A Cry For Justice

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

Do Abusers Attend the Same School?

The following is a really good insight from one of our readers.  We decided to put her comment and question in a blog post where we could all discuss her observation.  It should be interesting.  Many thanks to her.

Okay… I am reading your book and listening to some your sermons on The Religion of the Pharisees and Domestic Violence and Abuse.  I just don’t get it! How do all these abusive people have the same tactics? How do they know what to do? Do they all take a course on this somewhere. Read a book? Watch a video? I cannot reconcile this in my mind. They all sound exactly like my husband. How do they all know the same things to do to make others do what they want? How is it possible?

55 Comments

  1. Wow! What an insightful question! How can so many abusers from so many different backgrounds all use such similar tactics?

    I don’t pretend to fully understand it. However, I suspect the heart of the answer is revealed in Jesus’ words to the religious leaders of His day, recorded in John 8:44: “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

    They are each following their own nature…their sin nature…which they acquired from their father, the devil.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Exactly, Joe. This proves the Scripture is true. How else can these consistent thoughts and actions be explained except that they are coming from the same polluted fountain and master – the devil?

    • MeganC

      Ha! That verse was in my Scripture reading this morning, Joe! Thank you so so much for this insight! I think God is trying to tell me something this morning . . .

      • joepote01

        I just love when God does that! Confirming what He has told us through multiple sources…

    • Barnabasintraining

      I was just thinking the same thing Joe! 😀

      • Anonymous

        Exactly! Even the abusers who claim to be Christ’s, do not ever seem to truly lay down their lives for the sake of Christ’s Kingdom, surrendering themselves to Him; they want to claim Him and get their “fire insurance”, but they continue to do just as their “real father” does, abusing, lying and living however pleases themselves. I guess that really proves who they really belong to, because the Word doesn’t lie.

      • joepote01

        Anonymous – In the end, the tree is know by its fruit (Luke 6:44), isn’t it?

      • joepote01

        I appreciate you, BIT!

    • lynn

      Excellent response! I needed to be reminded of that scripture again, thanks.

      • joepote01

        Me too! Thanks, Lynn!

    • Gods Grace

      Thanks Joe, This message was well received.

  2. MeganC

    Oh my word . . . I was just thinking about this this morning. I received a letter from a beautiful survivor detailing some of the things her ex is doing to her. It almost sounds word-for-word what other survivors have told me and what my ex did . . . the blaming, the guilting, the using. All the same. It is like it is a “spirit of abuse” that is . . . really not that creative. And we’re onto that.

  3. granonine

    I agree with Joepote01. It comes from within the heart. Satan is the father of lies, and the lie doesn’t have to be different in each person’s heart. Another verse comes to mind: Jeremiah 17:9.”The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?”

    In my counseling work, I find I can quite accurately predict behaviors after the first or second session with someone because there are specific markers in human behavior that are consistent across gender, age, race, and nationality. Sin is sin wherever you find it.

    I’d also like to add that the behavior of victims of abuse is also consistent across all those lines. One of the first things an abuse victim has to do is to understand that it’s not her fault; that she is not responsible for his behavior; and that she has infinite value in God’s eyes.

    • lynn

      As a survivor I agree with you Granonine. Until I realized my worth in our Lord’s eyes I always believed it was me. Now I know I am not the reason for my spouse’s anger.

    • joepote01

      “One of the first things an abuse victim has to do is to understand that it’s not her fault; that she is not responsible for his behavior; and that she has infinite value in God’s eyes.”

      SO True!

