Leading Authority in Treatment of Narcissism and Emotional Abuse

What Brings You Here?

If this was your first session with me, I would ask you, “What brings you here?” I would want to know what you’re struggling with the most right now, and how I could help speak hope into your situation.

Maybe you’ve recently discovered our videos and they resonate with you. Maybe you’ve, finally, put your finger on what’s been happening in your marriage, and it looks like abuse. Maybe you discovered terminology like “word salad” and “gaslighting” and “blameshifting” and are seeing how these have destroyed your ability to trust yourself and your spouse. Or maybe you simply feel like you’ve lost your mind and your sense of direction.

Whatever the reason, would you be willing to share your story with us? Post it in the comments or on the Facebook page. We would love to know about your experience, and, especially, how we can speak life into it. Maybe you don’t feel bold enough today, but will you think about it? Maybe start by journaling your story, so you can at least begin to put it into words. And then, maybe you will feel the courage to let us see you. In the meantime, let our stories breathe hope into your story.

This Week’s Question:

I have reached a complete grinding halt in my life. I have been crying out to God, praying, begging Him “Please let there be someone who can understand me, who can help me”. I am at the end of my rope. 5 years ago I separated from my emotionally controlling husband. Without going into the whole story – prior to the separation, there was unfaithfulness, dismissal, control, withdrawal, lying both going into the marriage and during, then confession and apology followed by “Why can’t you just get over it….” Now, five years after separation, (28 years marriage), my husband, who is 10 years older, is suffering in his health. He’s finally now saying some of the things I longed to hear for years. I don’t believe there has been lasting change, as my gut twists when I spend time with him. However, I am grieving the loss of my family, estrangement from children who don’t understand, and I’m going crazy trying to sort it all out. What’s my responsibility? Should I go back in order to get my “family” back, and just try to live with the man that he is? I’m losing sleep, losing time and losing my mind. Can you help me? I’ve watched a couple of your you tube videos and what you say makes so much sense.

Sharmen’s Response:

Hi.  I’m sorry you feel like you are losing your mind! I know there is much more to why you are where you are than what you could share in this little snippet, and answering the question of what your responsibility is will probably feel mostly unsatisfactory.  But, let me start with this: If you decide to go back, one of the loudest messages you will be sending is that he doesn’t really have to change anything.  All he had to do was wait it out (granted, 5 years is a long time).  Maybe a better question might be What tools have you learned to enable you to live well back in the same space as your estranged husband?

If you go back into that environment the same person you were when you left, life will most likely quickly resort back to the same patterns of harm. It won’t solve the estrangement from the children who don’t understand.  It won’t lessen your grief.  It won’t ease the sick feeling in your gut.  And it won’t keep you from losing your mind.  It just means you go back to enduring your pain in silence and grief.

However, if you have, on the other hand, strengthened your sense of core self and learned to walk deeply with God, his grace could enable you to go back to that space and live well within in it.  It could be that this time of separation was meant to give you respite so you could go back in strength and dignity even if nothing else has changed.

It sounds a bit to me that it may be your loneliness driving you back, and not a sense of strength.  I think loneliness is one of our fiercest enemies in the midst of all this mess! It can drag you into foolishness quicker than a startled cat.  And that foolishness does not provide any sort of lasting healing for the loneliness; it only appeases it for the moment and creates even more chaos.  Address the loneliness head-on, and you will have much more clarity about what your next steps today should be, and whether or not it would be wisest to reconcile with your husband.

What are your thoughts? What do you think it might look like to “address the loneliness” in healthy, constructive ways? What has worked for you?


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