A Cry For Justice

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

They Never Admit Wrong: A Sure Sign of an Unsafe (and Unsaved) Person

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.


[July 13, 2022: There have been some changes made to this post. For more information, read the Editors’ notes at the bottom of the post. Editors.]

If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.  (1 John 1:10  ESV)

Mr. Decker: “Captain, shouldn’t we take every possible precaution?”

Captain Kirk: “Mr. Decker, I will not provoke an attack. If that order isn’t clear enough for you….”

Mr. Decker: “Captain, as your executive officer it is my duty to point out alternatives.”

Captain Kirk: “Yes it is. I stand corrected.”

“Yes, it is. I stand corrected.” Words you will never hear from an abuser.

Pastor Larry Dean, a reader of this blog, loves to talk about repentance. He would tell you that it is sorely lacking not only in the world today, but in the church. And yet without repentance there can be no forgiveness of sin. A Gospel with no call to repentance is no Gospel at all.

I was raised in a home that professed to be Christian, but that was devoid of repentance. That is to say, I did not grow up seeing a model of people who readily said, “I was wrong” or “I did wrong, please forgive me.” The example set down for me was one of insisting you are right, blaming the other guy, and consequently learning that confessing sin or error is a sign of weakness. I think that this is one of the main reasons that I was ashamed, when I was in about the third grade or so, of coming home from an after school Bible club and telling my parents that I had made a decision to follow Christ. The only reason they ever found out is that my sister ratted me out – as she had been there when I put my hand up during the prayer time. Nothing was said to me except “Well….that’s nothing to be ashamed of. Now go wash your hands. Dinner is ready.” I felt ashamed and soiled. Fortunately for me, Jesus did not see it that way. I was as white as snow, but it would take me decades to really understand that. In fact, I’m still working on it.

You see, believing the Christian Gospel necessarily requires admitting that one has been wrong. Grievously and fatally wrong. Wrong about oneself. Wrong about God. Wrong about most everything. That is why the Word of God insists upon us confessing these things. Confessing our sin. Confessing our rebellion against the Lord. Confessing all of the corruption that has proceeded from our heart. Confessing that Jesus is Lord, and not me. To confess means to agree with God. “Yes, Lord, You have been right all along, and I have not.” I never heard words like that when I was growing up. Not at home at least.

Not only can we not have a relationship with God without confession and repentance, but we will never have safe and healthy relationships with one another either. Most all of you that belong to our little blog family here (actually, not so little, really) are quite familiar with the sad fact that human beings who we call abusers have a trait that almost functions like a badge to identify them. They will not admit fault. They will never confess that they are wrong. They always lay the blame on others, most often their victims. This is another reason why I maintain that an abuser is not a Christian. Oh, if when confronted (and it may take a bit of time) he / she ultimately acknowledges their sin, then that is a sign that the Lord has laid hold of them. True Christians repent of sin, you see. But abusers just don’t.

We would be very wise to watch for this trait in others. A person who will not repent, will not admit wrong, will not confess sin, is not a safe person to have a relationship with. The only “relationship” possible with such a person is 1) you must always be wrong, must always yield to their way, and 2) they must always be right. By this single characteristic, you can pretty readily discern if a person is an abuser, a narcissist, a controller, a sociopath, or whatever title you want to give these types.

When abuse victims come and talk to me and tell me their stories, it always, always, always comes out — “he will never admit that he is wrong. I am the one who is always to blame.” And what do I tell these victims? “That person is not safe to have a relationship with. They are not capable of functioning in a healthy, normal, biblical marriage. And they very rarely ever change, especially if they have been pretending to be a Christian all the while.” And that is hard reality.

“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be eaten by the sword; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”  (Isaiah 1:18-20  ESV)

[July 13, 2022: Editors’ notes:

—For some comments made prior to July 13, 2022 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 July 13, 2022 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 July 13, 2022 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (July 13, 2022), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]


  1. Marwood

    My son-in-law is an abuser. He fits the pattern described in this article. The problem is that I believe it is impossible for him to repent. He sees no need for repentance. In his mindset he is in the right. He is convinced that it is his wife who is in need of repentance, & he sees it as his responsibility to convince her & the world that she is totally wrong & he is totally right. From what I have been reading, that seems to be one of the hallmark characteristics of an abusive person, so in some sense, it seems almost fruitless to expect repentance. One has to see the need before repentance can take place, & these abusers see no need. That has been one of the key factors that has brought me to a point of seeing that abuse is sufficient grounds for divorce.

    • Amen and Amen, Marwood; you are spot on. The abuser sees no need for repentance because he believes he is totally entitled to maintain a position of superiority and exercise power and control over his victim. Why repent when you believe your mindset is correct and your behaviour is fully justified? That is why abusers so rarely change. They have practiced and perfected the art of responsibility-resistance for so long, and it works for them.

