Sunday, July 12, 2015

Joel. Michawn. {Part 30 - Lies, Deceit, Unfaithfulness, and the Shared Responsibility Lie}

Remember my last blog post?  It was titled "It's Here.  FINALLY!!"  Well, very looooong-awaited break wasn't here after all.  It wasn't time, unfortunately.  Again I am denied any time for healing.  Instead, just more trauma and damage for me.

In order to catch up here on the blog, I'll share here what I wrote on Facebook last Friday:
this is not going to be what is considered 'mature' at all. but, i'm done caring. it's not going to be what some of you think a good little Christian girl should do. you are going to think that i'm completely inappropriate and bitter and nasty. again...i'm so done caring. sometimes it is just time. time to call people out. time to stop being someone's (or a few people's) punching bag. time to stop protecting people who do wrong over and over again. time to stop being the 'nice' one. so, don't read if you don't want to see something that might upset you. because, it probably will upset you. but, it's time.
also, if you choose to comment, the only comments allowed to remain here will be comments that are supportive and encouraging of *me.* support and encouragement for joel or his family, or any comments that voice any kind of disapproval with this post...those will be deleted. yep...if you can't tell, i'm 'all done.' here we go...
today i found out that my husband has been just bald-faced lying to me since december. *december!!* think he's so innocent everyone? think he's so charming? charm is soooo deceptive.
he's been talking with his family...that same family everyone thinks is just soooo Godly and almost-perfect. that same family that was so divisive. that same family that said completely horrible and false things about me. that same family that never took the time to talk to *me* about *me* (yet didn't hold back in talking *about* me)...or believe anything i said. that same family that gave joel incredibly wrong counsel...that he followed. that same family that, after joel and i got back together and when we tried to work things out with them, they refused. when they refused, we knew we had to cut ties with them for our own health.
apparently that was too hard for joel though. why do i say that? because he started secretly calling his parents and siblings. *secretly.* completely behind my back.
they *knew* that he was doing it secretly. that's a great family, right? a family that continues to encourage their son/brother to do things behind his wife's back? especially when he so very badly betrayed her before and they are trying to work things out...that's awesome, right?
so, many of you will think this is the *wrong* thing to do. many of you will think that it is, like i said, completely inappropriate. but...
it is time to stop just being patient and nice. it is time to stop protecting people. it is time to march forward assertively and bravely...and not take these things quietly and lying down.
joel's family, i'll just tag a few of you...Judy Ebersole, Rose Martin, Judy Groff, Kendie Miller...some of you may not even know about this. but, you *need* to know what your 'perfect' family members are truly like and what has been done...and what continues to happen. and, you can let joel's parents and siblings (they were blocked months ago so cannot see this) know that, as long as joel is allowed to live under my roof, we will have *nothing* to do with his family. enough is enough. and 3 1/2 years?...that is *quite* enough! i'm sorry they have all ruined it for you extended family. most of you i dearly love and i know you are innocent in all of this. the 'casualties of war' so they say. all of you family who we are still friends with on here, we will allow time for you to see this, and then you will be blocked. boundaries must be set...and actually kept this time.
but chin up, family...if this proves to be too hard for Joel to do, then guess what? he's all yours again. we'll see what happens.
Then last Sunday I wrote this and shared this article:
thank you for the sweet and encouraging comments on my last post. and for the sweet messages and texts i got. i truly appreciate each word from each and every one of you.
Joel commented on it too and admitted his wrong. a few people 'liked' his comment. i deleted it.
here's the problem...he continues to screw us over and people just admire him when he admits his wrongs. but, nobody ever holds him accountable or asks him, 'ok, what are you going to do about it now? are you going to stop? you need to stop!'
then, he later recants those admissions of wrongs in private with me. and nothing ever changes. i think you can see that by now.
no wonder divorce happens in situations like ours. nobody ever comes to the rescue. nobody ever even tries.
a dear friend of mine posted this today. i can sooo relate.
my husband is not an angry man. but, he is accusatory (and his family, counselors, and the church have followed his lead). and he is never held accountable for his wrongdoings.
"Abuse doesn't always manifest as a black eye or a bloody wound. The effects of psychological abuse are just as damaging."
"My church mentors tell me to read books and listen to lectures on praying for my husband and understanding his needs."
"He's a master at deflection. His actions are no longer the focus; I'm the one on trial now."
all you church people, all you 'mentors' and 'friends'...does it make you uncomfortable when i talk about this publicly?
do you know what should make you uncomfortable? that nobody has held him accountable, so he has been allowed to do this and destroy our marriage more and more with each passing day. that nobody has come to our rescue. that people like mentors and pastors and counselors have turned their focus toward me (who has proof of his wrongs) and away from him (who has only accusations and charm).
i know most of you are accusing me even now. 'i can't believe she's saying all of this.' 'Facebook is not the place for this!' 'i thought they were better than this.'
well, *i* thought the church was better than this. i thought our friends and mentors were better than this. i thought pastors and counselors were better than this. i mistakenly thought someone would come to our rescue. to my rescue. it's been 3 1/2 years. no one has come. so don't turn up your nose at me. instead, take a look in the mirror. 
Those were the first posts I'd ever put on Facebook directly...I've always only posted updates about our marriage on the blog and then linked to the blog posts on Facebook.

