A Cry For Justice

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

The Devilish Nature of the Abuser – He is the Accuser

Revelation 12:9-10 And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world–he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.  And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.

Deviled ham. Deviled eggs. You little devil. When we use the word “devil” in these ways, we don’t really mean that the ham or the eggs or the child is literally of the devil. In fact, when it comes to the “little devil” child, we actually mean he’s kind of cute.  “Why, you little devil!” after he has raided the last of the cookies.

But here, I want to talk about the abuser as devil. And as I do, I in fact mean that the abuser is a literal child of the devil who shares in his diabolic father’s nature and uses tactics that Satan himself uses. Specifically, I want to talk about the abuser as accuser and how this trait truly does reveal that abuse is satanic. [Note: Of course every person born into this world is dead in sin and a child of wrath.  See Ephesians 2 for example. But the abuser operates in a manner that is particularly and classically satanic. He murders. He accuses]

John 8:44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

We all know that abusers are never, never, ever wrong. Even if they admit some kind of “mistake” it will be a halfway admission disguised as a full one. Now, in order to deflect blame from themselves, abusers accuse. Call it blaming or guilting, it is the same thing. Accusation of the innocent. Not only does accusing the victim turn blame away from the accuser, it serves as a powerful means of control. When we are accused, when we feel guilty and when we doubt ourselves, we are weak. We don’t see clearly. We believe what is said about us instead of being able to see things as they really are. Accusation, we say again, is a very, very powerful tool. Accusation is used by bullies, by false religious leaders, by political tyrants, all designed to shame and control.

Recently you may have watched the Dr. Phil show about Renee Kopp and her ex-husband/abuser Kirby. He is the one who hit her “for her own good” with a wooden paddle. As Dr. Phil interviewed him, Kirby exhibited the classic abuser trait of accusation. He is hitting Renee, but she is to blame. He abused the children, but she is to blame. And what is very interesting about Kirby’s accusations is how remarkably quickly he is able to spew out those accusations, twisting the facts in order to accuse Renee. I mean, he can vomit out these accusations without even thinking about it. It is who he is. It is what he does.

If you have experienced this kind of thing directed at you, you know what I am talking about. If you haven’t, it is hard for those of us who have been targeted by the abuser accuser to explain its dynamic to you. The accuser is never wrong. No matter what has happened and no matter how obvious it is to everyone else that he is wrong, he will accuse instead of confess. And his accusations many times take a virtual bizarre and ridiculous form. One very common example of this kind of accusation is when I have pointed out to such a person that they did an abusive thing at such and such a time to specific people who I named. Those other people all witnessed the abuser abusing. And the response? “You made me do it!”

As I said, this is a very difficult thing to describe – this tactic of accusation. Because you feel it as much as you see it, and the feelings are hard to explain. The accusations spew out of the abuser so smoothly and so naturally and with such apparent certainty that even people who witnessed the abusive event start feeling doubts about what they saw and heard. And the victim, when accused by such a person, starts feeling badly about themselves. You start to feel guilt which, objectively, is not yours at all.

When you confront the abuser accuser, you will soon realize that you could go on confronting him for hours and hours and hours and it will do no good. He will just keep deflecting the truth and fire off accusations at you. And if he starts to run out of more current examples of your guilt, he will start pulling them out of your past. I wore the guilt of such accusations more than once before I woke up to the nature of the abuser and realized that not only was I not guilty of the accusations, the events that I was supposedly accused of never even took place! The abuser was citing fiction.

Whenever a person repeatedly accuses you, you can know that they have selected you as a target to be brought under their evil control for their own selfish purposes to which they insist they are entitled to carry out. Real friends do not accuse you. People who love us do not level accusations against us. They do not watch us with a motive of looking for accusatory cannon fodder. The devil does. And so do his servants. He is by nature a murderer, a liar, and an accuser of the righteous. So are his children.

* * *

Addit — we also recommend this post at Spiritual Sounding Board, that deals with so-called ‘Domestic Discipline’:

The Christian Patriarchy Movement’s Dark Secret of Wife Spanking 

 

82 Comments

  1. Suzanne

    Wow. This is the best, most succinct explanation of abuse, abusers, and the effects of abuse that I’ve ever heard or read. I especially agree with calling abusers what they are: children of the devil. It’s the term I use most often when speaking about narcissists. My life is in this one article. Passing it on.

  2. Brenda R

    Pastor Jeff, Thank you for this post. It reaffirms what I already knew, my accuser/abuser was then and still is using Satan’s tactics. I can totally relate to this demeaning tactic. When I no longer allowed him to blame shift his accusations to me, then he made my daughters the blame. He made it clear that I could not think for myself and since it “wasn’t his fault” someone had to be the blame.

    If I didn’t want to have intimate relations with a man who was accusing me of having other men, it became more obvious to him, and only him, that he was right. He accused me of spending all of his money after he had spent hundreds of dollars at the casino, cigarettes and whatever else he decided he was entitled to. I also worked 40 hour weeks during the entire marriage.. Out of the 22 years that we were together I brought in more than he did for 19 of those years, but it was all his in his mind. I died a little more each day. I was beginning to believe his lives. I must have been doing something wrong or he wouldn’t behave this way.

    Praise the Lord that he doesn’t accuse me for the ending of this “marriage?”. He loves me anyways. He has blessed me through it all. Now I live a little more each day!!

  3. BeginHealing

    When you confront the abuser accuser, you will soon realize that you could go on confronting him for hours and hours and hours and it will do no good. He will just keep deflecting the truth and fire off accusations at you. And if he starts to run out of more current examples of your guilt, he will start pulling them out of your past.

    I love this!

    I was speaking with a co-worker of my husbands this weekend. She was shocked to hear the truth that he was the one that asked me for a divorce and the horrific timing of his request (in the middle of an escalating health scare). She said she had spoken to him at a company picnic and he was clearly painting himself as the victim. She lovingly reassured me that she never really bought what he was saying. I am learning more and more that there are people that can see through his act. As much as this conversation with her frustrated me it also affirmed that I am on the right path in leaving him. Again, thank you Jeff for speaking into my life so clearly when I needed to hear it when you said, “proceed as though he is not going to change. This will be the safest path for you.” I have been so blessed by your strength and insight. I was so broken and scared at that moment in my life. I couldn’t see through the fog yet but I felt the pull to get out. Your words gave me a tangible direction. It was not, and is not easy but walking in the truth with dignity has been empowering.

    I am meeting with my lawyer today and filing with the courts. Please pray for me as I am certain that my h will escalate his covert attacks.

    • Brenda R

      BH, I will pray for you. I know what a big step this is for you.

    • Seeing Clearly

      BeginHealing, I do wish that divorce lawyers were educated on the slimey tactics of the abuser during the divorce proceedings. While their job is to move the abused through a legal process, the process becomes lengthy, costly, and emotionally challenging for their client. N-abusers are so slick and deceptive to the untrained eye.

      One of my prayers for you is that your legal process will stay on track and move quickly. Pay attention to the red flags, you will see them, your attorney may not, and don’t be intimidated. Speak up and hold your ground.

      Jeff is correct, ‘this is the safest path for you’.

  4. joepote01

    People who love us do not level accusations against us. They do not watch us with a motive of looking for accusatory cannon fodder. The devil does. And so do his servants. He is by nature a murderer, a liar, and an accuser of the righteous. So are his children.

    Yes! Jesus states this so clearly in John 8.

    False accusations and manipulaitve lies are of the devil.

    Thank you, Jeff, for so clearly stating this!

  5. Valerie

    Yes! What strikes me as I read this is somehow we have been taught that bad will be so clear to distinguish from good. That people who operate on this level will be as easy to recognize as it would be to recognize taking money out of a cashier’s drawer is wrong. Somewhere along the line it just seems people have been trained to believe it will be black and white.

    Scripture talks of the sin of blasphemy against God, stealing, orgies, drunkenness and we walk away from hearing these truths by saying we would never engage in those things so…whew….check, check, check…we’re good. We think we know what to spot in ourselves and others.

    We teach children that while candy and puppies are good it is NOT good to accept these from strangers. As adults we know that these are specifically used to lure because we know they are effective. For a child there is no “bad” in them so they have to be taught there can be.

    Not wanting to stray too far off topic but when the abuser accuses it is a form of manipulation. They launch preemptive strikes. They begin by telling you what is right and acceptable. They set up scenarios in which the only normal response is to employ what they have already deemed wrong and unacceptable. That’s an example where this comes into play: “When we are accused, when we feel guilty and when we doubt ourselves, we are weak. We don’t see clearly. We believe what is said about us instead of being able to see things as they really are.” We are in a weakened state from having their “logic” buried into our subconscious to we start off weak in our reasoning. They set it up so they often don’t even have to accuse us outright….they can simply bury the guilt and responsibility of blame within us to we do it to ourselves.

    • T.B.

