Society has been hoodwinked by men who abuse their female intimate partners (Don Hennessy series part 7)

The psychephiles who befriend women in order to abuse them in long-term relationships have hoodwinked us all.

Skilled offenders are clever enough to be ahead of all of us and to be able to orchestrate our responses at every turn. How He Gets Into Her Head by Don Hennessy, p 100 [Affiliate link])

The Bible talks about this very same thing —

The instruments of the rogue are evil;
he devises wicked schemes
to destroy the poor with lying words,
even when the needy speaks right. (Isaiah 32:7)

They [the wicked rogues] speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage. (Jude 1:16b)

Don Hennessy says:

We [counselors and other professionals] have all failed our clients to the extent that we have failed to understand what is really going on. (How He Gets Into Her Head, 83)

The process of being groomed by a skilled offender will begin as soon as we meet him or take a phone call from him. (157)

As a society we have already been groomed into an attitude of tolerance and this tolerance is used by the abuser to justify his continued abuse. … His experience of us is such that he believes he can manipulate any agency or individual into accepting his position. (120)

He knows above all else that we as a community will accept part if not all of his explanation. (158)

One of the most powerful and commonly used tactics of skilled offenders is to get us to focus on what he describes as the difficult tactics of his partner. By doing so he hopes that we can find ourselves feeling sorry for anyone who would have to put up with such behaviours from a spouse.
If his listener is male or female he will emphasise the points he feels will most impress his audience. If his audience is high up on the hierarchy of power he may use our sense of rights and entitlements. If he is talking to a social worker or counselor he may emphasise his childhood experiences. As a man I have often been invited to acknowledge that I would probably do the same if I was married to his wife. He is expert at seeking sympathy from the listener. He will relate how all of these issues are used by the target woman to deprive him of the peace and contentment he both desires and deserves. (158-9)

While listening to these conversations we need to remind ourselves that all abusers lie a lot. They will always minimise and deny past behaviours. They will exaggerate or concoct appropriate childhood experiences. They will emphasise their partner’s weaknesses. They will create scenarios which are totally inaccurate. (159)

The Bible confirms what Hennessy says about these skilled offenders:

The mouth of the wicked conceals violence (Proverbs 10:11b)

They pour forth words, they speak arrogantly;
All who do wickedness vaunt themselves. (Psalm 94:4)

Hennessy says that even when women’s agencies receive funding to support female victims of domestic abuse, the skilled male offenders are relatively okay with that … because it keeps everyone’s eyes off what they are actually doing.

It is really in the best interests of the psychephile to promote and fund any response which avoids identifying his hidden tactics. It is also in his best interest to encourage us to develop responses to his crime that avoid holding him accountable. (100)

The skilled offender will distract us from his offending. He will not reveal his mind control tactics. (101)

He will encourage all of us to expend our energies in trying to understand him. Like all other sex offenders, the psychephile, the skilled offender, will deny his ultimate goal. This goal is the facility to have his sexual needs met without negotiation. (98)

While we are talking his language and playing his game he will continue to win. (100)

We need to acknowledge that our clients, ourselves and the wider community have been hoodwinked into the wrong discussion. (98)

Society’s response to the domestic abuser is inadequate

The majority of Christians know that one of the sins of Sodom was rapacious homosexuality. But far fewer Christians know that the city of Sodom was condemned for other sins as well:

This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy. (Ezekiel 16:49)

The way our societies have responded to victims of domestic abuse is a powerful example of how our communities has replicated that sin of Sodom – the failure to help the poor and needy, especially the victims of intimate partner abuse.

