A Cry For Justice

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

How to Spot an Abuser Who Claims to be the Victim

(My thanks to Barbara Roberts for her help with this article)

I am sure that you have watched police SWAT teams in action at a hostage situation.  As the hostages emerge, a strange thing happens.  The police treat them as if they were the bad guys.  They have them kneel down, hands in the air, frisk them and handcuff them.  Why?  Because if the police have never actually seen the suspects, they want to be sure that the bad guys aren’t trying to escape in the disguise of one of the hostages.  And that is how we need to handle abuse situations, because it is very, very common for the abuser to claim to be the victim – and his disguise can be pretty ingenious.  Many hostages are thrown in “jail” while the bad guys go free when it comes to how our churches are dealing with abuse in their midst.

It really is not that difficult to recognize an abuser.  Their mentality of power, control, entitlement and justification always betrays itself in their speech and you can hear it if you know what to listen for.  To show you what I mean, let me use an example for a not-so-well-disguised abuser who wrote to me recently.  He claims to be the victim of his wife’s abuse.   I will just paraphrase him so as not to publicly identify him.  I suppose on a  blog like this I have to protect the guilty.  Oh well.  Here’s his opening line:

“Too bad you dont really know what you are talking about. You do not have much discernment and have bought into the lie that all or most domestic violence is perpetrated by men against women, nothing could be further from the truth. I can also tell you dont have any personal experience in this area, and I do. You, like many others have bought into the lies about DV and you say its mostly women who have come forward to you, therefore it must be only or mostly women that are abused.”

And then:

“She lies, deceives, manipulates and much of what you say of what happens spiritually is true, but I am the Christian and she unfortunately is not, I suggest her Catholic upbringing has may have something to do with that. Her family are liars and deceivers…she would come to you and say how I beat her, the kids, control the money and more…and you would believe it…like her family and few friends…but most neighbors, our children and their friends know the truth.”

So, when you are confronted with a man who claims to be the victim, here are some pretty reliable tests you can apply to see if you are talking to a real victim, or an abuser who is playing the victim (thus attempting to win you over as his ally) –

1. Abusers evidence a mentality of superiority and certainty.  Notice how this fellow goes right on the attack to exalt himself, his knowledge, his wisdom as oppose to our ignorance.  He knows.  We are fools.  In contrast, a real victim is most often confused, uncertain, and has a low self-image, putting themselves down.

2.  Abusers will evidence a demeaning attitude toward women in general and their victim in particular.    They insist that radical feminism has us all duped and that they are the victims of some widespread anti-man conspiracy.  Victims don’t see things this clearly and thus are not so dogmatic.  They will be more demeaning of themselves if anything.

3.  Abusers attack their victim with nasty, cruel allegations.  For example, the abuser may say “My wife is a drunk, a whore,  a lazy *^%$ who only thinks of herself and lies to everyone about me.”

We need to ask ourselves, is what this guy is saying about his wife really believable? Often the abuser’s accusations are bizarre and outlandish. Real victims do not exaggerate their abuser’s conduct; rather, they tend to downplay or not report all the evil things the abuser has done because they are trying to not tell lies and because they may have suppressed memories of abusive incidents while trying to walk on eggshells and survive.

If a victim may has come to the point of realizing the evils the abuser has done, the victim may report the abuse to others to seek help and support, but the victim won’t exaggerate and invent lies like the abuser does.  

4.  Abuse victims, and perhaps especially genuine male victims of abuse, exhibit humility and shame.  They are far more reluctant to open up about what has happened to them.  They will not insist that they have lots of people who believe them!  Real abuse victims, you see, often lack allies.  It is the abuser who has them!

If any readers would like to help us identify more signs of an abuser-in-disguise, we would love to hear from you.

For Further Reading:

The language of abusers who portray themselves as victims

Marks of a pretend victim versus a true victim

How easy is it to spot an abuser when he is both Jekyll and Hyde

 

154 Comments

  1. Marianne Lordi

    You are so right on with your assessment of abusers. They look around for any willing ear willing to let them bash their spouse and by telling them what they feel is wrong with their wife. The saddest part about an abusive spouse is that they treat their wife as the enemy.

  2. Yes. The hesitancy of the true victim is a real pointer. It’s the classic iceberg illustration: most of the iceberg is below the surface and you only see the tip above the water. The true victim will drop a mere hint about the tip of the iceberg, a small allegation about the abuser’s conduct, or a small hint about her own feelings, to see how the listener reacts. If the listener reacts without judgement but with interest and concern, then the victim may reveal a little more of the iceberg. She may go into more detail about what the abuser has been doing. Or she may talk more about how she feels (her emotions or mental state) – eg. that she thinks she is at fault, that she feels she needs to try harder in the marriage, and she is finding the marriage difficult. She may not make any direct allegations about the abuser’s conduct if she is still in the fog and hasn’t woken up to the fact that she is being abused.

    Phoney victims jump in with all guns blazing when making their allegations. They are not hesitant.

    • Merlin

      Me and my wife are both the abuse victims of others in our situation. So in order to be a real victim you have to keep your mouth shut? I for one have had it up to here with their ___, and if i get loud and open about it, I must be the phoney victim? … the abuser wants secrecy and isolation to continue the abuse. Speaking up loudly with guns blazing is what the abuser doesn’t want. To not do so is to further submit to the abuser.

      • Hello Merlin, I edited your comment a little before publishing it.

        You might like to read our new readers to check out our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

        Also, please bear in mind that while we understand the anger that victims have, we prefer our commenters not to use swear words most of the time. And we try to encourage our commenters to speak about their own experiences, but not to tell others what to do.

      • itaketoflight

        In a more gentler way, I have to agree with Merlin, my first husband was an incredibly abusive and violent man. He gave me serious injuries that are beyond the point of fixing (four surgeries already, and will eventually need another when I can no longer tolerate the pain but will still end up in a wheelchair eventually anyway). I was the passive meek victim who was ashamed and quiet – until the day he attacked our daughter. And then the mumma bear came out. All the pain of nearly a decade of suffering spewed out that no way in hell was my daughter going to suffer the horror of what I’d been through.

        God help any abuser who hurts a mumma bear’s child! Guns ablazing is putting it mildly!

      • Hi Itaketoflight, welcome to the blog 🙂

        We always like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

      • Chris

        Exactly what I was about to say. It never fails, the minute you reach the point of frustration and finally say something all of a sudden, you’re the abuser.

        I guess it’s white male privilege again. Yeah, except the suicide statistics speak a completely different story. It’s no wonder we keep our mouths shut and end up taking our own lives. With incentive like this TO shut up, who would dare speak up?

      • Hi Chris, welcome to the blog 🙂 We always like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

  3. There’s an excellent article over at Hidden Hurt from a man’s point of view. Reading through his story of domestic violence and abuse, I’m struck by how different his story sounds from my ex’s claims that I abused him all those years by looking at him cross-eyed.

    http://www.hiddenhurt.co.uk/thomas_domestic_violence_story.html

    Excellent first hand account highlighting the difference.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Yes, Ida, thank you . I read that just the other day and as you say, the difference in the tone struck me very plainly. After hearing just a few of these genuine stories, it seems to me that the false “victim” is really pretty easy to spot. Every young woman who has met a “too good to be true” man who oozes charm, but tells her how rotten his previous wife/wives were, should run! The phony victims are full of themselves and full of hate.

      • Bob

        I wish I read what you said, Jeff, when you wrote it… 10 months later, that’s exactly how I met my wife, and future abuser. She said everything I wanted to hear, told me how she too had been through an abusive relationship that lasted nearly a decade, and recently escaped him (funny how I had just gone through a 5 year abusive relationship, followed by a 4 year abusive relationship)… I thought I was talking to someone who finally understood what I had been through, and could never do that to me, having had it done to her…

        I found out, after I caught her stealing money from rent, for drugs, and she ran off with my daughter, claiming abuse when I tried getting her to get help, that that’s way happened in her previous relationship too… He caught her stealing his paychecks, and buying drugs. He tried getting her help, and she took his two girls and screamed abuse. She did this to us both, same circumstances, everything…

        There was a couple years of abuse I went through up to her leaving with my baby, I’m not 100% on her ex, but I can only imagine, having gone through it myself, and the stories she made up about him when we met. She thought she was going to lose him, her girls, and her home (he was trying to get her help to prevent that though), so she took their girls to get free housing, money from the state, etc., but she ultimately was figured out in court, and wound up losing her girls, and everything. She’s now doing it to me.

        It is unfortunate we hear what we want to hear, and fall for it… I look back, and think how stupid I was to be so easily fooled, but I hoped during all that time things would change, that maybe it was a weird phase, and things would get better. It took a while to figure out it was drugs being used, and she hid the loss of money well… Well, seemingly well at the time; now it’s obvious, the lies. What’s worse, is I even ignored the warnings and offers to get out, from my counselor… I was in bad denial.

        Anyway… I hope more read this thread, and see what you and others wrote, before it’s too late. The only thing is, I wish your post reflected not just young women, but men too… Women equally can have that deceptive charm. 😉

      • Hi Bob (I changed your screen name for your safety).

        Welcome to the blog and thanks for sharing.

        We do recognise that sometimes the abuser is female, not male.
        In our sidebar, under the heading What Is Abuse? we say:

        The definition of abuse: A pattern of coercive control (ongoing actions or inactions) that proceeds from a mentality of entitlement to power, whereby, through intimidation, manipulation and isolation, the abuser keeps his* target subordinated and under his control. This pattern can be emotional, verbal, psychological, spiritual, sexual, financial, social and physical. Not all these elements need be present, e.g., physical abuse may not be part of it.

        The definition of domestic abuser: a family member or dating partner (current or ex) who has a profound mentality of entitlement to the possession of power and control over the one s/he* chooses to mistreat. This mentality of entitlement defines the very essence of the abuser. The abuser believes he is justified in using evil tactics to obtain and maintain that power and control.

        * Sometimes the genders are reversed — see our tag for ‘male survivors

        We most often use the male pronoun for domestic abusers because that reflects the most common situation, and because it’s linguistically awkward to keep saying over and over again, “he/she”, or restating in every post “we know that sometimes the genders are reversed” like a mantra. If you read our blog regularly, you’ll see that we don’t dismiss the fact that males can be victims of domestic abuse.

        We encourage male victims to reverse the genders of the pronouns in their head, where need be.

      • And btw, we always like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

      • Continuing as Bob

        Thank you, very much Barbara. I’m sorry to reply to Jeff again, but was not given the option to reply to you.

        I guess I understand where you’re coming from, with the gender thing. I think just far too often people forget that abuse can go both ways, and being new to blogs, and information about abuse, and being a male victim of abuse, it was just a little surprising is all… I guess it’s no different really, than baby boards, where babies are commonly referred to in the male gender, in open general discussion (that got to me too at first, being the father to a baby girl. Hahaha!).

