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1 minute ago, Ottakee said:

The book Is It Me? Speaks to these very things.

If you send me a message with a safe name and address I will gladly order you a book and have it shipped to a friend or somewhere safe for you.  It talks all about this type of behavior.

 

Okay, I will message you. Thank you very much ♥️

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2 hours ago, IfIOnly said:

I called the local DV hotline and got voicemail. Left a message. 

This is a great step.  But it also frustrates me greatly that you got a voicemail.  I did too when I had to call.

That is so hard as women in these situations often have very limited times/opportunities to call for help/advice and might not be able to receive a call back.

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2 hours ago, IfIOnly said:

I called the local DV hotline and got voicemail. Left a message. I called about a year ago but didn't get far and chickened out. They were really great though. I'm pretty sure they offer counseling. I think that's the best place to start and hopefully a plan and some clarification in my thoughts can start. I think this is a good step and it gives me some hope and calm. Ty.

So it wasn't that helpful. They will have a counselor call but there's a wait-list but not many resources unless I file for divorce. Housing is not really available either. Our conversation was cut short, so maybe there's more options she didn't get to. 

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5 minutes ago, Ottakee said:

This is a great step.  But it also frustrates me greatly that you got a voicemail.  I did too when I had to call.

That is so hard as women in these situations often have very limited times/opportunities to call for help/advice and might not be able to receive a call back.

I was a little astounded when I read about the vm. Some women get very few chances to be alone to make that kind of call and won't be able to receive the call on the hotline's timeline. It scares, frustrates, and saddens me.

@IfIOnly, good luck and prayers for your wellbeing tonight. Big hugs!

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1 minute ago, IfIOnly said:

So it wasn't that helpful. They will have a counselor call but there's a wait-list but not many resources unless I file for divorce. Housing is not really available either. Our conversation was cut short, so maybe there's more options she didn't get to. 

I hope your friends can rally for you.

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Are you planning to use this meeting as an opportunity to "play along" with him, to soothe him so that you can make a safe exit sometime in the next few months?

It sounds more like you are actually going to try making yourself vulnerable by telling the truth as you see it to these extra witnesses. Why do you want his plan to "backfire" -- does that outcome benefit you in some way? Do you think the church will be of some kind of assistance if they somehow see his true colours?

What are *you* looking for out of this meeting?

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3 minutes ago, IfIOnly said:

So it wasn't that helpful. They will have a counselor call but there's a wait-list but not many resources unless I file for divorce. Housing is not really available either. Our conversation was cut short, so maybe there's more options she didn't get to. 

I wasn’t going to mention this before, but seeing this...

Does your church have a specific, well thought out protocol for helping women in your situation? My church has a team dedicated to this. I’m praying you will find something similar—if not your own church then another one. It doesn’t even have to be local. The moms I mentioned both came to us (my church) from out of town. These moms happened to have good friends at my church that they confided in, so our mercy team intervened.

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Repeating what multiple people have said.  This is not a spiritual problem.  This is a mental illness problem.  

It is highly unlikely your church elders are equipped to deal with this.  

Whatever you have to say to keep yourself safe, keep it straight in your own mind.  It's not about your salvation, it's about his mental illness.

 

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He is delusional, and I would bet a large amount of money either bipolar or schizophrenic. This is way way way beyond normal abuse. 

Do you have a place/person you can go to if you leave?

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5 minutes ago, ktgrok said:

He is delusional, and I would bet a large amount of money either bipolar or schizophrenic. This is way way way beyond normal abuse. 

Do you have a place/person you can go to if you leave?

I agree with either of those. His family has alluded to schizophrenia but never outright said anything.

I haven't asked anyone about housing. We have a big family. I don't want to impose. Probably only my youngest two would go with me though. Oldest boys would probably want to stay with their dad. 😥 I wish their dad would leave, hit I doubt it. It's something I'm going to bring up tonight.

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, IfIOnly said:

I haven't asked anyone about housing. We have a big family. I don't want to impose. Probably only my youngest two would go with me though. Oldest boys would probably want to stay with their dad. 😥 I wish their dad would leave, hit I doubt it. It's something I'm going to bring up tonight.

I don't think you've done nearly enough safety planning for the mess to hit the fan tonight. It will be a catastrophe. Wouldn't you rather make a solid plan and move out without the chaos, maybe sometime later this month?

Please don't bring up separation at the meeting tonight. It won't go well.

