Misogyny: An Epidemic From Hell


Now, the Star-Belly Sneetches had bellies with stars.
The Plain-Belly Sneetches had none upon thars.
Those stars weren’t so big. They were really so small.
You might think such a thing wouldn’t matter at all.

But, because they had stars, all the Star-Belly Sneetches
Would brag, “We’re the best kind of Sneetch on the beaches.”
With their snoots in the air, they would sniff and they’d snort
“We’ll have nothing to do with the Plain-Belly sort!”

Dr. Suess

We want to believe we live in an advanced civilization—one that has risen above the base prejudice of our unenlightened ancestors.

Human beings have a bent to marginalize other people. We want to be the best Sneetches on the beaches.

And those of us in the Church?

Sometimes I wonder if we’re the most arrogant and delusional of all.

The tragic thing about our history as a church (just Google “history of misogyny in the church“) is that regular people are disgusted by the inconsistency of the beliefs about women and how we treat women.

Who wants to worship a fickle god who plays favorites?

I believe human beings instinctively know when prejudice is present. It churns in our guts.

What is Misogyny?

The word “misogyny” comes from the Greek words, “misos” (hatred) and “gune” (women). It means “dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women.(link)

Wikipedia says this:

Sociologist Michael Flood, at the University of Wollongong, defines misogyny as the hatred of women, and notes:

Though most common in men, misogyny also exists in and is practiced by women against other women or even themselves. Misogyny functions as an ideology or belief system that has accompanied patriarchal, or male-dominated societies for thousands of years and continues to place women in subordinate positions with limited access to power and decision making. […] Aristotle contended that women exist as natural deformities or imperfect males […] Ever since, women in Western cultures have internalised their role as societal scapegoats, influenced in the twenty-first century by multimedia objectification of women with its culturally sanctioned self-loathing and fixations on plastic surgery, anorexia and bulimia.[5]

Dictionaries define misogyny as “hatred of women”[6][7][8] and as “hatred, dislike, or mistrust of women”.[9] In 2012, primarily in response to events occurring in the Australian Parliament, the Macquarie Dictionary (which documents Australian English and New Zealand English) expanded the definition to include not only hatred of women but also “entrenched prejudices against women”.[10]

Misogyny: An Epidemic From Hell

Misogyny in Me

I’ve had a lower view of women, and I wasn’t even aware of it.

I’m still only vaguely aware of how deeply it’s been woven into the fabric of my being.

It’s the result of marinating in our culture, for sure. But worse than that, my brain and heart soaked up the poison of patriarchy taught by men like Bill Gothard and Doug Phillips – both of whom had so little regard for women that they used young females to satisfy their sexual cravings while publicly preaching against that kind of behavior.

I got the message that I, as a female, could easily be a sinful stumbling block just for having curves.

I’m not the only one who felt like less of a person for that reason. I grew up attending Gothard’s yearly conferences, and I slurped up every single word he said and obeyed all of it.

I was a fanatic.

And I was terrified I would do something wrong to disappoint God and bring Him dishonor.

I believed my body was something to be ashamed of. I viewed myself as a potential tool of temptation, so while boys fascinated me and I enjoyed their friendship and probably had puppy crushes on 75% of them, I worked hard at not doing anything that might cause them to think I was flirting or interested in anything other than friendship.

I did it out of fear that if one of them became attracted to me, it would be terrible and all my fault.

I remember feeling disappointed with myself as a young person because I was a driven, type-A personality, but as a girl, I wasn’t supposed to be like that.

I was told my destiny and calling was to be a sweet wife and mother (and I wanted that with all my heart!) who would get beneath my future husband’s wings and be a gentle, but powerful, quiet, but influential, holy, but also sexy (for him) breeze.

It was a tall – and confusing – order.

How many times did I hear, “Behind every good man is a good wife?” It was the word “behind” that embedded itself in my psyche.

When I pictured a marriage, I saw Gothard’s drawing with God on top, the man underneath God, the woman underneath the man, and the children underneath the woman.

Why couldn’t I be directly under God? Because I was a woman. Duh. I didn’t have a penis.

Children could grow up, and the boys could be directly under God eventually. But the women and girls would always have an authority as their “go-between.” The voice of God in their lives.

What a damaging distortion of God’s design. Jesus came, not as an authority figure, but as a servant. As a friend. Jesus came to show us that our man-made (emphasis on the man) strategies of authority and power-over had no place in the Kingdom of Heaven.

That wasn’t God’s plan. That was man’s hope, rooted in shame, fear, and scarcity.

Back when my family of origin would stoop to associate with the likes of me, we would go visit and the “hungry” men and boys would go through the food line first. Women and small children were last.

In my family, this was the rule.

Why? Why is there a distinction? Women and young children aren’t as hungry? Don’t need as much? Aren’t worth as much?

What if everyone could just get in the line, all willy-nilly, and having stars on your bellies or not didn’t matter? Or what if anyone, man or woman, could freely offer their place to another person in love? (Freely offer means there is no guilt manipulation on the back end to force that offer.)

What a concept.

It isn’t just men marginalizing women. Women are just as guilty of marginalizing themselves. Women, in general, are afraid to stand up and say, “The emperor is NAKED!” It’s uncomfortable to be shooshed by everyone around you.

(Or excommunicated, as the case may be.)

Misogyny: An Epidemic from Hell

Here’s the thing I want you to get: I used to embrace this thinking with every fiber of my being. It was so much a part of who I was; it was untraceable. And that’s the point of this article.

Our culture and our churches and us—all of us collectively—are so immersed in misogyny that we don’t know it.

I would never, in a million years, have believed anyone if they told me I had an innate prejudice against females. I was a CHAMPION for women, for crying out loud. I started this blog fourteen years ago with the name: VISIONARY WOMANHOOD. WOOT!

But I was not honest with myself. We don’t know what we don’t know, right?

And then an article I wrote called Seven Deal Breakers in Christian Dating Relationships went viral. It was all about how to avoid marrying an abuser. It touched a nerve and had over 19,000 Facebook shares at the time.

Then I published The One Sure Sign You are in an Emotionally Abusive Relationship, and the blog went down due to the increase in traffic.

I’ve had countless personal emails, Facebook interactions, and comments on my blog from Christian women who love their families and God, but they are dying a slow, agonizing death in the silence of their homes because nobody in the church will listen to them.

Nobody believes them when they say, “My husband is hurting me! HELP!”

I experienced this myself over the course of two decades.

How about the time when I tried to get an appointment with a pastor multiple times and was put off? I never did get an appointment. But when I separated from my husband a few months later and he requested an appointment with that same pastor, he got in within a week of his request.

What was the difference? I’ll never know for sure, but could it have been because I was just a wife, and wives aren’t supposed to stand up and rock boats? But if the “leader of the home” has a need, we’ll make room in our schedule to hear his voice?

Does it come down to whether or not you have a specific type of organ to go potty with?

What in the hell is going on here?

Because that’s where this originates. Misogyny is the work of the devil, himself. The father of lies. The hater of God and all His creation. The author of division and hatred and death.

He loves it when we marginalize any group of people.

I’ve got to tell you, the more people who have the audacity to stand up and point out the emperor’s naked butt, the more the people snarl.

BUT— the more that people try to put the kibosh on the finger pointers, the more other people are alerted to the fact that there must be a reason why it’s such a big deal.

