A Cry For Justice

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

My name is . . . and I have been abusive to my family

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.


[October 3, 2022: There have been some changes made to this post. For more information, read the Editors’ notes at the bottom of the post. Editors.]

Occasionally we receive comments from abusers who claim they are trying to change. We usually respond privately to these types of comments, but decided that we would post this comment and make our response public.

(Since this person knowingly made his comment on a public blog it is not a breach of privacy to reply publicly. However, we have eliminated the commenter’s name, but have not altered his comment in any way. His comment is below and our response follows.)



My name is….and I have been Abusive to my family. I was Diagnosed with ADHD as a child (not that it’s an excuse) but stopped treatment when I left school.

I met my wife through a mutual friend and we have two beautiful young children. After years of abuse she finally left me, I’ve been devastated since.
I am committed to change and take full responsibility for my behaviour.
I’ve redirected my life to Christ
I’m taking medication and go see a therapist at least once a month.
I want to break the cycle of abuse but it’s not easy. I want so desperately to reconcile with my wife but she doesn’t even want to talk to me and unfortunately I have to respect that.
I want to know how do I prove my love for her and our children as well earn her trust back.
How do I show her that I am sincere and not being manipulative.
I intended on being consistent and I’m working on my patience.
I have a burning desire to fix what I broke, my heart is broken when I think of the things I’ve done to her….
My biggest fear is that I end up alone as miserable bitter lonely old man.
This is a life-long struggle for me and I want to be able to insure my wife as well as my children’s safety.
Please don’t judge me to harshly I am only human after all?
A female perspective will be in enlightening as I’m trying to empathize with my wife. Please don’t give up on all of us because some of us really do want to do what’s right.
Thank you.

Our Response

You may or may not find this response harsh. Our goal isn’t to coddle your feelings, but to speak the truth and the truth doesn’t always feel good.

You are correct that breaking “the cycle of abuse….is not easy.” But you will not change if your motivation is to reconcile with your wife. It won’t be until you can look in the mirror and can honestly say “I don’t like the person I am. I don’t want to continue to be that person” that change may occur. Good intentions won’t cause change. Desperately wanting to reconcile with your family won’t cause change. Burning desires won’t cause change. Wanting to change because you recognize your behaviour is wrong is where you need to start from.

The steps you have taken so far will not cause change. You are correct that ADHD has NOTHING to do with your abusive behaviour. In fact, mentioning your ADHD shows that you are still making excuses – otherwise why mention it at all? We don’t know what type of medication you are taking, but that won’t directly improve a person’s abusive behaviour and it will do nothing to change the underlying mindset of entitlement that you have.

Seeing a therapist “at least once a month” won’t help you change. Abusers do not need ‘therapy’ if therapy is conceived as helping the person deal with their emotions. The abuser’s problem is in his thinking and his behaviour much more than his feelings. At a minimum, seeing a counsellor who focuses on your behaviour as well as your thinking patterns, who has experience with abusers and who understands their mentality and tactics — seeing this type of counsellor at least weekly is a start. But bear in mind that some counsellors say they ‘get it’ about abusers but they don’t necessarily get it. And when an abusers sees a counsellor one-on-one, it’s pretty easy for the abuser to do a snow job on the therapist.

Also, if there is a Men’s Behaviour Change Program you can attend, that would help as well. If a Men’s Behaviour Change (group) Program is run by people who are well trained in that specific field it can help an abusive man to change IF he really wants to change. And the other participants in the group are abusers themselves and they can recognize and call out the evasive tactics of their fellow participants. Note that such programs may be called different names, for example, Domestic Violence Intervention Program, or Batterers Program.

You need to respect your wife by moving your focus from your relationship with her to your abusive behaviour and your underlying beliefs that you are entitled to mistreat her and be superior to her.

There is nothing ‘unfortunate’ about having to respect your wife’s wish that you not talk to her. Your desire should be to respect her even when, and especially when, you don’t like the boundaries she has set.

We are not sure what you mean when you say “I’ve redirected my life to Christ.” Christ isn’t interested in redirected lives — He is someone we surrender to. He is a God who demands no less than perfection, which in our sinful natures we are unable to do. Surrendering ourselves to Christ involves recognizing that anything we do will fall short of a holy, righteous, God. It is recognizing that abusive behaviour is SIN — a sin that is reprehensible before a holy and righteous God. The unregenerate man has no island of goodness in himself from which he could make the effort to ‘redirect’ himself to God. The unregenerate man can only come to God in true repentance and contrition.

