Seeking Help From Pastors # 3 – Pastor 3 of 6

Pastor #3 – COLORADO

You’ve heard the term Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde? From the book by Robert Louis Stevenson? When I hear the term, it usually refers to a person with strong personality/mood changes, like two different people, one kind (Jekyl), one cruel (Hyde). I married Dr. Jekyl.

I loved Peter. He was warm, funny, intelligent, wise, and positive. He had a past, but had earned my respect for the way he was making a good life, with focus and determination. Again, I loved him and I believed in his worth and goodness. The day after our wedding, I got a glimpse of Mr. Hyde, his evil twin. I met Mr. Hyde in person the day we returned from our honeymoon. Not uncommon; abusers often seem attentive and loving , to change abruptly shortly after a wedding. But I had never been exposed to this information.

So here we were, 10 years later, in a new state, in a new town. I hoped that it would be a new start. After years of never knowing when he would switch from Jekyl to Hyde, I hoped Dr. Jekyl would be back to stay.

Our first night there, Peter had a few beers and started to urinate in the closet. Not abusive intentionally, but still weird, disorienting, lonely, RIDICULOUS. It was an issue we had discussed before – but rather than admitting how sick it was, he made a joke out of it (which IS abusive). An intelligent, well esteemed, professional man, refusing to recognize the degree of weird this behavior showed. (Weird that didn’t usually show outside our family). I felt stunned, enraged, frustrated…..and also shut down, isolated.  Can’t figure out that set of emotions! I invoked the D word (divorce) for the third time in our marriage. (Funny thing, he was suddenly able to locate the bathroom after that.) That issue solved; no divorce.

During the next couple of years, it was the same old, same old.  Except that I was getting tired, losing my resiliency, and wondering (again, more) if God either didn’t hear my prayers or didn’t care. And still wondering how to deal with all of it for the best outcome. I prayed for guidance, wisdom, discernment, faith, help with my unbelief, healing for him, healing for me, protection for the girls, strength, or a whirlwind or telegram or still small voice to tell me His will.

Matt 7:7-11 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

I attended church, secular counseling, a codependency support group (awesome), Al-Anon, and took antidepressants. Eventually, when Peter was out hunting, I prayed for God to either heal him or “take him home.” I didn’t want him to come home. For a while I quit praying, because I was tired of flapping my jaws to a white ceiling. Of course, I started praying again, just like I always started hoping again in my marriage. Faith, hope and love.

The girls and I watched him fall down stairs, stagger, bully, and just be strange – alternating with being fun, wholesome, and affectionate. I forcefully took keys to drive home from “family outings,” playing the family police I didn’t want to be. He called me “no fun Diane.”I told him that if he didn’t stop drinking, I would leave. And, terrified and defeated, I contacted a divorce attorney.

Counseling, he said, so we trotted off to charming Pastor C, who had a plan. He would find a mentor for Peter, someone who could support him and hold him accountable. Peter was all for it. I was hopeful…again.

But…. IT NEVER HAPPENED…. again. Pastor C apparently forgot or had other things to attend to, because there was no more communication. I felt the moment was lost. Peter didn’t pursue it. Pastor C didn’t pursue it.

Why didn’t I pursue it? What had I ever, EVER said, that influenced what he did? What more could I say to the Pastor? Shame him into acting? Remind him? I felt powerless. I felt I needed higher power, higher authority, male influence to speak for me. Humiliatingly, embarrassingly sad in this “modern age,” but not UNUSUAL. Pretty common, in fact.

Peter pretended not to drink any more. (Years later, my father and brother told me he did drink, proudly, when he was with them.) His abusive style was pretty much the same. But he stopped falling down stairs, staggering, slurring, and urinating in strange places. I thought he had stopped drinking. Overall, it was an improvement. And I still wanted the girls to be safe and in as healthy an environment as possible given our reality. I didn’t want to keep them from their dad, especially Dr. Jekyl, but didn’t trust the courts to not allow unsupervised custody, which could leave them alone with their dad, Mr. Hyde. And I was still trying to walk by faith and not by sight, and not displease God. Just enough improvement. I didn’t divorce.

Pastor’s Mistake:   Existing? No…too harsh.  Just lack of follow through.

Prov  31:8-9  “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.  Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”

As Forrest Gump says, “That’s all I have to say about that.”

For consideration:

Good article from Focus Ministries on Jekyl/Hyde Psychological Abuse, 1998:

Which verses  apply, and how?