      Wow, I need to think about your comment more:

      We are in a weakened state from having their “logic” buried into our subconscious we start off weak in our reasoning. They set it up so they often don’t even have to accuse us outright….they can simply bury the guilt and responsibility of blame within us we do it to ourselves.

      There is something in there for me.

      I was told early on by my husband in my almost 27-year marriage that my husband’s logic was far superior to mine and that I should not even bother debating with him as he said he would always win. That burned me as I knew I was a smart gal and never doubted that fact. But after years of living with someone like that, their way of thinking does start to trump your own, such that you really don’t know “what” you think anymore. I now question everything and always ask others “What do you think?” just to measure if I am thinking correctly or not. I don’t trust my own judgement or decisions anymore. Even leaving him has given me great anxiety because I had to make a decision and it would be one that I am personally responsible for and that I own completely and individually. I know God understands, but I still question myself and constantly look over my shoulder for my (ex)husband’s approval for what I chose to do on my own…approval I know I will never get.

      Good food for thought. This helps me. Thank you.

  6. jaime

    Excellent Post!

    Most people have a functiong inner voice that is willing to admit wrong and own up, at some level, to responsibility. This conscience is good! It should be the norm because God put it there. Sadly the words conscience and abuser would seem to be an oxymoron.

    This is one of the dilemas many victims face. No matter how one-sided the offense of abuse they are subjected to, they are willing to own up to any area that they just might have failed in, and take responsibility for that. The abuser knows this and exploits it to deflect the blame he alone deserves. However the abuser never responds to his own conscience in this way. Probably because he has chosen to ignore it and refuses to listen to it. He has probably seared his own conscience like some people who put a piece of tape over a “Check Engine” light in their car or like people who unplug the battery of the smoke alarm in their home.

    Sadly, too many Christians and Christian leaders in their ignorance of the tactics and nature of abusers, aide and abet the abuser’s attacks on victims by telling them that, “well we all sin, have sin, etc.!” And in the same way that Job’s counselors kept insisting that he must have done something wrong to bring God’s punishment in his life, “well meaning but theologically myopic Christians” join with the devil heaping accusations on the weakened, oppressed victims that need help and rescuing. Together with satan and Job’s counselors, they “obstruct (darken counsel)” truth and oppress the needy, the weak, the downtrodden.

    • Anonymous100

      Hi Jamie,

      Thank you for sharing this insight:

      No matter how one-sided the offense of abuse they are subjected to, they are willing to own up to any area that they just might have failed in, and take responsibility for that. The abuser knows this and exploits it to deflect the blame he alone deserves.

      I think this is why my abuser asked for counseling sessions so readily. That and to get some “authority” figure to press me do what he wanted.

  7. Rose

    Great timing on this article. My abuser husband was spewing loads of accusation against me. I think that if I had pressed charges at one time, which I unfortunately didn’t, it would have been the right response to his behavior. It might could have woken him up to his behavior. He’s definitely not learning. Probably wouldn’t have learned even if I did that. I need deliverance.

  8. T.B.

    I have been under accusatory attack since I left my husband earlier this year. I have been called a hypocrite because I still attend church. My husband even awoke one morning and emailed me (on a church day) that the Lord had told him in a dream that my worship was a stench in the Lord’s nostrils. My husband told me I would be severely punished by the Lord for leaving and said I was dishonoring God by dishonoring my husband because I left. My husband says God told him to warn me and said God would not be mocked.

    I was married to a man who could take anything I said and twist it so that it made me walk away thinking I was wrong and he was right. Even things he said about others that didn’t pertain to me that seemed very cold and unloving could sound very justified and logical. He could verbally rake someone over the coals, and even though in my heart it sounded so cold and wrong, I could walk away in my mind saying, “Wow, I guess he’s right.” But my spirit would be crying out from inside with verses like, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” There was NO love in the stuff he said. That’s what made it so confusing.

    My question is this (as that is what I do…I question everything after being married to a man like this because I have a hunger and thirst for the truth): Am I not also “accusing” my husband when I call him on his verbal abuse? The definition of accuse is: to charge someone with an offense or crime; to claim that someone has done something wrong. My accusation to me is true and fitting. But his accusations are not true…that God does not accept my worship, that I am not worthy to worship God because I left my husband.

    If I said to my husband that he “accuses” me, he would say that I do the same by calling him out on (accusing him of) his abuse. When I speak to him (and I have to be careful about it now as he is completely walled off and will use everything I say against me), and remind him of why I left (years of yelling, ranting, verbal tirades and more), he will always go to the “you did it, too” card. Because I participated in the dysfunction for so many years, he holds me equally responsible for the times I was drawn in because of being provoked and because of feeling the need to defend myself.

    So when we call out the abuser on his abuse, are we not also accusers?

    Thanks for reading and I hope someone responds to my question.

    • Anonymous100

      T.B.,
      An accusation is a lie. You are stating a truth; he abuses you. You are not accusing.

    • joepote01

      T.B. – There is a huge difference between proclaiming the truth and proclaiming false accusations.

      Jesus boldly called out the Jewish leaders of His day, for their lies and false accusations. That cannot be reasonably compared to their false accusations against Him.

      Blessings to you!

    • Brenda R

      TB
      So when we call out the abuser on his abuse, are we not also accusers?

      I believe there is a difference between making false statements and pointing out fact. I do believe it is best not to bring these things up during the heat of the moment. If you attempt to discuss issues and he will make it into a shouting match, then you may as well not speak any further. Shouting back and forth never solved anything. An abuser is not going to take any responsibility for his actions. Speaking truth is loving and can be uplifting for the person who needs to see their sin. Speaking truth and accusing–2 different things all together.

      • Seeing Clearly

        TB, When an email from an abuser pops up, we have at least 2 choices; 1) open it and open ourselves to a lengthy period of time in confusion and emotional drain, 2) send it directly to Spam.

        I had two family members present when I told my N abuser that I was filing for divorce. He responded with an accusing question that I did not answer. Instead, I made an unwavering statement. I told him that I would never meet with him alone during the divorce process, but that a 3rd person must always be present. Per usual, no one tells him what to do, so we didn’t meet and talk much. This reduced the amount of stress and triggers in my life. Albeit, in the divorce process, there is stress enough.

        I don’t intend to sound harsh with these words. I just found that the more matter-of-fact I was, the harder it was for him to ensnare me with confusion.

      • Brenda R

        Seeing Clearly, You are a strong woman. I found it difficult to not be ensnared for the first few months. Barb told me “No Contact” until it sunk in. I am thankful she was here. Thanks, Barb. Now after 16 months I get a text every couple of weeks with a whiny sentence telling me how miserable he is, (I think to myself: I’m not anymore), that I do not respond to. He may be miserable, but I really doubt it, unless, perhaps he hasn’t found anyone else that he can abuse. That might make him miserable. Divorce wasn’t easy, but life has gotten so much better.

    • So when we call out the abuser on his abuse, are we not also accusers?

      No we are not. [correction: yes we are accusers, BUT ] There is a difference between an unjust accusation and a justified accusation.

      An accusation is justified when the person being accused has merited that accusation by his behavior. The police justly accuse a person of a crime when they are confident that a crime has been committed. A parent or teacher justly accuses a child of misbehavior when they are confident that the child has misbehaved. A spouse may justly accuse his or her partner of misbehavior in the same way as a teacher or parent justly accuses a misbehaving child.

      The abuser, when justly accused in this way, often claims that he is being abused and unjustly accused. This is a tactic of fighting: he fights against having to take responsibility for his bad behavior. Spouting false accusations against his accuser is one of the most effective tactics of fighting because it puts the (naive) accuser on the back foot and causes her to doubt herself and thus back down. It also distracts attention from the justified accusation. And it makes the situation start to look like a mutually level playing field where two equals are fighting.

      If the abuser can cast the target’s (true) accusations as *fighting* then it’s easier to (falsely) claim that his spouse (his target-victim) is *abusing* him.

      As well as understanding this in the fighting paradigm, we can understand that within a given abuser’s mind, he may actually (kind of, sort of) believe that he IS being abused. How can this be? We need to remember that his belief that he is being abused is based on a lie, a false presumption of personal superiority and entitlement — like all his other core beliefs are.

      An abuser holds the bedrock belief that he is a superior being who entitled to special privileges including but not limited to the right to be lazy about his personal responsibilities and to let /force others to pick up the slack; the right control a woman; and the right to falsely accuse his target in order to intimidate her. If the target tells him (quite justly) that he is abusing her, by his lights she is “abusing” him because in making that accusation she is attacking his core belief system — his conviction that he is entitled to have power over her because he is superior.

      But there is nothing wrong in telling someone their core beliefs are wrong — that they are based on a tissue of lies, and that the wrongful behavior which is the outgrowth of those core beliefs is wrong and unjust and immoral and hurtful. That is a just accusation to make, when it is true. 🙂

      • Still Scared but you can call me Cindy

        Oh, oh, this spoke to me!! This is such truth. “We need to remember that his belief that he is being abused is based on a lie, a false presumption of personal superiority and entitlement — like all his other core beliefs are.”

