Helping women of faith find hope and healing after emotional and spiritual abuse

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Episode 57: Survivor Story – Debby

by | Mar 11, 2020 | Divorce, Emotional Abuse, Rebuilding, Survivor Stories, The Flying Free Podcast | 5 comments

Debby tried appeasing her abusive husband for decades, but nothing ever changed. It wasn’t until she realized her health was deteriorating that she knew it was up to her to change something. Listen to Debby’s story of survival, how she got in and out of the abuse, and what happened when she went to counselors (with a twist!)

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  1. Kim

    I am always open and eager to hear survivor stories even if they don’t echo my own journey. Deepest respect for these amazing women! (Love this series you’re doing btw, Natalie!) When I started listening I wasn’t prepared for how much this would resonate. It just didn’t seem like my situation (a rager type abuser from the beginning) but it was exactly what I needed to hear! So many little details that made me feel seen and known by God! Like only He would know.

    I have had a lot of doubts lately about my experience, and to hear Debby clearly call some of these things out as ridiculous (like yelling at your wife and expecting sex an hour later) and even laughing about the craziness of it made me feel SO validated. And, yes, that has happened many times. The part ab outgrowing Leslie Vernick’s advice (no shade at Leslie, she is literally the reason I’m here on flying free!), I absolutely get it…. the tactics can be so tricky, so covert. Sometimes you have to dive deeper. Explore and read more. If you are reading this and you’re like me when I first landed here at this site – you’re saying well abuse is a strongggg word, I’m not sure. That seems harsh or a bit exaggerated. Just keep reading and exploring…. covert abusers ARE ABUSERS.

    Like Debby said – it looks like change. When they switch tactics. We can spend a long time in the wilderness waiting to see if this is yet again just part of the manipulation. The “nice” phase. The waiting is so hard, knowing he’s snowed everyone else in the meantime. It’s such an isolating experience, especially when your closest friends really don’t get it. What I’ve learned is – the nice phase is almost worst than the mean phase for me. I feel so conflicted, guilty and coerced.

    Debby, you sound like pure sunshine to me! Thank you so much for sharing your story. I especially loved the part ab how your husband’s counselor thought the worst of you until she met you, then she fired him and stuck with you. LOL That says so much ab who you are! Blessings to you on your journey! You have taught and encouraged me so much, sister.

  2. Missy Ween

    Oh my goodness, Debby’s story is so much like my own. I love her courage and her strong confidence in the truth. this story is so encouraging to me. Thank you.

  3. Christi

    Wow! This is absolutely what God wanted me to hear and what I needed to hear. So much resonates perfectly. Thank you, Deby and Natalie!

  4. Jodi

    This was an amazing podcast for me. I was in a emotional & physically abusive relationship for 23 years. I got chronic hives for 3 years prior to getting out. I got out 2017 but it was not graceful. I thought I deserve love & I thought I was in love with an old boyfriend. It’s a more detailed story but I told my counselor & told my husband & he put me on the plane to see him. I was so confused at the end of my marriage that I jumped. We had been going to counseling for 10 years. The counselor took his side & never mentioned abuse. He was a very charismatic & smart man. It was your emails in 2018 that I final called it abuse & began my search for more knowledge on the subject. I still have some shame left of how I got out. I wish I would have done what the woman on your podcast did & researched. I just never took time to emotional evaluate my feelings. I was raising 3 kids. I know that I am forgiven because God saved me & that is a whole other story. These podcasts help so thank you. I hope to help women. It is so hard to see when your in it & helping women have a voice would help my healing as well.

    • Natalie Hoffman

      Isn’t Debby amazing? But so are you. Extracting yourself from abuse is a messy business. You can have compassion on yourself and move into your future with all those incredible things you learned through the process. Hugs.


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