And maybe your courage will be just the kick in the pants they need to come clean and be honest as well.

Maybe we can’t change the world overnight.

But we can change ourselves. How?

First by raising awareness in ourselves, and then by raising awareness in those standing closest to us.

We grab the elephant in the room by the tusks, and we ride it. We ride it and cry out, “It’s HERE! How do I know? Because I’m riding it! See!

And some people will see. And some progress will be made. And that, my friends, is how the world WILL change. Eventually.

The day they decided that Sneetches are Sneetches.
And no kind of Sneetch is the best on the beaches.
That day, all the Sneetches forgot about stars and whether
They had one, or not, upon thars.


If you want help in getting free from the bonds of misogynistic thinking, consider joining the Flying Free Sisterhood. You’ll get access to a long list of helpful courses and a support network of women of faith who are on the same journey you are. Go HERE for more information.

[This article is an updated article from 2016]

Misogyny: An Epidemic from Hell


  1. Avatar

    Thankyou many tones over! I have a very elderly, but totally abusive parent in my care. I see HIS behaviour clearly, but it had taken years to admit my husband, gorgeous on the outside, manipulative on the inside was coming close to destroying my A personality!
    I am reading, working on recognising the type, and progressing well.
    He doesn’t know that I know and see thru him now, so I am moving slowly back to being me!!
    As to the parent, I can forgive, his upbringing was far worse than mine BUT I don’t have or want to reconcile as he would just see another opportunity to gas-light me.
    Thankyou for this sits, just when I needed it most, God pointed me right to it.

    • Natalie

      I’m so glad you found it! (((HUGS)))

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    I’m struggling. I read these things about verbal/physical/emotional abuse, sometimes with checklists and examples of behaviors. My husband doesn’t do those things. He isn’t physically abusive; he doesn’t call me names. He’s a good and decent person.

    Yet I find myself miserable and feel worthless every day. I gave up trying to talk to him or confer with him on anything; he’ll consistently criticize my opinions. He’ll argue with whatever I say until I give in out of sheer fatigue–he’s relentless. No name-calling, no yelling, no put-downs, though. If I bring up an issue or have an activity to propose, there’s no discussing with him because he’s always right. There’s no compromising.

    Early in our marriage he used to joke about the “c” word–compromise. I stopped finding that funny a long, long time ago because it’s true, and in over 20 years of marriage it hasn’t changed. He has made it abundantly clear–without any name-calling or yelling or insults–that I don’t have anything to contribute to this marriage from the neck up.

    I feel stupid all the time with him. When he leaves the house, I relax. When he returns, I’m tense. I can’t relax in my own home. I’m so tired of feeling this way. But I can’t put a name to what he’s doing. I can’t read all this and identify it and call it abuse. He’s not doing any of the things on any lists of abuse examples I’ve seen.

    I’m so tired of feeling like a stupid person and not being able to relax in my own house. There are so many things I want to do and try and ways I want to live and change, and none of that will ever happen as long as I stay in this life. But I came out of “never, ever divorce” in my early home life and my life-long church life. So I have realized something is very wrong, and I’ve tried to put a name to it, tried to explain to myself and sometimes to a close friend what the real problem here is. But I can’t. I don’t know what it is. It doesn’t match with “abuse,” not from what I’ve read and observed.

    I just know that throughout our entire marriage, and this will continue into the future, my husband views me as secondary and believes I should be submissive. He doesn’t view me as an equal, doesn’t realize he doesn’t, doesn’t realize he treats me like one of the children while expecting me to carry all the adult responsibilities he doesn’t wish to be bothered with while he works. He’s a good Christian workaholic. Two jobs and multiple church roles.

    He’s so disrespectful. So constantly disrespectful.

    I can identify one thing: He projects a lot. He’ll say something provoking to me, I’ll react badly, and he’ll accuse me of jumping on him or getting on his case. He seems genuinely unaware of projecting, but I’m not psychic and can’t say for sure.

    A couple of times he has said something to me in discussion at home, then when I repeated it later in a group of friends, he contradicted me publicly. And again I felt (and looked) foolish. It doesn’t bother him to disrespect me in front of others, although he’s better when other people are around. This is probably true of all of us.

    I’m at the point of moving out and taking the kids with me. But I have to understand and accept for *myself* why I’m doing this. Right now I feel like if someone asked me why I’m considering this, I couldn’t even answer. I don’t have the words for what’s happening to me. I can’t explain it. I just know it feels really, really awful, and it has for years, and there’s no sign it will ever change. I don’t know how to explain that to anyone else, and I feel like if I can’t explain it, then it’s not legitimate, you know?

    And I think about all he does for people (because he does, he is a genuinely compassionate and helpful person), and how he doesn’t do the things to me that I read about that are abusive, and I think, “I’m being selfish. These aren’t real reasons to leave. He’s not abusing me. I’m just being selfish. I can’t move out and take the kids away from their dad for no good reason.”

    It’s a confusing and difficult time. I just keep reading and thinking and talking (therapist, you, etc.) and I’m trusting, with effort, that at some point I will come to a point of being ready to take decisive action in this situation.

    I do miss the decisive, action-oriented person I used to be. She would have dispatched this situation on the spot. But then she didn’t have kids. Thanks for reading all this. I didn’t mean for it to go so long. Somehow confusion takes more words than comprehension.

    • Natalie

      What you are describing is emotional abuse. Plain and simple. You’re still in the “foggy” state of confusion. Have you read the Verbally Abusive Relationship? What about the Emotionally Destructive Relationship? Patrick Doyle has some excellent videos on Emotional Abuse on Youtube. I’ve got links to all of these through my About page. My husband was faithful, never called me names, never swore, and worked hard. Yet, he was emotionally abusive, and life with him was horrible. That’s what emotional abuse is. Under the radar. Hard to see. Hard to explain. The more you learn, the more clear things will get. Keep reading and listening! You’ll get there!

      • Avatar

        Thank you. Still on this journey (many months later) and there’s more clarity now. In a sense I’m kind of waiting on the Lord right now (even though I’ve been massively deconstructing the religion & God I grew up with, so that’s an interesting relationship these days). I’m not ready yet.

        Don’t know what the future holds, but I have a clearer picture of what he’s doing, what his patterns are, and that it’s not okay. It really is bad and I’m not oversensitive or nuts for thinking of leaving. Waiting for leading on that one way or the other, and trying to prepare/plan/survive in the meantime. And oh hey–I’ve had a medical condition treated and lost 85 pounds so far. Forty-five to go. I’m job-hunting.

        Thanks for your encouragement. I’m grateful for your ministry.

        • Avatar

          This was the type of abuse I experienced. My parents don’t believe me, my friends struggle to believe me… “he’s such a saint to put up with you, you’re a very difficult person, you know” NO IM NOT!

          6 months into my separation and I’m at a financial disadvantage but I’m free. The moment he left the house, it was like this boulder that was sitting on my chest, crushing me, was lifted. It wasn’t enough to kill me, but enough so I couldn’t live. I started doing things that brought me joy, and honored God in the process. I’m finally living again! That kind of oppression is not okay, especially for strong, intelligent women that have such a high calling in God’s eyes!

          I can honestly say that my relationship with God has been changed dramatically too. Instead of a distant, rule making, domineering God, I now have a God that writes me love letters, sends me signs of His love daily, makes certain I have enough food for the day, and a ABBA FATHER God.

