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How best to handle a control freak who withholds finances and sex? (StrongInHim77)
March 25, 2007
1:51 pm
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StronginHim77
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OK...Most of you are familiar with the Reality of my recent remarriage, ending my widowhood. The new husband of 2-1/2 months has turned out to be a MAJOR control freak. Initially, he was sweet, kind, considerate, fun and encouraging. Within 2 weeks of the wedding, he removed the "mask" and became HIMSELF: cold, stingy, miserly, non-communicative, critical and easily enraged.

I finally drew tough boundaries. Although he responded by "withdrawing" from me (and even threatening to throw me out of his house at one point), I stuck to my guns. He now no longer yells, rages at or threatens me in any way. I silently withdrew, until he acknowledged that his behavior was wrong and discontinued the unacceptable behavior.

Now, I am facing the full gamut of a control freak's frantic (and not so subtle) efforts to bring me back under his control. His two major areas are finances (he took back the credit card he had issued me for purchasing groceries and does ALL the grocery shopping himself, as well as the cooking) and sex. He stopped touching me affectionately, hugging me, kissing me, etc. Anytime that I initiated such contact, he would draw away or stop me. In short, he is withholding physical contact.

So, I am trying to cope with these two "withholding" games of his in two ways. Regarding the food purchasing, I try not to re-act, so to speak. For quite awhile, I was angry and outraged that he was treating me as if I were an incompetent child. Finally, the topic came up at dinner one night. (A dinner which HE had cooked.) He looked at me and asked why I was quiet. I finally told him (in a calm voice) that his "not permitting" me to do any grocery shopping was degrading and treating me as if I were an incompetent child and I did not like how that made me feel. He responded (with a smirk), "But you KNOW why YOU cannot do the shopping?" (implying that I am not a good "shopper"). I responded, "Yes, I know why. It is because you want to be in control." And left the room.

As far as his withholding of physical contact, I have started stepping back from him and stopped any effort to initiate contact. I used to try and hug him or give him a kiss. Or I would snuggle up to him on the sofa. I would ALWAYS go to whatever room he was in and "visit" with him. Not anymore. Now, I lay down and rest in my little sitting room (where he requested that I sleep nearly two weeks ago, instead of sleeping with him in the master bedroom on the grounds that I "disturb" his sleep), go on my computer, watch my TV, talk to friends on the phone, etc. I do my own thing. I went to the shooting range with my sons one night last week. And I go to church without him. I think it is necessary that I try to maintain some independence and distance from him. Like reverse psychology? I step back...he steps forward?

We shall see. Any advice from all of you will be sincerely appreciated, as I am new at dealing with a control freak who does the withdrawal stuff.

Thanks.

= Ma Strong

March 25, 2007
1:54 pm
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hopeful for change
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Wow, that was quick....Have you thought about an anullment? Who wants to play all these games. I hope you can just tell him how it is, and your not gonna play his games. Treat you right, or your out of there. Hey better now than after five, ten years of the crap, and if its like this already,,imagine the future.

March 25, 2007
2:00 pm
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sdesigns
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Hi Ma.

Based on your recent threads, I would just keep doing what you're doing to GET OUT.

One question though- why would you even want to have sex with him under those conditions?

He's not behaving like a loving husband, he's treating you like a possession that he has to fully control.

(I'm on a roll this morning- saw you read my post to 2b)

Sd

March 25, 2007
2:14 pm
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bonni
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with this after only a couple of months, I wouldn't recommend staying long enough to see what happens next. this is not a good situation.

bonni

March 25, 2007
2:30 pm
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StronginHim77
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OK...let's complicate this. I forgot to add that I am an ordained minister. My senior ministers (who ordained me) have cautioned me that if I leave him, my credentials for public ministry might be yanked because of pressure for various, legalistic church members.

So, leaving this man is going to cost me something important and irreplaceable. I have been counseled by these men to remain within the relationship because he has not been unfaithful to me, nor has he physically abused me in any way. In short, I must take the consequences of my unhappy choice in a new life-partner.