        Anyway, I just want to thank you, for starting, and running this page. I’ve not looked to others for advice, comfort, or information really, at all, since I’ve been going through this, and I really just got to a point that I had to confirm that I’m not crazy, and that I’m not alone in this. (I can’t even write that without crying)… This has been by far, the worst thing I’ve ever had to go through, and having a severe anxiety disorder as it is, it’s been that much harder. I’ve successfully made it through addiction, child abuse when I was younger (not sure on successfully made it through, but I’m here still, so that has to count for something, I think), and a lot of other things in my life, but this is the one thing that seems to have destroyed me inside the most… I just feel so numb to things that once brought me joy, and the guilt I feel, for not doing anything sooner, and the far too long time of denial, is horrendous, no matter how much I’m told in counseling it’s not my fault, or how much I try to tell myself… I just can’t let go of that it is my fault. I just feel so lost, like that I can’t really imagine it going away. I’m afraid that it will ultimately affect my ability to cover my daughter 100%, and that she’ll somehow resent me for all that she has to now go through in life, because of what happened.

        Again, thank you. I really am happy to find some comfort in this blog… I hope that doesn’t sound wrong? It’s horrible anyone’s gone through this; I’m just grateful that others have come to be able to share their knowledge and experiences on the matter, is what I mean. Sorry, this is a flustering thing, and I get super nervous being so open, so I can be known to ramble. Hahaha!

        thank you.

      • Thanks Bob! And no worries about you replying to Jeff not me; that is an artefact of the blog — we have comments nested up to three levels only. (And if you don’t know what that means, don’t worry!)

        I’m glad you are finding comfort here. Stick around and keep reading and commenting — I think you’ll find a lot of support from other survivors. 🙂

        I just can’t let go of that it is my fault. I just feel so lost, like that I can’t really imagine it going away.

        That’s a VERY common feeling for victims as they come out of the fog. Here is a post you might find helpful:

        https://cryingoutforjustice.com/2015/04/13/car-problems-an-analogy-problem-solving-in-abusive-relationships/

      • and btw, many of us here were sexually abused in childhood too. So you’re not alone on that, either.

      • Anonymous

        Bob, as I read your comment I wondered if you’d met a member of my family. The woman you describe could be any one of dozens of women in my family. They are all psychopaths by the way, and if you don’t know what this means (if you think it’s an ax wielding murderer) you may be surprised once you start to research it.

        The women in my family do a rendition of what you describe and some of them really have it down. They know just how to game the system and just how to use others to get things they want but like your ex, the façade ends up slipping away and the victims (men like you) end up holding the bag. The children of these women were always just pawns in the game, used to get money from the welfare system or empathy from others, or to use in other ways, and left to be molested and then blamed for having problems. Those few of us who managed to escape and see the truth of what’s really taking place, are deeply wounded.

        One of my aunts was a pro at it. She was stunning to behold (physically) and with a vivacious personality that really reeled in the men. Someone once said of her, “She threw away more good men than most women will meet in a lifetime!” And boy oh boy was this true! (I have no idea where these men are by the way.) At the end of her life she had “wet brain” and was on heavy medication. She’d been married several times and her children were either just like her or refused to have any contact with her. She had a “weakness” for (she preferred) alcoholic, abusive men that she met at the bar. The nastier the better. This is true of most of the female psychopaths in my family. They knew they needed to net good men, but these men were simply toys for them–they counted on them taking care of the many children they had as well as doing the right thing. But they always had a “whore” on the side….usually a man who’d been in prison or who treats them like garbage. The weirdest thing is that this nasty type of man is the only one they will eventually settle down for–it’s so gross to me now to see it. By the way, she died “falling” out of a window. It may have been suicide but for most of those who knew her there was nothing but relief when we heard this. It was also when some of us finally started to heal–we knew she’d never have access to us again.

        A different aunt had been married several times, but finally married and is faithful to a convicted child molester. This man molested his own daughter and granddaughter. My aunt knew about the molestation and it didn’t “bother” her and when his daughter took him to court, she stood staunchly by him.

        My family used to try to employ me as part of the “clean up” crew….to help them when they were in the skids. I was far too destroyed to do it and had to make a living so I left, and that was what helped me escape.

        I just want to say that I believe you and also that I’m so sorry. Prior to God waking me up to the truth about evil that’s written about PLAINLY in the bible, that goes along with the truth about the nature of some permanent mental / spiritual disorders that will never be “cured” by psychotherapy or witnessing, I too kept trying to deal with and help these people. Not any longer. These are people who have no desire to change because at the foundation of what they are—they don’t think there is anything wrong with themselves. Just like their father the devil who (like his children–like the woman you describe) actually feels sorry for himself because after all he really believes he is better than every other being created–and as such should be worshiped by all! Anything less is not good enough and this is what we need to keep in mind–that evil ones will never be satisfied because as the bible tells us–they are not able to be appeased due to the choice they made to have the nature they chose. 2 Tim 3:3, “…unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good…” just to list a few of the characteristics of these people. http://biblehub.com/nas/2_timothy/3.htm Using this link simply click on each word and it will send you to the Greek etc. to help you understand the deeper meaning.

        Thank you for sharing your heart here. We all need each other and we need the truth that’s written in God’s word and taught to us through the Holy Spirit, in order to help us understand the truth.

      • Continuing as Bob

        Thank you, Anonymous, for your reply. I really can’t put into words, how to respond, or say how sorry I am for you, concerning this family issue, without it coming out sounding wrong… Narcissists, sociopaths, and psychopaths are a scary need indeed, and those who suffer from either, or any combination, are truly lost/tormented souls… My ex-wife is what my therapist classifies as a narcissistic sociopath, and her addiction only makes it that much worse (so nobody gets the wrong idea, my therapist has met her, and has done multiple joint sessions with us, and has had enough interaction, to have been able to make a professional assessment. Her assessment is not based on just what’s gone on in my personal sessions.)…

        I pray every night, still, that she will one day truly get the help she needs, but I have, after many months, finally accepted that I am unable to reconnect with her, as we once were. I almost feel silly, that I was actually willing to try to work things out… It really took a lot to realize that if things never changed over those years, why would they now all of a sudden, especially learning that I wasn’t the first she’d done this to. Sadly, I don’t think these types of people ever really do change, and with the lack of empathy, I doubt it’s something they’d ever want to change.

        Again, thank you. I’m very grateful that you’ve all been so kind, and helpful. You’ve all really made this a lot easier, joining such a discussion board, by being so understanding, and welcoming.

      • Hi Bob, if you haven’t already done so, you might like to subscribe to (‘follow’) the blog. This page explains how —

        Following the blog

  4. anon

    It took me a long time, but I think that my ex boyfriend was emotionally abusive. I just wanted to know, do some abusers claim emotional abuse to control their victim? Any time I got upset over anything, my ex would accuse me of trying to control or manipulate him. I was so paranoid about it I started hating myself whenever I got upset, trying to suppress whatever was bothering me, and tring to act like a perfect understanding and supportive girlfriend. Even still he would accuse me of it if I ever let any sign of it escape. For example, say I was hoping to spend time with him, and he told me he was making plans, if my face gave it away that I was disappointed he would say that I was trying to guilt him into not going, even though I would tell him to go and have fun, and I’d try to say it in the sweetest most genuine tone so he didn’t think that I was saying one thing but meaning another.

    Even now that I’m not in a relationship with him I find myself constantly paranoid about it. Our mutual friend told me that he was telling everyone that I was abusive, and thankfully she came to my defence, and reminded him that I have a permanent damage on my body because of him. That damage to my body he caused a while ago: he either accidentally or intentionally hit me with a hard object, causing a broken bone and a laceration that required medical attention. [details of this incident removed as they might have identified the commenter, but I – Barb- who read the post before editing it, definitely think it was a wicked and intentional choice on the part of the abuser to injure his victim, and he did it to exercise power and control and intimidate her from voice her totally reasonable opinions and requests].

    He also used to get anxiety attacks where he would get mildly violent, but never towards me, where he would throw things, and yell at me, and then when he realised I was scared he would tell me that he needed to be held and that it was the only way for him to calm down.

    I just don’t know if its something I should try to work on or if he was emotionally abusing me. I guess wven still I try not to but if it is me I would want to get therapy about it. My biggest thing is that I worry it may have been true during the time when I was depressed, because I needed constant reassurance and I worry that I forced him to take care of me, and that I manipulated him into giving me attention. I was never like ‘spend time with me or xyz’ but I know it made him worry enough to take care of me. I’ve been very upset because one of my best friends chose to stay neutral, and I feel like a true friend would have taken my side, but if I was in the wrong I would expect her not to. How can I be sure?

    All of the definitions on the internet are so vague I feel like anything could be considered emotional abuse. Like, ‘oh you’re trying to MAKE me happy? That’s so controlling, you can’t manipulate other people’s emotions like that! Emotional abuse!’ Someone who knows please help me 😫

    • “do some abusers claim emotional abuse to control their victim? Any time I got upset over anything, my ex would accuse me of trying to control or manipulate him.”

      Yes, this is very very typical of abusers. They falsely accuse their victims of lots of things, to put the victims off balance. And the abuser’s most common false accusation, when his partner is trying to overtly stand up for her right to be treated with respect, is to claim that *she is abusing him*. It is a totally false claim. It’s a manipulative lie. It’s wickedness on the part of the abuser, to make this claim. He is trying to put her off the scent: the true scent that she is sniffing: which is that HE IS ABUSING HER!

      Most of us survivors have been accused by our abusive partners or ex-partners in this way. But I can assure you, having read your comment before I edited out the identifying details, that you were not abusing him; he was abusing you.

      Welcome to the blog. 🙂 You’ll notice that I changed your screen name to anon, for your safety’s sake, and I edited out some specific details in your comment. I encourage you to read our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how you can guard you safety while commenting on this blog. 🙂

      If you haven’t yet done so, I strongly suggest you read Lundy Bancroft’s book Why Does He Do That. You can find it under our Resources tab if you dig down into the books section.

      • Me Too

        Hello there, mine did that too: ” Any time I got upset over anything, my ex would accuse me of trying to control or manipulate him. I was so paranoid about it I started hating myself whenever I got upset, trying to suppress whatever was bothering me, and trying to act like a perfect understanding and supportive girlfriend. “
        In fact he did something that upset me and when i got angry about him he turned the tables like Anon described it.

        I believe it was a tactic of trying to control me- he wanted me to “back off” and keep my mouth shut.
        Regarding this I once told him: “You are emotional abusing me” and he said “so do you” (i.e. me getting angry about his awful behaviour was emotional abuse).

