For Girls Only: Control

It’s Friday again and we have another installment of For Girls Only!


I’ve gotten many complaints from the guys about this series…


Guys, if you want to stay and read, it’s okay. I just want you to know that these posts are being written for the target audience of women. I’m not writing in the delicate way that I might if I was writing for a mixed audience. Therefore, if there are things mentioned that shock you, make you uncomfortable or confuse you, I’m sorry. You’ve been warned!


And Billy Coffey, I know you asked me to write a For Guys Only post, but since I really don’t know anything about guys, I’m going to assume that your suggestion/complaint was really just an offer of a future guest post. J


 Today, I am honored to have another guest poster. When I started this series, I emailed several of my best girlfriends and said, “If you have anything to share, pass it this way.” Val immediately stepped up and offered her story. Now, Bridget Chumbley has bravely volunteered hers as well.


Who is Bridget? She’s a wonderful Christian sister who lives in Washington State. She’s a loving wife to a hilarious and sweet fella named Dale. She and Dale have two incredibly talented kids. She’s also a writer and a blogger. She cheerfully moderates our One Word at a Time Blog Carnival (every other Tuesday). And I’m happy to say that she’s one of my dearest friends.


And here’s Bridget’s story:


I married my high school sweetheart at 18.  We’d had a few minor arguments, and I’d seen his temper, but generally speaking, we got along great.


After a few months of honeymoon bliss, things started to look very different.  It was as if I’d become the child and he was my father.  He wanted to control my every move and I didn’t like it.  He knew what buttons to push and I was more than happy to push back (verbally and physically).


Eventually I wore down and lost the will to fight back.  I accepted the position of being inferior to him, and what was left of my self-esteem basically disappeared.  The things he’d ask of me and expect were outrageous, though at the time they were just part of my daily routine.


Once when I was extremely sick, I stayed home from work with a high fever.  I slept most of the day and wandered out to the couch that night to watch a favorite show.  My husband was sitting there and asked how I was feeling.  He seemed really concerned as I told him my head was killing me and I was miserable.


I was then told that I was going back to bed, and I wouldn’t be watching television because I needed to get better.  When I became upset and told him I was able to make my own decisions, things went from bad to worse.  It was always about control with him, and if he didn’t get his way, it wasn’t pretty.


There was a night when we heard something outside of our apartment window.  He got up and pulled the curtain back to find a man with a crowbar standing there.  I froze and even though he was yelling for me to call 911, I was too panicked to move.  My punishment this time was that he wouldn’t sleep in the same bed as me for a week and belittled me for hours about how stupid I’d been.


The mind games continued. He told me I was fat and that everyone thought so (I was about 105 lbs and 5 ft 7).  It was obvious that wasn’t true, but he would keep at it until I actually started to believe him.  Reality seemed to stop existing, and I was living in some strange parallel universe.


Other days he’d choose a whole different way to break me down.  I was driving through some winding and unfamiliar roads when he decided to go on a rant.  He began (out of the blue) to tell me that I was a slut and had slept with most of the Raider football team.  He said everyone knew about it and went on and on giving me the gory details.  I was hysterical as I tried to maneuver the car, and know it’s a miracle I didn’t crash.


Another game was making promises about something special we’d do together, then when I’d be packed and ready to go, he’d demand sexual acts be performed or we wouldn’t leave.  This could be a simple local trip, or one where we’d purchased plane tickets—he didn’t care as long as he had complete power over me.


This became a regular occurrence in our marriage, and was probably the most difficult part to get over once I finally left.  I felt like I had to earn every little thing in my life, and I didn’t deserve anything good unless I paid the price first.


There were occasions of physical abuse, but to be honest, the verbal and sexual abuse was much worse.  Bruises heal much quicker than a broken heart and spirit!


I felt completely unworthy and unlovable, but once I broke out of the dysfunctional cycle, I found that there was hope! 


I accepted Christ and found that I could be forgiven AND loved.  I also met a patient and loving man who I’ve been married to for close to 16 years.  He stood by me through many difficult times and adjustments, and I’m so grateful for him.


 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.  Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.  And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.  May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.  Ephesians 3:16-19


Looking back I can’t believe the things I accepted because I thought I deserved them.  Once you accept the depth of God’s love for you, nothing is impossible!

About Sarah Salter


  1. Yep, I know it’s for girls only. I visited anyway. And found a powerful post.

  2. I am always stunned each time I hear another abuse story. Almost every woman I have met, and have had chance to speak with, has suffered abuse in one form or another. It breaks my heart everytime.

    Bridgett, I am very happy that you were able to over come your abuser and that you now have God and Dale.

    Thank you Bridgett, for sharing your story and thank you Sarah, for giving us all a means to share stories.

  3. Wow, Bridget. What a powerful and honest post. Not just for the gals, either. I’m glad you were able to escape such a bad place in your life, and I’m glad you’ve found the happiness and peace you deserve.

  4. Oh, Bridget. What a testimony. So often when someone wrongs us, we end up feeling that it was our fault. God never wastes anything. Your story will help so many!

  5. What a fantastic post and a great story about redemption and restoration. I’m so happy you were able to get out of that horrible marriage and find what true love (both from a husband on earth & a father in heaven) is like.

  6. I see I’m not the only guy that read this. Hope this doesn’t scare away the girls. This type of thing makes me sick. It’s one thing ‘out in the world’ but it infuriates me that it happens with men that are supposedly Christians. What a powerful testimony you have, Bridget. God is certainly able to redeem all things…

  7. Thanks for sharing your story, Bridget. I’m sure there are many who have been through something similar and it’s good to know they’re not alone.

    Crazy what we’ll eventually believe, isn’t it? The lies? I’m so glad you are free from this.

  8. Bridget,
    I am so sorry you had to live through such pain and abuse. None of us ever deserve to be treated like that. You’re right; the pain from verbal, emotional and psychological abuse lasts far longer and causes deeper damage than even the physical abuse. I understand.

    I am so grateful to God that He reached for you and took you in His arms to show you the difference between His real love and what you endured. And I’m glad your heart was able to let Him in.

    And I am very happy for you that He also chose to show you more of His infinite love with your loving husband now. I pray you will have many years of love and God’s peace together.

    Thank you for being brave and honest enough to share your life with us.

  9. I’m beginning to see a bit of a pattern here (so to speak). It’s early and finding the right words to use is a bit of a struggle. Nonetheless, I’ve noticed that often when women come out of abusive relationships, God brings someone into their life that teaches them how to laugh again. The man that God brings is patient, funny and encouraging. Isn’t He the Goddest! (Okay, as far as I know, I made up that word one day when I was trying to find a human word to describe God’s love. If it originated before, I had never heard it, ever.)

  10. Thanks for all the kind words and support. I can’t believe how many have been subject to one form of abuse or another. Makes me worry even more for my kids.

    Thanks for all the dedication and care you’ve put into this, Sarah.

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