8. Should biblical counselors put lots of energy into helping abusive men see their sins?

[June 4, 2022: There have been some changes made to this post. For more information, read the Editors’ notes at the bottom of the post. Editors.]

It is wise to work on the assumption that the abuser

  • knows what he did
  • knows it was wrong
  • knows he’s making false accusations about his target.

How do we know that abusers know they are doing wrong?

Abusers know they are doing wrong because they hide from the public the wrong things they do.

Abusers see that their conduct is wrong – they just don’t care. 

When a man is abusing his wife, he knows that his behaviour is unacceptable in civilized society. If he has even a smattering of Christian knowledge, he knows his behaviour is sinful. He knows he should stop it. He sees all that. He just chooses to continue doing evil.

Abusers know that they are using covert and surreptitious tactics to entrap and exploit their victims. And with men who abuse their intimate female partners, it is even more abominable. The male intimate abuser studies his target-woman closely, working out which tactics of abuse will be most effective in entrapping and controlling her. How the male intimate abuser selects, sets-up & grooms a target woman.

Imagine for a moment an abusive man whose father and uncles and grandfathers were all wife-abusers. And like many guys growing up in this corrupt world, he absorbs the messages in popular culture that men can treat women like sex objects. Despite all that bad modelling and cultural ‘endorsement’, this abusive man nevertheless knows that he is doing wrong in abusing his female intimate partner, so he goes to great lengths to hide his wrongdoing. He puts on a mask in public and creates many narratives to give himself ‘plausible deniability’. Furthermore, he knows he doesn’t have to hide his agenda so much when he’s with his abusive peers in the locker room.

Many of us find it hard to wrap our minds around the depth of this evil.

Here is another way of saying it: The abuser sees, he just disagrees.

The skilled male intimate abuser has profoundly seared his conscience regarding what he does to his female partner.

The abuser doesn’t feel bad about what he’s done. Abusers lack guilt. They need to feel more guilt, not less guilt.

The abuser may feel a bit bad earlier in the relationship, but not so much about how he hurt his target. He feels bad about how he looked to himself. In the period after he has hurt you (the target woman), he spends a lot of energy running justifications in his head, by telling himself what he believes is wrong with you, in order to push down those guilt feelings.

The longer the relationship goes on, the less he has those guilt feelings. He doesn’t even feel bad any more about how he looked to himself. His self-justification becomes so automatic that he doesn’t have to put energy into it. His distorted thinking is habituated. He has seared his conscience about how he mistreats you.

In his work with abusive men, Lundy Bancroft noticed that men who abuse their female partners often have a conscience about other things. For example, if the guy hurts his parents, he feels bad. (Lundy said this on his webinar and I made notes while watching the webinar.¹)

The man who abuses his female intimate partner has profoundly seared his conscience regarding what he does to her.

The abuser suppresses the truth (that his conduct is wrong). He tells himself that he’s entitled to behave that way. He is very dedicated to his belief in his entitlement. He wants to keep that belief and he goes to great lengths to resist giving it up. He lies in a thousand ways to conceal how much he wants to maintain his belief that he’s entitled to abuse his partner.

He loves his lies; they keep his fortress safe.

Revelation 22:15 talks about those who love and practice falsehood.  So Christians — especially folks who call themselves “biblical counselors” — ought to be mindful that there are some people who love and practice falsehood as a way of life, as a full-body disguise.

The man who abuses his female intimate partner is such a man. He distorts the truth and tells lies to make himself seem like an object of pity. He throws up many smokescreens so that people don’t see his wicked mindset and how entrenched it is.

The abuser loves to give the impression that he doesn’t know he is doing wrong.

The abuser knows that this will hook well-meaning people into vaingloriously pushing the boulder uphill to get the man to ‘see’ and admit to all the things he is doing wrong. He knows it will put counselors off the scent of the real truth and thus keep his counselors very busy.

Whenever a counselor thinks the abuser needs insight, the abuser always has the upper hand. By claiming “I don’t understand what I’m doing,” the abuser successfully diverts the counselor into the role the counselor is best trained to do: helping people get insight into themselves.

I believe that Chris Moles has fallen into this trap. He says that the abuser’s problem is that he can’t see his sins, and he needs to be shown them(M 31-32, also M 89)

Here is what I think about all this. Chris Moles and other biblical counselors are focusing on getting abusers to change. And because of their intent focus, they have laid themselves open to being groomed by abusive men.

The abusers say to their counselors: “I don’t understand why you’re saying I’m being abusive!” So the counselors buy into that “plea for understanding”. The counselors think the abusers need insight in order to change, and the counselors bend over backwards to give the abusers insight into their wrong attitudes, beliefs and conduct, so that the abusers can see the harm they are doing.

But abusers are intentional in their evildoing: they plan, they strategize, they capture, they abuse….and re-abuse.

Chris Moles says:

In the case of the abusive person, more than likely we have encountered a very self-righteous person who desperately needs rescue from his own importance.  (M 81)

So Chris mistakenly believes that abusers need lots of help to see and “be rescued” from the sinfulness of what they are doing. In my view, Chris has been deceived by the impression-management tactics of the abusers and that is why he spends lots of time “giving information” to abusive men to “help them see their sins”.

Chris sometimes even addresses the abuser as ‘buddy’:

They will offer these excuses and then we’ll have men that we counsel who we look at and we say, “Well, they’re a bully, but I don’t know if they are abusive.”

Have you [biblical counselors] ever been there? You try desperately to see all the train so you can label them appropriately. In that process is it possible that we’ve forgotten that we’re not there to dish out labels – we’re there to offer hope? If we have a bully in front of us is it still worth our time and energy to counsel them? If I can’t give them a legal definition and say, “You’re a batterer,” do I still have a counselee in front of me that needs the hope of the gospel? Yeah. So yes, I may not start off with all the labels, but as I’m gathering data and I get more of the train I may have to go there.

There is something powerful to say, “You know, buddy, after this several weeks that we’ve been working you fit all of these categories. I’m afraid — I hate to tell you this — but you meet every indication that you’re a domestic abuser.  (E 10:45-11:50)

This is Chris mollycoddling the abusive man! The problem is not the abuser’s insecurities (his feeling world). Chris is not helping when he “soothes the abuser’s insecurities” by sugar-coating the confrontation.

Why does Chris “hate to tell this” to the abuser? Who is insecure? Maybe it’s Chris! But Chris is so bent on feeding the abuser crackers….

One of our readers made this astute comment (paraphrasing):

Christ threw the moneychangers out of the temple. Christ did not counsel them. Same with the Pharisees. Christ spoke bold truth. He called the Pharisees a brood of vipers. He opposed them and warned others about them. Christ did not seek out Bad-Pharisee Intervention Programs.

Jesus tongue-lashed the scribes and Pharisees for being hypocrites:

Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why do your disciples not walk according to the precepts of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?

He answered and said to them, Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: This people honours me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. In vain they worship me, teaching doctrines which are nothing but the commandments of men.  (Mark 7:5-7  NMB)

Abusive men need to hear the thundering of the Law

The Law should be pronounced to ‘secure’ sinners. The Gospel should be pronounced to ‘crushed’ sinners.  (Paraphrase)
— C.F.W. Walther (PDF, lecture series, lecture #3)

Abusers are to be reprehended severely. The terrors of the Law are to be set before them. You can see this in Jude 22-23 (which I discuss here).

Let us remember that Cain was a bitter, ungodly resentful man who ended up murdering his brother, and God only gave one brief counseling session to Cain.

….And the LORD respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.

So the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?  If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”  (Gen 4:4b-7  NKJV)

God did not spend countless hours with Cain uncovering what Cain had done wrong and getting Cain to see it was wrong. God’s speech to Cain indicates that Cain was fully aware what was right and wrong. Cain didn’t need help to see this; he just needed blunt confrontation and a stern warning to resist temptation.

Abusers sin intentionally. They are presumptuous sinners. The Law of Moses commanded the Israelites to cut off (put to death) presumptuous sinners; and the New Testament tells Christians to have nothing to do with them, avoid them, and hand them over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh.

Men who abuse their female partners are unregenerate men who commit highhanded presumptuous sin and stubbornly resist admonishment. The Bible says that people who commit intentional, high-handed, presumptuous sin are to be cut off from God’s people. (See my post The Bible has one law for unintentional sin, and another law for intentional sin.)

