Abuse Produces Loneliness

For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry. Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments. Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message. At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.  (2 Tim 4:10-17  ESV)

Follow the lives of Christ’s people in Scripture and you will find for the most part, that they were lonely people. Jesus Himself was abandoned. Standing for God’s truth is never popular, and standing for those who are oppressed by evil is even less popular. Show me a professing Christian who is popular with lots of people and I will show you a phony.

Evil loves to isolate its victims, so it is no surprise that abusers very characteristically destroy the relationships of their victims, destroy their reputations, force them to move far away from family….you all know these drills pretty well by now I am sure. The end result is that when you are the target of an abuser, you are going to experience loneliness. How many of you have told us over the years that when you left your abuser you were shunned by your old church, by family, friends, and even in many cases by your own children? This is the work of the evil one and his emissaries.

It is very hard to be lonely as a result of the devious actions of an abuser and at the same time to have to watch the abuser enjoy popularity and even sympathy from those who used to be your friends. But this is what the world of the victim looks like so often and this is a grief that we frequently have to bear.

Want to minister the love of Christ to an abuse victim? Break off the company line of evangelicalism, reject the false teachings about marriage, divorce, and abusers-are-Christians-too nonsense, start watching for victims, and be their friend. It actually is remarkably easy to be a friend to these people. All you have to do is listen to them, believe them, help provide for them, fix things for them1, and be willing to stand with them in saying to their abuser, “Thou art the man! Go away!”

1[August 28, 2022: Clarification — It is important to listen to the abuse victim, as some victims prefer to do some or all of their own mending, repairing, etc. Editors.]

[August 28, 2022: Editors’ notes:

—For some comments made prior to August 28, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be an exact match.
—For some comments made prior to August 28, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be found in the post.
If you would like to compare the text in the comments made prior to August 28, 2022 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (August 28, 2022), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]


Further reading

The loneliness of the abuse victim


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.

119 thoughts on “Abuse Produces Loneliness”

  1. It’s very lonely to be a single Christian parent. In many cases most of your friends are married and have little time for you, and your single friends / acquaintances (if you have any) don’t have children so they have little in common with you. Christians treat you with skepticism at best. Even some of my closest friends I believe suspect that I could have stayed married and worked it out had I only trusted the Lord. Of all my Christian friends only two truly get it, but they are both happily married to great men, so they can’t really empathize and they simply do not understand how lonely I am.

    As a divorced Christian parent, I am finding that it’s almost impossible to find a place to fit in, and to find consistent companionship and support. I do occasionally receive sympathy and sometimes empathy and acceptance, and I even have had some folks help me with practical needs in my life (for which I am very grateful) but I have yet to find a single soul who gives a damn that the kids and I are desperately lonely. My phone never rings unless it’s the ex calling to speak to the kids, or one of my friends asking me to babysit. The children and I spend 99% of our days alone. We are alone on Christmas and every other holiday. We don’t have any family nearby which compounds the problem.

    In my life, Christians call you “family” and “brothers and sisters in Christ” but they don’t care that you sit alone on holidays and every other day of your life because no one really considers you anything but a divorced woman who probably should have stayed married.

    I don’t know if it would be less lonely to be a non-Christian divorced parent. Maybe if I hung out in bars I could find someone to know and care about me and not judge me for divorcing my husband who maybe will repent one day and may have had a better chance of repenting had I stayed married and prayed for him day and night.

    The longer I walk this earth as a divorced Christian woman, the more I understand why the “world” often considers Christians to be hypocrites, and the reasons the world often turns to anything but the church for solace and support. I truly, wholeheartedly believe that I would find more support in a bar than I do at church.

    I know Christians who proudly give tons of money to all sorts of charities, but they wouldn’t think of giving me or the kids a dime. You see, I should have stayed married. Then I wouldn’t be poor. These same Christians make a point to visit the elderly (rare indeed) and shut ins, but I never get a phone call or a visit. You see, the elderly and shut ins are not to blame for their loneliness, but I made the choice to get divorced so I am at fault for my loneliness and isolation.

    I know this sounds harsh, and I’m sorry for that. I don’t blame God for any of this. I believe He is who He says He is and I believe that there are good Christian men and woman who truly serve the Lord and selflessly minister to those in need. May God bless them richly.

    1. LauraGrace – You fit in here. No need to apologize for any harshness. All that you say here is absolutely true and we have experienced it as well. Increasingly I am coming to the conclusion that the evangelical “Christianity” we are surrounded with is no longer of Christ at all. Could it be that we are in the same place Luther was back in the Reformation days when the church had ceased being the true body of Christ and the only remedy was to come out of it?

      1. Thanks Jeff. The worst part of losing faith and hope in the church is fretting over what to do about my children. I want them to be part of a church, to have that fellowship and instruction, but I can’t find a church in which to entrust that awesome responsibility and privilege. So I do my best to train them at home and be an example of Christ in their lives, but it’s so sad because we need fellowship and encouragement – as all Christians do.

      2. Increasingly I am coming to the conclusion that the evangelical “Christianity” we are surrounded with is no longer of Christ at all.

        Yes, I feel / believe that too. In fact, I don’t believe Jesus is any longer in 99% of ‘churches’ anymore. I believe the faithful Christ followers are scattered, or a few hanging in there in churches here and there, but not many. Every true Christian I’ve ever found has been outside the ‘churches’.

      3. I totally agree with you Pastor Jeff … these are the times we are living in. I have found that history repeats itself as if we had not learned from the past.

      4. well said Jeff.
        How can people be “of Christ” when they cannot be trusted to keep a confidence….. my pastor actually showed to my abuser the email I sent asking him to help my abuser ……even people in secular businesses would surely not have been so unethical or showed such a lack of social / emotional intelligence or professionalism…… such incompetence is unbelievable and caused me added rejection and distress …..I believe such unwise decisions prove that these Pastors are certainly not guided by our Wonderful Holy Spirit in spite of all the preaching they do…..very very dangerous behaviour and very very evil.
        Jeff…thank you for the way you affirm us …..it means a lot.

      5. My poor daughter hurts so much and is becoming bitter towards Christians because when she confides in our Christian friends how her father mistreats her she is admonished to forgive him, pray for him, and stop being a victim!!!!!!!!!! She’s a young teenager!!!!! She has a right to be respected and treated with kindness and dignity by her own father but he does nothing but belittle her, intimidate her, lie to her, reject her, and neglect her most basic needs. But she gets no sympathy or compassion from the church.

        I’ve resorted to telling her not to mention her father or the way he treats her to our Christian friends or Pastors anymore. I try to validate her feelings at home but she needs more than that right now and she’s certainly not going to get it from the church.

      6. Praying for you and your daughter, LauraGrace. It is so, so wrong that your Christian friends treated her that way.

    2. I found more understanding, support, encouragement and clarity on this site than anywhere else on the internet. Hope you do too! Be strong.

    3. LauraGrace I have had many of these same feelings, as the pastor of my own church expressed sympathy for my ex and his porn addiction, and refused to deal with an adulterous man who is still yet on church committees today! No one in my church asked if I needed help or reached out to me that wasn’t in a private study group with me studying Precept Upon Precept.

      I think my own sister and parents doubted me for a while until more truth came out, because my ex was so charming, manipulative and evil enough to play their own weaknesses against me.

      The parts about not fitting in with married Christian friends anymore, or with singles, and fellow churchgoers thinking you should have been able to save your marriage no matter what — all are painful, and real. Happened to me too. You are not alone, and sympathies from those of us you do not know and will never see sometimes seems inadequate. But perspective and emotional strength will return with time.

      One of the greatest milestones for me was being able to separate these feelings between real divorce poison vs living in an age when true Christians are a minority even in the church. The church is filled with both deceivers using the church to make themselves look good, and the deceived who think they are saved. We are in the end times. There are so many who do not study Scripture and do not know what God’s principles for life are, much less how to obey and live accordingly.

      You will come out of this with much discernment, and with a few true friends that you can really trust and depend upon. God will bring them into your life and land you on your feet. You know that. And to trust Him. He’s got you. Stay in the Scriptures for perspective, strength, hope and comfort. Psalms (especially 34 and 37), Isaiah, Ephesians 5, 1 Cor 6:9-10, Jer 1-10 how God felt when Israel betrayed Him.. again, and parts of Ezekiel (standing up to and exposing sin) will give you comfort and clarity.

