How do you get the abuser’s voice and perspective out of your head?
[May 8, 2022: There have been some changes made to this post. For more information, read the Editors’ notes at the bottom of the post. Editors.]
….How do you get the abuser’s voice and perspective out of your head? I have full faith in God, I see His hand in my life. I believe I am His precious daughter. But I’m having so much trouble feeling an intimacy and fellowship with God or discerning His voice.
—question asked by Becoming (link)
One of our anonymous readers gave this suggestion:
[May 8, 2022: Potentially dangerous teaching. Editors.]
….Think of your abuser as Satan. It is not that great a stretch, as abusers are children of the devil. Every time anything comes up regarding your abuser, inject “Satan” into the equation, instead.
….Let’s call your abuser “Joe”….instead of saying, “Joe wanted me to fold the clothes this way”, replace “Joe” with “Satan”….“Satan wanted me to fold the clothes this way.”
See how jarring that is? It works.
“Satan says I’m fat.” or “Satan said I’m worthless.” or “Satan said I’m a bad mother.” or whatever it is that “Joe” (your abuser) said about you or demanded of you.
Same goes for further contact — “Satan wants to me to meet with him and talk about this or that.” Would you go to talk and have a heart-to-heart with Satan? No, you would not.
Speaking for myself (Barb), it has not only been things my personal abusers said or did that had stuck to me like the Tar-Baby. The Tar-Baby is the second of the Uncle Remus stories published in 1880; it is about a doll made of tar and turpentine used by the villainous Br’er Fox to entrap Br’er Rabbit. The more that Br’er Rabbit fights the Tar-Baby, the more entangled he becomes.
A pastor I sat under for a year used certain verses repeatedly to teach what I now know to be false doctrine. Whenever I re-read those verses, the recollection of the man’s spirit contaminates me all over again. He’s poisoned those verses for me for the rest of my life. I try to apprehend the real meaning of those verses with the Holy Spirit’s help, but I seem to be unable to. Every time I come to read those verses, jagged, ugly, garish lines choke my view and stop me understanding.
Helovesme gave this suggestion:
….How do I reclaim the power that the abusers had (and still have) over me?
Their power over me put me in a position of living in a constant state of fear. Walking on eggshells, but somehow always stepping on glass instead.
Even though the abuse may (or may not) have ended in the technical sense—the person or persons still have a lot of power over me. Like you said, their voices in my head are still going strong, even though I may (or may not) have ceased speaking to them anymore.
Abuse is based on lies. 100% lies. The only antidote to lies is the Lord—who says He IS the way, the truth and the life. He doesn’t just promote or represent truth. He IS the truth. The more you abide in Him, and He in you—the more those lies will erode as He fills you with everything that He is. I believe, in time, He will eventually “push out” the lies that abusers have filled their victims with.
The Lord says He IS Light, and that darkness cannot compete with Him. Lies represent the kingdom of darkness. If we truly belong to His kingdom, which is full of His presence (no darkness exists in Him), we WILL start to see real results in our lives. The darkness had its way with us for awhile, but it will not claim victory over us.
Abuse represents nothing but death. A Cry for Justice beautifully wrote about how abuse, in essence, is murder. Lies DO murder a person from the inside out. I can tell you from experience that you can be technically alive on the outside, but inside you are dry, barren and lifeless because of what abuse does to a person. It is a slow, silent but deadly killer.
Jesus says He IS life. Since He lives in us and even goes so far to say He makes His home in us—we too are just as alive as He is. He died for us so that we would not have to abide in death anymore. He rose again so that He could give us the victory over whatever has torn us down. THAT is Who ultimately lives in us. Learning and growing and reminding ourselves about who He is (and who He isn’t) is potent antidote to abuse.
We who are born again in Him are required to NOT serve two masters. Our abusers are NOT our masters. They tried to be, but not anymore. My father was my abuser, and he darn well tried to rule my life. Even after I technically left that home, he “followed” me wherever I went and strongly influenced whatever I tried to do. I had a hard time with relationships because I had no idea how to relate to someone in normal, healthy ways! Sometimes I could feel the tug of war inside of me, with the Lord saying one thing, and my father saying another.
It truly was as if I was trying to serve two masters. Even though I hated my father for a lot of years, I also idolized and (in a strong sense) loved him—I think I feared him as MUCH as I loved him! That just made trying to get rid of his lies even harder.
This was my father, whose love and approval meant a great deal to me. I never got it. Even though he filled me with nothing but lies for most of my life, how does one reconcile getting rid of the very strong influence of the ONLY earthly father I’d ever had?