Your abusive behaviour may have been a ‘life long struggle’, but true change happens in the here and now. And from your comment there is no evidence that change has started. In your comment you talk only of your “intentions to change”, that you’re “committed to change”, that you’re “heart is broken”. These are mere words. Action, not words, is evidence of change.

If you look at yourself in the mirror and decide this is not who you want to be; focus on changing your behaviour and your mindset of entitlement, and get down to the hard work of changing with a competent counsellor and / or through a Men’s Behaviour Change Program — that may be a start.

At Barbara Roberts’ [old] Not Under Bondage website, there is a list of links Especially for Men [Internet Archive link]. Some of the items in that list may help you.

Also, the book Unclenching Our Fists may help you. By recommending this book, we are not necessarily saying that we think every man who wrote his story in that book has sufficiently changed to be safe as an intimate partner. But the stories may show you something about the path to becoming a non-abusive man.

Also, the book How Did We End Up Here? [*Affiliate link] may help you. It is mostly aimed at those who have suffered at the hands of character disordered people, rather than the people who HAVE character disorders (which is you). But you may find some parts of it useful.

[October 3, 2022: Editors’ notes:

—For some comments made prior to October 3, 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 October 3, 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 October 3, 2022 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (October 3, 2022), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]

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



  1. Sharon

    I’m sure other women will say this too, but I feel like this is exactly what my ex-husband would say .. I will always remember his apology. I’m sorry for everything I have done, now can’t we just move on.
    Good to post this! We need more education, like this, to open our eyes and minds to the truth.

  2. Lea

    How do I show her that I am sincere and not being manipulative.

    I have to say, I agree that way too many of these questions were geared towards convincing his wife, not just becoming a better man. I don’t think I would trust him either.

  3. Jeff Crippen

    I particularly was struck by how often the first person singular pronoun was used by this fellow – “I, me,” etc. That is a very telling sign.

    • Annie

      I agree! They can’t help themselves! Even when they think they’re trying to act like they care about someone else it’s always about themselves.

      I made the mistake before I came out of the fog of telling my husband he was selfish and everything is always about him. I and me are his favorite words.

      One of things he likes to do is monologue about our current US president. Many have said that the president likes to talk about himself whenever he gets the chance. My husband, in what I think is an effort at deflection, will go on and on about how the president always talks about himself and how the man is selfish and self-centered. He gets pretty worked up as he talks. The kids and I just stare at each other like we’re in some alternate universe. It’s like he’s talking about himself. He knows I think the same about him yet he thinks that somehow deflects from him and what? Makes him seem better?

      Unfortunately I can no longer speak of myself or needs using “I” or “me ” because my husband will pounce on my usage for the most benign of reasons. I can’t for example say I need to stop after church to get juice. He will start into me about how it’s always about me and maybe he doesn’t want to stop after church and I never think about that! (When in truth I probably spent the entire car ride debating how to say to him I need to stop at the store!!!) Now what I try to say is can we stop because one of the kids needs juice to take her prescription or I get the kids themselves to ask.

      • Ginger

        This makes me so sad. I feel your pain and frustration. I experience the exact same thing and wish that I could just leave. But, it’s just not always that easy. I’ll be thinking of you, and will actually pray for you, the next time I need to stop at the store on the way home from church…

  4. Stands With A Fist

    1) “I take full responsibility for my behavior” is EXACTLY (verbatim) what OJ Simpson said, under oath, when questioned repeatedly about decades of physical & verbal abuse against his wife, Nicole, who is now dead.
    But it is NOT an admission of guilt. It is NOT remorse. Is is not the same as being specific:
    “I hit her. I yelled at her. I said ugly mean demeaning things to her. I called her vulgar names, even when she was pregnant with our “beauiful” children. I scared her so much she left me. She was right to leave. I was wrong. She was right. I can never fix this”.
    2) “I have a burning desire to fix what I broke. My heart is broken…” This is a fake apology with red flags & sirens.
    Ps. Dave Orrison calls this the classic “non-apology”: Narcissistic Apologies (2) [Internet Archive link]

    The focus, the center of it is the abuser, & not the wounded. It’s an attempt to create sympathy for himself, and to become the victim of his own consequences.
    The abuser just wants you to shut up.