        • Avatar

          Please read, “Why Does He Do That?” by Lundy Bancroft. You are not crazy and you are not alone. This book can be downloaded on Hoopla and it will change you, he will never, never, change. He will always be your worse enemy. Hurting and controlling you will always be his primary goal. After you read it, please find the domestic-violence advocates nearest you and reach out. They will know how to help you.
          Also, please determine to never defend yourself again. Surround yourself with the people who support you. It’ll be more than you expect.
          Please consider discounting any beliefs that you have about God that are enmeshed with your husband. God is perfect in every way. Your husband, I’m sure, has used your belief in God as a tool of abuse. (As, I’m sure, he’s used you’re intellect, emotions, sexuality, financial security, etc). Nothing is beneath an abuser. They are also experts at using other people, such as church people, to abuse you. Forgive the ignorant people where possible and remember that God is perfect.

      • Avatar

        So much like my marriage. My husband has apologized to me sincerely about 3 times in our marriage of 29 years. His anger and control were killing me inside 4 years ago when I decided to go for counseling. Because of acute childhood trauma (from a beating at 3) as well as developmental trauma with dissociation, I have endured A LOT of pain and depression. While still trying to be the perfect wife and do all of the things you mentioned above. Down to folding my husband’s underwater correctly. It’s a gift really. If I hadn’t experienced this much pain I may not have become the butterfly I know I’ll be one day. God promised me healing 30 years ago. The butterfly has been my motto since that time. Did I just get the wrong man? Did I not hear God correctly? It’s been so confusing.

        • Avatar

          I have been there — those questions exactly! I still don’t have great answers, but I do remember very clearly the night that God made it abundantly clear that DIVORCE IS AN OPTION for escaping abuse! What a weight off my chest!!
          In some ways, I think we’ll never have answers to those questions; but to know that God DOES love, DOES see, DOES care about how I’m being treated, and DOES condone divorce when necessary, made such a difference in my life. I hope it does this for you too, sister. May He bless you richly. ❤️

          • Avatar

            Thanks for your reply! I’ve experienced so much emotional pain this year. How can a marriage survive this? I keep hoping.

    • Avatar

      Extreme narcissistic, sociopathic behaviors. When I finally realized that was why, Christian, secular, Pastoral, biblical counselors, marriage seminars, bible studies, classes, date nights, following Greg Smalleys ways to communicate…and so much more, never helped, but I felt even more hopeless, shamed, and fatigued and anxious. I started to notice it was feeding something in my husband though. I stopped feeding his beast and the message was clear that he had all power and control. He hit me right where it hurt most…the kids. The day I read an article explaining my husband and the actual terms for how they operate, I remember a feeling of dread hit me. I could never “unread” that article. I just remember thinking that I needed to decide if I could live with this shell of a human that was a fraud and just stay, or start making a get away plan.

      I’m not a psychiatrist, but maybe hearing my story will help in some way. Much love your way.

    • Avatar

      You are describing my marriage of 31 years. I now know it was emotionally destructive. I read The Emotionally Destructive Marriage. It opened my eyes. I was lucky. My husband asked for a divorce about a couple of years of me starting to stand up for myself. He cheated on me with a co-worker and thought the grass was greener. I jumped on the opportunity to leave my marriage. Best thing to happen for me. I’m healing and happy for the first time in a long time. My husband’s abuse was covert. On the outside it was hard to spot. But now I have peace.

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    I just found your site and am so happy to find it. I just want to thank you for opening up my eyes and heart to the truth….By the way, I am an A personality…God blesd

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    This topic makes me think of your post about having kids until your body is falling apart, which I don’t see on the sidebar anymore! I wonder if that’s also something the church has lied to women about? That it’s their “duty” to just produce so many children they can’t walk, go without a diaper, or survive until menopause with their reproductive organs intact? I myself have 4 kids (am surprise pregnant with a 5th) and already feel that if I was “shamed” into having more by my church that it would literally tear my body apart.

    • Natalie Klejwa

      I think how many children a couple has is their business, and I’ve always thought that – even when I was having a lot of them. I wanted to have a large family. No pressure necessary! But because that was the life I chose for myself, I wanted to encourage other women who were choosing that path because it is challenging on many levels. My body is working fine after nine kids, but I have to exercise and take care of myself like anyone else. I do believe the movement to encourage or pressure people into having a large family was not helpful to many people, and in fact, destructive sometimes. But I also believe in owning our own choices and not blaming others for them. I know many people who buckled under the pressure even though they didn’t want to, but I also know others who resisted the pressure and chose to limit their family size. It was a choice we all had/have before God. I don’t think there is a right or wrong about it. It’s just a choice like the millions of other choices we make before God – not people. 🙂 Do I encourage my daughters to grow up and have 10 kids? No. I tell them to have as many as God leads them to have with their husband. For some that may be 10. Others may choose not to have children. My kids belong to God, not me. I’m excited to see what God does in their lives no matter what.

      I removed that post from my sidebar in order to put up some more recent posts that are popular right now.

  5. Avatar

    Natalie, your courage in writing these articles takes my breath away. Really. The things you are so bravely writing about desperately need to be said, but I know there will be people who want you to be quiet.

    I used to be a regular reader of your blog many years ago. I was sort of drawn in to Vision Forum and that sort of thing through the Duggars and various home school influences. Eventually I came across Doug Phillips’ teaching on tubal pregnancy and I was horrified. I had been through that myself and would have died if not for emergency surgery, and I deeply grieved the loss of our first child. This lead to doing more research about Vision Forum, the Duggars (and IBLP) etc. and I was glad to walk away from those teachings before I got in too deep.

    And so, at that point I stopped reading your blog and didn’t see anything for years. Today I came across an article in my news feed from Lee Binz. She was linking to your article about abusive marriages. I thought the article was excellent! But the name of the blog and the author kind of shocked me. I thought, “Can it really be?…..” And yes, it was you 🙂

    I thought something must have happened, something huge, because there was no way someone still ingrained in those groups could write an article like that. So I kept reading, and there it was. I’m so sorry, Natalie, that you were in an abusive marriage but I am so glad that you got out.

    I come from generations of abuse on both sides of my family. Physical, sexual, emotional. My father was/is emotionally abusive and my mother is still with him. Due to her own childhood she really doesn’t know what a happy marriage is, and though she recognises that my father is abusive she doesn’t understand the seriousness of it.

    For many years I thought I was coping quite well, but over the past six months or so I began to realise that I needed professional help. I finally worked up the courage, with the help of supportive friends, to find a therapist a couple months ago. I was terrified to go to that first appointment.

    Thank you so much for calling a spade a spade and for pointing out that staying in these abusive marriages will hurt everyone in the family. I wish my mother had left. I desperately wanted her to, and then felt guilty about it because I thought a Christian girl shouldn’t want her mother to divorce her father.

    I’ve signed up for regular updates and I will be praying for you! God bless you and the important work you are doing here!

    • Natalie Klejwa

      Thank you. I’m glad you “re-found” this blog. 🙂 I’m also glad you are getting help and have good friends who care. Keep going. It’s a long road up and out, but Jesus is right there in your face, loving you every step of the way.