      George Simon writes about this in his books — how the person with a defective character is basically a person who hates to submit and who fights against any circumstance and any person who calls him to submit: God, moral teachers, the rule of law, civilized society, their spouse, their godly pastor, their father-in-law who is concerned for his daughter’s well-being….

      Welcome to the blog!

    • Barnabasintraining



    • Memphis Rayne

      Yup. No need. They find plenty of supporters. They also mentality-wise of course won’t see a purpose in repentance, but the abuse will just get worse over time because they do not have the empathy required to SEE the need for repentance.

  2. Anne

    And when they say they are wrong and sorry all the time what do you do with that?

    Every time I read how they won’t admit to mistakes I doubt that there is a true problem then. He quickly says he is sorry all the time. Probably daily.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Anne – you disregard it and look for changed behavior. In fact, that repeated “sorry” with no true repentance has actually become another tactic of abuse. It is intended to be deceptive. Draw boundaries – “I will no longer listen to nor accept your ‘sorries’ until I see actual, visible change in you. I will consider them still another offense against me.”

      • Wisdomchaser

        Thank you. My husband is one of those “I’m sorry” abusers. He then turns around and does the exact same things, over and over.

      • pamplamoussejuice

        Yep, that was mine. Always sorry but never changing. Of course he would never apologize about anything unless I really pressed the issue – then I could tell it was just to get me to shut up about it.

      • Anonymous

        Mine only said he was sorry, after he learned that from the pastor’s perspective, that was all he had to do to get back in. Later on, I found out that all the while he was telling me he was sorry, he was doing me serious injury behind my back.

      • Still Scared (but getting angry)

        Barbara, that was wonderful and spot on!

      • Anewanon

        Jeff, I LOVE that response. Thank you for putting that out there.

        In my former marriage: INITIALLY in our marriage I would constantly apologize because I just wanted harmony again. Then once the porn came out and I realized what kind of deceiver I was dealing with, things changed. He would then apologize because he knew I was ON to him, but there was no true repentance. Wish I had your one-liner above to utilize.

        He baited me with the perfect storm to cause me to flip out so that he could use it against me as justification for leaving when he KNEW that his leaving was my biggest wound / biggest fear after YEARS of him running back to Mommy and bad-mouthing me to her. Finally when he did walk out of accountability, and consequently our marriage, he returned to all the idols he previously renounced. At first, and still to some extent I blamed myself for triggering and going crazy, but if he secretly hid in his heart his desire to return to his idols, then he never really became a lover of God nor a lover of his family. He baited me, then hurt me, then blamed me for being hurt, then ran to Mommy. For years it was: wash, rinse, repeat.

        In the end, he traded his family for FANTASY: a life filled with fantasy games, women, sports, books and websites. The real life of fighting life’s battles with God and your spouse at your side has GOT to have far more highs and a far richer love than blasting away at Baal in a basement while connected with like-minded people through the internet. And then clicking on a busty woman to cap off the night.

        This kind of self-absorbed behavior is not given up easily. And IF they can get away with it, they will lie cheat and steal to feed the addiction more. Any dopamine high received outside of the path of Christ becomes an addiction. Period. Addictions are bondages to something other than God. Loving something that God does NOT LOVE. If we love God then we will love what GOD LOVES. That is NOT self-absorbed behavior.

        And until the “visible” changes show selflessness and a renouncement of idols and a desire to be accountable, then there is nothing to “see” where “sorries” or “pronouncements of change” are concerned. Following Jesus means loving what HE loves. What we love matters MORE than what we think. What we love will change us. So ladies, we need to be careful of what we choose to love with our hearts, souls, and minds. (Mind = last of importance.)

        A one-flesh wife can pick up on what her 24 / 7 man loves pretty quick. Her perceptions should not be discounted. And when mine returned to his previous vices, I may have been vindicated, but not healed. Sadly. So ladies, do protect your hearts. I would have rather been loved than right. But truth will always be revealed in the end.

      • The real life of fighting life’s battles with God and your spouse at your side has GOT to have far more highs and a far richer love than blasting away at Baal in a basement while connected with like-minded people through the internet. And then clicking on a busty woman to cap off the night.


    • What shall I do with you, O Ephraim?
      What shall I do with you, O Judah?
      Your love is like a morning cloud,
      like the dew that goes early away.
      Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets;
      I have slain them by the words of my mouth,
      and my judgment goes forth as the light.
      For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice,
      the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. (Hosea 6:4-6 ESV)

      My paraphrase:
      What shall I do with you, Abuser?
      What shall I do with you, Pharisee?
      Your love is like a morning cloud,
      like the dew that goes early away.
      Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets;
      I have slain them by the words of my mouth,
      and my judgment goes forth as the light.
      For I desire steadfast behaviour change on your part — genuine empathy and mercy for the ones you have oppressed — not just the showy sacrifice of apology-making.
      What is required is the knowledge of God rather than the burnt offerings of pretended repentance.