It was more than likely that it was an abuser who first said it was only a slap. It was the system that decided that only a slap didn’t require an intervention. The people who wanted to help the woman tried to record the slap as part of a greater problem. It was the response of the support sector to document and present the repeated nature of these slaps in order to move the system from a position of indifference to one of action.
The whole community began to debate the physical aspects of the abuser’s behaviour. The debate became one of reciprocal physical violence. The language of violence, the description of its extent, the response of the target and the minimising of its effects informed our overall response.
This response was the one that was intended by the skilled offenders. As soon as they had distracted us, as soon as they had invited us onto their pitch, they knew that by and large they could beat us at their own game. (84)

Our judicial system has frequently excused the most abusive of behaviours because they were presented as the response to legitimate requests that were not met. (136)

Here are a few of the old mantras and ‘legitimate requests’ that are often used by men who abuse their wives to justify very abusive behaviors. Some of the mantras are particularly used by so-called Christians.

  • “A man’s home is his castle.”
  • “A man deserves his dinner on time.”
  • “A wife should keep a clean and tidy house for her husband.”
  • “A red-blooded man has the right to regular sex from his wife.”
  • “Every child needs a father.”
  • “A father has the right to see his kids.”
  • “All sinners are the same. All of us are just as guilty as an abuser.”
  •  “Clergymen know how to interpret scripture correctly; clergymen’s wives and the other folks in the pews are not so good at interpreting scripture.”
  • “The husband is priest in the home – a mediator of God to his wife and children.”
  • “The Bible says a man is to ‘possess’ his wife, so a wife has no right to say no to sex.”
  • “God hates divorce.”
  • “Marriage displays God’s covenant-keeping love to the church. If a Christian seeks divorce, they are giving a bad witness to the world because they are not ‘displaying the gospel’.”

Under the banner of family values, abusive men have lobbied governments to make laws that lead to shared parenting as the usual outcome in divorce. At the same time, abusive men have worked very hard to distract society from paying attention to how unfair it is on the children for these men to abuse the children’s mothers.

Men who specialize in abusing their intimate female partners always sabotage the mother’s attempts to protect her kids and raise them as human beings of good character. Abusive men have sometimes been successful in getting full custody of their kids after divorce by convincing the courts to deem the protective mother as mentally unstable and thus an unfit parent. Particularly in the USA, the skilled offenders have managed to get family court and allied professionals to believe the junk science concept of “Parental Alienation Syndrome” (PAS). See here and here for more info on PAS.

Abusive men have spread many myths about domestic abuse to distract society from the obvious moral truth that men who repeatedly and intentionally abuse their wives and children have forfeited their right to continue to claim their rights as husbands and fathers.

Those who seek my life lay snares for me;
And those who seek to injure me have threatened destruction,
And they devise treachery all day long. (Psalm 38:12)

The psychephile is not afraid of our judicial system. He believes that he can establish a hierarchy of rights within the courts which will protect his sexual entitlement. (136)

The idea that Rape Crisis Centres and Domestic Violence Services serve a different population of women is one that is promoted by abusive men. (136)

The distinction between stranger rape and intimate rape serves the interests of the skilled offender. He will always want to separate himself from other abusers and he will never see himself as a rapist. (137)

I once presented a scenario to a group of judges at a seminar.
In the imaginary scene a woman was before the court looking for a barring order. She told the court that her husband had threatened to kill her every night before she went to sleep. What he had actually said was that she would end up floating in a canal just like a friend of hers who had drowned the previous year.
The woman was terrified.
The judges, based on their long experience of listening to skilled offenders, declined her application on the grounds that the offender probably didn’t mean what he said.
Their conclusion accurately reflected the explanation given by all skilled offenders when confronted with such a challenge. [e.g. “Your Honour, I don’t remember telling her she would end up with her dead body floating in the canal, but even I if I did say that to her, I didn’t really mean it.”]
Regrettably, the skilled offender almost always means what he says. He is so aware of the terror he can generate that he is always aiming his remarks at aspects of her life that cause her anxiety. (95)

Skilled offenders have infiltrated all our agencies and institutions

Do not take my soul away along with sinners,
Nor my life with men of bloodshed,
In whose hands is a wicked scheme,
And whose right hand is full of bribes. (Psalm 26:9-10)