And let’s look at Titus 3:10. Here are three translations:

Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned.  (Titus 3:10-11  NASB1995)

Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them.  (NIV)

After a first and second admonition, have nothing further to do with any one who will not be taught.  (Weymouth New Testament)

In all Chris Moles’ teaching which I’ve read and listened to, he only mentions Titus 3:10 once. And, like so many ‘C’hristians who talk about domestic abuse, Chris mentions this verse far too mildly, with far too little emphasis. He mentions it in a place where many of his readers will not read it: Appendix D, ‘Church Discipline and Abuse’, in the back pages of his book.  (M 143-5)

The man who abuses his female intimate partner has surreptitiously kidnapped her by invading and colonizing her mind so she doesn’t know she has been kidnapped. He does this in order to have a sexual slave. The goal of all his tactics to have his sexual needs met without negotiation — this is what Don Hennessy says and I wholeheartedly agree with Hennessy. The abuser might also enjoy having a domestic slave, but his sexual entitlement is usually at the root of it.

“If a man is discovered kidnapping one of his Israelite brothers, whether he treats him as a slave or sells him, the kidnapper must die. You must purge the evil from you.  (Deut 24:7  CSB)

This verse in Deuteronomy is seldom discussed, but it perfectly applies to domestic abuse. It tells us that God thinks kidnappers are so dangerous it is best to get rid of them in order to protect the community. The Abuser as Kidnapper and Slave Master.

God’s Word tells us the opposite of what Chris Moles teaches about how we are to deal with men like this.

The Bible says we must put out of the church those who profess Christianity but are revilers (verbal abusers), idolators and stand-over merchants. The Bible gives us lots of guidance about how to deal with such people. If we know of heinous sinners who are hypocritically passing themselves off as believers in the church, we ought to:

….deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh….I [Paul] wrote to you not associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.  (1 Cor 5:5, 11-13  NASB1995)

I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.  (Rom 16:17  NIV)

Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to keep away from every brother who walks irresponsibly and not according to the tradition received from us.  (2 Thess 3:6  HCSB)

….having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.  (2 Tim 3:5  NIV)

If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your home, and don’t say, “Welcome,” to him;  (2 John 1:10  HCSB)

I wish those who are disturbing you might also get themselves castrated!  (Gal 5:12  HCSB)

And whoever does not receive you or hear you, when you leave there, shake off the dust that is under your feet, for a witness to them….  (Mark 6:11  NMB)

Not convinced yet?

Maybe you are thinking that perhaps, somewhere, there are passages in the Bible which tell Christians to exert arduous effort over a long period in the hope of getting men who abuse their wives to acknowledge their sins.

You might be recalling this verse:

We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone.  (1 Thess 5:14  NASB1995)

In this verse the apostle is giving advice to believers (read the preceding verses in that chapter). It is fine to be guided by this verse when we are responding to victims of abuse. We can encourage victims if they are fainthearted, help them if they are weak, be patient with them while they are still in the fog, and admonish them if they are unruly (which they seldom are).

But Chris misapplies “admonish the unruly….be patient with everyone” to abusive men. (C 9:20) And he cites this verse in order to justify the extremely lengthy counseling he does with abusive men. (….big sigh from Barb. We need to keep saying that the Bible makes it clear that abusers are not believers.)

Another passage of Scripture you might be recalling is the place where Paul instructed Timothy to gently correct those who are in opposition:

The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.  (2 Tim 2:24-26  NASB1995)

However, Jesus was not gentle with the scribes and Pharisees, so this precept is not to be taken as a blanket rule for all situations.

And Chris Moles knows that gentle correction does not work with abusive men. Chris knows he has to work long and hard “giving information” to abusive men. He knows their opposition to admitting their sins is obstinately entrenched. He knows that getting them to admit their wrongdoing is like a wrestling match. Here is what Chris says in one of his presentations to Christian leaders (Z 1:32:18):

On average from a criminal perspective, in the large groups I lead (those groups are mandated for eight months) I’m just trying to get acknowledgement. It’s a wrestling match.

When I first started this work I thought, “Here’s the goal: everyone’s gotta be an advocate and champion for women!”

Now [since I’ve had more experience of working with these guys, my goal is changed:] They just gotta move!

In effect, what Chris is teaching to biblical counselors and pastors will keep them downplaying or ignoring all the Scriptural precepts I have cited.


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 Although we endorse what Lundy Bancroft says about domestic abusers, we do not recommend Lundy Bancroft’s healing retreats or his Peak Living Network.

[June 4, 2022: Editors’ notes:

—For some comments made prior to June 4, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be an exact match.
—For some comments made prior to June 4, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be found in the post.
If you would like to compare the text in the comments made prior to June 4, 2022 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (June 4, 2022), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]

Further reading

Dear Church: stop trying to convert wolves, by Jimmy Hinton

54 thoughts on “8. Should biblical counselors put lots of energy into helping abusive men see their sins?”

  1. I fell for this for years, trying to explain to my abuser that what he was doing was hurtful or not helping the relationship. All along he claimed innocence and ignorance, with countless promises to change. When I finally started to understand it was not just forgetfulness of the promises but who he really was, and told him I felt he was abusing me, the mask of innocence fell off and the wolf snarled that I was abusive, too, not an unusual response, as I have learned. The marriage did not last long after that.

    It is thanks to ACFJ that I now understand my abuser knew exactly what he was doing, but just didn’t care. It was one thing to feel like I was at the bottom of his list of priorities, and another to realize I wasn’t even on the list. And his actions since then have well proven that a wolf lurked under the sheep cloak he wore for so many years. It can be hard to reconcile that the charming, so-sorry-for-things, I-can-change man I knew for decades is the same as the raging, spiteful man who is so determined to crush me now. How could he keep the demon in him under control for so long? I used to wonder if it was there all along or if losing marriage and family triggered it. My reading has convinced me that it was always a part of who he was, but he could control it as long as he got what he wanted. As soon as things quit going his way the demon was released.

    It is disturbing when counselors like Chris Moles appear to have some understanding of abuse but refuse to learn from others like Lundy Bancroft and Don Hennessey, or the ones abused by the men he counsels. It is one thing to start out with good intentions but [and?] ignorance, and another to continue that way for years. So much harm is being done. It is never good to wrestle with an abuser. The abuser is way ahead in his thinking, and counselors like Chris Moles will never “win”.

    1. It is never good to wrestle with an abuser. The abuser is way ahead in his thinking, and counselors like Chris Moles will never “win”.

      What a concise summary of this post. Thanks, Moving Forward! 🙂 I write such long posts; I appreciate it when people can boil down what I’ve said.

    2. Wow. I could have written this Word. For. Word. And YES, I’ve also wondered….”Has he ALWAYS been his way…or did my exposing and divorcing him really push him off the deep end and he changed because of that??”

      But my answer was the same as yours. This is who and what he is….he’s now exposed and can be that person he hid for years. Well, except for the affairs and emotional abuse. That he didn’t hide, but he excused it, because his father was an alcoholic and abusive….so he was a poor little lost lamb that no one ever loved. And I fell for it….for a while.

      1. Hi Teresa, welcome to the blog. 🙂

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    3. Same here! I have spent so much time and energy trying to explain, to get him to understand, mistakenly thinking that if I could just get through to him maybe he would change. But I have come to realise it’s a waste of time.

      When we reached the point where he was phoning people to try and claim he didn’t understand why I was so upset, and trying to imply to them that it was all a misunderstanding because I was depressed and not responding properly to him, I knew it was over. That showed me it was a deliberate tactic to keep me engaged in the relationship, and thus give him that continuing control over me. No more!

  2. I have seen this play out with a friend of mine. The pastor who “counseled” her and her abusive husband (yes, many times together!) decided befriending the husband, going to football games, and on double-dates, was an effective strategy to biblically counsel him out of his sinful behavior. He just needed a good friend and mentor. What a surprise it ended up backfiring, and the husband twisted and turned all tactics to his benefit and against his wife. 🙄🙁

  3. The bottom line is that, as usual, the abuser is successful in getting all of the attention, effort, concern, benefit-of-the doubt and help directed towards himself.

    Abusers know if they can command most of the pity, hope and focus, there won’t be much left for the victim. In fact, if he does a supreme con job and sucks the sympathy of others toward himself, it creates a void and antipathy toward his victim.