    • Memphis Rayne

      The MIW rarely said “sorry” at home, unless it had been months or weeks without sex. THEN he would buy a gift, write an apology in a card, make some huge overt gesture….but after he was done with me, I was just the trash left to be taken back out. He did however repeatedly use that word at church, but only if we were physically seperated and he felt it was the only avenue to get back inside the home….weird?

      Now as I recall he only apologized in writing? Also he would admit the abuse in writing? But then later use it against me, saying he only wrote it because somebody else made him….in his mind the punch was always “Just a tap” to get my attention. The bruises on my wrists were always from him restraining me from punching myself?? The cuts were always from me being a clutz in the kitchen, the choking was from him trying to stop me from letting him discipline our children….the mentality, and brutality is the same beast, wether a punch is thrown or not.

      Saying “sorry”, zero meaning. Only used to perhaps mentally abuse you, or to alleviate any possible guilt he may accumulate from all the abuse? Most likely doesn’t feel anything, but just telling you what you need to hear so he can continue his crap storm.

      [Paragraph breaks added to enhance readability. Editors.]

      • Memphis Rayne

        You know, when you are being abused 24 / 7….when an abuser says “sorry”, it’s an overwhelming relief, even if you know it doesn’t mean squat….when an apology happens you are just so relieved that there is a temporary reprieve from the abuse you kinda just are glad for it….I used to ride the cycle of abuse, looking forward to the stage where he broke, just long enough to catch my breath, then it would start all over again….even he would tire himself out, when it got too much effort he would back down for awhile, in his mind would re-start building up all these cases against me, it was as if he was completely delusional, yet we all know that was not the case, he just enjoyed what he did for as long as he could get away with it.

      • Anonymous

        Like a hamster on a wheel.

  3. fiftyandfree

    My ex used to say he was sorry once in a while. BUT there was never a change in his actions or behaviors. His rare apologies were hollow and self-serving. He’d say he was sorry an hour before our couple’s counseling session so he could gloat about it to the counselor. Or, he’d say he was sorry when he was getting scared that I was about to pack up and leave. Or, when he wanted something. Here are a few examples of his hollow apologies.

    Once he called me from work the day after one of our counseling appointments in which I laid out to the therapist that I needed to see some humble sorrow and remorse for one of the major things this man had done to me (deceive me into marrying him / marital fraud). I answered the phone and he said, and I quote him exactly, “Sorry I ruined your life. Now forgive me and don’t ever mention it again!!!!!” I am not kidding you. This was his apology for deceiving me throughout our courtship to such a degree that I married a stranger. When he got home he was just as smug and self-righteous as I imagine a man can be. In his mind he had apologized and I had better fall in line and not only forgive him but instantly love him dutifully as a biblical wife. Two weeks later on the eve before our next therapy session he told me that he had been keeping notes since his “apology” and I had made no changes whatsoever, and therefore the therapist needed to know that I am dysfunctional and incapable of knowing what love is. LOL. LOL. LOL. I laugh my head off about this now, but at the time it was very traumatic.

    Another time he cried big ‘ol crocodile tears in the therapist’s office about how much he’d hurt me over the years. I knew because I’d known this man for 13 years at this point, that he was actually crying over something that was talked about concerning him (he felt I didn’t love him), but he managed to convince the counselor that his tears of sorrow and grief were for me. Once we got home he said nothing whatsoever about the incident which reinforced my belief that those tears were not for me, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt and waited to see if there would be any further discussion, apologies, or changes in behavior. There weren’t. So about 3 – 4 days after this tearful session I asked him nonchalantly, “So, what were you crying about in “Blank’s” office the other day.” Guess what he said? “Well, you don’t love me and you don’t make any changes despite all the things I’ve given up.” (the things he’d supposedly given up for me he was still doing in secret; alcohol, porn, etc.). I responded, “But you said at “Blank’s” office that you were crying because you were sorry for the things you’ve done to me,” and he responded, “Oh, yeah, that too.” LOL. LOL. LOL. Again, I laugh about this now but that only proves that I’ve healed some because it used to torment me that he lied so effortlessly.

    Other common forms of apology from the anti-husband: “I’m sorry IF YOU THINK I hurt you.” LOL. LOL. LOL. “I’m sorry if YOU THINK I SAID that.”

    Also, his so called apologies always came with demands. “I said I was sorry, now you must forgive me, never mention it again, hold my hand, kiss me, lie with me, etc..” His apologies were never for me, they were for himself.

    • Jeff Crippen

      50&Free – you’ve got that sorted out exactly! In other words, the apologies were actually evil, wicked abusive tactics designed to deceive and manipulate and punish. I have to believe that in God’s sight a fake, manipulative “sorry” is far more wicked than an out-and-out “I am not sorry at all.”