  4. I agree that abusers use the tactics of the evil one, and his fingerprints are all over them. One thing I thought of, though, is how God takes what the enemy means for harm and uses it for good, because what is one of the most helpful and comforting thing that an abuse victim can experience? The feeling that she is not alone, that others have gone through what she has and have survived, and even had victory. When we tell our stories, other victims can see themselves in us and are reassured that yes, the abuse is real, and yes, there is a way out. The uniformity of abuse in all areas means that we can be supported, encouraged and lifted up by other survivors, that our stories make a huge difference, that we can have empathy for others because we really do understand. The enemy means for it to tear us apart, but God provides so that it binds us together to each other, even to His Son, Jesus, who also understands because of His own experiences. And there is tremendous healing in that. How neat is that? 🙂

    • Otter

      This is such a healing response! While I’ve also wondered the same question of WHY so many of us had to go through this horrible pattern (especially when the symptoms should be so obvious to counselors because it IS repeating), I also have to recognize that God has promised us to use this for good. It is the only consolation when you hit rock bottom and you just cry out, “Why? Why did I have to endure this heartbreak? Why did I have to love someone who treated me this way? Why God, couldn’t you have stopped my heart from being so shattered?” We have to return to the promise that we are loved, that God’s heart breaks with us in our grief, and that He will restore us and make good of every evil we endured if we trust in Him.

    • lynn

      Awesome! What a wonderful testimony ❤

    • AJ

      Experienced the miracle of that support this morning at breakfast with two inspiring, strong warrior women!! We were discussing this exact topic, how our husband followed the same script. One small example we have discovered is that we have all been reprimanded, chastised or experienced the anger of our spouse for not greeting them at the door in the proper manner. Too excited or not exuberant enough it was wrong. Until we shared these things with others we were not even aware that though this is common between us three, other people in non abusive relationships are shocked at the idea that we would “get in trouble” for not greeting our spouse as prescribed.

      Blessed by our common experience and blessed by others who can help us understand our normalized unhealth.

    • joepote01

      Kelly, I love your take on this! Yes, one of the enemy’s most debilitating lies is convincing us that we are all alone; that we are the only person in the world fighting this battle; that nobody else understands what we are going through or what we have been through.

      It’s all a lie.

      And you are so right! God uses the consistency of the enemies evil nature and tactics to show us we are not alone.

  5. I have often wondered if there was a secret class that abusers attend to give each other tips on how to torture their victims. In all seriousness, in my healing, I was amazed that other survivors could have written my story. It comforted me that I was not alone and that others truly could relate to the mental and physical torture inflicted by the abuser.
    I have scratched my head for years trying to make sense of the reason why my ex is still so mean. With hopes that something miraculous in his life will happen to change his treatment of me and our children, I have learned that there is one thing in common with all abusers-They choose to be mean. I have released the excuses that my ex’s father is mean, his mother is beaten down, his childhood was one filled with ridiculous religious teachings and beliefs. I am tired of making excuses for him to myself and our children. When I learned that it was not my fault he beat me, I started to try to diagnose why he was mean at all and I discovered that we have two choices in this world. God makes it this simple-Choose to be good or choose to be bad. Choose Me or choose Satan and each have specific rules on how to accomplish emulating them.
    When someone is choosing God(to be good) as their life’s mirror, they are seeking to help, heal, love and support themselves and others. With the set rules of goodness they embrace, hug, protect and love themselves and others. They strive to encourage others to seek God(good) without control-just love. Its not in their soul to hurt another. When someone chooses Satan(bad) the set rules are to harm, beat, destroy, discourage and control their victims. They lay in bed at night and scheme how can hurt the ones that don’t follow their demands and if the victim resists-they try to beat them into submission. Abusers follow the rules of bad and evil just a Christians follow the rules of Jesus Christ.
    Two choices but you cannot have both at the same time. You cannot make black with white. I remember years ago, while stationed at Fort Lenorwood, Mo. My oldest son had a friend named Zack. Zack was the son of the active Chaplin on post. While at my son’s 5th birthday party, the children were playing outside waiting for their parents to pick them up. Two of the boys got into a fight over a ball. One boy grab the ball and said-“Give it to me you a – – hole” right as his mother walked up. I sucked in my breath and the other children did as well. To my shock, the mother never said a word except to thank me for inviting her son. As she drove away, Zack looked at me and said-

    “Oh no-he has another black hole on his heart.” I asked Zack what he meant and he said-
    “Every time you do something that Jesus doesn’t like, the devil takes a crayon and colors a black circle on your heart. The devil likes to color on peoples hearts.”