    It also speaks to the underlying issue of power & control: wanting to “fix” it is NOT the same as repairing the damage. “Fixing” the problem is about control. Most abusers look at apologies this way, b/c the intent is not even to “fix” themselves but rather to repair the illusion of perfection.

    3) Most people mourn losses knowing they cannot be fixed. Whether it is the death of a marriage, a relationship, a parent, a child, their mourning & longing is for the deceased, not for self.
    But here he says “my biggest fear is that I end up alone”.

    Perhaps being alone & miserable are natural consequence for such “behavior”.

  5. Anonymous

    This abuser can’t stand it that his wife is saying NO to him. And he is, in my view, trying to fool all of us here at ACFJ. I believe he would then sit back and laugh at us and find great delight in having tricked us! We would be his “supply.” Those of us familiar with abusers know ALL about narcissistic supply.

    If his wife returns to him, this time around she may not survive it. And if another woman becomes his prey, she will get double the abuse… his anger toward not getting his wife back will be directed at her as well.

    Let him get in to therapy with Lundy Bancroft and when Mr. Bancroft reports there is REAL change in this abuser, that may be a start. His very selfish motive of not wanting to be a growing old and lonely man is just that, selfish. even as an old man, he wants someone to abuse.

  6. IamMyBeloved's

    You said,

    My biggest fear is that I end up alone as miserable bitter lonely old man.

    Interestingly, that statement alone tells me that your focus is clearly still all about you! What about your wife ending up alone because she is too terrified of meeting another abuser, to get involved with anyone?

    I think the advice you have been offered here is great! You should take it and I will say that once you show fruits in keeping with true repentance, your wife (or ex-wife by that time) might speak to you. But, don’t ever expect her to return in marriage to you. That mindset will prove out what your real motive is. This is not about fixing her or the marriage, this is about fixing you! Good luck with that.

    I do hope you find true repentance and your life will be changed. True repentance in this case looks like leaving your wife and kids alone and moving on toward getting your life in order.

  7. Jeanne

    If he has to ask how to prove his love to his wife then he wants a quick fix, We all know that the heart has to change first, By asking what he should do is a give away! I read very little heart felt emotion, his choice was words seemed calculated. I agree about what you replied he needs total surrender to Jesus. I hope his wife stands firm!

    • twbtc

      Hi Jeanne,

      Welcome to the blog! Thank you for your comment. I slightly changed your screen name as it appeared to give your full name. Even yet it may be too identifying. I don’t know you situation – if you are in a safe place, but I would encourage you to read our New Users’ Information page as it gives tips for staying safe when commenting on the blog. If you would like your screen name changed, feel free to contact me at twbtc.acfj@gmail.com and I can do that for you.

      Again, welcome!!

    • bright sunshinin' day


      By asking what he should do is a give away!

      If he really wants to repent, then do it. He doesn’t need a counselor, church elder or pastor, or therapist to repent of his abuse. None of us do. He doesn’t even need his wife to repent and “redirect” his life. He needs Jesus. God will listen to those who truly seek Him in humble faith and give them everything they need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3).

  8. Seeking Truth

    My husband could have written this message. He is doing the right things to change, most of the things that ACFJ lists above. He asks if I feel he is sincere. I’m not sure if that’s even a question I should have to answer. If I say no, he will press for answers why not. If I say yes, the next logical question is why do I not forgive?

    • findingaquietplace

      I was thinking the EXACT same thing! Except for one sentence I have pretty much heard my husband say every single one of these things. It is really validating to hear that this kind of apology is normal from an abuser. That it doesn’t mean they are changing … and that my skepticism and distrust are warranted. Thank you ACFJ for sharing this!

      • twbtc

        Welcome to the blog, Findingaquietplace!

        We like to encourage new commenters to read our New Users’ Information page as it gives tips for staying safe when commenting on the blog.

        Again, Welcome!

  9. But He Didn't Hit Me

    Annie, my ex used to berate me for wanting to stop at the food store after church too!!! Creepy how these abusers all act alike. Like it was selfish for me to want to stop at the store to buy rolls and cold cuts so I could make lunch for him and our girls so he didn’t have to spend $10 more buying us subs at Subway? WTH?