- Ma Strong

March 25, 2007
2:33 pm
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loverbee
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I would say get the HECK OUT OF THERE!!! He sounds like he has the potential at some point to become physically abusive. I am so sorry that this happened but you deserve so much better than this and I believe the marriage should be annulled.

March 25, 2007
2:37 pm
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StronginHim77
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P.S. I cannot get an annulment in my State, unless he is willing to sign a sworn statement that he married me fraudulently. He will NOT do that, so divorce would be my only option.

March 25, 2007
2:47 pm
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atalose
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Ma Strong,

I think you have married by ex husband!!! lol lol

Unfortunately what I learned the long and hard way was that the more I expressed MY FEELINGS the more fuel it gave to his control. He would then know my vulnerabilities and use it against me further.

I left him emotionally and was able to distance myself that way. I also began to play games such as waiting until he was leaving to go grocery shopping then leaving the house myself with him asking me where are you going. I would then reply out with some friends since I have this free time, have fun at the grocery store! I would know when he was going to be going shopping and I would either leave before he did or at the same time. Soon he began asking me to go with him to do the shopping. The more I didn’t allow his behavior to effect me the harder he tried.

If it wasn’t the shopping it was the house cleaning or the laundry or even how I loaded the dish washer. Finances stopped being an issue when I began to work, which of course set him off big time. Something else he no longer could control with me.

We lived that way for years, too many years until I finally realized I did not have to live that way. Your marriage is so new and fresh and it’s already tainted after only 2 ½ months together. With my ex we were married for several years before his showed his true colors and I lived it for far too many years after that. Don’t make the same mistake I did.

Atalose

~~Hope has a place, but not above reality~~

March 25, 2007
2:48 pm
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sdesigns
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Ma: MEN are telling you this? I would explore talking to many more people about this.

You have some choices to make.

Can you really see yourself living like this the rest of your entire life?

If your credentials are more important that mental health from here on out, then stay and take your lumps. Accept that this is as good as your life can possibly be. But you are looking at a life of misery with no way out from here on out.

OR, you can make the necessary changes and see where life leads you. Can't you continue your volunteer work without your credential? Or perhaps volunteer in a different arena?

I don't like the advice those MEN are telling you.

This would not be your first divorce, correct? Maybe I'm mistaken but it seems you've been divorced before?

SD

March 25, 2007
3:28 pm
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silver
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I am so sorry that you are expereiencing this nightmare.
Have you offered this to God.
It is not right that this man plays such games. He has a very low self esteem and therefore needs continous control. There is a technique which can be learnt, its called transactional analysis. (ERIC BERNE) Amazon is a fantastic place to purchase his books.
It sounds hard but there will have been clues to this mans behaviour patterns. But when we first fall we miss so many of these clues.

March 25, 2007
3:39 pm
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sdesigns
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OK, Ma, I just took a shower and can't stop thinking about this.

Have you spoken to any women's rights groups? Have you spoken to an attorney? Have you spoken to a FEMALE atty? Are there any WOMEN in power positions in your church?

I just hate thinking of you sitting in that little room with your day bed and books and TV, letting him tell you when to eat, what you will eat, etc.

Ma, you just HAVE to get angry about this and take some action. Sitting in that little room and waiting for things to just happen aren't going to get you out of there.

Re: the annullmant- has he SAID he won't sign it? Then counter with the fact that you will be happy to let his friends and peers know what living with him is like. Didn't you say his reputation is immpt to him? Throw that in his face.

Is there any way to speak to any of his ex wives and find out what they did to get out? the more knowledge and ammunition you get, the better off you're going to be.

YOU have to be the aggressor here, YOU have to make things happen, cuz no one else is going to make it happen.

As I recall, you have a late model luxury car. I would say sell that thing and get a cheaper car, so that you have money to rent a studio apt, or rent a room somewhere.

I think you need to take action not only to save yourself, but show him this is serious and you mean business. Cuz this situation isn't going to get better- ever. And the longer you let it go, the harder it will be to get out.

Its only been a few months, there aren't children involved, you don't have huge financial enmeshment, so do it while it is the easiest.

