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Gaslit by a minister

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Charity411 posted 1/26/2019 17:43 PM

Your story just rocks me to my core. I met my first husband at Bible Camp. I loved it. It gave me the moral structure I never had in my home life. So there was nothing better than marrying the man I met being the camp cook while he worked maintenance. His entire family was involved in being deacons and deaconesses of the church.

About a year into our marriage I started to notice he had no interest in me physically. I was pretty hot too. He was way more interested in his male best friend. After two years I realized I couldn't stay married to him and I left. I never exposed to his family that he was gay. It would have killed them. So by deciding to divorce him, I had to divorce the wonderful things that I loved about our church. Including cooking for the Bible Camp.

I understand the added layer of hurt you are going through. You are trying to divorce yourself not just from him, but from the life, and spiritual life that you've known forever. I can tell you from experience that you will survive. You'll be wiser for it.

textingministry posted 1/26/2019 20:46 PM

Dispirited - I am trying very hard to understand if you are telling me itís my fault he cheated on me, and I deserved it because you think Iím a hypocrite.

I get it that he is. No question there. Just looking for support here as literally half of my life just walked out the door.

If that pisses you off, go find another thread. If you have real words of compassion (which is the best of any faith), continue sharing. Otherwise, I donít need anyone else beating me up. Got enough of that at home.

Cooley2here posted 1/26/2019 22:21 PM

I was confused by him as well. The bottom line is that true believers, who are dedicated to their good morals, do not treat their loved ones this way. It is up yo you whether you want to remain with him but you have the right to demand he behave himself or he is history. You only have one life and this is no way to live it.

Dispirited posted 1/27/2019 02:40 AM

Dispirited - I am trying very hard to understand if you are telling me itís my fault he cheated on me, and I deserved it because you think Iím a hypocrite.

I get it that he is. No question there. Just looking for support here as literally half of my life just walked out the door.

If that pisses you off, go find another thread. If you have real words of compassion (which is the best of any faith), continue sharing. Otherwise, I donít need anyone else beating me up. Got enough of that at home.

No- no one can blame another for cheating on them. The hypocrisy I noted is noted "because" your husband was a supposed minister? And you got sucked into his BS. Therein lies the hypocrisy. And your "power couple" statement would raise eye brows for those who have half a brain.

So YOU decide- whether you are without sin and your philandering husband is without mercy and forgiveness. And forget your aggressive career whatever. Choose your priority. Either you throw the despicable person out the door and then you take time to figure out what matters. And that takes a bit of time....healthy people do that.

I did not intend to offer any derogatory remarks...You like myself, want a positive existence for this short time we have on this earth.Hopefully, your gut will tell you which way.

Dispirited posted 1/27/2019 02:43 AM

Dispirited - I am trying very hard to understand if you are telling me itís my fault he cheated on me, and I deserved it because you think Iím a hypocrite.

I get it that he is. No question there. Just looking for support here as literally half of my life just walked out the door.

If that pisses you off, go find another thread. If you have real words of compassion (which is the best of any faith), continue sharing. Otherwise, I donít need anyone else beating me up. Got enough of that at home.

No- no one can blame another for cheating on them. The hypocrisy I noted is noted "because" your husband was a supposed minister? And you got sucked into his BS. Therein lies the hypocrisy. And your "power couple" statement would raise eye brows for those who have half a brain.

So YOU decide- whether you are without sin and your philandering husband is without mercy and forgiveness. And forget your aggressive career whatever. Choose your priority. Either you throw the despicable person out the door and then you take time to figure out what matters. And that takes a bit of time....healthy people do that.

I did not intend to offer any derogatory remarks...You like myself, want a positive existence for this short time we have on this earth.Hopefully, your gut will tell you which way.

Dispirited posted 1/27/2019 03:25 AM

Your story just rocks me to my core. I met my first husband at Bible Camp. I loved it. It gave me the moral structure I never had in my home life. So there was nothing better than marrying the man I met being the camp cook while he worked maintenance. His entire family was involved in being deacons and deaconesses of the church.