    1. In fact, if he does a supreme con job and sucks the sympathy of others toward himself, it creates a void and antipathy toward his victim.

      Indeed. Cognitive dissonance, too, works in his favor.

  4. This was hard to read, but also felt SO validating.

    The abuser loves to give the impression that he doesn’t know he is doing wrong.

    My dad was like this in a nutshell. He is not a Christian, but he loved to “play dumb” about his behavior. You couldn’t really confront him on it, for fear of retribution, but neither could you convince him that he had done anything wrong.

    No amount of tears mattered to him. He knew exactly what he was doing and frankly—-I think he wanted to see me cry. It was his confirmation that he had that level of control over me.

    In the sphere of Christians, that is also how they tend to view abusers, but especially ones that are NOT believers:

    So Chris mistakenly believes that abusers need lots of help to see and “be rescued” from the sinfulness of what they are doing.

    They really seem to think that unsaved abusers are especially “lost” because they are unsaved and held captive by their sin. So they further excuse for not being held accountable.

    I’ve dealt with Christians who I now consider to be abusive. They have serious issues….but have NO interest in dealing with them.

    With my dad, and these professing Christians—the attitude was roughly along Chris’s incredibly misguided teachings. Just “baby” them until they “gently” come to their senses. Feel sorry for them. They are, in essence:

    very self-righteous person who desperately needs rescue from his own importance.

    I can’t tell you how triggered I was at how Chris:

    “soothes the abuser’s insecurities” by sugar-coating the confrontation.

    I have been there, and I can tell you how upsetting it is to see the person doing the hurting — getting the majority of the attention, the excuses, the fellowship and whatever else these “poor sweet babies” are handed.

    Meanwhile, I am shunned and snubbed and treated as though I am contagious. Like I did something wrong — which I thought for years I did (or must have).

    They are NOT insecure. This is something I’ve heard over and over again about abusers: “they’re insecure. They lack confidence. They think no one really loves them. They are so lonely and scared and stressed out—-so they instinctively lash out.”

    I would tell my vet to muzzle my beagle baby when clipping his nails. it was NOT because he was insecure! It was because he would instinctively lash out and might hurt someone.

    Abusers may act like animals in this sense, it is NOT out of insecurity! They are cruel, callous and believe they are fully entitled to hurt their victim of choice.

    The phrase I have cried out over and over again in my prayers is: “Lord, they are allowed to get away with everything, but I am bullied and burdened. The expectations on me are huge, and the demands are constantly crushing me.”

    Note: I believe the Lord will take care of me, and defend and protect me —- somehow. These are just emotional cries to the Lord, unburdening myself.

    I have also witnessed abusive persons showing care and concern for others — but not me. So the attitude of an abuser being so “wonderful, loving and kind and generous” is an absolute lie. He or she is that way to YOU, but they are not unselfish about it. They want you to believe that this is who they are, when they are in fact lying and counting on you to be fooled.

    Abusers see that their conduct is wrong – they just don’t care.

    Christ knew this. Why else did He write His Word the way He did, and live the Word the way He did? Barb pointed out verses all over the Word describing this very truth. Jesus knew this, and made sure to warn and admonish us constantly.

    Abusers may not care, but apparently we don’t want to hear that. We don’t believe that, or we don’t want to believe that.

    We don’t want to hear that abusers needs to be cast out, not coddled.

    For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. (2 Timothy 4:3)

    It’s a nice “pleasant” scratch to the ears to hear that abusers just need more time, more instruction, more man-to-man conversations, more babying until they get it right. What a waste of time, energy and precious resources.

    Ever think about applying all that care and concern the abused??

    The kidnapping explanation is a new one for me! But it made so much sense. For many years, I felt like a captive of abuse. I felt trapped and smothered and cornered and isolated. I did not feel like I had any real identity. I was someone to whom pain was being inflicted, and I simply reacted to that pain. So I felt more like an inanimate object that had no real substance of my own.

    Abusers are NOT believers—amen and double amen. Those precious verses about patience and long suffering are applied to those who are “fighting the good fight” as Paul told Timothy to do. They are believers who may be struggling and stumbling—but darn it, they get right back up and keep soldiering on in His name.

    Abusers are nothing like that. They live to knock others down and make sure they can’t get back up! They are there to destroy and manipulate—it’s all they live for.

    My dad is not a believer, but IMO he was treated like one—-more like: he could become one if we just handled it right.

    I’m not sure if Chris really believes the abusers he works with are truly Christians, but he does seem to have a similar attitude in mind: just don’t give up on them, and you will see results. Call them: “buddy” and by golly, you will see a smile on their face that is a good sign!

    It’s dangerous to apply the Word of God towards unbelievers as IF they are believers. Few things seem more dangerous to me.

  5. I wonder if it isn’t also a value proposition here, in that, men are valued more in our misogynist and sexist society. Men take the side of other men. They bond over their denigration of women. Their identity largely comes from other-ing women and identifying themselves as not being anything like women. Women are not valued in society. They just aren’t. If women were valued equally, there’d be less DV / SA / DA.

    So, what does one do with prized people? They work with them, they coddle them, they try to woo them into behaving better, expending great amounts of energy, resources, etc.

    Chris Moles is colluding with them. Part of the smoke and mirrors is to play the change game, to act as though they are dense, then make minute, temporary changes, and expect accolades for such. Chris Moles should know all his Bible. Much of the Proverbs and Psalms are dedicated to identifying evil, instructing what to do as God’s people, showing what the future of the wicked is.

    Or, better yet, it’s all about the money, as most everything in this life is all about the money. I think I read a figure like some $60 million was earned by this one particular pastor in the U.S. of a mega-church, who has authored a few books as well. But $60 million. He lives in a mansion. $60 million.

    But back to Chris Moles, I think there’s an awful lot of easy money being made in these Men’s Change Programs, these book deals, conferences, consultation fees, etc. And if Chris Moles has worked with abusers for 5 years or more, I believe that is plenty of time for him to have seen the pattern, heard the excuses over and over, and not seen any meaningful change, that such is known to be a waste of time, as abusers are children of the devil, wicked, evil, and habitually fight against taking responsibility for their evildoing.

    But the bottom line is that simply saying abusers are to be shunned, cast off, destined for hell, children of the devil, agents of destruction, murder, thieving, etc…..that doesn’t result in book deals, no consulting fees needed, not much work can be generated there.

    Think of how ridiculous it would be if men who beat up other men wouldn’t go to jail, but rather would have a pastor coddling them, seeing if they might someday come around to thinking that it’s not a great thing to beat on other men, engage in bar brawls, etc. Nonsense. The judge says, jail for you, ‘buddy’. Handcuffs are appropriate, nothing else.

    My abuser gave his life philosophy as being he intended to make suckers out of others, to take as much as he could, to raise hell, and get away with it. The abusers are making suckers out of every person who is misled into believing the abusers don’t know they are doing wrong, are insecure, are stressed, etc.

    Also, how many book deals, conferences, training sessions, consultations are being had for pastors to learn how to better be there for the abused? The money and interest isn’t there and that’s very telling of our misogynist society. Women are people and all. Fellow heirs of Christ. Christ died for women! He laid down His life for women! Christ shed His precious blood for women! So, must be that women are human beings and all, worthy of dignity, respect, life, etc., just as much as men.

  6. Thank you! People like Chris Moles have a sort of hero complex, they think they can help the abusers that no one else can help or too scared to tackle. All for his own glory. People must tell him he is wonderful for bringing the abusers back to God. It’s gone to his head and he won’t see what he is doing is pointless, foolish and disrespectful to the victims. He’s part of the old boys’ club.

  7. This site has been very helpful for me in my current situation. Thank you. It’s opened my eyes and helped me make some hard decisions.

    I grew up in a Christian home. I should clarify, my mother’s faith was always an inspiration to me, but all I saw with my father’s so-called faith was hypocrisy and using the Bible as a weapon against others.

    Then one day, my mother came to me weeping over my father’s actions towards her. She had nowhere else to go, as over the years she had become more and more isolated, and bought into the lie that as a good Christian woman she shouldn’t talk about her marriage issues with anyone and cover her husband’s sin.

    She came to me out of sheer desperation because the emotional abuse had got so severe. I was shocked but strangely not surprised. I guess I had always seen my father’s antics, just was surprised how far he had taken things this time.

