Why Does He do That? – The Fundamental Motivation of the Abuser

For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. (1 John 3:11-14)

I believe I have written before on these verses, particularly on verse 12, but I am compelled to write again.

The first part of the title of this post is familiar to most all of you — “Why Does He do That?” — as it is the main title of Lundy Bancroft’s wonderful and foundational book that has helped so many people learn what they could not learn in their churches. Namely, abusers abuse because they have a profound mentality of entitlement to power and control and feel fully justified in using whatever tactics they must to obtain and maintain that self-deifying power.

But let me suggest that Scripture tells us there is perhaps an even more basic answer to the question, “why does he do that?” And it is this —

The wicked hate the righteous with a murderous hatred simply because their own deeds are evil and their victims are righteous.

Darkness despises light because the light exposes what the darkness hides. Light breaks the power of darkness.

The liar despises the truth because the truth robs the liar of his deceiving power over others. Liars hate the truth because they are liars and the truth is truth.

The world hates Jesus Christ because the world is antichrist, and Christ is King of kings.

You see it here in the words of the Psalmist —

Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying, “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.” (Psalms 2:1-3)

Why do the nations rage? Because the Lord is the Lord and they are not.

I have absolutely no doubt that the murderous, destructive hatred of the abuser (especially the kind of abuser who claims to be a Christian) rages against his victim simply because she is righteous, and he is evil. In the world today, even in and perhaps especially in the West, domestic violence and abuse are perhaps THE leading form of persecution against Christians.

Listen to it once more —

We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. (1 John 3:12)

Understand? Why does your abuser abuse and hate you? Why? Because he is evil. Because you are not.

And it really requires coming to grips with all of this in order to begin to see the blinding, deceptive, fog cast by the abuser begin to fade and lift. He is evil. Not difficult. Evil. Not damaged by his childhood. Evil. And no matter how skillfully he constructs a disguise of holiness, inside there is a wicked, evil heart that hates all good.

We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.


Further Reading

Wise as Serpents: Cain is Still With Us Today (Part 5 of a sermon series by Jeff Crippen)

“Reconciliation” With an Abuser is the Twilight Zone


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.


51 thoughts on “Why Does He do That? – The Fundamental Motivation of the Abuser”

  1. Even to this very day, 9 months divorced, I look back to the horror of the EVIL that God rescued me from. And my ex is still parading around all puffed up, living in his made-up delusional world of unreality. He has a TOTAL MINDSET OF ENTITLEMENT AND HAS DESTROYED ANYONE WHO HAS GOTTEN IN HIS WAY. ANYONE! I have said it before: Being / doing EVIL to an abuser is sport to them; it is their “golf game”; it brings them great pleasure, and especially when they annihilate their “opponent”. In fact, they will not stop until they do annihilate.

    You are heart-pin-to-the-heart accurate, pastor Crippen: The abuser is not difficult, he IS EVIL.

  2. I wonder if Adam and Eve were shocked when Cain murdered his brother, their righteous son. Had Cain kept his contempt hidden from them, as abusers often do today from all but their targets? Even family members living in the same house with abuser and target are often clueless about what goes on when a target gets caught in the laser beam of evil, manipulative, covert control.

  3. Thank you for posting this truth and reminding us of just how evil intent seeks to destroy often under the guise of good outward public appearances.

  4. That phrase, “Cain, who was of the evil one” has always struck me. I can’t even describe it. It seems to say Cain belonged to Satan. The thought that the very first child born on the earth, and had even talked to God Himself, could rebel and be evil makes no sense.

    The reality is harsh isn’t it? Believers need to guard themselves since an evil abuser may come out of a good, Christian background where we least expect it.

    1. Yes, very good insight. Thank you. A warning to be soberly heeded by all of us. Most all of us here met abusers where? In church. In Bible College. In “safe” places.

  5. From the Evil One himself…Mr. Awesome…Supreme Being — please feel free to come up with any other forms of flattery you care to bestow on me…..I’m worth it!

    Oh my boy Jeff, Jeffrey, Jeffie—Tut-a-lut! No need to drive the point home over and over my good fellow…these folks get it, don’t you all?

    Now, I suggest we instead spend our time on more profitable endeavors, perhaps keeping these victims working like mad for the poor and down-trodden. What’s that Pastor? You say these people here ARE the poor and down-trodden? I beg to differ, son! After all, they clearly all have the ability to READ so this in itself means they have no right to complain!