        Exactly my ex-idiot. He believes it. I just saw a list of how to tell someone is lying, it doesn’t work with the ex-diot because he believes what he is saying. He has so deceived himself and twisted everything.

  9. soldiergirl

    He sounds like my abuser! So sure of himself and never seems to be short of allies . ..
    He probably has developed a fine group of enabling so called Christians that will blindly support him.
    How horrible for him to make such a false statement about your worship and how Gods sees it! It just shows how desperate he is to keep you in the FOG.
    Remember that God is for us he is not against us..
    Your abuser is trying to make you think he knows the mind of God..
    Cant you just hear the lying serpent saying ” Hath God Said?.. Surly Not”
    What a manipulator he is showing himself to be.
    My abuser use to say that God gave him visions that we are to start a fresh marriage and that I should just put myself in Gods hands and trust him again.. ( after 3 decades, Really?)
    He would say all kinds of things as if God was speaking directly to me through him.
    But didn’t Jesus tell us that we will know the type of tree we are dealing with by its fruits?
    A good tree bears good fruit, and a bad tree bears bad fruit?
    Your abusers plan-(The snare /bait) is to get you to share in the blame of the problem that is his to own,.. and..If he can get you to share the blame so he can justify couples counseling and both be “worked on” and maintain his hold and ( control ) over you. .
    But this is a lie and you must not fall for it..
    Maintain your truth, knowing that you have supporters here and the spirit of truth within you. .
    It is never easy to confront your Abuser when first coming out of the FOG.
    They will get angry and abusive, and it could be that you may Need true christian support and reinforcement with you- to safely do such a thing..
    But my abuser was never physically abusive because of his fear of the law, so i Knew he would put on a outrage act at such a accusation. But he soon admitted many days later that “the Gig was up”, Although true to his nature just like Pharaoh he later recanted …
    My prayers and support are with you..

  10. Psalm 37

    The accusations have most wickedly been used by the abuser in court to “prove” I am guilty of that parental alienation nonsense. I have an atrocious judge who believes the sociopath and has scolded and threatened me because of his lies. This evil comes from the same devil in the Bible, and God is the same powerful God, so why doesn’t He destroy this constant threat in my life?

    • Psalm 37, I can’t answer your question about why God doesn’t destroy that constant threat in your life (the atrocious judge and the way your abuser is manipulating him to the hilt. . . )
      But I do know that God will be storing up a cup of wrath for each of those men, and it will be delivered someday.

      I wish we could deliver you! I wish I knew why you are not yet delivered. But I don’t. All I know is that justice will be all done perfectly in the end.

      sitting with you . . . praying for you

      Maybe one day when the voices of survivors and advocates get loud and populous enough, the justice system will be forced to reform and judges will not be able to do these heinous things.

    • Not Too Late

      I’ve asked the same question myself. But lately, I’ve been thinking….justice is coming. Recompense is coming. Judgement is coming. It may be slow, but it’s definitely coming. How can I be so sure, one may ask. Well, I’ve tried stopping time, but so far it hasn’t worked. So either tomorrow, or in fifty years’ time, or sometime in between, the sociopath will meet his Maker!

  11. Anonymous100

    When I confronted my abuser about abusing me he said, “And what do you call this?! You’re abusing me right now.” I said, “I am not abusing you, I call this,
    sticking up for myself.”

    • StandsWithAFist

      You go, girlfriend!! No, wait—that’s wrong. You go, soldier! You go, Saint! You go, sister of God! YOU GO!

    • Isaiah40:31

      Anonymous100 said, “When I confronted my abuser about abusing me he said, “And what do you call this?! You’re abusing me right now.”

      Oh my goodness! My ex said the exact same thing! (But I didn’t know how to respond. I was still so scared and hadn’t left him yet.)

      This was a great article. I learn so much here! Thank you to all who contribute!!

  12. StandsWithAFist

    My “accuser-abuser” actually said, “stop using the word repentance!”. This was when she was demanding to be forgiven, but refusing to change. Imagine that! She may as well have said: “Forgive me, right NOW…so I can get back to the business of abusing you!!” If that doesn’t sound like the voice of the enemy, then tell me what does.

    • Brenda R

      StandsWithAFist,

      “Forgive me, right NOW…so I can get back to the business of abusing you!!”

      I would like to know what planet this person comes from. This is definitely the voice of the enemy.

      • Yes, it is. The voice of darkness, with whom we have no fellowship. I will follow the Light !

    • StandsWithAFist, that is a very pithy observation!
      That abuser let her evil heart come right out of her mouth that day, didn’t she!
      “Stop using the word repentance!” — she was giving you an order.

      But when she stands before the Lord God on his judgement seat, she will look very foolish. . . and then terrified . . . if she starts ordering Him to stop using the word repentance! And she won’t have any chance to repent then: it will be too late for her.

      • StandsWithAFist

        I so agree! Jesus spoke often of true repentance, yet she is telling me to shut up! With the help of this site, I am learning “abuser-ese”, and the more she says the more evil she reveals. It’s amazing how much they reveal when they think you don’t get it: the lists, the non-apologies, the blame-shifting, the demands, the pity parties (she throws those a lot), the lack of empathy, the self-absorption, playing the victim, playing the saint. But the demand to “stop using the word repentance” was quite the eye-opener….as tho Satan himself was speaking. The devil won’t repent, the devil is never wrong, the devil is the accuser….and on the day of judgement it will be too late for the devil and ALL his “angels”~ the abusers/accusers of the brethren.

  13. soldiergirl

    There is a difference between defending your position against a false accuser, and wrongly accusing someone of something that is not true.
    I hate to say it but there are many parallels between abusers tactics and what modern day Psychopaths do. They both specialize in mirroring back to their victims that they are suffering from the same symptoms that they caused the victim to suffer.
    Nehemiah had to put up with this false accusatory nonsense with Sanballet and Tobiah.
    It is a worthy read, and we can apply much of how he handled his accusing abusers to our situations today.

    • Seeing Clearly

      I’ve never heard the statement that an abuser mirrors the symptoms that they caused the victim to suffer. It certainly is true. My abuser, indeed fell into a severe depression and stayed there for years, using it as an excuse that he was too depressed to work on his issues and then still too depressed to settle our estate so that I had to orchestrate the sale of house and emptying the contents of it, etc. Of course, he complained and stalled through the entire process.

      Before he started his depression, I had lost my career and was on disability for depression and anxiety.

      • wow. It sounds like he just could not bear anyone else getting more attention or care than him. It also sounds like he may not really have had depression at all, but was just pulling the depression card in order to get away with lazinesss, avoidance of responsibilities, and to get sympathy and attention.

        Character disorder is the term that comes to mind. George Simon has taught us a lot about that. 🙂

      • Brenda R

        AHHHHHHH, I just realized I missed that discussion with you Barb with George Simon. I hope I can replay it. I will try in the morning. Oh, it is morning or at least a.m. here in Michigan.

      • Seeing Clearly

        There is so much to learn. Until today, I had assumed he felt his depression the same way I felt mine. It just dawns on me that he doesn’t feel or process anything the way I do. No wonder he wouldn’t seek professional help; ie therapy or meds. He just lived like a pitiful zombie, as if he had fallen victim to all that life had dumped on him, especially referring to me. Oh my goodness. Well, the phrase I say to God in these instances is, ‘Open my eyes to see it, because if I can’t see it, I can’t deal with it’.

        I invite God to let me see all that is relevant so that I can process this revelation.

        I was not able to watch your interview Sunday night, but will watch this week.

      • Still Scared but you can call me Cindy

        I was in a scary car accident that left me with a broken ankle. I had been on crutches for two weeks and that was too long for my abuser so he had “chest pain” and needed to be rushed to the hospital and then waited on. I had to give up my crutches, start driving again and care for him. ( if this had been the first time he had “chest pain” I might have actually been concerned but after 16 years…I knew this was an act but did not know what to do other than do what he demanded. )

      • BeginHealing

        Oh Seeing Clearly… my h was just like that as well. He would also use the words, “that is triggering my depression” Which was code for I am about to fly into a rage so you had better stop whatever it is that you are doing….. Oh and of course I did.

        I soldiered on through so much work, child raising, house maintenance, effort, and care giving because of his depression. But now I can see it for what it was…. avoidance of responsibility and a manipulative tactic to control me with. He always had some reason to keep himself the center of attention and his needs greater than mine.

        It was exhausting. I am excited to see what my life will become now that I don’t have someone undermining it all the time.

    • zooey111

      Don’t be afraid to say that you see parallels between abusers & psychopaths; abusers often are either psychopaths or sociopaths!
      They look the same because they ARE the same: all are in the devil’s camp.