      Pour your heart out here. These people understand. They get it. You will find understanding, answers and clarity.

    4. Hello LauraGrace. You are definitely not alone. Many of us here have experienced similar situations where we have been ostracized and condemned. It can be lonely. But hold to what you shared at the end of your comments: God IS who He said He is. This may be a season of hardship, but I know it will also be a season of healing and growth, where you discover who you are in Christ outside of the church.

      God is your witness. And He will make a way for you and your children.

    5. It almost seems to me that once I got divorced and had become single, church couples no longer wanted to welcome me. As if it was not safe to have a single woman amongst their group of couples.

    6. Your experiences are heartbreaking! I must let you know that not all churches and Pastors are harmful. I am one of those happily married women, but have walked the last half decade plus, along with my husband and daughter, with my best friend as she emancipated herself from her malignant narcissistic abusive minister husband.

      Our pastor has taken a stand with her so strongly that his lawyers have had to work hard to protect him from the abuser’s attempts to sue him plus the pastor of a sister church who also opposed that wicked man.

      The abuser has attempted to intimidate us on several occasions.

      But she is now “family” with us. She’s always in shock when my husband treats her kindly. He says it is his job to show her, his “sister” how truly Godly men should treat a woman so she will know what to expect in a man someday. He does acts of kindness, listens, upholds her opinions as valid, shares his opposing opinions if her past history has caused her thinking to be distorted, reminds her that she is worthy of love, that God still has plans for her, makes sure she knows she is welcome in our home at all times (she has spent many holidays here). Recently she told me that in the past handful of years he has listened thoughtfully and to really “hear” her more than her ex did in more than 30 years of marriage!

      Many from our church have helped her financially, with food, clothing and other necessities. Our church staff and pastor have subsequently offered the same care to at least 2 other women and I am expecting one more to realize it probably was not God calling her to stay in her physically abusive marriage…she’s been told and shown she will have support, but at this point she has chosen to stay with him. Yes, our church is the exception to the rule and that is sad…and sick. But I hate for the enemy to make anyone believe that all Christians, churches and Pastors are complicit in the epidemic of abuse. Not all are.

      We’re [were?] we in our past? Very likely for we also had to, at some point, have our eyes opened and learn that evil was very much among us. That is a lesson not all are willing to learn or to pay the cost that comes with standing for righteousness. I do hope you are able to find a church and pastor that exhibit those qualities! I pray that you find them and that there are strong people who will listen for the voice of our righteous Defender who will take a stand with you as His representatives.

      1. Hi Came Alongside, if you are willing, would you kindly email us with the name and location of your church. We might want to recommend it to others. You can find our emails if you click on the About us page.

      2. Came Alongside, I am happy to hear that there are still godly churches and men. Barbara, I was wondering (instead of having a camp meeting), maybe Pastor Crippen could come onto FOX-TV here in the USA (a Christian TV station) and share with them his work!!! What do you think?

      3. 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.


        Yikes, I doubt very much whether Fox TV would give Jeff airtime. His message is probably too much of a hot potato for the Evangelical Industrial Complex to want to give it any oxygen whatsoever!

        I also doubt that Jeff would feel okay about using Fox TV as a platform. But I can’t speak for Jeff himself.

      4. Barbara – I don’t think anyone gleaning from this site would consider you self-promoting yourself concerning the videos featuring you. ACFJ has offered countless resources depending on the commenters’ needs. It’s quite amazing how the ministry quickly posts links to guide and educate concerning our doubts and fears.
        As for more exposure? Video and audio recordings are always appreciated. Perhaps, some of the speaking engagements could be recorded or done via Live webcasts.
        The technology to do webcasts and have participants send in their questions or responses either via a chat line or verbally is out there. I’m not sure what the expenses are or what it takes to set this up? If it is God’s will – it will come about just like the beginnings of most ministries like ACFJ … Sometimes these opportunities just unfold as He blesses the hands at work. 🙂

      5. I can just see it in my head. ACFJ having webcasts in every state to welcome the downtrodden women, answering their questions, giving them hope, and … start a revolution!

  2. To make it even worse my husband would say things to me like you didn’t like people, you’re unfriendly, etc all the while he’s being the friendly guy in the neighborhood. Not only did he try to isolate me, he blamed me for it! Plus it’s hard to be friendly when you’re in so much pain. I couldn’t turn it off and on. So while he’s outside being this great guy with the neighbors, I’m inside trying to recover from his latest attacks.

    1. Same Annie, how cruel! He’d break my spirits then tell me that because of my emotional behavior / reaction I just push my friends away. In actual fact he was the one who didn’t have true friends. Like your H, mine would have this whole great audience because of his charming spells, but that was totally superficial. Narcissists crave the mirrors others are for him where he can admire himself, deceiving himself in thinking he is the great guy after all, and shun the words of reality check from his wife.

      1. My abuser did that too: say snide insinuating things to me, and to my daughter when she went on access, about how I never managed to keep friends. He claimed that each female friend I had had over the years no longer was friendly to me.

        He was partly right, but in most instances my frienships had lapsed or subsided into less close relationships because I had at some stage or other said something to each of those women about how their doctrines were wonky, or their practice of Christianity was shallow, or their ethics were doubtful. And as we know, when people are called into greater light, they often react and blame the whistleblower.

      2. Yes Barbara, so true, abusers project their own failing, incompetence onto their victim(s)! Devoid of empathy they haven’t got a clue how to make true friends and then accuse her of not nurturing her friends, all the while turning them against her! I lost my ‘best’ friend of a lifetime in a way that could only be orchestrated by Satan himself. It is heartbreaking. 😦 I too believe we are in the end time because people “are lovers of themselves… without natural affection.. ” as described by the apostle Paul in 2 Tim 3.

        I so like your point about whistle blowers and ‘friends’ pulling away. That’s part of the fog clearing for a victim giving place to discernment and light, and there is suddenly this growing gap between the victim and others still in the fog. That’s another cause of loneliness, isn’t it?

      3. Yes, Barbara, this is another part of loneliness. Let’s all get together and start our own little town … 🙂

      4. in the new heavens and new earth, we will all get together and will have eternity to share our stories!

        But in the meantime, let’s just have a fantasy of having our own little town.

        Sometimes the ACFJ team have discussed whether we might ever one day be able to organise an ACFJ conference. We have dreamt it up big: A week at least. Catering. Child care. Nice castle as the venue. Safe and comfortable beds. Oodles of tissues. But then I remembered that we would also need security: guards to protect us. Bomb defusing experts on hand. And would we ever be confident we were safe? Gathered in once place, you can imagine how the abusers would love to blow us up….

        So maybe being isolated and scattered is not all that bad, given how the Bible says

        But know this: Difficult times will come in the last days…
        In fact, all those who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. Evil people and impostors will become worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed. You know those who taught you, and you know that from childhood you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are able to give you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. (2 Tim 3:1,12-15 HCSB)

  3. It was especially hard in the era before mobile phones. I would miss my family so much because we lived so far away from them and I couldn’t contact them.
    We all live in the same city now. One day, when I said I wanted to go visit my identical twin sister, he said I couldn’t go because she didn’t come to visit. Of course, I knew why she couldn’t come. She was often rebuffed and treated coldly by him whenever she came around.

    1. Thank you Barbara. We will all get together … and what a great time it will be. It is interesting that you mention “a castle.” They usually have a high wall around them (or it can be built). I thought often to create a heaven on earth for lost animals if I should get rich. The wall was an important factor in the plan. The animals would be free and I would have a veterinarian on staff. I would be driving around in a van and capture all the lost and hurt … creatures … except, I will have to accept that I cannot save them all, I cannot save the world … that’s why we have Jesus!

  4. Hello, this is my first post here. I just found this website last week and I am so thankful for finally receiving validation of what I have felt and known (without being able to put it in words) for 20+ years of being married to an abuser. I have one close friend that i confide in, who has been encouraging me to talk to our pastor about my marriage and I have been so reluctant to do that because of past hurtful experiences with ‘church people’. She said that I need help. And after a moment of pondering, I replied “I no longer have the expectation that when I ask for help, that I will be helped.” How sad is that?
    Thank you for this website!!!