  6. Avatar

    I’ve been married 30+ years and just started to struggle in my marriage after we adopted some emotionally destructive kids. I had been suffering in silence for years and not complaining because I didn’t want to be a “nag”. My trouble isn’t a physically abusive or emotionally abusive husband but a neglectful husband. I discovered recently, a vast majority of divorces filed by women are not due to emotional or physical abuse but neglect. Why am I just finding out about that now? I know so many women who have the same heartbreaking experience. Fortunately, the Lord is using this to teach me not to be so timid and hold my hubby accountable.
    Please write more on this subject as well, Natalie. I had no idea and I’m considered a mature Christian and leader in my church.
    Also, just one other thought on the food line business. I think this tradition started when men were the primary bread winners of the household and needed their strength for the intense physical labor that was required to keep their families fed. Now I do this as a matter of respect to my hubby for being the provider and to show the children they need to be considerate and thankful to him as well.

    • Avatar

      Neglect is actually considered to be a form of emotional abuse. I wish I knew of some links to give you, but if you do some searches I think you will find some articles.

      I grew up in a home with an emotionally abusive father and part of the abuse was neglect of my mother as well as my sister and I. I recently explained to a friend that my father didn’t physically abandon us (he was in the home), but that he emotionally abandoned us.

      PLEASE do not underestimate the damage this does to you and your children. I am just finally facing all of this and working through it with a therapist, and I am almost 40 years old.

    • Avatar

      So relatable. I would consider not always putting your husband first in the food line *as a sign of respect, consideration, and thankfulness.* It means he’s worthy of those things and deserves them AS A MAN–because it’s only ever you putting him first in the food line and not the other way around. I’ve been a child witness to that behavior and it can have a lasting effect. My brother felt more entitled than his sisters, and we felt smaller and like we had to put ourselves last whenever a man was around.

      I very much relate to your desire to show your genuine regard for your husband. It just has to go both ways, especially with something so visual that children are required to do. It does send a strong message of respect and regard, and so it should go both ways.

      I apologize, I’m not meaning to find fault. You sound like a wonderful person and mother and I can claim no formal expertise. Just what I remember from childhood. I wish you and your family all of the best.

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    I found your blog several years ago, when I was just beginning to understand the mess I had gotten into in my marriage to a man steeped in Christian patriarchy aka misogyny. I was, at that time, immediately repelled, and wrote it off as a drinker of the kool-aid, with a vague thought of .. I wonder if she (you) knew what going down that rabbit hole truly led to.

    Im sorry to discover that you didn’t ..and then did find out for yourself the hell that this mistaken, even evil, doctrine can become.

    It’s funny how once your eyes are opened to the truth of God’s love, how freeing and yet sorrowful it feels. Losing father, mother, spouse, or child because of the kingdom of God is hard.

    I left when my youngest was 3 months old. I left before my daughters were so immersed in the culture, hopefully I can teach them their value in God’s eyes before too much damage was done. I left before my own self worth was so damaged it would have been impossible to leave. It was a near thing.

    Thank you for sharing the first-hand, eye-witness accounts of what this .. philosophy masquerading as theology .. does to women, to children, to families, and even to the men themselves who are deceived by it.

  8. Avatar

    the misogyny of women against woman is THE WORST. all a woman needs to do to sense that, is go to an online group where subjects like ‘abortion’ are debated. The mockery and scorn is EVERYWHERE! No wonder men turn out as abusive! The generation before loves SCORN.

    I support natural midwifery type of stuff. just cause even my great grandmother was a midwife and so on.

    women need to remember it is not about the number of children you have or don’t have, as even very pro-life women may need pregnancy terminations or loose children right at birth whether home birth or hospital birth alike.

    It IS about HEART change. to love the LORD more.

    yes it is possible for woman to deal with a spouse that is less than ideal. but SHE is the one choosing to remain committed to that man even if he is less than appropriate man. No other woman ‘went to the store’ for her.

    It is good for women to share advice on how to avoid making bad choice for a man…… some women may even go as far as reclaiming tribal life of polyamoury….then that completely departs from christian faith, and puts lust on a pedestal.

  9. Avatar

    Hi Natalie,

    I found your blog about a month ago, and have read so much! Your bravery and courage are very inspiring. You give a voice to those like me who cannot speak at this time in their lives, because of family or whatever. Your posts have confirmed a lot of my own thoughts as well as opened my eyes to some truths I didn’t see. Thank you!

    This particular post is amazing, and I am so grateful that you are willing to speak the truth. Women who have been made to believe that the onus is all on them to change their husbands suffer tremendously, and need to hear the truth that God loves and cares about them as a woman, a wife, and a mother, and that He does not wink His eye at sin. God has created all of us as persons of inestimable value, but I know from personal experience that it is hard to believe that a lot (most) of the time.

    Also, I have not seen bitterness or hostility in your posts at all, Natalie. And, speaking for myself, if one person’s website leads someone astray, then that is really putting that blogger on a really huge pedestal. I know that I have researched tons online while going through a terrible nightmarish ordeal similar to many here, and each website that I’ve run across I have had to judge whether or not I agree with it or see it as Biblical. God gave us each a mind to use, and not to just blindly accept what someone else is saying (B Gothard, anyone?). His Word never changes, most of us have access to a Bible, and we have His Spirit in us to guide us in our particular situation. (stepping down from soapbox now….)

    Again, thank you! Blessings to you as you minister to others in spite of, and because of, your own suffering.

    • Natalie Klejwa

      Thank you, Elaine. This was so encouraging. I pray God continues to give you wisdom as you walk your own path through this storm. ((hugs))

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    Thank you for sharing your journey! I read your last post several times and I appreciate this one so much too! I’m emerging on the other side of emotional abuse in my marriage but reading your posts has reminded me of a lot pain but in a good way. It has validated my pain and my intuition of knowing all those years that something was wrong. It’s also provided a bit of a road map for me so I have a better idea of what to watch out for if things start to go sour again. We found a lot of healing through Elijah House Ministries and through a very seasoned family therapist. My journey has given me a growing passion for seeing the Church healed. The church should be the place broken hearts can be mended and I desire to be part of the solution. God bless your journey of healing! I grew up in a home with a mother that had deeply ingrained attitudes of mysoginy. It presented itself in the form of rejection of femininity. Something very common in our culture. It’s taken me years and much inner healing to celebrate my womanhood. A good book about women hating women and cultural change is “However Long The Night”. It’s about my women in African nations were enforcing female genital mutilation and how that practice has been reversed due to women being educated and changing their mindsets. Heavy topic but it relates to women hating women.

    • Natalie Klejwa

      Fascinating. Thank you for your comment – and blessings to you as you continue to blossom into the woman God made you to be!

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    I really feel blessed by God to have found your website a few days ago. I do have a brief memory of stumbling onto it before, but I’d never really read it. Now I have been reading and reading.

    I’ve become particularly aware of abusive marriages recently as I watched a friend pull out of hers. (And incidentally, I would say she was more of a Type A personality — strong and capable at work but bending over backwards at home to try and keep her husband happy so he wouldn’t have another angry outburst.)

    And now I’m trying to understand my own marriage. It is mostly dead. My husband sees nothing worthwhile to love in me. He agreed to go see a marriage counselor but eventually the counselor suggested we work individually with people. He went to a few sessions but then decided he wasn’t going back. According to him, the counselor had shown him some reasons why I am how I am, but that didn’t change me. So no point continuing. I went for a little longer but then circumstances forced me to have to discontinue.

