A Cry For Justice

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

5. Chris Moles sometimes endorses the abuser’s narrative

When bystanders don’t call out victim-blaming language, they endorse it.

Chris Moles uses some wording that can endorse the abuser’s narrative. I will give three examples of this.

Chris’s language permits the abuser to evade responsibility for his wrong choices.

Chris wrote a blog post aimed at abusive men – ‘Telling The Truth To Yourself’ (T*). In that post he used some language that in my view permits the abuser to hold himself at arm’s length from his wrong choices. It is subtle; see if you can pick up the three places where Chris did this in the following paragraph:

Our pride convinces us that wicked behavior is sometimes necessary to maintain control or that malicious intent is justified when we feel wronged. This attitude may have led you to physically harm your partner or to call her ugly names. Perhaps you’ve thrown things across the room or punched holes in the walls to communicate you’re not pleased with her choices. If any of this is true than you may also find it necessary to hide certain details, bend certain truths to minimize your behavior while emphasizing the ways in which you’ve been wronged. (T*)

Number one, Chris used a passive verbal structure here: “our pride convinces us”. In that syntax, “pride” is the subject and “us” is the object. Pride (an abstract entity) convinces “us” (the abusive men). So the abusive men are the ones who are somehow convinced by the entity called pride. Chris would be better to have said: “Abusive men are prideful and they usually justify their wicked behaviour because they do not want to humble themselves.” That would make the abusive men the subject of the verbs and the authors of the wickedness.

Number two, when addressing abusive men Chris talks about “us” – thereby aligning himself with the abusive men. I don’t think for a moment that Chris is a wife abuser, but his language there leaves it vague. Why does he talk about “us” when addressing abusive men? By doing that, he is implying or suggesting to abusive men that he, Chris, is like them, the men who abuse their wives and partners. So Chris’s language indicates that he comes over into the abusive man’s camp. Presumably Chris thinks his approach will help the abusive man feel less shamed, less singled out, and therefore make the abuser less unwilling to admit, confess and repent. But Chris is unwise and mistaken. Abusive men love being given the sense that they are ‘just like other blokes’. In that blog post, Chris was not hard enough, not firm enough, not direct enough with abusive men.

Number three, Chris endorses the abuser’s narrative when he writes to the abusive man: “you may also find it necessary to hide certain details, bend certain truths”. By writing that, Chris colluded with the abusive man’s narrative. When pressed, the abusive man will say or imply that he “found it necessary” to tell falsehoods to save face. Chris would have been better to use this wording when speaking to the abusive man: “If you are denying and wrongfully justifying your wicked behaviour, you are probably also hiding certain details, bending certain truths…” That would be direct and truthful, hitting the abuser between the eyes, giving him no excuses. Calling him to repentance, and tolerating no weasel words from the abuser.

So I have to wonder: if Chris is going softly-softly on abusive men in a generalized blog post, how much is he going softly-softly on abusive men he works with face to face? Maybe less… maybe more.

Chris did not correct Darby Strickland when she used language that endorsed the abuser’s narrative.

Darby is a counselor with CCEF (Christian Counseling & Education Foundation). She is working with abusers and their victims, and she is training other biblical counselors how to counsel in cases of domestic abuse.

In a podcast interview (R) that Chris did with Darby Strickland, Darby said to Chris that abusers “lack insight” into the harm they are doing.

She then recounted an example of how she prompts / urges an abuser to change. In this example she said to the abuser, “It’s hard for you, given that your wife is nagging… how can you serve her better?”

Darby then said to Chris: “I don’t even want to have a debate whether she’s nagging or not. That’s their [the abuser’s] reality.”

Chris did not seem to have any concern about the way Darby spoke to that abuser. He didn’t pull Darby up for repeating back to the abuser’s the derogatory (& false) accusation that the abuser’s wife was ‘nagging’.

Let me ask you, dear reader, to take a breath and zoom out for a moment. I want to talk about a common problem in the counseling field when it comes to abuse.

When people are trained to be counselors, they are taught to be reflective listeners. One skill in reflective listening is to repeat back to the client some of the words the client has used. That assures the client that the counselor has listened carefully to the client. In counseling, it is usually a good technique because it builds empathy in the therapeutic relationship.

But if the counselor repeats back to an abuser the derogatory language he used about his victim without calling him out on it, that counselor is endorsing the abuser’s narrative! The counselor is going along with the abuser’s distorted thinking and beliefs. The abuser gets the message:  This counselor agrees with me that my wife is a nag! Now I can go and tell my wife that the counselor says she is a nag!