About this, some have implied, or even outright used the words, "public shaming."  Believe me when I say that this was not at all about 'shaming.'  That's not how my brain or motives or heart works.  But, after years of enduring these things silently and with no real help, what I won't do is continue to be silent.  It's not about shaming at all, but it is about exposing sin and continued mistreatment.

"The truth is like the sun:  You can shut it out for a while...but it's not going to go away."

The lady who is raped...when she speaks out and says what happened, is she publicly 'shaming' her rapist?

The child who was molested...when that child speaks out and tells, is that child publicly 'shaming' the molester?

The battered she 'shaming' her abuser when she speaks out and refuses to stay in that silently?

No...they are exposing things that are very unhealthy and very hopes that it will stop in their own lives, that it will prevent others from being hurt by those people, and to inspire others to speak out against wrongdoing too.

That is what is happening here.  To accuse me of anything less makes me wonder about those accusers' own hearts and brains and motives.  How scary that that is where their thoughts go.

If the people in the above scenarios have tried all of the usual ways of speaking out and getting help, when nobody comes to the rescue in private and the behavior still continues and they then make the choice to use whatever means possible in order to *stop* the behavior...that is not 'shaming.'  That is surviving.

Don't mistake that.

Even before those two posts on Facebook...even before I knew about the lying...I wrote this last Wednesday:
I write this with a sad, but resolved heart.

Joel and I tried.  We really did.

Almost anyone else in *my* particular shoes would have called it quits a long time ago.

I held on.  I worked through it, I forgave, I explained, I communicated, I helped and guided...and then I did it all over again...then all over again again...then all over again again.  That has been the cycle of my life for the past few years.

It is one thing when someone can come to the realization of some things they are doing wrong, repent, and then be able to, after working on it, stop those things.  It won't be immediate.  But, it should come.

It is quite another thing when that person comes to the realization of some things they are doing wrong, repents, and then just keeps doing those things...always having a hard time even *recognizing* those things in their life, always having to be told when those things spring up again, always having to be convinced of their wrongs.

For the person on the receiving end of the constant offenses, it can be very detrimental.  And there comes a point when that person just gives up and says, 'no more.'  When that person has held on for years already, has been through so much mistreatment, has stayed in spite of slander and inappropriate behavior and abuse...that person deserves to then be taken care of.  For that person, instead of being taken care of, to be expected to then keep putting up with those behaviors and *keep* teaching and guiding and convincing the other person how to live and be a good person and good husband and good partner and teammate...that is not right, that is continued abuse, and that can't continue.  It's incredibly unhealthy...and there comes a point when you have to just stop.  When you have to admit that, if that person hasn't 'gotten it' by now, they won't ever.

That has finally happened.  I've finally admitted it.  If he hasn't come to a place of understanding his actions/thoughts/beliefs by now, he won't.
So as you can see...I could tell something was wrong already.  Things were back to bad already.

I didn't finish that post.  I just left it there.  We worked it out...again.  I forgave...again.

Crazy...I didn't even know the full extent of things when I wrote that.  I hadn't even found out at that point about his lying and how he had, like a sociopath, worked meticulously to cover up his continued communication with his family for 7 months.  How he had gone so far as to spiritually fast food for 21 days in order to get closer to God and in hopes of getting more answers about how to make his marriage better...the whole while lying to my face.  What a legalistic ritual...what a way to 'look the part'...all the while sinning drastically against the one with whom he was supposed to be One.  That kind of religious spirit literally makes me sick to my stomach.

But, can tell even here by my account of what happened even before I knew about the lying that this all has nothing to do with a 'forgiveness issue'...or a lack of forgiveness (which I still get accused of).  When the sin and wrongdoings continue and continue and continue and's not a question of forgiveness vs. lack of forgiveness.  And it is an incredible lack of discernment and understanding of forgiveness to even think such.

