What I really want to do here...for all of you naysayers (and people who called me crazy or were convinced that I had some sort of mental illness/disorder or people who said I was wrong and bad and 'out of line'...)...what I really want to do is fill in the entire blank space here with a HUGE
I TOLD YOU SO!!
But I won't. ;)
The bottom line is that finally we met with a counselor who goes deep. A counselor who doesn't just focus on symptoms and superficial things. A counselor who goes straight for the root issues. In fact, so much so that he would not even address the symptoms. Joel would say things that, in other counseling sessions, would deter any focus on root issues. Didn't work this time. lol. The counselor would just kindly say, "O.K., but that's not helping us here. Let's focus on things that will help us here." PRAISE JESUS for this man.
I'm so filled with righteous indignation by how this has all been handled by 'God's people.' It is literally ridiculous. And finally this week, I found someone else who feels the same way...who saw me for who I am...who knew me. Who is filled with a passion and a purpose to help people see truth.
"Honey, I know how men and the church has, and continues to, treat women. I know that the blame is almost always put on the woman. I have seen it. And I just want you to know that I am aware...I know."
That's what he said to me on the 3rd day. He knew. He looked much deeper than surface things...and got straight to the heart of the matter.
After 3 ½ years of hell on earth...I finally found someone who stood up for me and saw with spiritual eyes what has been going on. He couldn't believe what I've endured.
I finally found someone who wasn't so focused on how this was all my fault, or what part I played, that that became the only focus. I finally found someone who wasn't worried about that.
He told me, "Usually both parties have something to do with it. Even if your part is only 1-2%, are you willing to take responsibility for your part?"
I said, "If you can identify what my 1-2% is in causing all of this, yes...I'll gladly take responsibility. But, to blindly take responsibility, even just for 1-2%, just to make someone's male ego feel better...no, I won't do that."
"Fair enough," he said. :) Seriously love this man.
Here's what Joel says about the week (which he just dictated to me, speaking to me)...
"It was a week of self-enlightenment. I learned a lot about myself that I didn't know. I learned about my tendencies, personality, weaknesses, blind spots...the areas where I have been just completely blind with you. There probably still are areas where I am blind and I need to work on those. This week was a step in the right direction...of me understanding myself. I'm the problem here. I'm trying to understand why I've treated you the way I have. Why have I not listened to you or believed you? Why have I killed myself doing things/tasks for you, and yet still not met your needs? You told me your needs...and I just didn't agree with or believe you. Why? How have I missed you all this time? I didn't know I was so damaged...I learned that this week."
It was truly a really great week. What will happen with Joel and me? I honestly don't know. He was finally held accountable for what he has done. He was finally shown very clearly that all that he has done was wrong, and why. For that I'm thankful. He seems to have been receptive. It seems to have made an impact.
But, what now? We'll see how it goes from here on out. Will he keep taking responsibility? And keep working on his blindspots? For the sake of our family, I hope so. But, one thing I've learned through all of this is that you can't predict what someone else will do. And I've learned that I can't depend on Joel. He now, again, has the assignment of earning my trust back and becoming a dependable person. But...we'll see what happens.
It's going to be a long road ahead even if it works out between us. One of the things that we found out this week was that Joel just has no core beliefs. I've said for years (way before this even happened) that he is tossed to and fro. He is a people-pleaser. He has no strong beliefs that are his. That he will die for. He is easily persuaded. He has no clear sense of right and wrong. That makes him unstable and, for me, untrustworthy. That will have to change. And that will take time.
The good thing is that all of this was prayed for immensely. And prayer for healing of these damaged areas, prayer for these things that need to come to pass...there was much prayer. In fact, our last 3 days (out of 5) were spent in prayer. Hours upon hours of prayer. I'm telling you...this counselor...he is amazing. And so rare. He is seriously the real deal...and believe me, we've met many counterfeits.
So, we go forward having learned a great deal and with much prayer having covered us. Am I skeptical that the areas that need changing will change? Of course I am. I would be a fool if I weren't skeptical after the past 3 ½ years. But, we are moving forward with the possibility of these things being repaired.
We are actually staying a few extra days in Dallas just to 'debrief' a bit...hoping that some of the things talked about are able to take root before we have to go back to 'life as usual.'
What can you do? First of all, all of you people who have accused me of all the many things that I've been accused of...stop it. I don't ever want to hear an accusation again. Yes, I'm making our story public. But, that doesn't excuse bad behavior towards me from you. None of the accusations you have made toward me are correct anyway. I have refuted those accusations and proven them wrong over and over. The counselor this week was so incredibly saddened by the many accusations that have come my way, and by 'Godly' people (those accusations were anything but Godly). All of your accusations, that can sometimes become like curses, were prayed against. So, stop with your accusations...that are made in ignorance anyway. Just stop. They will be tolerated no longer.
Secondly, for all of you actual supportive people out there, just continue to pray for us. Pray for Joel as he had quite the awakening this week of reality in his life...a life that he felt was quite charmed and perfect with a perfect past and family, but his thoughts on that came crashing down as not reality at all. Pray that he is able to rebuild his life and become who he is supposed to be and develop that core of beliefs within himself. Pray that he will continue to seek to understand truth instead of just moving through life, tossed about. Pray for me, for patience. Much much patience. And for bitterness about all of this to stay at bay...it's been a completely miserable 3 ½ years of people just constantly coming against me and finding blame in me...when I was not the one in the wrong. And for me to finally get a break from all of that...and get the break and rest that I needed to begin with that was refused me.
Pray for understanding in Joel's life and for him to be able to continually stay on the path that will win back my trust (instead of destroy it yet again), and for me to just have energy to keep going. It's been a long, long brutal road for me...and we still have much longer to go.
I asked the counselor if I could just stay with him and his family. :) This week was the first time in 3 ½ years I felt taken care of and understood and safe. First time.
For that I am truly grateful. I pray that that feeling returns in my own home. Thank you for praying for that too.