A Cry For Justice

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

My abuser says I am the abuser!

If I call out the abuser for his abusive accusations, am I not also an accuser? Yes; 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 or her behavior. Here are some examples:

  • police prosecutors justly accuse someone of crime when they are confident that person has broken the criminal law
  • a parent or teacher justly accuses a child of misbehavior when they are confident that the child has misbehaved
  • a married person may justly accuse his or her spouse of deceit, cruelty, brutality, hard-heartedness, infidelity, etc.

A note about gender

We know that some men are abused by their female partners. We support all genuine victims of domestic abuse, no matter what sex they are — see our definition of abuse in the sidebar. And if you are man who has been abused by your female partner, you might also like to look at our tag for Male Survivors.

Since repeated us of “he/she” makes for awkward prose, and since the majority of victims of domestic abuse are female, we will used “he” to refer to the abuser in this post. If you need to reverse the genders for your situation, please do so.

The abuser, when justly accused in this way, often claims that he is being abused and unjustly accused. This is a tactic of fighting. The abuser fights in order to resist having to take responsibility for his bad behavior. Spewing false accusations against his accuser is one of the abuser’s most effective tactics of fighting because

  • it distracts attention from the justified accusation
  • it may cause the victim to doubt herself and go back onto the mousewheel of self-modification
  • if the victim stands her ground and pushes back against the false accusations, the situation may begin to look to outsiders like a mutually level playing field where two equals are fighting.  (This is very useful to the abuser when he’s recruiting allies.)

If the abuser can cast the victim’s (true) accusations as “fighting” then it’s easier to (falsely) claim that he is being abused. The tables are turned.

The abuser’s distorted belief system

We have discussed how an abuser fights back when he is justly accused. He counters by claiming that he is the victim, and he may actually (kind of, sort of) believe that he IS being abused. How can this be? The abuser’s idea that he is being abused arises from his distorted belief system — his presumption of his right to control his partner and her obligation to comply with his demands. He believes she has no right to call him on his wrongful deeds and attitudes. He fights because he deems she is fighting Him and must stop!

An abuser holds the bedrock belief that he is a superior being who entitled to special privileges including but not limited to

  1. the right to be lazy about his personal responsibilities and to let/force others to pick up the slack
  2. the right have power over his spouse
  3. the right to falsely accuse his spouse in order to intimidate her.

If the wife 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 and she is inferior.

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

[adapted from this comment of mine on a post back in Sept 2014]


Related posts on this blog

Defining domestic abuse by a list of behaviours is never going to capture it

Right back at ya! — The abuser’s tactic of reflective blaming


  1. a prodigal daughter returns

    Thank you Barbara, this is a topic that both victims of DV need to understand as well as shelter and other DV support workers. I’ve seen abusers manipulate the system claiming they are abused. Their beaten down victim may believe it is true. Some abusers like to manipulate using false guilt and shame as a way of emotional control. It is their behavior that is shameful but if you will carry the shame in the relationship it empowers them. Scapegoats experience this in families regularly. A parent acting shamefully, for example, neglecting the nutrition of a child, will tell the child “what a spoiled brat you are” when she says she is hungry. Legitimate needs are called “selfishness” or any sort of guilt mongering an abuser can get away with. Because the victim is sincere they either believe it or believe their persecutor believes it so they will try to be super unselfish to prove that they are not.

    Needless is the way perpetrators like their victims. I found no matter how needless, non-demanding, wiling to accept the crumbs I was, it was not enough. I carried all the shame of the sinful relationship when the guilt wasn’t mine. It served as the great silencer.

    The wrongness of this was powerfully illustrated to me last year. I was walking my 15 pound dog on her leash when an unleashed massive pitbull charged out of the woods. He grabbed my tiny dog by the throat, thrashing her until she became completely limp. The owner was a good 4 blocks away while my dog was being killed. Massive wounds, requiring emergency surgery and the vet told me “that pit was intent on killing this dog”.
    I saw it and there was no doubt that the intent was deadly. The owner managed to pull the attacking dog off telling me “I do the right thing by rescuing dogs”. No she didn’t. The right thing involves obeying leash laws.

    When I got to the vet that the owner agreed to pay she’d called them and told them my dog was off leash and that my dog initiated the attack. Even if my tiny dog barked at other dogs, an 80 lb dog pulverising a 15 lb dog gave me an appreciation of those men that say the little woman made them, pushed them or abused them. Should she “initiate” a fight, oh, he is going to finish it while claiming she is the abusive one.