And the lesson here? Never look to others to make you whole. Separate people- hopefully healthy, meet each other and the main thing is to maintain separate individuality, yet extol your love upon another. And if your partner is a good one, he/she will respect your individuality, and love you beyond differences.Commitment- a choice to maintain love even when we can't stand some instances. Many think there should always be that initial "wow" period. Nope....that wears off and then people are faced with real situations.

And then the ones who have no commitment take off looking for something that will never be realized. So learn and understand your soul and the fact that time goes by quickly.So enjoy with prudence.

alphakitte posted 1/27/2019 06:57 AM

Texting, I, and others, support you and the measured process you are taking to sort out what has happened TO you, through no fault of your own.

Take from here what works for you, and leave the rest.

The1stWife posted 1/27/2019 07:20 AM

And the lesson here? Never look to others to make you whole.

This is so true in that unfortunately your H is using his ďministryĒ to define him and validate him. He doesnít see how broken he is because if he did, he would not be using religion to justify his cheating.

steadychevy posted 1/27/2019 07:30 AM

texting, I need to preface my remarks by informing that I'm a born again Christian. So was my WW. It seems to me she couldn't be but I'm not the one who decides. God is.

There have been all kinds of atrocities in the church by church leaders of all sorts. They are made by sinful people not by direction from the Word of God. I do think that clergy are held at a higher standard because they are viewed as leaders and teachers. I also think it's easy for them to fall into a "higher" superiority and feel they are above the law.

I'm not making excuses for them. It is their responsibility to have boundaries and an accountability group. Too often, it's been my observation, the church does take the stance of they made a mistake, they are trying so hard, give them a chance, forgive and forget, etc. This is revictimization.

I felt like getting into a debate about Christianity vs religion but that is offside to the guidelines of SI. So is other posters calling out religion and Christianity as being evil.

IMO, a truly repentant minister/pastor would be confessing to God and asking his forgiveness and for the strength to change his ways. He would be apologizing profusely to those he has harmed. Perception is reality. He has to confess that his actions have given you a perception of his infidelity. Besides you have hundreds of texts as proof. He is gaslighting, minimizing, deflecting, blameshifting, etc. No remorse here. Unless he has substantive change there doesn't seem to be much with which to reconcile.

Keep progressing on your studies and development. I would suggest IC for you. A video provided in a post on SI has recently had the presenter indicating that 70% of betrayed spouses have PTSD. I did. I don't know how you can heal from PTSD without counselling from someone with expertise in PTSD. I wonder if it might be even more prevalent in clergy betrayals. That could be me projecting.

I am joining the chorus to get IC for your daughter. She was carrying the load. She took on the task of trying to inhibit it (protect you, protect her family, protect herself). That's too much of a burden for a child. Please make sure she gets some help.

Best of luck and best wishes to you, texting, as you work your way through this mess unloaded on you. None of this is on you. None.

textingministry posted 2/24/2019 21:39 PM

Hey guys, it's been about a month, and I'm back with an update. We're settling into our new community, and I y new job.

I've gotten my daughter into counseling at school. She has given me detailed reports of "flashbacks" of seeing the AP and my WH together, but they are slowly beginning to subside. Still, I will not allow her to go back to church, even to see her friends, as my husband (my God, I still can't believe it) finishes up his preaching rotation.

He still minimizes. Takes more responsibility for the pain he's caused us. The weekend after we moved, he wanted to know why I had been sad since the day before the move. My daughter then went on to describe her flashbacks and how she had seen it all for over a year and told no one. I hated watching her suffer, but to watch his face turn beet red as she talked about her experience, uncoached, was strangely validating. I wanted to shout, "SEE?? IT'S NOT MY IMAGNIATION!" I did say something like that later, but it was more calm, cool, and collected - read the 180, have been employing it.

The 180 has been a lifesaver. For the first time in my life, I've been able to speak to him in a calm, mature manner, and tell him it doesn't matter if he chooses me ... I might not want to choose him anymore. I consider spending all his time with single (or divorced) women, to whom he has no problem telling them he loves them (BTW - found more women in his phone!!), to be a betrayal of his vows. Love, honor, cherish ... bullshit. I'm done. I keep thinking about the months that led up to DDay and how nasty he was to live with, how vigorously he defended his lifestyle choices, and I think ... wow. It really was all about his ego. NOTHING was about me or the kids, and it hasn't been for a long time.