The longer you stay, the more you will get used to the situation and will keep coming up with excuses as to why is not so bad.

But its bad. Very bad.

((((Ma))))

SD

March 25, 2007
4:17 pm
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gracenotes
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Strong,

I would really ask yourself why you even want to be in this marriage? It sounds like dominance and submission. This is not healthy for you. Even though you seem to be calling the rules here, you are only reacting to his rules and now trying to control him. Are you really expecting him to change? Right now, he is only backing off. You have already seen his true colors. I honestly don't think that what you are doing is any kind of long or even short-term solution. He is not going to change. Your codependency is only making you think he will.

Are you afraid that, being older, you cannot find someone who will love you for the fine person you are? Time and time again, I see older people finding the love of their life. A good friend in her late 40's recently met the love of her life and it is a happy relationship. Are you afraid of the pain of admitting this is just not going to work out? That's undestandable, but the pain of leaving will be less than the pain of enduring this relationship on a long-term basis. Why, oh earth, do you want to engage in an ongoing game of trying to control a control freak?? This ain't love, that's for sure.

As all you friends are telling you above, GET OUT WHILE YOU CAN. Listen to us. We are all telling you the same thing!!

Nothing in this scenario is worth it, not his money (he'll be too smart to let you have any of that anyway), or the idea of being married happily ever after (it ended after two and a half weeks really), not finding so-called love later in life. (People find their soul mates anytime in the life cycle.) Its not working now and it never will.

Is this what you really want? You are just presenting yourself as such a different person here. This cannot be the real you here. It just reminds of the time I was sacrificing my true self for some "n" guy. These kinds of relationships are not going to work with someone like you who lives life consciously. And, the longer you wait to get out, the worse the breakup will be. GET OUT NOW. RECLAIM YOUR SELF.

March 25, 2007
4:55 pm
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NAZZDACK
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"he took back the credit card he had issued me for purchasing groceries and does ALL the grocery shopping himself, as well as the cooking"

Is he frugal and considers you a spendthrift? I would be punishing myself by chosing to shop AND cook for a family. Could you explain why he felt shopping and cooking for his only alternative other than letting you do this chore?

March 25, 2007
5:29 pm
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chelonia mydas
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Ma,

This is a very bad situation. I understand you wanting to maintain your credentials as a minister... but you also have to consider your sanity and self worth.

Not sure what religion you are a minister in but here are my thoughts on this situation.

To me a spiritual minister's primary responsibility is to support people being more involved with God and leading healthy, positive lives. The situation you are in is neither healthy nor positive. If your church won't support you doing this- than there is something else out there for you. How can you bring people peace and fulfillment into their lives and help them be closer to God, when you suffer so in your own relationship.

I do not mean to offend with the next few paragraphs- so please keep in mind that I only say this because I think it needs to be said. I say it out of deepest respect but also raw honesty. You are an important and worthy person who deserves better than this controlling booger- you also have so much to offer the world, that I can't just sit here and not speak my mind.

Sometimes positions of ministry become political in nature... that is when the spiritual aspects of leading people to God are put behind the approval of the community and the appearance of being spiritual. It sounds to me as if you are staying in this marriage to keep a political ministry position... If this were a truely spiritual ministry position, your own mental health and spiritual wellbeing would be a priority and they would support you making positive life choices. How can you help others become closer to God and become positive, mentally healthy people- when you are in such a horrible situation yourself?

Based on what I have read of your posts on here YOU ARE a spiritual person who truely beleives in God and wants to help others. You are a spiritually based minister, I have never thought of you as politically motivated. Yet your decision to stay in this horrible relationship only because of your ministry creditials seems more political than spiritual.

You are definately a spiritual leader to your very soul. There are no creditentials that other people can give or take from you that will change this. If you aren't associated with this group because you get a divorce... there are still people in need of your guidance and leadership some place else.

You are too important to get lost in this horrible situation. God gives us these tough situations to learn lessons and test where we stand. You have a big decision in front of you. Regardless of your decision, the past few months and the next few to come will change the course of your life. Sometimes we are given these opportunities to change, because God has other intentions for us that we may not be aware of.

