A Cry For Justice

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

Abuser Tactics: But He Looks so Harmless

UPDATE Sept 2021: I have come to believe that Jeff Crippen does not practise what he preaches. He vilely persecuted an abuse victim and spiritually abused many other people in the Tillamook congregation. Go here to read the evidence. Jeff has not gone to the people that he spiritually and emotionally abused. He has not apologised to them, let alone asked for their forgiveness.


Well, here is Tobasco the kitty, a member of our family.  Doesn’t he look cuddly and cute?  Last night he was curled up just like this on my wife’s lap, purring away in contentment.  And then she did something Tobasco didn’t like.  She moved her hand and disturbed his repose.  So he fanged her.  Sunk his teeth right in, then as far as she could interpret cat expressions, he smiled at her.  I think he got launched out the front door.

Anyway, this is a really good illustration that will resonate with many of our readers.  Abusers, like Tobasco, look harmless and sweet and cuddly at times.  No one would believe us if we told them about the dark side.  Listen to him purrrrrr!  But make a wrong move and out come the fangs.  Then the smile.  “What?  What are you so upset about?”

Abusers make their victims crazy, and they do it intentionally.  One of their favorite ways to do this is to practice a discord between their actions and their words.  Let me use an example from the realm of sexual abuse to explain this discord.  A sexual molester will do things, such as exposing himself, while talking as if nothing unusual is happening.  Here he is, exposing to a victim, and yet he might be conversing with them on some “normal” topic with verbal behavior that is totally disconnected from his exposing behavior.  This messes with the mind.  It makes crazy.  It destroys the victim’s trust in their own ability to interpret things through their own senses.

And thus the wisdom of our Lord’s words to us:

Matthew 7:16-20 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? (17) So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. (18) A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. (19) Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. (20) Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.


  1. Anonymous

    “It destroys the victim’s trust in their own ability to interpret things through their own senses.”
    So, this makes me think that perhaps this is why I don’t trust myself to make the right decision in whether to leave or stay, but remain separate. It is as if I cannot move, unless God Himself were to come down and speak directly to me, “Go!” or “Stay!”. I do not trust that I will make the right decision and not just for me, but mostly for my children. Perhaps it will help me to know why I may be feeling or acting this way. Thanks for the insight!

    • Anonymous

      Anonymous, I know that’s how it was like for me too. It took a while, but as time went on and as I recovered my freedom, I was able to confidently make decisions that were truly my own. For a while there, I really didn’t trust my ability to make good decisions, including the one to go or stay. I, too, was waiting for God to give me a clear word.

      As you gain insight and reclaim your mind, along with your ability to make judgements and decisions, you will feel a great sense of relief and freedom. We were created to be free and those whom the Son sets free, are free indeed.

  2. Jeff, this just brought back a memory of when a guy exposed himself to me while I was sitting under a tree on my own in a park, reading a book and minding my own business. While he was exposing and touching himself, he was talking to me in a normal conversational tone about something everyday (can’t remember whether it was the weather, or my book, or the landscape… something totally unrelated to his lascivious action. UUGH. I’d always remembered his exposing act, but not his speech. But you captured it exactly, and brought back the memory. And yes, I was disgusted, frightened and repelled by his actions, but at the same time, my brain was turning itself into a pretzel trying to figure out what his words had to do with anything. …. deliberate, wicked, crazy-making confusion.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Yes, that is it exactly. In your example the abuser was sexual. But I suspect there must be a name for the broader category of abuse that uses this contradictory/simultaneous dissonance between actions and verbal expression. A child might be sitting in front of the TV playing video games and his mother tells him to go do his homework. He replies, “I am doing my homework.” “No you aren’t.” “Yes, mother, I am!” Or an abuser might tell his wife “Oh, I am so sorry for not picking up your medicine.” But then he never gets her medicine. The whole dissonance is designed to confuse the victim and to make the perpetrator look like the one who really sees things accurately. I can imagine Sandusky at Penn State for instance getting caught in the shower raping a young student. Caught in the act and yet saying “Oh, no. That wasn’t what was happening at all. Hey, did you pick up that football equipment I told you to get?”

  3. Pippa

    I think it would also be called the Original Lie of the serpent in the Garden. “No, that’s not what He meant…” It’s the worst, most satanic lie…calling what one knows to be the truth, the actual Truth into question.

