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Gaslit by a minister

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RubixCubed posted 1/20/2019 17:47 PM

Did the person in the church that knew see the texts? If not maybe they should.
You hear about doctors having a God complex, I think people in the ministry can get it pretty easily as well. They can convince others that the way to God is through them even without bluntly saying it. That's not right and a manipulative power play, and I would expect would get your A ticket to purgatory punched pretty quickly if you used it nefariously.

The1stWife posted 1/20/2019 18:42 PM

What this is - a lopsided marriage.

As his wife you are in the parent role. How sad.

He’s not a partner he is a child.

Best of luck. Moving is not going to change a thing. It will just give him an opportunity to continue his behavior without using the “church” to validate his behavior.

So sorry for you. He has refused at every turn to admit his wrong doing. I’m certain there is a Bible passage that addresses that.

[This message edited by The1stWife at 7:46 PM, January 20th (Sunday)]

Babette2008 posted 1/20/2019 19:27 PM

I'm sorry. I found years of texts and emails between my WH and his AP where they were "just good friends who supported each other" and truly didn't consider what they were doing as an affair even though they were meeting without my knowledge for drinks, signing emails with xoxoxo and congratulated each other about how "good" they were being for no longer sleeping together, but also telling each other how much they meant to each other (and discussing how much I didn't appreciate my H but the AP did). I don't think your husband will change until he really gets that secret relationships are affairs and how toxic they are to a marriage. If your H won't allow you to read his texts and emails whenever you want, if mainains social media relationships with women, especially if he is using messenger and won't give you his login info then you can assume he is up to his old habits. Also be aware of secret email accounts,

kaygem posted 1/20/2019 19:38 PM

He's spent a massive amount of alone time with this woman, I'd have him polygraphed. It's hard to believe this was just an EA not a PA. I mean, she was living with you..they are adults, they were alone. Cheaters lie and are amazingly good at it. I'd dig deeper to find out what you may truly be dealing with.

Krieger posted 1/20/2019 20:05 PM

I would pay little attention to what he tells you as he as proven to be less than truthful. Pay more attention to what he actually does. Know that you can't fix him, and he can't even fix himself until he understands that there is a problem.

I recommend that you see an attorney, I'm not suggesting that you file, but you need to know your legal rights. I do think that you need to think about what you would want to have happen if push comes to shove. Be careful making long term financial commitments that may be hard to resolve.

At some point you are going to have to have a very serious conversation with this man and let him know that you will not be trifled with like this any more. He needs to make all media and devices available for inspection and there can be no more secrets.

One thing I do disagree with on and that is that he or any man is your conduit to God. Your relationship with God is your relationship and don't let anyone interfere with you. You are obviously an educated woman and have studied religion and don't need anyone to tell you right from wrong. Don't doubt yourself or let him talk you into doubting yourself, stand tall.

textingministry posted 1/20/2019 20:09 PM

All good points ... but does it matter if he slept with her? I have 340 pages of FB messages, thousands of texts, daily conversations, cash spent buying her meals out and helping her with things around the house, calling her “sweetie” on our family vacation and on our anniversary ... and my own recollection of him getting drunk and picking fights with me.

I have my own eyewitness account of his relationship and ours despite the history he’d like to rewrite ... and I have a man more depressed about leaving his wonderful church (that hasn’t given him a raise in five years) than excited about my promotion. He still hasn’t told the church we’re leaving because I got a fantastic promotion ... just that it was a freaking family decision (“so they’d understand he supported the move”).

I’m afraid maybe he is a child ... this is not new behavior for him (secrecy and lying) just the first time it involves another woman (to my knowledge). I’m afraid the newness of the move will die down and we’ll be right back in the same boat. But ... if he makes no efforts to change ... at least the kids and I will be safe and settled into a new community where I can support myself if need be. And who knows ... maybe the threat of losing me will shake him up enough to realize what an idiot he’s been. Been reading the WH posts ... some of them seem to come around, eventually.

The wives seem to have to have some self-respect, though. Not bad advice.