Chris did not pull up Darby on her use of language. He just responded by telling Darby:

That’s very helpful. I was thinking about guys [I have worked with] over the years, and such a common conversation is the frustration that men in particular who have had power – the frustration of letting go of that power, not abusing that power, as if it’s an impossibility [to let go of their power]. They say, “It’s so hard.” And I will reply with, “Hard is not impossible. Hard is the reality; that’s the expectation. The good news for us is the gospel, and in particular the New Testament, is so rich with instruction for how to do that. And the necessity of it. Hey, if you want to save your life you’ve got to lose it; if you want to lead well you’ve got to serve; if you want to be first you’ve got to be last.”

If you think I’m assuming too much about Darby Strickland buying in to the abuser’s narrative, let me share with you another thing about her. Jason Meyer, the senior pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church, also endorses Darby Strickland. Here is what he said about her in Nov 2017.

I love her God-centered approach to addressing abusive marriages. She says that the goal of such counseling is “redeeming worshippers from oppression.” She says that when God’s people were oppressed in Egypt, God’s word was “Let my people go so they may worship me.” In abusive marriages, one is an oppressor who is “enslaved to the desire to be served, instead of serving the Lord.” The other person is the “oppressed who is trying to serve and follow the rules of the oppressor.” She believes that both spouses need to be set free so they can worship the Lord.

To believe that the abuser is oppressed by being “enslaved to the desire to be served” is to buy in to the abuser’s narrative. It helps the abusers play the poor-me card. Abusers can easily win allies if people see them that way.

And there is every indication Chris Moles thinks the same way that Darby does on this.

Chris excuses leaders who are too afraid to admit they gave bad advice.

When talking about the poor teaching Paige Patterson gave about domestic abuse (S), Chris said:

It’s unfortunate that we continue to hold our leaders in such high regard that they’re not able to look at us and say “I don’t know,” or “I really messed that one up.” Now certainly, I think Dr Patterson and others could be more humble in this regard, but that’s between them and God, not me. (3:40)

So Chris blamed the people in the pews for holding church leaders in such high regard that the leaders are not able to admit they were wrong! Chris exonerated the bad leaders and handed them an excuse on a platter.


Citations in this post are shown in grey, with each item designated by a capital letter.
The Chris Moles Digest gives a link to each item cited by a capital letter.


  1. Susan

    Barbara- thank you for all your hard work in exposing abuse. I have been helped and encouraged to stay my course of standing against my own abusers.

  2. Dale Ingraham @ Speaking Truth In Love Ministries
  3. Melissa

    Very well spotted. I do hate when they do this. They way they say it makes a big difference. God bless.

  4. Abusers are evil

    Oh, the endless pandering to the wicked. The counselor’s horrible stance is exactly what I suspected when Moles said he spent 1/3 of his time defending counselors. Counselors like that need to be rebuked. Evil is deceptive. Clarity is needed. Abusers are evil — anything less than that and one is helping abusers play their endless games….that is to say they are allied with evil in deceiving victims and bystanders.

    Abusers are not man-babies who need to be coddled. Abusers know they are in the wrong and they know they are evil. They hide what they do, they smear their victims, they recruit allies, abuser apologists, and do all sorts of things that show abusers are engaged in war. Abusers are Satan’s children.

    Somewhere on this site, I believe, I read that when going to speak with an abuser, the victim should approach it as going to talk with the devil himself. That’s truth. Real truth.

    Neutrality cannot be had in this setup. To pander to abusers is to pander to evil. One must not call evil, ‘good’ or anything else, aside from evil. Otherwise a person is simply helping the devil.

    Abusers have extremely good lives. They live very selfish, comfortable, coddled, privileged lives. It’s almost as though Moles has fallen into the explaining trap, and the ‘neutrality’ rabbit-hole, right alongside the counselor he defends. Who knows all the ways he goes wrong but in one paragraph alone he shows that he panders to abusers (that is to say, he panders to evil).

    How about someone speaking truth about abusers?

    “Abusers are evil.”
    “Abusers are wicked.”
    “Abusers are criminals who deserve to be prosecuted and jailed.”
    “Abusers are poison.”
    “Abusers are murderers.”
    “Abusers are soul rapists.”
    “Abusers are the devil’s children.”