    That has stayed with me and every time my ex husband cursed, yelled, surfed porn, lied and beat me I thought-“His heart is colored black”
    The ONLY way an abusers heart can be changed is when he chooses good over bad…God over Satan and the set rules commaned by both. It’s that simple.

    • Katy

      “His heart is colored black”
      I had this same thought over and over again, all those years. His heart is black.
      And they all use the same tactics because they are all little “satans”.

    • joepote01

      Wow! Powerful words from a young child!

  6. Heather 2

    All I know is what a counsellor friend taught me. There is a difference between sin and evil. We all sin and we been given a way to approach the throne of grace and mercy in confession and repentance. Evil, however, exalts in self, at the expense of others. There is no repentance…. Only ego and narcissism. Evil enjoys what it does on one level or another to hurt another.

    • That is so true Heather. What an awesome way to put it into words and I won’t forget what you wrote. It is so sad that some humans goals are to hurt others and after all these years of trying to make sense of the abuse, I am tired of hearing-“Well, was he abused as a child?” “Were his parents mean?” “Was he drinking or were you when he hit you?” and the speculation goes on from society to try to understand why the abuser is so angry. Bottom line-they choose to be. Making excuses for people that are just simply-evil (evil by their own free will) is a defense mechanism so we don’t have to face the reality that we are dealing with people that choose Satan over God. So many more of us have been through worse situations than abusers yet we don’t bring our fears or anger out on other people. I am done trying to understand why “they” abuse…Mean is mean. evil is evil and abuse is abuse-there are no excuses.

      • Heather 2

        You’re right, Catherine. It is a choice.
        So many hard lessons to learn. I was so blind!

    • Still Scared( but getting angry)

      Heather 2, I like that perspective…something to chew one for the next few days.

  7. Excellent post. As others have said, it is not that difficult. 1 John 5:19 says, “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.” Either we are God’s child or Satan’s and our repetitive choices (fruit) reflect who it is we belong to (or what school we are enrolled in: Good or Evil). As Heather 2 said, we all sin, but if someone’s whole operating system is bent on self, it would appear that this one has crossed the line into the world of evil and being under Satan’s control.

    A dear friend recently read the book of Esther and noted that Haman (evil) was consumed with destroying Mordecai (good). In my friend’s Bible margin, it reads “self-importance = doom!” and “authority in the wrong hand = disaster.”

    • Katy

      funny you should mention Haman, BSD — I have a post coming up soon that talks about this very thing. 🙂 Very validating!

  8. While I agree with all the comments so far, I’d like to add another reason why abusers can be so similar. It is pretty clear that some abusers, especially the more are learning from each other how to use the domestic violence laws and the family court system to maintain power over their victim.

    • So true Barbara. Some attorneys also enable abusers because they have greed for the money over the truth so abusers seek out the most ruthless attorneys that have a reputation of winning at any cost. My cause for divorce was very obvious especially because my 4 children witnessed the abuse for years. However, my attorney was a horrible litigator but she was all I could afford. I do believe my attorney was very intimidated by my ex’s and it showed in the court. My ex’s attorney later became a judge in Cumberland county, NC…how scary is that? She now gets to proceed over domestic violence and divorce battles. Its just seems anymore to be a battle over profit than a battle to punish the abuers.

      • Attorneys are almost always going to be in it for the money. That really is their job. Unlike pastors and judges, they are hired to take sides.

        My attorney was great, but she let me know that she would pull the gloves off if I wanted. I told her that I wasn’t interested in a fight and my goal wasn’t to punish my ex. She said sweetly that was great, but she let me know that if I ever wanted to get nasty, she could do that too. It’s no wonder that attorneys get a bad reputation. But she actually bent over backwards to be nice, even when my ex’s attorney made her angry.

