A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

The Alphabet of Abuse — by Ida Mae

[March 11, 2023: There have been some changes made to this post. For more information, read the Editors’ notes at the bottom of the post. Editors.]

Ida Mae put this in a comment under the post The Time I Got Duped by an Abuser, and we just had to put it in its own post so we are sure everyone sees it. Many of our readers will say “Amen!” from A to Z as they read. Her abuser repeatedly accused her of being “rebellious” to him in at least these 26 ways. And yes, Ida Mae, there is another alphabet — A1, A2, A3 — see how many more are available for you. 🙂


Ah yes….rebellious. I got that title for:
a) Parking too far to the left when I was told to park more to the right.
b) Failing to read the husband’s mind (I “knew” when he was getting home, so why wasn’t dinner on the table? Despite the fact he took two hours sometimes to make a twenty minute trip home.).
c) Interfering with corporal punishment of the children.
d) Refusing to wear clothes so tight I could barely sit down.
e) Failing to go outside to sit and watch him work in the garage when I should “know” he needed support.
f) Sitting in the garage watching him work instead of cleaning up this “***** pigsty”.
g) Telling him he was wrong about anything.
h) Telling him he was wrong in a disrespectful tone.
i) Looking him in the eye while disagreeing as he didn’t like the way I looked at him.
j) Gaining twenty pounds after multiple children.
k) Refusing to exercise when I was told.
l) Daring to lay down and take a nap when I had a cold instead of going to the doctor like i was told.
m) Questioning him about anything in front of the children.
n) Failing to have his lunch ready for the next day early enough.
o) Putting leftovers in his lunch when I “knew” he didn’t want leftovers again.
p) Making him a sandwich instead of giving him leftovers.
q) Saying I didn’t like the pastor badmouthing his wife from the pulpit — again.
r) Saying it was mean to call the children names.
s) Buying glasses at the thrift store for $1 when we didn’t need them.
t) Leaving dust on the underside of the ceiling fan after he’d already told me how he wanted it done.
u) Saying I couldn’t go along with something because I didn’t believe it was morally right.
v) Raising my voice and running outside when I saw him spraying Roundup [Internet Archive link]1 on the shrubs I’d been babying for three years.
w) Saying we couldn’t afford another 10K purchase when he “needed” it.
x) Trying to kill him by expecting him to go to work every day.
y) Slamming a door after being alternately screamed at, then frozen out for days.
z) Standing up to him (once) for lying about me in front of company (a man).

Got another alphabet?

I haven’t even gotten to the good stuff yet. 🙂

1[March 11, 2023: We added the link to Wikipedia’s page on the herbicide Roundup. The Internet Archive link is a copy of that page. Editors.]

[March 11, 2023: Editors’ notes:

—For some comments made prior to March 11, 2023 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be an exact match.
—For some comments made prior to March 11, 2023 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be found in the post.
If you would like to compare the text in the comments made prior to March 11, 2023 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (March 11, 2023), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]


  1. Now Free After 42 Years

    Ida Mae, with the exception of 6 or so I can check off the rest. Thanks. It would be funny if it wasn’t so painfully true.

    Here’s my additions. 42 years gives me diversity —

    He didn’t have any friends so inferred that I shouldn’t have any either.

    He didn’t want to talk about anything meaningful about our relationship. In all those years, I don’t recall one conversation that was truly meaningful. Money though was another thing. He was always ready to talk about that.

    Throwing my clothes down the stairs because I put them on top of his dirty clothes in the hamper.

    I tried hard to keep a clean house, and when I asked him to help me move a heavy dresser so that I could clean behind it, he became very angry and told me to immediately clean it….that was my intent all along!

    He practically ignored our kids, and I don’t recall him ever giving them any positive life lessons at all.

    Most of the time he was in his own little world and wouldn’t let me in.

    I could use another alphabet too.

  2. I was trying to figure out what it would’ve looked like if I’d actually been rebellious and I’m not coming up with much. Scary part is how quick that list above was written.

    Z is probably my favorite. First and only time I challenged him in front of company. I looked him directly in the eye, said “that’s not true”, kept my voice low. He turned purple and bolted from the table, locked himself in his room and refused to come out until the company left the next day.

    Would have been funny if the other husband hadn’t taken his wife aside and gave her a lecture on how “disrespectful” I was to my husband and how I had “no right” to say what I did.

    So I got the rebellious label from two men in one day. Must be true!

    rolls eyes

  3. Joey

    Unfortunately, so typical!!! You can never get anything right, everything is a lose-lose situation!