I support which ever decision you make. Only you know what truely feels like the right thing to do.

Lots of Hugs,
Chelonia

March 25, 2007
7:35 pm
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Zinnie
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So, where do I start?

First... the men that are counseling you. If you are an ordained minister, then you are an ordained minister. Last I heard, religions condoned forgiveness for the error of our ways. Wouldn't this be considered an error, a mistake, or just the simple fact that you fell for a lie by a liar? How many big time preachers have we all seen in the last ten years alone get caught with their drawers around their ankles, only to stand up in front of congregations and say "Oh... I'm sorry, I have sinned!" with their crying wives behind them and their ever believing faithful and still money contributing congregations praising HIM on high and saying how brave it is that Pastor Holy Pants got up and confessed his sin - usually after the wife found out.

Perhaps you need to check with these "upper" ministers and see what would happen if the above was the case and if you were a man? Would you be forgiven, or are you being taught yet another lesson?

Secondly... if he wants to do all the shopping and cooking? Let him. I'm sure you can find something a little more fun and exciting to do with your time than grocery shopping and cooking for a person who does not appreciate it anyway. You just have to turn the tables on how you are thinking of it.

I have to agree with what was said above as well - if he is treating you this way - WHY would you want to have sex with him? Consider yourself lucky that he is happy to be left alone and you do not have to contend with that aspect of your life with someone that you clearly are looking for a way to get away from.

Lastly? Continue living your own life and making your plans to get out and away as soon as you can.

Z.

March 25, 2007
9:54 pm
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StronginHim77
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My house is up for sale. It was being remodeled for the past two months and just got completed two days ago. I am praying that it sells, as the market is very slow right now down here in Florida. Once it sells, I will have some money to help me be independent of my new husband. I am unable to work because of a physical disability. So, selling the house is my ticket to freedom.

I have stood up to the senior minister who threatened to revoke my ministry credentials. I believe pressure is being brought to bear on him by others, as well. I confronted him about his lack of mercy in a VERY human situation. I am hoping and believing that he will "back down," as I am an independent volunteer chaplain for my local Police Dept. and my service to them gives my life great meaning and fulfillment, despite my disability.

I am not nursing false hopes that this man will change. He is what he is: emotionally unavailable and controlling, due to deep insecurity and hypervigilance. But I am trying to survive this situation, as strongly as I can, until my house sells. Then, I am free to choose.

I am currently trying to find some sort of part time employment that I can handle, so that I can earn a little extra to help myself. So far, that has been unsuccessful, but I have not given up.

It is very hard and very sad at my age (56) to face the fact that I was taken in hook, line and sinker by a man who was NOT what he projected himself to be. He was so kind, thoughtful, comuunicative and passionate when he was courting me. All of that stopped, within a few weeks of marrying. Now, his "mask" is off and the real him cannot handle having an intimate friendship and relationship with a woman. No wonder he only married once....at age 19...and it only lasted 4 months. He remained single, until he met me. He is now 61 and has no empathy for any other living creature.

He told me tonite that he recently interviewed for a position that would have him traveling and working all throughout the State for a huge company. I hope he gets the job. Then, I could remain alone in this house, free of his presence, until I am prepared to leave.

I appreciate all the strong counsel and support from each of you.

Love,

Ma Strong

(And yes...I have turned this situation over to God and asked for His help and His guidance.)

March 26, 2007
12:12 am
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Wow I wonder if he has a plan on how you'll eat while he's gone. If he does get the job that will be the blessing lol. I understand as i am disabled myself, and I am in a pretty screwed up marriage, I just had fusion on my spine and have been in bed two weeks straight, don't know when I will be back to "normal" if ever. Then will I be better, will I ever be able to work fulltime and support myself,its a bad situation.

I would love it if someone went to the store and cooked, maybe you should start acting unable to do the stuff you hate like laundry or cleaning house lol. -

Its hard to even want to have intimacy with someone who treats youlike this anyway.