        The irony is that my ex’s attorney was in it for more than just money- he had a cause. He sent my attorney a letter saying that my ex believed that the marriage was still salvageable and urged my attorney to tell me to consider reconciliation. My attorney told me that was highly unprofessional- that it wasn’t his place.

        And then he tried to go after money that my ex was in no way entitled to (an account that belonged to my mother, but I was a secondary on it in case she died- but I couldn’t even withdraw money from it) and pushed her to ask for alimony way beyond my means, even while she was to pay me very little in child support. Finally, my ex and I agreed on an amount in between what the attorneys were demanding, my attorney said “fine” while my ex’s sent a letter letting us know the deal was against his recommendation and basically he thought we were horrible people for doing it to her (I assure you, she did quite well- it was never my intention to give her a raw deal. My attorney hypothesized that the reason he was bent out if shape is that he is used to dealing with mothers who get custody and therefore get child support in addition to alimony. In my case, I am supporting my son in addition to myself and she is not supporting him with the money she gets from me).

        I know this is way off topic, but my point with all of this is that the attorney in it for the money was a lot better than the one in it for the cause. He made everything a lot more painful (and costly). And I don’t even think it was my ex who snowed him, but the elders at my previous church (the main one being the one who had been meeting with me weekly and knew all the intimate details- he thought she needed to ask for more alimony- almost 50% of my income even though he declined to help her out personally, suggesting that would be enabling me). Oh yeah, did I mention that my mother paid my ex’s rent for a year after the divorce (outside of the legal agreement)? Yet we were the ones go we’re so horrible to her.

        There are a whole lot of people in this world who think they know better who just make things worse. The one plus to my ex not being a fighter is that she was fairly easily to deal with- a luxury many who comment here did not have. If only the church had kept out if it things would have been far easier for everyone.

        I’ll take a hired gun over an ignorant person with a cause. However, an educated person with a cause would have been even better. Heaven help an abuse victim if an abuser were to hire the attorney I had. I absolutely believed she could have destroyed my ex if I’d told her to 😦

        Sorry that this has nothing to do with the originally topic here. I guess sometimes it helps to vent stuff like this.

      • joepote01

        Jeff S – Ignorance with a cause is a scary thing…only less scary than evil with a cause.

        I am so thankful that God see through both and has power over both!

  9. Lisa

    It is a surreal experience to me too that so many share these qualities. Dr Phil has just written a book about it called Life Code teaching us to look out for abusers and other destructive people. He said he was astounded at the lack of information among psychologists and professional counselors about how common this is. I have had counselors be astonished that I am, in their words, “surrounded by narcissists, and in my case, abusers as well” but I think about others I know and it is so common. What is sadly also common is denial by the families and so, I think, it is therefore swept under the rug and another generation is harmed and then many repeat the behaviors. Let’s help stop this NOW! It needs to be opened up by the church so we no longer tolerate these abusers to torment their families. Thank you for sharing this.

    • Leslie

      I literally asked this very question as well this morning… How is it possible that the abusers in our lives do and say, verbatim, the sane things. It’s astonishing and often a little creepy!
      I agree with the comments so far and appreciate Joe’s quick scripture reference. When I read scripture now, I can hear the same words of blame and distortion from Pharisees and more directly in satan himself when he was tempting Jesus in the desert. When you see how Satan twisted and turned scripture to tempt Jesus you see the tactics of an abuser So yes. The common element of all abusive behavior seems to be clearly the father of Lies.

      My head knows this, sees it but part of me really struggle with making the leap to then saying and seeing my abusive husband as ‘evil’. Maybe it’s because he’s the father of my kids and they are pretty amazing. I don’t know. I just still struggle with applying it personally.
      Which is likely why I’m not divorced yet 😦

      • fiftyandfree

        I have a friend who when asked, “Why do these men do these things?” responds, “They’re influenced by Satan.” I used to think, hmmm… really? But now I tend to agree with her. It was hard for me to accept that when I was still married because it was such a frightening prospect, but now that I’m divorced and free and no longer living in fear, it’s easier for me to see the truth. Like Jesus said, Satan is their (these abusers’) father. Scary. And yes, it’s hard to accept that the man who fathered your children is wicked. That used to terrify me and depress me, but I’ve come to understand thankfully that my children belong to the Lord. They were created by Him and they are His. I am entrusted with their care on this earth, but the Lord is their true Father and He will protect them and care for them. And of course they are amazing!!! They were created in the image of our Amazing God!!! Praise the Lord!!