1 Cor 5:11 But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an -idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.

1 Cor 7:10-11 To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.

Prov  31:12  She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.


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11 thoughts on “Seeking Help From Pastors # 3 – Pastor 3 of 6

  1. coastalmom May 14, 2013 at 5:24 am Reply

    My dad was a great guy. He was an executive in two major companies when I was growing up. I never lacked for anything financially. But behind closed doors I was always worried that he wouldn’t get home safely. Unfortunately, he had to wine and dine the clients and in the process got a couple DUIs which my mom shared with me from the time I was nine. My dad was my hero and when my mom told me she had to go bail him out of jail and to watch my sister… well, it rocked my world.(Great advice: Don’t share everything with your kids! Make excuses… they don’t need all the details!) Later, fast forward what seemed like a hundred years (it was only 17) I was married with a three year old, working the graveyard shift in the Psych Dept of our local hospital reading my boss’s Thesis about Adult Children of Alcoholic Parents that she was working on as we worked. She wanted my opinion and I just started sobbing as I read it. I never knew that there were others like me out there. I realized I was the person she was writing about. It was HUGE for me. And at that moment, I knew I’d done exactly what the pages perdicted. Married an Alcoholic of my very own. Mine peed in bed. A BIG secret I’d kept. Kind of what got us together. Our first time spending the night It had happened. I’d had to jump up and got to work the next day… I’d been house sitting and he’d stayed over. I was clueless… later he’d confessed. I knew it was strange, but I’d written it off to he’d drank too much. So had I though and I never wet the bed I thought… Oh well, I guess my reaction of noncalant compassion made him fall in love. You can’t say I didn’t know what I was getting into. But he was gorgeous and so lay back and wonderful after a very emotionally and sometimes physically abusive relationship. My mantra was never again to date someone with a temper. HE actually was my abuser, the reason that I think that I related to your blog but he never drank. He was the way he was because of a horrible childhood but the things you shared about your ex made me wonder how many of us are living lives behind pretty walls, attending church and faking the hell out of everything?! In the end, I think that I was doing what my friend wrote about… trying to go back and fix the messes in our own childhoods. Funny, my childhood for the most part was uneventful. I never heard my parents fight… but my mom would ask me to plead with my dad not to drive somewhere after he’d been drinking or ask my dad when he was coming home and other things that though they seemed harmless made me feel responsible for something that NEVER was my responsiblity. When I read that alcoholic parents create in their children the feeling that the other shoe is always going to drop…AND the need to choose people that give them the opportunity to fix their past by trying to fix their new partners… I knew I’d just read about me.
    So I went out and chose a guy who abused me horribly mostly emotionally but a few scattered times physically… unitl I had enough and realized that it was never going to stop. We were engaged. It killed me to break up with me.. He stalked me… (even contacted me recently 3 decades later to apologize… I am writing my own book on that one! 😉 )
    And then I thought I was smart… marrying someone who had no temper… just a raging drinking problem. AND THEN…about three years later…. I read the paper and realized what I’d done… I’d gone back to try to fix things in my past by the ones I chose.
    I stayed married for 14 years. Like you mentioned… divorce was a sin. I got all kinds of messages from my Christian mentors…God wouldn’t want you to live like that… go ahead and get a divorce…. to a man I loved who was our Bible Study Leader calling me up sobbing asking me to not divorce him…. THAT one always haunted me. My ex accepted the Lord during our marriage and I believe he really did. But his addictions were too powerful. He died six years ago. We had two kids together so we were always in touch. And like my dad, he’d been successful and generous financially, a functioning alcoholic.
    In the meantime I’ve been married to a wonderful Christian man (this year it will be twenty years) who loves me unconditionally. You wouldn’t believe the things I have put him through. Testing his love over the years after being so damaged by my first two loves. I think that I finally have realized he is hanging in for the long haul! He has been a wonderful father to my kids and now a doting papa to his grandchildren. Funny thing is… When he took me home to meet his parents… the home he grew up in was in the neighborhood I went to elementary school…. and we attended the same school at the same time.
    It makes me wonder if God might have the best laid plans for us and it is us who strays off the path God intended for us to have? 😉
    Thank you for your blog. Sorry this was so long. If you go back in my archives you can find bits and pieces of what I have shared here but NEVER in one place at one time and this much!!!!
    It kinda felt good to share or maybe a better word would be to purge…. whatever… I just have always loved finding a soft place to fall and I think I am going to like it here.
    Sometimes I think there really are Divine Appointments for God. And you my friend feel like one of them!