    I begged mum to go get help from another Godly couple we know (who have been a true blessing to her through this!). I begged mum to not go back to my dad but to separate from him. Enough was enough. I told her his behaviour was abusive.

    Meanwhile, I confronted my dad directly. I heard his side of the story.

    I tried pleading with him initially to go get counselling. He agreed to do so, only to twist their words and use them as validation for his behaviour! I was so horrified. At that point I realised that he was emotionally manipulating everyone (including me)! I had never seriously thought of my dad as being manipulative, I think because growing up he used overt control and didn’t need to be subversive with me about it!

    I realised at this point that pleading with him would only serve to further his cause. He wanted compassion and he wanted allies. He would just continue shifting goalposts and deflecting issues until he wore me down.

    So I took a firm stand against him. I told him I would never agree with him, that what he was doing was sin and he was in a dangerous place with God. At first he was angry with me, and then when he realised I wouldn’t sway from my convictions he told me that I didn’t have to agree with him – but I had to ‘accept’ what he was doing.

    It’s just a play on words – in his mind acceptance will just flow on to agreement, and I have seen so many people fall into this trap with him already. They tell him they don’t agree, but they continue to have a relationship with him in the hope that one day he might magically change his mind. Meanwhile he tells everyone else that these people agree with him that my mother is a horrible person! These people (including family members) foolishly try to walk the path of neutrality, and they don’t realise they HAVE by default chosen a side…the side of the abuser!

    I told my father I would not accept what he was doing. He threatened to not come around anymore if I was going to ‘lecture’ him every time he did (translation: disagree with him and call him out on his sin) and I told him perhaps that was best. At that moment he freaked out because his threat was just a bluff. Then he pulled out all the stops – accusing me of being a self-righteous, judgemental Christian with conditional love. According to him I was giving him ultimatums, I was threatening to cut him off (even though two seconds before HE was threatening to not see me anymore!). I was wanting to punish him. It was insane and heavy. He became desperate and bullying. After this altercation I told him repeatedly (and respectfully) to give me time and space and he refused. He attempted to bulldoze my boundaries about four times and in the end my husband had to step in and tell him he wasn’t welcome in our lives until he ‘pulled his head out’.

    So now here I am. I haven’t spoken to my father in a while now. He refuses to repent or show even remorse. He has lied repeatedly. All the while he has played the victim which makes me so flipping angry, when all that has happened is a result of his choices! He has always blamed everyone else for his problems, and now he is out of control.

    I feel a strong conviction in my spirit to have nothing to do with him. Until he repents. IF he repents (which I sadly fear he may never). Not to punish him, but to protect myself and my family from his evil.

    Now I am struggling against the enormous pressure to resume a relationship with my dad despite his sin and lack of repentance. I hear “but he’s your dad!” Apparently, it’s acceptable to cut all toxic relationships from your life EXCEPT if it’s family. And yet it’s family that can do the most damage if they are toxic. 😦

    I feel other people’s judgement, that somehow I am not a loving person because I can’t accept my dad for “who he is” and forgive him. I judge myself worst of all. I am constantly at war with myself, battling the lies my dad has spoken over me (judgmental, self-righteous, punishing him…)

    I can forgive him, but I cannot comprehend a relationship with him if he is unrepentant. I don’t even know how that can work. It sends my soul into turmoil at the thought of it. I get fearful and anxious at the thought of him being in my life given his toxic behaviour.

    I sometimes battle with intense anger. I wonder why I am the one with all the expectations on me to make the situation ‘right’ when I am not the one who caused all this mess – my mum and I are victims of it. Yet NO ONE except for me has stood firmly against my dad to defend my mum. All these people who know my mum’s character and can vouch for it…yet they keep trying to ‘love’ dad into repentance. It sounds so Christian, but it’s so twisted, and dad is lapping it up. It hurts my heart and I feel so alone sometimes.

    It’s so jolly hard to decide not to have anything to do with your own father. I didn’t take my decision lightly, or impulsively. It’s even harder to deal with another Christian’s pressure to reconcile. I will say though, that my closest friends have been very supportive and understanding of my position and that is a true blessing.

    I would love to reconcile with my dad. But I need to see repentance. Why is that so polarizing to Christians?!?!?

    1. Porcelain Warrior,

      Welcome to the blog and thank you for sharing your story.

      There are so many similarities between your story and mine. I’m the mom of the story and my daughter, like you, has been so strong in her support of me. My daughter, like you, confronted her father regarding his actions against me and herself. She set wise and appropriate boundaries when needed. She called him out on his behavior when others remained silent. And as a result her father has rejected her.

      And, like you, my daughter has heard the excuse, “but he’s your dad.” She has felt pressure from family and friends. Christian and non-Christian alike. She has been reprimanded for not being Christ-like in her response to her father, for not being forgiving, for not “loving her father to the throne.”

      I know that the pressure my daughter has felt has been great. I understand the pressure that you are feeling.

      I know the cost my daughter has paid to stand up for me and herself. I understand the cost you have paid and will continue to pay to support your mom.

      I honor my daughter for all she has done for me; the support, the encouragement, the loving care she shows me every day. And I honor you for the loving, caring support that you are showing your mom.

      It means so much to me (more than I will ever be able to express to her) to have my daughter standing by my side. And I strongly suspect that your mom feels that same way.

      Again, Welcome to the blog!!

      1. I honor both of you for standing by your moms’ side. It’s really hard to go against a parent.

        [Potential Trigger Warning] Not that we are animals but there was a series of studies done where baby monkeys were isolated and given some sadistic pseudo-moms the labs created, with even one of these contraptions shocking the baby monkey, another was made of barbed wire, or something. Anyhow, the baby monkey would cling to these sadistic pseudo-moms, despite the barbed wire, the electrical shocks administered via the body of the pseudo-mom they held onto…..maybe not the best example, because both daughters are grown, but still, it’s their dad and to stand in support of their moms and against their dads, despite pressure to do otherwise, is really something.

        People want to stay together but for the abuse to stop but abusers don’t stop the abuse. They won’t stop the abuse. It’s only but a matter of time. Sometimes it is better to be a fatherless daughter than a daughter enmeshed with a manipulative, abuser dad.

        Too often, the kids go with dad because he buys them off or lets them run wild or because they sense he has the power and they side with power (much like bullies have their henchmen, who side with the bully and do his bidding in hopes of keeping themselves from being the target and currying favor with the powerful bully).

        Anyhow, kudos to the daughters. It’s so often said in custody battles that the kids need their father, regardless of the father’s violence against the mom (and therefore abuses the kids as it is terrifying to watch one parent abuse or beat the other parent and be helpless to do anything about it), but that’s not true.

        Toxic people are toxic. Little bits of poison add up. No contact seems to be the way to go with many.

      2. Thank you for the kind words.

        My mum is such a Godly, strong, wonderful woman. She has shone Christ through all the mess and pain my dad has caused, and people have been so impacted by her through this time. I know that our situation has caused a few of our Christian friends to pause and consider how they handle situations (with unrepentant people). They haven’t yet gone so far as to act upon it, but I feel like it’s caused a shake up of a lot of people’s beliefs in a good way.

        As you know, we really need a good shake up in the church over issues of abuse and how we view marriage and unrepentant people! So I pray that God will bring some good out of the wrong that has happened to us.

      3. Yes, it is sad but the reality is most churches treat divorce as one of the great evils, which is supposedly the cause of endless destruction, but if both spouses were God-fearing, true Christians who had truly vowed to God to love, honor, and cherish each other, there’d be no divorce.

        Pastor Crippen wrote something like he ‘counsels’ couples in this situation by simply asking which one of the two is not saved. Something like that. But abusers should not be married. Nobody should suffer such a fate. Divorce is a blessing for those duped into marrying abusers. This should be taught in churches as a part of the premarital counseling.

        If he is abusing you, there is no marriage to ‘save’ and God wants you to be free, with divorce being a blessing, not some horrible sin.

        I think the wedding vows spoken are part of the permanency misbelief, as I’d stood in God’s house and vowed to God to be married until death do us part, so I really hoped I’d die soon.

        Marriage has truly been wrongly made into an idol.

    2. I needed to read your comment today! It was hard to read (I got very emotional) but it was good for me, because now I don’t feel so alone. Thank you so so much for sharing it. And Jesus, thank you for this blessing—-two seconds of not feeling so alone is wonderful.