    • Barnabasintraining

      Seriously. These abusers can take literally ANYTHING they are given and turn it to ruination.

      What in the world makes the church think these people can, let alone must, be entrusted with marriage? What do they think they are going to do with it? They are going to pervert and ruin it! It’s what they do!

      What horrendous stewardship!

      But, as always, all the rules change when it’s marriage….

    • Memphis Rayne

      Haha!!! So evil so horrible yet I find myself laughing? Do you think these turkeys were basted in the same pan????

      The MIW would fall into a soulful stupor at church, foo-foo lip pushed out, hold his hand out as if to say “I am so sorry, can you still love me?” Boo hoo….and if I resisted his gesture? He would pout more, and all the glares and stares caused by my unforgivness fell upon me…. If I did not succumb by the time service was over? The MIW would just beat me to a pulp at home….you know, for making him look like a sap, or rejecting his advances in public. The apology went like – 1) one quick glance around the room for witnesses, 2) tear drop, tear drop, 3) pat on the back from local bystander, 4) extension of his hand (aka olive branch to beat me with), 5) and alot of times no words were required, once the tears fell, I was suppose to just fall into his loving puddles.

      He saved his apologies verbally for his private meetings with the pastors, “I don’t know what she wants from me?” “I am sorry that she is crazy, money hungry, demanding, impatient, I am mostly sorry that she won’t have sex with me, I am sorry that she is unresponsive and too emotional, and paranoid, and spends too much time with our children and won’t even sleep in the same room as me!!!!!” “I’m sorry I get frustrated when she is ignoring my needs!!!!”

      [Paragraph breaks added to enhance readability. Editors.]

      • Jeff Crippen

        Memphis – the mission of the pastor is to use the truth of God’s Word to root out and expose these devils sitting in the pew. Sadly in many cases the “pew” in the pew is allowed to keep hiding.

      • pamplamoussejuice

        Haha! Memphis – you just helped me remember one specific time and the fake apology – when my STBE was blaming me for the fact he didn’t take communion at church (because I didn’t think he had changed, I thought our marriage was bad, I didn’t believe he was a Christian….blah, blah, blah). So I told him that the reasons for his not taking communion has nothing to do with me and he needs to stop blaming me for it. So he said he was “sorry that he let me have so much influence on his actions” – LOL! I almost had to laugh but I was so frustrated. Of course as soon as I pointed out that he was still blaming me in his apology – he just played super dumb – which, ironically is very easy for him as he is super dumb.

      • Pamplamousse, that little vignette is a perfect example of how in their fight to not take responsibility for their choices, they can breezily switch tactics in the blink of an eye and end up sounding totally illogical but tar-baby-sticky logical in their twisted frame of reference.

        And if that sentence doesn’t make grammatical or syntactic sense, it’s only because abusers make no sense — their thinking and belief systems are like dark matter or black holes, inversions of all the laws of physics and nature.

  4. Song of joy

    According to my mom’s testimony and my own observation, my abusive father NEVER ONCE apologized for anything he ever did to her, or to us kids. They were married for 28 traumatic years (ending in divorce). But I’ve been his daughter for a lot longer than that, and I’ve never ever heard of an apology to anyone in our family.

    He never faked an apology, but he is a clever actor and knows how to assume various personas….including the famous “dumb, bumbling, sincere, hard-of-hearing, old farm boy who doesn’t know any better” role. He often fell back on that one to evade responsibility for what he had done.

    • pamplamoussejuice

      Song – don’t feel alone. No one in my family (including parents, 3 sisters and a brother) has ever said they were sorry about anything. With the recent exception of my father – but his apologies are more for pity than actual sorrow over anything he’s done – so basically they don’t count.

      • Memphis Rayne

        Pamplamoussejuice, yep the MIW had a field day with communion. He was so demented that if he was in the mood for some emotional stroking from the pastors, he would cry and take it….other times he would refuse, and once I made the mistake of asking why, and he just use it to “put me on notice” as if the magic grape juice was going to stop his nature….he was the same regardless once we left the church walls….he would cry and wail, or say dumb things like “At least I am not being a hypocryte Memphis” because if I partook, then I was in his mind a hypocryte because complaining against his abuse was translated into “I was claiming to be perfect, when I am not!!”

        Every week it was just a different spin, he would take it, or not depending on the crowd, his mood, wether or not he was planning an attack immediately after service, or if he abused us on the way there he felt as if I would owe him something the rest of the day for his sacrifice.