Skilled offenders have infiltrated all our agencies and institutions. They are in governments and churches. They are among our legislators and civil servants. They are appointed as judges and senior policemen. They exploit their roles so that the idea that they might be psychephiles would be difficult to accept. These apparently good men are seldom sanctioned by the community. … As a society we need to accept that all the external good works are wasted if they come at the expense of the integrity of another person. (175)

The real achievement of skilled offenders is that they have managed to adapt their tactics to fit the culture of the society that we live in. Hierarchical institutions, both lay and clerical, profess a strong desire to treat men and women equally. Yet at every level of western society we find gender-based anomalies which guarantee that women as a class will always be treated as inferior. This guarantee is essential for the skilled offender as it reassures him that, even if he is occasionally challenged, the likelihood of him being sanctioned is extremely remote. It further reassures him that even if he is sanctioned, he can renew his abuse either with his current partner or a new partner. (101)

The possibility of the same skilled abuser being sanctioned twice is extremely remote. (101)

Because their agenda is to be in charge, if they are sanctioned once, they become ever more cautious about being exposed. Their desire to avoid exposure or sanction can make leaving a relationship with one of these men a time of high risk for the woman. An indication that the target woman might not be sexually available has led some of these men to murder the woman. (101)

We need to remind ourselves that all skilled offenders could kill. (102)

Even though there is a lot of money being spent the problem isn’t improving for women as a class. … There is no point in building refuges and support services and not sanctioning the man. … It’s very difficult because these men are often extremely accomplished actors and when you bring them before the services they actually groom the people in the services as well and they come out getting their own way.
(Men who abuse women ‘use the same tactics as pedophiles and I’ve never met one who wanted to change’, says author of How He Gets in her Head  –

We need to explore ways to redefine the problem. It may be far more effective to diagnose the issue if we can establish how the skilled offender operates. It may be of greater relevance if we can measure the problem in terms of its effects. It will be of invaluable service if we begin to talk about the real intention of the skilled abuser. If we are to begin to measure the effects of his behaviour, we will need to expand our research to help explain how a decent and capable young woman becomes a confused, frightened or angry woman. When we are close to accurately explaining this process we will be in a better position to talk to the next generation about how to avoid being in an abusive relationship.  (99-100)

The idea of male sexual entitlement is shrouded in the myths of secular and religious thought about the survival of the species. Men have always put forward the fundamental position that their lust is justified in the noble task of generating offspring. [But]…the propagation of the species is a cooperative venture and must be shared by both male and female. … Sadly, many men behave in ways around their sexual entitlement that would not be acceptable in the animal kingdom. (120)

This sense of male superiority that permeates all our institutions is the breeding ground for much of the male entitlement that emerges in an abusive intimate relationship. (121)

We are no nearer achieving sexual justice for a large number of women in our communities than we were fifty years ago. We are no nearer holding skilled offenders to account than we were twenty years ago. We are no nearer challenging the priority of male sexual rights than we were a thousand years ago. (121)

The Bible confirms that this priority of male sexual rights has prevailed since time immemorial. The story of The Levite’s Concubine in the Bible illustrates how a male intimate abuser in ancient Israel recruited 400,000 male allies so he could avoid being sanctioned.

Sexual equality is the right of every woman in an intimate relationship. If we ignore or dismiss this right we ignore the soul of that woman. (121)

I will end this post by reminding us of some words of wisdom from the prophet Isaiah:

They trust in confusion and speak lies;
They conceive mischief and bring forth iniquity.
They hatch adders’ eggs and weave the spider’s web;
He who eats of their eggs dies,
And from that which is crushed a snake breaks forth.
Their webs will not become clothing,
Nor will they cover themselves with their works;
Their works are works of iniquity,
And an act of violence is in their hands.
Their feet run to evil,
And they hasten to shed innocent blood;
Their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity,
Devastation and destruction are in their highways.
They do not know the way of peace,
And there is no justice in their tracks;
They have made their paths crooked,
Whoever treads on them does not know peace.
Therefore justice is far from us,
And righteousness does not overtake us;
We hope for light, but behold, darkness,
For brightness, but we walk in gloom.
We grope along the wall like blind men,
We grope like those who have no eyes;
We stumble at midday as in the twilight,
Among those who are vigorous we are like dead men.
(Isaiah 59:4-10)