      • Welcome to the blog 🙂

        We always like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

        I changed your screen name to Me Too as a precaution. If you want us to change it to something else, just email The woman behind the curtain: twbtc.acfj@gmail.com — she will be more than happy to assist. 🙂

        And I encourage you to read these posts of ours:

        Right Back At Ya! The Abuser’s Tactic of Reflective Blaming

        My abuser says I am the abuser!

        Are Abuse Victims Codependent?

    • itaketoflight

      Yes, you have described exactly what I have been through. With not one but two husbands. It doesn’t matter how violent they get, no matter how serious they injure you, according to them the assaults are “just a normal response not abuse” but telling them their behaviour is unacceptable and needs to stop is “abusing” them and trying to “manipulate and control” them.

    • findingmyselfagain

      I’m so sorry that you had to endure that, what a living nightmare. It does sound like what you are describing is a form of manipulation that [often] comes with narcissistic personality traits. Which is definitely a form of emotional abuse. It varies from person to person. Sometimes they only have 1-2 traits, or many. There is a difference between a openly rageful narcissist, and a quiet, manipulative covert narcissist.

      It seems once we realise this has actually happened, many of us swim around in countless support groups and Facebook memes to validate our unsaid, unseen abuse. But I realised after awhile, it started taking over, and I wasn’t actually moving forward into healing, the validation actually became a bit of an obsession – because I had thought for so long it was just all in my head. So I started researching more healthier ways to counteract the damage that was done to my self esteem, self doubt, self hate, anxiety. Which is living life, experiencing and embracing all things that you love to do, and always remembering it was always them, NOT you.

      Good luck and I hope this helps xx

  5. carol

    one common identifier of an abuser who is passing himself off as a victim is what I call “soliciting pity without ownership” —- it is all “poor me” and no humility or responsibility = he is perfect. My experience with true victims of abuse is they are humble and take too much responsibility.

    • Lillies

      I absolutely agree with your statement.

  6. Marie

    Thank you for giving me the right to be the real victim in my past abuse stoy… I was programmed to believe that I was the problem… this article is deeply touching me and validating me… it also makes me sad to see how I did not see the difference before between a real victim and a man who claims to be one… all my past relationships have been with abusers in victim’s skin: they were all narcissists just like the father who taught me well.

  7. Rebecca

    I am currently going to counseling with my ex-husband to work from supervised visits to unsupervised for my son. The counselor hired told me he would likely be biased towards my husband because they were both military, but I hired him any way hoping my ex would connect with him and we could work things out in the best interest of our son.

    In joint counseling, he will talk about abusing me and how I did things to deserve it. He will talk about following an abusive act, how he collapsed in despair. The joint counselor has never said anything to him.

    I kept leaving sessions and I felt pretty confused since it appeared to me, my ex was justifying things. In top of that, he regularly wanted to talk to the counselor alone. I can only assume because he didn’t want my input if he made accusations regarding me.

    I was with my ex for almost 12 years. It was so hard to leave and I still have a hard time at times understanding things. He regularly told me I was the abuser and I spent months with a personal counselor trying to understand if there was truth to his accusation.

    With the encouragement of my personal counselor, I stood up for myself in joint counseling sessions with my ex and said it was harming me to allow my ex to continue to blame me for his actions.

    I realize now, except I still have doubt at times, that probably most of the things my ex said was harming me. Even saying things like, “i hope you know I have never wished you harm,” when so many things happened that were harmful is probably an attempt to confuse me.
    I don’t understand how he can make such a comment when he physically hurt me and said things to me that were so harmful.
    I read your blog and it has helped. I still have bad days but I have hope. I am still trying hard to understand things and appreciate any information you provide or if you suggests any reading material.

    • Hi Rebecca, I know you’ve been reading the blog for some time, but since this is your first comment I’ll say Welcome! 🙂

      Do check out our New Users Info page if you haven’t already done so. It gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

      With the encouragement of my personal counselor, I stood up for myself in joint counseling sessions with my ex and said it was harming me to allow my ex to continue to blame me for his actions.

      Good for you!

      …probably most of the things my ex said was harming me. Even saying things like, “i hope you know I have never wished you harm,” when so many things happened that were harmful is probably an attempt to confuse me.
      I don’t understand how he can make such a comment when he physically hurt me and said things to me that were so harmful.

      Your “I don’t understand” question is the one so many victims ask. That is why Lundy Bancroft titled his book Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men*
      If you haven’t read it yet, we advise you to do so. It will take you far in your journey to wise up to the deceptions of abusers. Just be aware that Bancroft’s books contains some vulgar language because he quotes abusers.

      * A Cry For Justice is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Programs, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. For more info, see here.

      Also, I suggest you look at our Resources (tab in the top menu) where we list recommended books, websites, and articles. But actually, if you dig into our older posts, I think you will find many more of your questions answered. Search for what interests you via the tags (another tag in the top menu), categories or put key words into our search bar.

  8. KM

    In reference to #4. My father abused my mom, sister, brother and me. He also was abusive to people outside our immediate family, including his own parents. So yes we can say many people know we were abused. Also, some of his abuse was over the top, and may seem “made-up” to a normal person, but it did happen! To this day if he is confronted with things he has done, he either laughes and says we are sick and crazy, or becomes extremely angry and threatens us. More than once he threatened us with, ” I am a powerful international business man. No one will believe you all.” At 54, I am still dealing with issues as a result of his abuse.

    • Hi KM, welcome to the blog 🙂

      Good for you for resisting the lies! You are not crazy. You can see your father’s pattern for what it is: abuse.

      We always like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

    • itaketoflight

      Yes KM, I went through this with both my mother and my first husband, and also in a non-family relationship situation. Sometimes abuse is kept so secret that no one except the perp and the victim know, other times many people DO know. With my mother, my father knew but actively supported it (he was brought up to believe a man never hits a female, but was more than happy to have my mother beat me badly), my siblings all knew, but were brought up to believe they were the only ones being abused badly, that what the other siblings were suffering was just discipline, my grandparents knew but thought it was acceptable “spare the rod and spoil the child” rubbish, family friends knew some of it, but just made excuses “oh your mum can’t help herself, she’s just mentally ill” etc.

      Many people also knew of my first husband’s beatings of me – my parents would say crap like “I’d beat you too if I was married to you”, his immediate family’s attitude towards domestic violence was as long as they weren’t the victims, then they were okay with men beating their wives, and his extended family actively took the view of “don’t want to know/don’t ask don’t tell”, and many of my friends knew but again took that same attitude. Abuse isn’t always well hidden – maybe it’s just here in Australia, but there is that big “mates don’t dob in mates” attitude, which also means so many family and friends stay quiet when they see domestic violence.

      As for a more recent relationship, I ended up telling my partner’s parents as they seemed so passionately against abuse. But I found out the hard way, that they didn’t believe the abuse they didn’t see (the physical abuse), and being “good christians” (in their own minds), things like emotional abuse, financial abuse etc by men against women, is seen as normal wife submission to a husband. I wish I hadn’t spoken up, but I can’t take it back now.

  9. KM

    And yes, he claims he is the one who is the victim, which hurts even more. We tried so hard to get his love and gain his acceptance.

  10. john

    I believe I am a victim of abuse. I am screamed at, called horrible names, belittled and recently started getting hit. My wife grew up in a bad situation and says we get loud and are harsh so get over it. I have left several times, but she has always talked me into coming back. Then she uses me “abandoning” her. When I try to talk to her about it I’m told to Go to God. I have always yelled back after she kept pushing. I tried to talk to her about emotional abuse and was told to never mention abuse to her again and stop being a p____y. After the hitting and clawing started happening I have lost my temper and really fought back (verbally) people don’t understand how helpless it feels to be hit by someone 1. That you love and 2. That you can’t hit back. After hitting it becomes a mixture of love and hate. I have never touched her. But now she is telling me I’m abusive . That she may say a few mean things but I took it to a new level….

    The things she has said to me has destroyed me for the past two year. I fear calling her because of the constant yelling. I fear telling her any bad news because she will blame me and start yelling. Of course all her friends and family side with her. I tried to talk with her parents (because her childhood is a lot of her problem) was told that she would get mad and this is between us….

    • Hi John, welcome to the blog and thanks for sharing your story.

      Readers: we have had email contact with John in addition to this comment he submitted, and we believe he is a genuine victim.
      And John, I’m saying that because most of our readers are female victims of abuse whose husbands have claimed to be victims, so we need to be careful to reassure them we are confident that you are not a pseudo-victim, to try to prevent them being unduly triggered. I hope you understand. 🙂

      John, you may also like to read our posts about male survivors of domestic abuse. And we always like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

    • Free

      Hi John
      I’m so sorry this is happening to you. In many ways from what you shared your wife seems very similar to my husband. I know women abuse. My XMIL called me names, degraded me, accused me, blamed me, shamed me, guilt-tripped me and in disguised ways even threatened me. She tried to rewrite my own past to suit herself. XH covered for her and tried to solicit sympathy for her because she’s “so lost”. Oh the lies he made up on that subject alone. Meanwhile they were both the evil behind it all. I really think they are messengers of the devil. Proof?- No conscience, no empathy, no accountability, etc. Sounds like characteristics of a demon / child of the liar to me. Who else could do such calculated and evil things? Not a child of God that’s for sure. And you’re either His or not. No in between.

      She also refused to listen when I cried out for help and I revealed her son was abusing me. Instead she bought him the best lawyer money could buy among many other things as long as he was against me.

      She abuses her husband. I’ve heard her be angry and nasty to him for no reason (not in defense as in resistance of abuse I mean) and he just takes it. No reaction. She goes on hateful rants about him to make herself look good. He acts like nothing is happening. When approached with something that is clearly wrong he refuses to distinguish right from wrong. He’s so diplomatic it’s nauseating. He excuses everything she does. They hold none of their children accountable. All of them have been or are in serious trouble with law enforcement. But Noooo it’s not their fault. It’s the law’s fault for being there in the first place. He’s actually said that! The illegal things that go on in the home, arrests and the allegations made against them by those in the community are then in turn used to solicit empathy from others. Everything they get caught for is somehow never their fault. They’re so generous and spiritual and wise, etc etc. Ha! By the way the XMIL speaks you’d think she actually believes she’s “god.” Well isn’t that the whole point for the abuser. There’s one god and it’s certainly them in their mind.

      None of her children will ever be able to stay with a spouse because XMIL has to be god to her children and extended family. And another spouse gets in her way of that. She will never let her children be free or be married. Not that they want to be free. XH actually said “why would anyone leave when they have everything they need there?”

      None of her adult children can stay married or out of legal trouble but their ex-spouses move on and [if they remarry they]
      stay married that second time round. Interesting! With no conscience and a mom with money you can do what you like and suffer no guilt or even consequences. No problem there. Yeah right.

      … Followers of Christ FOLLOW Him ONLY. they don’t pretend to be Him or think they actually are Him.