    In the past I was able to keep the masses from being educated and used my children the priests as the gatekeepers. Those were the good old days, eh? Uneducated rabble, whining and beaten down and my boys forcing them to confess their sins in order to be able to manipulate and control them, and then having them twirl around four times while standing on their tippy-toes, hailing mother Mary! And don’t forget the many other atrocities committed in the name of “Christ” i.e. The Holy Wars and the rape and torture of children and the male sexual escapades that still take place at the Vatican and other churches. Such FUN WE HAD back then but people like you want to spoil it all for us! I do indeed miss those days!

    And you claim that it is primarily the western countries who fall prey to domestic violence against Christians and hiding it from sight. True enough….because many other nations don’t even bother to conceal their outright hatred and disregard for women, children etc . I’m the owner and operator of the religions that govern them after all, why bother pretending I care? It’s so exhausting for me to have to put forth the effort here in this country, but the past few decades HAVE slackened off in this regard. Many of my children have worked their way into the chains of command of the churches, government, educational systems etc. and have succeeded in using laws set up to protect said women and children by exploiting them instead! Wiley little fiends, aren’t they? A chip off the old block they are!

    The wonderful days before birth control and medicine when I could keep women down by keeping them “barefoot and pregnant” (I coined that phrase myself!) with no money and no means to obtain any because blind patriarchy and patriarchal societies ensured that there was no way out for them, and the high death rate during childbirth ensured they dropped like flies! I have now morphed this method of imprisoning women by encouraging beliefs such as, “I’ll have as many children as God gives me!” So FUN! How they refuse to give God glory and acknowledge that HE endowed humans with the ability to learn from the past, to create medicines that can greatly benefit life and to regulate the quantity and quality of those lives. You say domestic violence is an atrocity—I say it is NECESSARY, humorous and good sport!

    Righteous or evil, tomato tamAHto, pooh-pooh on you Jeffy-boy. The nations WILL rage because the end times are here! This is MY time to shine, to delude the masses, and one of my favorite ways to deceive is and always has been to operate in the very churches where people go to worship God! I WILL oppose God and those foolish enough to belong to Him and I WILL exalt myself over EVERYTHING that is even CALLED god or is worshiped! Come ON people, haven’t I done this from the beginning of time?! And didn’t your God so kindly point it out to you? So don’t act so surprised….YOU were stupid enough to give your heart to Him, and I am ONLY acting on my nature…..The Incredible ME! (Satan–for those who weren’t quite sure…)

  6. WOW! Why would this kind of person seek out and marry someone who is their polar opposite? I don’t doubt what you’re saying at all Pastor Crippen, but it is even more sinister than I could have imagined. If the abuser hates the righteous-then my ex husband actually hated me all along??? The strange thing is, I felt hated at times! At best, it seemed that he was almost always angry at me. Looking back it was almost eerie the way he could be sulking, and then if I spoke to him, he was startled and look up at me smiling.
    I continue to be amazed at the evil that surrounded me, and almost destroyed me for 32 long, agonizing years. Please share your thoughts on this “choosing” that abusers do when selecting a victim-I mean “mate.”

    1. Good question. I think the forces of evil prompt them to go for us, because they delight in destroying God’s people. They delight in their wickedness, and I think take special pleasure in defiling and torturing holy ones.

      1. (trigger warning)

        When I was being raped as a child which was a one-off occurrence, as that person was approaching me i.e. before that person actually touched my body, I sensed in my spirit that this person was being motivated by an evil spiritual being that had profoundly malignant intent which was directed towards me like a laser beam. That evil being intended to wreck my life. It’s goal was to screw me up so my life would be a mess and I would be ineffective.

        The rape DID mess me up: my life was a wreck for many years — I went way off track by becoming bulimic, then drug addicted and promiscuous and ending up working as a prostitute, then out of the drugs and prostitution but into the New Age where I was contaminated by occult influences and ideas from Eastern religions and was still battling my primary addiction of bulimia.

        But by the grace of God, all that wreck has now been healed and transformed so I know I am a Christian serving the Lord by helping other victims of abuse.

  7. Thank you for speaking the astounding truth. What agony it has been to learn this horror by experience. Their hatred is so unbearable, so truly murderous. The wicked are estranged from birth, [are] of their father the devil. Such a mystery, incomprehensible for me, in theory, and totally life-shattering in reality.