    1. Welcome, RomansEightOne!

      I would be very cautious about speaking to your pastor. Many are not informed about domestic abuse, give bad advice and cause more pain. I certainly wish I hadn’t spoken to mine, who has hurt me very much.

      I would pray for wisdom and guidance about who to talk to.

      I prayed that God will give you all the help and support you need.

    2. Hi RomansEightOne,

      Welcome to the blog! Glad you are finding validation and encouragement here! May I encourage you to keep reading and learning about abuse and the abuser, his mentality and tactics. We have several ways to search the blog: the side search bar, our Resources page found on the top menu bar, and the list of categories towards the bottom of the side menu bar. We also like to encourage new commenters to visit our New User’s page as it gives tips for staying safe when commenting on the blog.

      Regarding your friend’s advice to talk to your pastor about your marriage – only you can choose whether or not to do that as you know your situation best. But I will say that I can’t think of any situation on the blog that when a commenter talked to her pastor that it had a positive outcome. That doesn’t mean that meeting with your pastor might not be helpful and I don’t want to discourage you if you feel that is something you want to do. It just doesn’t happen very often. Maybe some of the help that you may need you will find as you delve into the resources and past posts on this blog.

      Oh, and I love your screen name! And there is no condemnation here either. 🙂

      Again, Welcome!

      1. …there is no condemnation here…

        No condemnation of victims. Heaps of condemnation for the abusers. And heaps of condemnation for the churches that enable abusers. 🙂

        Don’t mean to admonish you, TWBTC, but I thought I’d amplify that 🙂

    3. RomansEightOne, great to hear you’ve found this blog and feel validated. It is a true internet oasis for abuse victims. I pray you find consolation and support here.
      I concur with Grace551 about being cautious and in prayer before considering talking to your pastor. Like her, I regretted it, and even elders, there is scarcely any who is educated and experienced regarding domestic violence. Very sad.. 😦

    4. Thank you Grace551, Innoscent, and Twbtc so much for your welcome and prayers. You confirm my misgivings about speaking to my pastor. I have in the past gone to the pastors where we attended church (one in the first city we lived in, one in the second city we lived in) for help, explaining the treatment our children and I rec’d from husband.

      The first one listened to me, and said “well, that’s not right”. He didn’t speak to my husband but gave me the number to a Christian counselor. And to my knowledge, he did not speak to my husband and my husband continued to hold his position of leadership at the church. I followed up with the counselor but found out I could not afford the sessions.

      The second time I reached out, we had moved to a different city and the reaction was “but we like him so much!”. They didn’t want to believe it. He is quite charming outside the home. The men in our small group met with him in a private meeting a few days later at the home of one of the men, supposedly to discuss my claims. I never heard from any of those men again and they avoided eye contact with me when we were in the same room.

      I started seeing a biblical counselor and convinced my husband to go with [me] but he stopped after 3 sessions. They didn’t believe what I was telling them until I was able to record one of husband’s angry raging episodes on my phone and played it for them. I cannot believe how much condemnation I felt as a result of seeing the biblical counselor (for being an idolator because of my codependence with my husband, for being unforgiving, for being angry, for being depressed and many more things they told me). Looking back, I can see that they should have helped me get out. They could see all of the signs. But they just kept telling me I had to rely on God and endure.
      Thus my name here. 🙂

      I read Lundy Bancroft’s book ‘Why Does He do That?’ about 2 years ago, and that is when I started my journey out of the fog FINALLY.

      1. Praise God for how He burns away the fog!

        Since you’ve read Bancroft’s book, you will be well and truly aware of what he says about couple counseling: That is is NOT appropriate in domestic abuse, and that it can often be very dangerous for victims.

        Here is our tag about couple counseling: Couple Counseling

      2. Thanks for sharing further RomansEightOne. I know exactly what you explain about the church. Been there and it hurts heaps and deep. Abusers are directed by the Devil himself and manage to confuse and blind the very people so that they cannot move in the right direction.
        I concur with Barbara about marriage counseling because it is not a marriage problem but the husband’s abuse, the abuser’s mindset that is THE problem. The abuser is only using the marriage and the victim as a smokescreen to cover up his wickedness. So many people fall for it, especially pastors.. 😦

      3. All that we discuss here is why one of my favorite quotes is:

        God’s wheels of justice grind slowly, but exceedingly fine–Chuck Swindoll

      4. So pleased you are getting out of the fog – and so disgusted to hear of the behaviour of the Biblical counselor. And your previous churches. I am sure that is not how God wanted you treated. ((Hugs))

    5. Grace551 replied to your comment, stating that you should be cautious about sharing with your pastor. That was my thought exactly. Although domestic abuse is not my issue, I did share something with someone in church leadership and believe he repeated what was told him in confidence. My friend suffered emotional and verbal abuse by her husband and yet the pastor, and his wife, and anyone else he spoke to in that church always believed him because of his charm and ability to twist the truth and make it look like she was the one with the problem. When they finally divorced, he stayed in the church and she was the one that had to find another fellowship. I do not want to imply that all church leaders are untrustworthy, but many are. Before sharing pray and ask God to show you who to speak to, and don’t be anxious to share specifics with just anyone. You’d be surprised to find out how many Christians cannot resist sharing someone else’s confidential disclosure with others, even when they’ve been asked not to. And that includes those in leadership, even in the church. God never mistreated anyone, including those that were notorious sinners. He treated every woman mentioned in the Bible as precious.
      (Think of Rahab, the woman at the well, the woman caught in adultery, etc…..). He commands husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church. Men are (biblically) the leaders of the home which gives them MORE responsibility to do right by their wives and children. I believe that NO wife will have a problem respecting a husband who treats her as Christ intended. Many men demand respect from women but forget that respect must be earned.

      1. Sparkle 808 I agree. In my experience, I talked to my pastor and he shared what I said with my husband!
        When I discovered this I made it clear to my pastor I would not be discussing anything more with him.
        It was another reason I could not stay there,

  5. So true Pastor Jeff! I was [told] by the pastor of my old church that since I was divorcing my abusive husband he could no longer be my pastor. I had friends who didn’t like what happened but refused to leave the church. Two wonderful and supportive friends did leave because they felt so strongly that asking me to leave the church was wrong. Especially when my now ex was welcomed with open supportive arms. Four years later I recently ran into one of the old churches elders who supported my ex. I was totally shunned! The friends who remained at the church I don’t see. Although it was a lonely and difficult time I have found a wonderful new church home! The pastor supports abuse victims and believes abuse is grounds for divorce. The Lord has slowly been restoring all that was taken away. A new church home, new friendships! Mine and my children’s lives are being rebuilt.

    This blog and all those who have been a part of it over the past four years have been a wonderful help and support! And continue to [be] a place of support, understanding and encouragement.

    1. Oh, that pastor was cruel to ask you to leave! 😦
      So glad to hear that the Lord is blessing you and your children with all things new.

    2. Song of Joy, The same thing happened to me, when I was asked to leave.
      I too had one faithful friend in the church (who had first hand experience abuse in her marriage). When it was decided in that church that I was to be excommunicated, (because I wasn’t believed) they also approached my friend to ask her to no longer speak to me, -to be accepted back into their church).
      My friend was appalled at their request, and instead pulled herself away from the church.

      To this day we continue to share with and support each other, and continue to learn more at this site. We have yet to find a church that teaches the truth regarding evil and how to deal with it, except for here at ACFJ, and are very thankful for them.

      1. Standsfortruth — Thank you for sharing what a ‘true friend’ is. I have never met anyone willing to do that for me although they have attempted to state, “Oh, we feel so badly for you. How can you still remain there considering …?”
        Agreeing with you in ACFJ’s ministry of feeding the broken-down remnant. They are providing a place of cool, still waters for the sheep.

      2. Healinginhim, I think a key to having this person believe and support me, was because she too had a history of marital abuse, so she could very much relate to the stuff I was going through, even though the others in the church couldnt fathom it.
        In any event I would love to be a support friend for you or any of the others here if there was a way to arrange it.
        Thats what the abuser hates most, and tries hard to destroy, is any moral support for his target.
        Because he knows that if she gets that support then she will continue to see the truth, and ultimately free herself.

      3. Standsfortruth — I agree that the ones who seem to be of any support are those who have been through the same ordeal. Over the last two years when I became far more openly honest about what was happening; I was surprised at the women who opened up about their past. These were women I knew as acquaintances but never really got to know them because I rarely went out to socialize.