      Also interesting to note: I used to be plagued with random perverted and evil thoughts while with the abuser and without the truth and under his control. I used to feel condemned and ashamed. Now that I’m gone I’ve been plagued with NONE of that. Interesting, right? I’m not condemned anymore because I have the truth now. No one can take this away. And guess what? He was the one that had the perverted and evil thoughts and beliefs – not me. It was his influence. Because now that I’m gone from him I’m not plagued with them anymore. I remember telling the truth I felt possessed. They told me that was impossible bc I was in Christ. Well SOMETHING evil was going on. The evil I felt was certainly the abuser’s evil chains keeping me captive because I’m free of it now since he’s been gone. Thank you.

  11. julie

    Please do an article like this that doesn’t deal with male only victim and victimization. Will symptoms look different when coming from a female?

    • Julie I don’t think we have heard enough accounts or stories or reports from male survivors to be able to write such an article. We would only be guessing and speculating. We don’t have enough experience to be able to write anything that would be reliably useful.

      We do have a tag for Male Survivors on this blog, which has some posts written by men who we are confident are survivors of abuse from their wives or ex wives. That’s all we really an offer.

    • Bob

      Hello Julie!

      I too would love to see more about male victims of DV, but like Barbara said, unfortunately there aren’t enough openly reported incidents, or really reported at all. I can say, that being a man who has escaped my abuser (physically anyway… She still abuses me via our daughter, and harrasses from a distance.), I was honestly surprised how accurate this article painted a near perfect picture of my abuser.

      My abuser will never be held accountable for her crimes, which is unfortunate. This only perpetuates the fear, and stigmas around male victims, when their abusers aren’t held accountable.

      • Hi Bob, thanks for your comment and I’m sorry it took me so long to publish it. I hope you will forgive me.

  12. Jen

    The smear campaigns, gaslighting and the recruitment of other people to join their attacks is so damaging to a person. Once you start confronting them with their lies and insinuations they turn on you with anything you have shared personally to them. They will use those confidential conversations to attack you and make themselves look like the victim. They will twist words to their benefit. They will contact your closest friends in an attempt to alienate everyone around you. They are spiteful of who you are and what they are not. They will use you till they have no further use for you and leave you in silence as now they have everything they want. Your kindness, your soul and your integrity. Nothing that they have in their being.
    Walk away, run if need be because these people are cruel and vicious. They are monsters.

    • C

      Yes. I also had the smear campaign against me. We kept our problems behind closed doors, a lot was humiliating and I didn’t want anyone to know about the things because what if things got better? Our children, our church members, all but one of my friends believed his vicious attacks and slander when I left with my youngest two to go stay with adult son after he became violent “unprovoked”. I still heard “unstable” and “overreacting ” and “liar” from them-words directly from him when I finally had the courage to tell them basics of what was happening. I was shocked at how the dismissive attitude he had was rubbed off on them. But as time heals wounds when you remove yourself from the equation, enough time also exposes the true nature of their character too. This extremely intelligent white collar professional just got arrested for a dui, speeding, not reporting accident, etc as well as totaled his sports car. Everyone is in shock but me. Time really will tell. I am not to blame for his bad behavior or attitude or actions. It has taken me about 15 months to really believe this, aft 30yrs of marriage. I’m so glad we are separated, otherwise I think this also would be twisted to somehow blame me too.

      • Jeff Crippen

        The one who exposes secret evildoers ends up being the target of all kinds of accusations and so often is alienated from people who used to claim to be friends. At the root of it is the deceiving wicked work of the abuser as he constantly works to demean his victim

  13. Survivor

    Spot on haha there are many more but this is super good! We need more articles like this!

    Another good one is the person openly displaying their emotions in court is the abuser. No one getting out of an incredibly abusive relationship wants to cry infront of anyone. Or if they do they are often saying sorry or holding the tears back. An abuser will put on a show to convince you.

    DV survivor
    NOT a victim.

    • Hi Survivor, welcome to the blog 🙂

      I changed your screen name for your safety. We always like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

      If you want us to change your screen name to something else, just email twbtc.acfj@gmail.com .

    • itaketoflight

      Survivor I’m sorry but I disagree. Sometimes a victim is pushed too far and lets it all out without shame or guilt. For me, with my first husband, it was him bashing our daughter. A decade of repressed emotions from him abusing, beating and even trying to kill me, were all let out in court after he savagely attacked our young daughter.

      For some people the trigger can be their child being abused, for others it might be a family pet being abused, for others it might be a certain type of abuse such as threats to loved ones or a change in the type of abuse (eg emotional to physical, or physical to sexual) etc, or others just reach the point where enough is enough. Others just have been through intensive counselling and are finally at the point where they are comfortable with their emotions.

      An abuser will use the common situation of a victim being hesistant to show their true emotions to discredit the uncommon but very real situation of victims who are open with their emotions.

      • I appreciate what you’ve said, itaketoflight.

        I think you might like this post of ours, Defining domestic abuse by a list of behaviors is never going to capture it as it relates to what you are saying.

      • and btw, I cried on the witness stand during my Family Court Hearing. I didn’t let rip, but I sure did tear up and was unable to speak. The judge called for a break, bless him.

      • Seeing the Light

        Itaketoflight – I agree with what you are saying here. I was in the fog for about two decades. I was self-blaming, self-condemning, submissive, confused…I could go on. Then I spent a few years learning about what was really going on in our home. I do believe it was God removing scales from my eyes and revealing truth.

        During those few years, I was trying to carefully challenge my anti-husband abuser. I felt myself responsible to reach him with the truth about our lives. (No brainer, that did not go well). The last few years since then I have been through every variety of emotion. Sometimes that means I try to stand up for myself and push back. Sometimes my insides match my outsides; other times I am finally defending myself on the outside while condemning myself on the inside for doing it. It is all over the place. I’v read that with the “Water Torturer” type of abuser it often take years to figure out what is happening, and if the victim finally leaves the water torture she may experience intense periods of delayed rage as she becomes conscious of how quietly but deathly oppressive he was.

        I haven’t left yet, but I feel like only recently do I realize the deep anger I have over this. Sometimes it comes out in me speaking harshly about him to counselors, family, and friends. The anger at how he is affecting the children and the remembrance of all my submissive wife years as I defended him and his parenting tactics to them stimulates the strong protective mother instinct in me that I squashed for years in the name of obedience to my role, and I don’t look much like the victim for a little bit even though my heart is racing in fear of him.

        If you were to observe me from the outside at this point in processing all of this and where my kids and I still are, I might not look like the typical abuse survivor, and with him being so very adept at playing the victim and invoking the pity of others (as many sociopaths do), an audience in court or anywhere else could easily be confused as to who is predator and who is prey.

      • Hi STL, Evan Starke and other professionals in the DV field have rightly pointed out that many ordinary people, including journalists and professionals, have an image of what a domestic abuse victim looks like (she must conform to the ‘battered woman syndrome’ description: passive, timid, bruised, maybe a little tearful, certainly not angry!) and that if the victim doesn’t fit that image, people tend to think that she isn’t really a victim.

        So when victims are out of the fog enough to feel and express their anger and be setting strong boundaries, they are not deemed to be victims by most bystanders.

        And don’t the abusers love this state of affairs! They can slander the victim for being ‘crazy, wild, outrageously angry, etc’ and put on their poor-me face to get pity from bystanders — “Look how crazy this woman is that I have to live with!”

  14. Challenge Newtown

    I come from a DV relationship. It has been 5 years since I left and still get emails from my ex husband on a regular basis. Sometimes one a day that always starts off regarding the children but some how ends in me and my behavior. I am currently going to court regarding his DV towards the kids and myself. I feel at times scared that his email of accusations will count against me.

    • Hi Challenge Newtown, welcome to the blog — and thanks for sharing 🙂

      We always like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

      And you may like to check out our Resources page where we have a section called Legal Issues.

  15. Falsely blamed

    This is so very true! The emotional abuse i suffered occurred in front of my kids but now tells me, the kids and family/friends that we are confused and we don’t know the “truth.” The only truth is his inability to say he was wrong or admit wrongdoing.

    He has no accountability and now I am an awful unchristian woman who chose to leave. He states “God have mercy on your soul” to me and the kids and how one day I will see the error of my ways!!! The blame is nauseating. Besides there is never any appreciation or thankfulness that I stayed home with my kids for more than a dozen years before I went back to college. He blamed college for ruining me!!! More blame.

    Abuse is abuse and they will never admit to it. I have to hold my head high knowing I did my best… Now God has to do the rest as the saying goes. One day maybe he will get it but I will have moved on. Thanks for sharing this article!

    [Details airbrushed for commenter’s safety]

    • Hi “Falsely blamed”, I changed your screen name for your safety. Welcome to the blog 🙂
      We always like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

      If you want us to change your screen name to something else, just email twbtc.acfj@gmail.com .

  16. I got free

    This so describes my relationship with my ex. I was so broken and thought everything was my fault, and every excuse under the sun he used to the police and courts! The same with the women hating and saying “every body believes the woman” — he told people I was the abuser but fortunately at the end they saw through that!

    I think for any victim to realise what’s happening, especially for me I needed the help of a domestic violence worker! Don’t be afraid to ask for help and they can make it all anonymous 🙂

    • Welcome to the blog 🙂
      I changed your screen name to “I got free” — for your safety.

      We always like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

      If you want us to change your screen name to something else, just email twbtc.acfj@gmail.com .

  17. Sheri

    The abuser will attempt to manipulate as many of the children as possible. A victim will encourage healing and want the children to attempt to form a healthy bond with both parents in the new normal. An abuser will force the kids to choose all or nothing and take every opportunity to recruit them to sides.

    • Free

      Agreed. I think you said it clearly, Sheri. Have seen this the whole length of my marriage with the abuser. I NEVER encouraged favoring a parent. The abuser however made sure he was the center of attention at all times and the abuser made sure it was if I did not exist.

  18. Cat

    If the man in question is trying to get you to do something that would otherwise be immoral, something that is only excused by the woman being an “abuser”, then that is a giant red flag. For instance, let’s say you’d never have an affair with a married (or otherwise involved) man. But this guy says that his wife is the Devil incarnate and he’d have left her several times over, but she won’t let him get a divorce. That makes it okay, right? Nope. Save your sympathy for someone else; he’s the abuser. Or it would normally be wrong to gang up on a person you don’t know at a social event, but that same buddy from work who is “trapped in a loveless marriage” has made it known how much he wishes he didn’t have to bring along Beelzebub as his date to the holiday party. It would only be right to gather your friends togethee and blackball the evil witch… right? Nope again. You’re being manipulated into isolating the real victim further.

    When someone is truly a victim, they are constantly trying to do the right thing. Part of the problem for them is trying to figure out what the right thing even is. The person who is abusing them is someone that the victim genuinely loves. They don’t want their abuser to be mistreated, they just want the abuse to stop. If someone is urging you to join them in hurting their partner, that’s an abuser posing as a victim. Don’t fall for it.