    The dog attack seriously triggered my own PTSD and yet as I saw it, unable to stop it, I realized the insanity of abusers claiming to be abused by their victim. In fact, I had this sense of righteous outrage when the out of control dog’s owner claimed my dog provoked the attack. She projected the shame of her law breaking onto me and my dog. Yet that size difference alone meant that even if my dog had been off leash and ran to bark at her dog, the violence and near fatal injuries still would not have been justified.

    The experience helped my perspective about false claims of victimhood from abusers.

    • Annie

      Yes! Prodigal you are so right! I’ve recently come to this conclusion — that even if every single one of my husband ‘s claims about me were true — nothing I’ve ever done even collectively rises to the level deserving of the rough treatment he gives me constantly.

      My husband will go out of his way to help anyone else but me. I’ve seen him almost act like a subservient child towards people in his efforts to be helpful. He’s rushed out the door when the neighbor’s called for help yet I wait weeks for him to fix the kitchen faucet. So I know he’s capable of being helpful. Yet for me he doesn’t do it. If I am so awful that I need to be changed (he admits he’s trying to change me) why doesn’t he choose to be as helpful to me as he is to others and lovingly help me be better? No, he chooses to beat me down because as he told me once he has to break me down before I’ll understand how to be a wife!

      Here’s the thing Prodigal. I bet if you asked a handful of people a lot of them would say well, yeah, maybe, your dog did instigate the incident soooo maybe he didn’t deserve to get bitten but he shouldn’t bark and so they’re unwilling to hold the other owner accountable.

      An accuser has to be perfect or the abuser walks. No one any more is willing to make a justified accusation and stand by it. (Except abusers. My husband will make the most ludicrous accusations and even in the face of being wrong will stick with it.)

    • Still Reforming

      Oh, Prodigal. I am so, so, so, so sorry for your loss. I know it was a year ago, but sometimes time doesn’t heal those kinds of wounds. We are very attached to our pets here, and it grieves me to read your testimony. It is indeed a perfect picture of how abusers turn around their own shame onto their real victims. I am so sorry for what happened to you and your pet. If it comforts you at all, my child and I appreciate this verse when it comes to the possibility of seeing pets again: “Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?” (Ecclesiastes 3:21) It gives her and me hope to see our pets again, as the verse states “spirit of the animal.” (((hugs)))

  2. Amy

    Oh yes, the ‘ol turn the table around and accuse the victim of actually being the abuser. My abusive ex of 20 years did this all the time, and after he walked out on me and our sons almost 7 years ago and I filed for divorce it only got worse. He told anyone who would listen how I was the abuser, I was the bad person, etc.

    And in the midst of that marriage believe me, there were many times were I began to wonder if perhaps I was abusive like he said. So sad how his mind games distorted my own thinking to the point of my questioning myself instead of clearly seeing he was the only abuser in that home.

    But that’s how they play their twisted, sick game — make em watch this hand so they don’t see deception in the other — make the victim believe they are doing the abusing so they don’t truly see what the true abuser is doing.

    • Hopeful

      Amy…my head spins daily. My thinking is distorted. I question myself. I walk in shame and blame. My husband has me convinced that the divorce he wants is all because of me. He has been dangling a divorce over my head for more than a year. My weakness is that I became hopeful every time he was nice to me, wanted physical and sexual connection. I have lived in hope and healing, while the truth is I am just a friend with benefits to him. I am sick over this.

      • Hopeful

        Barbara, how do I pray and what do I pray for in a marriage like this? I don’t want the divorce. Two years ago I wanted a divorce because I did not know how to handle my marriage and all the conflict. I have since believed in the power of Gods healing. My husbands holds this over my head as well as the ways I haven’t shown up as a wife in our many year marriage.

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


        Hi Hopeful, I would pray that God would show you the truth and guide you how to safely respond to the truth.
        And while God is certainly able to bring a heinous sinner like your husband to conviction and full repentance and refromation, the heinous sinner must not refuse being convicted by the Holy Spirit.