        Thank you for your offer of support. Your comments and others along with God’s Word being untwisted has been of great benefit to me.
        You are also right in stating,

        That’s what the abuser hates most, and tries hard to destroy, is any moral support for his target.
        Because he knows that if she gets that support then she will continue to see the truth, and ultimately free herself.

        Two years ago when he was wanting me to stop talking and told me to “go back downstairs” he then admitted that I was different. Even though he had accused me of being confrontational when I pressed him for an explanation of what he meant by “different”. He said I seemed more confident (pause). I replied that yes, because now I was finally being ‘honest’ with others and even though many don’t believe me; there were enough along with sound Scriptural support to let me know that I had every right to express a ‘righteous anger’ at the sin in this house.

        Discussion ended – with me leaving the room once again, tears streaming and nose running … yeah I was pretty shattered at another cold encounter. But that’s okay. It’s shows that I still have feelings and am alive.

        I’ve just expressed the abuse with ‘him’ … then there are my siblings and adult children … it’s intertwined – Praise God that He will eventually untangle and reveal the truth.
        Didn’t mean for this to be so long.

      4. Just so you know Healinginhim, the moment my abuser figured out that I was getting support validating what he was doing to me, he then turned his poison towards both of those sources.

        One of the sources of my support was this very site, and he was tracking my visits via home computer.
        So he tried to ally the admins here. lol
        But they saw through his manipulative language.

        Then he took my friend’s ex-husband aside to get him to spy on me.
        (Since they once went to Bible study together)
        But he saw the evil in my abusers intent, and refused. (rare, I know)

        Anyway, I remember feeling more validation and support during small talks with strangers at the grocery store when I went alone, than trying to make sense of anything with my abuser.
        So I knew I could communicate.

      5. standsfortruth — Amazing … your testimony is much the same as mine. When he read ACFJ he took the opportunity the next time we talked was to look very innocently at me and say, “I’m not going to take it any more”. This was paraphrased from a particular post that Jeff Crippen had done. He then stated, “Well, it would appear that you are the abuser and I have been compliant.” I must confess to being angry and remarked, “How dare you use that blog to make yourself appear innocent. After all the years of you telling conference speakers that I was just a wonderful wife, etc etc.”

        Long-story-short …. he needed me for sexual gratification and raising the children, so he maintained a Christian façade and we listened to many hours of John MacArthur and others of that realm (he blames me for that). He agreed with them and that divorce would never be an issue.

        Now that the children are gone and that ACFJ has shown that divorce is allowed in particular circumstances and that men like MacArthur often put women at risk … well, now he is saying that he was far too easily influenced. He is now saying that we should have divorced sooner but was influenced by bad teaching.

        I can see through this because he said he wouldn’t divorce me for financial reasons, and now it’s okay? Regardless, he is daring me to move on and I desire to honour that request … in God’s timing. There seems to have been some blockades set up but I know that patience and obedience to the Lord will prevail … not to take away from the emotional loneliness when family and fair-weather friends can not be trusted.

  6. All this is true. I have lived it all, including loss of my own children. A couple of years post-divorce, finally getting emotional strength back. Self-confidence still shot. I do find myself sensitive to this type of suffering by others. Very low tolerance for it now.

    I was a lively and strong personality before ex’s lies and manipulations brought the cognitive dissonance that is the single most damaging and harmful aspect of this kind of abuse. Truth and long duration of his sins and deception are coming to light. Children starting to see it, but still loyal to him.

    Truth will set you free. Starting to really feel and enjoy the freedom. Praise God for holding my right hand all the way through it. Mostly for His protection! I never knew til now how much danger I was in.

    1. Letting Go: It is so true that we cave [can] become very sensitive to the suffering of others. I am sure that our own pain is triggering this response. I have walked alongside a woman for the last two years to help her get away from her abuser, a psychopath. She needed a friend to stand with her in all the new decisions she had to make to gain independence … getting a job, housing, etc. She lives independently now. We just have to bring the divorce to an end. He is fighting “teeth and nails.” (Is this the right term? 🙂 ) She is so much happier now … no longer in bondage! Unfortunately, her husband has worked on changing their children into little psychopaths… I had to leave my church to stand beside her. They just could not see the truth…

  7. “For Demas, in love with this present world, has DESERTED me…” that’s exactly it! Abusers tear, pull out, cut away, dry out, and suck the life out of their victims whose environment slowly turns into a DESERT.
    Out of selfishness and manipulation my abusive H kept us moving over the years. I found myself pulled away from my family, friends and church, and every new network of friends I had made each time. Rivers became streams, brooks then nothing. I lost many friends whom he confused and subverted, many being ignorant about abuse tactics. They saw him as a gushing spring when in reality he was filling with earth his wife’s well.

    I was also losing myself, who I was, many talents God had given me, being eroded away. I lost my job, my source of income, work colleagues, etc. Total erosion of my being, my life. A wilderness.

    But while the H was chopping and munching, God led me to a place of His own, like Elijah by the brook of Cherith, then to the widow woman of Zarephath. He brought me close to His heart and His word where I have found solace and strength to grow like never before. I so believe this awesome promise in Isaiah 43:18-21!!!

    (18) Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.
    (19) Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.
    (20) The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen.
    (21) This people have I formed for myself; they shall show forth my praise.

      1. Yes KayJay we can surely claim Isaiah 43, such powerful words! And also Isaiah 12:2-4:

        (2) Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.
        (3) Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.
        (4) And in that day shall ye say, Praise the LORD, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted.

  8. Abuse produces loneliness. This is so true.
    I have one real friend now from my old church. I had to leave my home, and start over in another town. My best friends are my children.

    The church we were in for all of their lives has utterly abandoned us with almost no one contacting us in more than six months while my husband continues to attend and no one seems to care about us.

    I am going to school so I can support my children. It has been the loneliest journey, but God continues to keep His promises and provides all we need. I am becoming stronger and God is healing me. I am way more heart broken over losing my church, the church I thought of as family, than my abusive husband. I had no other life than in my church.

    This ministry has been incredibly validating to my experience. Thank you for all you are doing!
    God has set me free and your ministry was instrumental in my seeing truth…thank you again for the bravery to speak truth!

      1. Thank you, Pastor Jeff! I think I understand how my abusive narcissistic husband never was who he said he was. Our whole relationship was a lie. I have grieved for the loss of who I thought he was.

        But losing my church and my friends is a different story. I expected them to stand with me, to support me and my children. My best friend’s husband became my anti husband’s buddy, so I lost her. One of my other dear friends of over a decade pretty much said, “you never said anything.” All the questions made me feel like I was on trial. For my sanity I have had to walk away from unsafe people. Losing the people I expected to support me has been the hardest part of this journey. Having people who I thought loved and cared for my family for over a decade not even inquire of our well being, has been devastating. A lot of them don’t know what’s going on and like it that way. I don’t have the energy or care to risk putting myself out there to be injured by people who don’t get abuse.
        To my well meaning holier than thou friends: Going to War Room won’t save my marriage…God is NOT a genie!!! It distresses me that you are more upset about “a good family being broken apart” then the brokenness in my children and me caused by my abusive husband. No thank you, I do not want to go to the Bible study on anger because I am angry with my pastors for the unjust way my children and I have been treated. End rant!

        Most of them are just too busy with their own lives to notice us being gone. My depression over the last decade has resulted in very few activities with our homeschool group as well. I don’t want to think they never cared or that they still don’t care enough to be moved to compassion.

        I have PTSD. Thankfully, with God’s help and a great therapist whose specialty is trauma, I am making excellent progress. My focus has to be on my healing and helping my children with theirs. God continues to put people in my path who are helping us and loving us.

        I think it is my expectation for my husband now is low…I expect abuse from him, now that I know that is who he is and always has been.

        But, I expected my church and my friends, especially, to care enough to do something. I expected them not to be in a fog as I was for so many years. To some extent I was like them. I was an evangelical, conservative Christian home schooler. I was judgmental and critical of divorced people. I thought they just didn’t try hard enough. I am so sorry.

        I never want to be so busy that I don’t notice someone is gone from my church. That I don’t reach out. I realize now that good intentions are not good enough.