    • Thanks Pippa. I was going to say the term that comes to mind is “cognitive dissonance” but to me it’s not satisfactory because it just convey the effect on the victim, and misses the deliberative intent of the selfish/abusive person.
      But gaslighting is perfect, because it points to the scheming intent of the abuser. Thanks for the link, I’ll check it out.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Thanks Pippa. I think we have to consider you to have a PhD in this area after 33 years of it! Wow!

  4. Dru

    I watched the 1944 movie Gaslight and realized that was one of my abuser’s favorite weapons + he is trained in psychological warfare. The full movie has been deleted but there’s a clip here Gaslight – Full Movie [Internet Archive link] [Nov. 3/21: The original video clip link was broken and was replaced with an Internet Archive video of the full movie. The movie might take a little longer to load. Editors.]
    Blessings everyone.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Thanks, Dru. That movie is worth another watch. So glad that you have come to the point of seeing what was happening to you.

  5. kind of anonymous

    Trigger warning. Oh what a painful damaged nerve this idea of gaslighting hits for me. That’s probably what my dad was doing to me, and later my ex husband.

    I had a friend over in the fourth grade once; I awoke in the night to the sound of her sobbing and the sight of my dad climbing up the side of the bunk she was on, which was against the wall with maybe four inches of room, with a gross evil lecherous leer on his face. Yet when I asked him about it later, he gave me this story that he had met a young guy with no place to go in the bar and had put him up for the night, but then found him in our room molesting my friend, so he threw him out.

    My mind went crazy; part of me hanging on to the image I had of my dad as a good man who I needed to believe in, who was my only safety in the world, wanting to believe that he was telling the truth, but being unable to reconcile his story with the fact that I’d seen him, breathing heavily and leering, climbing up the spare mattress jammed between the wall and the bunk on her side and her crying and saying that he had done something grossly violating to her. Dad had given permission for her to spend the night and then headed to the bar which I knew was not how a parent should act. And something like this happened another time, going to the bar, getting partially drunk and then coming home and acting with gross impropriety. Always he had a story, often one that flipped the blame around onto me or trivialized the concern.

    If someone even appears to be jerking me around this way, esp if it’s a man, my brain seems to go into overdrive and get stuck in that gear. I can live for years in that state of heightened on guard fear and vigilance as I have not found a way to shut it off. It is indeed a very destructive thing for someone to do. It was definitely mental abuse and it still affects me. I wind up doubting and questioning myself, feeling ashamed, blaming myself, feeling intense fear. It actually triggers that response pattern and I shut down and make decisions based on what I need security wise and not on reality. It is very very frustrating to have a trauma trigger this big still making me nuts.

    • Oh dear sweet KOA. I hear you. I believe you. I think your father WAS a lecherous child molester. What you saw was real. And it hurts! It’s appalling!

      He lied to you. He said it was another man climbing that bunk that night, but it was him.

      There is no other way to make sense of your recollections. You saw him doing it. You recognised your father. It WAS him.

      I’m not surprised you shrank from the horror. The truth about evil makes us flinch.

      I want to offer you (((hugs))) if you want them . 🙂

      You are not insane to have this trigger. The trigger is a GREAT warning sign that something dangerous is happening!

      And you’re right to smell a rat about stories that are coverups….

      I’m so glad you shared this with us.

  6. kind of anonymous

    Thank you Barb; yes hugs are welcome. It’s so hard to accept that this man that I loved more than anything in the world became a child molester; there are four separate acts of gross behaviour that I know of for sure and he was reading porn lit that involved an eleven year old.

  7. kristy

    Hi, I was in an abusive relationship for eight years, I know all too well about this, it’s scary constantly feeling crazy not knowing what’s going to happen next, I was with satan himself, I was treated so badly I thought I was going to eventually die.

    • Hi kristy, welcome to the blog! 🙂

      We always like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

      If you want us to change your screen name to something else, just email twbtc.acfj@gmail.com

  8. May the Lord bring justice

    Like the youth leader who tells the camper that the director said that the camper must sleep with him in a cabin separate from everyone else. The camper feels obligated and the youth leader proceeds to take off his clothes and says that he always sleeps naked. Pure evil. Robbing of innocence and the pastors have trouble believing that sexual abuse happened. Their gut feeling says yes it was abuse but they just can’t bring themselves to remove the youth leader or denounce him for the pedofile he is. The pedofile youth leader is too good at winning sympathy.

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