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August 27, 2013

What's New!

Videos:  If you want to get a sneak preview of my newest book, The Emotionally Destructive Marriage, don't forget to go to my home page each week and click on the latest video. 

This week's video explains how implementing consequences can wake up a destructive spouse to his  need to change.  This is 8 in a series of 13 video's that will be posted.

Song:  Singer, songwriter Kim Mclean has written a new song (Abagail's Dreams) to go with my book. It's truly anointed.  Click here if you'd like to listen to it.

Focus Group:  We sold out of our Focus group on The Emotionally Destructive Marriage in the first 3 hours it was available.  If you missed it I will be offering another one starting late September. Be sure to watch your mailbox.

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When You Can't Forgive Yourself



Sometimes the hardest person to forgive is our own self. Perhaps you have had an abortion, had an affair or hurt someone deeply through your sinful or foolish behaviors. For some, lesser sins or even mistakes cause the same internal anguish. We’re tormented with “I should have known better,” or “What’s wrong with me,” or “I can’t believe I did that,” or “How could I have been so stupid, weak, blind, etc.”

When we can’t move beyond our own failures, mistakes and even sins, we can get stuck in a spiral of debilitating regret, depression and even self-hatred. 

Yes, we know (or hear) God forgives us, but we just can’t forgive ourselves. We may be told something like, “If the God of the Universe was willing to come to earth, become human, and sacrifice himself to forgive your sins, who are you not to forgive others or your own self?”

Yet that theological truth can be difficult, if not impossible, to put into practice when you’re smack in the middle of ruminating over your stupid mistakes, missed opportunities or sin. Although mentally acknowledged, God’s grace is not your internal reality. It’s theological truth but not transformational truth. 

The way out of this internal bondage, however, is not self-forgiveness, but rather self-acceptance. Although it’s hard for you to see the true problem, the reason you can’t forgive yourself is that you don’t want to have anything to need forgiveness for. You want to be like God--perfect and in control of all things.

You believe you should know how to do it right, to say it right, to know ahead of time what the right answer should be or what right solution will best solve a problem. If you could always live that way, then you’d feel much better about yourself. When you fail (and as a mere mortal and sinful being you inevitably will), you feel profound disappointment and shame. You can’t believe how stupid, sinful, foolish, incompetent, scared, irresponsible, selfish, or (whatever) you are. In beating yourself up, you are reinforcing your internal lie that you should have been better than that.

Before you can experientially accept God’s grace, you must emotionally (not merely intellectually) accept who you are. There is only one God and you are not him. You are a creature, one who is called both saint and sinner, beautiful and broken. Humility is the only path that will give you the internal freedom you crave. Once you are humble (Jesus called it “poor in spirit”), you are in a position to emotionally accept who you are—a fallible, imperfect, sinful creature who doesn’t know it all. Then you are no longer so shocked, shamed or disappointed when you sees you darker, sinful, weaker side. 

It’s not your sins and failures that cause your greatest emotional pain. Rather it is your unrealistic expectations of yourself and your lack of acceptance when you mess up. In a backwards way, your pride has been wounded. You are disappointed that you aren’t better than you are, but the truth is, you’re not. In embracing that truth, you are also set free to embrace and experience the beauty of grace.

Now the grip of self-hatred for being imperfect no longer has the same power over you. Now that same emotional energy can be used to humbly ask for forgiveness from others where necessary. Instead of hating yourself for your sins, failures and weaknesses, now you can learn from them so you grow and don’t continually repeat your mistakes. Now you can fully experience what you so desperately crave, God’s love and forgiveness for your sinful, imperfect self.

One of my old fashioned mentors, François Fénelon wisely wrote, “Go forward always with confidence, without letting yourself be touched by the grief of a sensitive pride, which cannot bear to see itself imperfect.”

Go forward friend and emotionally accept your imperfections. It is in that place of humility coupled with Christ’s unconditional forgiveness will you find the freedom you long for.

P.S. I want to warmly welcome ALL new subscribers who have joined our community since last month! You are going to love the resources you find to help you grow. I'm thrilled to have you here!