Don't tip your hand. Just get your ducks in a row first, then make your move when *you* are ready. Just let him keep believing, "She would never leave me." -- right up until the moment the door shuts behind you. You are so much safer when he feels unthreatened.

God is fine with you telling lies to preserve your safety. He has priorities too.

Edited by bolt.
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3 minutes ago, IfIOnly said:

I agree with either of those. His family has alluded to schizophrenia but never outright said anything.

I haven't asked anyone about housing. We have a big family. I don't want to impose. Probably only my youngest two would go with me though. Oldest boys would probably want to stay with their dad. 😥 I wish their dad would leave, hit I doubt it. It's something I'm going to bring up tonight.

Don't worry about imposing.  Just tell your friends what you need and see what they are able to offer. As for your oldest kids who you fear will stay, do they understand that their dad is mentally ill?  And that that illness could result in him being a physical danger to others, especially as you take steps to distance yourself from it?  They are old enough to know the truth about their father without it having to be about you pinning them against him.  They need to know just as much as you need to know what to do if things go bad.

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2 minutes ago, bolt. said:

I don't think you've done nearly enough safety planning for the mess to hit the fan tonight. It will be a catastrophe. Wouldn't you rather make a solid plan and move out without the chaos, maybe sometime later this month?

Please don't bring up separation at the meeting tonight. It won't go well.

Don't tip your hand. Just get your ducks in a row first, then make your move when *you* are ready.

This 100%.  Get your ducks in a row before leaving.  Have a solid plan and then execute it.  Unless he gets violent or you feel he will, then get out asap.

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Posted (edited)

I just got a call from our church leadership. I guess my son called one of them after my husband told him he wasn't saved. I found out his meeting is coming from them and not my husband. This is not a counseling meeting or confront IfIOnly meeting. They are confronting his abusive behavior. They have been waiting for a time to do this, I was told. I'm so, so grateful to have their support. And that I put my foot down to churches that were harming us instead of helping us.

Edit: they asked me to come but did not insist. I am going.

Edited by IfIOnly
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5 minutes ago, IfIOnly said:

I just got a call from our church leadership. I guess my son called one of them after my husband told him he wasn't saved. I found out his meeting is coming from them and not my husband. This is not a counseling meeting or confront IfIOnly meeting. They are confronting his abusive behavior. They have been waiting for a time to do this, I was told. I'm so, so grateful to have their support. And that I put my foot down to churches that were harming us instead of helping us.

Edit: they asked me to come but did not insist. I am going.

I'm glad they see what is going on, and this may help them help you. 

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7 minutes ago, IfIOnly said:

I just got a call from our church leadership. I guess my son called one of them after my husband told him he wasn't saved. I found out his meeting is coming from them and not my husband. This is not a counseling meeting or confront IfIOnly meeting. They are confronting his abusive behavior. They have been waiting for a time to do this, I was told. I'm so, so grateful to have their support. And that I put my foot down to churches that were harming us instead of helping us.

Edit: they asked me to come but did not insist. I am going.

This is good news, but still please be careful what you say. If you aren't in danger right now, it's probably not a good idea to talk about leaving. Try not to say anything till you have a solid plan in place. It may further antagonize your husband and just make life more difficult for you, to no end. It might also turn the church elders against you - I hope this isn't true but you never know. 

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I am so glad you are feeling supported by your church. I do agree with the others to tread carefully. We had an abuse situation at our church and our elders were not prepared in the slightest.  It could very well escalate things.  Can you talk to one of the elders on the side about a safe place for your family to flee to if things get bad?  You will want to think of things like if they have a garage where  you can park your car so he can't find you. I am so, so very sorry.  This has to be so overwhelming. Parenting a big family is its own load. Please know we are praying for you.  I am so glad your friends are being supportive and that you have felt safe sharing this with them.  There are too many women walking alone through these situations because they are so afraid.  

 

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8 minutes ago, R828 said:

This is good news, but still please be careful what you say. If you aren't in danger right now, it's probably not a good idea to talk about leaving. Try not to say anything till you have a solid plan in place. It may further antagonize your husband and just make life more difficult for you, to no end. It might also turn the church elders against you - I hope this isn't true but you never know. 

Thank you. I don't think it would be wise to mention leaving either, especially considering the subject matter. 