I woke up a couple of mornings ago to a message from a friend sending me the link to this article and saying this..."One could see how Joel's relationship with his family parallels an affair."  So interesting that she said that.  This is what I sent to a trusted friend last weekend after I found out about Joel's continuous lying for the past 7 months...
when i think of all the times during the past 7 months that he had to play off a call from them when i was in the room and call them back later.  when i think of all the times he erased phone records and deleted emails and texts...with the sole purpose of keeping those things from me.  when i think of how his family attacked me on Facebook publicly, twice, in april...and all the while he had been, and was, talking to them behind the scenes.  when i think about how, the 2nd time they did that, we had just finished a week-long intensive time of reconnecting and things seemed 100% better...when they attacked that very day, he wanted to call his sister to tell her to stop and i specifically said not call her.  we talked about it at length...and i did not want him to call.  the agreement was that we would not talk to them for a year (i still thought he was abiding by that agreement).  he could comment back, but not call.  i found out this past friday...he called her.  when i think about the times i blogged about how we had started fresh, we had severed some ties that needed to be severed...and all the while, those ties hadn't been severed at all.  his family was just sitting back laughing and content, saying to themselves, 'no...we have him...not you.'  he and they were in this together...i was on the outside.  he and they were conspiring against me, and that had been going on since january 2012.  when i think of the times on mother's day and father's day, when i thought that surely he was having a bit of a hard time with it, but he didn't say anything and i almost did, but decided not to bring it up.  why didn't he say anything?  why wasn't he having a hard time?  because he called them on mother's day and father's day.   
it was all so deliberate and intentional and premeditated.   
he has a mistress.  and it's his family.  
i told him this weekend that he had two choices.  he could divorce them or he could divorce me."
So far he has chosen to divorce them instead of me.  (*Yes, it's 'family.'  But, if people are toxic to your life or marriage, you have to let them matter who they are.*)  So, the divorce part of this article does not yet apply to us...hopefully it won't...we'll see.

But, let's talk about this idea that what has happened with Joel and me can be equated to an affair.  Was it a sexual/physical affair?  No.  But, it's not only physical affairs that are wrong.  Emotional affairs are also wrong...and very detrimental.  I've spoken to many people who have lived through affairs...many who say that, in many ways, emotional affairs are even harder in some ways to overcome.

A friend of mine who has lived through affairs in her marriage said to me after this past weekend, "Michawn, what is happening with Joel is so much like an affair.  He is choosing that over you.  And has been for years now.  He is not on your team.  He is betraying you over and over and over again.  He is being ONE with them, not you!  When he leaves them to be with you, he feels like he is betraying them and grieves.  When he leaves you to be with them, he doesn't feel that.  That is the opposite of what is right."

So very, very true.  And because of that, there are soooo many things I relate to in the article I was sent a couple of mornings ago.  Read the link above and I think you'll be able to see why.  Here are just a few things I relate to...

-Concerning this guy's focus and work: "What really jumped out at me is care for the wronged person in a divorce. Contrary to popular opinion in certain religious circles, there can be a wronged person who did not contribute to the divorce. I realized that there are many people in evangelical circles who need to hear this."

-"Dave endured an ecclesiastical trial for divorcing his adulterous wife. This broke my heart. Not only was his world turned upside down due to his former wife's infidelity, he had to face another trial by his own denomination. He understands the pain of those who have had to withstand such cruelty." Believe me when I say that what Joel has done and continued to do has turned my world upside down.  But, also believe me when I say that I've been 'on trial' since the news broke, with family and 'friends' if it wasn't enough that I was being pummeled into the ground by my own husband...the 'church' and family and 'friends' had to join in on the pummeling.  It's been a definite eye-opener.  And I'm still experiencing this...I will experience it even more after I post this, I'm sure.  It has almost meant the end of me.  I pray I survive.

-He mentions exposure to 'toxic Christianity'...boy have I been exposed to so much of that the past few years!  And it can see toxic Christianity all in the comments from last weekend even...some of which I even decided to just delete.  Wasn't going to address those things anymore.

-"I started it as a pastoral care resource to those who have found themselves in similar dire straits and for other Christian leaders interested in helping. Little is out there for evangelicals on these matters, and what is out there is often times very destructive spiritually and emotionally. My efforts on the blog are especially concentrated in correcting–as I see it professionally and personally–horrific pastoral care failures and wickedly twisted practical theology on these matters. Plus, I spend a good deal of time encouraging people as I know how important such encouragement was for me when I was in the pit."