If you are an atheist or agnostic reading this post, you may think you know all about Christianity and have rejected it all as a load of garbage. But there is strong likelihood that you have formed a view of Christianity from what pseudo-Christians have said and done. Some of the things pseudo-Christians have said and done have been lousy, and some have been absolutely horrendous and evil! I commend you for rejecting the false versions of Christianity. And I would like to invite you to examine what the Bible, God and Jesus have actually said.

Our Don Hennessy Digest lists all the posts in this series and gives biographical details of Don Hennessy.

Unless otherwise indicated, all indented quotes in this post are from Don Hennessy’s book How He Gets Into Her Head: The Mind of the Male Intimate Abuser [Affiliate link] Emphasis in quotes has been added by me. We have added this book to our Gift Books Offer in which we offer to give certain books to cash-strapped victims.

Don Hennessy’s next book, Steps to Freedom [Affiliate link added May 3, 2021. Editors.], will be published very soon – on March the 1st, 2018. The publisher is Liberties Press, Dublin. Don says this book will be different from most ‘sympathy’ and ‘support’ books which rely on the target woman to protect herself. Instead it talks directly to the target woman while she is being controlled and hopes to give her the permission and the skills to protect her mind and her soul.


Further reading

God hates divorce? Not always.

Traditions of Men Have Largely Consumed the Evangelical Church and are Causing Widespread Suffering

19 thoughts on “Society has been hoodwinked by men who abuse their female intimate partners (Don Hennessy series part 7)”

  1. Don H’s book ought to be required reading for all women and girls. Bancroft’s book doesn’t seem to be even half that of Don H’s work. For all those Batterer Intervention Programs whose funding competes with DV shelters, it’s just more diversion, obfuscation, resource-wasting. Hennessey states it best when he remarked that he had never met an abuser who wanted to change. BIPs have a near non-success rate — is it any wonder why?!

    Abusers are predators. Abusers are con men. Abusers are snake oil salesmen. And the worst abusers are those who pretend to be women’s allies and Christian men who care about God’s Will.

    I am highly unpopular in my opinions but I really question just how many men will be in heaven given what I see around me and all my experiences with men within my life so far.

    1. I really question just how many men will be in heaven given what I see around me and all my experiences with men within my life so far.

      I am glad that in heaven there will be no marriage (Matthew 22:30). Men and women will not relate that way to each other in heaven. This means it won’t matter if there is a preponderance of one gender there!

  2. I can certainly see the truth of all this. Almost my entire ex-church has been groomed by my ex, and even when truths about him are exposed, it has no effect. It is such a sad state when the church accepts being fooled by him and refuses to listen to the abused. That is not how Jesus dealt with people. Even if a glimmer of the truth reaches the pastor’s brain it is quickly shut down because those in authority do not want to face that they have been groomed and hoodwinked. They would have to admit to being deceived and do something about it. It is much better for their image to promote standing ovations, back-slapping, etc. than to admit to messing things up. It doesn’t help that the abuser-ex has been working on this for years, and will be a lot louder about any sanctions than the abused (and her children) who are in such a state of fog and confusion, it is easier for her to just melt away. She has been through so much already with her abuse that taking on the church’s re-victimization of her is too much to handle.

    I also experienced this when I looked into counseling for my children. Her [the counselor’s] policy was that he had to be informed, and before I knew what was happening he had called her and she was all for his involvement, repeating his words, talking on the phone with him about myself and the children and totally not understanding why I ran the other way. I had even told her in my original phone call who and what my ex was. It was scary seeing how quickly this can happen. So now the fact I won’t use this counselor he uses against me, when he didn’t even want counseling for the children in the first place.