    I was quite shocked to hear my counselor call my husband emotionally abusive. (My husband told me one time that I am the emotionally abusive one.) I wouldn’t have thought that and I fear that I may have misrepresented him to her. I am trying to do a lot of reading but have yet to make up my mind. But our relationship is definitely not healthy and I don’t think that in nearly 20 years of marriage I have felt cherished or cared for by him or that he valued me as a person. (That last bit came out pretty clearly in the therapy — apparently he couldn’t give his therapist anything about ME that he actually liked. Hearing that was hard as I already struggle to see good in myself.) Of course, it just may be that his way of showing love and care is different from some “romantic” notions I might have and my failure to recognize his love and care in the early years turned him off of me.

    I guess one good thing I can say about my husband is that I don’t think he has these false views of women.

    But this headship stuff where Christ is seen as under God? I find that so dangerous. It was never part of my church but recently there is a small group that has been pushing it.

    I really believe that Satan will take whatever means he can to destroy people. He can destroy women by turning them into objects only for men to use and he can also destroy them by making men see them is lesser in a more “Godly” way. (And I think that doing that destroys men as well.)

    Anyway, sorry this introduction of myself is so long. I look forward to reading both more in your archives as well as what you are yet to write.

    • Natalie Klejwa

      Thank you for sharing a little of your story, Leila. I am praying for you now, that God would reveal the truth to you, whatever that might be, regarding your marriage relationship – and give you wise direction in His time. Keep reading. It took me two years of researching, counseling, etc. to finally feel confident about what I felt was going on. I’m so sorry that you have never been cared for in your relationship. I think of Christ as being my True Love. He will never fail us – and peace, joy, and even hope for the future can be ours through Christ – nothing else. You probably already experience this – but these words are just a toast to Him among all of us reading here. Praise to God. He holds us close.

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    I agree about misogyny, good post!

    As a long-term blogger myself, who have changed an opinion or 2 since, I got to ask you how you feel about leaving old ideas which relate to misogyny up, and market those ideas you no longer believe?

    For example, this: http://visionarywomanhood.com/i-am-a-seed/

    • Natalie Klejwa

      I am slowly working my way through old articles, and I have deleted many of them. I will have to look at that one again. If I’m remembering right it’s about raising children. I do believe that when we raise children it is a time of life when we die to a lot of our own desires in order to give life to them.

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    Hi Natalie. Your story brings tears to my eyes! My mother is in an emotionally abusive marriage such as you describe. As in most cases, the abuser extends his reach to his own family – all of whom are still under his control. I’m the only one who has recognised it, called him out on it, and walked away. This was largely due to my wonderful husband who could hardly believe that such men existed! Patriarchal teaching is not very common here in Australia, so it was relatively easy for me, once I hit adult life, to gain some perspective and learn what true Christianity is like. God is good!
    My mother is not at all emotionally strong and her husband has spent the last 35yrs conditioning her to complete submission. The only time she has dared question him was when she was afraid of losing contact with her grandchildren because of his behaviour towards my husband and I. We maintain contact for her sake, but it is exceptionally difficult. He will scarcely speak to us and won’t set foot in our house. He will only allow her to see the children when he is present and only at their house. If she arranges to do something with or for me, he will invariably intervene and put a stop to it. She won’t even acknowledge what is going on, although I am sure she knows. She has just learnt very well to subjugate her own needs, feelings and even thoughts. I could force her to face up, but I’m afraid she’s not strong enough to deal with the consequences! Such a heartbreaking situation.

    • Natalie Klejwa

      Very heart breaking. I will pray for her tonight. Thank you for sharing.

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    I’ve been reading your blog for only a few weeks. I stumbled on it reading about abusive spiritual authority somewhere else. I am so thankful for your honesty.

    I am not a victim of domestic abuse. I don’t want to say I earned it or deserved him, but my husband is a safe and good man. Thank you Lord.

    We all have had experiences that we need to be truthful about, and feeling safe to do that within the Body of Christ is a healing balm. I hope you feel safe.

    It takes courage to speak the truth. It also takes courage to hear the truth. People who want to shut you down are not interested in the truth. They are fearful of it and don’t know what to do with it. They like things neat and tidy, with a set of rules they can apply to every situation. “If you just do this… it will turn out like this….” Rules make them feel safe. They have faith in the rules. Rules are an idol to them.

    You have opened my eyes in a new way to some of the struggles that so many women face and are confused about because of poor biblical understanding resulting from bad teaching. I hope that I will be a more compassionate Christ-follower, friend, and mom to my four daughters because of what I am learning from your experience.

    Thank you for sharing with us and may God bless you!

    • Natalie Klejwa

      Your kindness brings tears to my eyes. Thank you for displaying such graciousness toward me and others like me reading this blog. I am blessed by you.

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    Oh, I sure do get what you’re saying! Thank you! I can add to the misogyny issue! Many years ago I learned that my pastor had known for 18 previous months that my now-ex had been having an affair. Not only the pastor knew that, but a deacon had informed him, and I suspect several other people knew as well. Remember that the ex and I were both visible and active members of the church. So when I learned that (thinking I was the only one on the planet that knew the little secret), I called the pastor and said, “Well, why didn’t you haul me into your office and tell me?” He said, “I prefer to speak to the man.” Not kidding. Then I said to him that had my former FIL been alive, I would have confided in him first. He was a former boxer, and I had no doubt he would not only have taken my side, but he would have slugged his own son. What did the pastor do? He laughed. I told him it wasn’t funny. That was 23 years ago, and it still makes my stomach churn.

    • Natalie Klejwa

      I am astounded at the stories I hear. Keep telling your stories, ladies. Tell them until everyone’s stomach churns enough to do something. Thank you for sharing, Jo.

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        Can I comment on my own comment? (What I wrote isn’t even a fraction of the story! LOL) I’m adding that the first…uh…’counselor’, a man, said to me: “First we have to get rid of your anger, and then we need to find out what you did to drive him to the other woman.” (I should have said, “You’re dang right I’m angry”, and “Because he always gets whatever he wants, he drove himself.” I ended the association after 3 lousy sessions. The 2nd male counselor said to my now-ex: “You will need to begin distancing yourself from the other woman, and by the time we meet again in 2 weeks, there should be evidence of that.” I said, “Why so long? Why isn’t the affair over NOW?” My tone of voice implied that I was asking why it was ok to continue the affair. Indeed!! Ended the association after 2-3 sessions. Total flop and failure. Sorry–hope I’ve not monopolized too much of your wonderful blog. Stomach still churning, but it’s ok. I’ve gotten lots of grace. God is faithful. Just hope to continue to shed light on some of the awful tactics ‘out there’ to shame and manipulate the victim.