  4. I think the saddest thing of all is that he never will realize what a gem he had for a wife. You are a pearl, and he was like the swine talked about in Scripture that just would eat anything up and not value what they had been given. So glad you have found your voice!

  5. So glad this post has been begun. I was thinking of starting a topic about “trivial demands and obsessions that abusers have demonstrated”.
    Here’s my two bob’s worth (hey us Aussies have our own slang; translate if you need to):

    He insisted that the toilet roll be put on the holder with the paper coming out from under, not out from over at the top. The trouble was he insisted so vehemently on this that I was scared out of my wits and so could never remember which way he wanted it done and I would have a burst of anxiety every time I put on a new toilet roll.

    LOL: after I had him put out of the house by a court order, I actually discovered I liked putting the toilet roll on the holder the same way he liked it. No longer living in fear, I could discover my personal preferences and remember what they were from one week to the next.

    He also wanted me to put the pegs [Also known as “clothes pins” or “clothes pegs”. Editors.] on the washing line only at the first hole of the peg, so you could easily push the pegs along the line if you needed to when putting a sheet on the line to dry. He did not actually monitor or enforce this rule, but his strong insistence when he first instructed me about it was enough to keep me in fear each time I applied a peg.

    (Ok, for you Yankees, I’ll explain the washing line: it’s what you hang your wet washing on outside in the fresh air and sunshine so it dries. You don’t need an electric clothes dryer when you have a washing line, especially if your line is under cover like on a back porch.)

  6. Maree

    Yeah, Barbara! Who needs a clothes dryer when we have the sun and a clothesline outside!
    (Another Australian!)

    • Jeff Crippen

      Hey mates! If you lived here in Tillamook, you would see the need for a clothes dryer. Rain, rain, rain. I do remember my mother using a clothesline all the time when I was a kid. Much more common then. I haven’t seen a clothespin around our house for years.

  7. Maree

    Rain? What’s rain?

  8. Anonymous

    So this is late on this blog post, but I will ask anyway. Can someone give me a good example of what disrespect actually looks like? I have been accused of being “disrespectful” about everything, but more times for not giving sexual favors than for anything else. Once, about a month after my newborn had died, he told me that we were going to have to do something about him not getting enough sex. Of course, I was not even living at our home at the time, because my other surviving infant was in critical condition for months, so I was staying with that baby at the ICU. I know I was not caring for him, or even my other children at the time, the way I probably should have been. I was so grief stricken. So, what does true disrespect of one’s husband look like?

    • Jeff Crippen

      Equate disrespect with failure to love and you pretty well have it. In other words, what your husband was doing to you was disrespect.

      Respecting someone is giving them what they are due. We give God respect by obeying Him out of our love for Him. We respect the law by obeying the law. We respect other people by loving them and thereby treating them as the human beings that they are. Your husband was not due sexual favors under those conditions because you were not able to provide them. Therefore, you were not being disrespectful of him, but he was being disrespectful of you. His complaints, incidentally, were simply evidence that for him, it is always “about him”. I remember dealing with a man once who had struck his wife and ended up in jail for 30 days, then sentenced to 6 months of probation during which time he was not allowed to go home. He talked to me some months into the probation and his complaint was “I am lonesome. I have needs. I am used to having sex.” No remorse for what he had done. It was all about him. Today he is all alone, his wife finally free of him. He will die a lonely old man, his family wanting nothing at all to do with him.

  9. Anonymous

    Thank you for defining “respect” for me. That only makes sense.

    When I say sexual “favors”, I am not speaking about normal love and intimacy.

    So, when the Bible sets forth “and let the wife see that she respects her husband”, it is really only saying to us to give him what he is due? Does that mean demonstrating respect for his position as “head” in a special way? Or, does it mean that we are to be silent and meek before him? It is disrespect to disagree with his leadership, because his “office” as “head” requires respect in and of itself? What about respecting the offices of Elder / Pastor? Do those “offices” require more respect than say, a deacon or layman? Thank you for answering. This blog is helping me see so much, but my mind is just so twisted with all of this and the sorting it all out is laborious and tiring. I will think I have something figured out and put together, and another “thing” will pop its ugly little head out and I feel like I am swimming upstream again.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Anonymous – no problem. Good questions. Here is the fundamental principle. No one is due anything that God has not ordained that they are due. It does not mean being silent and meek, unless in some situation that was truly the Christ-love thing to do. Do you remember this passage —

      (Matthew 23:1-4 ESVUK) (1) Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, (2) “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, (3) so practice and observe whatever they tell you — but not what they do. For they preach, but do not practice. (4) They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger.

