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Oh my. Riversedge just forwarded a venomous text message from his brother, who was attacking me, and blaming me for his divorce and separating Riversedge from his family, calling me a psycho. Why? Why would my husband want me to read those words, and be wounded? What does he think he's doing?

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I'm not sure what to think. Is he that clueless? After the last few days, it seems more likely that he was again wanting me to be his mommy and comfort him and protect him from the big bad world.

 

Another part of me thinks he HAS to know how much this would bother me, since I've told him so many times, and he was deliberately (if somewhat subconsciously) trying to hurt me. I already know what he's going to say. He's going to say, "Should I not tell you when my family contacts me?" and act like he was just trying to be honest and above board. In that case, what's wrong with mentioning that his brother contacted him and that he's handling it, instead of dumping on me?

 

I don't want to be in this much pain. I don't want to be this man's security blanket anymore.

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Here's the text message, edited of names and curse words.

 

"My gut says leave it alone but the more I think about it, the angrier it makes me. This has gone on long enough. You don't want me around your kids? Really? You and your psycho-lunatic wife are the ones who put that horse**** in (ex-wife's) head. You and your wife are incredibly to blame for meddling in my divorce with your psychobabble bull****. Spineless [edit]****. Grow a pair. Quit letting Ophelia isolate you from the rest of our family. Is this all part of the John Smith (preacher that Riversedge used to like) plan for family reconciliation?"

 

For reference, when Riversedge plays the ignorance card, and acts like he surprised that he shouldn't forward such filth to his wife.

Edited by Ophelia
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That's true, he should not forward abuse from his family to you. Especially when he is well aware that you are hurting already. It's his job to protect your heart from his family.

 

If that is the kind of background he came from, it's no wonder he has been how he had been. Today is a new day, however! Measure how quickly he is able to turn this latest thing around, compared to past episodes. That is one way you can get the idea that there IS progress even when it doesn't feel like it.

 

God be your strength and joy, Ophelia!

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I think Riversedge was shocked at the venom and filth coming from his brother. I have had the same blind spot with members of my family, so I know a bit of what he's experiencing. He finally FINALLY cut ties with them completely. They are blocked on his phone and mine.

 

We've had a few really good days. He's listening, and loving on me, and being careful to stay away from the mommy/son relationship. I'm responding well, but still kind of hanging out to see what happens. I know I can't live or die on how he's treating me, and that is helping me weather the cycle better than before.

 

We went to a new church together on Sunday, and if everything is as it seems, we'll likely put down roots with them. It's been a long time coming, though I'm glad for the space to heal from spiritual abuse. I'm not sure either of us could have received the good before now. The whole thing seems like a good fit.

 

Today, Riversedge is making good on some promises to help me, and we have a date tonight. We have so much going on this week and next. I'm looking forward to a breathing space. My parents will be staying with us for a while as they look for a place to live, so we'll have built in baby sitters! That will be lovely, and lovely to have them.

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He can't decide if he's my baby, or my owner. He swings from one to the next, and back again, and neither is what I want.

 Very insightful words, Ophelia!! This sums up the whole problem in a nutshell and it's about identity. When our identity is in Christ we are able to put aside these other substitutions! Expressing the problem this way shows you how to pray as well. Until Christ be formed in us!

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Well, Riversedge made it 4 days, if I'm being generous, of being outward and loving me. We had a good day at the zoo, one successful attempt at LM. A decent date, considering that I was starting to get sick. Things were fine, because there were no bumps; no challenges. Riversedge doesn't do challenges.

 

Yesterday, I could feel the tension and inward focus when Riversedge got home. He greeted me and kissed me, and then spent some time with the kids, which was all good.

 

He's asked me to remind him every day of his cycle and issues that come up so he'll he prepared, so we talked about how that when he believes he's right, he's repeating his family's dysfunction of believing what feels right and what is comfortable, rather than believing God, or believing me when I tell him what I feel and what I need. It was a good conversation, so I thought.

 

He started to initiate sex, in a way I find creepy and unnatural for us. I told him he was being creepy, and he stopped. He told me was trying to be "suave".