        Sadly, most domestic abusers and other heinous sinners who have practised their wicked ways for years if not decades and gotten away with it, are VERY resistant to the conviction which the Holy Spirit gives them. Whatever consciences they may have had in their early days, they have now seared. The abuser’s seared conscience, his habitual practice of getting away with his sins, and his habit of FIGHTING against anyone who admonishes or rebukes him, means that he has made himself into a stronghold which is very resistant to change.

        Again, I encourage you to read that book by Lundy Bancroft. And rather than focusing on how you may have fallen short as a wife, I suggest you focus on how your abuser is CHOOSING to continue abusing you.

        When I say to pray for the truth, that’s what I mean. Pray — and put legs on the prayer by reading and learning about domestic abuse — that you will come to understand better the tactics and mentality of abusers. That is the way out of the fog.

        You will also find it helpful to listen to Ps Crippen’s sermons on Domestic Abuse. There are 21 sermons in that series. Here is the link: Domestic Violence and Abuse — 21 sermons by Jeff Crippen dealing with the psychology and methods of sin

      • Amy

        It is not a weakness to be hopeful for good in life, for seeing good in our spouses or wanting good in relationships.

        You are caught in the sickening spin cycle of abuse but it’s not because you are weak, it’s because your husband is weak and creates this havoc in your marriage to give himself the appearance of being strong.

        You are strong. And you are loved by God who is saddened by the treachery of your husband towards you which may lead to divorce.

        Do not feel shame for what your husband chooses to do, you are not to blame. Spouses who truly love one another do not purposely hurt the other or act selfishly.

        I pray you find peace and guidance during this difficult time.

      • hopeful

        Thank you Amy. I still have an. incredibly hard time discerning what is mine and what is his. I have allowed him to convince.me that I am. the problem. It is too exhausting to stand up for myself and challenge his position, which is very rigid. If he feels divorce is the better option than work through our brokenness then so. be it. I am still working my way out of the blame and contempt he has towards me.

      • Dear Hopeful —
        It is not your fault. You are not to blame. You are not crazy. You are being abused. Your husband is abusing you.


  3. Persia

    My abuser accused me of abusing him. At the time, I couldn’t believe it. Now, I just don’t care. I know what happened, so I am in no contact with him and his flying monkeys.

    • twbtc

      Hi Persia,

      Thank you for your comment and welcome to the blog! (love the reference to ‘flying monkeys’)
      If you haven’t already may I suggest you review our New User’s Page. It gives tips for protecting one’s identity when commenting on the blog.

      • Persia

        Thank you, but I do not wish to protect my identity. I am very open about my experiences. I no longer hide behind fear.

      • twbtc

        Very glad you are in a safe situation. We do have several readers who need to protect their identity not out of fear of telling their story but for their safety and that of their children – that is why we always bring it to the attention of new commenters.

        Again, welcome!

      • Persia

        It’s great that you do, and I totally understand.
        Thank you for the welcome.

    • Anonymous

      Some people accuse others of abusing them who are not abusers. But I don’t know of an abuser who doesn’t accuse the victim of abusing him. That’s just part of their abuse.

  4. Anonymous

    This is positively the best article I’ve seen yet!! It’s heart-pin-to-the-heart. accurate. How I regret not having been aware of this craziness while I was in the thick of it with my abuser. I actually get sick to my stomach reading this and thinking back and realizing what was happening and how plotted and premeditated it all was. Here is the only true comfort I have as I continue to recover and heal: Almighty God has witnessed it all. And HE rescued me and put me in a safe place.

  5. Annie

    This is the best line:

    If the wife 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 and she is inferior.

    For the longest time I couldn’t understand why my husband didn’t get that my accusations about him were just. Until I realized he believes he has a right to treat me the way he does. And he doesn’t even try to justify that belief system.

    Even if my husband were to ever become the loving husband I deserve I’ll never be able to have a normal relationship with him nor do I want one as long as he holds that attitude. Every once in awhile when I think maybe he’s softening I’ll say or do some small thing and that entitlement attitude comes out in full force. I thank God that I can recognize it now and I appreciate the reminder.

    • Hopeful

      Annie how do you live with him?

  6. silentnomore

    if the victim stands her ground and pushes back against the false accusations, the situation may begin to look to outsiders like a mutually level playing field where two equals are fighting. (This is very useful to the abuser when he’s recruiting allies.)

    He counters by claiming that he is the victim, and he may actually (kind of, sort of) believe that he IS being abused.