        We are at a new church and we are being loved. The pastor gets abuse and actually apologized for the way my pastors have treated us. They have done tangible things to help us. Things that resulted in time, skills and money being spent. We are grateful for God leading us there. At the same time, I am wary.

        We have spent several weeks at home listening to your sermons, Pastor Jeff and they are like a soothing balm to our weary souls. To be understood and stood up for, especially by a man and a man of the cloth is incredibly healing. I have found that, as much as my kids would like to remain in our little bubble, I NEED PEOPLE!!!!

        I need to be with my brothers and sisters in Christ. As scary as it is, I have to risk it. If I find this is not a safe place, (and thanks to you, Pastor, and my own experience, I now can recognize evil) we can choose to go somewhere else.

        Someone pointed out to me recently, alcoholics anonymous has a saying…
        never get too
        HALT…hungry, angry, lonely or tired.
        It’s dangerous to recovery.

        I look back to a year ago. I was a person entrenched in emotional anesthesia. I felt no pain and no joy, either. I was disconnected from everyone, barely holding on to hope.
        The thought, “I just want to die” would go over in my head throughout the day. GOD in his infinite mercy, pulled me up out of that pit of despair and brought me to the light. He literally opened my eyes to show me the truth of my situation.
        When I look back, I realize, I was more alone then. I am able to connect with my children now and be present with them. I am able to laugh and feel joy. I love being alive, even if it means it is painful and I feel all the emotions. It gives me hope that in another years time, my life will be less lonely.

      2. The way that humanity is responding to abused victims makes me want to get away from them… as far as I can. There are times, I envisioned myself moving into a cave in the wilderness. I used to live next to the National Forest and found peace in nature. When retirement and divorce drew near, I had to give up living there to move closer to town into a development. At first, the walls around my house and backyard reminded me of the TV series “Prison Brake.” I went wild planting my backyard with lots of plants. This was my therapy. Now, I consider the walls as a protection of “My Secret Garden … Serenity.” It is kind of sad that it had to come to this. At least, I found peace.

    1. braveandstandingstrong — Your comments have greatly encouraged me to keep pressing on. You shared, “God continues to put people in my path who are helping us and loving us.”
      There have been very few who have come to my aid but “the few” are better than none.
      There has been a crowd of abusers in my life. I am noticing that by me now revealing truth some are feeling uncomfortable. I’m suddenly receiving notes of how they often think of me and care for me and how nice I am … Hmm, very interesting because they have yet to repent and reveal the lies they lived in order to clear my name of any wrongdoing??

      1. Healing in Him…I am glad my comment was encouraging to you.
        I too have had a crowd of abusers in my life.
        Yeah, truth makes some people (abusive and controlling types, especially) squirm.

      2. I have learned from my own experience as well as from others that somehow more abusers want to come into our lives OR is it that we now have the knowledge to see through the abusers?

      3. I think that once we see through the fog and are learning to recognise the subtle orange or red flags in abusers’ behaviour, learning to trust our perceptions, listen to our gut feelings, trust our intuition, God often sends more abusive people into our lives, to help us refine our discernment.

        At the same time, there are lots of abuser types out there. Not all abuse their spouses; they might specialise in targeting friends, work colleagues, employees, congregations, whole denominations…

      4. We have to watch out for the evil out there. Yet, walking with God, I fear no evil. His words have been written onto my heart. I can walk with my head high because He walks beside me.

      5. Healinginhim! For years, I pretended in church that all was well … I was embarrassed about my failing marriage. Then, one day, I could no longer hold it in and I told anybody who wanted to hear it. It was a relief to no longer live a lie. The truth will set you free! … It made me a “freedom fighter” … to have the right to be how God has created me, to have the freedom to think, the freedom to choose, the freedom to stand for what I believe! … And not being hung like a coat over a man’s arm … like an object. I grew up in Austria and we had a saying translated that “the jug goes to the water hole until it breaks.” You can only hold it in so long and then you will have to scream it out! The truth will set you free!

      6. Yes orange and red flags, Barbara.
        Abusers are out there looking to target us, even after we get away from our primary abuser / abusers.
        How do they know who we are?
        Because we are light and love the Lord, and our very nature threatens to expose them and their dark charactor.
        It became apparent once I got away, that I had to avoid a certain neighbor who offered to help me, but only if I would allow her to subtlety, and consistantly tear down my “newly established” self esteem.
        I had to finally go “no contact” with her, to protect my new felt confidence in life, because it became apparent to me that she was going to try to destroy any new opportunities for a job that God had given me.

        Also their was a male abuser at one workplace of mine that was always condecending towards me. (orange flag!)
        I discovered later that it became “very important to him” that I see or watch him hob-nobbing with the higher up management, or other employees, and he would often “position” himself to be observed by me, whilst he was doing so.
        (Checking to see if I’m watching so that I would see how important he was)
        I soon realized what he was doing was what I call “staging to perform”.
        (Something my abuser did often to me)
        But insted of taking notice, I would divert my attention to my job, and never watched, or gave notice, or audiance.
        This deliberate action of mine frustrated him for getting my attention.
        (He had everybody else convinced or duped into how important he was, except me, and this burned him.)
        After a couple of months he suddenly was no longer there at the job.

  9. My so-called “unchurched” friends, “pagan” neighbors and “worldly” co-workers have modeled more in “ministry”, and more consistently, & in more creative, thoughtful ways than the church could ever dream of. In fact the church doesn’t dream of it….they go on their merry way and justify doing nothing for the wounded b/c they are too busy with their “play dates” and recipe exchanges and Bible studies and prayer groups (sic). They can’t get their hands dirty.

    What’s that saying? “I have forgotten more than they ever learned”, or something to that effect….meaning the church doesn’t know squat and they could learn a lot from the world.

    1. Many are unregenerate people who are told they are Christians. Others are blindly following man made traditions they think is God’s word.

      1. Jeff, the angel in Revelation shouts with a loud voice to “come out of Babylon my people”. The time has come. God has a true church to bring to Himself. People with humble hearts and willing to learn and follow Him.

    2. I totally agree. I have had the same experience. Therefore, it means nothing to me when somebody says that they are Christian. The proof is in the pudding!

    3. StandsWithAFist,
      I have thought the EXACT same things! For most of my marriage, I was clueless that THE problem in our home was abuse, and so I didn’t observe those things at church, around church members (happily going on their merry way, too busy to consider the wounded etc.) in relation to the church’s response to domestic abuse in their midst, but rather in relation to the fact that we had a severely disabled child who required ongoing care and spent a lot of time in the hospital through the years. I’m trying to be vague with details here for security, but my child required ICU level of care 24 / 7 when not in hospital, and we have 3 other children. It’s been very hard. And it has seemed like, literally, nobody at church cares. My secular friends show more care and concern and do much more for me, and are WITH me in crises.

  10. Yeah just got told off by my H’s pastor and wife. My “anger is out of control- read this and that book…do you believe in God…are you going to harm yourself?…after all we’ve done for you how dare you not trust us…you bit the hand that feeds you….why did you go back to him if it was really so bad?…give me examples of the abuse so I can tell him so he can repent….(ha! Don’t hold your breath…plus the man could sell ice to Eskimos so he’ll justify everything as usual and it’ll be so smooth you’ll be wondering why you ever said a word in the first place). Stupid church people that need to be best friends with everybody so they can’t see past their own stroked egos. Stroke my ego and I’ll stroke yours. Oh wait she doesn’t do that- out she goes!

    Plus the pastor came over alone to confront him. Turned out to be a bs counseling session with them being chummy and affectionate like old friends. H turned everything around on me. He still tries to make me responsible for what he’s done. No one will call me innocent. You know I’m a sinner so it can’t be possible. They laughed with each other while I sat there shaking and crying and screaming. My husband loves to say “none of us are innocent”, “I said sorry”, “look at her- how am I supposed to live like this”. The pastor asked me such judgmental questions which showed me he did NOT believe me at all and he got so mad at me when I confronted him. This was supposed to be church confrontation! 2 or 3 witnesses not chummy pastor talk time. Idiot! He went home to tattle to his wife about how bad I had been. She laid it on immediately to me with guilt trips and scolding. How about this woman’s severely emotionally, mentally and spiritually abused? No …I get nasty msgs about how bad I am instead. Replied that they didn’t help at all….have fun with my h…good bye… Deleted every msg…blocked their numbers.

    I second everything you guys are writing about on loneliness. It’s all the same here. Glad you all put this stuff into words- I’m in some nasty fog- I can’t think straight- surprised I haven’t had a stroke. Still can’t believe these idiots scold an abused woman for her anger. All liars they are!

      1. Absolutely healthy anger!!!! When you are angry about the same things that Scripture says God is angry about or hates, then you know you’re on the right path. All Christians should be angry over such things!!

    1. Lost…
      I am angry too! I am angry about the way you have been treated and that people can be so stupid when it comes to understanding abuse. I personally believe my anger has allowed me to stay alive to a certain extent.

      I have blocked people and am entirely off FB because I do not want well meaning church people tagging me in posts saying…thought of you!

      My heart is with you!!! My anger, because it was buried for literally decades scares me, sometimes. Lately, my anger has been red hot, mostly because of the way church people have treated me and my children.

      I wish you lived across the street from me and I could yell out my window, “Hey, Lost, it’s me, Brave, you wanna have a storm together!”
      Lundy Bancroft calls it a storm, I think.
      Kids have temper tantrums. Adults have storms..or something like that.
      You stand up, stomp your feet and swing your arms and yell, “I’m so angry!”
      If you have children, you can do it with them, too…it’s rather fun, actually! The best thing is it works. 🙂

      Or, I would invite you over to my garage to throw plates together! We would have so much fun. 🙂
      Lost, you are not alone. I am so sorry people aren’t ok with you being angry.
      Of course you are angry and it is a travesty the way you have been treated.


      1. Someone once said “I am so angry, I cannot stand it anymore.” You may call it an explosion, a burn-out, a melt-down, or finally seeing the light … I call it the truth and it has to be said.

  11. Such an excellent post. Praying for the downcast and praising God for the affirmations of love and acceptance of those who serve and worship the true and only God.

  12. Oh. Yes, abuse does create loneliness… especially when the victim refuses to be quiet but speaks up. An abusive family member is just like so many other ‘model Christians’ described here – she has her own charity ministry and people see her as a wonderful, giving person, while behind the scenes she seeks to manipulate those around her with her angry outbursts and wicked rumors. An attempt to build a relationship with her caused so much damage and led to sitiations that could have been life-threatening (in a 3rd world country) – that was her chance to ‘pay me back’ a lifetime of resentment, no matter how much joy she has in her own life and marriage and I am single – she wanted to steal everything and destroy my life.

    The sad things was, when I tried to share what she had done, I was always faced with disbelief and just an admonishment to ‘forgive’ and repent of my own part of the conflict.
    I have forgiven her, but placed firm boundaries, and do not want to deal with her more than necessary. My refusal to be bossed around any more has given her reason to accuse me of being ‘unloving’, but I let that out of my ear and refuse to take it. I no longer even talk about it to people, because if you haven’t dealt with something a narcissistic person can do, you are easily blamed for being ‘bitter’ (the easy cop-out card)..

    I do have peace about the fact I do not have a loving biological sister, and I never may. My attempt to build bridges did not work, and I am much more at peace without her in my life. 🙂

    1. Ng — I hear you. My biological sister is attempting to “smooth things over” as “the secret sin” been revealed to a pertinent person. She is now attempting to dissuade her ill treatment of me by making a niece look badly. What is so utterly wicked is that my brothers are protecting this sister, including the father of the niece! Meanwhile, the man I married who condoned this ill treatment is quietly moving on in his realm of comfort – as long a I leave him alone.
      I am waiting to see how God eventually connects the dots and has all family members either repenting or shaking their fist at Him?
      I do not want to associate with any family (both sides) because of the ongoing lies and deceit which they always turn back on me. Of course, then I am accused by family and ‘c’hristians that I am unloving; just like you stated, “My refusal to be bossed around any more has given her reason to accuse me of being ‘unloving'” …

  13. And let none of us forget that anger is also a part of grief and grieving. When we are abused, we are always grieving the losses that accompany abuse: relationships, intimacy, friendship, safety, peace, compassion, understanding, affirmation….you name it. We live lives filled with grieving that can never be acknowledged.

    The abuser NEVER wants us to grieve b/c they are too busy wanting us to worship [at] their miserable feet and bend over for more abuse and pretend that we like it.

    When my abuser accused me of “being so angry all the time”, I actually (finally) took a deep breath and yelled; “ANGER IS A PART OF GRIEF! DON’T EVER TELL ME I CANNOT GRIEVE!! DON’T EVER TELL ME HOW TO GRIEVE!!”

    I surprised even myself when those words roared out of my mouth. Suddenly I gave myself permission to grieve, to feel an emotion that was my own and not my abuser’s! For far too long I had been sucked into the lie that the only valid emotions were those of my abuser, but never my own. My emotions had to be suppressed, subordinated, controlled, contained and condemned……all in the name of “blessed are the peacemakers” or in “the fruit of the Spirit is…self control” or “God is love”. ALL of those verses and scriptures were taken out of context and were used to feed the monster and blame the victims.

    No more. Jesus came to set the captives free, not to enslave them to sinful masters.

    Stick a fork in me b/c I. Am. Done.

    1. StandsWithAFist, you are so right about anger and grief. In the marriage I was not allowed to have feelings, and now that I finally broke free from that I am finding that I am still not allowed to have feelings. I am so sick and tired of the church telling me that I should always be joyful and that if I would forgive the ex I’d no longer be angry. Grief is never acknowledged at all. No one seems to understand that I lost many years of my life that I will never get back. Or that still, several years after the divorce, I have reasons to fear him and will never really be totally free of him until the children are fully grown. Or that my self esteem was pulverized. Or that I had to raise my children in an emotional hell hole with zero help or support. Or that my children have been shaped and are not who they would have been had they not witnessed the abuse all of those years. Or that the abuse cost me many dreams and opportunities that may never be achieved at such a late stage in life. Or that the abuse isolated me while married and that the divorce has also isolated me, and that I live in perpetual loneliness. You’re darn right I am grieving, and I will probably grieve until the day I die because the price I paid for trusting a sociopath has been enormous and the effects are long reaching and long lasting.

      1. 50andfree, your comment “Or that the abuse cost me many dreams and opportunities that may never be achieved at such a late stage in life.” is so true. I’ve lost many dreams because the abuser always wanted me to be within easy reach. I’m in my mid forties now and there are very few things I can do now. But I choose not to give up. God will give me grace and strength to do something I want to do, no matter how small.

      2. 40 is still young!! But I understand what you are saying. Being in an abusive relationship robs us of more than just a happy marriage and companionship. Sounds like you have a positive attitude and that will certainly help you to make up for lost time! Best wishes!!

      3. LauraGrace, everything you said is true in my life as well.
        We were not aware as a trusting bride that we married a sociopath.
        We were hopeful for a bright future with Christ at the center.
        Then one day you realize the truth, but the church will not accept it.
        No wonder we stayed in bondage so long…
        God is not angry with us,- because we married our spouces with honorable intentions in our hearts, not aware of their disordered charactor.
        But I do believe that God is angry with the churches that refuse to act on our behalf when we present the truth of their behavior to them.
        The churches responce now becomes their inditement that they will someday have to answer to.

      4. I am right there with you LauraGrace. It seems (from both secular and Christians) that because I’m still grieving, angry, emotionally affected by what he has done and is still doing, or that I can’t just pick up and move on (after 2 1/2 decades), or presume to know why I’m doing what I’m doing, that there’s somehow something wrong with me or I just don’t have enough faith. Some people almost project the idea that I’m somehow almost supposed to turn into him, make it all about me … not take into [account] factors [of] how my decisions affect others in areas that have nothing to do with the abuse. And then I’m given some “easy” answer based on some assumptions on their part. It’s like I’m just supposed to get over it and get on with my life, and if I’m not then somethings wrong with me. I’m sorry, I’ve had some things said to me lately that have been huge triggers, there have been some serious things going on not concerning the abuser or the abuse I’ve experienced that play a huge factor in the limitations I have for moving forward. And the abuser seems to be able to sense this, it’s like this intuitive radar he has of knowing the exact time that I am at my most vulnerable. Then to have others treat me like somethings wrong with me because it still affects me is really triggering me to revert to old coping skills of just shutting down and isolating myself even further than I already am; and I have to fight against it.

      5. Standswithafist…you said it just right when you said..”let none of us forget that anger is also a part of grief and grieving. When we are abused, we are always grieving the losses that accompany abuse: relationships, intimacy, friendship, safety, peace, compassion, understanding, affirmation….you name it. We live lives filled with grieving that can never be acknowledged.”

        And your comment 50andfree..”Or that I had to raise my children in an emotional hell hole with zero help or support. Or that my children have been shaped and are not who they would have been had they not witnessed the abuse all of those years. Or that the abuse cost me many dreams and opportunities that may never be achieved at such a late stage in life. Or that the abuse isolated me while married and that the divorce has also isolated me, and that I live in perpetual loneliness. You’re darn right I am grieving, and I will probably grieve until the day I die because the price I paid for trusting a sociopath has been enormous and the effects are long reaching and long lasting.”

        A counselor told me I was grieving months ago. I didn’t know WHAT she was talking about. Isn’t it sad I couldn’t THINK for myself or even understand HOW or WHY I was an emotional disaster? Both of you and others have summed up what I have experienced. Now I continue to experience it in another marriage with one [marriage] behind. It has been deceiving to me since this one hasn’t been “as bad” as the past. But I have FEAR as if it is from the past and present combined. I think that adds to others thinking I’m exaggerated in my claims. It shows me I have experience and know where it’s headed. Knowing what this is..ABUSE in what ever form has been harder to swallow than the abuse itself for me.

        All the children are in school. I grieved for them not being home and losing the privilege to school them. It was my choice. But it felt like I was only increasing their outcome to becoming destroyed. Added to that was my h anger at me for doing it. He wasn’t supporting it and just more isolation and loneliness. I know I was doing what needed to be done for the time. People wonder why I didn’t do a Christian video program at home. Simple. I was told no by my h. If I am or was struggling to do school with them and they were fighting against doing school and not held accountable…there seemed to be only one way. It was not easy and I have tried everything within my means and all have been exhausted including me. The backlash from some friends and other Christians have been almost as devastating to me as the decision to do it.

        I have applied for jobs. Not getting them because my available hours aren’t long enough for them because I have kids to drop off and pick up. My h has accused me of taking all control of things and basically if it doesn’t go well for the kids the rope is around my neck. That will make you wonder if you are doing the right thing. It goes against everything I thought and ever considered. I’m very involved in their school. It’s awesome to hear how my children are model students and such a delight in the classroom. I have those wonderful friends reminding me that bad morals will corrupt them. That same person tells me how she couldn’t have done it for as long as I have. That is confusing! She couldn’t do it but I need to do it still? Ugh!!
        What now? I’m getting training and taking some classes to keep the empty walls from echoing in my ears. Reading a bit of the Bible. Trying to pray and give myself some grace for making it this far and giving God thanks for not abandoning me even though I felt He had done that to me. Rebuilding. One step at a time. Remembering that the emotional hell hole was just as hard on my children as me. Grieving for all of us. None truly understand except those who have gone thru it. Someone asked if I thought I was having a pity party. ?????? For crying out loud people! I’m not having [a] pity [party]! I’m trying to move forward for myself and children. If none will truly help it’s really on me to protect and direct as God leads me. Saying how hard it IS and how Grieved I am and all the PAIN I’m experiencing can’t be talked about without being asked if I think I’m bitter or having a pity party then it isolates me MORE. I have been misunderstood. People thinking and saying how I NEED to trust God and get close to Him. Ugh, I do want that and try to. Why is that the answer to everything. I’m not saying don’t do that. But it hasn’t “fixed” anything and I really don’t know that that should be advice that just rolls off the tongue. I’m struggling because I am seeking Him and I do care and I want Gods best. That has made all the advice hard to understand. When my life is falling apart is it BECAUSE I’m not seeking Him? No! Maybe because I am and I keep getting close to something they don’t see yet?

      6. Those feelings are so hard to sort out, especially when we’ve been conditioned by abuse and the church to never have negative emotions. So yes, I can believe you needed a counselor to help you to see that you are grieving. I hear that “pity party” crap too. If I even mention that I survived abuse I am told that I have a “victim mentality” or that I am having a “pity party.” So, I just don’t talk about it anymore. I put on a brave face and pretend all is well in the post divorce Utopia I am supposedly living in, which certainly does little to help me heal. Just pretend everything is okay, or your friends go away. At least I can speak from my heart here. I’m grateful for that.

      7. I hear the cries of grieving for those who have expressed them here… “the church” is the worst for not understanding true grief. Death is death. I grieve the loss of what was supposed to have been a Christ-honoring marriage; children witnessing Christ’s love in action between their parents; the loss of children and other family relationships because of sin …. the list could go on and on of all that has died because of cold, and prideful unrepentant hearts from abusers and “the church”.

      8. This is what my life is exactly. Exactly. You said it so clearly. I won’t be free until I die and no one believes me. They tell me to stop being angry, to trust The Lord and all the while I’m the one with no home, no money and no independence. They brought me to a Bible center and I’m told to stop being bitter. They don’t need to hear me “convince them”. They say they believe but I know they don’t. They tell me to lower my voice, that they’ll help me make good choices- I don’t need help making choices!- I need those who KNOW abuse and the tactics and affects [effects] and who completely believe me. Now that I’ve left there will be hell to pay this time. The tactics will change again as they always have. He will twist the pain that I endure and proclaim it as his own and slaughter my name again. There is no way out. I will pay and all the while he will cry to others that I am making him pay.
        I want my family but he won’t stop abusing me. He will never stop! He’s even faked repentance!!! Is it my fault that I can’t stand to be called names and excluded completely from our daily life with kids. It’s as if I don’t exist. The more time goes on the more I hear my “friends” acting as if I don’t know what I’m talking about. I’m sick of being asked if I’m in danger- if I’m suicidal- etc. I’m trapped and no one will confront him or give him consequences! Instead they want to tell me how to behave! I’m sick of these “super Christians” acting so quiet and perfect! They’re not real!

    2. HisBanner, I agree. It may be the way I’m interpreting it, but I get frustrated, or it seems like I’m being judged as not having enough faith… that somehow because I’m struggling, my faith is the issue. Which is exactly the same things that it seemed like I was told concerning his abuse. It’s hard, I know God is there for me, I know He hears me and I hear Him through His Word. But that does not mean I’m not still struggling, it doesn’t take away the pain of what’s been done to me, it doesn’t somehow magically put rose colored glasses over me eyes.
      Also there is a huge difference between feeling sorry for yourself (self-pity / pity party) and lamenting over what has been done to you or just desperately wanting someone to say … “wow, you most definitely have every right to feel that way, I’m here to listen.”. One can know that God will take care of it in the end and still lament over what’s happening or has happened along that journey. Even David cries out to God and feels the pain and anger of what’s been done to him. It seems like the abuser spends his time attempting to discredit your feelings or implying that somethings wrong with you for expressing these things or not just getting over stuff. Then when you finally give yourself permission to lament, to express these feelings, there are others acting like somethings wrong with you. I look at David and how he poured it all out. He knew God was there, and he still lamented and expressed his anger and pain. And not just once, there are several psalms that show David did not just express it once and get over it.

      1. Surviving freedom,

        I have felt so much shame. I was talking about my PTSD to someone from one of the churches we have attended in the last year. She said she has a relative with that. She then said, “I am a pull [me] up [by] my bootstraps kind of person.” I was taken aback. My first thought was, “you mean you aren’t a compassionate person?”

        I do feel like most people aren’t comfortable with the emotions abuse survivors have. The depth of our pain or our anger.

      2. You mean you aren’t a compassionate person?

        –What a good response that would have been to that lady who said she is a a pull [me] up [by] my bootstraps kind of person.

        Aah, how many times have I thought of good come-backs after the event!

        At least you thought of it at the time, Surviving Freedom! When the next person says something hurtful to you, I encourage you to speak out loud what is in your head.

        To help you prepare for the (probably inevitable) next time, you might like to read my article Unhelpful Comments, and How to Respond to Them.

      3. Thanks, Barbara!
        I had read your post already, but a review is always helpful. I will look at it again. 😊

        I talked to my therapist and I told him we left that church. That woman was the main person I was talking to there. I told him, “right now, I cannot tolerate being around people who are not compassionate to my situation.” I may not ever be.

        I am realizing I am healthier when I put up some boundaries about who I am going to allow in my life.
        I have shut the door on those who think I am “having a pity party.”
        My brother is one of them. The effort it takes to try to prove my situation deserves compassion is not worth it. You either believe me or you don’t.
        You either show compassion or you dont. I just walk away and save myself a lot of future pain. I also feel a lot more strength.

        When I was a little girl I felt helpless. I didn’t have a choice about people in my life. I had to live with them. Even as an adult, I thought that way. Now, with God’s help, I see more clearly. He gives me discernment to see narcissistic behavior. He shows me I have choices about who I want to share my life with.

        Because of the decades of abuse I have endured, every moment is more precious to me. I value my new life and don’t want to waste it on people who don’t get abuse.

        Yep, like someone else said. Done. I am done with people treating me like dirt. Even if it isn’t intentional.

      4. Your abuser deserves ownership of that shame, braveandstandingstrong.
        The only thing I see you are guilty of -is being his preferred “target of abuse.”
        So I’m hoping you will hand that shame back to him where it belongs.

        Abusers are always good at “blame shifting”, and trying to sin level,- but once you know the truth about their devious charactor, and allow that truth [to] ground you, you will find that you are making better assessments about what is true, than the people at church.
        Since the typical abuser tactic is to preemptively “ally” church members to support them.
        You see, they need to stay one step ahead of their target, seeing that the fog is beginning to clear…

  14. Thank you for these posts, from all of the authors. They are a voice of reason and so on target. Never really knew other people, especially Christians, really understood the nature of evil and abuse before.

    1. Thank you, standsfortruth for pointing out that the shame is on the abuser not me!

      I think shame is my biggest trigger. I am thankful for being able to even recognize now what is happening when I am triggered and to be able to have compassion for myself.

      The church I talked to that woman at was the 3rd church we tried in the new town we moved to. It was easier to leave when we had only been there a month.

      I left my church, the one we attended for more than a decade, though, because I was incredibly angry with the pastors and elders who knew and continued to do nothing. I could not listen to their opinions from the pulpit and be quiet anymore. I would have to stand up and call that man out. I do not have the energy for that kind of fight right now. So, I have chosen to leave because I refuse to be at a church where they don’t get abuse. And, I choose not to be in the same place where my anti husband attends. In the divorce decree I want to put…he can have 100% of the church!

  15. I wish I’d been able to prepare to be alone. What do I mean by this? I was a person who actually preferred to be alone, I didn’t understand why until recently (I’d been raised by people who could never love me or anyone and I have a highly sensitive conscience so the abuse was felt deeply by me) but in my cult, the only option was to marry and give birth to lots of children.

    I now realize like many women my age who have been woken up to the truth about evil and psychopathy, that I will probably never be able to afford to live alone. If I’d been allowed to know myself–my disposition–and to accept it at a younger age, I would have tried to take care of myself financially instead of putting my trust and hope in a husband. Alone doesn’t have to mean lonely I now see and when Jesus went off to lonely places to spend time with God, it might have actually been sweet time that rejuvenated him.

    I realize what Jeff is talking about is the loneliness that comes from thinking others cared for you but ended up abandoning you or even turning against you, but sometimes loneliness that is a choice or something a person has been able to prepare for–can be healthy decision made in the best interest of the individual.

    Especially now that I see that we are living in the last days, and what this means as far as the type of people who are living in this time, I would’ve liked to have spent my life quietly fellowshipping with the Lord, saving for my future, and letting Jesus love and heal me from my childhood. For me, this would have been a successful life, a fulfilling life, but I’d been trained to believe I had to get married and have kids in order to please the Lord and therefore find contentment in him. I have found instead that I have been alone all throughout my marriage and in the raising of my children, as some are like their father and this is also another form of abandonment.

    Alone doesn’t have to mean loneliness. But most of us had no idea what we signed up for when we married an abuser, had no idea the abuse we’d incur or the damage it would do to our mind, heart, health, walk with the Lord etc., the feelings of being ostracized from those we thought cared about us, and even from ourselves. We had to deny our feelings, thoughts, ideas, interests and loves and many of these things had been given to us by the Holy Spirit so when we didn’t allow them in our lives, we ended up ostracizing the Holy Spirit and his fellowship. Hence, we were awfully lonely. Boy does evil do a bang-up job when it gets ahold of God’s true little ones and keeps them bound up!

    1. Thank you, Anonymous.

      I now realize like many women my age who have been woken up to the truth about evil and psychopathy, that I will probably never be able to afford to live alone. If I’d been allowed to know myself — my disposition – and to accept it at a younger age, I would have tried to take care of myself financially instead of putting my trust and hope in a husband.


    2. We had to deny our feelings, thoughts, ideas, interests and loves and many of these things had been given to us by the Holy Spirit so when we didn’t allow them in our lives, we ended up ostracizing the Holy Spirit and his fellowship

      boy do I relate to that!

    3. I totally understand, Anonymous. I had to stand up to my abuser, scream into his face that I had the right to be the person God had made me to be, not to deny my feelings, thoughts, ideas, interests and loves. Besides, we have the right of freedom of speech. A fire was burning in me that would not stop until I had left him.

  16. These posts are heart-breaking.

    Makes me wonder how we have all survived with our Faith intact……. Well, my Faith is wobbly I must confess….. Feeling unable to attend church after being so misunderstood, so unfairly treated etc is not nice…. It’s not what we want is it? We want to be part of Christ’s body…. But it will have to be a massive risk to join another church….. Having PTSD leaves us unable to relate properly, as we are so damaged and untrusting…… Our abusers have a lot to answer for…..
    Thank you to Pastor Jeff and Barbara and The lady behind the curtain, (lol)……. I have found nothing like this site in UK where I live.

    It’s so good to be accepted and to be able to rant without being judged….

    Thank you, thank you.

    1. Tess- i identify with your feelings about churches. I have been the pastor of 4 local churches over the last 34 years, 24 now at our present church. EVERY one of them had wicked people in power, abusing me and my family when I would not yield to their quest for power and exposed their disguises. It took me two decades though to really understand this evil. I have found that there is only one way to deal with abusive controllers parading as Christians. They have to be expelled from Christ’s true people. Just like DV abusers, they will not repent. They must go. Result? We have about 30 people now. And PEACE.

  17. Soooo lonely. The sociopath totally chased away my church my friends my family in the early years of the marriage. No one was good enough for him, the churches were apostate and he demanded we had to come out and be separate. I was sadly pulled into the mindset of separation and isolation thinking it was God’s will for us in a crooked and perverse generation. So hard to start trusting other people or other Christians now after more than 20 years in exile.

    I left the final (his choice) church when I complained about the down treading attitude towards women and children which was turning my H into a monster at home. I was branded as a witch and a whore (‘all rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft’ was preached the following Sunday) and falsely accused of being a false accuser with such lies being told to my H (and later used by the abuser as ammo against me).

    I am trying to recover (now separated from the abuser) and make contact with people, but am like a frightened rabbit, every interaction is a massive event for me. I need to share my heart and my truth but make myself too vulnerable when I do so. Otherwise, I don’t feel connected with people but like an alien.

    1. I can feel your pain of loneliness. And concerning the church, it doesn’t help when the pastor aids in making the victim isolated. At my church the pastor told the members through their husbands that they were not to get involved in the situation between myself and my newly separated-from-me husband. One woman got in trouble for trying to support me in this area as I was trying to figure out what had happened to my life.

      Now, some time later, he is in and I am out, and it is very lonely indeed. When church is the only support and social outlet, being a stay-at-home mom, and it is taken away from you overnight, it is very hard to cope with the sudden isolation. Because of that and all the rumors my ex has spread, it is very difficult to contact people. I am naturally shy, and interaction with others is not easy to start with, but now, like you said, it is massively hard. After seeing how a pastor and people who claim to be of God treat a victim, I do not want to be vulnerable again. I never really thought I would join those who may never walk through a church door again.

      I do pray God helps both of us find a community of people we can connect with. I have to figure out who I am again, which is partly rediscovering who I was and learning more about the strong woman I have become from surviving adversity. Perhaps you are in this place, too. I hope you are able to find your way. God is faithful, though no one else may be.

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