    1. Believer, I am gripped by your words. They are compelling and I can hear your pain. The forces of evil are just as you say, “in theory incomprehensible and in reality life-shattering.” Our Lord warned us of such evil and yet to come face-to-face with it, no words seem adequate. But our Lord did not just warn us and then leave us, no, He gave us His promise like that in Psalm 10:

      … you hear, oh Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more.

  8. Debbie, the day I realized this truth–

    …then my ex husband actually hated me all along???

    I can remember exactly where I was standing, the overwhelming sadness, shock and heartbreak of that moment. To KNOW that my husband had not only NEVER loved me, but had ALWAYS and ABSOLUTELY HATED me. As time went by and the truth of all of it seeped into my mind and heart, God used this truth to show me where He had written it down for us in His word–and that no preacher had ever taught me this truth from God’s word.

    More seeping of God’s truth and I realized that I had come from a family of people who had never loved me and had actually hated me. Down to the foundation…..down to the foundation of my being I was stripped. The pain was so hard to bear…..unrelenting anguish. Why was it SO bad? Because NOT ONE SINGLE PERSON HAD EVER EVEN ALLUDED TO THE POSSIBLITY THAT MANY PEOPLE HAVE THIS NATURE!

    More time went by, searching the scriptures screaming out to God, it took years for me to heal….because God refused to allow me to hold onto ANYTHING that wasn’t His truth or that had even a HINT of evil or lies. As most of us know, this leaves us with no safe place but in Him.

    It’s why I spill…..pour it all out….my life is my testimony, which is true of ALL of God’s little ones. God Himself allowed my life to be what it is / was….HE is NOT ashamed of the wisdom He’s allowed me to have due to the life I was forced to acclimate to in order to survive. The lies of the evil one infest every single aspect of life on this earth, yet God miraculously shoved away these lies, like the parting and holding apart of the Red Sea, in HIS time. I guess I initially thought that at some point He would stop holding it back so I tried to hurry up and learn, hurry up and get the word out. I now see there is no need to hurry…..He holds the sea back and He seems to be drying it up as well…. “…and the sea no longer existed.” Revelation 21:2. The vast majority of the sea is hidden from us (not from God) and like this analogy, God no longer allows any hidden places for me to slip into.

  9. Barbara,

    Out of the wreck I rise! By God’s grace you can certainly lay claim to these words. HE is using you mightily as an instrument in His hands. You are so loved by so many. Why you had to endure so much is known only to Him but because you are His daughter, you can smile at the future and know good will come from His perfect plan, which includes the work He has predestined for you! 🌹

    1. Yes, and I have not one ounce of resentment or bitterness towards God for allowing that rape to happen.

      The tendrils of resentment I still have in relation to the various abuses I’ve suffered are resentments I feel against

      (i) folks in the church who misjudged and mistreated me and folks in the church who currently misjudge and mistreat me because of my history and the advocacy work I do, and

      (ii) the resentment I occasionally still feel towards my two ex-husbands for how they lied about me to others and to my knowledge have never renounced those lies to the people they spoke them to. And my resentment to my first ex-husband for how he hurt our daughter.

      But I have no resentment against God. I am very grateful for the life He has given me including all the pain it entailed because that pain is now being used to benefit His children.

      Enuf crowing on my part!

      1. Barbara, the first time someone ask me if I was angry at God I was dumbfounded. It actually dawned on me that it never occurred to me to be angry at God. And I can say in all honesty, I, too, have no bitterness or resentment. And you and I both know this is God’s amazing gift of grace to us… He has healed us completely.

        Resentment you feel towards your ex for hurting your daughter and for the church is a righteous anger! But even in this, God will not let it eat you up like a cancer.

        We truly are complete in Him!

      2. dear Barbara,

        Your testimony is a source of great pride to God…. your survival and eventual healing is a something that angers Satan so much….. the fact that you are using your past pain to help hundreds of damaged and hurting people causes RAGE to our enemy….the tables have been turned…..he has wasted his time on you, Barbara!!!!!! God is winning…… so this site is a wonderful weapon in spiritual warfare…..
        every word is a weapon, every punctuation mark is a poke in the eye for Satan….. Bringing the evil done to you out into the open and bragging about God’s care and healing is powerful warfare…. keep the fiery darts coming!!!
        Thank you for this site which is so hated by our mutual Enemy and so loved by your readers and targets / victims…. plus of course our Heavenly Father!

        Thank you so so much for speaking out… “the battle belongs to the Lord”.