      If anyone else has some suggestions on Jesus’ meaning, please feel free to comment. But what I think He was saying is that “what they tell you” was Scripture that they read. So, the people could practice and observe that. But they didn’t have to do what the Pharisees and scribes did. In other words, obey Scripture because that is the ONLY authority that anyone has, given by God. But as far as ungodly, unscriptural leadership or instructions — forget it. We aren’t bound by that. The Word of God is our only true anchor and guide. And it is the only source of “office” that anyone has. No one has position or authority in and of themselves. So if a husband or a pastor is leading according to Scripture, truly and genuinely, follow — because you are following Christ. But when anyone tries to get us to do what they say and what they say is not in accordance with Christ’s Word, then it would be disrespectful to NOT speak up and oppose. I don’t think any office, be it pastor or Elder or deacon or president or king necessarily possesses any more respect, because each one only is given authority and rule by the Word of God. Listen to this —

      (Romans 13:1-7 ESV) (1) Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. (2) Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. (3) For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, (4) for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. (5) Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. (6) For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. (7) Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

      You do not owe anything to anyone except what is due them. And God has not given anyone the right to collect what is not due them, i.e., when they exceed the area of governance that God has delegated to them. And don’t forget, God has give YOU things that are due to you! Love is due you from your husband. You have the right to it.

    • Dearest Anonymous:
      For me, “respect” is 1 Corinthians 13….pure and simple. Patience, kindness, long-suffering….translation: tenderness, consideration, putting the other first, unselfishness, wanting what is best for the other. I could just picture you in the ICU with this precious wee baby, exhausted and empty after giving birth and grieving the loss of your other little one, and I saw Jesus sitting across from you as you sat at that incubator, leaning forward, His forehead on your forehead, just “being” with you so tenderly.

      I read an article [Internet Archive link]1 by Rev. G. David Korsen in “Mutuality”, a magazine put out by “Christians for Biblical Equality”, today and he said this about the translation of “head” in the Bible:

      “Head” or “kephale” (Greek) means “source” or “origin”. Other recent scholarship has shown within the New Testament writings themselves that “kephale” most often means “servant-provider”. In Paul’s letters to the Ephesians and Colossians, “kephale” is used five times and, in each instance, this meaning is verified. Christ is the “kephale” (“head”) in being a “servant-provider.” This is why it is all the more unsettling that many patriarchalists continue to claim that no evidence exists to support reading “kephale” in any way other than “authority over”….

      If I can figure it out, I am going to blog his article in the next couple of days @ morvensblog.com [patriarchy & propaganda [Internet Archive link]2]

      Wow. Sure puts a different stance on respect. Jesus modeled “servant-provider”. This is the respect your husband should have modeled for you at your time of deepest need.
      My prayers are with you.

      1[March 11, 2023: We added the link to the article by G. David Korsen (Patriarchy & Propaganda: Recognizing & Avoiding the Abuse of Power). In the linked article, the first sentence Morven R. Baker quoted doesn’t match the article. The article we linked to was likely updated when Christians for Biblical Equality put the article onto their website. The Internet Archive link is a copy of that page. Editors.]

      2[March 11, 2023: We added the link to the article by G. David Korsen that Morven R. Baker re-blogged (patriarchy & propaganda). In the linked article on Morven’s Blog, the linked article might not display, but we wanted readers to note that Morven R. Baker asked permission from Christians for Biblical Equality to re-blog the article. The Internet Archive link is a copy of that page. Editors.]

  10. Anonymous

    Your comment to me here, Mrs. Baker, brought tears to me, because what you see is so beautiful, and I never thought of it that way, and yet I know how beautiful my Savior is. I always felt so alone, and thought that God must have been really angry with me, to have taken my child from me. However, I see now that you have described it, that that is how He really was, and I missed it, and instead falsely accused Him of being mean and angry, probably because that is what I have known and where I live. I will never forget this picture you painted here for me. I really needed to see that. I will hold onto that. Thank you.

    • Bless you, dear Anonymous. His heart truly was broken at the whole situation. He nurtured those lives in your body, and grieved when one of those little ones was taken. He grieved with you at the ICU, and He was angry for you, and saddened by, the treatment of you by those He had designed to love you. Oh, by the way, I forgot to mention that I also saw Him holding both of your hands in His. 😉 He loves you, dearly.

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