I told him that he doesn't have to be someone he's not, that I would be attracted to him being real and not having to put on a character. He seemed to receive that well, and thanked me for telling him. I told him that it is still challenging for me to find the balance between ML because I know we should and it speeds up our healing, and *not* ML when I shouldn't, because of feeling coerced and other issues from our past of Riveredge sexually abusing me. He seemed to be very understanding. He suggested we take a break while he did some other things, and that he would come back and initiate ML again. I agreed, and actually felt heard and cared for, relieved that he wasn't running from me, since that is his normal reaction when I have anything to say about ML, or the lack thereof.

 

He did some things around the house as we discussed, then came back to me. He began to touch me, but in a normal, non sexual way. I asked him to give me 3 compliments, which he did. At some point, the way we were sitting became uncomfortable, and I told him and changed positions. After a long time of talking, but his not making any discernible moves towards ML, I realized that it was almost midnight, and he wasn't going to initiate ML.

 

He has been told by all of the call moderators, Joel specifically, to initiate ML every day, not that we will always ML every day, but that he is to initiate every day to break through that resistance and dysfunction. His typical choices are: to stall as long as possible, until I call it quits because of the late hour, or because I don't have another hour for him to get up the courage to do something, then blame me because he was "about to do it" when I stopped waiting; to initiate ML in such a way that no one except him would ever discern that's what he was doing, and then blame me for not noticing; begin to initiate ML, but as soon as I give an opinion of something he's doing that I don't like, shut everything down under the guise of he "tried to initiate", and blame me for not being receptive; initiating in an unrecognizable way, and when I move on, blaming me and saying that he was taking it slow, and I didn't respond.

 

In short, Riversedge is terrified to initiate ML. He uses any ridiculous excuse he can find to not do it. He sabotages our relationship when he knows he will have to ML, so I'll be angry and hurt and not respond. When I'm sick, or on my cycle, he's all over me, because he knows he'll get turned down, but he can still say that he initiated. No risk of actually having sex, so he feels safe. When I called him out on not initiating last night, he gave me several of the excuses from the paragraph above, actually maybe versions of all of them, plus more. I kept pointing out that he was not being honest, and he was explaining his feelings to me over and over, in an attempt to force me to agree to his point of view. It was a conversation in which Riversedge was once again the wife in the relationship, and fighting tooth and claw to stay the wife.

 

I communicated my hurt and my needs and his dysfunction to him very clearly. I pointed out his excuses and effeminate behavior. He argued, twisted, spun, told me that I was wrong, told me all the ways I was wrong. Riversedge constantly interrupted me, and didn't even attempt to hear me, instead jumped in at any point he could squeeze in so that HE could be heard, so that HE could be understood. I called him out on that. He began to get very angry, visibly angry, and he said that we should take it to the call, and then continued being controlling and verbally abusive. When I responded to what he was saying, he jumped off the couch, and started walking around the room, turning off lights. When I called him on that, he replied in a sarcastic and rebellious tone like a child, repeating anything I said back to him in a bitter tone of voice. I called him on that, and he again said we should take it to the call, and I said that's fine, then stop talking and leave. He angrily went upstairs to bed.

 

I collected myself a bit, and then went upstairs and told him that I couldn't sleep in the same bed as him that night. I also told him that he wasn't invited to my sister's birthday dinner at our house the next day. The phone call wouldn't be until after, and with the way he was acting, I knew my sister would have a tense, awkward birthday, and I wasn't going to let Riversedge ruin another occasion like that for us. I then told him I needed him to turn on the internet so I could watch movies to help me sleep.

He replied angrily, as he does when he suffers consequences for his actions. I called him on his abusive tone and behavior. He then told me that we were shelving it until the call. In other words, "I can commit an abusive drive-by, but you can't do anything about it because I said we were saving it for the call." I told him that if he is abusive, I reserve the right to respond to that abuse, period, and if he wanted to shelve it until the call, that he should do that instead of flinging abuse at me and then running and hiding behind the call. Then he finally ACTUALLY stopped talking and left. He ended our evening on an angry, rebellious, painful note, with no hope of resolution or healing, with abuse instead of love.