    • Hi Cat, welcome to the blog 🙂

      We always like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

  19. Sherry

    Thank God I got away from my abuser.. He was a narcissist and yes this article is true he goes around and tells everyone it was me.. But people that truly know me know I am beautiful inside and out and I have always loved to be helpful and happy. He was trying to take my spirit away because he was not a happy person himself. He did a very good job there for a while. Plus many numerous times of physical abuse not to mention the put downs especially in front of family… I have had post-traumatic stress for over a year ever since.. Thank God they gave me a restraining order in court and told him to stay away from me.. I have had to go through counseling and they have made me aware of red flags to look for next time.. God bless the other women who have to go through this and I pray they get help as well

    • Hi Sherry, welcome to the blog. 🙂

      We always like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

      If you want us to change your screen name to something else, just email twbtc.acfj@gmail.com .

  20. Relieved

    My abuser is covert. I grew up with a very verbally and emotionally abusive father who bragged, hit, yelled, screamed, and demanded. I told myself i would never marry someone like that. So when i met my husband he was quiet, reserved, and never said much. Looking back now, the word is passive- but i didnt see it that way then. The abuse was subtle, never came right out and said it – but there were passive aggressive sighs, eye rolling, withdrawal, silent treatment, and witholding sex and affection. I felt for 12 years that there was something wrong withme- that i wasnt a good wife, i wasnt attractive, i was worthless…. It was at the 12 year mark that i became aware of his lies, deception, and i sought counseling.

    From that point, the next four years were about me coming to realize what the abuse really looked like, and in my naivety, trying to encourage him to change. I became needy, demanding, argumentative, and at times sullen- all in an effort to change him (which of course didn’t work). He eventually divorced me, and i was left confused and rejected because he left instead if trying to improve/change.

    Btw, after living without him for 6 months, the feeling of relief i feel is overwhelming. I really had no idea how bad it was, and how stressed i was, until i wasn’t living with it.

    • Hi “Relieved” — I changed your screen name for your safety. Welcome to the blog 🙂
      We always like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

      If you want us to change your screen name to something else, just email twbtc.acfj@gmail.com .

      And here is a post of our which I think you may find helpful:

      Covert aggression is not the same as passive aggression

    • itaketoflight

      Hi Relieved, sadly I know EXACTLY what you’re talking about. Having an aggressive abuser for a mother and a first husband, I swore I would NEVER get involved with another man like that. The man I got involved with after my first husband appeared to be the total opposite – reserved, shy, never touched drugs, rarely drinks, seemed responsible financially etc…. but it turned out he was a covert aggressive abuser instead!

      Different but just the same. The abuse might be very different when dealing with a covert aggressive abuser versus an overt aggressive abuser, but it hurts so much just the same. The sighs, the eye rolling, locking himself in the study for days at a time (only coming out to go to work), withholding of sex, and of course the financial abuse as well, knowing I was unable to work but refusing to even let me having money for basics like food and medication… in many ways it was worse than the years of beating from my first husband because at least with my first husband I knew it was abuse (even if I wrongly thought for years I had to endure it because I didn’t think it was a valid reason to divorce), and with my first husband, I knew that sane people would think it was abuse even if they couldn’t care less I was being abused. Whereas most people just dismiss covert aggressive abuse (I swear every time someone in his family in his said “oh it’s just anxiety/depression” I wanted to scream at them “I have far worse anxiety and depression and I also have severe PTSD but you don’t see me treating him like that!”).

      But anyway, yeah, it’s so hard to explain to people what being married to the non-typical, covert aggressive abuser is like. It’s soul destroying because most people don’t even take seriously it is abuse.

  21. PersecutedWife

    My soon to be ex-husband, got me to America then started with welfare checks by the police on me and the kids when he was conveniently at work. He recorded me when I defended myself against him and told me nobody would believe me because he has all the evidence. Got me arrested for domestic here in ___ county and lied, even the police lied in their reports. The case was dismissed but he and his family got me recharged for domestic disturbances…. He filed for divorce not long after my arrest and now I can only see the kids for a short time supervised. He turned my cellphone off on my birthday and announced he is in a relationship on Facebook. His family has a lot of influence in ____ County and I am trying to fight back. He told me before he was going to drive me to suicide because I can’t just help myself because I am [that is, he claims I am] crazy.

  22. Tess

    This is a really helpful post for those of us who spend a lot of time doubting ourselves. Thank you.

  23. Anonymous

    Hi, I have been thinking about a scenario of emotional abuse between two siblings, which [I believe] has prenatal origins.

    The first child had a very happy prenatal experience, a happy stress-free mother. The second child had a terrible, extremely stressful prenantal experience as the mother was emotionally abused by [a member of the mother’s family of origin].

    These events occured about 1 month after the second baby’s conception. […]
    The second baby thus arrived in the world, afraid and unhappy, with learning difficulties. The first child in contrast was relaxed, secure, happy, capable, bright and quick etc. This set the scene for envy and jealousy, from the younger towards the older. But, the younger had no way of comprehending any of this because its origins were prenatal. In fact none of the family had any comprehension of the dynamics, implications or consequences.

    The two siblings never became close, but the older one never suspected the jealousy harboured by the younger one. They grew up. The older one was on top of the world, thriving, and fell in love in a very happy relationship. But the younger was jealous and poisoned the parents against the older sibling’s love interest, … and the parents fell into the trap, and the younger orchestrated the parents into a vicious condemnations against the older and her love. The relationship foundered and the older lost all her confidence, unable to properly make sense of what had happened.

    Meanwhile the younger rose up on the wave of comparative “mental stability” and continued to run down the older behind her back. The older experienced a sense of rejection from family and family friends and did not know why. The older felt as though she would never find love again, but did, in her late 30s and had two children. … I am going to stop there. I am “the older” I am now nearly 50 and have just in the last week realised that my whole life has been ‘under attack’ by my younger sibling,, for reasons which had their origins in devastating prenatal experiences… the banality of it all, in contrast to the impact on me, is just so wicked.

    I so badly want to send love to that little brother of mine who was emotionally damaged in the womb. But I truly thank God for this insight and the opportunity to make contact with others who understand. Now for the job of deciding what to do next and extracting myself from it, and healing… Do I tell me theory to my sibling??? I don’t know. Sending love…

    • Hi Anonymous, welcome to the blog.

      I don’t think it’s wise to tell this theory to your sibling, because abusers don’t want insight, they just want to keep abusing their targets. If you told the abusive sibling your theory, the abuser would probably just take what you’d said and twist it and shape it into bullets to fire back at you.

      I would like to encourage you, as a new reader, to check out our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

    • Anonymous

      Your story is similar to mine in that I had a younger sibling that was evil. I do not agree with the prenatal thing however as that totally dismisses the HEART of an abuser. My sibling and all of the children in my family could be considered “not loved” while in the womb as my parents do not love others including me or the numerous siblings I have.

      This sibling is a psychopath. She has never loved anyone else and is as the bible describes in that she loves only herself. The problem is that I was never told that some people are simply full of greed, envy, strife and quarreling (Romans 1:29) and that it has NOTHING to do with me or God or not getting perfect treatment or anything. It is a decision THEY made / make to have a hardened heart.

      I just wish someone could have told me about these evil ones when I was young so that people like me with a heart to love, could at least try not to invest our hearts in them. She actually tried to destroy my marriage (cheated with my husband), and both she and my husband wanted to keep me from attending college. She wanted me to be a nanny to her children and thus “own” and control me all while she was bad-mouthing me. I would have had no one to believe me or any money to escape.

      People like this CHOOSE to be what they are and it’s wrong biblical and psychological teaching that has kept us making excuses for them. If you pay attention you will see that your sibling LOVES what he is. You just happen to be where he focused his evil. You don’t need to take personally if you don’t want to, as you just happened to be the one he caught in his sites. It’s hard for them when they’ve been used to abusing one who can truly love others to “settle” for abusing those who happen to be around them now, so they will not let go easily. But again, it is HIS heart that you are seeing not the result of not his being loved in the womb. Psalm 58:3 “The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray from birth, speaking lies.”

  24. C

    I find it very interesting how you like to use the word him or his when describing the abuser as if it’s never a female and you olso don’t take into account that diffrent people react to abuse diffrently not everyone cowers to it as you suggest expecially when they feel embarrassed that can actually add to the frustration felt while trying to describe what they are going through.

    • C, please read our definition of abuse in the sidebar. It says:

      What is Abuse?

      The definition of abuse: A pattern of coercive control (ongoing actions or inactions) that proceeds from a mentality of entitlement to power, whereby, through intimidation, manipulation and isolation, the abuser keeps his* target subordinated and under his control. This pattern can be emotional, verbal, psychological, spiritual, sexual, financial, social and physical. Not all these elements need be present, e.g., physical abuse may not be part of it.

      The definition of domestic abuser: a family member or dating partner (current or ex) who has a profound mentality of entitlement to the possession of power and control over the one s/he* chooses to mistreat. This mentality of entitlement defines the very essence of the abuser. The abuser believes he is justified in using evil tactics to obtain and maintain that power and control.

      * Sometimes the genders are reversed.

  25. SomeDay

    This probably was written by my ex. He was always the victim and I was the abuser. He controlled everything down to how our hair looked and when I did finally leave he had a gauntlet of stories for our friends/neighbors. At first I was angry and wanted to lash back but now I have come to understand that when you’re a Narcissistic Sociopath you can never see your flaws and you project yours on to others. I went from anger to understanding of his mental incapacity and felt no need to fight for the truth with others. Keep on believing the lies because I did for 12 years of the abuse. Some day it will all come back and abuse victims understand that. We should all “lash back” by over coming and realizing we are more than what they made us!

    • Jeff Crippen

      SomeDay – I changed your screen name to be sure you have anonymity. Thank you for your comment and for overcoming!

    • Hi Someday,

      Welcome to the blog! We like to encourage new commenters to read our New User’s Information page as it gives tips for staying safe when commenting on the blog.

      Again, welcome!

    • Hi Someday, I encourage you to read Dr George Simon Jr’s series of articles about Commonly Misused Psychological Terms. The term ‘projection’ is one of those terms. I think you will find his series enlightening. Click here to find the one where he talks about ‘projection’.

  26. TakenAdvantageOf

    Excellent text! I was born in a narcissistic family so I hadn’t better bases. Had experiences with other narcissistic people.

    I feel frustrated because when I get involved emotionally, I have difficulty to impose myself and takes me a while to get out of the complicated situation. Generally, it’s until they themselves decide for go away bc I get anxious to talk to them honestly, mainly bc last times a i was honest with narcs, they took vantage of it and made me a fool again. Now I am able to recognize them in time and better preserve my personal space and don’t be so easily influenced.