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And unless this is an unusual church...the leadership likely does not have the professional knowledge or plans to deal with someone this mentally ill. 
Abuse stemming from this sort of mental illness(and there is a big difference between something like paranoid schizophrenia w/ delusions of grandeur and an a$$ who won’t manage his temper and abuses women and children) is a completely different ball game. 
 

This really is not a matter for a church leadership other than supporting the victims and assisting them however possible. 

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5 minutes ago, Mrs Tiggywinkle said:

And unless this is an unusual church...the leadership likely does not have the professional knowledge or plans to deal with someone this mentally ill. 
Abuse stemming from this sort of mental illness(and there is a big difference between something like paranoid schizophrenia w/ delusions of grandeur and an a$$ who won’t manage his temper and abuses women and children) is a completely different ball game. 
 

This really is not a matter for a church leadership other than supporting the victims and assisting them however possible. 

I understand. They are trying though. I'm grateful for their reaching out the best they can.

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I don't really think you should go at all. It sounds like they want to talk to him about his own conduct, and it would be best if you were not the focus of all of that. If they don't think they need you there, they are probably right. He will probably show his true colours just fine without you being there.

It would be much better for you to let him come home to you and complain that the church is against him -- rather than having him feel like everybody is against him right now.

Plus you could use the time that he is away to pack a 'go bag', secure important documents, make phone calls, or have a frank talk with a teen or two. <-- those are the important things that you actually need to get done ASAP.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, hjffkj said:

Don't worry about imposing.  Just tell your friends what you need and see what they are able to offer. As for your oldest kids who you fear will stay, do they understand that their dad is mentally ill?  And that that illness could result in him being a physical danger to others, especially as you take steps to distance yourself from it?  They are old enough to know the truth about their father without it having to be about you pinning them against him.  They need to know just as much as you need to know what to do if things go bad.

My oldest believes I am the problem. It's a very narcissist thing that happens with kids. My husband has said he is bringing him... because he wants a witness against me, I truly believe. I'm glad the things I've been communicating to him will also be heard by him from others tonight.

Edited by IfIOnly
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Posted (edited)

Do you have access to a vehicle and are you packing a gun?

I agree with bolt. about gathering up important documents, etc. tonight.

I do believe that you and your children are in extreme danger. You stated that your friends witnessing his behavior has given you courage. I'm sure he's noticed. Please be very careful.

Positive thoughts coming out of Iowa tonight for you.

Edited by twovetteslater
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2 minutes ago, twovetteslater said:

Do you have access to a vehicle and are you packing a gun?

I agree with bolt. about gathering up important documents, etc. tonight. I do believe that you and your children are in extreme danger. You stated that your friends witnessing his behavior has given you courage. I'm sure he's noticed. Please be very careful.

We do not have guns.  Thank you.

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Posted (edited)

We just moved and I have no idea where documents are. I have a car. Will work on gathering stuff just in case. I really don't know what to expect tonight. This could go many ways.

Edit: I really do not think my husband would physically hurt us though. 

Edited by IfIOnly
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10 hours ago, Scarlett said:

Also  be very careful to clear your history to places like what you are posting here.  

 

Also your avatar pic could possibly be recognized by someone who knows you. 
 

((Hugs)) I hope you get the help you need. 

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4 minutes ago, IfIOnly said:

We just moved and I have no idea where documents are. I have a car. Will work on gathering stuff just in case. I really don't know what to expect tonight. This could go many ways.

Edit: I really do not think my husband would physically hurt us though. 

But you have to accept that it is a very real possibility and be prepared for it. It is great if it doesn't happen and I'm not saying the odds are great but knowing what your plan is for all variety of scenarios is important. 

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25 minutes ago, Forget-Me-Not said:

Also your avatar pic could possibly be recognized by someone who knows you. 
 

((Hugs)) I hope you get the help you need. 

Thank you. I changed it.

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1 hour ago, Rosie_0801 said:

Nobody should ever go to counselling of any variety with a narcissistic abuser.

AND I don’t recommend counseling with pastoral staff or elders for mental health issues. They are neither licensed or qualified.

Even if your church has licensed professional counseling staff, I still don’t recommend seeing them as mental health/brain functioning issues are often ignored and issues instead are framed as faith ones. Being told to read the scriptures more and pray with more faith does not resolve the fact that your brain isn’t making enough dopamine or your husband has a cluster B personality disorder. My friends have horror stories of being pressured to stay in physically abusive marriages or of having years long delays before they quit that service and got proper help from qualified providers. 
 