  14. soldiergirl

    Last comment …sorry
    Just like Sanballet my abuser was constantly throwing “verbal or distracting bait” out all the time for me to jump at, and get “all tangled up in senseless arguments”..
    I used to fall for this but Not any more. .
    Now I ask myself before I choose to respond, “is this worth my time and energy to contend with?” and most (99%)of the time it is No or not” –It was a lying distraction.
    It is only meant to cause disruption against the positive things I am focused on doing..
    Just like Nehemiah, I have to choose not to contend with issues that are a catalyst for drama,- that will keep me from doing my best,- and conserving my mental energy for important issues… .
    If it is an issue that has merit and could be a game changer, then I voice my stand.
    This way you save your mental energy and time, for just the important issues.
    Suddenly the abusers tactic of keeping you off balance by distracting you will little unimportant battles no longer works on you.. ( you are ” on” to his game)

    Psalm 37 God hears your prayers and your cries. He hears all the cries of the saints who are wrongfully treated by the abusers.. And their day of reckoning will come….
    Either in this lifetime, or when our Lord returns in his Judgement.
    Until then I hope you continue reading and learning what you can here to position and encourage yourself to be strong, .
    Jeff and Barbara and the ACFJ Team are doing a great job at exposing abuse in all of its forms..

  15. Sasanka

    Pastor Jeff, this was very validating…and so right on. Before I learned about abuse I used to have my own little words to describe my experience. I used to say fighting with him is like “fighting the windmills”. The futility was debilitating. And I was so exhausted at the end, and with a very hopeless feeling that I got nowhere today…Over time this person got me to give up on basic human needs, personal boundaries to such an extent I almost lost my mind, very slowly.

    Even in situations when it was clear as day, and I was reasoning so concisely and clearly to present my case to him…even if I was the best lawyer in town, I could never ‘win’…

    It took me many years to understand that my husband is not in the least interested in the truth, justice, honesty, compromise, even basic mutual good will (that one was the hardest-this was my husband, I did not understand such a kind exists)…he wants only one thing…to win and keep doing things on his terms regardless of the cost to me, kids, his parents…completely without conscience.

    So after the deflections, nonsensical blaming, outright lies, rewriting history, throwing confidences from past into my face just to ‘injure’ since in his mind I was “winning’ and that cannot be allowed, he would proceed to verbal abuse and then violent physical assaulting to ‘shut me up’. I learned quickly not to go that far too often. He had to have his face always saved..or else. Friends, I wasn’t trying to win, I was just trying to negotiate a better situation for myself/kids, to show him the truth, to arrive at some agreement …instead he accused me of ‘bossing’ him trying to ‘control’ him…while all the while that is what he was doing to me!!

    I was somehow always shocked by what he actually capable of. And the frustration of not having ever been able to have a productive and successful conversation, to be heard, to be acknowledged… was soul destroying. Even my tone was being the reason for his non-cooperation.. despite spending sometimes hours rehearsing the conversation in my mind, speaking softly and friendly.

    Well of course, after a bunch of unfair curve balls, a normal healthy person will have an extremely hard time to completely cover up their human frustration in the face of this merciless manipulation. I am much wiser now. I don’t expect goodness from a bad person. I work on my future and focus on me and the children. The steps of the righteous are ordained by the Lord. We will be free. My exodus is coming, and my Daddy God will rescue me from this misery, Jesus knows my heart. And my husband has no idea who he is messing with.

    Thank you pastor Jeff, I needed to read this today, I am married to no special sausage, just a run of the mill Devil’s spawn. (By the way we are separating in November, he agreed, after I painted the picture of how great he will be without the burden of us, woohooo!!! :))

    • brenda

      I think you comments are beautiful…full of great truths for yourself and others.

    • AnonC

      Are you still married to that person?

      • Hi — and welcome to the blog. 🙂

        I changed your screen name to AnonC, as you had given a name that might have identified you and I don’t want to take that risk.
        And for the same reason, I removed the link to your blog was which was automatically put in the comments form, because you have your WordPress account and gravatar set up that way.

        We always encourage new commenters 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 comment again, it would help us if you manually removed the link to your blog and manually wrote AnonC (or whatever pseudonym you prefer) in the ‘name’ field of the comments form.

        And after reading the New Users’ Info page, you might like to look at ourFAQ page.

  16. downtheroad

    It is very interesting what you say about fighting for the truth, i know in both the relationships i was in i would try to point out the un-justness of the abuse, it was if i couldn’t really believe it was happening!!, i was still treating the abuser like i would a ‘normal non abuser’, and if i could just express myself properly he would stop!! Of course that never happened!! It was always turned round, (even if someone else annoyed him it was my fault) we all know the excuses, the ‘blame game’ (except its a game we cant take part in because the rules constantly change)… we come to the place where we know we can’t ever say anything right, and we start to die inside, a little bit more every day, the fight has been kicked out of us, literally, this is a happy time for the Abuser. He feels he has won, and we are exactly where he wants us, he feels he has finally ‘moulded’ us into the person he wants…

    I could have lived in that place for years! that limbo…the place where we walk talk, care for our children, Zombie like’, the lights are on but nobody is home’ It’s the beginning of the end, God puts the ‘spark ‘back, the last straw that brakes the camels back’, we all have our last straw, that unconscious line we draw, ‘this far and no further’ and it may take a while to react when the line is crossed, with me it was my children. I knew that was ‘shortchanging’ them, i could and did suffer myself, i was an adult and had made these bad choices, but they were innocent, and if i wasn’t emotionally available for them, they would suffer.

    When i made him leave the change was dramatic in my children!!, one night i sat and listened,there was noise in my house!!…Noise, arguing singing, loud music, NOISE!! And i knew they felt safe to be normal kids again..they had been scared to make a sound in case it got me hit,,…we were all free to just BE!!… Praise God for the ‘spark’ !!!!

    Thank you for what you said Pastor about Abusers being the Servants of the Enemy, it makes such a lot of sense! I heard one Pastor say that the enemy has always hated women because of Eve! and is out to get us! (maybe because our fruit will crush his head!), but He also said that Adam was there all the time when Eve was tempted, and went along with it! which of course puts paid to the Woman hating view that she tempted Adam and he didn’t know!

  17. Today, I was the recipient of a vicious verbal attack by a coworker who I suspected had an abusive nature.

    Today’s attack included telling me to keep my mouth shut and that I know nothing and that the only reason I had the job was because he told my boss to hire me. Today was an escalated retaliation to my gentle suggestion yesterday about a more efficient way to do something and for daring to ask why something was done the way it was.

    Accusers refuse to accept the possibility that they might be wrong. If you dare to reveal the little man behind the curtain, they will shoot you.

    It has me thinking…these accusers attack as if their lives depend on it–it is so desperate. I wonder if deep inside they sense they are on the losing side of the only battle that has ever mattered. Our mighty God has had final victory, literally, since day one.

    Tomorrow I am going to do my duty as a soldier and tell my boss what happened in a factual manner. The outcome of that conversation, no matter what happens, is victory–either my boss will respect my boundary not to work alone with the accuser or else I will lose my job…both free me from the chains of abuse and bondage that were laid on me today.

    Praise You, Lord Jesus, for covering us to bring us to victory!

    • Brenda R

      marriedtohyde.
      I am so sorry for what happened to you. Facts are good and making a suggestion on how things could be done better should never be a problem. In this dog eat dog world there are those that are afraid if someone does a better job than them, they may not be kept on the payroll. It was definately wrong what this person did. Praying that your boss will be understanding of your position.

      • When my abusive coworker went out to make a delivery, I told my boss what had happened as calmly as I could. I explained the very unprofessional behavior my coworker displayed to customers which led to my question and then his attack. My boss thanked me for saying something.

        Apparently, my coworker is a compulsive gambler, and my boss has had concerns about that problem affecting the business. And then he said words of Truth: you are entitled to feel safe and retain your dignity when you come here. I nearly cried tears of joy at those words and thanked him for recognizing my right to safety and dignity. God answered my prayer.

      • Brenda R

        marriedtohyde,
        That is wonderful news. That is the way it should be in the work place and for that matter–everywhere. God does answer prayer.

      • you are entitled to feel safe and retain your dignity when you come here.

        Amen!

    • AnonC

      It’s true that when these vile powerful men have no one left to abuse in their personal lives, they will translate it to the people they work with, who may even have affairs with them. It serves them right to allow them all to publicly make that decision without involving the non consenting, unaware party.

    • AnonC

      “It has me thinking…these accusers attack as if their lives depend on it–it is so desperate. I wonder if deep inside they sense they are on the losing side of the only battle that has ever mattered.”

      So true.

      If they are on the other side, allow them to attend the devil’s dance as one.

  18. Reblogged this on Married to Hyde and commented:
    Today, I was the recipient of a vicious verbal attack by a coworker who I suspected had an abusive nature.

    Today’s attack included telling me to keep my mouth shut and that I know nothing and that the only reason I had the job was because he told my boss to hire me. Today was an escalated retaliation to my gentle suggestion yesterday about a more efficient way to do something and for daring to ask why something was done the way it was.