    • ranthegauntlet May 15, 2013 at 7:32 am Reply

      Hi, Diane! Wow. I’m so glad you are now living a life of greater peace with a good husband. It IS funny how people and things come together sometimes.

      I’ve thought quite a bit about your comments. I’m really glad you read that manuscript. I have encouraged my daughters to attend Al-Anon or educate themselves about the subtle effects of living with alcoholism, but they aren’t too interested in doing that. One thing I’ve found/read is that even if you don’t put it into words, as your mother did, the kids pick up the vibe and the pattern. I happen to believe that it is better to put some things into age-appropriate words even for children (but NEVER make them feel responsible or act as intermediates!), for several reasons: 1) they never feel that you have lied to them – stabilizing; 2) your gut at some point will tell you something is off – putting it to words gives you tools to recognize that it isn’t you being crazy (or responsible); and 3) done right, it produces a sense of belonging (not us against him!) – that we are family where secrets aren’t needed (aside from age-appropriate discretion – you’re right about too many details). That is way oversimplified, but kind of out there. When my daughters were young, their dad would DRINK and drive – on one occasion I told them I would be driving them home (they were mad, wanted to go with Dad) because “Dad has been drinking alcohol, and when a person does that they can feel sleepy or different, and might make mistakes. So riding with someone who has been drinking alcohol is kind of like riding in a car without putting on your seat belt.” They didn’t buy it at the time, but it was in their heads, and needed to be. It’s quite a tightrope walk to decide how much to say, and to not get personal. I did moderately well after the divorce explaining things…sometimes went too far. But smart Christian teens deserved honest explanation about why their “devout” Christian parents would divorce…specifically why their devout Christian MOM would initiate divorce. It allowed them to know me, to be equipped with the “reasons,” so they could evaluate and cope on their own terms. 13 years later, we still talk openly (only now, age-appropriate applies to THEIR discretion in what they tell ME! – hysterical).

      Being with my aging parents for months and months now…I can see the origins of my mate-selection came from, too. No alcoholism in this generation, but the thinking patterns get passed on. And other addictive, obsessive compulsive type behaviors and thinking patterns. Like manipulating with anger or passivity/placating, and the screwy, screwy logic of addiction. Oh baby. Where is that manuscript??? 🙂

      I find it interesting that a former abuser contacted you decades later to apologize. I would like to read that book! My ex still thinks he did nothing wrong, and I was just impossible to please. Funny, I feel the same about him!!

      Thanks for commenting, and blessings to you, Diane. Diane.

  2. Lady Quixote December 30, 2012 at 10:09 pm Reply

    When I found the notice in my email from wordpress telling me that you had started following my blog today (i need to do more writing there!), on that notice there was a recommendation to check out some of your recent blog posts. I clicked on “Let’s play “Gee, Ain’t It Awful!” — It’s US vs. THEM!” which you posted on December 18, 2012, and I read it, relating all the way through — then I left you a long-winded comment on that post, and finally, I clicked back to the beginning of your blog so I could read everything you’ve written here so far.

    I have had a lot of experience in being abused, verbally, physically, and most of all psychologically, first by my parents, and then in my former repitition-compulsion marriages, which my insane childhood home had “groomed” me for.

    Yes, I wrote “marriages,” plural, that is not a typo. Think: Woman at the Well. I was deeply and painfully messed up by my childhood, and iin a desperate attempt to escape, at age 16 I went from the frying pan of my crazy abusive parents straight into the fiery torment of an abusive marriage… and then another abusive marriage…. with each nightmare marriage leaving me even more broken, more devastated, more needy, and more of an emotional basket case than before, which of course had the effect of rendering me even less capable of finding, and maintaining, a healthy relationship.

    My first husband beat me more times than I can count, maybe anywhere from 50 to 100 or more times. He caused me to miscarry one baby, my spine was permanently damaged from the time he flung me from a speeding car — I could go on and on, but I won’t, it’s too depressing. He cheated on me, too, many times. At one point early in our marriage my mother stopped by to inform me that I needed to read the Bible to learn how a wife is supposed to behave. I told her that my husband had been beating me, and she snapped, “I KNOW THAT, he told me so himself, and I told him that I don’t blame him one bit. The Bible says that if you spare the rod you spoil the child, and if you are going to behave like a child,then your husband has every right to hit you.”

