! The bible isn't a cure all and does help us to endure!! It is impt. to understand that, i believe.  And it helps to feel understood about how excrutiating spiritual oppressiveness can be for a believing person.

Liftinfog,
I think you are right that they wouldnt be able to understand, even if i explained it. And in fact, i think anything i do say would be used against me!

Hi Tommom,
I have been so grateful for your many posts , so full of truth. Yes, our husbands want to "have" a wife (and mine, his children), but they dont want to "be" a husband ( or in my case, a father) . It is hard to remember that all their pleading and whining is because they cant recieve more than the  already unfair amount that they get!

Spring butterfly,
Thank you so much for that very helpful clarification about sexual impurity. This, as you seem to know, has been a major stumbling block for me. And I do feel cheated on and betrayed, so while some people might not consider serious, it is good to know that others do!

Hi 1foot!
Yes, you are right! I really believe it is crucial, not just for me, but for my children as well, to remember that our faith is based on our relationship with God, not some misguided person who calls himself the pastor! 

Dear Ruby,
Old friend! I have been glad to hear that things have improved so much for you and i continue to hope with you for sustanied contentment in your life. Thanks so much for checking in on me and caring for me and so many here on this forum!


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jujumonkey

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Upstream - Do you want help from the church elders? Do you want to stay in this congregation? Is it usually a place of support and comfort for you and your son? If the answer is no to these questions then I would not hesitate to move on to a new church creating a clean slate for you and your son and a finding a place where you are cared for and your H has no history or place there.

Putting aside what the church elders or other ones in the congregation think or say - your faith community is for you and for your support and growth and going somewhere where your H has a long history, and I am assuming deep roots and some kind of standing in this community, may not be in your best interest anyway.

I have never found that this type of a system is very good at putting the needs of the abused first. It seems that often times the abused in the relationship is forced to reconcile without any kind of sincere and proven repentance and true change demonstrated over time.

Often it seems if the "right" words are said by the cheater or abuser then that is enough indication for those who are putting themselves in the position to make huge decisions over other people's lives. Ultimately, the elders do not have to live with the issues your H has, you do. They do not have to suffer as you and your son have.

They cannot make you do anything that is not right and healthy for you and you do not owe anyone an explanation. If you want their help and trust them to have everyone's best interest in mind, then you will need to lay the entire truth out there and reveal the depths of issues you are dealing with in your marriage.

Absolutely true.  There is a site called Crying Out for Justoce that talks about this.  The church wants it to be smoothed over and wants reconciliation at the cost of people's health and well being because of a few slicks words from an abuser.