      First of all, I’m so sorry for your pain and struggles—for your mom especially. Sadly, the most gentle and loving of persons tend to be the ones that get trampled on.

      I won’t detail my stories here because they would take too long and to be honest—sometimes it’s just too hard to even put down into words.

      But nearly everything you said rang so true with me. So many of those things I’ve cried out in prayer, so many times I’ve had to fight my own family members, so many times I have wrestled with internal conflicts over my choices.

      I have hated myself for making certain choices, even though I won’t back down from them. I put lots of prayer and thought and time into them, yet they caused me much suffering.

      There is a price to pay for making those choices, too. You might feel lonely, isolated and you risk your reputation being trampled on. You risk becoming the object of slander, gossip, assumptions (which usually lead to accusations) and most of all: there’s no real way to defend yourself. Or explain your side.

      Even if you try to (which I have), it yields nothing. Just more silent treatment, passive or active aggression and again—more and more suffering on your part.

      Apparently, it’s acceptable to cut all toxic relationships from your life EXCEPT if it’s family. And yet it’s family that can do the most damage if they are toxic 😦

      I’ve been saying that over and over again, out loud and in my prayers. I almost wept at reading them, because I connected so deeply with your words. And have lived them.

      Jesus is not like us in so many ways. So the way that your family and others are acting are NOT like Him at all, even though it may seem like they are.

      In fact, He is clear that it is dangerous to think that (Psalm 50:21).

      He makes it clear that our loyalty is to Him first and foremost. Everyone is secondary. And He means: everyone. I am the only Christian in my family, and I created a lot of drama and division when I did do.

      Now, I suppose the “happy ending” would entail my whole family coming to know Him, and then we are all one big happy family, right?

      Jesus never promised us anything like that. Note: I DO pray for my unsaved loved ones. I am just saying that there is no guarantee that they will be born again.

      My dad abused me for years. When I married into a Christian family, I thought nothing could be better. I was 100% wrong.

      It again would take too long, but to be honest—-this side of the family has done worse than my side. I have seen and heard things and experienced horrible things. I cannot believe that these professing Christians would conduct themselves this way. I now seriously question the sincerity and stability of their walks with Christ.

      it is a knife in my heart to even write those words out.

      Blessings to you for standing up to him as you did. His true colors came out quite fiercely when you did so—-while that must have been traumatic to see, God bless you for standing firm and not giving in.

      How is your mom doing now? Keeping her and you in prayer.

      1. Hugs to you, Helovesme!
        My heart breaks for you also. I am so sorry you are in a similar situation to me. I almost didn’t share my story, but hearing that it helped you feel not alone makes it so worthwhile.

        It is such a lonely road. I never thought I would be in this situation. So many tears. So much anger. So much anxiety. I realised recently, that because of this lonely journey I was beginning to get cynical and apathetic. Not just towards people and Christians, but without even realising it, towards God. I was pushing Him away, because I felt scared that He would judge me as others did…. That maybe HE thought I wasn’t loving enough and I was being unfair to dad. I also felt like my anger was displeasing to Him and I should be better than that. I told myself that I was a hypocrite because I was judging dad, when God was more interested in judging me because of my anger. I would feel so overwhelmed and at war with myself, trying to discern truth from lies that I just started pushing God away all together. And then I realised that is exactly what the devil wanted to achieve.

        I decided that if I feel guilt and shame and I’m a horrible, judgemental person with a bitter heart….EVEN IF all that is true….well I’m going to run straight to God with that and throw myself at His feet and weep at His feet. I won’t run away from Him.

        And I feel His Spirit again. So gentle and loving and faithful. I love Him.
        I feel in the spirit that my decision is the right one.

        I asked God “if my decision is the right one why do I have so much doubt and so much anger in me still and why can’t I let go of it?” I felt Him say to me: “Because your focus is on your dad and what he is doing. Focus on Me, and what I am doing.”

        So simple. But gosh He knows how to address my raging heart in a couple of sentences.

        Mum is doing so well through all this. God’s hand has been on her, and we have seen His provision for her so many times its amazing. We both still have rough days where we just cry and hurt. But slowly we are walking forward. Initially she was a wreck and I was the strong one. My first concern was for her well-being and I felt so detached and pragmatic in regards to how it all affected me. Now I feel like I am the wreck and she is the strong one, and she is primarily concerned for me!

      2. Porcelain Warrior I may have forgotten or simply neglected to thank you for your kind, loving reply to me. I’m so sorry for such a delay.

        I hope you get a chance to read this and know how much I AGAIN identified with your struggles—-especially about pushing away the Lord Himself!

        AND about becoming cynical and jaded. Those very words are the ones I have used to plead with Him in prayer—-God, please don’t let me develop a hard heart towards You (and the world in general) because I’ve been through hard things! That would be the worst outcome, ever! Help me to not give up on loving You and loving others!

        Yes! He is SO gentle and loving and kind. Based on His absolute superiority and sovereignty, one might think He is harsh and impatient with His creation. It’s the exact opposite. He is so patient and so very tender to us!

        Thank you for updating us on your mom, and I am beyond grateful that you both have each other!!! Still praying for all of you.

    3. It is very hard to hold a ‘christian’ accountable. {note the lower case letter} Why is it that the ‘church’ of today does not want to see evil. {If someone heinously sins, who is a ‘christian’ we are not to eat with them, that sounds like a strong fence of protection. 1 Corinthians 5:11} Your letter rang true for me, I appreciate your vulnerability and your honesty. I am so happy for you, that your husband is your protector…. It is good that your mom is protected and so are you, because your dad’s anger and viciousness will only intensify over time.

      I was married to an angry ‘christian’ for over thee decades. It is extremely hard to leave the situation that you and your mom are in, I am glad that both of you have left, to protect yourselves and your families. It has taken me many years and lots of reading on my journey to wholeness….

      Recently I started reading the words in the Bible that are red. Now this may sound dumb, because I do a couple of devotions and I read lots of scripture, throughout the day. But when I read the words that Jesus Christ spoke, I am surrounded with His comfort and Peace.
      God’s peace and grace on your life,

      A sister, who is still trusting Jesus for completeness in Him.

  8. There is something powerful to say, ‘You know, buddy, after this several weeks that we’ve been working you fit all of these categories. I’m afraid – I hate to tell you this – but you meet every indication that you’re a domestic abuser.’ (E 10:45-11:50)

    What?! Seriously?! I’m just trying to picture Paul or Jesus confronting a Pharisee and, first of all, waiting weeks, then calling the person, “buddy”. Woe to you, buddy, I hate to tell you you’re a Pharisee. I mean it’s starting to look that way according to the Pharisee checklist, don’t you think?

    1. Exactly, Seeing the Light. The Pharisees, with all their sensitive Pharisee feelings, need to be coddled, lest they feel bad.

      If Chris Moles has been brought into the picture, the guy has already been identified as an abuser and / or arrested and charged (and probably convicted — with Moles’ counseling being part of the stay-out-of-jail option of the court’s sentencing).

      It’s like Moles believes women sit there with the phone in hand, eager to phone Moles (or the police) at the first indication of any unkindness or unpleasantness in their husbands. Balderdash! By the time the cops are called, the woman may have been attacked, beaten, assaulted, abused, battered (choose your word of preference) many times, many different times.

      There’s regular stories of the murder-suicide of batterers who never had before been arrested, no cops had ever been called to the house, the neighbors inevitably give the reporters quotes like, ‘He was a nice guy.’ ‘Never had a problem with him, he must have snapped.’ ‘He was such a good guy, too, I wonder what happened to cause him to do that.’ It’s because the abuser controls all. The abused is required and forced to keep up the batterer’s lies, and his facade as being a ‘good guy.’ The murderer didn’t snap. His wife probably was trying to leave him and he put an end to that. He probably found out his wife broke her silence, the secret was out, and he killed her on his way out, just to have the final say.

      Plus, doesn’t Moles seem to understand the basic underlying truth that he is seeing the best facade of the abuser. Abusers treat those in power, those he wants to con / trick / manipulate, pretty darn well (assuming the abuser has no leverage over them). Just like the judge sees the wife-beater in his nicest suit, with a concerned, hurt, look on his face (or who knows what faces they give the judge in trying to curry favor or pity play the judge) while the abuser is in his courtroom, awaiting his fate / sentencing.