  10. You hit the nail on the head!! I had come to this conclusion several times Jeff, when people asked me why me ex hated me so much. My answer was two part – My ex is a narcissist and I was not allowed to say “no more” to him, they don’t lose well. He found himself a girlfriend and left. I filed for divorce, then he wanted to reconcile and when I refused, he stalked me for years. I would say how illogical it was, why did he want revenge so badly, why was he constantly punishing me for not wanting to be married to him any longer (I thought that I should be the angry vengeful one because he left me and our children to be with someone who is not the mother of our children.) & he just couldn’t leave me alone?

    And this is exactly what I answered – I am a Christian and darkness hates light and truth, evil hates good. There is no other logic or explanation to it, but the spiritual truth! My ex had been addicted to pornography and then began acting out.

    I didn’t want to stay and fight once the trust was broken. (We actually went around & around for a few years until I knew in my heart there was nothing I could do to have a relationship with this man because he would not stop choosing evil.)

  11. You are so right Barbara, when you have been up close and personal with people who have sold their souls to choosing and pursuing evil it is a palpable presence. I have had the experience of sensing that evil tangibly come over me when I married my second husband (it shocked me, and was one of the things that caused me to wake up and eventually discover he had hidden sexual sin ravaging his life) and then palpably leave once I was no longer in a relationship with him. Both times it took about a year from when I said “no more”.

    When the Holy Spirit resides in us and we are released from evil there is a supernatural awareness that comes when you pursue God and His truth and walk in the Spirit. Spiritual warfare and the presence of evil to inhabit when we chose it is very real and does affect Christians who do not walk wisely — one day we will see and understand more. Thankfully God gives us all we need in His word to live and walk in His light and truth but we have to intentionally chose & pursue Him!!

    1. The person who raped me has, since that rape, become a professing member of a religion that rejects and I would say despises Christianity. At the time of the rape, that person had no religious connections or beliefs. But in the years that followed the rape, that person has become very committed to this non-Christian belief system.

      I suspect that only after Christ has brought in the New Heavens and New Earth will I be able to understand this fully.

  12. I appreciate this simple expounding of the truth, that Lundy Bancroft’s book, although I am sure is very good (still working my way through it), doesn’t as a secular book really go into, and ultimately, yes, that is the reason why the abuser abuses, because they are evil and they hate the light and the righteous.

  13. Well said, Tess. And we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with you, Barbara, in your quest to give voice to all who suffer at the hands of abusers; and to borrow your phrase, “The fire in my bones” fuels my determination to be a part of ‘a cry for justice’.

    1. I was 23 when I was born-again. After being born-again I was nearly 14 years in the wilderness, still trying to follow New Age teaching, The Course in Miracles, which I discovered soon after I was born-again and it ‘seemed’ to be written by Jesus. During those 14 years my bulimia became even worse and I put myself in a psych hospital twice, once because of the bulimia and once because I almost suicided. I met the man who became my first husband during that wilderness time, and had a child with him. It was while I was preparing for the court battle over custody of our daughter that I finally got to an evangelical church and realised I had a lot of catching up to do! I burned my copy of The Course in Miracles and my astrology chart and all my Theosophical books and my I Ching and threw away my runes which were another divination tool. And I started reading the Bible seriously and walking as a Christian.

      And I’m in my early sixties now, in case you were wondering. 🙂

      1. Barbara, your story is most compelling and is indeed a testament to the Lord’s amazing grace. Goes to show there’s nothing so deep or so dark that His love and grace is not deeper still.

        Purpose is borne from our pain and I believe the Lord surely must delight as He looks upon your heart for the way in which you are living out your life for His glory, in spite of Satan’s best attempt to destroy you.

        What a privilege and honor for me to be your sister in Christ!

      2. My neighbor tried very hard to persuade me to follow New Age teaching. She had bought me a couple of books (can’t remember the author) and one night her husband actually yelled at me because I couldn’t be persuaded. I didn’t know anything about “New Age” but it just didn’t sound right to me. I read the books and I had this creepy feeling. I burned them in our fire pit. It seems to be quite popular in our area.