      • joepote01

        Leslie, I fully understand, and was in a simialr situation for many years. Even today, I’m cautious in making statements or assumptions about the eternal spiritual destiny of the mother of my children and grandmother of my grandchildren.

        However, I am much more comfortable in saying that she has chosen evil behavior, knowing it is evil; that she is a masterful liar and manipulator; and that I have every reason to distrust her and no reason to trust her.

        God may, yet draw her to Himself…that would be a wonderful thing if He did. However, that is between her and God. I eventually reached a place of realizing I had done all I could and that I was not responsible for her salvation. She has all the necessary knowledge of Christ and His power to save…whether or not she chooses to accept the gift that is offered is between her and God…and God is a much better judge of the heart than I.

        Yes, there are some things we cannot know for certain and in which we should be cautious making categortical statements.

        However, for those areas where we can make specific statements based on knowledge and experience, we should make those statement, out loud…if only to a trusted friend or advisor. Because Truth (the sword of the Spirit) is the best weapon against a lie (Ephesians 6).

  10. Reblogged this on Speakingtruthinlove's Blog.

  11. It was funny for me to read the title of this article because on my blog, I joke about all spiritual abusers going to the CSAS (Creepy Spiritual Abuse School). All spiritual abusers seem to use the same control and abuse tactics over their people. Without going to any school myself, I’ve been able to discern patterns when people send me spiritual abuse stories, so I have no doubt that there are patterns that can be observed among abusers in domestic violence. I’ve corresponded with Jeff and Barb and marvel at how they both can easily spot signs of abuse. There is a lot of benefit in profiling people by their patterns of behavior. Once you see the pattern, it can really click and make sense which helps to validate your concerns.

    • joepote01

      CSAS…love it! 🙂

  12. Annie

    This post reminds me of something I once read in J. Herman’s Trauma and Recovery:
    ‘The methods that enable one human being to enslave another are remarkably consistent. The accounts of hostages, political prisoners, and survivors of concentration camps from every corner of the globe have an uncanny sameness. Drawing upon the testimony of political prisoners from widely differing cultures, Amnesty International in 1973 published a “chart of coercion,” describing these methods in detail…Those same techniques are used to subjugate women, in prostitution, in pornography, and in the home…Even in domestic situations, where the batterer is not part of any larger organization and has had no formal instruction in these techniques, he seems time and again to reinvent them. The psychologist Lenore Walker, in her study of battered women, observed that the abusers’ coercive techniques, “although unique for each individual, were still remarkably similar.”..’ Looks like this phenomenon has been observed and studied over many years and across many cultures.

    • joepote01

      How interesting! Abuse takes so many forms…yet has so many similarities in every situation…

  13. As I See It Only

    This begins to answer the question of “Why didn’t you just leave?’ We become attached, bonded to our abusers. We develop Stockholm Syndrome. This is one of the enemy’s schemes to keep us in bondage. Thank God for brothers and sisters who have been freed from that bondage and who go back to free others.

    • joepote01

      Yes, anyone who asks, “Why didn’t you just leave?” has a very poor understanding of abusive relationships. The abuser relies heavily on deception, manipulation, guilt, hope, twisted realities, etc. Barbara often describes it as a fog…and that is, indeed, a good description.

      It is SO important to learn to accurately and confidently name evil for what it is!