    Oh. My. Word. Yes! This is it exactly and its worked for many, many years on me and everyone we’ve ever gone to about our marriage problems. This is how it’s always been “proved” to be mostly or at best half my fault.

    I never heard even looked up the definition of emotional abuse or read anything about it until recently. Now my eyes are opened and I can’t hide from it anymore. I now have the right label for our “fighting” and it makes all the difference.

    Barbara, I wasn’t ready two years ago. I didn’t see the connection between the “fighting” and being suicidal after my husband’s sexual abuse of me. I really see it now. Thank you for being there when I needed you and thank you so much for the time and effort you put into this blog.

    I’ve figured out what the cycle of abuse looks like in my marriage and right now we are into the tension building phase. I can’t go through the end of it again. Trying to figure out what to do and when. I keep reminding myself I need to be safe and being in the same house with him is. Not. Safe. for me.

    • Hi Silent no more, thanks for the encouragement. 🙂
      You may find it helpful to browse the links on our Safety Planning page.
      And Safety Planning is something that the victim can do even if she is still living under the same roof as the abuser.

    • hopeful

      In the couple of times that I have stood my ground and pushed back, my husband has gets very harsh and bullies me. His behavior towards me feels punishing. He plays the victim and claims I am.the abusive one. I have resorted to asking people who they are and experience when they are with me.I like your comment about the tension building stage. I feel it building accutely within my soul after some of the things he does. Incredibly lonely the longer it goes on.

  7. Moving Forward

    I’ve so be there and heard that. Thanks for giving some thoughts as to why he does that. It helps.

  8. E

    It must be realized that there are abusers on the abuse spectrum who are so extreme as not to have a conscience, who have absolutely NO moral inhibitions as to what they may claim as “right” or “wrong,” for they find the complete concept of “right” and “wrong” as what is “good” for them or what they want this minute. They hide this extremely well, “deceiving and being deceived.” An aware believer told us that he thinks the death penalties in Old Testament law were given for these abosultely unrehabilitative cases. Some are so good at reading you that they couch what they want within your own moral framework and use it against you. Giving them any information or emotion will only be used against you, as their one desire is to “win,” conquer, dominate, disrupt others’ loyalties.

  9. M&M

    This relates to something that happened when I was ages 12-14. A classmate of about the same age was abusing me and in retrospect it’s scary how many traits she shared with adult abusers such as making false accusations to me, controlling, and lying to other friends about me. The reason I stayed with her is that I felt compassion for the fact that she was a victim of mean parents. Unfortunately I was too young to infer indirect clues to the fact that her parents were far worse abusers than her literal words. As a result I didn’t tell CPS about a legitimate case. I stayed her friend for the purpose of helping her but I didn’t achieve that purpose because I didn’t know enough to help her escape her parents by telling CPS and I didn’t help her see an example of normal behavior by setting adequate boundaries. After all I suffered, I still didn’t achieve the goal of helping her. About a year after I stopped contact I was 15 and I sent her one last letter saying that if she was sorry I would give her another chance. Her reply was full of furious anger saying that I abused her so I didn’t continue contact. At the time I thought that her subconscious was imagining that I abused her as a way to distance herself from the actual abuse from her parents. That might be true, but she might have known that she was lying. Years ago I heard from a third party that she had to live with her parents during adulthood due to mental issues. I don’t have any current evidence to present to APS and I don’t think it’s safe to contact her directly. When independent adults abuse, their past shouldn’t get them off the hook, but with child perpetrators or adults with mental problems I’m not sure what’s appropriate. Although I had every right to leave her I wish I could have helped her on the way out. I think God wanted me to get free of her, but why didn’t He help her get free of her parents? Of course that’s about as unanswerable as why He allows any injustice anywhere……with independent adults the perpetrator is not also a victim, but with children or adults with mental problems they can be both at the almost same time. She wasn’t a victim of me, but she was a victim of someone.

    • I know she was abusing you emotionally not sexually, so what I’m about to say is not a complete parallel. And I am not an expert by any means, but I have read advice from professional experts saying that the way to deal with child perpetrators of sexual abuse is very different from the way to deal with adult perpetrators of sexual abuse.

      And I think you story illustrates how important it is that all children and teenagers get taught Protective Behaviours. If they were, they would be taught these two themes:

      1. We all have the right to feel safe all the time.
      2. Nothing is so awful that you can’t talk about it with someone. (Some secrets should not be kept secret.)