    How is it that he can tell others about the difficulties of living with his wife, and get listened to and sympathy, but when she tries to share the difficulties of living with him, she gets told what she must do to improve? Is it that he has that cloak of the Deceiver and Father of Lies forwarding everything he says, while she is just plain and honest? How can the church be so deficient in not being able to tell the difference between a sheep costume and a real sheep?

    The mantra that bugs me the most is that every child needs a father (you don’t hear that about the mother so much). My ex loves to use it, and talk about his “rights”. A child needs the Lord and a good loving home with an authority figure they can respect and be respected by. If a father is so essential, then what about all the people through the ages, like Dwight L. Moody, who grew up just fine and went on to do great things, but who only had a mother? The Wesley sons also come to mind. And many children were raised by other relatives, as death took away so many in the centuries past.

    Why is it OK before a divorce for a father to hardly be around and the mother have all of the care of the children, but as soon as he walks out he suddenly demands and gets shared custody and the children every second week? I need to stop. It’s been a rough week, with stress levels through the roof. I’m reading the book, and it is frustrating to gain understanding knowing no one else is ever going to read this and get it.

    1. Abusers seek custody for —

      Child support reductions.
      An ongoing way to harass and abuse the mother.
      A way to continue their control of the mother.
      Image management / propaganda purposes — a way to show what great, concerned, caring, involved, good dads they are, as tools to enlist all sorts of allies from the kids’ lives / contacts.
      Further harm the mom by harming her kids.
      Free child labor — chores of cleaning the house, cooking, laundry, etc.

      I can’t imagine the pain of having kids with an abuser. I’m tired of hearing about how a child must have a father. Nonsense. Some of the best guys I ever met were closest to their moms or raised by single moms. Courts don’t recognize that an abuser is not a good person, much less a good parent. It’s child abuse for a man to beat a kid’s mom. So what if he didn’t beat the a kid because that kid is traumatized all the same. … Money talks and women and kids don’t matter to the legal system. Men’s laws serve men’s interests.

      1. YES to everything you said, AW. It’s sick to hear people – including him – go on about the children’s “best interests.”

    2. What you have talked about is so right on. I don’t have the same situation as you but I have known or seen others who did have similar circumstances and they had these double binds and impossible feats imposed on them, too. You articulate things very well and I enjoyed reading your comment as it clarified some things that I had seen of others’ experiences. I’m sorry you had a rough week and your stress levels are so high. May God bless you and keep you and your children, too. 🙂

    3. Moving Forward, you said,

      The mantra that bugs me the most is that every child needs a father (you don’t hear that about the mother so much).

      This drives me crazy, too…

      “The children need their father. The children need a relationship with their father.” So, a child needs a relationship with his or her father, no matter how sick or evil that father is? Honestly – a sick relationship filled with manipulation, lies, and fear is better than no relationship? Am I missing something here?

      I have some family and friends who offer limited verbal support in my and my kids’ situation with my abusive husband. Yet at some point or other, they usually come around to – well, he IS their father – as though that implies they should move closer to the abuse or accept it as a necessity. I don’t even know how to explain what I’m trying to say, but I just don’t get it.

    4. Moving Forward, you said it perfectly. I don’t want to put more personal details out, but I share every experience you mentioned. Your situation seems to have a lot in common with mine, and many others’, I’m sure. There’s cold comfort in that.

      I struggle with the same ambivalence as I am reading. It is wonderfully encouraging to find someone who can explain my situation sometimes even better than I, but it is also terribly depressing that so few, even the truly well-intended who want to be supportive, get it.

    5. @Moving Forward. Hanging in there. Every day is hard at your stage and some worse than others. I thought maybe I had commented and forgotten as your story is so familiar to mine in the church’s response and wondering how facts can make no difference. It is truly bewildering and infuriating. Keep on keeping on. People here believe you, can relate, and care!