-"I spend a great deal of time writing correctives to what I call “The Shared Responsibility Lie.” This is the idea that adultery/infidelity is partly the faithful spouse’s fault. It is not. Pastors–of all people–ought to know better as Jesus was clear such sin flows out of the sinner’s heart–i.e. the adulterous spouse’s heart–alone (e.g. Mark 7:21-23)."
**The Shared Responsibility Lie is a huge problem.  It is one of the reasons our marriage has never been repaired.  All of the counselors we ever went to were sooo busy trying to figure out what I was responsible for in the demise of our marriage...they would not/could not accept that I had done nothing wrong and had done nothing to lead to the death of our marriage.  When they can't come up with anything, they then try to make things surely I must have a disorder of some sort, etc.  If they will go to such lengths to hold their Shared Responsibility Lie, that is so very wrong and so very scary.  The responsible persons just keep going with their sin...and nothing ever gets solved.

-Regardless of the lack of a physical affair here, Joel has been, in a word, completely unfaithful.  "Faithful spouses have already been abused, in my opinion, and are extremely vulnerable after being sucker-punched by their faithless partners. Now, the pastor is telling the faithful spouse that God demands that they remain married to the person who raped their soul..."

-This..."position is not qualified with the need for complete repentance upon the cheater's part. Such repentance takes second-seat to avoiding divorce and remarriage. For someone big on matters of holiness, this is a very odd position to hold."  And that's what the focus has always been from counselors, commenters, people in general..."don't get a divorce, stay married, just forgive him, you're just going to have to move on because divorce would be worse and is not right" etc. etc.  No focus on his focus on what HE needs to do and on the things (these sins) that are causing all of these problems in our marriage in the first place.  Sins that just continue and continue and continue.

-"Such teaching also causes damage in how people see God. It teaches the wrong things about God’s heart on these matters. Such teachings alienate people from God and can damage their image of Him."  So many over the past few years, and even as recently as today, have expressed concern over this coming between me and God.  To that I say that those people do not know me very well at all.  AT ALL.  :)  Praise God I have been able to see through these damaging teachings.  Praise Him I've been able to ignore the sad and scary advice of people who hold to those teachings and instead I've been able to listen to God alone.  I don't speak out against God!  If you have thought that, then you need to re-read what I've said.  I speak out against all of the things done and believed in His Name that don't represent Him at all!!  And I will continue to do that until the day I die. kids are watching Mulan 2 as I type this.  Mushu just said, "Without trust there can be no relationship."

And that is the bottom line.

Another friend said last night, "Yeah, trust is the part you can't fake."

Do you know what else I heard the other day while watching something?  This:

"I just want to point out that I have been holding up all the walls of our house, I have been holding you up for 20 years...and I never complained.  But when I fall down on the job, for exactly 2 months, you rip me to shreds the first time it got difficult.  I won't soon forget that."

Oh how that hit home!  As just a reminder, none of this would have ever happened in the first place had my husband listened to me, believed me, taken care of me, and protected me.  I had been happily going along with our lives, no matter how crazy they were (and they were very crazy and unstable), for over a decade.  Never once did I complain.  I didn't even 'fall down on the job'...I didn't get to that point because I knew how to recognize that I needed a break, and I made him aware.  Because we were supposed to be partners, I never once thought I'd be ignored.  But...I was refused that break, or any semblance of a reprieve.  It was too 'difficult' for him to lay down his plans and expectations.

Instead of that break and reprieve, I started receiving accusations and opposition...from my husband, and then others.  That continues to this day.

In fact, the more I talk about it, the more I get accused and opposed.

But I won't stop talking about it.  Because for every 10 accusers and opposers, there's a very, very hurting all-alone woman who is going through very similar circumstances.  Or a hurting all-alone woman who has already gone through it, but she has never been able to talk about it.  Most people ('friends,' the 'church') turned against her...just like most have turned against me.  But, she knew she was in the right...and she didn't, she wouldn't, back down.  No matter what they said about her.  To hear of another person's know of another woman who is going through's healing balm to her soul.

So, our we are, 3 1/2 years later.

--Continued lies, deception, and unfaithfulness leads to more and more distrust.

--Trying to continuously find something that I've done that has caused all of this, buying into the Shared Responsibility Lie...that just shifts the focus away from tackling the real problems and what could actually fix this all.  It's ludicrous.  And it's gone on way too long.

These are the things that continue to happen in our marriage right now.

Maybe one day it will be different.

But for now, it continues.  The same things I've said all along are happening.  My story has not changed not one iota.

"Just because you choose to turn a blind eye to it doesn't make it any less true."

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