        • Natalie Klejwa

          I’ve heard literally hundreds of stories like this. They play out the same. The “nice Christian” man is believed and given concessions and excuses and sometimes even years and years of “help” that goes nowhere and does nothing. While the woman he is hurting is questioned, doubted, accused, told to “be patient,” “try harder,” “reconcile and move on” even though there is no repentance. And then if she continues to speak out after all those years of head banging effort, she’s vilified, lied about, and condemned as an angry, unforgiving noise-maker. It’s shocking and mind-numbing. And people wonder “Why so angry?” In my perspective, you’d have to be psychologically unhealthy (in denial) not to be moved to anger on some level. Anger is part of the waking up, accepting, and grieving process. And people who don’t get angry at injustice are in denial themselves, and they re-victimize others. God is angry, and He gave us that emotion for a reason. I guess I went off on a rabbit trail there – probably because your comment made me mad. (Not at you, of course! 🙂 )

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    I’m afraid again. I’m not sure what will send him into a fit of rage. Will I say the wrong thing, laugh at the wrong time, not nod my head or say “okay” when I should? Do I have a black eye? No. Have I ever had a black eye? No. Do I have holes in my walls where my body has been pushed into it? Yes. Am I afraid he’ll kill me one day? Yes. He can speak to me in such a hateful, vile, evil way that I realize he can’t truly love me. I did it again. What did I do? I have no idea. I only know that he doesn’t see me as the beautiful child Jesus Christ sees me. I’m just a woman (sneer here) that doesn’t know better than to let her children run all over her, doesn’t know how to be a WIFE, lazy (I homeschool and work part time as an instructor at a gym), I do absolutely nothing to contribute to our household, and on top of that, I have no reason to complain about anything because I don’t “work”. I’m scared, but I’m numb too. Weird, huh? How is it that everyone but my husband sees me as worth something?

    • Natalie Klejwa

      Ann, I can tell you are in deep anguish of soul. I wish I could give you a hug. Please check out some of the links on my About page. I realize nothing makes sense right now. I will be praying for you tonight.

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    Another great article, Natalie. I look forward to your follow up pieces.

    I wrote some related articles which your readers might find helpful:

    Recognizing Pervasive Poisonous Power in Marriage:

    What to Do About Toxic Power in Marriage:

    The Bad Boy and the Angel:

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    Awesome post. I have been married for 23 years and didn’t believe I was in an abusive relationship until it ended. I always thought I was a good Christian wife, submitting to my husband and God, having 9 kids and struggling to keeps the family running smoothly. Several times throughout my marriage I felt that I had lost all respect for my husband and that he had abdicated his role and responsibilities as the head of the family but I thought that it was my fault, that I didn’t give him enough opportunities to step up and that I needed to change my own heart. I was praying for God to change my heart and help me fall back in love with my husband right up until the day I found out he had been sexually abusing our 16 year old daughter for nearly three years.

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    I wasn’t surprised when the Doug Phillips and even Josh Duggar stories came out. They both have that “look.” I can’t describe it, but I am wary of any man who has that look. Mark Driscoll has that look. A local evangelist in my area has that look. It may be sexual sins, or power sins, or spousal abuse….it all adds up to seeing themselves as men as more powerful and better than women.

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    Natalie, thank you for your posts.

    I spent 26 years in an abusive marriage with 12 kids ( I drank the QF koolaide too) and was encouraged to stay in it by elders who told me I was “suffering for Christ’s sake”. I don’t think I’m type A but I’m definitely a leader which is just as bad as being type A in that culture.

    Ten years later I am remarried to a lovely and loving man and have my own business. A good portion of my clientele are women in similar circumstances to yours and mine. I just want to encourage women in similar circumstances who are reading this to be encouraged that you *can* leave and survive. And even eventually thrive! I did it with seven of my twelve kids still at home and the youngest was 15 months old. It wasn’t easy but we did it and you can too.

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    Natalie you are a lifeline for me right now. I am consuming your blog and related links like a chocolate binge. Stay strong and press forward in your God-given calling. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    • Natalie Klejwa

      I know what you mean. I remember when I was first learning about all this stuff – I immersed myself in books and articles like a fish that had just flipped back into the water after a long time flopping on the sand. I’m only too thankful to pay it forward now on my own blog. Thankful to be walking this road with you and the rest of the readers here.

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    Hi Natalie, I have been following your blog for a long time now, but not as much recently. You seem to have only one focus now. I realize you have been through some hard times, but I hope someday you will be able to release it to God and move on. You seem very bitter, and I fear that because of your anger and hatred toward men that you are leading some women astray. I had to laugh at the part in today’s post about men eating first. The men always eat first at our family gatherings because the little children take too long in the line and always take way more food than they will eat. The women go last because they are busy helping with the food or small children. It isn’t because we are marginalizing ourselves or don’t think we are worth as much. I don’t think it is wise to instill those types of thoughts into some women’s minds. I know emotional and verbal abuse is real, and I do not doubt you have been a victim. However, because your wounds are fresh, your attitude is still hostile. God can work the events in your life for good and bring you back to being a gracious visionary woman. Your blog may help some women right now, and that would be terrific, but God will hold you accountable if you cause a sister to stumble.

    • Natalie Klejwa

      Pam, your words would be used by Satan to discourage and beat down the readers here – and myself. But my Savior, Jesus Christ, heard my cries this morning before I got out of bed and gave me Psalm 31. It was a balm to my heart, and I am resting in His love and protection.

      For the dear women reading this destructive comment who are tempted to shake and weep in sorrow at the cruelty disguised as “Christianity” – here is a comment from your God who sees you sitting there in your home. Words from the God Who knows. This is your God! And He loves you!

      1 Lord, I seek refuge in You; let me never be disgraced. Save me by Your righteousness. 2 Listen closely to me; rescue me quickly. Be a rock of refuge for me, a mountain fortress to save me. 3 For You are my rock and my fortress; You lead and guide me because of Your name. 4 You will free me from the net that is secretly set for me, for You are my refuge. 5 Into Your hand I entrust my spirit; You redeem me, Lord, God of truth. 6 I hate those who are devoted to worthless idols, but I trust in the Lord. 7 I will rejoice and be glad in Your faithful love because You have seen my affliction. You have known the troubles of my life 8 and have not handed me over to the enemy. You have set my feet in a spacious place. 9 Be gracious to me, Lord, because I am in distress; my eyes are worn out from angry sorrow- my whole being as well. 10 Indeed, my life is consumed with grief, and my years with groaning; my strength has failed because of my sinfulness, and my bones waste away. 11 I am ridiculed by all my adversaries and even by my neighbors. I am an object of dread to my acquaintances; those who see me in the street run from me. 12 I am forgotten: gone from memory like a dead person-like broken pottery. 13 I have heard the gossip of many; terror is on every side. When they conspired against me, they plotted to take my life. 14 But I trust in You, Lord; I say, “You are my God.” 15 The course of my life is in Your power; deliver me from the power of my enemies and from my persecutors. 16 Show Your favor to Your servant; save me by Your faithful love. 17 Lord, do not let me be disgraced when I call on You. Let the wicked be disgraced; let them be silent in Sheol. 18 Let lying lips be quieted; they speak arrogantly against the righteous with pride and contempt. 19 How great is Your goodness that You have stored up for those who fear You, and accomplished in the sight of everyone for those who take refuge in You. 20 You hide them in the protection of Your presence; You conceal them in a shelter from the schemes of men, from quarrelsome tongues. 21 May the Lord be praised, for He has wonderfully shown His faithful love to me in a city under siege. 22 In my alarm I had said, “I am cut off from Your sight.” But You heard the sound of my pleading when I cried to You for help. 23 Love the Lord, all His faithful ones. The Lord protects the loyal, but fully repays the arrogant.

      24 Be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the Lord!!!


      • Natalie Klejwa

        Pam, there are so many lies embedded in your comment, I think I should address some of them.