 

So there we are. 4 days. It used to be a week. I am proud of myself for responding with good during those 4 days. I was able to be warm and encouraging to his efforts. I was ready to respond to his initiating. I want to leave this chapter of my life with as few regrets as possible, fighting for the good until the end. I've grown so much, I almost don't recognize the girl who started with Joel and Kathy in August, and I definitely don't recognize the girl I was when we got married. It's good.

 

My heart is hurting today. My body is suffering the consequences of yesterday. But my God is working it all for my good. There is victory in my defeat.

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I'm sorry for how hurtful this all gets to be for you, Ophelia, but do admire how well you are able to think on your feet, so to speak! It is certainly a fine thing to have your confidence in and from the Lord. He will see you through to victory!

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It is hurtful. Especially because Riversedge sin and neglect is always my fault is in his mind. It all comes back to his not hearing me, and not believing me. When he actually puts forth effort, I communicate and tell him what I like and what's not working for me. The only reason some of those experiences turn out good, and some disastrous is his willingness or unwillingness to hear me and put my heart above his own arrested feelings. Last week (I think) he initiated, and I told him what wasn't working, he listened, and worked with me, and we had a good experience. This week, he initiated, I communicated, his baby feelings were hurt and scared, and he refused to protect my heart and lay down his life for me. That is literally the only difference. I'm the same woman, with the same issues, the same history, the same triggers, and he is the same man. He knows. He admitted that he was putting out feelers, waiting for me to initiate so it was safe for him to respond, so he doesn't run the risk of dealing with the wounding I've received sexually for 12 years.

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The pendulum swings from "passive initiating that no one would notice, but I can still argue that I tried, as well as pretending I don't know what is expected of me and that's Ophelia's fault" to "robotic initiating in which I coldly announce to Ophelia that I would like to have sex, or timidly asking Ophelia if she would like me to initiate, which she repeatedly tells me is not initiating, which is also Ophelia's fault." So I know very well where we swing next.

 

I have told Riversedge things I would like, things to please not ever do, and he's received coaching from Joel and John specifically. Feigning ignorance is only one of his tactics to avoid DOING, and it's one I am weary of. It's also a tactic that Joel and Kathy have dealt with as recently as last week.

 

As well, the creepy thing that I told him I didn't like was not kissing my neck, it was putting his face weirdly close to mine, while staring at me like a hawk, breathing like some kind of animal, and generally making me feel off and physically intimidated, especially as I tell him almost daily how much I hate that behavior. John told him to knock it off, but Riversedge would much rather keep it up and verbally browbeat me into agreeing that I like it.

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Yikes! I hear you! His behaviour doesn't make sense. I understand how you could be at your wits' end!

And I can see that it would be a relief to know that you do not have to live like this for the rest of your life. Even in the kingdom of God!

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Here are notes I took and some rambling and scripture from a few weeks ago before we talked on Thursday night's call. I guess it's relevant.

 

He wants to talk about changing. He wants to think about changing. He wants to talk about thinking, and think about talking, and he wants me to do it all with him instead of noticing that he isn't DOING any of it.

 

Planning things with kids without talking to me, then asking for permission like a child

 

Talking to them about our marriage issues

 

Love bombing the kids

 

Whining, crying, acting like a child

 

Martyred attitude, walking around in glass

 

Arguing

 

Stonewalling

 

Saying he needs to "think" about anything I point out that he doesn't like. Code for: you're wrong, and I'm stonewalling you.

 

Constantly asking what he can do to change xyz, when he's been told. Loves to feign ignorance of anything he hasn't been doing that he's been told to do.

 

Asking for lists of what it will take to keep me here.

 

When John asked him how he can make me feel loved, he had no idea.