    As for this guy, his desire not to be old and alone, as others have mentioned, is the BIG RED FLAG that it’s still all about him. He’s not fooling any of us here.

  10. Sunflower

    The big red flag for me was, “My biggest fear is growing old alone.” It really is still all about him, having someone to look after and serve him in his old age.

  11. NutMeg

    He sounds like my parents. When I turned 18 they were mad at me. And they got angrier when I left for college and met a guy I liked. And they started to blame me for everything. But after they stopped saying I was horrible they went off on this whole tantrum about how they were sad and lonely because they pushed me away and how we needed to fix it. I’ve fallen for it every time because I would feel bad if they end up alone (because they have pushed literally EVERYONE away from them. Their own grandkids and my sister doesn’t want to see them anymore). So I do what they want. If I try to pull away they’ll call me up and scream at me for being disobedient and for “hurting their feelings”. My husband and I are living with them right now. But I’m starting to think that once I have the money to move out we need to put up a no contact rule for awhile. Although it’s really going to hurt my mom and my dad is going to send me nasty emails about how I’m emotionally killing mom. My life seems to go in these circles. And then I start to think that maybe I wasn’t the nicest of kids. It’s just confusing especially when you want to believe they have changed.

    • Seeking Truth

      I am so sorry you are living in this situation. A book that really helped me with issues like this is Boundaries by Henry Cloud. You aren’t responsible for other people’s happiness nor should you be blamed for their abusive actions (You “made” me yell at you.).

    • Gothard Survivor

      Nutmeg, I hope you are able to set boundaries and work through this. now–before you have children. I didn’t and my girls watched me be abused by my parents and their dad. Now I have one daughter who rejects Christianity because it was tied in with abuse and one daughter who internalized and normalized it. She became an adherent of patriarchy and won’t speak to me because I am not a good enough wife. It adda heartache to heartache so get out before you spend your life trying to be good enough and honor them ‘enough’.

      • NutMeg

        I will definitely take your advice and get out of this. My husband has been really nice to me. I’m taking the necessary precautions because we both realize we are not ready for children. I’m in the process of getting a full time job and once I do we will move out. Money is just the struggle. And I’ll definitely buy ‘Boundaries’ when I can. I’m not trying to make excuses. I’m just kinda stuck :/

  12. 3blossommom

    Been there and done that with a man like this. His burning desire was reconciliation for the sake of his agenda (a particular life goal) and not his wife and family being whole again. He adjusted himself, saw a counselor, drew pity by admitting to some childhood abuse and ADHD, which may have helped to provoke his infidelity and out of control, manipulative behaviors. He continued the most amazing “repentance” and “submission” to authority pattern (an act) for two years. At that point, he felt entitled to my absolute trust and obedience. It was back to what he wanted and how he wanted it. My unwillingness to comply without equal input and mutual respect and my insistence in calling him out on recurring bad behavior, made me intolerable. So of course, his latest infidelity and abuses are my fault, because I didn’t meet his agenda perfectly. Is there ever real heart change with these men? Is there ever a time when they don’t feel entitled to life however they want it? I don’t think so. They are the lovers of self we are warned about.

  13. anonymous

    “They are the lovers of self we are warned about.” You nailed it 3Blossommom. Short of divine intervention for a radical heart change, these wolves / predators continue to prey on us and so WE are the ones who MUST be “Wise as serpents…”

    There was a time not too long ago when I could not read Psalm 10 without weeping and crying out in anguish. Now when I read it I say thank you, Lord, for this description of the predator. Before I was married to this man in Psalm 10, I am guilty of thinking no one can be this bad. I was very wrong.

    • keeningforthedawn

      Thank you, Anonymous, for pointing out Psalm 10. That is a wonderful passage to hold on to, both for wisdom and for hope.

      • Anonymous

        Keeningforthedawn, many times when I was in so much pain and turmoil that I could not even speak, I would draw strength and comfort from Psalm 10. May it also be a source of comfort and strength for you as you heal; and you will heal!

