In your talk tonight I want you to really try VERY hard to not be emotionally engaged. Do NOT feel that you are responsible for his happiness or for the resolution of this “problem.” If I were you, I would ABSOLUTELY just sit back and let him talk to get a feel for where his mind is. I can tell you right now that he never responded after your text admitting to having broken the secrecy pact because it made him FURIOUS.
But he is an abuser and abusers are manipulative and calculating first, everything else after.
He still thinks he can get you to stay, so he was not going to show you how furious he was in that moment. He’s going to chew on it til he can swallow it and pretend to be fine, then he will text you something calm-sounding. But don’t believe for a moment that he didn’t hate you with a blind fury when he got that text. And he will likely try to throw it in your face tonight as a betrayal.
Don’t go into this expecting ANYTHING other for him to be coldly manipulating the situation with his words – and trying to convince you that actions aren’t important, only the pretty words he is saying in this moment.
If you give in to the words (like you’ve mostly done in the past, like he expects you to) he’ll stay nice until his next tantrum. If you DON’T give in to the words, stay in control, stay emotionally and physically distant, keeping asking what action steps he plans to take, he will either grow cold or grow furious. He won’t be able to maintain his pleasant facade if you resist his manipulation tactics.
Please do not:
– suggest what he should do
– ask or beg him to do it
– defend yourself
– allow him to sleep i nyour bed tonight
– look to see if HE comes up with a real and immediate plan for seeking help for himself
– watch to see if he starts slowly trying to shift blame to you (he will do this once he senses you are emotionally worn down) or if he genuinely owns up to being 100% at fault (as he is)
– stay emotionally disengaged. He can’t wear you down or trick you with misdirection when you aren’t investing emotionally in the conversation. Try to imagine it’s a business meeting and he is a salesperson with a pitch. Watch everything he does and says but don’t actually be swayed by any of it.
– stay calm. If you feel yourself slipping, ask for a break or for the conversation to reconvene tomorrow after work.
Also, I’m sorry, but I agree with PP that your pastor is in the wrong for asking you to stay. His case is a truly unique one – he’s the exception to the rule, not the rule. I’m glad you reached out to him so that you now have some sort of support IRL, but I feel very much that you need to leave, at least for a short while.
I want to share a short version of my experience with an abuser, just so you can know to look for a variety of signs… Abusers typically will change their colors to make you think they are improving when really they are just figuring out how to hide better.
When I was 22 I started dating a guy who was 4 years older than me, over a foot taller than me, and 100 lbs heavier than me.
We dated for 1.5 years, during which time he became increasingly emotionally abusive, screaming in my face, calling me horrible names, throwing my phone and other random belongings across the room against the wall, moving very close against me to intimidate me with his body, etc.
I broke up with him at 1.5 years, went radio silent for 3 months after telling him how abusive he was and how I’d finally seen the light and wasn’t going to stand for it anymore.
We wound up getting back together and he was REALLY good – like choir boy good – for about 8 months. Then, instead of outburts, he begane to withdraw emotionally to “get at me.” That way, he could abuse me, but there was nothing concrete I could point at to show him being in the wrong. So any time I did something he didn’t like (like your chair incident) he would “teach me a lesson” by withdrawing instead of throwing a tantrum.
When they realize they can get back at you in ways other than outbursts, it opens up a whole new world for them. They can withhold emotion from you for forEVER, and there’s nothing you can do. If you complain about the distance, then you’re just unhappy and unpleasable – why are you always complaining? Then the gaslighting begins. There’s nothing concrete for you to point at, and so you beging to feel like you’re going insane and start to rely on their version of reality more and more. It’s incredibly easy to fall for if you don’t know what to look for.
I lasted through another 1.5 years (8 months after the choir boy act started to slip) before leaving for good.
This is your chance to not waste any more of your life with someone who is most likely never ever going to be able to be the loving healthy partner you deserve.