 

He acts like a mentally deficient person. He follows me around, stands in dark places, backs me into corners, pins my arms down, constantly knocks on the door or talks to me while I'm in the bathroom. He gets in my face when he talks to me, and the more freaked out he is, the closer he gets. He tries to break eye contact with me while we're talking, or stares at me creepily while we're not talking. If I'm watching TV and get up to get a drink or whatever, he follows me. In the morning, his alarm wakes me up and I go to the bathroom, and when I come back, he's standing literally in front of the door, waiting for me in the dark, wanting me to talk to him and hug him, effectively waking me up to the point I can't go back to sleep.

Sex is unbearably awful. It is tense, awkward, unnatural, and frightening. He doesn't listen to me, he doesn't talk to me about or during sex. Premature ejaculation is my fault, and he's made it such a giant issue in his mind, that he's terrified to have sex even more. It feels like biological self sabotage, because it gets worse the more he goes internal. He admitted that he doesn't want to have sex with me. He admitted that he withholds initiating to force me into initiating and pursuing him.

 

Cycle:

 

1st week, he's doing doing doing. I'm cautious, but paying attention.

 

2nd week, I begin to open up and really respond, he begins to pull inside himself and push back, but very subtly, and giving very sincere sounding apologies. I become his mommy and he becomes a child.

 

3rd week, I am hurting as he only talks of all he's doing right, denies my pain and argues that he's doing anything wrong, it's all out war. Phone calls make the abuse worse, but he sounds good.

 

4th week, still all out war, until he snaps out of it.

 

Repeat cycle beginning with week 1.

 

Matthew 21:28

28

But what think ye? A certainman had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard.

29

He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.

30

And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not.

31

Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.

 

Luke 18:10-14 KJV

[10] Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. [11] The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are , extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. [12] I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. [13] And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. [14] I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

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John and Susan were amazing on the call last night, but Riversedge played the victim and was obviously scrambling for control of the situation. He did very little listening, but sat poised to interject anywhere he could. When John and Susan were describing the depth of pain that he's putting me through, and the need for him to understand that on a deep level, he instead brought up his own victimhood and the sexual abuse done to him.

 

That is a typical tactic. If I'm sick, he's sicker. If I'm sad, he's more sad. If the attention is on me in any way, he must redirect the attention to himself.

 

At our intensive, when we had our time with Joel and Kathy privately, Riversedge was saying the same things he said to me yesterday and the night before and all the months before that. That he IS initiating, and I just don't see it. Translation: you are a stupid, ungrateful she-witch who doesn't recognize or appreciate what I'm giving you. The depth of delusion and selfishness is difficult for me to understand.

 

I gave him an illustration. Suppose I had decided that every time I held Riversedge's hand, that was my sign to him that I wanted him to take me shopping. Is that rational? No. Is it a universal sign for "take me shopping"? No. Does anyone else agree that's what it means? No. Has it been effective in communicating that I want to go shopping? No. Yet, if pressed, and asked why I didn't go shopping, I can always say, "I told you that I wanted to go shopping by grabbing your hand, and it's your fault that you didn't understand. I'm going to stand here and argue and verbally beat you down until you admit that I did what I needed to do to communicate, and because I've established this in my own mind, nothing you, or anyone else says will convince me otherwise. And I'm going to keep doing it, no matter how many times you ask me to communicate in a way that you can understand." And so I would never go shopping, would I? But it would also, according to me, never be my fault.

 

The way he "intitiates" LM is exactly like what I described. When we swing away from robotic I.WOULD.LIKE.TO.HAVE.SEX.WITH.YOU., we swing back to initiating in Riversedge mind, and his constant arguing that he IS initiating, no matter how much I tell him that I can't see it or tell that's what he's doing.

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No, unfortunately. Things are much the same. Lots of arguing, anger, and control, then crazymaking and gaslighting about the arguing, anger and control. Pretend initiating, inward focus, and mommy/son relationship.

 

Riversedge believes that he wants to be married and that he's committed to our marriage, but I see more and more that he's afraid of losing me as his mommy. He equates that fear with loving me, and it always falls short.