  14. KayE

    Although this guy obviously has a long way to go, when a person admits to being an abuser it gives cause for at least a little hope. I don’t know how sincere that admission is. Only time will tell if words are followed by right actions. But it’s still better than the abuser who insists they’ve never done anything wrong at all, and lies that their victim is the real abuser —the type of abuser who usually gets a complete pass from church leaders.
    I thought your response was very good.

    • 3blossommom

      My stbx, that I mentioned above, admitted to any and everything. He still went back to his infidelities and abusive patterns. His admissions were all a part of a new manipulation to get something he wanted. I think men like this know how to game the church system. Just as they use a woman being “required” by scripture to obey / submit to get what they want or excuse themselves, they use the endless second chances they are offered to continue abusive patterns with the sanction of those who are constantly willing to work with them again. Though, most I am close to support me and know my stbx is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, there are some who are convinced he is just a prodigal son (again) who needs brought back into the fold and given yet another chance. They will never learn because they refuse to see evil for what it is.

      • Anonymous

        You nailed it again, 3blossommom!! I am of the opinion that submission is one of God’s most liberating principles for a woman. What woman would not want to have a godly man lead in the marriage and she would indeed submit to his leadership. Scripture is very clear that just as we are to submit to our husband’s, our husband’s are to submit to Christ and lead by his example.

        These wolves twist scripture to their own benefit. They are the Haman’s of the world. They want to rob glory that belongs only to God. They want us to bow to their evil. And until we call evil what it is, we will never be victors but rather, victims. And where does this give glory to God!?!

      • KayE

        I agree, abusive men know well how to play the church system. The scandal is that church leaders make it very, very easy for them to do that. Those leaders love the story of the prodigal son, yet they don’t understand it’s not about someone who’s truly hardened. Yes, they refuse to see evil and they refuse to believe a man who says he’s sorry might just be lying.

  15. standsfortruth

    This is like a chess game for this man.
    He sounds like my recently divorced ex, wanting the recipe to bring her back into his life.
    Tell him how to make it right with her and he thinks he can get her back….

    Except he cant undo what he did to her heart.

    I escaped the clutches of my abusive husband and nothing he can say or do will ever cause me to go back.
    Fool me once (really like two thousand times, or so) shame on him..
    Fool me ever again, then shame on me!
    And if he ever manages to convince a woman to trust him for a relationship, God help that woman.

  16. Ng

    Of course this man is afraid of ending up alone. It is human and understandable; many, inclyding Christians, have this fear.
    (I have to battle it a lot, since I never had a chance to marry anyone wonderful, loving and warm – in the case of men who tried to persuade me, the red flags were clearly visible, and even without the abusive patterns, those guys just weren’t even remotely attractive. No depth of character, or maturity in their walk.)
    However, if a person has given themselves to the Lord, it’s never really lonely. Even without a spouse, there is His love and his presence… He has promised never leave us nor forsake us – WHEN we walk with Him in all sincerity. Much worse than being alone, is being the kind of person that is abusive, mean, cruel, and hypocrite..
    The most important goal in life is not to find someone to marry, but to live for the glory of God, in the best possible way, so I can look myself in the mirror and not be abhorred by what I see.

    • Ng

      Just to add that even many sincere, loving and mature Christians are single, unable to find a spouse, and they still spend their lives helping others, trying to live to the fullest in the way God intended, using their talents and being a blessing.
      The end goal is not just to get married.. but live in a way that one can look in the mirror with self-respect and integrity.

    • Auriel

      I love your comment. I am alone too, but rooted in the presence of God, so never really lonely.

      I had an abusive marriage and I wonder, “will I ever be loved by a man?” If the answer is “no”, I still intend to live my life as fully as I can. I feel blessed by the ability to love. Those who can’t, can only destroy. Blessings to you.

  17. Still Struggling

    Wanting a female perspective in order to epathize with his wife sounds like he wants ideas to manipulate her. His desperation to reconcile says he wants control back but her boundaries make that hard “unfortunately” so I’m guessing he still tries hard to talk to her. I highly doubt he is actually respecting that boundary by the language he uses. A lot of his statements are pity ploys. He uses non-specifics on his abusive behavior.

    My AH loves to use the pity ploys, generalize and use blanket apologies, just like the rest. I too have heard “I’m sorry for everything I’ve done, can’t we just move on?” They all want quick forgiveness, don’t they? But really it is not forgiveness they want, it’s absolution of their sin and blind trust.