    With the last one, I felt annoyed that she was offended because I just did not give her attention when she wanted and say that I had my own space and that she should respect it as I respect hers. […]

  27. Curtis

    I woild like to add onto #4 you are absolutely correct on lacking Allies, and there would be NO way that they could even possibly believe us due to the fact that we ourself dont believe us. And not only that it is very hard to even discuss what has happened in such a way that any normal person could even understand, I have beem seeing a councelor once a weeks for last 3 months and the only thing I can do is give the details in very generalized words. It way to hard to describe the details.

  28. SeeingThrough

    It appears that you’ve met my husband.
    I’m very glad that, for your own sake, your seeing through him.
    I wish I had.

    • Welcome to the blog dear sister. 🙂

      I changed your screen name for your safety.

      We always like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

      If you want us to change your screen name to something else, just email twbtc.acfj@gmail.com

  29. Dee

    He tells everyone that I am a narcissist…and that I want him back and can’t move on. (I left him) He brags about himself constantly -everything that I can attest to are lies. If someone defends me, he tells them they are being manipulated by me and can’t see it. He’s told all of our mutual friends that I’ve said horrible things about them or their children; he’s telling them the things he always said about them. Now that I’ve divorced him, he’s turned his attention to our adult child and ruining that adult child’s life — he can’t abuse me anymore so now he does it through our adult child.

    • Hi Dee, welcome to the blog! 🙂

      We always like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

      If you want us to change your screen name to something other than “Dee”, just email twbtc.acfj@gmail.com

      And btw, I airbrushed a few of the details in your comment, to help protect you from being identified.

  30. SleeplessNights

    The article and comments here really hit me tonight of all nights. I sit awake at 5am not because i woke early, but because for more than a decade my sleep patterns are extremely skewed. Working a job in a 24 hour cation on the ‘graveyard shift’ for almost three years did not help either. Buti read this and i see me and my abuser. No contact from him in many years, but the attitudes were there. His former cowrokers would see bruises on me and tell me i didnt have to tolerate that, i could leave, he would have to supoort our child, and i could get a job, it was doable. I continued though to try to make it work. It wasnt until our child resorted to the same abuse that he did, did i make any changes. A toddler does not know abuse or hate unless they see it. Smacking their oarent, pulling hair, biting, using foul language is not something a toddler knows unless they hear/witness it.

    But then i had to navigate the false victim narrative from him, and yes from many of tjose who had just a few months previous had advised me to leave. He took an admission of being traumatized due to previous life experiences (documented diagnosis of CPTSD with bouts of depression) and twisted it into bipolar diagnosis, with various unlicensed people perpetuating that myth. I had to endure the false abuse investigations. Hundreds of them. (Trying to keep this as non descript as possible, yet still keeping details so people understand the false victim narrative). The self doubt that would hit – was it really that bad. The anger that would follow – why dont people believe this? Most did believe me but those who didnt were the ones who society teaches us should believe (family).

    Even today when i read a false abuse allegation, whether from a man or a woman, the anger boils. Because for every allegation (thankfully there are not that many) that is false, there is another ‘me’ out there who is living a lufe of agony. Who is awake at 5am becuase her sleep patterns are so completely skewed and her internal clock is so fried due to over a decade of court approved/ignored abuses that she doesn’t know which end is up. Counseling has helped immensely with this, but sleep issues, i have just sort of learned that this is my life. I will be awake when others are sleeping and i will sleep when others are awake, amd sometimes our schedules will collide and i will be ‘normal’. Whatever that is.

  31. TreeHowz

    This is an excellent article. One caveat though–in the first item you mention that a “real victim is often “confused, uncertain…” which is true, I often felt that way after interactions with my abusers who enjoyed devaluing, slandering, blaming then gas lighting (couldn’t hide their little smirks). After years of this I had enough and finally stopped engaging in their madness.

    BUT, one part of this cycle is my abusers will seek out others and claim how “puzzled and confused” they are as to why I don’t reciprocate communication with them. They fake being sad, puzzled, and confused so they can steal more “information” about their targets. The clever beasts make sure to assign my healthy no contact boundary with the label “anger” too.
    It is invalidating because after many, many attempts in opening up what was hurtful in hopes of reconciliation – surprise surprise – they attacked each item on my vulnerability list. It really does make me feel stupid for trying when it clearly would never work out.

    Anyways, yes they are haughty and arrogant, but they sure know how to pull the “confused” act when they want to dupe someone else’s support system into allies. The tactic does betray them though. It is a bit comical to see that arrogant bully pretend to be the confused victim when they know damn well what they did.

    They know their victims very, very well. So don’t put it past an abuser to act puzzled at someone else’s “unfair wrath”….Liars.

    • Thanks for your comment TreeHowz — your caveat is good.

      And welcome to the blog 🙂 We always like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

  32. TreeHowz

    After reading this I now know that my abusers know their victims better than we know ourselves. My abusers are masters at playing the “puzzled” card with others they want to manipulate. I know that confused feeling after dealing with these covert attackers, it’s hard to explain in words.

    BUT, after I stopped engaging, my abusers would loudly profess to others they were “confused and puzzled” that I stopped communication. They demanded more information about my “upset” under their phony guise of “confusion”. It was almost comical to hear these arrogant bullies claim, “I have no idea what I did, I’m so sad and confused…” Sometimes there is a little smirk on their face too. Truly deviant behavior.
    It is meant to invalidate all those conversations where I opened up my heart and vulnerabilities, what hurt me most, only to have them attack each item on the list. To play clueless tells their victim they don’t listen or want to change.

    This hit the nail on the head…

    They are far more reluctant to open up about what has happened to them. They will not insist that they have lots of people who believe them! Real abuse victims, you see, often lack allies. It is the abuser who has them!

    Sadly, these deviants know their targets too well, and they do PRETEND to be confused by their targets “wrath” aka boundaries of no contact.

    • woundedbychurch

      Yep. Abusers will pretend to be clueless as to what it is they have done wrong. They claim they didn’t intend to hurt the other person, thus the person couldn’t be hurt. Only if that was their intent could the abused have a legitimate complaint.

      The, “I’m confused and puzzled; I can’t understand what went wrong” statements do invalidate what has been shared before in private or in counseling, but they also discredit the person who says them. If they are that clueless then they must not be listening well or care enough to do the work to understand the person they claim to love.

    • Lillies

      THANK YOU!! This clears everything up so much- playing that “puzzled” card I know so well.

  33. Lillies

    Another sign of the abuser posing as the victim is that they start defending themselves even before any accusation has been made. No-one really has to say much before they jump in and start justifying their actions and attitudes. They almost always talk “around” a certain point, creating doubt in the one who listens. They are very cunning in recruiting allies and states that they don’t know what went wrong- they always play the innocent one. True victims are much quicker to put blame on themselves and actually try to protect the abuser- as bizarre as that may sound.

  34. Lillies

    An abuser also states that they had “good intentions” when enforcing the abuse. Because their “intention was pure” their behaviour is justified. And their behaviour is only a “reaction” to what you did to them- so actually, the true victim “caused” the abuser to act like this or that. The abuser states that they are misunderstood and that you didn’t see “my heart” when the abuse was enforced. As if the abuse was “necessary” to get the victim back in line for being so “harsh/ cold/ demanding/ insensitive” towards the abuser. Very confusing for the victim and leaves so much guilt and shame!

    • TreeHowz

      Lillies all of what you say is so true! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the “good intention” line when justifying an act of meanness. It’s a cop out. I almost fell for it the last time, but my abuser got sloppy and I overheard her telling outrageous lies and joking about a new way to mess with me when she thought I was out of the house. I knew then she didn’t have “good intentions” or my “best interest” at heart. It’s interesting how abusers follow the same script though.

  35. Becca

    One more… the abuser’s accusations are vague and generalized. The victim has specific complaints about repeated and traumatic behaviors and can recall and present them when asked, “What did he/she do?” The abuser will rely on charismatic speech to convince without really saying much. “Oh, she was horrible. She lies. She’s an evil *****. I’m not sure I’ll ever date again because of what I went through with her.” It’s a powerful statement, but gives the listener no evidence.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Becca – thank you for this very insightful comment. It is absolutely true. I have been the target of this vaguery as well. “I don’t like his style.” What does that even mean? They can’t give specifics, because if they did the truth would be out. That is to say, they would have to admit what they don’t like about their victim is that she speaks the truth. The enemies of Jesus searched and searched trying to find some crime, some grounds of accusing him. They couldn’t, so they ended up condemning him for the truth he spoke. We all need to learn to pin these evil ones down and demand that they give specifics to support their slanderous charges. Of course we must also realize that their “specifics” (if they ever offer any) will be manufactured lies too.

  36. C

    Thank You for helping me understand what I am experiencing right now.

  37. Luke

    My father had Narcissistic Personality Disorder… I spent my entire childhood being abused and being accused of being the abuser. You pull that “come out with your hands up” crap when I am NOT the gunman (and YOU point guns at me while you do it) (metaphorically) I will never trust “the police” or the people sent to help again. When a child is being abused you DON’T EVER BLAME THE CHILD!

    • Hi Luke, welcome to the blog 🙂

      We always like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

      I altered your screen name a little for safety reasons.

  38. RT

    Wow! Loved the article.

    It has taken me years to feel angry towards my abusive mother and sibling because of their victim personas.
    They had always pressured me to move back myself and my daughter back to where they live. When they learned of my teen daughter’s sexual assault they accused me of being responsible in hopes that my daughter would live with them. Even though I had the had the perpetrator arrested and he is still in prison. (The wife of the man who committed this crime blames me too, a woman from Church who says I ruined her life.)

    My daughter was placed in foster care because of my family’s allegations. I fought for years to get her help […]. It was a nightmare, though she and I are starting to recover. The shame of it all left me unable to speak with almost anyone for years, apart from my therapist.

    I spoke with another of my relatives a few years ago — she said my mother realized that my daughter was liar and had issues, and she urged me to contact my mum. … I could not believe that they would now blame the teen who was assaulted for the events that happened. As the victim with all this shame and devastation in my life, I have rarely said much to extended family and they don’t know anything other than what my mom and my sibling report. I still have to remind well-intentioned (abuse apologist) that my daughter and I were victims of abuse and crime, and that I am not responsible to reconcile relationships with people who still pretend to be victims.