 

The main issue right now is that he refuses to hear me or allow me an opinion about what I need or want. He is only willing to do the things that he has done for years, since that's what he's comfortable doing, then tries to verbally beat me into submission. If I don't like what he's doing, or how he's doing something, it's obviously my fault for not seeing his supreme awesomeness.

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The other big issue, is that he tries to wrestle the response he wants out of me, instead of loving me and trusting that I'll respond in kind. Since he's not listening to me and not hearing my heart, I respond with pain and frustration, and he doesn't like that. Rather than change himself and what he's doing, he opts for forcing me to comply to his wishes.

 

To hear him talk most of the time, he doesn't know anything that Joel and Kathy have taught him, nothing from the phone calls, nothing from the intensive. So he's constantly having revelations about lots of basic concepts, but the revelations don't lead to change, definitely not lasting change.

 

He wants to focus on anything besides the actual work, the commitment, the consistency. He wants some kind of lightning bolt to strike him out of the blue, something that will change him instantly, and the work will be easy. He is ruled by his flesh. He plans, and thinks, and talks, but when the moment comes, he feeds his flesh every time. And that's why we are where we have been.

 

Riversedge is hyper focused on doing chores and projects, as a way to distract himself and me from the lack of relationship in any other area. I'm thankful that these things are getting done, but it's only a tool he employs to use up time he could be spending connecting and building a marriage with me.

 

He has even added extra things to the days he works, like reading to our son late at night, as a way to avoid initiating sex on those days. He knows that I hate when he puts me last and procrastinates imitating ML until a ridiculous hour. So the more he can put it off, the less chance he'll actually have to work at the sexual side of our relationship. He is sabotaging our sex life, and after all the instruction he's received, I can't help but think it's intentional.

 

When he does touch me, he continues to be either cold fish, or physically intimidating. Pinning me down while I'm walking is still an issue, no matter how many times I tell him I hate it.

Edited by Ophelia
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Friday night, the day after or call with John and Susan, Riversedge was being angry and controlling and abusive still. We were on day 3 of this stretch, despite a great phone call. As I sat there on the couch, while he alternated between anger and self pity, Jesus poured a sudden and overwhelming love over me. It was nearly a physical feeling, it was so intense. I couldn't stop crying and smiling and laughing. He is so good, so dear. It went on for maybe 20 minutes, and Riversedge was afraid. He said my face was glowing and happy, as he saw Jesus give me the love that *he* should be aspiring to give me. I felt released of the burden of my marriage. When it was over, I began to minister to Riversedge, and speak Jesus to him, even though he continued to be delusional and afraid and angry. I'm still in awe of the whole experience.

 

Riversedge feels less and less like a husband to me. I think that the Lord is leading me to the end of this path. Not immediately, maybe, but if things continue this way much longer, it will be over. And I am so much at peace with that. It's not ever been my first choice. I have worked hard, and I still am, but I'm in a different place. I'm not angry or afraid. It just feels like the next step. I hope to be proven wrong about that. I hope Riversedge will surrender himself to Jesus and to wise counsel and finally lay his life down. I believe that is the best outcome, but right now, I don't see much hope of that. We are 6 months out of our intensive, and almost exactly in the same place we began.

 

And that's enough typing! This sickness has been brutal, and my arms are tired from holding them up.

Edited by Ophelia
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Please pray for me. I'm at the ER with Riversedge. I had to come out to my car because I can't stop crying. He's not going to do this. He's not going to live this life. He won't listen to me, and he blames me and excuses himself, and I can't live his way any more. He put my kids in danger. I know I'm not making much sense, and I'll update later, but please pray me, and pray for my poor kids.

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We're home, I can't stop crying. He's still arguing and gaslighting. If I say one thing, he denies it. He always has the best intentions. Then why am I in so much pain?

 

He's making passive aggressive comments, trying to spin things. I trust my reality. I trust my perceptions. I don't believe anything he says, but oh how it hurts when he does this! I want Joel and Kathy to tell me that I can be done now. I can't hurt like this, I can't have my kids see me like this. Dear Jesus, please let me go!

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