      3. What a great testimony Barbara! I love hearing or reading people’s stories of being born-again. It is always so wonderful to hear how God reaches into each unique life to bring deliverance and salvation. My husband and I were raised Catholic, converted to Mormonism, and then spent a number of years involved in the New Age. Twenty-six years ago we were born-again in our mid-thirties, on the same day, after reading a book by a former New Age leader who had been saved and had a powerful testimony of God’s deliverance. We went through our house and cleaned out all our cult, occult, and New Age books and burned them at the suggestion of the author, just like the scriptures say in…

        Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all…(Acts 19:19)

  14. THIS:

    I have absolutely no doubt that the murderous, destructive hatred of the abuser (especially the kind of abuser who claims to be a Christian) rages against his victim simply because she is righteous, and he is evil. In the world today, even in and perhaps especially in the West, domestic violence and abuse are perhaps THE leading form of persecution against Christians.

    And who are standing there approving the domestic violence / persecution as Saul did Stephen’s stoning? Many leaders in the church.

  15. I think the church could do well to follow in the steps of Mr Wesley’s preaching (read the 44 sermons). He focuses on holiness and what it really looks like. I have seen the evil ones writhe under it (they can’t stand it) and the true ones rejoice.

    1. Hi Clearwater, welcome to the blog. 🙂

      Yes, evil ones writhe when the gospel is preached truly. John Wesley’s sermons on holiness may well produce that effect in evil ones. But a word of caution – preaching on holiness has at times produced legalism in the church, with people trying to manufacture or attain their own righteousness rather than having the faith that relies 100% on Christ for His righteousness. You may be well aware of this, and I don’t want to seem like I’m talking down to you…. I just felt I needed to say that for the benefit of other readers.

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

  16. pastor Jeff.
    Many times I have felt raged against- by evil ones durring the day that at night it becomes difficult to sleep.
    Really my spirit just wants to hear some validation that this evil exists and its not just my battle alone..
    So I will set my phone to one of your audio sermons, close my eyes, and soon a peace comes over me…
    Before I know it, I am able to fall asleep-because I can fully relate to the material.
    Of course I replay it in the morning to catch what I missed the next day.
    Thank you again.

    1. Standsfortruth- truth sets us free. Evil deceives, accuses, and destroys. I am very glad you have found the sermons helpful in overcoming the wickedness assailing you.

    2. Standsfortruth, I did the exact same thing with Pastor Crippen’s sermons. I could relate to every word he was saying. It validated that I was not losing my mind. It was hope to hold on to while I was coming through the fog.

  17. People say I am judging or bitter if I say my abuser is evil or question whether he is saved. I read the book Splitting where it talks about perceiving someone as all good or all bad and the problems this creates. Am I doing this when I say he is evil? Of course, he never hit me so it confuses the picture for many.

    Where is this line drawn? Is it wrong to say he is evil? What about to our children? My current recourse is to call him a fool, which is pretty low by Biblical standards.

    1. TruthSeeker,

      Are you referring to the book, Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder by Bill Eddy and Randi Kreger. If so, I am not aware that either of the authors are Christians or write from a Christian perspective. So their idea or someone being ‘all good or all bad’ would not probably line up with scripture. Scripture does tells us that all people are born with a sin nature – we are all bad – there is no island of goodness within us without the work of Jesus Christ. Please be careful that you don’t confuse a secular idea of good and bad with what scripture teaches. I will let Pastor Crippen and / or Barb step in here and give further thoughts on this.

      Regarding being bitter and judging – here are a few posts that may be helpful.

      The “B” Word (bitterness — part of the language of abusers

      Bitterness or Righteous Anger – How to tell the difference

      The “root of bitterness” in Hebrew – isn’t unforgiveness

      The “gall of bitterness” in Acts – it isn’t resentment

      Is judging a sin?

      Let’s Get “Do Not Judge” Right and Stop Using it to Justify the Wicked

      1. And keep in mind that these people who write on these various personality disorders are not required to prove that they don’t have them. There are many experts who appear to be psychopaths that write on it because it’s a way for them to brag about themselves and also to tweak the perspective of a given personality disorder which in turn keeps us all running in circles saying, “So-and-so said THIS about this personality disorder but so-and-so said that…” So just keep this in mind and pay attention because there will be no apologies from these people if it is found out they are a person with an abusive personality and they will probably do what they usually do and turn and attack any who call them out.

      2. Yes. Sam Vaknin is a prime example. He’s a diagnosed psychopath and he writes and teaches about psychopathy. We suggest that everyone avoids his work. We give him zero oxygen.

    2. Hi TruthSeeker,
      TWBTC is right about how Christians and non-Christians often differ in what they mean by the terms ‘good and bad’.