      If someone is being hurt, children and teens need to know to tell someone about it and keep telling other people until something gets done about it. That last principle can to be put in specific ways too, so that everyone knows how to report to responsible adults including CPS, the Kids HelpLine, or other relevant authorities.

      • M&M

        I agree and my parents made efforts to teach me that I could talk to them about abuse but between fear of her and misunderstanding of scripture I didn’t tell them for years, not even during the few months of physical abuse that also occurred. Through the years since that time I’ve moved from thinking compassion means never hurting anyone (which got me into the situation) to compassion means defending the victim of a given situation (I needed defense against her and she needed defense against her parents). It bothers me that even sincere compassion (such as my parents toward me and me toward her) won’t rescue everyone. However I’ve moved past feeling devastated and am now asking what am I supposed to learn from this? How do I help others without the fear of burnout or failure?

      • Hi M&M, I hope you don’t feel like I am pushing links at you all the time, but we have a wealth of resources for those who want to help victimm/survivors of domestic abuse.
        Supporters of Victims of Domestic Abuse

      • M&M

        No problem, I realize the links are meant to be helpful.

  10. jesusdidntgiveuponme

    Sorry but I laughed after reading the title cause my ex husband said this to me several times. When my marriage was breaking up and I couldn’t afford to leave him yet I joined a support group for women who were being abused. When he found out I was attending he said “I should go so I can tell them how you abuse me!” It will be 14 years ago this month that I left him and I am still recovering from his emotional and psychological abuse. BTW he was a Jekyll and Hyde Narcissist.

    • twbtc

      Hi Jesusdidntgiveuponme,
      Welcome to the blog and thank you for your comment. Yes, recovery is a slow process. But so glad you are now in a safe place.

      If you haven’t already, we always like to direct new commenters to our New User’s page. It gives tips about commenting on the blog.

      Again, welcome!

  11. Alone on the Range

    So how do I respond to my family that he has turned against me with similar tactics? Please help! He is very good at appearing innocent and because this happened to me before, I have somehow become the “scapegoat” / bad person who just conjures up accusations of abuse. He is systematically contacting family and friends to undercut any support they might give me. What is the biblical response to this? Thx.

    • Hi, Alone on the Range (nice screen name!) — welcome to the blog 🙂

      I have had two abusive marriages, and when I split up from my second husband, some of my family members accused me of it being my fault that this kept happening to me. So I understand how painful that can be. Some of those family members have now come round and are not judging me any more, but not all. And the ‘coming round’ took a long time: months if not years.

      Abusers often systematically recruit allies for themselves from the victim’s close family and friends. The abuser’s goal in doing this is multifarious: To further isolate his victim in the hope that maybe she will become so weakened that she will come back to him. To enlarge his circle of supporters so that he can bask in his ‘Mr Nice Guy’ image and never be questioned or criticised. To manoeover for advantage in any court battles that may be coming. And to simply retaliate for her having escaped from his control.

      How do you deal with family who have been recruited as the abuser’s allies? It depends on each family member, but it’s wise to not lay out lots of hope that you will be able to get them to see that they’ve been duped. You may be able to awaken some of them, but you may not.

      Here is an article which may give you ideas for how to respond to some of your family members.
      Unhelpful Comments by Well-Meaning People — A Coaching Clinic for Victims of Domestic Abuse and their Supporters or Bystanders

      But above all, trust your gut feelings. If you feel it is too risky to interact with people who have become the abuser’s witting or unwitting allies, then allow yourself permission to not interact with them. Your wellbeing is important! People who are picking on you and destabilising you are not safe to be with.

      And it’s not easy! You are running the gauntlet that many of us have run as we separate from our abusers. You are not alone!

      And finally, here are some of our other posts that may help you:

      A New Kind of Insecurity and Trying to Overcome

      Isolating the victim from her family of origin (and the family of Christ)

      Marriage and Divorce: The Fallout

      • Alone on the Range

        Thank you, this is helpful. Sadly now I have no where to live because the people that took me in now believe his deceit.

      • Alone on the Range, you might like to check out our resources page on Domestic Violence Agencies Around the World. If you drill down into those links you will find an agency in your area that can probably offer you accommodation in a shelter / refuge for victims of domestic abuse. Local DV agencies have their finger on the services that are available in their area for domestic abuse victims. I encourage you to utilise as many services as you need!

  12. Not Too Late

    If anytime you’re not sure if your abuser really is abusive, and you hear this accusation, that you’re the one abusing him, because you’re calling him out for abusive behaviors – voila, there’s your confirmation. Abusers hate being held accountable, so they will always put the spotlight back on the victim.

    • Valerie

      Exactly! One of the ways I started to recognize the abuse was that my husband would never respond to the concerns or issues I was bringing up but rather he would lock in on how hurtful it was to him that I was making such “accusations” against him. If I asked why he was late he would say I was accusing him of being a bad husband. Then I would spend the rest of the conversation trying to make him feel better by reassuring him that isn’t what I meant. Other times he wouldn’t get sullen but just haughty about it all…still never responding to the hurt/issue at hand. I finally started realizing how incredibly selfish and self-focused it was that he never responded to my pain but always focused on what he deemed a subtle accusation against him.

  13. Anotheranon

    I just heard this this spring when I confronted him about the tens of thousands of dollars he threw away so he could have what he wanted. “You are so abusive!” He was so out of control while yelling he was practically spitting on me. He’s never said that before but maybe he knows the jig is up.

  14. Valerie

    This is spot on! In my case I saw this being used as a tactic to counterbalance my claims to others. Its like the juvenile example of a child yelling, “He hit me!”. Then the other one yelling back, “But he hit me first!”. (At that point the counter accusation would be assumed to be true.) A modified “sin-leveling” if you will. It became almost creepy as I saw it unfold. I would share something with another person about the abuse (who unbeknownst to me was a flying monkey of his) then it would get back to me some lie that my husband subsequently told about me. When I would bring this lie to his attention he (shudder) almost had a glint of excitement in his eyes like this was all a big chess game to him. He seemed more anxious to see what my next move would be so he could keep playing rather than showing any hint of concern for the actual claims I was making. Sick and twisted.

    • Annie

      Its like the juvenile example of a child yelling, “He hit me!”. Then the other one yelling back, “But he hit me first!”.


      I’m tired of being married to an 11 year old…

  15. Anotheranon

    Abusers often systematically recruit allies for themselves from the victim’s close family and friends.

    My husband has started giving our children rather large gifts of money which he has never done before. I think he’s trying to buy them off since he knows they know how bad things are getting.

  16. StandsWithAFist

    When an abuser says the abused is the abuser, it’s a lie. They are lying (again) about their own behavior. An abuser will morph from persecutor into victim in a nano-second simply by making this false accusation, and it can throw you off balance because it plays on your already-exploited empathy and compassion. Victims need to be rescued, right? How dare you tell the truth! You’re so mean! Why are you being so mean? I will tell everyone how mean you are!

    See how twisted this is??

    But it’s just another lie.

    George Simon says this about the tactic of lying: “Lastly, there’s lying – the responsibility-avoidance behavior and manipulation tactic that disturbed characters have turned into a virtual art form.”

    When your abuser says you’re the abusive one, it’s a lie. Tell the truth.

  17. loves6

    My H dismisses abuse…did this last night. He said that sort of thing happens all. the time.. the older kids wonder why I’m making a big deal.
    My kids say I am the problem. Dad is the man I highly respect they say and you, mom are selfish and a liar, is what I hear.
    My H tells me not to yell … I am being abusive apparently. I do raise my voice .. often when my anger for the why I have been treated comes to the surface.
    I have a question… why does the abuser turn on the tears? Cry 5 sad stories on the news? Feel sad about someone that’s sick? Etc .. when they have never been like that.. I think it’s sad but I don’t go on about it and I don’t cry. . Am I hard? Am I abusive? Is he just being his pathetic self?
    I have done the next step… moved out of the bedroom today… getting closer to leaving!!!

    • Maybe some abusers turn on the tears at sad stories on the news because they want to impress the kids with their ‘tender-heartedness’. Or because they want to practise producing tears so they can turn on the tears whenever they deem it will advance their evil agenda. Crocodile tears are powerful weapons in the abuser’s arsenal. Here is a post Meg C wrote: Crocodile Tears.

      Whatever your husband and your kids accuse you of — it is not true. They are abusing you; not the other way round. They are liars.

      • loves6

        Thanks Barbara
        I have a very broken man on my hands… I’ve moved to a sperate bedroom and removed my wedding rings
        This morning I had a man sitting on my bed crying .. being sentimental .. acknowledging he was very controlling in our marriage. Also saying he loved me much and wanted to protect me and take care of me. He said alot of other things too. I said to him…. you have crushed my spirit. I gave tried to save our marriage … I gave been unhappy for a number of years and in recent years I’ve calling out for help to those we know.
        Yesterday I had a friend lie to him about me .. the second friend to do this to me in the past couple of months.
        I over it with my kids… my environment and certain friends. I have very little support … I’m the villain he is the victim.
        I’m planning on leaving for a six month break on my own. I have to him I need it … he says nothing. I need to get my sanity back. I have a place to stay … I will coparent out children but I need to detox.
        This is where I stand today
        Thanks Barbara

      • Good for you, loves6 🙂 🙂 🙂


      • jesusdidntgiveuponme

        loves6: Good for you! I pray you will regain your sanity and your abuser will leave you alone during this time. {{Hugs}}

  18. Hopeful

    My husband accuses me of being abusive all the time. Whenever I make an attempt to confront him or stand up for myself, he escalates, puts his hand up telling me to stop, accusing me of not treating him like a viable human being, and storms off. He has the same response for every confrontation. I can never say how I feel. I blow emotionally becuase I am so tired of the blame and criticism from him.

    He recently told me that he would be filing for a divorce next year, followed by “or maybe I will now.” I have to let him go. I know deep in my heart I made many mistakes as a wife and didn’t treat him perfectly. I have asked God for forgiveness and continue to work on myself through therapy, small groups, bible studies, prayer, yet it is never good enough for my husband.

    He blames me for wanting to be sexual because “I sleep in the same bed and wear certain pajamas.” He will not kiss me and our sexual relationship rarely includes intercourse because “he feels sick after.” I asked him to leave our home. He does not want to work on healing our marriage as he sees our marriage as just a legal document. His stance is that I am a person never to be trusted and abusive. So I wait and live in heartache, loneliness, and walking on egg shells.

    • Hi Hopeful, welcome to the blog and thanks for sharing 🙂

      What you have described about your husband’s behaviour is pretty typical of abusers. The blame-shifting and false accusations, the neglect, the denigration, the fickleness and changeablity of the abuser, the disdain for you and your rights and your needs.

      We hope you keep reading here and sharing whenever you like. And if you haven’t yet done so, I suggest you read Lundy Bancroft’s book Why Does He Do That? [*Affiliate link] – you can find it under our Resources tab in the top menu. Here is a link directly to our Books By Author page.

      Also in the top menu is a tab for New Users. We encourage all new commenters to read the New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to disidentify your comments. I airbrushed a few details from your comment, to protect your identity.

      *Amazon affiliate link — ACFJ gets a small percentage if you purchase via this link.
    • itaketoflight

      Hopeful, you couldn’t have described my situation any better than if I’d written it myself. I’m sorry to hear you are going through the same.

  19. Valerie

    Perfectly stated Barbara. There is nothing you can do, Hopeful, to please an abuser. You can’t reason with someone who is unreasonable. If he gave you a list of 10 things you could do to make him happy and you did all 10 he would be upset if you did them out of order. An abusive person sabotages any and every attempt at connection or reconciliation.

    BTW- your screen name is very encouraging! 🙂

  20. Anonymous

    Hopeful, I concur with Barbara! I listened to all 21 of Pastor Crippens sermons, some of them twice. When all I could do is lay in bed and cry in pain and disbelief, the Lord spoke to me through these sermons and helped me get out of the foggy room. I actually thought I was going crazy. Listen to them ASAP and I believe you will begin an amazing new journey into understanding what’s happening and moving toward an abuse free environment.

    • Hopeful

      Anonymous..I started listening yesterday. Is there a certain sequence to listen? I have only listened to one and quickly realized that I need to take notes. Yesterday (Saturday) my h was very affectionate and thanked me for ” not yelling at him ” for touching me…yet he can hold divorce over my head, treat me with disdain and indifference. I prayed in church for clarity on how to handle him and maintain my dignity.

      • twbtc

        Hi Hopeful,

        I noticed your question to Anonymous about Pastor’s sermon series. When I listened to the series I went in order – starting with Sin of Abuse Exposed by the Light of Christ. This link shows the list of sermons in the order that they were given. Each sermon does stand alone, but sometimes Pastor will reiterate or recap a thought from the previous sermon so I found it helpful to listen in order the first time.

        Also, there is a PDF file with each sermon. You may find them helpful as you listen. Here is a link to the first sermon I mentioned above. Under the green audio ‘play’ icon is an icon called “PDF Text’. Just click on it and you will be taken to the PDF file. I find these files very helpful when listening to any of Pastor’s sermons.

      • hopeful

        Thank you so.much

  21. Annie

    I have to say I’ve come to this particular page several times. I think it’s the biggest obstacle for me. My husband has accused me of this to my face so I have no doubt he would and perhaps already has told others this same lie.

    My husband is very clear–only he has suffered, no one suffers as he does. Doesn’t matter what it is–an injury, an illness, a terrible job–he’s had it worse. And now I suspect one of my children may be getting bullied and lo and behold he’s been bullied his whole life. Including by me! Yes, I’m a bully because on occasion when I couldn’t take it any more I stood up to him. So there’s no such thing as bullying except if it happens to him. And naturally he’s an expert.

    Against my better judgment I told him my concern about said child. I’m still trying to piece together what’s going on so that when I approach the appropriate authority figure I can be clear in my story. I initiated the conversation only because it involved one of the children and he is the dad (one of the few I ever do as I try to avoid him as much as possible) and it was a complete waste of time and only served to make me upset. Yet resolved. It began with me expressing my concerns, him criticizing the child and ending with it all about him–men are disrespected, he’s been bullied. Not once did he express any concern, sympathy or anything for the child. He instructed me to help child cheer up!!! Well, as upset as I was at the conversation and I was mad at myself for even starting it, the good thing is it convinced me I will never get any support from him. I’m on my own. I told child dad will not give us any support. He doesn’t believe anyone gets bullied.

    So while I know I have to deal with this — and when he finds out I’ve acted on my own to protect my child he will be livid– I’m scared. I feel so alone today. I don’t want to have to deal with this but I will and I’m praying for the strength.

    • M&M

      Oh Annie, 😦 😦 😦 ❤ ❤ ❤ ! I am so proud of you for defending your child at such cost!! I’m bet Jesus is proud of your compassion for the child and grieved at your husband’s lack of compassion. Is there any way you can communicate with the school without your husband finding out? I hope you find a safe way out. I also recommend the song “Worn” by 10th Ave North as a song that understands distress. And Psalm 10.

      • Annie

        Thanks, M&M

        I can make my report without husband knowing but my fear is it will get back to him when someone in administration happens to see him and mentions I came in. He’s friends with some of them.

      • jesusdidntgiveuponme

        Annie: Would it be possible for you to meet before or after hours? That way you are less likely to be seen.

  22. leaningonhope

    I’ve had this experience once, a few weeks ago. I had just finished reading in Lundy Bancroft’s book about key things he may say….and then it happened! I was stunned but so glad to have been informed. I told him he was seriously wrong and seriously mistaken.
    So thankful for this site.

  23. smc

    Think you should modify this article to be her / his rather than men just being the abusers.

    My partner uses tactics as mentioned above to manipulate friends and family to make it seem that I am the abuser.

    It’s frustrating and most people take her side as it’s perceived by society in general that men are the abusers. She has made friends, family believe her lies and accusations due to my reactions to her abuse.

    I don’t go and correct the accusations as the people’s opinions don’t really affect me. It’s more the fact that she feels the need to make people take her side and sympathise with her that actually makes things worse. People generally don’t question the ‘abused’ but in my current position it’s frustrating that you’re not even given an opportunity to defend yourself or explain they are all being lied to.
    It’s agonising when you know why people lie and the lies they need to continue with and how caught up the apparent accuser becomes in the lies to ensure they seem to be the abused party.

    Men are also abused in the same way as I am and I do everything I possibly can to try help the abuser to see what they are doing in a non-confrontational way however I will always be deemed to be the abuser.

    • And by the way, smc, welcome to the blog! 🙂

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

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

    • Hi smc, I wish that the English language had gender neutral personal pronouns! The fact that it does not is really frustrating, especially when it comes to topics like domestic abuse.

      I have amended this post by adding a ‘note about gender’. I encourage you to have a look at the post now, to read that note. And in that note, there is a link to our Male Survivors tag. I think you might find it helpful to read the eight posts on this blog which have the tag Male Survivors.

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