      Moles doesn’t get it and in my opinion it’s willful ignorance. Moles doesn’t seem to want to get it. He is colluding with the abusers by doing this.

      1. Anonymous,

        You said,

        If Chris Moles has been brought into the picture, the guy has already been identified as an abuser….

        Good point.

        I have watched my h treat those in power so well. He serves them constantly – uses his skills to do things for them so they don’t have to hire someone even when they have ample money and things weren’t getting done at home. And everyone is “sir”. “Hello, sir.” “What can I do for you, sir?” Oh, and the pity play. The eternal martyr. How I would love for them all to hear him berate me, call me names, insult me, and tell me to shut my mouth.

        I did not realize that Chris Moles was this bad, but this is awful.

  9. The Holy Spirit has been patiently walking me through my arguments for not posting a comment on this particular topic.

    Before my walls crumbled, I was one of the naive. Not completely blind, but certainly uninformed.

    Before my walls crumbled, I was faced with the need to review the next step in my life. The Holy Spirit used the circumstances to guide me in a completely different direction. I can’t say following was easy, especially becoming totally reliant on God.

    After my walls crumbled, my world turned upside down.

    The Holy Spirit led me, step by painful step, to the world of complex trauma / PTSD and abuse.

    I can now understand why Chris Moles is very unlikely to attain any measure of success. I can see where his “work” is compounding the problem, where he has wilfully chosen to remain blind. I can see where a victim / survivor will be trampled under his feet.

    I am profoundly grateful I was never faced with Chris or his ilk.

    I needed information from both the secular and Christian world, something often discussed, but rarely with any consensus. I can understand the plethora of options cannot be contained or covered all in one place, there are too many variables to consider.

    I have learned a great deal, know my learning curve has just begun, and am curious what is coming next….

    What hasn’t changed is the wariness of finding myself totally reliant on God.

  10. I’ve been reading the pdf’s of Jeff Crippen’s series Wise as Serpents and Innocent as Doves and in Part 5 on the story about Cain and Abel, which I found very insightful, two passages emphasise the very topic of this post.

    page 5
    Notice VERY carefully! Cain had the benefit of the very best Counselor to be found! The Lord Himself encouraged Cain to do right, but he would not. If we are going to be wise about evil today, we must cease thinking that we can always “love” evil into repentance. God Himself “failed” as a counselor in Cain’s case.

    So….does Chris Moles think he can do better than GOD himself?

    page 8
    There are entire schools of counseling, calling themselves “biblical,” for instance, that focus on efforts to change Cain into Abel, usually at the expense of Abel. Underneath it all is this refusal to acknowledge the true nature of Cain. Cain is evil. Cain is of his father the devil. And Cain and his descendants are in most every single local church today, offering their self-worship offerings devised by their own hands, offered to a god whom they have invented. And if you are not wise to these things, they will bring you into miserable bondage.

    Yep Chris Moles is heading toward bondage because of his devilish counselling philosophy…

    1. Thanks Innoscent. Thanks for saying this; I put links into your comment to help other readers find what you are referring to.

      And by the way, I love your screen name. The scent of water. The scent of living water. The scent of truth versus evil. What a beautiful play on words. 🙂

      1. Thank you Barb, I knew either you or TWBTC would create the links to Jeff’s series. 😉 I’m on part 16 out of 26 and highlighting, pondering and relating it to my own story. I’m determined to educate myself as much as I can about the tactics of evil and never fail in discerning / judging / confronting evil God’s way. I’ve been learning so much since following ACFJ for the last 5 years. So grateful for everything you do!

        I’m glad my screen name evokes beautiful things in your mind and heart. 🙂 At the time of looking and praying for one I had a deep seated conviction of not being guilty at all for the abuse I’d been suffering and the word ‘innocent’ was screaming inside. Not only that but I felt there was a fragrance to my innocence opposed to the stinking smell of the abusers! And so ‘inno-scent’ came together. 🙂

  11. Yesterday I picked up a book on emotional abuse, by an abuser. He swears he didn’t realize at the time what he was doing was abuse. He acknowledges his wife’s right to leave, and that seven months of rehab (ha ha lol, 7 MONTHS and you think you’re cured and can write a book??) doesn’t undo 30 years of abuse, but he still hopes for reconciliation. At that point, I put the book right back down. There is soooo much entitlement showing, even as he accuses himself.

    My ex once admitted in a counseling session that I sat in on, that he knew I was angry (didn’t care), but he hadn’t realized I was hurt. Somehow he thought that made a difference. I don’t believe for one second that they don’t know what they are doing. Seared conscience, yes, absolutely, but clueless? NO WAY.

  12. That’s why the Lord had me reading the parable of the fig tree in Luke 13 this morning! Isn’t that just like Him, preparing the way for truth to reinforce truth?

    That parable says that the landowner has a fig tree in midst of his good field. The fig tree has been in the landowner’s garden for a long while. It has been in the presence of the landowner, in his territory (in the church, in the pews for the sermons, around religious people). It has been been tended in the garden – sucking up the time, resources, and the effort of the manager, (pastor / staff / counselors) and of the field. But it is not bearing fruit (showing any true evidence of being truly godly or of any change). The landowner says, “Cut it down!” The farm manager / counselor asks to fertilize the tree (teach, instruct, share the gospel) one last time (sounds familiar?). The landowner says, “Fine, one last time. But after that, if there is no change, cut it down!” The landowner says only one more try. Then cut it down. Cut it off. We’re done. Pull the plug.

    So how do all these counselors and religious trophy hunters think that they are better at this than the God of the universe? How can they think that “if they just keep reaching out”, if they take him out to dinner, coddle him, and “address some issues” that THEY will be the ones to win the wicked?

    God Himself says that He only reaches out for a while. And that time is a lot shorter than these people think. They need to stop, too.

      1. Me either! Great interpretation MM! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts.
        It just happens the same this morning as I was reading in Proverbs 9, which made me think of your comment and this post by Barbara.

        (7) Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse,
        and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury.
        (8) Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you;
        reprove a wise man, and he will love you. [Proverbs 9:7-8]

        That goes along with Matthew 7:6

        Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.

        It occurred to me that what Chris Moles is doing with those abusers, is like breeding a pig farm, and throwing great means lavishly to waste that should be employed for abuse victims as many comments rightly stated. His business is in the wrong place altogether.

  13. The man who abuses his female intimate partner has surreptitiously kidnapped her by invading and colonizing her mind so she doesn’t know she has being kidnapped. He does this in order to have a sexual slave. The goal of all his tactics to have his sexual needs met without negotiation – this is what Don Hennessy says and I wholeheartedly agree with Hennessy. The abuser might also enjoy having a domestic slave, but his sexual entitlement is usually at the root of it.

    Wow. This so sums up my experience. I have said to several people that if I was replaced with a maid he could sleep with, he wouldn’t even notice. Even when I have tried to stand up for myself or discuss sexual needs / mutuality, it never lasts. He always falls back into the pattern of getting what he wants or sulking about it. I’m glad it’s not just me being crazy to think this is weird!

    1. My ex went so far as to ask if it was OKAY if he brought another woman into our marriage to help me around the house (I have an autoimmune disease), and to “fill in” when I wasn’t feeling up to intimacy. Even had biblical “reasoning” behind it. I was very hurt and very angry and told him if I wasn’t enough for him, he could find someone else. […].

      We struggled to have kids, and a few years ago I had a miscarriage. It was handled poorly by both of us – he refused to talk about it, and I bottled my emotions – but the result was that he became more aggressive in the bedroom until it led to my being raped. Took me 7 months to realize that he had actually done that to me, and another month of praying and reading messages on Christian abuse to realize that I wasn’t in a safe situation. I moved out while he was on a business trip (he is an avid gun collector), and he was served divorce papers that week.

      One of my friends suggested that once he no longer saw me as the (potential) mother of his children, he could act out what he was watching on the internet. And this was a man who was a deacon in our old church, sang in the choir, was the first to help out when people had a need….

      I learned who my real friends are through this, and have made new ones with no connection to my old life. It has been a struggle, but God has been with me every step – even when I haven’t kept Him first in my life. I hope and pray that things are going better for you, Singer.

  14. Thank you Barb, you are spot on when you discuss kidnappers. Think of Ariel Castro or others who have held young girls or even their own daughters captives for years solely for the purpose of having a sex slave.