        These people also baptized the [word redacted] over, and over, and over….one time they baptized him in the river, I fantazied he would get caught up in an undertow, or snagged by a fishing line….the witnesses to his baptisms where all then officially his allies….because you know of course they are his witnesses now of the miraculous transformation – you know, one minute he is DRY, and wallah the next minute he is WET!!!! OOOOOH it was soooo amazing watching all those people cry for his willingness to “give it all up”. Again, barf. I cried every time he came back up too. 😦

        [Paragraph breaks added to enhance readability. We redacted the word Memphis Rayne used as it might sound denigrating to some people. Editors.]

      • Memphis, so often you tell us stuff and I want to reply saying I’m….


        ….with disgust and horror at what your abuser did to you.

        So take this comment from me and apply it to any and all of your anecdotes.

    • Memphis Rayne

      Song of Joy, same here 25 looooong years they were married. No my dad never never apologize either, and he never will. One time about 16 years ago, he call my house late at night and apologized, sooooorta? He was taking this Twelve-Step program, because he was trying to manipulate his second wife into taking him back (which worked, for another ten years then she dumped his sorry butt) and I was like “Who is this?” All I remember him saying is that he admired me, because according to him I was the only one, as the youngest child to ever stand up to him….it was very awkward, after that, and when he didn’t get my “it’s okay dad, your okay dad” he never talked to me again. We have had brief interludes throughout the years, but I just ended up being the outcast and my family stopped inviting me to holidays, regardless if it hurt my kids or not. They are all sweepers. Everything goes in one pile, and is delicately placed in the basement under the rug of horrors, bolted locked….so if you dare to speak of his majesty nut job, you are ousted. I guess it’s all for the best, I cannot be their ears to hear or eyes to see.

  5. Anne

    even if you know it doesn’t mean squat….when an apology happens you are just so relieved that there is a temporary reprieve from the abuse you kinda just are glad for it….

    Yes, I totally understand that, Memphis. I lived for the apology. In my case I’d have a few days maybe even a week or two of “good”. Honestly I didn’t see the manipulation and control and other abuses until recently so I truly believed it was good.

  6. Annie

    What about those who have hung around the church long enough to know how to apologize and even “repent”? After trying every which way to get the victim back, some abusers figure that getting pastors on board ain’t half a bad idea, so they go for counseling and learn what to do and say, much like those in the secular world do after attending men’s batterers programs. They are trained by pastors to hone another weapon of abuse, which they use to their great advantage. Heck, they can even read this page and thump their chest as they let themselves off the hook. After all, they are great at repenting – just ask their pastors.

    • Yes, and that’s why we should assess repentance not by words but by deeds done over prolonged time, deeds done without any kudos, without pay-off, without any spotlight being shed on them that will reap brownie points from bystanders, done unasked, unprompted, unrewarded, without glory, and at real cost to the doer, cost that is not complained about; deeds done consistently, steadfastly, unreservedly, unfeignedly, unremarked; but deeds that make the victim feel safer, more respected and more free to make choices for her (his) own life unencumbered by guilting or shoulding from legalists, abusers or Pharisees.

      • Annie

        Love it, Barbara. You have left absolutely no room for wriggling. 🙂

  7. Anonymous

    Funny, my “counselors” used this same thing against me. They said that I would not admit my sin. They did not ever say that to my face, but wrote it in a post they published after my ordeal with them. I had no problem admitting that I am a sinner and that I had sinned in the marriage, through my attitude and / or actions from time to time, but I think what they really wanted, was for me to admit that my sin, whatever it was, caused him to abuse us or at least was still sin, just like his was – sin – even if it was abuse. They wanted to evenly balance the scales and I was set against that. I was not up for giving him any more power and control than he already had.

    If the problem in the marriage had been that we could not agree on how much to spend on something, or the color of the paint for the walls, or even issues of raising children or communication issues, then we wouldn’t have even been in counseling, because I could have dealt with those issues. I never sinned against him, the way he had sinned against me. If saying that means that I am denying that I sinned against him, then someone here, please let me know. I went for help because I could no longer live under the oppressive escalating abuse we were living in. Left me really confused and this post at first, made me wonder if it was really true – that I was not able to admit my sin.

    BTW, I do believe that this dumbing down and evening out sin, that it is all somehow equal in God’s eyes, because we are all just a bunch of remaining sinners, is what is keeping the church from recognizing the issues of abuse in marriage, and doing something about it. Maybe what they don’t get, is that saying I’m sorry is not the same as repentance and maybe they don’t get that the redeemed have a new heart and the Spirit of God living in them and that the Spirit would not give His permission for a spouse to abuse his / her spouse.

    [Paragraph break added to enhance readability. Editors.]

  8. Amy

    My ex never once offered an sincere apology. If he ever did say “I’m sorry” the words dripped with sarcasm while dark, hate-filled eyes bore into me. Whenever I would say “I’m sorry” he would start walking away and say, “yes you are.”

    ….abusers have a trait that almost functions like a badge to identify them. They will not admit fault. They will never confess that they are wrong. They always lay the blame on others, most often their victims. This is another reason why I maintain that an abuser is not a Christian.