  3. The verse at the end about Isaiah was perfect for this post. It is one of my favorite passages.

    It so vividly describes the sad and sorry state of mankind, when their eyes are not on the Lord. When they care little to nothing about what He cares about (the poor and needy!). You can hope for and desire for brightness and righteousness all you want, but apart from Him all you will do is grope blindly, and be dead on the inside, though alive on the outside.

    While we are talking his language and playing his game he will continue to win.

    Tear down the old system, with those ridiculous mantras listed (very well done!) and stop talking about of both sides of the mouth:
    “Men and women are equal, BUT….”
    “Sexual equality is the right of every woman in an intimate relationship….BUT”
    “Yes I said or did those things to her….BUT.”

    The excuses come out, the lies, deflection, the minimizing or maximizing, the blaming or shaming, or the insistence that it “really wasn’t that bad.” Or “she made me do it. I wouldn’t be like this if it wasn’t for her.”

    Too many of us believe that people are basically good. This is especially true in the church, where ironically the Bible clearly disputes that. Especially in a marriage: we believe no spouse would ever be so evil and hateful to the one he says he loves.

    Actually, because of the vulnerability and access he has to his spouse, due to marriage and due to the romanticizing of marriage within the church, he is in a prime place to abuse. And in a prime position to use those awful mantras listed above to cover up, conceal or use coercion to abuse and manipulate the church and community at large.

    For me, it still boggles my mind how churches can laud and applaud “family values” until they turn blue in the face, but have no interest in protecting the persons WITHIN the families themselves! They just care about the image, the structure, the appearance of a family, because that will supposedly promote the Gospel of Christ? Who clearly spoke about caring for the oppressed, the afflicted, the abused?

    1. Helovesme, I respectfully disagree with your paragraph saying that the church often has ‘romanticized’ views on marriage. Perhaps I misunderstand you. Bear with me if so, but my experience has been the opposite: everywhere I hear that ‘marriage is supposed to be hard work’, basically giving the idea that it is like a forced labor camp designed to make us holy through suffering…

      I just recently spoke with a young man about to get married, and he had a very pessimistic idea about the whole thing: all the struggles and horrors that awaited him and his fiancee!! I tried to tell him that marriage was not meant to be a daily struggle, but he had listened to such mentors that had drilled in him the picture of never ending hardships… (I did my best to remind him that he needs to treat his wife well and so on in order to have a happy life…)

      Sometimes I think the world has a better idea than the current churches. At least with some secular couples you can see happiness, respect, sexual attraction, mutual encouragement, and joy of being together…while I hear none of that in the church settings around here. Only ‘prepare for hardship!’ No wonder Christians are staying single – men are not willing to ‘take the risk’ and women have to stay unmarried because of that.

  4. Hello. The book “How He Gets Into Her Head” is currently out of stock on Amazon. Any idea when it will be available? If this has been addressed previously, please forgive me. I have only just been informed of this series and have yet to get through it all and the comments. Thank you!!

  5. My former NPD husband went to counseling with me, and the trained psychologist told me, despite the information I gave him, ”He’s just a man who knows what he wants.”

    And a psychiatrist asked me, ”Is there anyone he can be happy with?” I replied probably his affair partner, and the psychiatrist said, ”Well, then, he doesn’t have a problem.” So him telling the neighbors he wanted to take his father’s gun and shoot me and the dogs was “no problem”? Of course the neighbors didn’t tell me this until it was too late to do any good.

    I do know he told the woman riding in his vehicle when he had a motor accident, to lie to the police, even though she was injured in the accident.

    None of this is on any police record, and he’s trying to pass himself off to the [denomination redacted] church as lily white…

    Sadly, his new wife thinks “he’s such a man of integrity.” Either she’s snowed, too, or she’s a Jezebel (she told me she knew he was abusive and adulterous to me, so ….?????) just waiting to get her hands on his money. What an ungodly, unholy mess! I see I should thank God for getting me out of it. Now I pray and wait for God’s righteous justice.

  6. The skilled male offender…

    James 3:10 (NMB)

    (10) Out of one mouth proceeds blessing and cursing…….

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