I wonder what made the huge change, has he be financially screwed over before and thinks your gonna do the same? Have you asked him about therapy?

I think this is a form of emotional abuse. I know that although someone doesn't hit you, doesn't mean they aren't emotionally or verbally using you or abandoning you. I just can't imagine a life stuck in my way of life now, and I'm sure you can't either. We only have one life.

I hope things get better for you. I myself feel emotionally, physically abandoned at my biggest time of need, and i am helpless to even take care of myself or drive...so I am STUCK, but pryaing everyday that I heal.

March 26, 2007
2:32 am
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ma,

I am very familiar with the cold shoulder routine....my impression is that the least painful thing for you is to do what you are doing, withdrawing too, and let him sit in his own stew....However, my interactions with P have never shown him to feel bad or even acknowledge the 'silent treatment'. It just creates distance....and I would think your new H will act to try close that gap, because he sounds much more controlling than P - that little "taunt" about you being allowed in the master bedroom on Saturday nights? That's him trying to reel the line in, so he can cast you out again...not sure that P would do that, but then, I don't live with him....maybe he would, if we lived together....who knows?

Anyway, the important thing is to become very blank when dealing with him - do not react to him, do not tell him how you feel - he will only use that for more abuse. Instead, you can try asking him questions, very calmly and rationally...Ooh, this is a great one - when he says something snide or hurtful, ask him politely, "what did you say?" If he has the balls to repeat it (sometimes they don't), then follow it up with "that's what I thought you said." And then walk away. I also think that keeping a journal of all the hurtful, horrible, or ridiculous things he says (date, time, in quotes and context, if you can) will help you keep your sanity - then you have an 'official' log documenting his insanity.....it helps. But bottom line - do not let him know he is affecting you. It will feed him. Try to remain very calm, distant, and unemotional every time you have to deal with him. Never make the mistake that he will understand or empathize - he wont. But he will use your emotions against you.

Finally, about those ministers....this is a LARGE part of why I do not believe in organized religion. What total crap. Just to add insult to injury, those ass hats....Ma, sometimes men of God really aren't. whatever B.S. spewage they are shooting off about losing your minister - status, you don't need to worry about it right now. Worry about it if it happens, okay, but for now, let them be jackasses and continue to keep yourself safe and as healthy as you can.

To anyone else who hasn't read ma's other thread - she has some very significant reasons for staying in this marriage for now - if she had any other options at the moment, she would act to change things, but for now she is stuck trying to survive until she can move out.

hugs,

zax

March 26, 2007
6:05 am
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hopeful for change
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I am in an emotional abandoned relationship and it sucks....being just shut out, ignored for days or treated like crap....its not a marriage.

March 26, 2007
8:31 am
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Robert123
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Strong I don't know if you already mentioned this or not but how long did you two take to get to know each other? I am curious and it is rather sobering to hear of the struggle you are going thru.

March 26, 2007
9:04 am
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Hi Ma,

Firstly, you must be in an awful lot of pain right now - and I want to reiterate again that I am so sorry this has happened. I know that you had a short courtship, but I also know that you did some serious due diligence, including counseling, before you got married. You couldn't possibly have seen the Mr Hyde coming and it's not your fault that this man has turned out to be who he is.

Who he is, by the sounds of things, is a seriously disordered person. His behavior is definitely at least verring towards the narcissistic and frankly, possibly sociopathic. You know this. And I know that you are beyond well-versed in what that means. I know that your financial situation is rough and that there are good reasosn why you're staying put in the short term.

What I don't understand is why you're asking "how you handle" a man of this type. You know that you just.. don't. You can do what you're doing, which is not giving him a reaction. But why it is that you're asking how to get physical affection from a man who has yelled, threatened and abused you - treated you like a child, banished you to a back room and is more or less rationing your food... it's beyond me, Ma. A week ago you had been offered extra credit on your mortgage and it looked like there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Now your church has made its position clear and you're saying you must "take the consequences of your choice in a new life partner" or else you'll lose something important to you.