    These men are now locked up or dead, they definitely should not be among us, it is the worst kind of evil.

    The desires of an abuser are the same.

    I have also watched some of Lundy Bancroft’s material, and he has extensive experience working with batterers as well and I sense he despises these unrepentant abusers and batterers — and even he, as an unbeliever, has used what he has learned and turned to the protection [protector?] of women, he simply advises that jail time is the best way to get a batterer to reform.

    1. Someone else sees the link of those like Castro and Josef Fritzl who held his daughter captive, and the core among batterers and abusers. Either Castro lacked the finesse or didn’t want to bother. Fritzl had the means and possible finesse but wasn’t content and created a dungeon for his own daughter (and her subsequent kids with her dad being their father).

      And I’m not downplaying those victims’ horror, suffering, victimization, or trauma.

      But my monster talked and acted and shared the same core beliefs as Castro and Fritzl and he is doing just fine, having prospered in his wickedness and criminality. The general public reacts with horror when the crimes of Castro and Fritzl come to light but somehow I don’t see how people don’t get it that Castro and Fritzl were merely lazy in their predation. There’s plenty of other men roaming about freely in this world that do unspeakable things to groomed, very selectively chosen targets, upon whom they can prey with impunity.

      Just like how if a man went and punched another guy on the street, he’d go to jail and be condemned for such. Same with a man punching a random woman from the street. But somehow it all changes when it is the wife or child of the man. They are no longer human beings, apparently. And the grooming it takes to produce victims who look free, who appear to have choices, who present as being afforded agency (and therefore being presumed as being at fault, for having not left him, chosen a better husband who doesn’t beat or abuse) is just as evil in my opinion. So many women suicide because of the horror, the abuse, the degradation, the unrelenting pain their abusers inflict on them.

      It’s like slavery in the U.S., where African Americans were literally enslaved, bought, sold, and even ‘bred’ (raped by the owners, other white men, etc.) and there’s chains, etc. to be seen as evidence of those past horrors. Nobody can be seen as credible today, in this present day, and say such enslavement wasn’t evil and wrong. And yet, there’s endless modern day slaves, made to be invisible, which takes more finesse and is just as evil in my mind because these modern day slaves are then blamed and shamed as being responsible for their victimization, when in reality, they are as chained as though literal chains were being used again to enslave, own, and control humans as property.

      And no, this comment isn’t well formulated, nor am I saying the slavery of racist America wasn’t horrific or that Castro and Fritzl weren’t monsters, but rather children of the devil have the same core. The devil (and his children) steal, kill, and destroy. How many battered women in supposed privileged existences suicide to escape their enslavement and entrapment? Not to mention the children that the abusers kill.

      The same core is there. It’s the same core, just played out to different degrees with different modes of attack. The victims are ruined, whether it is by golden handcuffs, or crude, makeshift, chains wrapped up as handcuffs, they are still enslaved and entrapped and ruined.

    2. I’m not discounting the horrors of what Castro did to his kidnapped victims by any means by what follows, just some thoughts of mine.

      Castro wanted a sex slave. Whereas Castro used chains, other men who want a sex slave use more easily hidden chains / controls, both routes serve the same purpose — entrapping and enslaving some woman to be but a sex slave. And when we say ‘sex slave’ people seem not to see it as so bad anymore, because of the ‘kink’ porn industry packaging their deviancy as ‘spice’ and ‘variety’ and consensual BDSM ‘play’ but sex slave is a horrible life of abuse, rape, and degradation.

      Castro’s victims didn’t fear not being believed, they knew that if the police came — they were home free, as chains and kidnapping don’t make for good defenses in the rapes being claimed as ‘consensual’. And I am not discounting the horrors they lived or the extremity of their trauma.

      I am saying that there are women who are chained, enslaved, and entrapped and also are but sex slaves and overall slaves, yet their chains are invisible. So, the mind games, the domination, the ruining of someone’s psyche and destruction of someone’s mind and mental well-being, the fear and humiliation tactics, ruling and controlling by threats and intimidation, all such work to be chains that keep other victims in place. Worse yet, then people admonish the victims, criticize, judge, and say things like, ‘well, you should have left’ or ‘if it was that bad, you’d have left, but you stayed, so it must not have been that bad’ or ‘it was your choice to be there / to marry him / to stay’ and any number of other damaging things.

      Same with all the rest that comes with the aftermath of abuse. Even if you escape or separate or divorce or whatever, you still live with so many discounting, blaming, shaming, discrediting, critical things being said to you as a victim of more invisible or subtle and sophisticated abuse. It’s really hard to prove things because people don’t want to believe it, the abuser is skilled, he has been smearing and creating all sorts of discrediting groundwork for a long, long time in advance (a good defense is an aggressive offense — start smearing her long in advance so if she ever does break her silence, the discrediting campaign will have already been in place for months or years).

      It’s all a horror. I believe there’s a lot of women who suicide who are smeared as having been mentally ill, or a drug addict, or whatever who are really battered and abused woman desperate to get the pain to stop, to escape the horror of their lives. But who is left to say anything when the woman is pushed into suicide? Her abuser(s). And they’re not about to place the blame on themselves or tell of their crimes. Nope.

  15. Abusers cannot be redeemed by the efforts of people. Only Yeshua through His Justice can get through. Abusers abuse because it works. When it quits working they probably discard. I am preparing for my abusive parents to discard me, currently honoring them without having a relationship or loving them. I look forward to the discard. The abuse worked for roughly 50 years. That is why they did it. Please don’t overanalyze an abuser.

    1. Maggie, just wanted to second Barb’s comment. That was incredibly well put.

      I didn’t catch the enormity of that last statement of yours until I re-read it. But my goodness, that is spot on.

      The Bible speaks beautifully when warning us about the love of money, love of the world and love of the things of the world.

      I believe “control” is a form of currency. And abusers love to have more and more of it—and they are never satisfied or content. The love of control is intoxicating. It feeds that never-ending love of power and pride.

      So when you brought up that abusers abuse “because it works,” I started remembering my own abusive childhood.

      Try to imagine someone who is well-trained and well-educated about their craft. In the employment world, they would be very sought after because they are so good at what they do. They will probably make a lot of money, get promoted and be well-respected and treated well. Their skills serve them well in life, and those skills serve others well, too. They will even train others who want to be successful like them. They will mentor others on an individual level, giving specific attention to those that seem particularly talented like they are.

      Replace the word “craft” with abuse—-and that explains a lot about abusers, and why they tend to get away with what they do for so long. And, how these people are so able to hide within the church as well.

      I too have been guilty of over analyzing my own abuser, and others around me who I don’t label as abusers—-but were very toxic persons. We can get carried away in focusing so much on them, that we forget to process our own pain and suffering.

      I’ve had a hard time trying to explain to people that my abuser knew how to use fear, manipulation and intimidation to hold and maintain control over me. It can be very hard for others to understand such things.

      Their attention shifts to “why do abusers abuse?,” versus “how can we help the victims?” Which defeats the whole purpose of trying to tell your story.

      Fear WORKS. That is how abusers function, and that is how they keep their victims silent for so long.

      We tend to scoff at such a statement. “You were afraid? But the Bible says you aren’t supposed to be afraid! The Bible says not to fear man, only to fear God.”

      In acting like that, we are partially blaming the victim—-or “sin leveling” as this site very well points out. “Sure, the abuser is guilty of choosing to use fear tactics, but you too are guilty for choosing to be afraid.”

      We are quick to judge, quick to respond and quick to analyze something we aren’t even taking very seriously in the first place!

      Again, well said and well done.

      1. I had a Christian neighbor tell me to dump my fear of my ex and “hold his toes to the fire”. She thought I could stay with my verbally and financially abusive, prostitute-using, physically abusive ex and just take him to task on how he was violating his marriage contract / vows! I had to think on that, it sounded pat and easy except that holding his “toes to the fire” and confronting his evil behaviour is what got me beat up in the first place. I could not go there again. Obviously she can do that with her husband if things go off track in her marriage but I couldn’t with mine! Even today when I speak to her she thinks I should not have divorced my husband! According to her the divorce is the problem not my ex’s philandering or selfish, cruel and abusive behaviour! I should have [stayed] with him!!! Ahem, no!

      2. Thank you for sharing that, Starlight. I had to read your comment a few times because your neighbor’s “reasoning” was hard to understand. Hard to follow her lines of thinking.

        So, I think she was encouraging you to stand up for yourself in order to win the husband’s respect and make it clear that his behaviors were unacceptable: “wow, this must be serious if she’s willing to overcome her fear and confront me. I better sit up straight and hear her out.”

        This sort of thing is often touted as being “emboldened” by Him; to stand up in faith and trust that He will be with you and be victorious.

        To NOT do so implies that you are not bold, not having faith in Him and not trusting that He will lead you to victory.

        That was even hard to type out, because I too have been deceived into this “do or die” type of thinking. It comes off as commonsense thinking as well, so those around us simply cannot understand why silence is chosen instead.

        I really think you explained it well:

        I had to think on that, it sounded pat and easy except that holding his “toes to the fire” and confronting his evil behaviour is what got me beat up in the first place.

        As a rule of thumb. I try not to encourage anyone to give in to fear (myself included). However, I cannot state enough times that it does not often go well when we choose to even attempt to stand up for ourselves. It is often taught and even assumed that nothing will go wrong if you “do the right thing,” but the truth is often far more complicated that we’d like to admit!

  16. Realizing, perhaps afresh, that my first husband did indeed commit an act of violation against me. After an argument in which I was verbally silenced, and after I had made a number of attempts to be heard, he decided we were making out. He made a real point of forcing the issue, we were doing this. I thought the way he was acting was weird and sensed somehow it was about dominance and control but didn’t really understand. When you are married, the fact that you are supposed to have a sexual relationship with your “husband” gives a veneer of normalcy even though I sensed this was weird, creepy and abnormal. It never occurred to me to ask a pastor about it. I knew I would not receive any help from them. During the make out session, he made a point of engaging in a separate activity at the same time, as if to show how indifferent he was and how little effect all this had on him,

    I think my response was disbelief and feeling as if I somehow deserved it. I had married him not because I loved him and really felt he was the one, but because when I had attempted to break up with him he had flipped out and began ranting like a madman. I had little knowledge of abuse, abusers, entitlement, or how my own background of abuse had affected my mind. I had something of a break with reality attended to with demonic accusation and intrusion. It was frightening. I didn’t know what was happening to me but I became very submissive and meek and wound up somehow trying to convince myself I was doing this of my own free will. I probably wasn’t but felt so responsible because of my own sinful behaviours in the relationship, the idea that I had a right to protest was beyond me. I felt kidnapped! Imagine my shock and disgust when, at the end of the relationship he said to me “Well, if I could be honest, I feel like a hostage in this relationship”. YOU feel like a hostage?!!!!???

    1. Hi Felt Like A Hostage,

      For your protection, I changed your screen name to Felt Like A Hostage, as it appeared you may have given your real name. If you prefer a different screen name, please email me at reachingout.acfj@gmail.com.

      You might want to check the New Users’ Information page.

      [The usual screen name of Felt Like A Hostage is Kind of Anonymous. The screen name on her comment has been corrected to reflect my error. Reaching Out.]

      1. Hi Barb, thank you for that. I am still kind of in disbelief, like “should I be upset about this?” sort of thing. So much of my life’s experiences where men are concerned has always involved some manner of intimidation or control that I guess it didn’t register as any kind of rape at all. And I’ve heard so much stuff in church that would sin level — as if my having sinned somehow made me responsible for his behaviour. (I broke something he gave me and left it outside the door as a way to signal that things were not okay, because he would not listen to anything I was trying to say to him. Childish perhaps but the only way I could think of to protest.)

        I had a biblical counselor charge me with defrauding him [husband] because I just didn’t want to make love to him. I had to really work myself up just to get interested. I thought it was because of my history of past abuse that I felt so little for him that way and would cry afterwards. Certainly that was part of it, probably transference and triggers caused me to be unable to respond like a sexually healthy adult woman, but it never occurred to me that his behaviours were abuse and could also have something to do with it.

        What made it even more confusing is that he would be so understanding and comfort me when I cried and not force me that way. The incident of forced sexual activity happened once, although during sex he acted out his resentment over not getting his by doing things to me that hurt me. I would confront it and he would apologize but next time do it again and claim to have forgotten. He severely aggravated a gland below my ear with excessively hard face stroking!

        He wasn’t demanding about house work or my weight and he let me stay home. He would do little things for me to try and heal past wounds, and buy me my favorite magazine or flowers. At the same time, he was rude and dismissive of my feelings and expected me to tolerate his family mistreating me and trying to walk over top of me, and creating incredible uproar in our lives with their determination to control and punish if thwarted. He would deny that there was anything wrong in our lives and he would play jokes on me that were utterly hurtful and not funny.

        It is so hard to escape that fog which seems to be able to reach out and yank me back in easily.

      2. What made it even more confusing is that he would be so understanding and comfort me when I cried and not force me that way. The incident of forced sexual activity happened once, although during sex he acted out his resentment over not getting his by doing things to me that hurt me. I would confront it and he would apologize but next time do it again and claim to have forgotten. He severely aggravated a gland below my ear with excessively hard face stroking!

        Maybe it might be a good time to re-read some or all of the Don Hennessy series. It might help you process and consolidate the realisations you are having about your husband’s sexual abuse of you. He sounds like one of those male abusers who are highly skilled at re-grooming the target in order to re-offend against her….

  17. Thanks, Reaching Out. I usually post under a different name but perhaps I wrongly entered the email in the name field instead? No problem though. Oh! I just attempted to fill in the fields and noticed the autofill is putting my full name in. Arrrgh.

    1. My apologies, Kind of Anonymous, I now see my error. 🙂 I have corrected your screen name on your other comment.

    2. Kind Of Anonymous, just wanted to acknowledge your story and give you props for articulating the confusion and complications so well. I got a good glimpse of what you were going through when reading your words.

      I too think you would strongly identify with the Don Hennessy series. When I read that series, I was pretty blown away at the discernment and spot on perceptions of the abuser.

      It reminded me as to how skilled and crafty abusers are. And also how they “seduce” and entrap their victims so carefully, so subtly—-and so successfully that (as you brought up) the victim is not even sure what is really going on.

      I have read that when an abuser targets you, they study you very well in order to figure out the best and most effective ways to entangle you in their web.

      For me, this is partially why it’s so hard for me to talk about how I’ve been victimized. I get afraid that I may be unintentionally paving the way for someone to exploit me, when I reveal how I’ve been hurt. They now know how to best hurt me. They know where I am weak and vulnerable.

      This stayed with me:

      When you are married, the fact that you are supposed to have a sexual relationship with your “husband” gives a veneer of normalcy even though I sensed this was weird, creepy and abnormal.

      Goodness, I hope more and more people listen to words like those. Marriage is NOT a “cover” for any form of coercion, or anything that is not 100% consensual. That does not only apply to sexual intimacy, but across the board in general.

      Marriage is NOT a “cover” for sin, period—and the treatment you described was sinful. Even if you felt discomfort, I believe that is where everything should have stopped. I do understand the desire to please your partner, so one might feel pressured to consent regardless of how they feel.

      However, the goal of intimacy is unity. How can that be achieved if one of the parties feels manipulated, and not treated with the upmost respect and honor? This gets lost in the conversation, and Christians should be ashamed of themselves for losing sight of that. The narrative tends to conveniently put that fact aside and instead, the “submission” argument is pushed and preached like crazy.

      God’s goal of marriage was that “the two shall become one.” That has never changed, despite the fall of humanity—-instead, we have warped and twisted that precious goal.

      The 2nd commandment (loving one another as you do yourself) makes it clear that you should treat others as you would like to be treated. And NO ONE in their right mind wants to be abused. Abusers have no interest in treating others as they would like to be treated. They only want to treat others as they feel 100% entitled to do so.

      The difference there is so vital, and often so missed. I’ve fallen for that trap countless times. I would try to treat others as I would like to be treated, but it never occurred to me that they too were just as accountable to do the same towards me.

      My husband once made the comment that crowns will likely be waiting for people who have been so tolerant. I got his point, but I made it clear that the goal of being gracious is NOT to open a door for that grace to be abused. This is another common misconception. The point of God’s patience and long-suffering towards us is NOT to encourage us to remain in sin, but to rescue us from it.

      Blessings to you and absolutely keeping you (and all past or present victims / survivors) in prayer.

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