    • Not Too Late

      I go so far as to say that not only do some victims develop Stockholm Syndrome, but that being a devoted Christian woman (and to some extent, man) in an abusive marriage is a guarantee of developing Stockholm Syndrome, because Stockholm Syndrome depends on the condition of not being able to escape. Since women in church are taught never to consider divorce, they have no escape. Those who are not as committed as believers will probably not develop Stockholm Syndrome, since they are unlikely to have embraced the doctrine of permanence of marriage. They are viewed as the more immature or rebellious types, but in reality, they suffer less long term psychological damage.

      • Heather 2

        I have really had to think this one through in my own life. NTL, in my case I was in my twenties when my husband had his first affair and was willing to leave me and our two young children. I was a fairly new believer and living my life in submission to the Lord. When this happened to me I was devastated and drew even closer to God. I read everything in my bible that spoke of marriage. I prayed constantly. I protected my children. It was by far the most difficult thing I had been called to do. I also knew that I loved my husband and wanted our marriage to be healthy. I was aware that I would be allowed a divorce as a believer, but I so wanted a miracle. Young, stay at home mom, I had to choose between divorcing him and going to live with my abuser mother, or remain and try to convince him to stay with us. My fears were stronger than what would have been the prudent thing to do. Everything is so complicated, isn’t it? Anyway, I believe I chose to stay because I feared leaving him more. Fear of the future, living with another abuser, child custody arrangements, etc….

        The mind is a very curious thing. We can talk ourselves into believing many things. I believed that I loved my husband. I believed that it was better with him than without him. I believed God for an unrealistic miracle. I was wrong to stay, thirty years later as I look back.
        As the years progressed and he stayed with us, there were other relationships and then the revelations came…..the covert aggression, the way he always had to be seen as the good guy, the good parent, etc. I finally got out, and because of my strong christian beliefs the guilt has been huge. The triggers cause such damage that often has taken me days to get over.

        I would never counsel a woman to stay. As we have seen before, reconciliation is only possible if the abuser truly repents. None of us really knows that. And because we find it difficult, if not impossible, to trust them again we end up just treading water and believing the lies we tell ourselves.

        Here are the things that I have learned from my own experience:

        Actions need to back up words

        Quiet does not mean good

        Forgiveness does not mean reconciliation

        This is what I have yet to learn:

        They don’t think the way normal people do

        They don’t feel the way normal people feel

        Trust your gut and be willing to face your fears

        I hope and pray to one day find complete healing. I am encouraged by others here who are finding peace in the Lord and that their hearts are being healed.

    • It’s so frustrating to hear “Why didn’t you leave?”, though it’s a healthy question to explore.

      To this day I still feel like the reason I didn’t leave was because I was trusting the leadership of my church. It wasn’t really a connection I felt to my ex, but the only way I thought I could honor Jesus.

      I’ve had this question posed to me by my therapist and some other folks who had a clear view on the outside (who were not hindered by the teaching of the church), and they often tell me that saying it was the teaching of the church is passing the buck. I don’t (yet) accept that. They tell me I need to own my poor decisions (so as not to make them again in the future- none of these folks give me ANY blame, lest it come across that way) and that the decision to stay was mine, not my church. I think those folks simply do not understand that standing against the church is a huge deal to a committed believer.

      Whatever I’ve been told about my insecurities and such, I believe that that the root of my poor decisions was trusting the church. And that leaves me in a tough place- I have to be more intelligent about what I trust my church FOR now, and that is a scary thing. It was much easier to say “tell me what to believe and how to behave and I’ll do it”, squashing down any misgivings I had. Now I DO listen to my conscience, and that feels wrong. Like I’m being a wishy-washy Christian blown by the wind.

      For me, some of the biggest fallout of all of this is trying to figure out how to trust people and what to trust them for- including myself. It’s painful and challenging, but in the end what I was doing before wasn’t healthy so I’m glad I’m not just blindly trusting anymore. I’m a better person. But man, there is a lot of preaching and teaching in the church that makes it seem like not being obedient to the teaching of the church (even though with their lips they will say to obey only Christ) is being self-serving and idolatrous.