Ma - are you seriously trying to adjust to the idea of staying with this man? Of trying to figure out how to get him to step -towards- you?

This, so far, has been a three-month journey. You know better than anyone that these kinds of men can be emotional kryptonite. Longer you stay, harder it is to leave. And already you're trying to bargain with a man who is treating you as sub-human. You still want to be physically affectionate with him? I don't understand why that is.

Perhaps you're grieving for your lost hopes. And maybe you're already into the bargaining stage. But I really, really hope that acceptance comes quickly. Not acceptance of the situation as it is - but acceptance of what you need to do so that you don't lose THE most important thing -which, of course, is you. Whatever your church says, Ma - I cannot believe that your God, or mine, would advocate that kind of pain.

I hope that house sells as soon as possible and that when it does, you run as quickly as you can in the opposite direction.

Please stay safe,

H x

March 26, 2007
10:01 am
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StronginHim77
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Robert...

We did not know one another long...just about two months, before I agreed to marry him. Within two weeks of the wedding, the "mask" came off and it has been hell ever since.

Yes. I feel like a complete fool and I am very worn down and exhausted today.

March 26, 2007
10:34 am
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Isis
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Ma-

That is a bunch of bullshit! (pardon my foul mouth) There is NO WAY that your credentials for public ministry can be revoked. My best girlfriend, who is an attorney, has parents (mom & dad) who are ordained ministers. Between the two of them they have been married three times- divorced twice- and are both still very much ministers- helping out the poor and working in shelters and hospitals all around the Boston area.

It sounds like along with everything else you're going through, you're being discriminated against and harassed because you're a woman.

Is there no end to this insanity?

Keep your chin up MA- and it's more than OK to cry- let it out, you'll feel better. Holding it in is very bad for your emotional well-being.

I'm praying to the Goddesses with you in mind,

Stay Strong, Ma,

Isis

March 26, 2007
11:51 am
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nappy
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Ma, I hope that you are doing well and I hope that you are taking care of yourself. I ponder for a long time before I respond. Have faith in god that he will see you through your pain.

Psalms: 41 verse 9

Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.
But you, O lord, be merciful to me, and raise me up, that I may repay him.

You have been there for me when I was down, you made me realize alot about my situation that I was in, you gave words of courage and strength, so now it is our turn to give it back.

You are a strong person and please don't lose that now, just because you are with an insane person. We all know that what goes around, comes around and your husband better believe that.

The only good thing that your husband did was take off that mask. But what it really shows is that he is weak, he is scared, and he is afraid but that is how he is seeing you but when you show strength and let god word inside you starting to work, then you will see the little boy that is so afraid that he is not going to know what to do.

You did right by now going into his bedroom. HE put you in the back room and that is where you is at. I couldn't have sex with a man like that, because I would be looking right at him, and I mean really looking at him. And by buying and cooking the food, I would tell him to buy and fix his own food and I will do the same. He wants a roommate, then that will be exactly what he would get. You don't have to eat with him, you don't even have to talk to him. He separated himself from you right after the wedding. Now you separated yourself from him until you can do better.

Show your husband what control is.

Nappy!

March 26, 2007
12:12 pm
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doubleloss
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My dearest MA.
I just came to the boards today, and reading this made soooo mad! I totally understand that you are doing whatever you need to surf this murky waters right now and that is hard enough. And about those guys telling you if you get divorced your licences will be revoked....I almost puked when I read that (excuse the elegance of ling), BUT, we are not in the middle ages for God's sakes. And if that is so in your state, in your ministry, then maybe this whole thing is just a situation that has been presented in your life so you can make a change.

Control, as we all know, is a form of abuse, so what if you are not showing up with broken ribs....arrggghhh!!! Maybe that's your mission now, deal w/all those a...h... and put them in their place, both your husband and the ministers telling you that bunch of crap. Sorry MA, I'm angry when I hear those things.

I think zax is right about you not showing any kind of emotions, she's great w/come backs! Just please be safe and I hope he gets his job and you sell your house and move to a more forward thinking county, state or country if you need to. Much love going your way. Double

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