    An important biblical concept I have learned is that forgiveness does not equal trust. I’m sure his wife has shown forgiveness many times but now has started coming out of the fog and knows not to trust him which is why she is enforcing boundaries. She is a smart woman!

  18. Abby

    Well, I guess he just got his female perspective. Haha, I hope that he reads it! Something tells me that it might be the thing that forces him into some serious thinking about his entitlement attitude and manipulative behavior. Then, maybe he’ll have real repentance.

  19. healinginhim

    Thank you for this post. The man I married has not told me but told the adult children and their spouses that he takes responsibility for the failures of the marriage and family. Really? He never told me that – he just wanted me to ‘get over it’ and move on.

  20. Fogislifting

    Ever since I read the example of David’s repentance versus Saul’s repentance, the Godly and worldly sorrow thing has been much clearer for me.

    What stands out to me with David is that he realised and accepted that there was a consequence for his sin (death of his child). He realised that he had sinned against God, and God has a ‘reap what you sow’ principle.

    David’s concern was his standing before God. That’s what he wanted to get right. Sure, he didn’t like his consequence, but his focus was on his relationship with God, not on the pain of his consequence. He accepted it as the right and just thing that needed to happen from God.

    What I see in this guy’s comment (and also in my h from whom I’ve been separated for about half a year now), is that they seem to think that ‘sorry’ or ‘repentance’ or ‘brokeness’ etc means they get a ‘get out of jail free’ card and get to skip the consequences.

    How do you truly love her and show her you are sincere?

    By letting her go. By giving yourself up for her (dying to yourself and your own wants). By owning that your actions have killed the relationship. It’s dead because your actions killed it. If you murder someone, they don’t come back to life again if you can just be sorry enough. You can seek and receive forgiveness but you can’t bring the person back to life. David’s child died and he couldn’t have it back. He had live without it. That’s how it is. Death (of the relationship in your case) is how it is for you. You too have to live with it. Your concern needs to be the same as David’s. Getting right with God and accepting the consequences of your sin.

    • MoodyMom

      Thank you, Fogislifting. After I left X, I started “counseling” at my church (let’s call it what it was: shaming, guilting, encouraging me to — or demanding that — I take down any newly-made, necessary boundaries). I brought up this comparison between David’s confession and Saul’s confession to try to demonstrate to my “counselors” what a real confession, what real change should look like. I repeatedly used this comparison when they encouraged me to just sit down in a room with X and one of them, and they could work it all out. The head counselor got frustrated with my resistance to couple’s counseling. I insisted on signs of real change before ever going into a room with him – change seen over a LONG period of time. They kept asking how will I know if there’s change unless I’m in a room with him, counseling with him? Again, I would go back to this David / Saul confession comparison.

      Finally fed up, the head counselor firmly asked me, “Yeah, I know that’s in there (in the Bible), but let’s set that aside. Are there any other passages we could look at? Aren’t there any passages where God just forgives? God reconciles the sinner to Himself? God pursues the lost? The lost coin, the lost sheep? Can’t we just look at the prodigal son, for instance? Or Jesus from the cross – ‘Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing’?” I was knocked for a loop. They were throwing out a big chunk of the Old Testament in dismissing the life stories of David and Saul in order to latch onto some proverbs and one sentence from Jesus. They were using Scripture to fight Scripture! I thought Scripture was supposed to interpret Scripture, flesh out other passages, help us understand the whole nature of God when seen as a whole!

      I stayed in that counseling for a while longer trying to get them to see reason, all the while putting ACFJ articles in their church mailboxes, Leslie Vernick blogs in their mailboxes, Lundy Bancroft passages in their mailboxes. They confronted me and told me that they looked at the ACFJ website, and that it was too angry, too strident to be of much use to me in my situation. I told them it was one of the few things that gave me clarity, that helped the fog to lift, one of the few things that made real sense. They told me they would recommend that don’t I read ACFJ anymore, and not to go after the wisdom of angry people ± that the “anger” showed its wisdom was worldly. And they told me to stop using the David / Saul comparison to apply to my situation when looking for a real confession or real change. Thank the Lord! I didn’t listen to them. I stayed here with ACFJ (“anger” and all 😉 ), and (eventually) left that church.