P.P.S. Don't keep this to yourself! Forward this newsletter to your friends and colleagues or send them to www.leslievernick.com so they can register for themselves.

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Leslie Answers Your Questions

Why Marital Counseling Isn’t Wise with Destructive/Abusive Marriages

Question: My husband insists that I go to counseling with him. He said that our marriage can’t get better if we aren’t both in counseling together. Our pastor agrees with him.

We’ve done that before, numerous times. I don’t want to repeat that same cycle. The counselors that we have tried in the past just haven’t understood what’s really going on. My husband is so charming and convincing, I’m the one that’s always labeled with “the problem” or, if they do see through him, I’m told to just try harder to love him and wait for God to work.

Can you give me good reasons why and when couple’s counseling isn’t appropriate so that I can better stick up for myself?

Answer: The standard thought in marital distress is that it takes two to tango, and therefore both parties need to be present in order to understand the dynamics of the relationship as well as work toward a solution. However, let me give you a few reasons why couple’s counseling is not helpful and can even be dangerous in destructive marriages:

  1. You’re afraid to be honest. In marital counseling, a counselor needs to hear both people’s perspectives as to what the problem is. If one person feels that her words will be used against her later or she is in danger of having a terrifying drive home after the counseling, she is not likely to be honest or forthcoming with her own feelings nor will she feel free to contradict her husband’s story. Often when she tries, it deteriorates into a session of “he said/she said” and the counselor isn’t sure who or what to believe.


Add your (or view other) comments to Leslie's answer to this question by clicking the link below.


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When You Can't Forgive Yourself


Coaching Spots Available



Take look at the upcoming events to watch for from Leslie.



The Emotionally Destructive Marriage: How to Find Your Voice and Reclaim Your HopeBook by Leslie Vernick. Plus see the winner of the previous give away!



Why Marital Counseling Isn’t Wise with Destructive/Abusive Marriages


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

Leslie Vernick Coaching Programs



Book Titled The Emotional Destructive Marriage

The Emotionally Destructive Marriage: How to Find Your Voice and Reclaim Your Hope

Book by Leslie Vernick


For any woman caught in an emotionally destructive marriage, licensed clinical social worker, relationship coach, and marriage counselor Leslie Vernick offers a personalized path forward. Based on decades of experience, her intensely practical, biblical advice will show you how to establish boundaries and break free from emotional abuse today. Learn to:

  • Indentify damaging behaviors

  • Gain the skills to respond wisely

  • Utilize tools that promote healthy change

  • Stay safe

  • Understand when, why, and even how to leave

  • Recognize that God sees and hates what is happening to you

Trying harder to be a perfect fantasy wife won’t help fix what’s wrong with your marriage. Now initiate some changes that can.

To win this book, please email your name to assistant@leslievernick.com by midnight Sunday, September 1st.

The winners of The Smart Stepmom by Ron L. Deal and Laura Petherbridge are Kathy P. and Julie B.



Sep 11-14  AACC Conference, Nashville, TN

Sep 23  Focus on the Family broadcast recording (broadcast date to be announced)

Sep 24  Java with Julie podcast recording (broadcast date to be announced)


Oct 4-5  The Bible Chapel Women's Retreat, McMurray, PA

Oct 12  Healthy Relationships Event, Reeder’s United Methodist Church, Pen Argyl, PA

Oct 21  Liberty University Student Association Healthy Dating Relationships - 6pm

Oct 22  AACC Webinar on “Counseling Strategies That Work for the Emotionally Destructive Marriage” 6 to 8pm


Nov 23  Domestic Violence Conference, First Baptist Church of Glenarden, Glenarden, MD (Open to the Public)

Nov 24  Speaking at Loudoun Bible Church, Leesburg, VA (Morning Service)

Nov 29-Dec 1  Singles Conference at America’s Keswick, Whiting, NJ


Dec 1  Singles Conference at America’s Keswick, Whiting, NJ

Invite Leslie to speak at one of your events.
Call us at 1-877-837-7931
leslie@leslievernick.com or
visit www.leslievernick.com



"You've given me amazing tools. I hear things ring in my head all the time and you've given me so much that I can use as I move forward."

— Kelly K.


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.