1Faith posted 1/20/2019 20:10 PM

closest link to God cheats on you

^^^^Respectfully, he is not your closet link to God. YOU are YOUR closest link to God.

I don't want this to be about religion but your WH only defines you IF you let him.

He is manipulating you to the last degree. (((gently))) --- He is playing you, using his "religion" to justify his lies and deceit.

Look at the 10 commandments and ask yourself how many has your WH broke? Use his "religion" to call him on his horrid behavior and treatment.

You and your kids deserve so much better.

Head up! You can find a more sane life.


textingministry posted 1/20/2019 20:17 PM

Also, we’ve dealt with divorcing couples before, so I’m aware of many of my rights in my state. He’s in a very precarious position right now, and I’ll be okay if things were to end. But that’s not my Plan A. Plan A is to work it out with the father of my children.

Unfortunately, I guess I haven’t been his Plan A for a while now, but I want to try to see if I can take him seriously. I like the six month timeline someone suggested above. I’ve heard that’s about how long it takes to change behavior patterns.

This forum is very helpful in clearing my head and identifying the behaviors I’m really seeing. And you all are right ... I know he’s not my link to God, but it messes with my head.

A call to a lawyer wouldn’t hurt ...

[This message edited by textingministry at 8:19 PM, January 20th (Sunday)]

Jeaniegirl posted 1/20/2019 20:25 PM

I would tell him to get on back to that damned church and you start your new life where your new job is. One of my pet peeves is hating the fact people use religion to justify ANYTHING.

You sound strong enough - just go. IF he grows up later and totally changes (which I doubt), you can always take a second look at him. Save yourself.

textingministry posted 1/21/2019 08:25 AM

Did the person in the church that knew see the texts? If not maybe they should.

The AP got very close to this older couple, and they don’t care about the texts. The couple has been one of my naysayers in the church ... I don’t bake enough pies for them, do enough for the church, respect my husband enough ... I talk too much and have too strong opinions for a woman 😂😂😂 .... etc. etc. etc. In reality, I do so much it’s sad they think like this.

It’s complicated, but I’m mainly burnt out and over the whole thing. I care about what happens to the people I love. Not what happens anyone who could have the knowledge of what’s been happening to my family ... and blame me ... for not being engaged enough with the church?? ROFLOL

All I know is that I need time right now. I don’t expect a move to change him ... but I need to be safe, settled, and secure. This move gets me out to deal with my mess safely, with my children’s well being in mind, who also need to be in a new community. That would be difficult if I were fighting a custody battle right now. We’ll deal with it as it comes. Hoping for him to “see the light” once we get away from this craziness ... which may have a significant effect on perpetuating his fog.

[This message edited by textingministry at 8:34 AM, January 21st (Monday)]

twisted posted 1/21/2019 08:40 AM

Trying for a neutral non-religious response:

He's using the Church as an excuse and a tool to manipulate vulnerable women.
It's disgusting. A major reason I have abandoned organized religion is the farce it attempts to impose for selfish reasons. Unfortunately, religion attracts many disturbed people, both as leaders and followers. Funny how they can twist and interpret religious teachings to suit THEIR needs.
Tell him there's no magic wand to keep such people from burning in hell.

nekonamida posted 1/21/2019 08:42 AM

The thing about R being Plan A is it only works if it's HIS Plan A too. Right now it's not. Right now his Plan A ideally is that you leave him alone, accept the relationships he has with OWs, and stay with his church. His Plan B is to move with you and continue to convince you that he hasn't had any inappropriate relationships so that when he finds more women to get close with, you won't suspect a thing. R'ing with you and creating a healthy marriage where there isn't any lies or secrecy isn't even on his radar.

You can't sit back, do nothing, and expect him to wake up on his own. It. Never. Works. What you can do is make it clear that you won't be accepting his lies any longer and hand him a list of things he will need to do to stay married to you. That list should include a timeline of his relationship with this OW and any others. Full transparency and access to his phone, email, social media, etc. IC for him and MC eventually. Whatever books you think that he should read ("Not Just Friends" by Shirley Glass). And anything else that you can think of. If he doesn't do the list or refuses, 180, see a lawyer, and began making your life separate from his so that when the time comes you can eject him from it. You can't R alone, you can't R with him as he is today, and nothing changes if nothing changes so you can't expect him to change when you don't make changes yourself.

Crushed7 posted 1/21/2019 08:56 AM

What happens when your closest link to God cheats on you then tells you you're the crazy one for calling it cheating?

You end up having to work hard to see the gaslighting for what it really is. So let's call it exactly what it is -- your husband was emotionally, psychologically, financially and spiritually abusive. In addition, he has set himself up to be his own god (e.g. self-centered pursuit of what he wants) all while trying to excuse it under the cover of it being "ministry" and then trying to get you to accept it.

Don't accept it. As long as your husband tries to minimize, dismiss or justify what happened, then he remains the self-centered, manipulative person he has been all while only regretting being caught as that has caused him *some* pain. He doesn't see that he is broken, so he won't put in any effort to change. And since everyone is on "his side", he really doesn't have much pain or motivation to change. If he won't move to real remorse, he doesn't belong in the ministry anywhere and he isn't a candidate for reconciliation.

[This message edited by Crushed7 at 9:01 AM, January 21st (Monday)]

HouseOfPlane posted 1/21/2019 09:05 AM

church... Hasn't given him a raise
But it gave him power and access.

You are an extraordinarily level headed woman, and I expect you will do alright, TM. Keep moving forward...

Crushed7 posted 1/21/2019 09:22 AM

The AP got very close to this older couple, and they don’t care about the texts. The couple has been one of my naysayers in the church ... I don’t bake enough pies for them, do enough for the church, respect my husband enough


My serial cheating WW had affairs that included a pastor, a church founder, an elder and a teacher at a religious school (none from the same organization). As a result, I've seen and heard more than I care to remember. That included a pastor claiming "there was no intercourse, so it wasn't adultery" (despite admitting to doing pretty much everything else). After Dday, I've been denounced by a pastor, a pastor's wife and by church members. I've seen church members defend the indefensible. I've heard leaders mandate the terms and timeline of reconciliation. I say all of this to simply underscore the fact that you aren't alone and that what you are going through isn't ok in any way.

Your grieving and healing process will take a long time. Part of that will be recovering from the spiritual abuse that you've been subjected to. But make no mistake, you've been exposed to the self-centered and self-righteous religious types that were specifically called out in the scriptures as being the height of corruption and evil. I hope that with your move you will find some wise and loving people who share your faith and are able to demonstrate what real love is supposed to look like.

SimplyRed posted 1/21/2019 09:26 AM

"All good points ... but does it matter if he slept with her? I have 340 pages of FB messages, thousands of texts, daily conversations, cash spent buying her meals out and helping her with things around the house, calling her “sweetie” on our family vacation and on our anniversary ... and my own recollection of him getting drunk and picking fights with me. "

No It doesn't matter at all. He has cheated. Not only has he cheated he has moved his OP into your home putting you effectively in a situation where he has his own private harem (a group of females sharing a single mate). Sex is irrelevant but IMO he has. Considering everything you have said it is possible he would pass a polygraph and would meet the definition of a sociopath. There are tests that are being developed/developed to get around this.

"But that’s not my Plan A. Plan A is to work it out with the father of my children. "

Working it out can take many different forms. Remaining married isn't the only option. I realize at this point that is the resolution you would like to see but this isn't the point to decide. This is the point that you gather information and erect your boundaries. Healthy boundaries. 6 months is not more than a speck of time on the timeline to recovery. He can wake up tomorrow and effectively decide to change his ways, tell you he has changed his ways and act as though he has for 6 months. That doesn't mean he has changed his core belief. It just means for that agreed upon duration of time he complied. Truly bringing about change and making that change an integral part of your being takes years and for some it can take a lifetime. Two of the counselors we have seen that have aiding in bringing about change (more so in me than H) had a 7 year base line. YEARS not months.

6 months gives you time and space to process what you need to process and make decisions that are not so charged initially.

[This message edited by SimplyRed at 9:48 AM, January 21st (Monday)]

alphakitte posted 1/21/2019 10:25 AM

but I need to be safe, settled, and secure.

It will help if you make that your focus, and goal. If each time you need to make a decision, or an action, make sure it advances this goal, in bith small things and big things. Let that be your motivation and strength. Avoid distractions (naysayers, enablers, etc.) as they aren’t meant to support you, or your journey. The devil is always busy.

If someone, some action, or something interferes with your goal, a simple, “No, that doesn’t work for me” suffices.

Krieger posted 1/21/2019 11:06 AM

I know it may not feel like it today, but your responses show that you are far ahead of most people in this position. You are giving him an opportunity to excel, though I don't have great hopes that he will meet the challenge.

As you are quite aware, you can't get up until you admit you are down. Nor can he make the relationship right, until he admits that he has committed wrong. Additionally, there is nothing for you to forgive until he understands his transgressions and comes to you with a contrite heart.

I suggest that you stay the course you have already mapped out to finish your education and position yourself, so that if he does not fill his commitments that you are in a good place. I would consider setting up a separate bank account to put a little away for a rainy day.

Again I'm not going to tell you anything know, but a great church family can be a great support system. A church can also be filled with very judgmental people with their own agenda. I too have been very disappointed with hypocritical people that call themselves Christian. It can make the best of us question ourselves and particularly when it is a pastor or person in authority. Don't waste time on negative people in your life. There are lots of good folks that are true to their word and beliefs. Lift your head high girl, you are doing good!

NuckingFuts posted 1/21/2019 11:07 AM

I don't know if you need to give it 6 months, I don't believe in arbitrary timelines for something like this. When you feel it's the right time to file for d you file for d.

That being said, and understanding that reconciliation is your goal, find out how long you have to live in the new city to establish residency and wait at least that long. You don't want to find yourself in the position of having to leave your new job to go back to your current city because a judge ordered the children returned if your husband decides his church and harem are more important than fixing his marriage and leaves you.

I expect you're going to find out before you reach 6 months that he's not good candidate for reconciliation.

Charity411 posted 1/21/2019 12:45 PM

I echo the observation that your husband isn't your closest link to God. No human being should be your link to God. None of us are qualified for that position in my opinion.

I belonged to a very conservative evangelical church and there were many positive things about it. Their notion that women, particularly wives, exist for the purpose of building up their husbands, without ever questioning them, was something I couldn't abide.

Your very first post waved a red flag, given my own experiences. You said you husband was involved in a church that expected him to divorce you if you didn't comply with their unconventional expectations of what a wife should be. It took him 6 1/2 years to leave that church. He may have left that church, but he didn't leave that mentality behind. You're supposed to put up and shut up.

So now you are at a cross roads. Good for you for continuing your career and education to give yourself the best possible opportunity for sucess with or without him. But I caution you to look at what he has already shown you. You can take the self important minister out of the church, but you can't necessarily take the self importance, that leads to a disregard of boundaries and rules, out of the minister.

Recently the pastor of a very very large evangelical church in the Midwest was forced to step down due to numerous women he "ministered to" coming forward with allegations of sexual misconduct. The accusations were out there for at least three years and he managed to convince everyone it wasn't true, and it was the fault of the women who were jealous of his sucess in the church and in his marriage and wanted to see him fail. You see men with a tendency to use women for their own egos and advancement have a perfect foil in a church that teaches that women should be subservient. It's the perfect set up. It took years but those around this pastor finally saw reality and forced him to resign. And in the end, they all resigned themselves because they felt they had failed these women.

There are a lot more good people in houses of faith than bad ones, but we have to make sure that the title of minister doesn't obscure what is obviously ungodly behavior. Don't let the fact that your husband is a minister make you accept what you wouldn't accept otherwise. He is still just a man.

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