    For the longest time I just could not believe when someone would say my ex is not be a Christian. I would defend him by saying, “but he was baptized, he reads his Bible, he goes to church, he attends the men’s Bible study group”….etc..

    Now I firmly believe that an abuser who chooses to continue in destructive behavior without repenting or taking responsibility is NOT a Christian. Yes, believers fall and sin, but someone who is truly living for Christ and walking with the Lord cannot continue hurting and destroying those they love.

    Oh how many times over the years as a mother I have messed up by yelling out of frustration, talking too harshly or being too abrupt with my boys when they were little. Those painful moments when their bright blue eyes would fill with tears and their lip quiver. I would apologize and ask for their forgiveness usually while I too was crying out of the shame of hurting them so. And that is what someone does who has empathy, and if someone is void of empathy I believe they are truly void of the Holy Spirit.

    My ex would just walk away from any of us that were reduced to tears….just walk away without any feelings of remorse or sympathy. How does a person do that?? How can a person be so full of anger and whatever else it is that they can actually just walk away from someone who they are supposed to love and protect and who is in obvious pain and heartache?? Still blows my mind how I stayed 20 years with someone like that.

    My wonderful, caring husband whom I’m blessed to have in my life now has never once said a harsh word to me and can tell immediately if I’m down or hurting. Ours is not a perfect marriage, but it is healthy, something I never thought was even real.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Amy – exactly right. You stated summarized and illustrated what we are saying here perfectly. And it is so good to hear that your story had a happy ending.

    • fiftyandfree

      Amy, your first sentence reminds me of something else about my ex and apologizing. Whenever I would apologize for anything he would use it against me! He would become very arrogant, self-righteous, and indignant with an attitude of “You’re damn right that you were wrong.” Or, “I told you that you were unstable, and there you go, you just admitted it.”

      It still blows my mind too that I stayed as long as I did. I’m happy that you are with someone who treats you well now.

    • Anewanon


      It is so heart-warming to hear that the second chance you received exists. Congratulations.

      I would defend him by saying, “but he was baptized, he reads his Bible, he goes to church, he attends the men’s Bible study group”….etc.

      I did that too, wanting to believe that I was missing something and he really was a Christian. Now-a-days, I personally feel like a bad woman for having such ill-feelings towards him. I almost need to have them though to be able to stay dark and not get entangled again. That is not who I wish to be, but it’s like I HAVE to in order to protect myself from his deception.

      As I said above, (to myself mostly) “Be careful of what you choose to love, for it WILL change you.”

      Again, congrats.

  9. Ellie

    George Simon writes about this in his books — how the person with a defective character is basically a person who hates to submit and who fight against any circumstance and any person who calls him to submit: God, moral teachers, the rule of law, civilized society, their spouse, their godly pastor, their father-in-law who is concerned for his daughter’s well-being….

    YES! THIS! This is it. He refuses Lordship. He doesn’t want anyone, even himself, to be the boss of him. He will say he wants something, like to wake up at a certain time, to stop looking at porn, to go to bed at a certain time, to spend time with his kids, but Heaven help me if I tried to help him achieve that goal. My attempts to make any of that happen were me being presumptuous and a manipulative ____. And that was me trying to help him do things HE wanted to do. Bottom line is he wants to do what he wants to do when he wants to do it and 5 minutes ago him has no business dictating anything to right now him.

  10. Kevin S

    I am really glad I found this blog. I was married to an abuser and a sociopath for ten years. Not only did I not realize what she was, but I allowed her to make me believe that it was my fault every time. I would be haunted by the ordeal and not able to sleep, eat, or concentrate. I would feel awful and blame myself even though I was the victim. She never lost any sleep. She never felt guilt. Not once in ten years.

  11. RL

    I have been reading this blog for a long time, but have never commented….until now.

    I am currently separated from my husband. We have been married for [over two decades]. We have [many] children, one of which has Down Syndrome. My husband is blind, and has perfected the role of “victim”. He was abusive even during our dating, though I did not recognize it as such at the time. Sadly, I did not recognize his behavior as such until a couple of years ago. We have been in marriage counseling with 4 different counselors, off and on for the last [over one decade], and only the most recent counselor named my husband as abusive. I had already come to that understanding, but when he said “you have suffered egregious abuse, for your entire dating and married life” it was like someone throwing me a lifeline. I WASN”T the crazy one.

    My husband was kind of a mix of both. For a long time, he would never apologize, repent, or say he was sorry. No matter what he did to me, it was always my fault. If I got upset over something he did, he always made it sound like I was the one with the problem. Somewhere along the line, he did start saying he was sorry. He would cry, write letters, make promises and commitments of change, take me to the altar to pray with him, etc. It became what I called his “get out of jail FREE card”. He would be sorry until he didn’t get what he wanted from me. He would say he was sorry, and when eventually I didn’t believe him anymore, he would yell at me for my sin of unforgiveness. He would tell me that I had to forgive him whether he asked for it or not, and whether he was sincere or not. If there were consequences due to his actions, then he would claim I was unforgiving or punishing him. Such as when I could no longer endure what I have since learned is marital rape, I refused to share a bedroom with him anymore.