      We still haven’t found a good one, but we listen to Ps. Jeff’s sermons online. And I still agree with you that the David / Saul confession comparison is a good starting point to look for real change. Thanks for bringing it up!

      • Yeah… our anger…

        I believe that some influential people don’t share our posts on social media because they think our tone is wrong and their own audience will not like it if they approve and share our posts.

        Sometimes I think, after the event, that I was too angry in a certain post or in the way I responded to a situation. And I often ponder whether I ought to (or whether it is feasible for me to) moderate my tone so that more people will heed what I have to say. It’s the perennial difficulty of being an advocate for justice — the ones who are offended by the advocates block their ears when they thing the advocate’s tone is too harsh. So one ends up preaching only to the choir, so to speak…

      • KayE

        Barbara—I think that when dealing with injustice, anger is appropriate. Sometimes anger is the only honest response, especially where people are continuing to refuse to hear truth. It isn’t right to tone down the message just because some people don’t like what they’re hearing.

      • Anonymous

        I second what you said about anger. And I’d like to add that when I read something someone wrote that might be considered angry to something that was horrific, it gives me hope and strength that others see evil for what it is, and that they are strong enough to respond with the RIGHT tone.

        Jesus and God both responded with anger at times and it was usually after repeated attempts at explaining and forgiving and calling his people back to Him and then that was it–anger was the necessary and appropriate response.

        So many of us have been brain-washed to not be angry or that we are sinning if we are angry–just another tactic of the evil one to keep us bowing to him.

  21. Kay

    Barbara, your really zeroed in on this man’s rhetoric which served as a reality check for me at least. Abusers are masters at eliciting sympathy. They play upon our sense of compassion, and if we are not careful, we can get sucked in. There is no real way of knowing how sincere this man is. Only time will tell.

    Mr., you are right that breaking the cycle of abuse isn’t easy. It takes a lot of hard work, years in fact, but if you are sincere and you do the work, you won’t become a bitter old man. You will be a changed man, a man people want to be around.

    • keeningforthedawn

      Very, very well said, Kay. The fruit of true repentance will stand the test of time.

  22. Sasanka

    I love your comment, Fogislifting, you nailed it…and summarized it so well for me to remember, thank you. Barb, the response is excellent. I wonder if the guy ever responded back?

  23. kim

    The part of the abuser’s statement that struck me the most was his claim “I’m only human”. As if that gave someone an excuse for abusing someone else. Any of us could use that statement to excuse anything we did, even something heinous like repeated, deliberate abuse, which is what this abuser has done. And I’ll bet if his wife made the same excuse to HIM for her behavior, he would come down on her like a ton of bricks. I suspect the “I’m only human, after all”, only goes one way in that relationship. And he never is at all specific about what his abuse consisted of- he won’t admit one single detail than would pin him down. He says the abuse went on for years, then glosses over what the abuse actually was, and the terrible pain it must have caused his wife, and talks about his fear of a lonely old age. Sounds like he realizes he is no prize, and he’s afraid he won’t be able to attract another woman to abuse. So, now he is suddenly so intent on changing to win back the wife he admits to abusing FOR YEARS. I hope his wife runs for the hills! Happily, it sounds like she has.

  24. Lisa Smith

    Great reply–love how you call him out on his deceptions. Thanks for sharing!

  25. Auriel

    This is an excellent response. There is no way he can fail to see that his intention to seek pity has failed. As I was reading this man’s message, I was terrified for his wife and children. My impression was that he doesn’t want to be alone and so he’s keeping his unhealthy focus on her.

    What he’s failing to grasp is that in their separation, she is rebuilding herself. She is changing from someone who accepted abuse to someone who won’t. Her spirit will be infused with a courage she lacked when she was with him, but by being away, she will have become strong and will know her value.

    I think he’d be surprised by her words and courage if she did ever speak to her again. What he’s failed to realise is that she is gone. The woman he abused is dead. He murdered her. Who she is now, is a transformed spirit who wouldn’t give him time of day.

    I am one of these women. Crushed by the man I loved but rebuilt by God.


  1. My name is . . . and I have been abusive to my family — A Cry For Justice – GBFSV SPIRITUAL ABUSE VICTIMS' RECOVERY

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