      I haven’t read “Splitting” myself, so I’m not sure what that book was getting at when it talked about “perceiving someone as all good or all bad and the problems this creates.” It may have been referring to the way the abuser tends to have black and white thinking, all or nothing thinking, and how that is one of the problems with the abuser’s way of of thinking. Dr George Simon (who is a Christian, btw) talks about this ‘all or nothing’ thinking that is often observable in character-disordered people.

      In regards to your question about whether it’s okay for you to say your abuser is ‘evil,’ I suggest that it IS okay for you to say that, but you might want to be prudent about who you say it to.

      Saying it to yourself is FINE: your long experience of your abuser’s behaviour and attitudes shows that he is indeed evil, stony-hearted, a rank hypocrite, a manipulative liar, etc. God calls all those things evil and wicked, especially when they are a pattern of conduct demonstrated over time and when the person doing them fights against having to change his character and conduct.

      But saying to others “My spouse (or my ex) is evil” will likely lead to them responding to you with unjust judgement and condemnation. That’s why it’s sensible to be prudent who you say it to. It may be more appropriate to say to those people some thing like, “My ex abused me for years. He has deceived many people and manipulated many people. The fact that he may not have ever hit me is irrelevant. He abused me in multiple ways without ever hitting me. MANY abusive men never lay a finger in anger on their victims; they abuse by coercive control, mind games, verbal abuse, financial abuse, spiritual abuse and isolation.”

      To call your ex a fool is also quite okay, but again, you may want to be prudent who you say it to.

      The judgements those people are laying on you show how little those people understand the dynamics of domestic abuse and how poorly they understand (and have been taught) what Scripture has to say about ‘bitterness’ and ‘do not judge’.

      1. Either your spouse has the Spirit of Christ residing in him or he does not. That would be how a Christian might think of good vs. evil and someone who abuses another person has no part in Christ.

    3. And you asked about what to say to your children about their father’s nature / conduct / character. It is best to tell them a summary (brief) of the truth but to tell it in an unemotional way, so they don’t detect any tone in your manner that might sound like you ‘have it in for daddy’.

      The posts linked on this page, including the comments thread on those posts, will give you plenty of ideas how to do this.

      1. With my daughter, when she was aged 9-11 and was asking “Why can’t you and Daddy get back together?” I would reply something like this: “When Daddy and I were together, he hurt me and made me afraid of him. And when I asked him to stop doing that he didn’t stop. So I decided to that for my safety I had to leave him.”

        That’s an example of a brief summary you could give to your kids. Adapt it to the age of the child.

  18. Barbara, when I finally got back home after leaving my abuser, my 3 precious granddaughters (ages 7-9) would hug me and with tears just cuddle to me. They asked if I was going to leave again and go back to “him” (their word). I knew my son explained briefly that I was with a man who was hurting me. When I assured them I was not going back, they were satisfied with my brief explanation, very similar to yours to your daughter. I realized that for them to see me ‘safe’, they felt secure!!

  19. I find it very disappointing that the focus is always on the female being the victim and the man being the aggressor. While sadly this scenario occurs too frequently, what’s more disturbing is how the abuse of men is rarely if ever talked about. Men, such as myself, are the silent ones who have endured physical, emotional, verbal abuse from their “wives”. When I see books like “Why does he do that?” (which are great to shine the light on the horrific ramifications of domestic abuse) I would hope that somewhere, someplace the question would be asked, “Why does she do that?” I am glad I did not hold my breath. I praise the Lord for my eternal salvation and know Him saving me from my current abusive marriage that has gone on way too long.

    When it comes to the abuse of men, two of the most woefully ignorant communities regarding this issue are the the church, and the law enforcement community. I am a member of both the church, and the police profession over 20 years, and I can assure you, I was just as ignorant, believe me, I was. That was……until it happened to me.

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


      Hi Ron Edwards,

      In our blog’s sidebar, very near the top, we have a definition of domestic abuse. I’ll paste it here in case you are reading on your phone (the blog layout on a phone is such that the sidebar isn’t so easy to see).

      What is Abuse?

      The definition of abuse: A pattern of coercive control (ongoing actions or inactions) that proceeds from a mentality of entitlement to power, whereby, through intimidation, manipulation and isolation, the abuser keeps his1 target subordinated and under his control. This pattern can be emotional, verbal, psychological, spiritual, sexual, financial, social and physical. Not all these elements need be present, e.g., physical abuse may not be part of it.