    I don’t care if counselors are taught to be reflective listeners, as counselors who speak truth and wisdom, they ought not pander to the wicked. Biblical counselors ought to drive home all the above points to the victims and refuse to ‘counsel’ the wicked abuser. Abusers do NOT need counseling. ‘Counseling’ is but another playground for abusers to recruit allies, learn to better obfuscate, distort, deny, etc. their evil core.

    Moles’ comment about Patterson is revolting. That’s enough for me to be confirmed in my view that Moles is an enemy of the truth. How dare he pity play for Patterson!

    Anybody who doesn’t drive home the reality that abusers are evil and but Satan’s wicked workers is but helping abusers continue ensnaring victims, harming the innocent, devouring sheep, and destroying lives. It’s that simple.

    We don’t play with fire as we don’t want to be burned. Why are we playing around with evil? Refuse to be duped. Refuse to be an ally of the wicked. Call evil “evil” and leave it at that. Otherwise you are helping the wicked in their evildoing.

    • 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.


      Somewhere on this site, I believe, I read that when going to speak with an abuser, the victim should approach it as going to talk with the devil himself. That’s truth. Real truth.

      That sounds like something Jeff Crippen would have said.

  5. Amy

    But if the counselor repeats back to an abuser the derogatory language he used about his victim without calling him out on it, that counselor is endorsing the abuser’s narrative! The counselor is going along with the abuser’s distorted thinking and beliefs. The abuser gets the message: This counselor agrees with me that my wife is a nag! Now I can go and tell my wife that the counselor says she is a nag!

    This brought back a memory of a counselor my then-abusive-husband and I saw about a year before he walked out on me because our church encouraged us to do marriage counseling — big mistake!

    At the first session, the counselor actually did this. He repeated back what my ex said about me, like how I just kept raising the bar higher for him so he could never do anything good enough. When the counselor repeated that back to him and asked him, “Is that right?” and then turned to me repeating what my ex had said about me and asking, “How does that make you feel?”, my heart dropped and I just about burst into tears because I knew he had already sided with my ex who was sitting with a smirk on his face. 😦

  6. Song of Joy

    The very title of Chris Moles’ blogpost “‘Telling The Truth To Yourself” proves he has little insight into how abusive men operate.

    The blogpost should have been titled “Telling the Truth ABOUT Yourself”.

    Abusive men always know what they are doing. They know the truth about their numerous, grievous sins, which they hide and cover up to maintain their “good” image. They scheme and plot with fully functioning logic to fulfill their repulsive desires.

    The problem isn’t lying to themselves….the problem is that they LIE to everyone else, their wife, their extended family, friends, church and coworkers, the pastor, the marriage counselor, etc.

    • Boudica

      This is a brilliant insight.

  7. NJ

    I was thinking of examples like,

    This attitude may have led you…

    or especially,

    …to communicate you’re not pleased with her choices.

    I can’t really imagine more anodyne language than that.

  8. LH

    Yep, the counselors we went to totally let my ex get away with his narrative of why he was abusing me, although they did not call it abuse – just ‘bad communication on his part’ at best, ‘normal marriage problems between the two of us’ most often.

  9. Helovesme

    Thank you so very much for this. I’m not sure why, but this one was particularly hard for me to read. But it was so well written, and articulately debunked the falsehoods—that in the end I am simply grateful that people and sites like this exist.

    I think it’s the “babying” attitude I kept picking up on towards the abuser, something I have experienced OVER and OVER again. It sickens me to no end at this point.

    I suspect that is why I felt so frustrated, because in coddling the abuser, you are automatically condemning the victim—whether they realize they are doing it or not. Condemnation is not always felt in an active way. Many times it’s passive.

    The pressure was put on ME, to try to “understand” my abusive father, and other persons later in my life who I now consider to be abusive. The idea is if I understood them (why their minds worked a certain way), it would help me to either forgive them, or know better how to interact with them.

    It took me years to realize that that was not my job. It passively condemned ME for not being more sympathetic and hard working in trying to “diagnose” them. It gave the aggressors a constant “free pass” for their behaviors, because they were so woefully misunderstood.

    This is how abusers need to be spoken to: you have a false sense of entitlement that feeds your abusive choices. Yes, I said choices. You choose to do this. You believe you are 100% justified in your abuse, and you are 100% wrong. I don’t care what your excuses are. I don’t care about your pitiful, possibly abusive pasts or childhoods or whatever may or may not have caused you to be this way. I don’t care if you supposedly married a “difficult” woman who supposedly isn’t submissive enough (to you).