    Accusers refuse to accept the possibility that they might be wrong. If you dare to reveal the little man behind the curtain, they will shoot you.

    It has me thinking…these accusers attack as if their lives depend on it–it is so desperate. I wonder if deep inside they sense they are on the losing side of the only battle that has ever mattered. Our mighty God has had final victory, literally, since day one.

    Tomorrow I am going to do my duty as a soldier and tell my boss what happened in a factual manner. The outcome of that conversation, no matter what happens, is victory–either my boss will respect my boundary not to work alone with the accuser or else I will lose my job…both free me from the chains of abuse and bondage that were laid on me today.

    Praise You, Lord Jesus, for covering us to bring us to victory!

  19. TB

    Thanks to all for your responses to my post here a little while back. I am greatly encouraged to have found this site. Wow. I am not alone. In reading all your posts I feel validated and understood. I don’t know if anyone will come back to this page since it’s been over a week since the last post, but I want to pose another question in case someone happens to see it.

    Marriedtohyde said: “Accusers refuse to accept the possibility that they might be wrong.”

    I am struggling with this. My abuser stands firmly on Eph 5:22-24. He will not budge off that section of Scripture. Especially the part about “you wives should submit to your husbands in EVERYTHING.”

    I have encouraged him to read the text surrounding this section of Scripture that refers to husbands and their obligations. I know he has read it all, but he is so zoned in on the wives obey in EVERYTHING that he will not move off of it.

    He feels he cannot be wrong if the Scripture squarely states wives should submit in EVERYTHING. Everything means EVERY thing. Everything leaves no room for nothing or something. So his idea is that it matters not what the “thing” is, I have to submit to him regardless.

    So if I say my husband is wrong about this, then he maintains it is what the Bible says, and the Bible can’t be wrong. So it’s not a matter of him even having to defend his “personal” view because it’s written in the WORD OF GOD which is irrefutable. How can I possibly stand against the Word of God?

    So in this case, where I feel my husband takes liberties with my having to obey in everything, he CAN’T be wrong not just because his abusive mindset says he can’t, but the Word of God itself supports that he is right.

    Now, us folks, who realize there are contextual implications with Eph 5:22-24 (such as the husband loving the wife sacrificially while the wife maintains a submissive, respectful attitude toward the husband), can see how both parties living according to the principles stated will likely have a loving relationship. But my now ex-husband would maintain that it does not matter what his behavior toward me is like…the Scripture clearly tells the wife to submit in EVERYTHING without exception. So, according to him, I am clearly walking outside God’s mandate for me, as the wife, by questioning my husband’s bad behavior (no matter how reverently, quietly, kindly, gently I do it).

    My divorcing him has now fueled him with more evidence that I did not submit and obey him in all things, thus proving I am a fraud Christian because I did not obey the Word of God. He makes it a point to tell my kids this when they are with him. He has had them sit and read Ephesians out loud several times when they are at his house.

    I continue to love and trust God. I take the kids to church with me and teach them the Word. He calls me a hypocrite to the children. I hope the kids will always see and know the truth in spite of what their dad says about me. I am concerned about confusion growing in them, as their dad is a very smart and convincing man. God help me and them (and him).

    • Jeff Crippen

      TB – “Proverbs 26:12 Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.”

      • TB

        Yes. My ex is very smart, indeed, and even wise, too. That is what drew me to him 27 years ago. He seemed so very wise and I even told him way back then that he had wisdom beyond his 23 years. I think I have always looked up to him that way, and that is why it has been so hard for me to think/realize/admit he “could be” wrong. I also bought into some of the patriarchy stuff, too, which pretty much seats the husband on the throne of the wife’s life and over the family. With a power hungry man, this only fuels the fire. UGH! I grew so weary of finding a fix to bring peace into our home.

        Thanks for responding, Jeff.

    • jaime

      @ TB regarding:

      So if I say my husband is wrong about this, then he maintains it is what the Bible says, and the Bible can’t be wrong. So it’s not a matter of him even having to defend his “personal” view because it’s written in the WORD OF GOD which is irrefutable. How can I possibly stand against the Word of God?

      It never ceases to amaze me how scripture gets used to condemn. I am sure the Pharisees who took the woman “caught” in adultery to Jesus, were so confident in their interpretation and understanding of the law that they knew they had an iron clad argument. Didn’t the law dictate that she be stoned? I always wonder why they only had the woman and not the man, if in reality she had been caught “in the act of adultery”.

      So did Jesus not keep the law in the way He dealt with the Pharisees? How were the requirements of the law honored? Did He act and speak consistent with the Bible or not? We know that what He did and said in that moment would still have to be consistent with the law, because He fulfilled the law.

      I love how Jesus responds and acts, what He does. How he treats the woman. He turns the spotlight on the accusers. Ouch! He also tells the woman that He does not condemn her. This is how Jesus would interact with us. This is how He speaks and shows us how the truth of the Bible looks in real life.

      Only people who have personally experienced the depth of God’s mercy and forgiveness understand and are able to show God’s mercy and grace to others. The degree of our perception of that mercy and grace is directly connected to our own understanding of our own deep sinfulness! It is also the limit to our capacity to be Christlike and merciful to others.

      This real life Biblical story highlights the fact that we need to know Jesus and how He treated and interacted with people. Our doctrine needs to be completely supported and balanced by the real life example and action of Jesus, the Author and Living Word of God. What does TRUTH look like in real life? It looks like every situation that Jesus lived through. It looks like every encounter He had with real people.

      Neither does He condemn you! Enjoy the freedom that Jesus gives.

      • BeginHealing

        I Love this Jamie…. ALL of it!!! Thank you so much fro writing this out ❤

    • G’day, TB, and welcome to the blog! 🙂

  20. TB: I think it was A.W. Tozer who said, “It takes the whole Bible make a whole Christian. We must not select a few favorite passages to the exclusion of others”. It seems your ex is a Diotrephes! (Search this site for some great teaching from Ps. Crippen about Diotrephes). Even John “the beloved disciple” of Christ, who is most associated with “love” had some harsh words for a Diotrephes in 2 John v. 9 & 3 John 9-11.

    I am particularly troubled by his abusive requirement of making your kids read Ephesians 5 aloud while they are with him, clearly to undermine you. Does the area where you live prohibit such things by either parent? Have you discussed with an attorney or advocate? I would at least document this in case you need it in the future. Also– I’m sure you’ve done this, but perhaps there is a comforting verse that your kids can memorize and recite, not to provoke your ex, but to comfort & encourage their own hearts? Or, a special short song? Empower them to have a voice… based on truth!

  21. Remedy

    TB….Though I have not shared my story, you have flawlessly and thoroughly described the last 23 years nightmare of my life. This is spiritual abuse of the highest order and fans the flame of the abusive mindset. It is a brick wall because who of us as wives has obeyed perfectly in all things always? Yet nothing can be questioned of the husband’s failure to obey the law perfectly…. so therefore both are at fault. His sins are deflected and the wife’s are magnified (usually because she is the desperate one looking for help in her role as a slave to this tyranny). If she would only obey him perfectly, then he could love her as he should. How many of us are getting that solution/counsel served up to us. This is the crazy making because it is not true…..none of us will EVER be perfect!

  22. Sunflower

    First, when the Word speaks to the wife, it speaks to the wife. It does not say, “Husbands make your wives submit.” When I was helping in first grade, teaching music, I would ask the children to please be quiet. They immediately started screaming at each other to shut up. Not their call! They were each expected to look to me and let me deal with the others. And treat each other with respect and kindness. Same with your husband.
    Then, the word submit means to respond to. It starts out with, “Submit therefore to each other.” And then it goes on to say this is how wives are to submit to husbands, husbands to wives, children to parents, parents to children, employees to employers, employers to employees. So nobody is left out. Everyone is to submit to everyone, to humble themselves before each other, in other words, in Christ there is no east or west, male or female, etc. It is a level playing field. Jesus said we are not to lord it over each other, as the heathen do. The same word submit is also used in another place where men are supposed to submit to their elders in the church. When my first h was ranting at me about the submit bit, I showed him that passage and asked him if he always obeyed his church elders no matter what. He turned his head away and said, “I choose not to see that.” (he did have his odd moments of clarity!) TB, I pray that your children can learn this correctly.

    • soldiergirl

      Yes Excellent point Sunflower,
      And lets not forget that once Abuse enters a marriage ( either covert or overt ) it changes changes the “dynamics of a right marriage relationship”..
      With an abusive relationship , the wife becomes motivated by Fear, Obligation, and Guilt (FOG) instead of Mutual respect, Love, compassion and trust.
      ( I pinch myself to think .. can a marriage like this really exist?)
      So with this kind of abuse the “formula of submitting” is no longer is applicable..
      Now you are just trying to survive any way you can, on a day by day basis, because the abuser is manipulating the situation ruthlessly to his advantage..
      This guy sounds just like my Abuser- ready to pull out “all the stops” to hopefully get you off the trail of the truth. (Cant you sense him frantically scrambling to keep you in the fog?)
      I remember that my abuser sat each and everyone of the kids down to read those same scriptures out loud to “Shame me” in front of them, to imply how disobedient I was being..
      Honestly if I didn’t know better I would have thought I was one of the kids!
      My oldest 21 year old daughter to this day seeing all of this mindset of male entitlement over women in the church, has vowed to never marry a christian man..Such a shame.
      We need to change this.