Hey, I'm not saying we haven't had fun. I still love him. But he has issues, and I can't let him act like a child for the rest of his life, suppress/deny his feelings (I'm really sorry, but no one spends this much time with someone they are counseling, and why are the counselees always needy women??), and let him walk all over me.

Tonight he pouted because he had to go preach alone (I really don't care if he talks to the flirty women anymore, and with him having left and not being able to get his family to come to church with him, I doubt he's super-appealing to anyone). I was "mean" to him on the phone home (I was a little short because he's not holding up his end of the bargain with some aspects of the move), and "no one tells him what to do."

I can't stand it. I know he's hurt, but ... I think we're hurt more. And he needs to grow up. I still don't know what to do financially ... he's told me he'll take whatever I leave him if we split. I'm so angry. I've gotten him to enroll in therapy ... which is a small miracle because he's never liked me going or believed in it (Though I see the logic - why see licensed professionals when you could "counsel" with a man of god like him???). He is depressed, and I am ashamed to say I watched him the first month for suicide.

We've talked about it since, and he admits he was, but can't leave behind the family who relies on him.

The angry part of me just wants him to go and leave us the money. The human part of me that fell in love with him and still deeply cares wants to see him better. I know his dad f*cked with his mind when he was a kid, and I see a lot of this as a direct result of his dad's problems. I can't let them become my children's problems, though.

Sad lately. Just ... very sad. Some days are normal and we sit around and analyze my new boss, co-workers, everything about the move and our dreams, like nothing had ever happened and we're still the best of friends. And then other days are like this. I've reduced contact with my mom and dad because they seem to make the situation worse for me. Need to find a new therapist now that I've left behind my old one, but those sessions have been very helpful. The old IC was very proud of me and supportive. It was wonderful to hear someone validating my thoughts and emotions, and not telling me I was blowing the whole thing out of proportion, or it was my fault, or I just had to forgive him because that's what marriage is. Nope - she was just worried I could find a healthy way to cope in the relationship - even if that meant leaving.

Again, I don't think I'm ready to leave just yet. The transition has been a godsend, and yet at the same time very difficult. Not much emotional support at work (not that I'm not keenly aware of how fast that could go bad if I start looking for that there), and my WH has been kind and attentive during his good days. All the things I'm (still) furious at him for being to the women in our old community, while coming home and hissing at me for having dreams of my own.

I don't know how this one is going to end, but I do know that I'm stronger every day. I've never been as proud of myself for having the courage to tell him that he can tell me all he wants that he's "committed", but it's my call in the end what I'll tolerate.

Ok, he's up and walking around. Maybe I'm a little more nervous than I'd like to admit. LOL Goodnight - this website is still my safe space. I read all the time. Don't want him to know yet.

nekonamida posted 2/24/2019 21:54 PM

Textingministry, thank you for checking in with us and glad to hear that you're getting stronger.

I have to ask though, is your daughter in therapy for what she witnessed? Have you or your WH followed up and talked about what happened? I'm very concerned for her because we have had quite a few betrayed children here over the years and they have suffered greatly knowing about the betrayals and not having anyone talk with them about it so please don't allow this to be rug swept with her.

The1stWife posted 2/24/2019 22:02 PM

Good to read you are feeling stronger.

Keep posting here so we can support you.

textingministry posted 2/25/2019 18:14 PM

Yes, my daughter is sitting with her new school counselor once a week. I called him and told him what was going on. (Amusedly, he had met my WH, been impressed by my daughter, and when I broke the bad news in my first conversation with him, he swore loudly through the phone. I'm still getting a little giggle out of that in retrospect. Also - sorry people, I know I'm getting a little loose with the lips myself - maybe it's helping me "divorce" myself from the hypocrisy and broken values that I've been somewhat drowned by these past two years.