    It’s not your victim’s responsibility to feel sorry for you because you suffered in your past, or are suffering now. Ask your victim how SHE is suffering because of you, because that is something you seem to care nothing about.

    You have no right to actively and intentionally abuse. That is sin, and you are the one sinning in this matter. Not her. She is the one who needs every bit of resources we have at our disposal, and that is where our time and energy is going to be devoted.

    Not all men are abusive. If you think you can have a “man-to-man” conversation with me about how hard marriage is, and how our wives can be so demanding—-you’re wrong. I’m not on your side, and you can’t manipulate me to take your side over hers.

    Not only that, but you lie constantly. So I wouldn’t dare take your side, because you are more than likely changing the narrative or expressing it to suit you, to deflect blame onto her. This all goes back to your evil, twisted sense of entitlement and so-called “right” to abuse.

    But Chris takes a more mellow, babying attitude that angers me very much. It does the abuser AND the victim no good. And I mean NO good.

    Darby Strickland’s words and attitude shocked me. Especially the narrative about the Jews and Egypt. Her twisting of such a precious, poignant time in history disgusted me.

    When I first became a believer, that story spoke volumes to me, especially in the context of my abuse. It comforted me to no end that God had provided a way out for the Jews, understanding that they were under a very cruel, oppressive nation and leader.

    It never occurred to me then, and still doesn’t—-that my abuser (who is not a Christian, but still) would have been considered as having any part to play in God’s redemption—-except to get me away from him.

    Her “interpretation” of God’s words about serving Him was sickening. It is not “God-centered” at all to view an abuser, or the relationship with the victim, like that.

    Abusers don’t WANT to serve God, get it?? They don’t even want to be “served” in place of God. They want to BE God! You’re not going to convince them to start serving the Living God, when they think THEY are the ones who should (or already do) occupy His throne!

    One of our precious sisters in Christ spoke about her abuser husband, saying she idolized him and that is partially why she endured the abuse for so long—not even realizing she was being abused. This may be true for many other victims.

    But as for the abuser, they will not settle for simply being idolized. It is not enough for them.

    Chris’s approach to Dr Patterson was more “interesting” than triggering. Perhaps it’s because I am so used to hearing that kind of narrative: it’s partially the fault of those around him. They put their leaders in such elevated positions in their minds, that it’s hard for them to climb down those high horses we put them on.

    It’s not people who are responsible for YOUR pride and ego. And “gently” saying they could use more humility, but then quickly making it clear that it’s none of his business (it’s between you and God!) is classic: don’t take sides. Don’t come down too strongly on them, because as leaders, we are all in the same boat. Boy, I too struggle with being idolized and overly loved in my own ministry. Us leaders need to stick together.

    It’s easy (and popular) to distance yourself in these debates if you don’t want to get your hands dirty. OR, if you do take sides and express actual outrage—the supporters of the one you rebuked might start throwing mud at you as well. Patterson had plenty of supporters, if I recall, as well as detractors.

    Humility IS actually between a person and the Lord. I’m not arguing there. Only the Lord can humble our hearts. I just mean that where a person needs that humility is usually not an opinion, or a gentle suggestion: it should be formed as an actual rebuke.

    My former pastor, who was later exposed to be a cheat and a liar—openly admitted that he would punch holes in the walls in anger. He claimed he never hit his family, but said there are pics hung in strange places to cover up those holes. He wasn’t trying to be funny per se, but it was a way to lighten the mood for anyone experiencing shock that he once did such things. He also never seemingly endorsed his behavior. He just admitted it. But perhaps (in looking back) he should have clearly expressed self-outage at himself.

    I won’t start discussing whether he was or is still an abuser. I actually thought (at the time) it took guts for him to admit he did something like that, even years ago. Now I am not so sure.

  10. Song of Joy

    Chris Moles says:

    you’re not pleased with her choices….the ways in which you’ve been wronged

    Darby Strickland says:

    That’s their [the abuser’s] reality.

    Chris and Darby are agreeing with the worldview of the abuser perp, i.e. HE HAS BEEN WRONGED.

    How has an abused wife “wronged” her husband? In endless ways, all in the mind of the abuser.

    …When she chooses to write a small check instead of paying by cash, by wearing a red dress to the party, by making homemade split pea soup, by planting strawberries in the garden, by leaving the dog or toddler with him to care for, by telling him about a school issue, by needing medical help, by wanting to visit her parents or siblings, by asking for a glass of water…. Enjoying life, and natural, normal needs.

    But in my father’s twisted mind, all these things were hideous WRONGS aimed to make him suffer, wrongs that needed to be addressed. How do you counsel someone like this? How do you counsel a man who believes that the normal activities and needs of his wife and children are justification for violent rages or calculated cruelty?

  11. Some Anonymous Bloke

    Does not evincing enslavement to the desire to enslave others provide the clearest evidence imaginable of one’s likeness to the devil? One cannot simultaneously be a slave to sin and a slave to God. If one sees no greater good than serving him- / herself and having others serve him / her, s/he presumes to exalt him- / herself to the status of deity and is guilty of gross idolatry.

    Treating abusive, power-hungry unbelievers as though they are Christian converts who merely require a nudge to repentance by a patient, loving, kind ‘biblical counsellor’ will not do.

  12. Z

    This post’s section about the damage that so-called “Christian Counselors” can & DO do, triggered me tremendously.

    I come from a VERY physically, sexually, emotionally, spiritually abusive childhood. BOTH parents were abusers of all of us children regularly. And we also witnessed regular Domestic Violence by father on mother. We were TERRORIZED! And these evil parents called themselves “Christians”. They were the reason I ran from all things spiritual for years. The hypocrisy was too much for me to absorb.

    I was the only one who “kept separate”, distanced myself, called it “abuse”, rejected their way of life & got out of that house ASAP. And I got counseling for it as an adult. My siblings chased after their abuser parents – desperate for their love, approval, attention…enmeshed themselves with them.

    Skip to adulthood for “Christian” siblings. None of them got any counseling for their horrific childhood abuses or the terror of the DV witnessed. They all are extreme enablers of parents’ continued abuses – still physically violent, but now more emotional & verbal abuses daily. While I stayed away, set boundaries & consequences, led my own separate happy married life, siblings remain severely enmeshed with parents to their continued detriment. They rewrite their history to make themselves feel better about their horror-filled past. Or maybe it’s the eventual will money they are holding out for! I don’t claim to understand why they cover up what was done to them.

    One sibling is a “Christian Counselor”!!! Became one in late middle age after decades of inability to keep a job & wandering aimlessly. Got a quick degree. Promotes herself as a “Christian Counselor OF THE ABUSED”!!!!! Oh my dear Lord!!! If ANYONE should NOT BE ANYWHERE NEAR A TRAUMATIZED ABUSE VICTIM IT IS SHE!

    Yet, without any vetting, she was given a certificate to counsel. And any other to call herself a “Christian Counselor”. Must be really easy because a tiny bit of vetting would expose her as a fraud & an abuse-enabler. Many know the history of my family & can attest to her enabling & promoting her abusers as “pillars of society & the church”. Her Facebook account is a “Non-stop TRIBUTE” to these wicked abuser parents. Accolades…BUT ALL LIES. Now [redacted] years old & married (neglects marriage to be at the beck & call of her parents 24 / 7-she prefers them to her husband!)…. Can you say arrested development?? She’s still emotionally a 5 year old.

    Yet, churches have her on their “List of Christian Counselors for Abuse Victims”!!! I notified a new church I attended once that they had a wolf in sheep’s clothing on their list of recommended Christian Counselors for abuse victims. I gave them the real story about her. They answered, “Oh, we inherited the list from the previous Pastor – we don’t know anything about her.” What??? And you inflict her on traumatized abuse victims??? You recommend her??? How irresponsible & further traumatizing to the poor people wanting really authentic help from a trained mentally healthy Christian Counselor!! I never went back to that church. But I’m sure she’s on other church lists of recommended counselors just by her force of self-promotion. She goes from church to church to ingratiate herself (groom, polish..) & then gets herself put on their list & moves on to another church to do the same.

    It’s frightening to me that I could have been an unknowing victim of hers if I’d asked a church to recommend a Christian Counselor. I’d have been in the hands / sway of an abuse-enabler / abuser promoter. What damage could have been done to me-already traumatized by abuse. What damage IS SHE NOW DOING TO OTHERS??

    It triggered all this after your post section about the Christian Counselor’s “agenda” & coddling of the abusers. Something needs to be done in the churches to prevent bad people from calling themselves “Christian counselors for the abused”.

    • anonymous

      I had this horrific ‘experience’ with a vicious, abusive, insulting, horrendous “Christian counselor” who also claimed to be ‘super ethical’. She was so horrific I was left semi-catatonic for hours upon hours at a time, for at least a couple of weeks afterwards. She profanes Christ’s Holy Name in calling herself a “Christian”.

      There should be extra penalties and extra punitive consequences for not only using the guise of being a counselor to an already traumatized, abused woman’s furthered demise, but also to do it in the name of Christianity. Horrific. Absolutely horrific. Vicious beyond belief. Lying, deceiving, insulting, railroading, ambushing, vicious wolf who knew about my prior victimization and took great pains to throw it in my face, again and again, just to further harm me, smear me, and harm me.

      If a client is left catatonic afterwards, for multiple days, for several weeks, and very suicidal, then regardless of the number of years of licensed counseling, that person ought to be given the boot. But, of course, counselors will be backed up by their employer, as no agency wants to admit wrongdoing or harm. Staff knows this. And one’s ‘medical records’ are created by the very same victimizer, charting whatever they want into your file.

      • Z

        Anonymous, I couldn’t have said it better. You are so right. There is no worse abomination than an evil, abusive, mentally & spiritually unhealthy person (“Counselor”) having access to traumatized people and using it to do more damage. And doing so in the name of Jesus Christ is far beyond the world’s abominations.

        I’m so sorry for what happened to you, sister.
        I can attest to how very bad a bad fake “Christian Counselor” can be. My sibling / certified Christian Counselor is the sickest, idolizer, enabler of her abusive parents I’ve ever witnessed. She even abuses me by proxy with smears, lies about me, her manic defense of my abusive parents‘ recent violent attack on my husband & me in retaliation for our setting a “No Contact period” boundary after their verbal abuse. A 100% “flying monkey” for them. I believe she truly is an abuser too at heart!

        I feel so helpless to get her credentials removed or even looked into. No one is interested in investigating these wolves! Even churches won’t take me seriously by removing her from their lists of recommended counselors without “hard evidence”! Who has “hard evidence” of abuse that is done behind closed doors? And this sibling is her parents’ “constant lying cheerleader” to church pastors & congregants-lying about them constantly to keep the masks they all wear for the public firmly in place. She targets anyone who exposes parents as “her enemy” & calls them “evil”!!

        I can’t imagine how you must have felt being so abused by the one who was supposed to help & support you on your way to recovery-in the Name of Jesus no less!!

        Praise God we always have Him with us & for us. And we have these sites run by truly rare discerning, knowledgeable advocates & truth-tellers exposing the truth. And we have the fellowship & support of other victims / survivors.
        Sometimes that’s better than counseling. Certainly always better than bad fake ‘C’hristian counseling.

      • anonymous

        Keep speaking truth, Z. 🙂

        There seems to be a few main reactions to abusers — support from fellow abusers, support from abuser-apologists, or speaking truth about the evil of the abusers. It takes a lot of strength, knowledge, and courage to be the third group.

        I’m not surprised that churches don’t want to remove her from their (unvetted) list of Christian counselors without hard evidence.

        I wonder if you aren’t onto something about the money (eventual will / inheritance) hunch. Also, I read a book that talked about enmeshed kids who chased after abuser parents, denied abuse, and perpetuated the abuse on their children, basically saying ‘they did this to me when I was young, and I turned out fine.’ But if she proclaims to be a Christian counselor for the abused, she ought to have read that same book, been made aware of the enmeshment response, educated on trauma bonding, and so forth.

        I think fellowship and sharing one’s experiences, learning Biblical truths, undoing distortions of God’s Holy Word on this fantastic ministry of Barb’s is about the best counseling / healing work available.

      • notlongnow

        I had the same experience with a Christian counsellor. She had one of those online ‘Christian counselling’ diplomas you can do here in my country. I was one of her first clients. She used to literally bully me into saying that I was responsible for marrying my abusive, sociopathic husband, that it was my fault because I CHOSE him. I refused to agree and tried to explain over and over how I was deceived into marriage by a man pretending to be a lovely Christian, when he was in fact a monster, and that back then I was very naive. She balked at the idea I was naive and almost yelled at me that it was my fault. She had me in tears often and after our sessions I would go home and cry and cry for days, in a severe depression. I realised after that she actually caused me more harm not good!

  13. Finding Answers

    I am learning so many things from reading this series and the comments generated. I can tell the kind of day I’m having by what I do – or do not catch / discern.

    I want to listen to the podcasts, etc., see what I can catch / discern.

    (Potential trigger warning) I am battling the “not me” voice in my mind, my “dad” striking the back of my head and saying, “Look at me when I am talking to you!”. I was afraid to look at his face. I was a child, playing with my doll baby. I had done nothing wrong. I need to get past the “not me” voice to hear / watch his lies revealed.

    Helovesme commented:

    The pressure was put on ME, to try to “understand” my abusive father, and other persons later in my life who I now consider to be abusive. The idea is if I understood them (why their minds worked a certain way), it would help me to either forgive them, or know better how to interact with them.

    ^^^^That, with modifications. I need to recognize my abusers’ voices to dispel the “not me” voices in my mind. To do so, some understanding is required…

    Separating the “not me” voices in my mind from the “not me” voices in the non-written sources cited holds the key.

    Then I will be free…

  14. anonymous

    Thanks, Barb, for doing this series and for the way you write. You are well researched and you set it all up so cleanly. The way you write things allows for us readers to see these things. It takes practice. Discernment comes with great practice and it takes continued use to retain such a skill. It’s also a gift from God. But for those who haven’t been blessed with such as their gift of the Holy Spirit, it’s something to work at because life is like a gauntlet run for those who are not of the world, who try to be good, decent, kind people and want to serve God with their lives.

    We are like choice morsels for the wicked. Without powerful discernment, there’s too many wolves to make it through this life.

    Thanking the LORD for Barbara!

    • Z

      Yes! I thank the Lord for Barbara, Pastor Jeff Crippen, Pastor Sam Powell and others.
      This road to recovery &, I pray, to eventually THRIVING, not just surviving the horrors abusers did to our bodies & minds, is a long arduous, precarious one.

      There are too many false voices and messages we could be harmed & retraumatized by without the gifts of the messengers anointed by the Lord to discern false teachings of the church & to inform & protect US—THE VICTIMS & NOT TO CODDLE OR CATER TO THE ABUSERS!

      God bless you Barbara, as well as those other messengers, for the important, appreciated, tireless work you do for us.

      • Hi Z, would you mind not using all-caps so often?
        I know you want to express the intensity of your feelings — and that’s great! — but all caps can come across like ‘screaming in print’ and they can be hard on the eyes of the reader.

      • Z


      • No worries. 🙂 🙂

  15. Sara (It's ok to use)

    Wow. My head exploded (figuratively, of course) after reading that quote by Moles at the beginning of your blog today. And thank you for your comments. Abusers Are Evil. Lately I’ve often been thinking the same thing:

    Abusers have extremely good lives. They live very selfish, comfortable, coddled, privileged lives.

    It’s validating to see it presented by another person. And thank you Miss Barbara for all the work you put into this blog!

  16. notlongnow

    To me, he also subtly inferred that it was because of the wife’s behaviour that the man was being abusive, therefore he is justifying the abuse in a subtle way. A woman is not to blame for a man’s abuse in any sense. What Chris writes in his blog post has the smell of the ‘good old boys club’ to me.

  17. Samuel Conner

    My perception of CCEF’s ministry model (which is reflected in the quote of Strickland about not challenging the counselee’s perceived reality) is that they are primarily concerned to challenge the ways (and the reasons why) the counselee sinfully responds to his perceived reality. This can look like it is an endorsement of the counselee’s narrative, but I think that it is intended to quickly get to what CCEF regards to be the heart of the matter — the way the counselee’s disordered worship / motives / beliefs results in sinful responses to the perceived reality.

    (To dispute the narrative might implicitly endorse the abuser’s view that his response to the perceived reality is justified; CCEF challenges the response rather than the narrative, and the motives underlying the response, which removes — or attempts to remove — the abuser’s excuse that his response is justified in view of the provocations he has experienced.)

    That strikes me as a valid approach for many kinds of counselees in many situations, but it may not be completely general. If the counselee is a sociopath, this approach may be highly ineffective (though, to be fair, no counseling approach works well in changing sociopaths).

    • Samuel, let’s look at this carefully. Darby recounted an example of how she prompts / urges an abuser to change. In this example she said to the abuser,

      It’s hard for you, given that your wife is nagging… how can you serve her better?

      By the words “It’s hard for you…” she was not only endorsing the abuser’s narrative, she was sympathising with the abuser: offering him pity!

      Darby then said to Chris:

      I don’t even want to have a debate whether she’s nagging or not. That’s their [the abuser’s] reality.

      I think you are splitting hairs and ending up in a mess by saying that the best place to tackle the abuser is on his sinful responses to his beliefs, rather than the distorted beliefs themselves. The evil behaviour will not go away until the abuser renounces his wrong beliefs. Tackling the sinful responses by challenging the abuser to make non-sinful responses does not expose his evil heart. It is like plucking off the rotten fruit from a tree when the tree itself is systemically diseased. The tree is bad, that is why the fruit is bad (that analogy which Jesus gave is important!).

      “Hey sir, how can you serve your wife better?” will not get at the abuser’s heart. It’s like telling a tree, “Hey tree, stop producing these wizened apples infested with insects” when the tree is doing that because it is systemically diseased. The disease goes through the roots, the trunk, the sap, the branches, the leaves, the buds, the flowers, everything. The insects find it easy to infest those apples because they whole tree is diseased.

      Darby (and CCEF’s) paradigm is that the abuser has a worship problem. Darby says the abuser is:

      enslaved to the desire to be served, instead of serving the Lord.

      That is circuitous Christianese if ever I heard it.

      The Bible is not circumlocuitous. The Bible doesn’t mince words to soften things for the abuser, it says the abuser is a wicked sinner.

      And the Bible tells professing believers how to deal with wrong beliefs:

      For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal things, but things mighty in God to cast down strongholds, with which we overthrow imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bring into captivity all understanding to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor 10:4-5a NMB)

      What Darby should be doing is confronting the abuser’s wrong beliefs (the imaginations, wrong ideas, excuses, justifications and other ‘high things’ by which he exalts himself and defies God and God’s Law). But she shouldn’t waste much time doing that. Tell the abuser; then shake the dust off your feet when he resists. Which he will.

      You are right about one thing, Samuel. If the counselee is a sociopath, Darby’s approach will certainly not work.

      Maybe you need to consider that most all men who abuse their female intimate partners have a lot of sociopathic traits.
      Don Hennessy says that men who abuse their female intimate partners are more devious and more skillful than pedophiles.

      • anonymous

        And again, let’s just pretend for a moment that Abuser A had a nagging boss, how would Abuser A respond to his nagging boss (assuming he wanted to keep his job)? Would he punch his nagging boss and tell the boss “that ought to teach you not to nag me!” or otherwise tell his boss what a waste of space he is, how he should hurry up and kill himself, being such a nag and all???

        Nope. And every time I have heard “nagging” or “nag” it has been out of abusers’ mouths in denigrating their wives. The whole “nagging wife” comment is telling. It’s at the top of the list of things abusers say, just like the whole “she bruises too easily” in explaining he didn’t hit her THAT hard, it wasn’t that bad, but rather it’s his wife’s fault for having skin that bruises too easily.

        If the counselor wanted to do some good, she’d have seen him for being the abuser he is and told him so, and refused to further the lie that abusers need counseling in the first place, because it’s not a lack of healthy communication skills or anything like that which is the problem (which can be helped via counseling) but rather the abuser’s predatory, evil, abuser-self is the problem and abusers don’t stop being abusers, just like leopards cannot change their spots.

        Rotten trees aren’t changed but rather the diseased trees are cut down and burned. How presumptuous and arrogant for ‘BIBLICAL’ / ‘CHRISTIAN’ counselors to think and act as though they know better, know more than God. God’s Holy Words instruct His children to know evil, watch for evil, identify evil, etc.

        People need to speak truth. Not pander to evildoers and try to coddle them into being less abusive people. Waste of breath and just plays into the abuser’s hand.

  18. Innoscent

    I’ve been following this series with deep interest. Thank you so much Barb for taking the trouble to dissect the so-called counsels of Moles & Co with such discernment and present it with courage and clarity.

    IMO –and I don’t want to make a blanket statement here– but I’ve got weary and suspicious of male DV speakers. Although there are many true male advocates who get it right I also notice time and time again that the others (i.e. compromised ones) being males and having not been through the horror of abuse, have got no idea deep inside what it is all about, the whole Machiavelic mechanics of it. Also by nature they tend to side somewhat with abusive men thinking they can somehow reach out and ‘save’ them. So far from the Truth!

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