A long time ago, when I was young, I had almost no idea that certain behaviors of mine were really bad.

My foolishness stemming from the inherent sin nature in each of us and my abysmal ache that just wouldn’t budge no matter how much I tried to push it away or fix it.

So I ignored my pain — along with my repetitive choices to sin –  choosing denial as a coping mechanism, believing that my early years in a dysfunctional alcoholic home had not affected me much.

Believing the lie that I was okay if I just kept my secret and pretended the bad hadn’t really been that bad.

That never hearing my dad say he loved me — or telling me how beautiful I was or helping me grow up understanding that I was a treasure to protect until the right man came along and asked for my hand in marriage — had left me weak and trembling inside.

And a thousand tiny pieces scattered and my heart hurting so bad it grew a hard shell.

Learning to survive the dysfunction on my own by becoming uber-capable and extremely angry.


I remember my first secretary, an older woman named Grace, who told me that my early pain — and her only knowing about my parent’s divorce not my dad’s drinking for that was too shameful for me to share back then — had made me the strong young woman I was.

But appearances can lie.

Even though I had achieved a bachelor’s degree with honors and landed an assistant directorship in public relations at the age of 23 I was nothing more than a broken little girl inside with a hair trigger temper and always, always needing…

…to control


…or criticize my former spouse.

And him all broken, too, but much more reticent than me in his pain. And him trying to keep the peace more times than not.

But me always demanding my own way. Loudly. Never willing to back down and see that maybe there was another way of doing things.

For it was only when I felt like I was in control of everything that I could exhale. But the breath was so shallow that it always left me gasping. Screaming inside because it felt like I was dying.

And my heart all constricted. No love in. No love out.

But back then I didn’t know any of this. And not knowing that I was immeasurably loved and of great worth in God’s eyes I believed the lies that children learn and live growing up with abuse and dysfunction.

And I developed an orphan mentality.

I am all alone in this big, mean, scary world.

I am no good.

I am not worth loving.

I am unwanted.


Yet I kept striving to survive.

Working hard and pushing myself and others harder. Carried unawares by God’s magnificent and merciful grace. Yet my life was merely existing and not truly living, missing out on the joy, peace and wholeness that can only come from falling in love with a holy God who loves me and you no matter what.

But I was angry as hell and much too angry to listen to reason when kind hearted older, wiser friends or family members made suggestions. Their caring words only made me angrier and more stubborn to prove my points.

And I had a lot of points to prove.

Talking points and yelling points, but rarely listening.

And my former spouse once telling me that I was an adult child of an alcoholic {and it is any kind of dysfunction that breaks us into piecemeal grown ups} and that I might want to consider a 12-step program.

Back then the thought went in and out of me in an instant, dismissed by denial and my fear of being found out for the mess that I really was inside.

And hell’s flames set my wagging tongue even more on fire.

Scorching my former spouse’s soul, I wounded him deep day after day and the man I had married had multiple pounds of flesh that I thought were mine for the taking.

Ugly truth is that hurt people hurt other people.

Hurting wives can become wicked wives and act abusively towards husbands who are just trying in the best way they know how — commensurate with their own wounding and the depth, or lack, in their personal relationship with God — to love and care for them.

And receiving love is impossible in a heart that is hard. Unless we first receive God’s unconditional love for us we cannot love anyone but ourselves and our self-love feeling like so much self-loathing.

Receiving a husband’s care, protection or even provision seems preposterous. Because when a wife grows up all broken she pushes love and help away,, believing she’s not worth it yet desperately needing care.

She can break the heart and spirit of the man who loves her and has vowed his life to her.

So she pushes him away like I once did, or treats him like a little boy, scolding and directing his every action, and determined to do it herself since she feels she can’t count on others — having been disappointed too many times in the past by people she had trusted.

Or treating her husband like her lackey, a personal slave indentured to her every beck and call. The idea of being a helpmeet, or extending herself and serving her husband in love, is foreign because she is too busy taking, taking, taking in a vain attempt to fill the emptiness within.

She has a hard time receiving but she also cannot give.

Wounded wives evolve from broken girls who are forced by circumstances to learn early to survive, relying on themselves in families of origin that include all types of abuse, abandonment and betrayal.

So very sad but wounded wives want to appear strong and in control and rarely allow their tears — those liquid prayers that bring cleansing and healing — to flow. And so she stays stuck, sometimes forever, not waking up to her own sinful rudeness and lack of love until a catastrophe occurs.

And this pushing her husband away, or overlooking or overruling his attempts to lead her, can push a marriage to the brink of collapse.

Like it helped destroy my first marriage. And the fallout from divorce and the impact on a woman’s soul and her babies is horrific.

And if she continues hard, pursuing her own way instead of God’s Way, she will never know peace or true love. Only loneliness, despair and a bitterness that will rot her bones.


But marriage is meant to be a three strand cord, husbands and wives both doing their part.

Partners equal in essence but different in function surrendering  to God and developing in and depending on Him first and foremost for love and belonging and healing and tons of grace.

And God makes all things right beginning at the Cross.

Then in the strength and confidence of a deepening relationship with Christ, husbands will rise up and assume the God-given role of the head of the family.

A wife will gladly take off the pants she struggles to wear in their marriage.

And both of them can willingly lay down their lives to love, respect, serve and mutually submit one to the other with the man a servant leader to the woman who bears his name and his children and is the heart of their home.

Her falling in line under his loving leadership and resting in his arms that ache to hold her in peace. And the family healing and children of the next generation growing up whole and holy instead of shattered.

And cycles of dysfunction disarmed. And husbands and wives, men and women and children — all of us — healing.

Righteousness to a thousand generations.

Us belonging to God, our spouse, our children.

And families being made strong, healthy, whole.

Love lasting…



If this post resonates at all with you, please let me use my past to assist you in growing into the beautiful woman God has created you to be. I want to give you my free eBook, Wounded Wife which is yours when you drop me an email at sheila at longings end dot com. And if you are ready to go deeper sign up for C2 for Woman Only which is a confidential form of conversational help. Click here for more details on C2.