  23. TB

    Jaime, great point about the woman caught in adultery and how Jesus had the “right” and even the “obligation” under the Law to condemn her, but he did not. The crowd and the Pharisees retreated after that encounter with the one true and righteous Judge. I wonder if the crowd walked away convicted and changed, or if they went away muttering about the unfairness of what had just happened. I imagine most were not changed, but they were obviously moved enough to put down their stones for the moment. I wonder if the woman in the encounter went away changed and turned from her sin, as well. If she were married, did her husband also forgive her as Jesus did? Did the the townspeople forgive her, or was she labeled forever as an adulteress?

    Many times I will switch a Bible story up and put myself in it with my own set of circumstances to bring it closer to home. How would abuse victims feel if their abusers were standing there with Jesus and the victims could finally vent and let go of all their pent up fear, anger, resentment, hurt, frustration, and unforgiveness toward their abusers? You finally get a chance to “give” the abuser what he deserves and Jesus says “no.” And what if you and the abuser walked away from the encounter, went home after, and the abuser did not change? What then? Does the victim have to wait until Judgment Day to see justice meeted out?

    I know we all sin and we all deserve punishment. We are all required to forgive and show mercy, as well.

    In my personal experience, in some of the encounters I have been through, I would become so inwardly upset and feel so powerless to stop what was going on that I would cry out to God to STOP IT!!! The injustice was so overbearing and offensive to me sometimes I just wanted to die to escape it. And my situations usually did not involve physical abuse, which makes me feel like a real wuss. I know many others’ situations are likely far worse because they are being physically hurt on top of all the other kinds of hurt. Maybe I was just weaker than some and more easily offended. Either way, I HATED HATED HATED what I endured and wanted to escape so badly (which I finally did earlier this year).

    So, I have had this thought multiple times: my (ex)spouse is a believer (he introduced me to Jesus just before we were married), but his behaviors when he is angry or frustrated are not Christlike at all. Let’s say he really is a Christian who just happens to continually stumble in this particular area. When, where, and how will he be held accountable? I waited for over 20 years for God to move in his heart and life to make a change, but it never happened. There would be incident after incident, I would forgive 70 x 7, hoping that tomorrow he would be different. I even prayed for God to change me to be less sensitive, to allow me to be able to toughen up and take it, to be able to once and for all turn the other cheek and not ever be offended again, but that didn’t happen either. Even after leaving him, nothing happened. In over 8 months of separation all he could say to me was “Come home and reconcile now. Come ask me to forgive you for your rebellion and I will.” He saw ME as a rebel and thinks I need to ASK HIM TO FORGIVE ME for leaving! He calls my new home the “House of Rebellion.” I call it the “House of Refuge.”

    If we, as believers, we are all forgiven, how and when will justice be served against these continual/repeated sins? And should I even be looking over the fence at his sins since I have sins of my own that also would deserve judgment? Somehow because his sins were against me and the family, I hold his sins in higher need of judgment than my pesky “little” sins (said tongue in cheek).

    My ex would tell me I am full of bitterness and unforgivness toward him, and that I keep a record of his wrongs, which he says is unChristlike. I should forgive and forget. But I tell him that he keeps repeating the same sins, and I don’t want to live in this perpetual sin/forgive/sin/forgive/sin cycle. Especially because it’s the same sin each time.

    Thanks for reading. Maybe my posts are too long. Tell me if so, and I will try to be less wordy. I have many sooooooo questions like this that I need relief from. I feel guilt over leaving and divorcing. That is not what I ever wanted or planned for my life. But I am so so so glad to be out from under the constant oppression of the past.

    TB

    • Jeff Crippen

      TB- You might find this comment I made on another blog post helpful in regard to sorting the issues out that you shared here. This is what I said —

      An abuser is a person whose very mentality is one of entitlement to power and control over others and who feels very justified in using whatever means are needed to effect and maintain that power and control. This is who the abuser is. It defines him. Can a Christian abuse someone? Yes, but then the Holy Spirit will always bring that Christian under conviction and lead him to repentance. Because Scripture is plain that how we habitually walk (in the Spirit or in the flesh) reveals who we really are. Consider:

      Romans 8:5-9 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. (6) For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. (7) For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. (8) Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (9) You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.

      Romans 8:12-13 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. (13) For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

      Galatians 5:16-24 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. (17) For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. (18) But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. (19) Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, (20) idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, (21) envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (23) gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (24) And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

      1 John 2:3-11 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. (4) Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, (5) but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: (6) whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. (7) Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. (8) At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. (9) Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. (10) Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. (11) But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

      1 Thessalonians 4:9 Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another,

      1 John 4:19-21 We love because he first loved us. (20) If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. (21) And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

      Matthew 7:17-21 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. (21) “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

      And I could go on and on. It simply is not true that Christians “are capable of anything.” A Christian is not capable of walking habitually in sin, hating his wife, being characterized by the very mindset of self, self, self without any evidence of repentance. Such a person does not know Christ.

      Now as to doing damage if we say that an abuser cannot be a Christian because, as you mentioned, people just don’t seem to want to believe that a wolf does wear sheep’s clothing, I would suggest that what you are saying actually causes far more damage. Namely, if we claim that an abuser could be a Christian, then what is that going to do to victims and to churches that enable such people? It is going to throw them into confusion and keep them in bondage to the notion that old Fred the abuser is really a brother in Christ and therefore if we just keep praying for him and hoping and keeping our fingers crossed, one day he will see the light. I have found that it is extremely freeing for a victim to come to the realization that her abuser is NOT a saint at all, not a Christian, and then the pieces start falling into place for her. Much of what is wrong with our churches today is that pastors and members are making the claim that a Christian can walk in sin, show no sign of repentance, and yet truly belong to Christ. The verses I cited above disprove that definitively.

      • Now Free (formerly struggling to be free)

        Amen Barbara
        I’ve always held these beliefs but I dare not utter them (though I thought it many times) to my wife.
        Interesting points here by the ladies. Funny enough my wife would utter the other verses about “husbands love your wives” in similar fashion and disregard all the rest. Almost the opposite to what men do with the submission quote. She always said I did not love her and told the pastor’s wife that.

        Those verses were read and quoted strongly against me. If I tried even with my pastor to give the other verses in relation to it, or some of the the ones Barbara mentioned here or say anything more, in my amazement I was hushed up. It was so one sided. Strangely not once was my wife spoken to in that meeting.

        It was a unbelievable, domineering, telling off. Just the same entrenched attitude that men here have given to their amazing wives. Nothing else would be considered.

        Always in the back of my mind I’ve had “you will know them 1) by their love and 2) by their fruits”.

        As for repentance …. it’s only true when a change has taken place afterwards. True repentance brings change. Scripture tells us to test the spirits.

        My heart goes out to you all ladies and the gentlemen here from time to time.
        May God protect and bless you all. On judgment day there’s going to be some shocks for a lot of people claiming to be righteous!!
        Reading your comments I’m ashamed to be called a man when I see what men have done …. these ladies are not Christian but they are also not true men either!

    • Valerie

      TB, you gave an apt illustration in your post to explain your own question. You said you waited 20 years for God to move in his heart but no changes ensued. In contrast, at the end of your post you ask for feedback- that if your posts are too long you want to be told and you would adjust accordingly. There is the difference right there.

      I have come to differentiate between what people call a believer and a true follower of Christ. By loose definition, the devil could be called a believer. He certainly believes in God, he believes in Jesus. He is not, obviously, a follower of Christ. Following is what we are commanded to do. IMO we stress the believing component and often disregard the following component that is mandated in scripture. We therefore incorrectly conclude that anyone who says they believe in God and throw in a couple “Praise God” or similar statements are said to be followers of Christ. Yet this is not what scripture teaches. Ps Crippen points to many scriptures to this end. A true believer also follows because they truly believe in Christ’s Lordship.

      This is the exact area that was a stumbling block to me. If my husband was going to church and would tell others all the “right” religious words I incorrectly concluded that his heart was bent toward God. It kept me in serious confusion and I heaped tremendous guilt on myself for thinking anything negative about my husband who I thought was a fellow “believer”. I sin, too, after all so how could I be so upset with his continual sinful behavior? I thought that there was a clear line to distinguish those whose hearts were bent toward Christ but I based that on outward appearances and not based on heart issues like Jesus stressed time and again. I also go back to Isaiah 29 and Matthew 15- these people honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me.