        1. My wounds are not fresh.
        2. I do have one focus: Jesus Christ.
        3. I have waited and prayed and waited some more to begin addressing emotional abuse in a more personal way on this blog (over two years). God gave me the thumbs up this past month. I am scared to death, but I believe I need to keep my eyes on Jesus and obey Him. Not people like you.
        4. I am not bitter. Jesus knows me. You don’t. You’re a human being, and you only know what you know. You don’t live inside the bodies and minds of others.
        5. Nobody is forcing you to read this blog. If it’s a snoozeburger with a side of yawns for you – there are 579 billion other blogs for you to read. God is calling me to encourage a different type of woman than you. Let me obey God in His calling for me – and you stop being a busy body and mind your own calling.
        6. I am angry when people like you criticize and tear others down from the sidelines of a battle. But my anger is nothing compared to God’s.
        7. If being a “gracious visionary woman” means turning my back on thousands of victims, then I will never, ever be that again. Pretty sure your definition is different from God’s though, and I answer to Him.

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      I’m glad to see that your main concern is what other people think of Jesus–because that should be everybody’s main concern.

      But I also think that there’s a point where we’re so scared to give anybody a bad view of Christianity that we actually push people away, because we fail to stand up for injustice. The world’s cry today is for justice; ask millennials what their main value is and they will say “justice”. When Christians do not stand up to abuse, then that, in and of itself, paints a bad picture of Christ to the world.

      Beyond that, though, I’m wondering what Natalie could have said that would have been acceptable? She’s telling the truth–and she’s saying here that SHE was a misogynist. I truly don’t see anything bitter in her words. I see a woman who has been taken to the mattresses by God and who has emerged, free, on the other side.

      If we say, “you’re not allowed to talk about your story if you are bitter”, and then we define bitter as anything which criticizes anybody, then we’re basically saying, “you’re not allowed to talk about your story.”

      Jesus was angry about the things that caused injustice. Anger does not mean that one is bitter. And perhaps if we, as Christians, were more vocal against injustice, we would do more to show other people the side of Jesus that they desperately want to see.

      • Avatar

        This is so true.
        I was raised non Christian, and if there is a reason I am slowly finding my way to approach your way of thinking and respect your views is thanks to blogs like Sheils’s and Natalie’s. They teach me that not all Christians are narrow-minded, and they make me want to apologize because I thought so.

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      As the 40 yr old daughter of an abuser. Bringing abuse to light is always seen as risky. What if some woman reads this and decides to divorce her husband for emotional “abuse” that is just her made up excuse for divorce? My answer is “So what?”. A person looking for excuses to sin can find them everywhere and justify themselves while doing it. The multitude of spouses suffering under true abuse need our help and be told having a voice is not a sin.
      Abuse is not dealt with in the church correctly and so comes the need for articles and blog posts to help free spouses from their partners abuse. Revealing the sin of marital abuse is not pretty, pleasant or twinkly uplifting because it a very ugly sin. One we are told is our fault and that we need to try harder to be a more biblical wife & woman. And don’t get me started about what a man might face if he dared voice that his wife was emotionally abusive.
      Revealing hidden sin is like pulling a scab off of an infected wound. There is pain involved and it can get messy but it must be done for full healing of that wound.
      This topic simply cannot be spoken or written of in a bland, mild manner. Sin should make us angry. It makes God angry. Feeling hurt for being wronged is biblically legitimate feeling. It is not bitterness to speak the truth or be angry about the injustice of the concept or personal event. Bitterness is letting the event eat us up in hatred and thoughts of revenge. I have seen none of that here.

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      All the Christian men I know in both my own church and extended family, would never, ever go ahead of the children or women at meal time! At our church lunches there are often a group of men happily chatting away with each other waiting for everyone else’s needs to be met before they queue up for their food. Some of them even regularly join in with the serving, too! That is Christlike. A couple of our elders will go from the platform where they will be opening or preaching at a service to the teapot to serve morning tea afterwards! It is Christlike to serve – especially for men!!

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        I agree. I married into a large family- 6 sons, no daughters. At church potlucks or at family gatherings, no one goes first. Families go through the serving line together. My husband and I have five kids. They are just as much his children as they are mine. We both go through the serving line with our children. We both make sure they are all set, with meat cut up, rolls buttered, etc. Then we both go back through the line one at a time to get our own food. He usually suggests I go first. I just don’t understand this mindset that men shouldn’t have to wait for young children or that women will of course eat last because they are busy getting their children food. Why should fathers not be just as busy getting the children situated? Now my husband’s not perfect, nor am I. We have our disagreements that we work through, and I think there are likely ways that misogyny effects all of us since it has been so deeply ingrained in our culture for so many years. But reading comments that just assume that fathers need take no responsibility for the care of their own children makes me so grateful my for husband and his servant’s heart. My heart truly breaks for those commenting here who have dealt with years of belittling, disrespect, manipulation, and unkindness. Thank you for sharing your stories. We need to hear them!

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      That’s interesting. The kids tend to eat first in my family, so the first people in line are the parents making them plates! and then everybody without small children probably ends up eating next, just because of logistics.

      I have been reading these posts with interest the last few days. I haven’t been in this sort of situation (not married), it’s just jumping out at me for some reason this week. I wish everyone the best and am saddened to see that so many people have had such poor responses from their church – I can’t believe that this is the case in any of the churches that I have been in but I may be reevaluating…

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      Pam, everyone’s response to you has been so on point. I hope you’re listening, for your own sake. And now I just want add my two cents.

      There is a whole lot of pride & subtle arrogance oozing through the expression of your comment. If you think that a written comment won’t betray your pride, you’re terribly mistaken. You comment as though you know, as though you grasp Natalie & her situation and her heart and blog, as though you are RIGHT. Yet you fail to realize that the implication of your words are heavy indeed, and God does not take our words lightly. You’ve basically said Natalie is bitter and creating a stumbling block for women. Both of those are categorically untrue. Untrue not because so many women read and appreciate her blog. No (it’s not a subjective opinion). Untrue because those two false statements DO NOT reflect reality. We can’t just go around making statements as though they are accurately describing reality when in fact they’re directly contradicting reality (lies). “Each one speak TRUTH to his neighbor.” Which means we can and are able. A lot of times that means saying “I don’t know” and “I’m not seeing this,” but “I’m willing to learn.” Or “I disagree, but it’s food for thought.”

      Remember that Jesis said that the reason he came was to testify to the truth. Jesus takes truth very, very seriously. We are simply not allowed to take that lightly.

      Natalie knows this and takes it very seriously. She is obeying the command: “buy truth and do not sell it.” She is speaking truth and it is setting so many of us free.

      Pam- I hope you will take heed and reassess your internal attitudes. We’ve all had to do that, and it’s worth the pain & toil.

      Thank you for not selling the truth, Natalie. Thank you for buying it with your own sweat, blood and tears and for so generously sharing it with us. The truths you share are impacting our lives. And it’s God Himself. He is doing this work through you, it’s Him. You are doing what He would have you do and the results are astounding. Your commitment to obeying Christ gives such courage to the rest of us to follow in the same footsteps.

      Eternity will reveal how many lives and families God transformed as a direct result of your ministry. It’s not a mystical thing, it’s God doing what He does in the way He does it- through His faithful servants, wholly devoted to Him (that would be you!).

      I’m 28 yrs. old, mom of 3, and I will be one of those ladies, my family will be one of those families, whose lives have been rescued from destruction because you obeyed God’s calling.

      In all seriousness and sincerity I want you to know you’re my hero, Natalie.

      • Natalie Klejwa

        Thank you, Julie. This was extremely encouraging on many levels. I’m sad that you are so young and dealing with this – but also thankful that women can recognize destructive patterns and get help sooner than later.

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          Yeah. :/ But I’m grateful God opened my eyes to the truth early, I wasn’t at all looking for information, I honestly had no idea (although I knew something was wrong in my marriage). In my case there is hope for change in my husband, although I’m staying sober about it. But I’ve been seeing some of those key steps Lundy Bancroft talks about (Jan. 2015 was when I confronted it all). I continue to pray and trust in the Lord above all and to heed the counsel given by people like Bancroft, Vernick, you, and CFJ blog.

          God has done and continues doing so much through all this process, in other areas as well. In my relationship with my mom, in how I respond to people’s subtle bullying of me– which was such a theme in my life before, in standing firm and confident in Christ, unashamed of my personality, preferences, limitations, etc. In enjoying God’s love freely. It’s such a blessing to learn all these truths! In the beginning I felt so angry at having been deceived by people and ministries I trusted, at having been set up to become an abused wife, thinking it was Biblical. But I learn to just go back to the Word and depend on God and not man for guidance.

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            Julie, I have a book that has been a lifeline for me, that may be of some help for you too. 10 Life Saving Princples for Women in Difficult Marriages by Karla Downing. I obviously don’t know your situation, but what little you’ve said, I feel like I can relate. I’m 27, mom of three, in a abusive marriage, with a man I thought was a Christian giant. The book has helped me (I’m not quite finished yet) regain sanity, control, given me fresh perspective, along with a host of things as I walk this lonely journey.

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      “The men always eat first at our family gatherings because the little children take too long in the line and always take way more food than they will eat. The women go last because they are busy helping with the food or small children. It isn’t because we are marginalizing ourselves…”

      Why aren’t the men helping the children? Why don’t the men and women take turns? There *is* a reason why the women are always the ones helping the children and the men go first — and why this pattern is so common across society — and it isn’t respect for women.

  23. Avatar

    Wow! Just wow. This exists in me and I didn’t even know it. I think I’ve been slowly coming around, but still not really seeing. I saw it in the church and in other people, but I didn’t know I had internalized it. Thank you for helping me see. You are doing a world of good for many women by sharing your story.

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      Yay! How wonderful, Sarah. It’s a slow process to change one’s views and realize how one’s believed something that’s actually antithetical to the gospel, but it’s quite freeing when you come to the other side and feel Jesus’ tremendous grace and acceptance for perhaps the first time.

  24. Avatar

    Natalie, so good! Thank you.

    You asked for links; I have so many, but I’ll share one that I thought was most brilliant. It explains what’s behind the doctrine that men are to have authority and women are to be “under” them–it’s actually a misreading of theology called the “eternal subordination of the son”. Here’s just a bit:

    “When the emphasis in any Christian environment–be it a church, home, or ministry–is on one’s alleged superior authority and demand for another’s unconditional submission, a separation in relationship is imminent.”

    The author is arguing that believing this way about marriage doesn’t STRENGTHEN marriages (as Gothard and others would have claimed) but actually INCREASES divorce:

    “…leaders have made the tragic error of believing that a husband should rule and a wife should be submissive because the Bible demands it. Truth be known, the Bible calls any desire to control and dominate–be it the husband or the wife– “the curse.” The divorce rate increases when [church leaders] call “the norm” what the Bible calls “the curse.” When the first man (Adam) sought to rule over the first woman (Eve), Adam was manifesting a curse, not meeting a commandment (Genesis 3:16).
    Jesus came to reverse the curse. Redemption causes curse-filled people to become grace-filled people.”

    Read the article here, with an explanation of what this theology is doing to marriage.

    • Natalie Klejwa

      Perfect. Thank you for linking to this along with a teaser quote, Sheila. If you think of any others, send them my way. It might be nice to have a post with links to refer to in the future.

      • Avatar

        Glad you liked it!

        Here’s another one–probably the best and most concise “romp” through the Bible and all the passages about women that dismantles the complementarian/misogynist theology that I have ever read.

        A snippet:

        “Genesis 3:16 clearly notes that “men ruling over women” is the result of the fall of humankind. When we cling to complementarianism, we cling to sin, sickness, and confusion. Complementarianism is simply “nice patriarchy,” but “nice patriarchy” can be compared to “nice cancer.” Complementarianism, even at its kindest, is still an illness and can and will lead to devastation.”

        Read the rest here.

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      Shelia and Natalie,

      I wanted to understand a bit more about this, so I clicked on another page from this site. I think this article speaks more to the practical application of submission, for those of us that need examples of practical application! 🙂


      Thank you so much, both of you, for your service to us. I’ve learned so much from both of you! Katie, too, my 17 yo daughter loves Katie! We’ve had some great conversations based on topics the three of you bring up. Thank you!

        • Avatar

          Glad you liked it, Tracy! I do find Wade Burleson’s posts very helpful.

          And I’ll pass your compliments on to Katie!

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    I love that you share your Type A ness. Too often we think abused women are just the naturally quiet, timid, and submissive.

  26. Avatar

    Oh Natalie!!!!! I can’t begin to say how much this blog post resonates with me!!!! I am also a Type A personality, believed that I had to appear ‘without curves’, unintentionally attracted a lot of attention from guys (thus making other girls jealous–all the while not even knowing it was happening because I was so insecure with myself), etc, etc, etc….. This did not serve me well when dating!!!! When my then boyfriend (now husband) made sexual advances, I thought it was my fault. I blamed myself and just ‘tried harder’ to keep myself pure rather than breaking up with him!!!?? As a result, I am now in an abusive marriage because I did not recognize the signs at the time…..

    Thank you so much for writing and addressing this issue!!! I have come a long way in the last 5-10 years, but this message needs to get out there!!!! Thanks for using your voice!!! God bless!!!!

    • Natalie Klejwa

      I think I’ll write more about the whole type A dynamic related to emotional abuse one day. Thank you for your comment – there are so many women suffering the life-long consequences of this teaching.

      • Avatar

        That would be wonderful!! I had always said: “I will never be an abused woman–I am too stubborn to get run over like that!” …..and even now, I have people tell me that they don’t believe that I have experienced abuse because I ‘don’t fit the abusee profile’!!!! Reality is, I have suffered such extreme emotional and physical abuse that 1) I almost lost my life at his hands, and 2) I suffer from severe depression and many days almost don’t function at all……but we put on our ‘people face’ whenever we have to go out of the house, and no one suspects……..

        I think it is amazing to discover that ALL personality types can be victims–that uncovers the realization that it REALLY IS the abuser’s responsibility, NOT the victim’s fault!!!!

        • Natalie Klejwa

          Yes. Even well-known celebrities have been abused. Christie Brinkley comes to mind.

      • Avatar

        PLEASE DO. I have often thought that myself, as a Type A person, that abuse would never happen to me. But that is arrogance and condescension towards the women who are living in abuse every day as Type A women. Because even Type B can abuse, though perhaps less violently and more passively aggressive.

    • Avatar

      Know that your Facebook posts are seen and read. We who are still “friends” with our husbands can’t comment.



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  3. How Fake Christianity (False Piety) Destroys People's Lives - - […] and forgiveness of Jesus Christ, it sets up impossible standards based on human opinions rooted in misogynistic, power-over theology.…

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