    I was pregnant with my youngest child, and he had hurt me to the point that I thought I was bleeding. I just couldn’t do it anymore. I stood my ground, while he would rail at me for my sin. Telling me how wrong I was for punishing him. After all, he said he was sorry, and I was just bitter and unforgiving. I tried explaining to him that I wasn’t trying to punish him, but rather protect myself and my baby. He told me he didn’t believe that. For months we fought constantly….always the same….yelling at me for “cutting off his access”, that I was “sexually abusing him by denying him and not meeting his needs”, that when he “cheated on me it would be all my fault”, and he would snarl at me that my “body belongs to him and he can do whatever he wants with it”, and I have to give him his “due benevolence”. Then he started telling me that I was out of line with Scripture unless I was initiating sex.

    Near the end he employed both methods. Sometimes he would do things and then just ignore me. I was supposed to act like it didn’t happen. I had been advised by my Pastor to not address the issues, but rather pray and allow the Holy Spirit to work on him. I tried. I would wait, hours, days, or weeks sometimes. He got off on ignoring me. He would admit that he did it to punish me. Then of course, he had what I called “convenient amnesia”. He couldn’t deal with the issue because so much time had passed he could no longer remember what he had said or done. Other times, he would try the “I’m sorry” method. He would say the words, but that only lasted until he didn’t get the response he wanted from me. Quite often his apology went like this, “I’m sorry that I did “this or that”, but I didn’t do “whatever” because I knew you would do or think or be “whatever”.”

    My Pastor used to tell him in our counseling sessions that he had to do what was right regardless of what I did. That he was accountable to God for his actions and that his focus shouldn’t be on me, but rather on pleasing his Heavenly Father. My husband told me he didn’t care about that.

    He made me feel crazy. He made me feel like I was the one with the problem. Seeing both aspects covered in these comments has given me a clearer picture.

    [Paragraph breaks added to enhance readability. Details airbrushed for safety and protection. Editors.]

    • Dear RL, thank you so much for your story. Yes, you are not crazy. Yes, you have been egregiously, abused. And your pastor sounds like he didn’t have many clues about how to counsel victims of domestic abuse. It sounds to me like you have had incredible perseverance in seeking to maintain your dignity and integrity in the face of all that abuse and poor counsel. Maybe one day your pastor may read this blog and realize where he has made some mistakes, and learn how better to respond to domestic abuse.

      It is wonderful that you have become aware of the truth and are seeing things much more clearly. With all those children and one of them with Down’s, you must have your hands really full, and to have come to clarity about the abuse is a mighty big thing indeed. Well done, and I hope you keep sharing your journey with us. When I hear from new commenters like you who say they have been reading the blog for a while but now have decided to comment and share their stories, it warms the cockles of my heart. Thank you and ((( hugs))) from Barb.

  12. Anonymous

    RL – thanks for sharing your heart-breaking story here. I am glad that you are seeing the abuse that has / is happening to you. The more you read here, the more you will see, that the books are a great help to understanding abuse, protecting yourself from it, getting out of it, and what God says about divorce in cases of abuse. It will be healing and freeing to you. You will also find many here who have suffered “marital rape” or other forms of sexual abuse in marriage, who can relate to you. Healing is a long, long journey, but you will have a lot of support here as you make that journey.

  13. daddysdaughter2

    I am amazed and relieved, reading this particular post. I have been with you all for a few short weeks, but just now have read this post. It is so surreal to finally have people posting and blogging “one’s thought and conversations to trusted friend(s)”. It is so confirming and yet shocking at the same time!!! My thoughts are saying the truth that I actually was correct in my perceptions and I’m not crazy!

    I have wondered how 26 years of marriage was always about my repentance and getting the relationship reconciled. He never confesses or admits wrong-doing and never ever talks about his own sin. He does hold others accountable — no surprise on the double standard. I took a risk recently to ask him, and point out how he had exploded beyond reason over something small in conversation. My small, quiet request took him three days in which he verbally raged against me, using all sorts of aggressive tactics to threaten me. Then, he turned to our son to make sure I knew that “I had provoked him” and that our son was “backing him”. Twisted, twisted — everything becomes quickly convoluted.

    I am so grateful for the information from this site and Pastor Jeff’s sermons.

    You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free. [John 8:32 MEV]

    I want to connect with Kim: married 22 years and homeschool mom of 3 boys. My friend sent me her post and we agreed together how similar I am and my story to Kim’s. I am so grateful to The Lord for His people!