It became something of a competition. My Heavenly Father was saying one thing. My earthly father was saying the exact opposite, or something radically different. Both had VERY strong voices—pulling me back and forth.
I should add that I was (and still am) in your boat—trying to discern His voice from my abuser’s. But I WAS reading the Word of God, and there were plenty of verses that directly contradicted the lies my abuser had fed me. So even though I couldn’t always discern His voice, I had His written Word right in front of me—telling me that I AM worthy in His eyes. I AM valuable. I AM precious.
It seems obvious, right? Our Heavenly and earthly fathers (or spouses) are in separate arenas. How can they even compete? It’s too easy for professing Christians to say: Why don’t you just believe God over your abuser? You lack faith! You lack trust! You are “letting” your abuser control you! You have the power in Him now; rebuke those lies. YOU have the problem, because you know God is over and above everyone else, yet you continue to deny and disbelieve His truths.
Such persons aren’t technically wrong, but they lack empathy. They simply don’t understand the power of lies—and plenty of them. Try to imagine a house full of trash, built up over time. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the house is messy, smells bad and is probably hazardous to our health to live in. Trying to clean up that house is going to be a slow and steady process. It will take time, but you will see real results eventually.
If the Lord is patient as we work through the rubble and rubbish that abuse did to us, we too should be patient with ourselves. More than likely, we didn’t even KNOW how bad things were until we stepped back and saw things as they really were. In relationships that did not involve my father, it took over a decade in some cases to realize I had been fed a lot of lies that had really messed me up. Now I am in the process (again) of untying all the knots that those lies caused. Untangling the many cords that lies had tied me up in.
Untangling one lie at a time seems frustratingly slow, but it’s effective. You cannot expect a “rush” job when it comes to something as delicate and sensitive as our hearts and souls and minds. We are His treasures. He will not risk doing real damage to us by bulldozing those lies out of us.
Our Father is NOT an abuser. He is above all things—infinitely superior to everything—yet He will never use that superiority to tear His children down. He is in complete contrast to an abuser. For Him, it’s not about control, domination and having power over us. It’s about love, having a real relationship with Him—and letting a real Savior transform us into His image.
I used to believe that abuse could also involve half truths or could contain bits of truth here and there. Perhaps I shouldn’t discard EVERYTHING an abuser says. Maybe there were a few pearls of wisdom inserted into the ocean of lies he was feeding me.
I have ceased that way of thinking. Here is why:
Sometimes the things my dad would point out about me were truthful, even though it was used to feed his sense of entitlement to hurt me. So I had an even harder time getting rid of his voice inside of me. Don’t forget that I lived under his roof for years. Anyone that you spend a lot of time with is going to get to know you in ways that other people do not.
This is my personal viewpoint, but I take my cue from the Word. Discard EVERYTHING that an abuser feeds you. They take their cue from the devil, and they walk in his footsteps. The Lord said that he is the father of lies. There is NO truth in him. A murderer from the beginning. He lives only to steal, kill and destroy. He will masquerade as an angel of light. He goes around like a hungry lion, always looking for someone to devour.
I don’t care if they are “technically” right in some of the things they point out to you. The devil knows how to take Scripture and twist it up so that it SOUNDS Biblical, but it does not represent who He is. If anyone is doing anything like that—get them out of your lives. They have no interest in the truth setting you free as Christ intended. They are only interested in putting you BACK into the bondage that He set us free from.
And by the way, there is NO hierarchy with Him. None at all. Everyone who is born again is on equal, solid footing with the rest of His children. You do NOT have to give into a popular, beloved or charismatic pastor or preacher who tries to claim he or she has some sort of “upper hand” with the Lord. Same with a man who tries to claim he has some “special” authority over you as a woman. Therefore you better darn well listen to them—and give into your abuser or enable another abuser. That is 100% false. He doesn’t work like that. He never, ever elevates one gender or one believer in order to demean the other gender or another believer.
Each of us has the Holy Spirit in us as born again believers. And if you need to repel false doctrine or an arsenal of lies—all you do is ask Him for His Spirit and believe that He will be faithful. The Spirit of the Lord is all about freedom, based 100% on truth and brings streams of living water to the cold and dry desert that abuse has done to us.
When we see Him face to to face again, we will be 100% free from the trials of this world. In the meantime, fight the good fight. Never give up. Never give in. He overcame everything on our behalf. We have every reason to believe He will not give up on us as we too struggle to overcome what has dominated us for so long.
Readers, if you have any tips to share about how to get the abuser’s voice out of your head, please share them!
[May 8, 2022: Editors’ notes:
—For some comments made prior to May 8, 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 May 8, 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 May 8, 2022 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (May 8, 2022), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]