  24. Remedy

    Oh TB…..your abuser sounds exactly like mine!! You had the courage to get out and to a place of refuge. Christians are to be known for their love, especially of the brethren. If you reread your post….where is the love?
    Only the Lord can bring such a one to the awareness of their sin and need for mercy. In the meanwhile, unless the Lord is chastening you in unmistakable ways, be at peace and freedom that the HE has not condemned you, it is your ex husband who has done that.
    I am in the thick of the battle not knowing whether to leave because my sons do not want to leave their home, or for me to leave. They are homeschooled and such a decision will change our lives forever. It is heart wrenching!!!! I fear them blaming me for the breakdown of the life they know, tho we all know abusers are the ones tearing the life apart bit by bit til there is nothing left.
    My heart goes out to you. God bless!

  25. TB

    My ex is convinced he is the Christian and that I am not, citing proof that a Christian wife would never disobey the Word of God and divorce her husband since I had no evidence of adultery, and I was the one who “abandoned” him, not the other way around. He says I am the unbeliever because I left him without Biblical grounds and I “sued” him in court, something Christians are not supposed to do to Christians (although I did go to him privately with the offense numerous times, and he was not open to me bringing a witness with me to confront him…except my adult children have stood with me since all this has happened in witness to the stuff we all put up with over the years).

    Because he does not go to church (he had issues with the church we attended together so he stopped going and I continued going with the children) he refused to be counseled by anyone who attempted to reach out to him. He tells me that God will punish me severely for my disobedience to His Word and our children will bear witness to it. So, he would say I am not a true believer, but a hypocrite, since I am not obeying God by following God’s plan that a husband and wife should not divorce (the two are joined as one FOREVER) and that I am disobeying Eph 5:24 (wives submit in everything).

    I, too, homeschool, Remedy, and still have several minor children at home. It is hard because I had to give up some of my comforts (health insurance, the ability to stay home without working outside, leaving my home, etc) in order to get out from under the oppression. Since being on my own, I have not felt chastened, but I have come to see my weaknesses, some of which are codependence, people pleasing, seeking approval, and fear of man. I have much to lay down and much to learn in my recovery. I also still fight the “need” for my ex’s understanding for why I divorced him. I feel like I can’t/won’t have peace until/unless he “gets” it. He thinks I am out to do evil to him, but all I want is peace. I do not provoke him and try to avoid any communication with him since it always stirs something up in him that causes him to give me a hard time. Then he accuses me of dishonoring him because I won’t talk to him. UGH!

    Remedy, are your kids aware of the abuse? My older teen and adult children are and were. They have seen it and experienced it. The younger ones have, too, but they are quick to forget and move on. It helps to have older ones who “understand” and support you. I don’t want them “on my side” necessarily, but it does give me strength in moving forward with the younger ones, even if the young ones don’t understand yet. On a good note, the younger ones are adjusting well in spite of everything. We have more peace now, but when visitation happens, there is always some mess I have to clean up when they come home filled with stuff their dad said that sounds correct to them, but is very lopsided in truth.

    Our perceptions of truth are often based on our own personal perspectives. What’s true to me about our marriage was so not true to my ex in his perspective. I say he was abusive in his leadership, he says I was rebellious and unsubmissive to his God-given authority and position as head over the family. I say he was far too harsh, he says he is man’s man and will not sugarcoat his discipline to appease my feminine ideas of how to raise young men. I say screaming obscenities in the face of a child is unacceptable behavior, he says he has the right to do as he pleases in his own home. ETC ETC ETC Who is right, who is wrong?

    I am so sad and disappointed it had to come to this. I DID NOT WANT A DIVORCE!!! I wanted a man to turn from his bad behaviors and love his family. He would not. He pushed me out the door and even once told me, “Divorce me. You don’t have the ________ to do it.” (insert body part) He often said if anyone didn’t like the way it was at home, we could leave. So now that I took him up on his offer to divorce him and I did in fact leave, he tells me I don’t have the right to do such things…that I am rebellious, dishonoring, a Judas betrayer. He says I have stolen the children and torn my house down with my own two hands.

    Regardless of where we are in our walk, we can all have besetting sins. I have one I am aware of and am working on it with the Lord’s help. That is why I feel guilt over calling my ex out on his sin and knowing I have sins as well. I also know I was not to be my husband’s “holy spirit,” reminding him of his sins, pointing them out repeatedly, and correcting him. A woman is in such a predicament in a situation like this. If you speak up, you are out of order. If you stay quiet, you are an enabler and you are in effect sinning because you are not doing the right thing you know you ought. James 4:17

    I want to walk after Christ, but even in so doing, I realize my inability to do it and hear my husband’s accusatory words at every turn. I have even questioned if I am a Christian after hearing all his evidence against me that I can’t possibly be.

    I do know I love Jesus and without HIM I am nothing. I know I have him and he has me, no matter what my ex says. I do question my ex’s position with Jesus, though. Strange, so very strange, as he is the first one to take an interest in me knowing Jesus so many years ago.

    • Seeing Clearly

      TB, thank you for writing this all down for us. What a conflicting mess, on the surface. And for you, it goes very deeply. I doubt that it does for your abuser. Without a conscience, he doesn’t really feel too much of reality. I think it is safe to say that you are far past the identifiable stage of daily abuse, onto mind games and crazy making for many seasons of your life. How is your health? When you can no longer figure out who the liar is, and who the manipulator is, I call the status of existence that you are in as a state of brainwashing. My comments don’t fix anything, but they might help you to get your bearings and help to stop the swirling inside of you. I am so sorry that yor life has been so manipulated.

      This is not a professional diagnosis, just a practical suggestion of stages to help you find your bearings. Perhaps you have your own terminology and that is good.

      • TB

        Yes, Seeing Clearly. I think of myself as a smart person, not in a prideful way, but I am educated and social and involved in life. So to have had to constantly defend and justify myself, my ideas, my feelings, my reasoning for doing things…inwardly I knew I was a normal person, but he could make me feel like a totally incompetent, infantile, failure, loser, and idiot any time I did something, even if what I did was well-thought out and planned, and I had his seal of approval on it before I did it!!!!

        I do question myself and have lots of self-doubt now. I thank God for his word though that I have to use in the battle for my mind. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and a sound mind. I have found much help most recently here at this site (THANK YOU ALL!!)!, through LeslieVernick.com, through a great counselor at a county resource center, and through Divorce Care at a local church. Sometimes I feel I am over-medicating with all these resources! And, of course, I don’t leave out the Word of God as part of my daily regimen!

        Part of my problem also lies in the self-questioning…maybe it really is me that is the problem, maybe I really am contentious, rebellious, unsubmissive…maybe, maybe, maybe. What if it really is me who is the problem and if I were not these things THEN all would be well.

        After I left home, I returned to the house one evening while he was there to gather some things I needed. I saw a post-it note on which he had written “Submissive wives don’t have the problems ______ has.” (insert my name)

        Maybe I was/am the problem???? What if he is right and I have created all this drama and torn my house apart like he says?

        I don’t want to be so self-righteous and wise in my own eyes that I could be so blind as to think it is not me, if it is!!!!!!!!!!!

        My comfort is in knowing my adult kids say it is not me. However, my ex says my rebellion has oozed over on to them such that they now follow my footsteps in dishonor of him. They do not talk to him or have anything to do with him. Could this be my fault, too? I have felt crazy over all of it. Maybe I am the nutjob.

        If I didn’t have so many friends and family pulling for me, telling me it’s not me, I would collapse under it all. But I bet if he got on here and told you his side, he would be equally as compelling as I am and you’d believe him, too!!!! And so would I!!!!!

        UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Seeing Clearly

        TB Your 9:02 am post.
        I believe you all day long and all night long. I look into your eyes and smile. I believe you because I feel all of the confusion behind your words.
        I just deleted the sentence saying what I would do if I came face to face with your abuser.
        God built an inner compass in us. That is how you know that things aren’t quite right. I don’t know how abusers mess with our compass, but they do. Deep in your being , where only you and God can go, Is a strong centering force. God will not betray you. He is letting you know that things are very, very wrong. The problem is that your abuser has messed you over until you can’t easily read, much less find, the truth of who you really are.

        Use his little post-it note as a compliment to you. No, you are not submissive! You are a strong, smart women. You are moving forward. You choose to live by truth. You know where your centering is and you are determined to get to the place in life where your abuser can no longer mess with your compass.

        If you feel like you are over-medicating with all of your resources, step back just a little and reevaluate.

        Trevor Hudson quotes Gordon Cosby saying, ” we all sit by a pool of tears”. Jesus sits beside you and weeps and so do I. Just sit quiet for a while with us and the rest of your friends at ACFJ. Cry sad tears, cry tired tears, cry fearful tears, cry angry tears, cry healing tears. Some tears burn your cheeks, some are unstoppable, some fall over your lower lid, some hardly come. Each kind serves a purpose.

        Write often, we’re walking with you.