  14. Zeny

    Reading and re-reading this, along with so many other similar posts. Recently decided to pull the plug on a business relationship with a friend — business was OK but destructive patterns were emerging. My passive-aggressiveness (task hostility, procrastination) meeting her need to control (even when I should go to the office bathroom, or that I should have lunch with her and not my husband; displaying uncontrollable anger over my follow-ups on a task) and also lying. Several times I tried to find ways (even offering to foot the bill) for counseling / mediation. No go, many reasons (on her part).

    The day I told her we’d better part ways, to salvage the friendship, she still would not admit to any wrongdoing on her part, and just kept pointing to mine (which I admitted to and was working on, and openly asking other people for help with). I feel we should still meet one time, but pretty certain it will have to be with a mediator / counselor much older than both of us (she’s my senior), otherwise I’d be badgered into silence again (with torrents of words, angry looks, raised voice, etc.).

    The day after, she got on the “charm offensive,” messaging common friends she hadn’t been close to for some time.

    I’m struggling to forgive — at least, I’m certain I am called upon by the LORD to forgive, and stop fearing the person / hostility, but — am I correct here? — I’m not Biblically required to re-enter the deep level of relationship we had before, right? Reconciliation can mean forgiving, letting go of the need for revenge, being ready to help and pray for the person and wish her good, BUT I don’t have to work for the same level of depth as before, right? Or wrong? Would like to hear your thoughts. God bless you.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Zeny – you are indeed correct. Forgiveness does not necessitate reconciliation. And in this case reconciliation would be impossible, unhealthy, and would undo all of the good you are doing in your life to be free of the abuse. Press on!

    • twbtc

      Hi, Zeny.

      Welcome to the blog!

      As Pastor Crippen said, forgiveness doesn’t necessitate reconciliation. Here are a few links on forgiveness and reconciliation that you may find helpful. For more posts you can do a search using the search bar on the side menu. Just type in forgiveness or reconciliation.

      A much misunderstood passage about reconciliation — 2 Cor 5

      Christians are Very Confused About Forgiveness

      Reconciliation with an abuser is the twilight zone

      Thursday Thought — What is Forgiveness?

      The F word (forgiveness)

      Forgiveness with Boundaries — repost from Joe Pote’s blog

    • Hi, Zeny, welcome!
      I would like to offer you an idea. You labelled some of your behavior towards this business partner as:

      passive-aggressiveness (task hostility, procrastination)

      I would like to suggest to you that a better description might be that you were strategically resisting her abuse by putting off doing some business tasks. From the way you have written, I doubt that you character is actually ‘passive aggressive’. The term ‘passive aggression’ is much misunderstood and misused. We have learned this from Dr George Simon Jr’s books and blog articles. (You can find his blog in our Blog Roll, and his books in our Resources section).

      Abusers often use covert aggression but bystanders mis-label that as passive aggression. There is nothing passive about what abusers do: they do it all INTENTIONALLY. This post explains this in more depth. Covert aggression is not the same as passive aggression.

      But remember, I am not suggesting you used either covert aggression or passive aggression. I’m saying you were strategically resisting the abuse your partner was dishing out to you. 🙂

      • Zeny

        Hi again….thank you. May I just ask for your prayers….I still have fear of the person. Because very, very few people in our common circles have actually witnessed how bad it could get (tantrums, rages, lies). I am feeling depressed over the loss of the friendship, the closeness. But I am certainly not in a hurry to get close again — I fear being clobbered again, in a sense. Reading your suggested resources. Thank you so much. May God bless your ministry more.

      • Thanks, Zeny, I shall pray. 🙂

  15. Zeny

    Hi again. Revisiting this page as I’m pondering what to do next. The person I wrote about last year has now done the same things (abuse, gaslighting, refusal to admit any wrongdoing or mistake, stepping on several people’s toes, etc.) to a common friend who finally complained, asked my help / advice (I inhibited myself out of wanting to keep the peace — a big mistake? 😦 Said friend eventually just gave up, and is now seriously contemplating suing the person for a breach. Suddenly, the person is trying to befriend my other friends, one of whom consulted me first because she felt uncomfortable, too…. Should I warn others in our circles? I don’t want to be accused as a slanderer / gossip-monger (a lot of people still see her as a respectable spiritual leader) but I don’t want to either be cast as a villain (along with our other victimized friend) to unsuspecting potential supply / victims….fact when she felt she was about to be sued, she suddenly posted photos of herself on social media, undergoing some medical procedure for some serious whatever….and gaining tons of sympathetic messages. 😦 When will this end? I just want to be at peace.

  16. Anonymous

    My legal husband (physically separated) still denies he molested me – [date redacted]. My own son doesn’t believe me! I have a messed up life! But God is good!!!! I am saved!

    [For safety and protection, the date was redacted. Editors.]

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