  39. Boris

    I am sorry but this contradicts a huge amount of what I’ve read about abuse and seems largely prejudiced in favour of a female perspective. Simply the language that you use reflects this. In fact in some ways it actually mimics the pattern of an abuser. When Men get depressed or become abused, they often react with anger as this is more commonplace with them, abusers often use a victim’s anger against them, accusing them of being abusive when they react angrily to abuse, weakening them and undermining their resistance. Often abusers actually don’t behave imposingly or angrily, they undermine someone with subtler abuse, snide comments or shaming that doesn’t even require they raise their voice. I genuinely believe your page here will actually make things worse for domestic abuse victims who do the best they can to reach out for support and try to avoid the manipulative gas-lighting that female (and male) abusers often perpetrate. I suggest you try a more gender neutral format. As a victim of domestic abuse myself, I found your page incredibly difficult to read and can see it being harmful to men trying to escape similar situations

    • Hello Boris,
      We realise that some husbands are victims of domestic abuse. We have a tag for Male Survivors. The posts under that tag may help and encourage you.

      In our definition of abuse in the sidebar of this blog, we say that sometimes males are victims. We know that some abusers are women. But our experience and the experience of many many others who work in the field of domestic abuse, is that largely the majority of perpetrators of domestic abuse are male. We do not go into the details of the statistics other than saying that. There are plenty of reputable secular websites which deal with the statistics on gender and domestic abuse. We leave detailed discussion of those statistics to those professionals who have more expertise in that area than we do.

      Also, we can’t help the fact that the English language has no gender-neutral personal pronoun. We encourage male victims who read our b blog to reverse the gender of the pronouns in their heads where necessary.

      • Layla

        To the contrary, “they/them/themselves” is a suitable gender-neutral pronoun often used to obscure the identity of people where gender is an identifying factor in the English language.

        I’m not a man, and I have been abused by a woman. Many people have been abused by women. … To say men are more often abusive is ignoring quite a few studies on it out there, and it might be worth looking into these as to better support a wider range of victims.

    • itaketoflight

      To Boris: I would agree except to say that the experience your referring to also is not gendered. It is the less common but very real experience of some abusers/victims.

      And it’s not just the lack of raising their voice…. with one abusive partner, he would deliberately talk more and more quietly, the more abusive he got. I have mild hearing loss and it embarrasses me greatly to be young and going deaf and I find it painfully shameful to have to ask people to repeat themselves. So when he was in an abusive mood, he’d deliberately talk softer and softer so that I would get more and more embarrassed and ashamed about not being able to make out what he was saying. If I asked him to repeat himself, he’d say it again even softer, and then eventually just “oh doesn’t matter” even on things that I really needed to know what he was saying.

      Things like anger, raising one’s voice… they don’t define an abuser. It’s all about context

      • Things like anger, raising one’s voice… they don’t define an abuser. It’s all about context

        I second that!

  40. Hi Layla
    I agree that “they/themselves/them” can be used to obscure the gender of the perpetrator and the gender of the victim.

    And I am a female who suffered sexual abuse from a female as a child, so I have something in common with you in that we’ve both suffered abuse from females.

    We have quite a few readers at this blog who were abused by females: some of those readers are men who were abused by their wives, some are people (of either sex) who were abused by their mother or their sisters or their mother in law.

    As for research and statistics on the gendered rates of respective victimization and perpetration, I have read a LOT of that material. We have a policy of not discussing it in detail on this blog because if we did it could easily soak up too much time and become too heated. The statistics are contested hotly by abusers. Some abusers put a lot of effort into presenting distorted interpretations (cherry-picked statistics) from the research, which is one of the ways myths about abuse are spread among the general population. We try to make the blog a supportive and safe place for all victim-survivors so we steer clear of that hotbed of debate. I hope you understand. We believe that the professional researchers are quite well able to defend and explain the findings of their research, and we leave it to them. Their job is to present their academic and research findings. Our job is to support victims.

  41. Me Too

    The abuser [may] also move on very quickly (with a new girlfriend, boyfriend) and [if so, may] rub the new women/man into the victim’s face while the victim suffers PTSD and is unable to trust other people. Abusers also state that the victim drove them to act a certain way i.e. to to be abusive, unfaithful, disloyal…
    They usually also claim that the victims feelings (that the abuser provoked) are abusive as soon as the victim expresses those.

    • Hi dear sister we suggest you don’t use your real name on this blog, unless you are 100% safe from retaliation from your abuser. I changed your screen name to Me Too, which is the name I gave you last time you commented on the blog.

    • C

      Yes this is so true. The real abuser will use every single thing the victim says and does in reaction to their treatment to cry ‘abuse’. The hardest thing is when the abuser has good standing in church and family while the victim withdrawals and becomes reactive to all situations. How easy it is to claim that the victim’s attitude and actions are abusive when everyone ‘sees’ good on the surface of the real abuser. This is almost unbearable to endure.

      I separated from my husband until he gets real help. I am still blamed and shamed for the entire split when actually I have tolerated this treatment, albeit not very well, for over 30 years. Through the years, he blamed me for his porn, gaslighting, neglecting, financial control, lying, stealing, cyber cheating, etc etc, all secretly, behind closed doors. When I have reached out, no one believed me and blamed me instead. A good therapist and a deep strength in spirit is the only way I am surviving my own children and church believing him. To twist our separation into his gain, he is now divorcing me instead, citing abuse as the reason, even though I cited abuse as reason for temporary separation. My family is unbelievably supporting him in divorce. Instead of him getting help, I was told to get help. I did, still am, and trust the Lord knows best in this divorce which I never wanted. I am a Christian stay at home mom. I only cried out for justice and healing.

      I hope time will tell and expose this harsh dealing. Maybe he will get help. But I believe a person has to believe they need help in order for them to get it, so I’m not holding my breath now. This is all so overwhelming at times-has all the earmarks of PTSD in experience. How does anyone survive this when no one believes you? Thank you for writing this article. I don’t feel so alone now.

  42. Bob

    Thank you for posting this… It is good to be reassured that there is hope that these faux victims are being seen for what they are, abusers. These descriptions, and examples, are exactly what the DA in one county superior court pointed out that my abuser was doing, as she tried playing the victim… It is a very scary position to be in, as sometimes, it takes a while for these professionals to catch on, and see what’s happening, and so much damage can be done by that time, and there’s no traking it back. It isn’t right that these types of abusers, continue to try to abuse their victims, through the judicial systems, in such a way, and more awareness should be made. The terror these actual victims live each moment of every day, now not only worrying about their abusers, but now that those abusers are using the police, prosecuters, and judges as weapons against their victims, is a HORRIBLE place to be.

  43. ReachingOut

    I am a victim of abuse. I lie about most of my bruises and talk very highly about him to his friends. However, I made the mistake and confided in one of his girlfriends, which totally backfired. I, admit, I drink a lot and so does he. Most of the time, I vaguely remember how I got a bruise, but I know he has done it. He usually admits to it later, or slips up. I do love him, but I don’t think I can make this person change. He cusses me every night, calling me fat, old, etc. I’m [only few years] years older than him.

    [Eds: the age difference is not significant].

    • Dear commenter, I hear you. I hope you ticked the ‘notify me of future comments’ box so you will read my response.

      I believe you. I honour your honesty in saying that you drink a lot. I believe you when you say that you lie about most of your bruises and talk very highly of your partner to your friends.

      I think you are RIGHT in assessing that your partner can’t/won’t change.

      From what you said in your comment, I get the impression that you are reaching out of the fog and trying or hoping to find some freedom, some release from the bondage of abuse and addiction. And I honour your for that!

      Here’s what I know:
      1. A victim of domestic abuse (that’s you) is not to blame for the abuse her partner inflicts on her. It is not her fault.
      2. A person who uses alcohol to self-medicate (or avoid) their pain and problems, is not likely to make much forward progress in character development and well-being in their life, unless they decide to address their alcohol use.

      All substance-abuse habits are quick ‘escape/fixes’ for the problems we face in living in a sin-sick world.

      I don’t know how much you know about Christianity, but Jesus is the Son of God and He offers forgiveness for all who turn from their sins and seek forgiveness through Him.

      I encourage you to spread your pain and distress before Jesus and ask Him to reveal Himself to you, so that you may truly repent of (turn from) your sins —such as your habit of overusing alcohol to get temporary avoidance of your pain. I urge you to come to Jesus with all your warts and ask Him to be your Saviour and help you live out whatever days remain to you on this earth with Jesus as your Lord.

      He is faithful and kind —

      If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
      (1 John 1:9)

      I know the pain, and the impulses to escape it, are coming thick and fast. But if you have a moment when you want to dig into answers to some of your questions about this weird thing called Christianity, here are some videos called Religion is for Fools which you might like to watch:

      Part 1 — What is the proof?
      Part 2 — What difference does it make?
      Part 3 — Questions and answers

  44. Bleh blah

    Was looking for help with the same topic.. ended up just reading (from what it seems) a close narration of what I’m undergoing, but entirely directed at men.

    • I’m gathering you are a man, and are objecting to the way we use male & female pronouns in this post. We do recognise that men are sometimes victims of domestic abuse and women are sometimes perpetrators. We state this in our Definition Of Abuse in the sidebar of this blog.

  45. e31978

    Great article. Very accurate.

  46. Elizabeth

    Hi, I have a question in terms of allies? I had a good support network. In fact if it weren’t for my close friends, coworkers. ( one told me I wasn’t the same anymore and that I had mentally checked out when I came to work, I didn’t even realize it showed) and family voicing their concerns, I would still be in the relationship, but does that mean I’m the abuser? Is an Ally the same thing as a support network? Am I in the wrong?

    • Is an Ally the same thing as a support network? Am I in the wrong?

      That’s a very good question! Many many victims of oppression and abuse wonder if they are in the wrong — which is not surprising, considering how often the oppressors and abusers criticise them. No; you are not in the wrong. And your abuser IS in the wrong. Here is why.

      The abuser’s network of supporters (we call them “the abuser’s allies”) are supporting the abuser in his lies and manipulative behaviour. They are either wittingly or unwittingly supporting him. If they are supporting his evil wittingly, they are abusers themselves or too cowardly to stand up to him and they know they have too much to lose (personally) if they stand against him. If they are supporting him without knowing he is evil, it is because they are not astute about the tactics of evildoers and have been snowed by him. But whether they are witting or unwitting in supporting him, the end result is that they are allies and enablers for his evildoing.

      But in your case, you are standing against the abuser and all the evildoing he tries to get away with. That is a GODLY stance. It is the stance Jesus takes. And your supporters are supporting you in the fight against evil.

      Hope that clarifies it for you. 🙂

  47. Elizabeth

    I was beaten for so long that I became an abuser. I was so hurt that turned into anger and has just began to change. DV is destructive and…..I want it to die. The scars the pain the fear the fight. I wonder everyday who was that person who didn’t have to evolve around abuse. Thanks for thus article and the like. I am a mother and that cycle cannot pass on to my children. Thank you

  48. Disbelieved

    Thank you for this, I can’t even explain how it feels to be betrayed as the “evil” person when all along I just believed in his lies, promises and I even gave excuses for his behavior. Going through a really horrible divorce. What type of professionals should I look for who can help support the facts since my husband has so many enablers. I pray to God and I know He will not let me down. I just want to not let our kids down either.