My daughter said she feels better having someone to talk to where there's no pressure, especially because she thought the episodes would go away after we moved. She has a lot to sort through. I'm really happy she has a safe space, she's away from the location and events which traumatized her, and she has a cover of meeting with this counselor to "make sure the move is going smoothly" so she's not embarrassed to be pulled out of class (which in her new school she's way ahead of the rest of the group, academically, anyway).

I try to be there for her, but I know she needs some space as she wants to "please" me. She knows I know more than she does about the events, at this point, and that I warned her father many times his relationship was too close for comfort with the main AP. But she's also a child, and wants to defend her father and say that he didn't act any differently when the AP would flirt with him alone, and sometimes even shut her down in front of her. I suspect that what she saw, when he shut the flirting down, was him either realizing people were watching (including my daughter) or trying to pull back - because they had no problem talking inappropriately over text (never sexting, but she would find a way to talk about being naked or in the shower, or how people gave her dirty looks in church because of her short shorts ... you get the drift. His response was to defend her "I'll issue a general rebuke!" ... it was gross).

That's something else that has been troubling me. I keep going back to this idea that I'm blowing it all up and he didn't really cheat because maybe he did just feel sisterly love for all these women and was just dense about the boundary issues. I started reading "NOT Just Friends" by Shirley Glass tonight, as he's out of town, though, and I'm bawling. It's hitting the nail on the head. These women that he met and carried on with were not just friends ... not just counselees ... I was right to speak to him about how disgusting it is that he took vulnerable women and toyed with their emotions. Allowed them to cross the boundaries. Allowed them to take up his time, energy, and frankly, devotion. It's not okay. I saw it. His daughter saw it. My friends see it. Three professionals see it. It's not about sex - it's about the energy you invest in the relationships. And they don't keep coming back if you're not giving something to them.

I'm back in school and making A's. Got another (unsolicited) request to apply for an even better gig coming up in June. Not sure I'll go for it, but it's flattering.

So much to sort out emotionally ... but this thing will not break me. It will not break my kids. We'll do whatever we have to do to be whole, in the end. Even if there's only three of us left standing. But it is difficult. Really really big emotional swings. Just trying to stay strong. But yes, I am feeling stronger. Every day I realize more and more I don't have to rely on him to be happy. And that helps me reset the standard that I will live by.

survrus posted 2/25/2019 19:00 PM

Sorry you are going through this.

My experience with Churches and my W are not all bad, but are almost as bad as I would expect from a male dominated business environment.

It seems men feel comfortable hugging and touching women in a church who would never approach that way in another setting. In our current church one deacon is always treating 4 or 5 women for lunch.

Coreofsteel posted 2/25/2019 19:29 PM

Hi there texting. I'm impressed by your reaction and response to all that you went through. Sounds like your daughter has a great support which is wonderful. You sounds like a winner in your own right, and I feel like you'll be fine.

With respect to your WH, I do feel as though his behaviour was predatory. My ex displayed similar behaviour with drunk vulnerable women. I think for me that was the worst because really a person of any integrity would not take advantage of vulnerable people. To me, it was worse than the cheating. In our last conversation I called him a predator, he turned red then pale. I think he realized it too at that point. Do you think your WH would ever realize or own his behaviour toward those that depend on him for solace?

moongoddess78 posted 2/26/2019 13:17 PM

My WS invited me to church last Sunday and I swear some of the way those men were looking at me made me uncomfortable. Worst offenders IMO.

We'll struggle through.

The1stWife posted 2/26/2019 13:49 PM

Texting - glad to see some positives for you.

I donít which is worse - the actual cheating, the lying OR the manipulative behavior the cheater undertakes as part of the deception and denial.

My H had a 4 year EA back in the 90s. The refusal to admit the ďfriendshipĒ was wrong or crossed boundaries or the gaslighting that occurred was unbelievable. He did admit it the EA to the second OW from his last Affair so I now have proof. Proof he knew all along it was wrong.

You are in the right path.

And I trust very few ďchurchĒ people. We have a female minister who is head of our church. Manipulative and puts people against each other. Lucky I love my church and separate her from worship and a ďmessageĒ b/c you cannot be a church leader and a hypocrite- people will see through that quickly.

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