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April 10, 2012
In this issue:
  • Article:  Mirror Mirror on the Wall
  • Coaching:  There are a few coaching spots open
  • Leslie Answers Your Questions:

    My Wife is Verbally Abusive

  • Book Give Away!  Enter to win a free copy of Taking Out Your Emotional Trash by Georgia Shaffer


Mirror Mirror on the Wall

Women in mirror


When you look in the mirror who do you see? Do you see a woman who is attractive, competent, valued, and loved? Or, are you more likely to see yourself as flawed, ugly, inferior, and unloved?


Our internal picture of ourselves begins at birth when we look into our mother (or caregiver's) face and take into ourselves what is reflected back to us. Does our mom smile when we coo? Is she attentive and soothing when we cry? Do people clap when we take our first step?


In a healthy environment, infants see themselves as loved, wanted, and valued. Being raised by loving parents gives us a solid foundation for a good self-image, but no one escapes childhood without a few scars. Those who did not have loving caregivers are more deeply wounded.


When I was a child, I never liked being me. I wasn't pretty enough, smart enough, or skinny enough. I was never invited to the birthday parties of the popular girls in my school, and I always saw myself as inferior.


Sometimes I tried to become someone else. I'd copy one of the more popular girls laugh, or outfit, or hairstyle, hoping that if I could look or become more like her, people would then like me. But I never felt cared about or secure in my relationships because I knew that the person they liked wasn't the real me. I saw myself as a fake.


As adult women, we still battle these same feelings don't we? We tell ourselves that we're not as pretty, or as together, or as spiritual, or organized, or loving as other women we see. We compare and contrast our lives and our thighs and ask ourselves, "Do I measure up? Am I good enough?" In addition, we're constantly scanning the faces of those around us, silently asking, "How do you see me? Am I loved, worthy, and valuable to you?"


The foundation for a healthy self-concept rests in the assurance that we are loved, but human love (no matter how good) will never be enough or without some pain. It is only God's infinite and unconditional love that can correct and heal our faulty self- image.


When I began to take my eyes off myself and my flaws and imperfections and put them on God, I began to see myself differently. I stopped looking at myself through my mother's eyes, which told me I was unloved and unwanted. I stopped looking at myself through other people's eyes, which sometimes made me feel wonderful, but more often reminded me that I was inadequate and flawed and never enough.


Seeing myself through God's eyes gave me an entirely different picture of who I am and what I was made for. I discovered that God doesn't want to change me into another person, but he does want to change me. He wants me to be the best possible me so I am free to serve Him without fear and morbid self-consciousness. He wants to heal and transform the lies, the wounds, and yes, even the sins that have kept me from becoming the person he created me to be.


If you're struggling with a negative self-image, the ultimate makeover isn't done at the cosmetic counter, the gym, in a fancy department store, or by a plastic surgeon, but by God. Psychologist David Benner writes, "Genuine self knowledge begins by looking at God and noticing how God is looking at us. Grounding our knowing of ourselves in God's knowing of us anchors us in reality, it also anchors us in God."


The apostle Paul tells us because of what Christ did for us on the cross, God sees us as "holy and blameless before him, presented without a single fault." But he cautions us not to forget who we are, because when we do, we'll feel those old insecurities creep back in (Colossians 1:21-23).


Here are a few things you can do to help you see clearly.


1.  Meditate on God's Word. Despite your perceptions, the truest thing about you is what God says about you.


2.  Since Jesus is the exact representation of what God is like (Colossians 1:15, Hebrews 1:3), look at how Jesus interacted with people. Notice how they changed the way they saw themselves when they looked at God looking at them. (For starters, read the story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19:2-10, and the Samaritan woman in John 4:4-30).


3.  Stop the negative self-talk. When you become aware that you're comparing yourself with others or putting yourself down or allowing someone else's gaze to diminish you, tell yourself to stop it. You are no longer going to be controlled by those habits. Instead look up and see God looking at you.





 Taking Out Your Emotional Trash

Have you ever crossed over the line from that I-can't-handle-one-more-thing moment to an all out emotional meltdown?


In her book, 




Psychologist Georgia Shaffer can help you to:


- Recognize your emotional garbage.

- Handle life's ups and downs more easily.

- Identify when you are emotionally stuck so that you transform your hurt and pain into positive change.

-Reduce destructive anxiety, fear, guilt, and shame.


 Just email your name to

by Friday, April 13th

for a chance to win one of two copies! 




For more information on Leslie's coaching program, please click below.


Leslie Vernick Coaching Programs





Apr 12-14  Marriage America Conference, Orlando, FL


Apr 26-28  Wonderful Counselor Conference, Flower Mound, TX




Jun 12 AACC Webinar training


Jun 19 Focus on the Family Radio Interview and staff training


Jun 23 Generations Women's Event, Solid Rock Church, Portland, Oregon

Leslie developed a wonderful rapport with the women, whatever their age or stage in life. She has excellent verbal skills and seasons her talks with solid scriptural truths, personal transparency, and bits of humor. Her abilities to connect with our women and present a no nonsense approach are a gift from God.


Janette Felder
Debbie Jo Schwarz
Ada Bible Church

Leslie Welcomes

Your Questions:


Leslie wants to help you grow in your personal and relational effectiveness.  Send your questions about dealing with difficult people, stress, or relationship issues to:


Then, visit Leslie's Blog as she posts her responses to one question per week.


Note:  Due to the volume of questions that Leslie receives, she is unable to respond to every question.


If you'd like to invite Leslie to speak at one of your events, please contact us at





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My Wife is Verbally Abusive

Question:  My wife is extremely disrespectful to me and often uses four letter words in front of our children when she's mad. I've told her it bothers me, but she tells me to grow up and quit being a baby. I've tried just loving her in the hopes that she will change but so far, nothing changes.


Answer:  I applaud your commitment to love your wife in spite of her treatment towards you. It is extremely tempting when someone is disrespectful to retaliate or shut down completely. It will be important for you to guard your heart against such things or your marriage will only deteriorate further.


That said, however, you cannot make a good marriage on your own. Respect is one of the essential ingredients in all healthy relationships (the others are mutual caring and mutual honesty). When these ingredients are not mutually practiced, a relationship cannot be healthy or close. Your wife's behavior not only dishonors God, but she also hurts you, she hurts your children and, believe it or not, she is hurting herself. 


So what can you do? First, recognize that you cannot change her but you can lovingly invite her to change. How? By continuing to speak up about how you feel. You've already told her that her language upsets you. Continue to speak up by using "I" statements rather than "you" statements. For example, you might say,


"I hate when you talk to me that way" or "I feel disrespected when you call me names" versus "You're a nag (or worse)."


Second, if she takes what you have shared and then mocks you, respond with another "I" statement. For example: "I don't like when you put me down when I tell you how I feel. We can't have a good marriage if we don't respect each other."


If she refuses to hear you and continues to belittle you, then it's time to stand up. You need to say something like, "I won't allow myself to be talked to that way anymore. If you want me to listen to what you have to say, you'll have to say it differently." Then walk away. She will soon learn that she does not get your attention when she behaves disrespectfully and, hopefully, she will decide to speak to you differently.


Those steps are not enough to change your marriage around but can be a start. I'd encourage you to make sure you have plenty of Christian support to stay the course of being a godly husband and father even if your wife doesn't change. My books How to Act Right When Your Spouse Acts Wrong and The Emotionally Destructive Relationship can give you more some specific guidelines on how to do just that.