      • joepote01

        Jeff S – For me it ran a bit deeper than simply trusting the leadership of my church. I stayed and continued to pour my heart, my emotions and myself into that relationship, because I was convinced that was pleasing to God. I remember talking to my pastor, at one point, and saying, “Yes, I know that divorce is permissible in my situation. But I’m not interested in what’s permissible. My heart’s desire is to pursue God’s best. I don’t want to meet God’s minimum requirements. I want to do what pleases Him. I want what’s best for my family and my children, and what’s best is what pleases God most.”

        The issues I faced had to do with my understanding of scripture based on many years of attending evangelical churches and listening to many sermons on marriage and divorce…many years of hearing men I trusted as a child making authoritative statements such as “God hates divorce!” “Divorce happens because you make it an option!” and The word ‘Divorce’ should not even be in a Christian’s vocabulary!”

        Eventually, that marriage did end in divorce. Through that experience God has given me a better understanding of His heart, and a better understanding of scriptural teaching on marriage and divorce…and on covenant and redemption.

        Our Redeemer lives! And He is still in the business of redeeming His children from covenants of abusive bondage!

      • I’m not interested in what’s permissible. My heart’s desire is to pursue God’s best. I don’t want to meet God’s minimum requirements. I want to do what pleases Him. I want what’s best for my family and my children, and what’s best is what pleases God most.

        Oh Joe, you’ve put it in a nutshell! That’s how so many of us have thought.

      • Joe, the way you describe it is where I was. I always thought to myself that even if divorce were permissible, I would never do it. I arrogantly thought I could handle even an affair if it came to that. Maybe I could have- I don’t know.

        I got knocked from a very high horse.

        But at the end of the day, I stuck around because I believed the lies about what was pleasing to God. And maybe that sounds too much like I am passing the buck. Maybe I am (as my therapist has told me); it just seems like a great injustice to feel like I am to blame for doing exactly what I was told. But maybe that’s part of the point I need to learn. I’m still working out “authority” in the church and my own ability to trust myself.

        I’m going trough a class at church that is studying the WCF. In this class, all views are open for discussion and it’s been overwhelming actually having the freedoms to voice a dissenting position on a point of theology. Quite frankly, it’s scary but the group has been very warm and encouraging. Right now, that is something I need more than anything.

      • Still Scared( but getting angry)

        Jeff, thank you for what you shared here. Just so true in many aspects and Joe, yes, I want to do what is best and serve my Lord to the best of my ability.

      • Barnabasintraining

        Jeff S,

        You don’t sound to me like you’re passing the buck. You sound more like you’re sifting through stuff trying to gain understanding and assess what to keep, what to toss, and why.

      • joepote01

        Barbara – Thank you! Of course, the real breakthrough was in coming to understand that sometimes divorce is God’s perfect will for a given situation. Recognizing that fundamental truth required a significant change in perspective from what I learned as a child, of God’s heart toward marriage and divorce.

      • joepote01

        Jeff S – “Why did you stay so long?” “Why didn’t you try harder and stay longer?” I see these as two sides of the same coin.

        God knows why I did what I did. God knows what He taught me through that process.

        It no longer matters how long, or how hard, or for what reasons.

        What matters is that God redeemed me from that marriage that had become a covenant of abusive bondage…and in that redemption process, He gave me a clearer view of His heart of grace and love.

  14. Not Too Late

    Heather 2,

    That was an insightful post; thanks! The things you have learned are similar to mine, and the same goes for the things you have yet to learn!! 🙂

    What you said about fearing leaving more than staying seems to me to be a part of that no-escape scenario. That was not much of a choice – leave him and go to another abuser? Leave him and crumble to pieces with financial ruin? No real alternatives there.

    I hope and pray too, to find a recovery that more than compensates for the wounds inflicted by abuse. Evil may affect us, but grace that over-compensates that evil is ours, courtesy of our Father in Heaven!

Leave a comment. It's ok to use a made up name (e.g Anon37). For safety tips read 'New Users Info' (top menu). Tick the box if you want to be notified of new comments.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: