A Cry For Justice

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

Spot the Abuserese

I noticed this news story the other day: Man Banned From All Walmarts for Life. This video and much of the news coverage portrays this guy as a disabled penny pincher who loves taking his grandma to Walmart. I viewed the video and I heard something entirely different. I heard abuserese.

He blames price matching for his being banned instead of his behavior. He declares devotion to Walmart as though he should be excused because he luuvvs the company so much. He never takes any responsibility for his actions or for the fear he is reported to have instilled in the employees. He talks about how HE’s embarrassed and inconvenienced as though he is a victim and not an abuser. Any of this sound familiar? Oh, and he claims that he was just trying to get what was owed to him. He had a right to get a price matched. And in addition to getting mistreated by being denied something he’s entitled to, he’s being required to comply with a boundary. A boundary! How terrible and unjust to give a boundary. Did I miss anything? What did you hear?

Here’s a news report that gives the rest of the story.

I will add that this is a study in abuserese, not price matching, Walmart, or corporations. Keeping the focus on abuserese will help us to recognize it and avoid it and the ensuing confusion brought on by abusers and their spin on events. Before learning to recognize abuserese, I was often confused. Abusers and their allies frame their versions of events with their smooth speech and the fog rolls in. Reading here at ACFJ and at other sites dedicated to exposing abusers’ mindsets and vocabularies has helped me feel more secure, more SANE! And you know how I like to recommend Jeff C’s sanity saving sermons early and often.  [And if you want to find Jeff's sermon series on domestic abuse, click here.]

14 Comments

  1. fiftyandfree

    I kept having nightmares about the anti-husband last night and this post reminds me very well why I fear him. He used to do this sort of thing all the time; threaten and intimidate, but turn it around and make it look like I was the one threatening and intimidating him. The fog I lived in was suffocating and disorientating. I thank God every time I am reminded of the nightmare from which I have been rescued.

  2. Not Too Late

    Projection of who they are onto others. Check.
    They claim to be the poor victims. Check.
    No sign of responsibility-taking. Check.
    No understanding of suffering caused. Check.
    Resists, resents and invades boundaries. Check.
    It’s all about them. Check.

    Yup, well-spotted, it’s abuserese.

  3. I’m always amazed at the abusers who will get “out there” in front of people and act this way – I figure the smart ones are more careful than this. However, maybe it’s just a sign of how deep the abuser has sunk into that pit. He’s so deep… he believes his own lies enough to get in front of a camera.

  4. Still Scared( but getting angry)

    My ex-idiot believes his changed history. Believes his own lies. He would do this!

    • My ex-idiot believes his changed history.

      Ha!

      Yeah. Like that hole that’s left when you put your finger in water and pull it out again. :)

      • Did I mention that I dislike your x immensely?….

  5. Whisper

    How do you deal with someone who flat out denies an event that happened or something they did? They don’t even give their version of the event, they simply deny that it ever happened. Do they really not remember doing it?

    • Whisper, someone who regularly and chronically re-writes history like that is almost certainly an abuser and a liar, unless they have some kind of organic cognitive problem like dementia or a genuine mental illness that involves hallucinations or delusion. . . . But abusers do this rewriting of history deliberately.

      I strongly suggest you read Lundy Bancroft’ book which we list in the Resources (see tab at top of blog). Lundy says that some abusers appear to actualy believe (become convinced of) their own lies, but others seem to know full well inside themselves that they are lying but they will deny it till they are blue in the face. And there may be some who are a bit of one way and bit the other (partly convinced of their own lies, and partly conscious that they are lies not truth.) But ultimately, it really does not change how you deal with (respond to) such a person. Whether the abuser is convinced by their own lies, or are quite conscious they are lies, it makes little difference to the person who is the victim of the abuse. It stll amounts to the same thing on the receiving end: you are being abused.

      The victim may have a few ways of responding, which we each can employ as we see fit, on a case by case, moment by moment basis. Some ways to respond might be:
      “That’s your view, but it’s not mine.”
      “I don’t believe that. Stop it.”
      “Stop changing the facts!”
      “Quit it!”
      “Since you and I have very different versions of reality, it’s impossible to discuss this with you.” (and walk away)
      Or you can be sarcastic and say something like “What have you been smoking today?” Or “You must have done to a lot of embroidery classes to learn how to embroider the truth so well!”

      By and large, abusers are usually making out that they are not aware of how wrong their behaviour and attitudes are. They often pull the ‘poor me’ card when you accuse them of wrongdoing. But they are much more aware than they let on. Otherwise, they would be doing that evil stuff in public, to anyone they encounter. But abusers confine their most wicked and dishonest conduct to their relationship with their intimate partner. They know it is wrong, so they restrain themselves from doing it in public where it would be more fully and easily exposed and denounced (and penalized!). They restrict it to behind closed doors (or ‘hidden in plain sight’) with their victim. That’s how we know they do it deliberately — by choice — and that they know what they are doing, and that it is wrong.

  6. anon

    My husband has gone to our church and now claims I am abusing him. Can you please help direct me to good articles I can share with them, to TRY to help explain how this is another tactic, and how they can tell who is telling the truth. It just. keeps. getting. worse. :(

    • Ellie

      He is trying to gain allies. If your pastor would be willing to read here at ACFJ, a search for “allies” or “ally” might be helpful.

      This checklist has been very helpful to me.

      I am sorry that your abuser has started this smear campaign. If he is making demands, that’s one of the biggest clues to who the abuser is. I will pray that God will reveal the truth.

    • Here is our tag for Abuser’s Allies.

      Also, Lundy Bancroft’s book Why Does He DO That?, which you can find in our Resources list under Books by Author, has a whole chapter on the abuser and his allies. In that chapter Lundy discusses how abusers recruit allies in the church, the legal/justice system, the mental health system, etc. If you can get your church leaders to read that chapter, it might open their eyes. But perhaps the best thing they could read is Jeff Crippen’s book A Cry For Justice, which you can also find on our Resources list, or in our sidebar to the right.

      • anon

        Thank you Ellie and Barbara! I have those 2 books, but haven’t been able to read them yet-they are tucked away at a friends house b/c he keeps going through my things :/

        I will suggest them to the church-not sure how successful it will be.

        It just NEVER ends.

      • Ellie

        I had to change churches for a couple of reasons. My old church was as supportive of me as they knew how to be, but the staff wasn’t going to “take sides.” They love me and my kids and they pray for me and I am still very close to many people there, but I wasn’t going to grow there. I wasn’t going to get healthy with them constantly seeking to sin level and to look objective rather that rescue the oppressed. The church I’m at now is very knowledgeable at dealing with abuse and helping victims recover. I think they are willing to learn even more about it also.

        It could be that if your church is resistant to the truth, you’ll find comfort and help in a different church. It is very VERY frustrating to try to explain your issues, to think you’ve explained them, to see them agreeing and understanding, only to have them look at you like you’re crazy the next time you seek help or to have them need endless “meetings” to try to figure out what to do with you.

        I am praying for you. God will show you what to do.

  7. anon

    Ellie, you just described my church, and I think you are right. Locating a new church feels so daunting right now, on top of everything else, but will probably be necessary.
    I appreciate the prayers very much!!

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