Your doctor can be a safe resource for you. Make an appointment for an issue and then disclose during the appointment. It should be safe and confidential and it can help open additional resources.

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Posted (edited)

Thinking of you.

Fwiw I am certain you would not be a burden to those who care for you. I had a friend whose husband was a total asshat. I told her multiple times if she ever needed anything she could stay here or I'd put her up somewhere away and meant it. 

It is the time to rely on those around you.

Edited by Soror
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11 hours ago, Mrs Tiggywinkle said:

This really is not a matter for a church leadership other than supporting the victims and assisting them however possible. 

Right. They can't fix mental health stuff, but having more witnesses to his absurd, delusional behavior could be important in court regarding custody. 

And they may be able to help finding housing, resources, etc...including free or low fee counseling for the wife. 

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1 hour ago, ktgrok said:

Right. They can't fix mental health stuff, but having more witnesses to his absurd, delusional behavior could be important in court regarding custody. 

And they may be able to help finding housing, resources, etc...including free or low fee counseling for the wife. 

Yes, witnesses are important. Hopefully the church will be able to help with resources.

I’m projecting, probably.  I’ve just seen church leaders with a class or two on counseling during seminary get in way over their head with someone who has a persistent and severe mental illness. I’m not knocking people with mental illness, at all, I’m just saying that something like paranoid schizophrenia can be dangerous.  The way I read her post was that church officials wanted to confront her husband, who I don’t want to internet diagnose but it appears has some kind of severe mental illness.   That’s a set up to make things worse in many ways. 

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Posted (edited)
46 minutes ago, Mrs Tiggywinkle said:

I’m projecting, probably.  I’ve just seen church leaders with a class or two on counseling during seminary get in way over their head with someone who has a persistent and severe mental illness. 

Unfortunately, I have seen this too.  In the case of my friend whose husband was narcissistic and manipulative, they did not understand that his threat of suicide was symptomatic of his desire to control her. They let the husband/wife seek their own counseling instead of making sure they went to counselors who were skilled in abuse and issues with p*rn addiction.  He might not have been schitzophrenic or bipolar, etc. but he definitely had NPD or something along those lines. They just kept trying to treat it as a run of the mill marriage issue.  Unfortunately it predictably escalated.  It went from him threatening himself with a gun to him threatening her with it.  If you read about risk factors for escalation, this guy had them all.  Unfortunately, everyone involved was in over their head but no one acknowledged it.  Fortunately, she was able to get out and move away, and fortunately, she and the kids were not harmed. But I definitely came away with eyes opened to just how far a church can go with the "restoring a brother gently" (Gal 6:1) without seeing that the person is unrepentant and dangerous.  

I saw a similar, "milder" situation play out this past couple of years, and it made me sad to see we still had so much to learn.  We were truly throwing our pearls before swine.  

As a result, I would probably never recommend that a woman first go to her church for help.  It is a total unknown if they will support the woman or not, or if their "support" will also include the abuser, which will in its own way negate the good they are trying to do for her.

OP, I really hope your church is different. I really, really do. 

 

Edited by cintinative
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OP, thinking of you.  Haven’t seen that you’ve posted since the meeting last night.  It was last night, right?  I hope you are ok.  Feeling a little worried this morning.

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Posted (edited)
3 minutes ago, Spryte said:

OP, thinking of you.  Haven’t seen that you’ve posted since the meeting last night.  It was last night, right?  I hope you are ok.  Feeling a little worried this morning.

She was posting at about 10 pm my time last night saying she was going to go to the meeting that evening. I assumed she was in a much later time zone than me (no one heads out to a meeting after 10pm.)

It’s 10 am here now, so it’s probably still very early in the morning where she is now.

 

Edited by Garga
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We were there until 12:30 last night and I was up with a puking kid the night before. I'm so very tired, physically and emotionally. It went really well. They showed a lot of love, care, and support for our family, yet didn't tiptoe around things that were harming our family. His abusive behavior to us was confronted but not his delusions/mental health.

I'm still processing it all. Too tired to think about a next step right now, but I feel safe as I consider it.

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I am glad the meeting went well, all things considered.  I would strongly advise you to, on your own, seek professional counseling.  Whatever you do next, taking care of you is of ultimate importance.  When you live with a mentally ill abusive person, it takes a toll.  Covid has made telemedicine options more robust than ever- I see a therapist across the state and I don't have to go to the office in person at all.  It's great.  

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