      The definition of domestic abuser: a family member or dating partner (current or ex) who has a profound mentality of entitlement to the possession of power and control over the one s/he1 chooses to mistreat. This mentality of entitlement defines the very essence of the abuser. The abuser believes he is justified in using evil tactics to obtain and maintain that power and control.

      1Sometimes the genders are reversed — see our tag for male survivors.

      Many professionals in the field of domestic abuse (aka domestic violence) also believe these things.
      (a) domestic abuse is predominately a gendered crime, with males the commonest perpetrators and females the commonest victims,
      (b) because of social assumptions and enculturations about male privilege and male superiority, it is much harder for a woman to make a man live in fear and perpetually blame and doubt himself; and it’s a lot harder for a woman to coercively control every aspect of a man’s life than vice versa.

      BTW, on this blog we have a policy of not engaging deeply in the ‘statistics debate’ about the gendered nature of domestic abuse (the number of male on female abusers vv female on male abusers). We leave that to the professionals who are much more across that topic than we are. Not that you were trying to push a statistical debate in your comment! 🙂

      We agree with you that the church is woefully ignorant about domestic abuse — but in our observation that ignorance covers ALL types of domestic abuse, whatever the gender of the perps and victims. Most folk in the church think only (if they think at all) about domestic VIOLENCE — and they think “it’s only abuse if there is physical violence.” And they are mostly very ignorant about the complicated dynamics of domestic abuse. Not to mention how unwise they are when it comes to recognising and responding to domestic abuse cases. Whatever the gender of the perpetrator, the church often ends up being an ally of the perpetrator and mistreating the victim.

      To the question “Why does she do that?” we would say that the answer is pretty much the same for women who abuse men and for men who abuse women. There seem to be a few differences in how it plays out (the tactics female perpetrators use may be a little different sometimes) and there may (may— this is only my hunch, I’ve never seen research on it) be a slightly higher rate of mental disorders in females who abuse their male partners. But mental disorders do not CAUSE domestic abuse — research on male perpetrators shows that they have no higher rate of mental health issues than the rest of the male population. So even if a perpetrator (male or female) has a mental health issue, that doesn’t cause their abuse problem, though it often makes them more dangerous.

      You may like to look also at our tag gender differences. Some of the posts under that tag canvass how a male victim’s experience is similar to — and different from– a female victim’s experience.

      BTW, you might be encouraged to know that my co-leader at this blog, Ps Jeff Crippen, was a police officer for years before he became a pastor. 🙂

      1. Ron Edwards,

        Men, such as myself, are the silent ones…

        Abuse is abuse. Good that you are willing to speak out against it.

      2. Yeah, and in my observation, many victims of abuse have been ‘the silent ones’ for a long long time. Some of the silent ones are now no longer silent. And the internet provides a unique opportunity that wasn’t available before the digital revolution: it gives us a place where survivor-friendly sites can operate, so the people who used to de-voice survivors can no longer rule the day.

      3. Why is it when we hear of school shootings or hostage situations we think in terms of men being the perpetrators? Because they ARE in the majority of the cases. (I don’t know of any school shootings that have involved women taking up arms…but I don’t get out much.)

        I come from a family with many female abusers. I’ve had no contact with them for decades but I can assure you that the harm they caused the men in their lives was soul-destroying and it was real.

    2. And btw, Ron, welcome! 🙂 … we like to welcome all newbies to this blog.

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

      If you want us to change your screen name to something else, something less identifying, just email The woman behind the curtain: twbtc.acfj@gmail.com — she will be happy to assist. 🙂

    3. R.E. – We fully understand what you are saying. However, if you follow this blog over time you will see that we do point out that female abusers exist. Some of our commenters tell their stories of abusive mothers-in-law or mothers or other women who have treated them most wickedly. In our books on on this blog we include a statement that we normally refer to the abuser as “he” because in the vast majority of cases the man is in fact the abuser. And in churches it is most commonly male abusers who are enabled and covered for by the male leaders of the church. In the courts it is most often the abuse victim – the woman – who is dealt rank injustice. The insistence by men’s rights groups that the court system is biased in favor of women against men is simply not true as a whole. But we are fully aware that there are abusers who are women.

      If you come to this blog and identify yourself as an abuse victim, we can tell as we interact with you if your story rings true and if it does, you, like other men who have been abused, will most certainly be vindicated and believed.

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