    • Dear TB, if you want me to ship you a copy of my book as a gift, just email me. My heart goes out to you. The internalized/remembered voice of the abuser (his accusations against us) is very powerful, isn’t it? I shall pray that you find ways to ignore and diminish and eventually stop that voice.

      What I found helpful (don’t laugh) was this little visualisation: I imagined myself standing in the centre of the MCG, the most famous football field in Melbourne, and kicking my abuser right out of the field. I know, I sounds violent and absurd. I’m not a good kicker, in reality. But that little visualisation just came to me and it kept coming back for some time. . . and somehow it helped me reject and refute his pernicious judgements of me, and move on.

      • TB

        I would love to read your book, Barbara. And I got a good chuckle out of your visual. LOL I live very near a huge stadium and will borrow your visual for myself! 🙂

        The odd part of it all is that I still have feelings for my ex…mostly of sadness and pity for his warped heart, but also some love remains for the good side of him that was/is there, as well. I once watched a movie called “Joshua” in which a very antagonistic priest would badger the main character, Joshua, who was actually Jesus personified. At one point in the movie, Joshua puts his hand on the priest’s chest where his heart is, and the priest is immediately changed…the actor’s (the priest) portrayal of the instant change was so stunning it made me cry. Just one touch of the Master’s hand and you are forever changed. You’d have to see it to understand what I am talking about. But that is the kind of heart change I have prayed for and longed for for my ex-husband– that undeniable Jesus touch that cuts through the bone all the way to the marrow…all the way to the innermost part of the soul.

        I went out for ice cream with a friend and all of our kids a few weeks after I had left my home/husband earlier this year. When I pulled up to the drive-thru window I was all in tears. My sweet friend asked why the tears so suddenly. I told her that my husband always liked to take us for ice cream and would get everyone as many scoops as they wanted and wouldn’t leave until everyone was completely filled and happy. The realization hit me that in leaving behind the bad of our relationship, I also had to leave behind the good. It’s when the bad so overshadowed the good, though, that something had to change for me. That’s what made it so hard–knowing there is/was good in my then spouse, and knowing, unfortunately, you can’t just take the good part with you. You have to leave it all behind.

        I could easily hate my ex for all the horrid, hate-filled things he has spewed upon me. But I don’t hate him. How can that be? It’s the mercy of God. Sometimes I think the Lord is keeping me from hating him because some time in the future, God may give us a new start… But only after that Jesus touch…

      • TB, I’m way behind with reading comments, hence my only just now reply.

        I want to offer you a hug. or as many hugs as you would like. 🙂

        And yes, the ice-cream . . . it’s an archetype of those things that some of us miss now we’ve left our abusers. I too have missed some things, not from my first husband as that was never happy, not even in short episodes, but from my second husband.

        I also read a poem once by a woman who missed the sexual intimacy with her abuser — it must have a been a good part of her realationship with him, and the abuse was in other parts of the relationship. Each of our stories have little differences. And it’s okay to miss the good bits if they were there, even while we rationally accept that the bad outweighed the good and we cannot have just the good bits on their own because the abuser chose to be abusive as well as ‘nice’ (sometimes). It is sad.

        bless you!

  26. Remedy

    TB…..he would NEVER mistreat his boys in any way. Working hard to make himself appear perfect….mother is the crazy, evil, rebellious wife. The kids understand what they are capable of at their ages, but insist they are okay with my instituted in home separation versus a true separation with separate dwellings.
    I have heard these same accusations in all sorts of ways for 25 yrs….23 of them married. Unless someone has lived this crazy-making cycle, it is so difficult to understand. It is a fight to maintain sanity so thank you for confirming I am not crazy. This is NOT love. I weep each time you share what you have experienced…..you are not alone

  27. TB

    Pastor Jeff, thank you for posting all the Scriptures about walking in the Spirit and in love. It is helpful to see them all in one place. There is no denying what we are called to do and the evidences of doing these things (fruits) prove our faith is real. I am reading through these Scriptures again today and seeing how far away from love my ex seems to be. It’s crazy to think that he might not be a Christian after all. But he does do many other things we are called to do. I just don’t know. It’s pretty much Jekyll/Hyde with him.

  28. Kandyce Brothers

    Whenever a person repeatedly accuses you, you can know that they have selected you as a target to be brought under their evil control for their own selfish purposes to which they insist they are entitled to carry out. Real friends do not accuse you. People who love us do not level accusations against us.

  29. Anonymous

    Jeff wrote, “The accusations spew out of the abuser so smoothly and so naturally and with such apparent certainty….”

    I was asked recently what I wanted for this coming Mother’s Day. Now, this in itself is unique. I do not like ANY fuss made over me and have always said that I’d rather we all just treat each other well everyday rather than have one day to be treated well. I’ve since changed my mind on this. Why? Last Mother’s Day was just another of the many I’ve had where I was being verbally abused by my husband and children and for some reason it overwhelmed me. I’ve known about psychopathy for many years now, known what my husband and several children are and that because they are NATURALLY like their father the devil and therefore ungrateful, hateful, and always accusing me and everyone, that I couldn’t expect anything less. But I am not like them. I LOVE (yes, I even love them) and I’d naively given my life to these people–lovingly and gladly given up my needs and desires to serve them. Decades of abuse (and being raised by and with these same type of people who accuse NATURALLY) I just couldn’t take it. To once again realize that it was all for nothing–all the love, time, hope, energy spent on my family in the hopes that when the children were grown and had matured we could have a familial relationship relating to each others hardships and the ups and downs in life. I now know this will never be. My husband and children will forever hate and accuse me and because I’d been so willing to do everything on their behalf in the past, anything less is now seen as selfish and evil on my part. (Never mind that when I WAS doing everything for them they still called me selfish and evil.)

    So when I was asked what I wanted for Mother’s Day this year I said this: that I wanted one day to not be accused. That they would make a conscious effort NOT to accuse me at all that day.

    This will not happen of course as it is their nature to accuse BUT as with all the things God shows me, he shows me how important this is to ME. To someday live in a house (alone I have little doubt) where I am not accused of anything. To be loved and forgiven when I make a mistake (real or imagined) and if it is with another person, someone who knows my heart and loves me and knows that I do not have ill will towards anyone and if I make an error it is simply a mistake. I have never had this at all in my life. I’ve never been loved and I’ve never been in a relationship where I wasn’t accused by my partner. If I ever do have this it would be like a little sliver of heaven right here on earth!

  30. Ren

    Wow finally I am able to read exactly what I have been trying to put in words but never seem to be able to do so. Growing up with a father that did this to any of his wives and does it to me today, I never thought I would marry a man that would be way WAY worse then he was. My husband who I love and I am always asking why do I love him. When right from the beginning he would accuse me of the most craziest things like [details redacted to prevent commenter being identified by her abuser]. Then it became physical abuse weekly, and sexual abuse and so on.

    But he has stopped all abuse that’s physical and loves the day and night of accusing me of every man that I dislike and basically he raps me with made up detail of how I slept with all these men. And women. Some times I’ve felt suicidal and leaving him, well I’ve attempted to at least 100 times. Where he finds me which that is a given and it will be an overload. Or I go back to him because I don’t know where else to go and feel safe knowing what to expect when I am with him.

    I do a lot of self talk which helps, and reading my bible always makes him leave lol, and I remind him that the devil is also attractive and a great accuser like himself today. But thank you I could tell story after story…. Some are actually in books. The best way to get at the devil is let him think he’s got you by just agreeing with him and nodding your head, but really really your humming Jesus loves me this I know…. And when he really thinks he’s got you and smiles you act out the part in the movie the Labyrinth, “you have no power over me…” Haha my favorite! Thank you again

    • Dear sister, thank you so much for sharing, and welcome to the blog. I changed your screen name to Ren as I wasn’t sure whether you had given some of your real name. We take pains to try to help our commenters keep safe while they comment on this blog. I also airbrushed a few details out of your comment, for the same reason..

      We believe you.

      I urge you to check out our New Users’ Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

      And after reading the New Users’ Info page, I suggest you look at our FAQ page.

      Again — welcome! 🙂

  31. Now Free (formerly struggling to be free)

    On reading some comments especially that of TB’s I got this verse in Isaiah come to me –

    Isaiah 64:6
    But we are all like an unclean thing,
    And all our righteousnesses are like [a]filthy rags;
    We all fade as a leaf,
    And our iniquities, like the wind,
    Have taken us away.

    We as Christians often see the good in others even our abuser. It’s natural to want the man or woman you love to display that loving good side they have or display from time to time.

    But it’s just occurred to me how does God see those good things whether they are done in pretence, genuine or not; whether a bargaining tool or used to confuse and manipulate or not?

    Very interesting then if we hard as it might be start to see the abuser as God sees them. Something to ponder on when our abusers seek to manipulate or tug at our heart strings.
    I hope this helps those who are struggling. Thought of you especially TB as I read your comments.
    May God bless you in the midst of a the confusion. It will get better and the fog lifts.

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