    This happened on my 17th birthday, by the way. He had beat me up for waking up all excited about the day and enthusiastically asking him if we could do like we had done during the 2 months we dated, celebrate my day by going out to see a movie and get a hamburger.

    Anyway… that’s a long time in the past. But, as horrible as my first marriage was, my second marriage, to the man who was the first husband’s boss at work, was far more damaging to me psychologically, than the first had been. Although my second husband “only” physically attacked me twice, I discovered in that nightmare of a marriage that the worst kind of damage comes from psychological abuse.

    Since 2004 I have been (mostly) very happily married to a kind, Christian, loving, gentle man. I call him my best-friend-husband. We met when I was 50 and he was 54. At the time we met, I had recently had some very good therapy from a renowned Christian Psychiatrist, who helped to lead me back to the Lord, and whose counsel healed my shattered sense of self. I was helped enough, that I finally KNEW and BELIEVED that no one has the right to abuse me, ever. Not my husband, not my parents, no one.

    Shortly after my best-friend-hubby and I were married in 2004, he pulled the old “a Christian wife is supposed to submit to her husband” rhetoric. I replied: “Yes, and that same part of the Bible commands husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church, enough to die for her. Therefore: IF YOU AREN’T DYING, I’M NOT SUBMITTING. End of Discussion.”

    He hasn’t said one word to me about me submitting, since then, We get along so great because we truly respect each other as equals and as priceless children of God. We also appreciate each other’s God-given good qualities, and we accept each other, faults and all.

    I wish I could have known my “BFH” and married him, first. But he says I would not have liked the person he was way back then, because he had a lot of growing up and healing to do. We met when we were supposed to meet, I believe. Every day I thank God for my best-friend-husband.

    Before I had help from my wise, compassionate, Christian counselor, I believed I could not survive or be heppy all on my own. Now I know that I can live alone quite successfully, I no longer feel like I “need” a husband. Having a loving best-friend-husband is like icing on a cake. I feel so blessed. I wish I had never gone through all the trauma and abuse. But if that’s what it took to get me where I am today, then it was worth it.

    • ranthegauntlet December 30, 2012 at 10:50 pm Reply

      Lady Q:

      What did your wise Christian counselor tell you, teach you, that helped so much? If you have blogged about this, please direct me to the posts. What understanding or experience made your change of perspective and new faith possible? What was so healing that you have so effectlively recovered? Where is your mom now, and how have you dealt with that anger (there must be some….(maybe I should ask how I can deal with the anger I have for your mom!). Truly, I know she had her issues also, but I am soooo sorry she was so absolutely toxic as she dealt with you!

      A lot of questions. Answer if you wish. Thanks for your wonderful comments and details shared from your life!



    • Lady Quixote December 30, 2012 at 11:28 pm Reply

      I just now read my way from the beginning of your blog to here, and I’m relieved to see that this comment of mine does fit in here, even though I had originally written it to put on your first post, but somehow I hit the wrong button… silly me.

      Anyway, I am eager to answer every one of your terrific and insightful questions, but I’m getting tired and will probably answer most of what you asked, tomorrow. I want to do your questions justice.

      For now, I will just say this: the Christian Psychiatrist who helped me so much — he save my life, truly — is Paul Meier, MD, the co-founder and director of the nationwide chain of New Life Clinics (formerly known as Minirth-Meier). Dr. Meier has authored/co-authored over 80 books, some of which were best sellers. He has been on the Oprah Show, and many other TV and radio shows. I was pointed toward his clinic when I was waiting for the settlement money from my last divorce, and an acquaintance, who had also been married multiple times, suggested that I read Dr. Paul Meier’s book, LOVE IS A CHOICE. I did, and was so filled with HOPE by that book, that I called the toll-free number that was on the back of the book, and talked with a therapist who was there to answer the phone on a Sunday afternoon, of all times… and he urged me to come to the clinic as soon as I could. “We can help you,” he said.

      A few days later, my settlement check arrived. It was enough to pay cash for a modest but nice home for my old age — I was about to turn 50, remember. But what good is a house to live in if you hate yourself and hate your life? I had lost my health insurance and monthly support in the divorce, I had been a stay-at-home mother most of my life and had no useable job skills, I was scared and so miserable that I literally wanted to die to escape ME. But I packed my little car full of clothes and drove from Pennsylvania, where I was then living, down to Richardson, Texas, on highways covered with winter sleet and snow most of the way, it was February. I had my mind made up that if I did not come out of that clinic feeling significantly better than when I went in, I was goingi to divide what was left of my money among my 3 grown children, along with a letter to each telling them how sorry I was for being such a screw-up as a mother, and then I was going to put myself out of my misery. I had a sure-fire plan on how I was going to make that happen, and I told no one, not even a hint, because I did not want anyone to stop me.

      But the help I got at that clinic, stopped me. I will tell you later, probably tomorrow after a good night’s sleep, what the help was that I got in that clinic.

      You may want to read Paul Meier’s book, LOVE IS A CHOICE. It’s been so long since I read it that I’m not sure if that book in particular deals with abuse in marriages, but I think it does. It’s about being addicted to being in an unhealthy relationship, at least that is part of what it’s about — codependency, you know. With alcoholics, and the like. So it probably does address the whole thing about not staying in an abusive marriage. While I was in the clinic, one of the other patients there, whose husband was not nearly so concerned about the fact that she was on the brink of dying from anorexia — I mean you could look at how thin she was, and the yellow tint to her skin, and she how fragile and close to the end she was! — but her husband was urging her to leave the clinic long before Dr. Meier said she was ready, because, even though they had medical insurance that was paying most of her bill, they were having to pay the co-pays…. and her husband was calling her and harrassing her about how it was eating into their savings! Like money so obviously meant more to him than whether or not his wife lived or died! So she made the decision one day in a group therapy session that she was going to divorce her husband, because he clearly did not love her and she was finally able to see that. And all of the Christian therapists there, including Dr. Meier, were very supportive of her decision.

      I’m so glad I found your blog. My life is far from perfect, but hey, if you knew how bad my life was, you would know why I count myself so incredibly blessed today. And I am still on that walk with the Lord. Even when things don’t go the way I think they “should.” But I will get into all of that stuff, another time. Soon, I hope. And no, I’ve not blogged about these things yet, but am planning to do so in the very near future.

      Lady Q (aka Lynda)

      • ranthegauntlet December 31, 2012 at 9:00 am Reply

        Thank you Linda. I look forward to more conversation. I have read the book you mention but a long time ago.


  3. meinventing October 2, 2012 at 5:55 am Reply

    Dr Jekyl & Mr Hyde is the perfect description. Our honeymoon night he chased me out of our hotel room in a rage. My ex was “the life of the party” always had funny embellished stories. Mr. Charming. I would silently dread the drive home wondering what I had done this time to embarrass him. Cold drinks would be splashed in my face right in front of our girls or later that night I would wake to an ice cold pan of water splashed in my face followed up by hours of emotional rampages & fits. My girls and I would huddle on the bed. They’d ask if he was going to kill us. I would commonly…praying for God to intervene.

    • ranthegauntlet October 2, 2012 at 10:02 pm Reply

      I’m sorry you had to deal with all that! I relate to Mr. Charming, and the dread of wondering what I did this time, the praying for God to intervene, and utter insolent disrespect in front of the girls. I never dealt with cold water, and my daughters never saw the stuff that made me wonder about my/their safety. I’m glad we are out of these situations. Do you feel that God did intervene? Friends have said that God DID intervene to protect me/daughters. Could be. Kind of like the “footprints” way of being carried even though I felt deserted. What do you think?

      • meinventing October 12, 2012 at 11:18 am Reply

        Hi friend! Your incredible honesty and passion motivated me to nominate you for the ONE LOVELY BLOG AWARD. All the best to you and I hope everything is going well.

        • ranthegauntlet October 13, 2012 at 11:25 am Reply

          Thank you! I’m honored by you and feel the same about you! I’m kind of new to this blogging and don’t know how to tell if you won, or how that works. Now that I am nominated, am I supposed to do as you did with the recommendations and the 7 personal comments? I am smiling widely as I write this, because I feel like a babe and there is humor in that. Isn’t it nice to be asked to comment on something so lighthearted, rather than the serious subjects we often deal with? Congratulations and have a wonderful day!

          • meinventing October 14, 2012 at 7:57 am

            I am so glad you are smiling! You deserve it 🙂 Yes to accept the award you just follow the rules of accepting it. I can’t wait to hear your 7 things about you 😉

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