    • Hi and welcome to the blog 🙂

      We always like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

      I changed your screen name to “Disbelieved” as a precaution for your safety. We wouldn’t want your abuser or his allies to be able to identify you on this blog. If you want us to change the name to something else, just email The woman behind the curtain: twbtc.acfj@gmail.com — she will be more than happy to assist. 🙂

      You may find this page of our resources helpful: https://cryingoutforjustice.com/resources/legal-assistance/

  49. Won'tGiveUp

    Thank-you for posting this. I wish the family courts had this training maybe I wouldn’t have lost my babies to a monster, everything you said is so true it gave me a sense of relief that someone might one day see what he’s really like … my poor babies though are forced to be with him for now I won’t give up trying to bring out the truth for their sake, I just wish the family courts realized that they give abusers more power and control when they ignore what’s really going on for the sake of NOT ALIENATING THE FATHER. instead they alienate the mother who’s trying to break the cycle.

  50. AmWil

    I would agree to an extent. There was a time when I was ashamed and hide the truth but years later and far more educated […] I am very angry and outspoken about these things. And yes even at times get irritated with all the misinformation that gets spread around on social media and the internet in general. So it could just be some one who has discovered his self worth and is now angry about what happened! Not to mention many abused people take their anger out on others. So maybe he is redirecting his anger at you because he fears her. Idk

    • Hi AmWil
      I’m not clear who you are agreeing with here, nor who you are referring to when you say “So maybe he is redirecting his anger at you because he fears her.”

      Since this is your first comment, welcome to the blog. Please check out our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

      And I encourage you to read the links on our page Are Abuse Victims Codependent?

  51. Candis

    Many psychopaths and “almost psychopaths” believe themselves to be victims. This allows for all kind of vicious retribution toward the rest of us. Logic gets lost in this, and abusers like to confuse and blame. Smoke and mirrors are their motto! Most seem to have trouble hiding their Narcissistic and smirkingness (may not be a word). Be careful. They do not follow any rulers and can come after you for foiling their plans. Confronting a psychopath with your knowledge of who they are, does not always work out as well as you might hope.

    • I like the word smirkingness! Who cares whether it’s in the dictionary or not — we get what you meant.

      The smirk of the abuser is something I think all of us have experienced if we are victims.
      They have a way of doing it which cuts to the quick. And they can do it so quickly: it’s there and then it’s gone.

    • And welcome to the blog too! Didn’t realise you were a newbie.

      Please check out our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

  52. itaketoflight

    How does one deal with an abuser who honestly believes they are a victim? An abuser who believes telling him his abuse is wrong and needs to stop, begging him to stop, begging him to deal with it, is “abusing” him?

    It’s like he rewrites events in his head. Even when he has given me serious injuries from physical abuse, he denies it happened at all. When the bruises are severe and can’t be hidden he just claims that I must have done them to myself. This includes one of the times where I had torn ligaments and one mass of bruises […]. The doctors repeatedly said the bruises were crush injuries […] but he has stubbornly stuck to his story that I got these bruises […] when I was trying to stop the assault. No matter how many people have tried to explain to him that my injuries were not self inflicted. And yet he still goes around and tells everyone that I must have done it to myself and he didn’t do it. And I think he’s told that lie so many times that he has come to believe it.

    It’s been the same with all the other times he has physically attacked me. If there is no visible injury, he denies it happened at all, if there is visible injury but no witnesses, he claims I did it to myself, and the one time there were witnesses (sadly our children), he has come up with every excuse under the sun to justify why he did it.

    What hurts so much is his parents, who claim to be very passionate, serious, genuine christians, just excuse and defend his violence. For the last months (since I opened up and told them about the violence, hoping that they’d help stop him before he injured me even worse), they would call me delusional to my face. Even pointing out that they’d done the exact same thing for years when the verbal abuse started and I’d tried to turn to them for help then, telling me at first that I must have misunderstood, then that I was mentally ill and delusional etc, and only stopping when he finally admitted that he would yell and swear at me when he was in a bad mood (even then lying about how often it was), they still turn around and said again exactly the same thing when I had tried to get their help about the verbal and emotional abuse.

    When he punched me in front of the kids[…] and couldn’t hide that he is violent any longer, as much as it breaks my heart that my kids witnessed it […] I thought now that his parents couldn’t deny his violence any longer, that his parents would finally intervene since they have claimed before to be very much against abuse.

    But to my horror, instead of condemning his violence, all they did was make excuses for it and blame me for it. So on top of dealing with a husband who has become so violent he would punch me in front of the kids, an older daughter who is very traumatised by what happened (the younger thankfully I don’t think was paying any attention when it happened), my own parents who don’t want to know about it (it happened in their house but all they can say is don’t talk about it because they didn’t want “that kind of stress” at the time), I have to deal with finding out his parents, the people who I thought would finally intervene once they finally could see that the abuse was real not imagined, just made excuses for him punching me, and tried to blame me as having “made” him do it for […]

    All this time, as stupid as it might have been, I had always counted on his parents realising one day the abuse was real and that they’d step in when they did. I had no idea that they’d excuse him […]. But it’s just made him more determined to believe he is the victim.

    Quite simply I don’t care about the physical abuse. I have so many permanent injuries and serious medical problems, I don’t care about a bit more pain. It’s the emotional abuse I can’t handle anymore. But I thought if his parents intervened about the physical abuse, they’d also realise the other abuse (emotional, financial, and so on) was real too and not my imagination and intervene about that. But all they’ve done by their comments is lead him to escalate the non physical forms of abuse extremely.

    I can’t take it anymore. I developed serious headaches from the stress of it all. An injury he gave me a week ago, I found out […] will nearly definitely need surgery […] Last week’s injury he claims is my fault not his because him pushing me into something is my fault for not getting out of his way fast enough.

    I’m not coping with the fact he has no remorse for any of the violence he has done to me, no remorse about the severe pain I’m in from my injuries, no remorse about them being serious injuries, and not just no remorse but pretending he is the victim, and going out of his way to punish me with threats of throwing me, him demanding a divorce etc, all because I’ve told him the abuse is wrong and sinful and it needs to stop. I don’t even want to stay with him or be married to him anymore, not for me anyway. But I have nowhere to go (no room in shelters and they only let people stay a few weeks, and because I have a part time job, I cant’ get government housing, I can’t afford private rentals, and he has said he will use the family court to block me from taking my toddler and leaving for somewhere cheaper – and after the hell I went through with my first husband, I know he can do that – my first husband got the family court to do that even after he was convicted for assaulting my older when she was not much older than my younger daughter is now).

    But really it’s not about me. If it were just me, I’d leave and live in my car, but I have my kids to think about. They love him and I wouldn’t want to take them away from him, even if I was allowed to. He’s not like my first husband – I have no concerns of my second husband being physically abusive to the kids. Otherwise I’d leave in a heartbeat.

    But I can’t leave because the choice is leave the kids with him (and he is extremely neglectful of them, especially emotionally) or to take the kids and have them live in a car with me.

    I mean, I don’t want to get in a discussion about the supports out there for single parents. I have professionals trying to help me find a way to leave that doesn’t put the kids and I in an even worse situation. I’m tired of hearing “if you really wanted to leave, you’d find a way”. I’ve tried, I’m trying, but I refuse to make things worse for my kids so that I can escape the abuse. I also know that them seeing me abused is bad for them, but there are worse things.

    The only way out of this that I can see that doesn’t leave the kids hurting one way or another is for the abuse to addressed. But as long as he thinks he is the victim because I tell him the abuse is wrong when he is abusive, I can’t see him changing.

    So how can I help him see that what he is doing is abuse and that me telling him his abuse is wrong is NOT abuse?

    I really and truly could handle the physical abuse, but the emotional abuse is eating me up inside and honestly, if I didn’t have the kids and a supportive workplace where I can escape the abuse [a few days] a week and be around caring, supportive people, I think I would have ended things permanently long before it got to this point.

    I’m just so sad. I just want the abuse to stop. I thought he was a loving caring christian before we got married. He swore he would never be like my first husband, that he’d never hit me, that he’d never be verbally or emotionally abusive, he swore he took his faith seriously too. And he acted like all of these things. Right up until the day after our wedding. Now all I see is a hateful, spiteful person, obsessed with being able to do whatever he wants whenever he wants and claiming he is being “controlled” and “abused” whenever asked to do otherwise (eg helping looking after the kids while I cook dinner or similar, because I can’t do both at once). he knew about my health problems when we got married […]

    I don’t even know why I’m sharing all of this. I don’t even believe any more there is anything that can change what is going on. Pinning my hope on his parents intervening was all I had left. (He worships his parents and will do anything they say, even when it’s ignorant and damaging). Now I have no hope left. All I can do is wait until my youngest starts school and my oldest finishes school in a few years so I don’t have to worry about childcare fees for the youngest and school fees for the oldest, so that I can leave and not end up with me and the kids homeless.

    I just want him to stop emotionally hurting me. My physical pain is permanent, the only difference he makes with his abuse is to make it a little bit worse which I no longer even care about. But I just want him to stop the verbal and emotional abuse before it breaks me.

    I feel like I should know how to make it stop, but I never could stop my first husband. No matter how I treated him like a king, did everything he asked no matter how wrong, he was terribly abusive. And with my second husband, he keeps saying he’ll change if I promise not to talk about the abuse with him ever, but we tried that [for a while] and the abuse only got worse not better. He was happy as I put up with the abuse and never said a word, but the kids and I were miserable and the abuse just continued and got worse during that time so it’s no solution.

    I just can’t take having my heartbroken over and over. […] My heart hurts so much.

    (editors note: details removed to protect the identity of the commenter)

    • how can I help him see that what he is doing is abuse and that me telling him his abuse is wrong is NOT abuse?

      You can’t help him ‘see’ — because he already sees, he just disagrees. When he says he is not an abuser, he is not in denial — he is simply lying. He knows he is mistreating you. He mistreats you intentionally. He chooses to mistreat you. He knows it hurts you. He enjoys maintaining power and control over you and he does not want to change.

      Here are two posts which explain that the abuser sees that he is behaving badly, he just disagrees that he needs to change his bad behaviour.

      The Frustration of Explaining things to an Abuser

      Denial versus Lying

      Furthermore, he knows you are not abusing him when you complain about his abuse. He falsely accuses you of abusing him, because that tactic will probably put you on the back foot, throw you off balance, make you doubt yourself, and most importantly it will DIVERT you and others from insisting that he is the abuser, by diverting you into defending your own honour, dignity and reputation.

      The abuser makes false accusations about the victim as a tactic of Resisting Responsibility. Abusers usually have multiple tactics by which they resist taking responsibility for their evil conduct. They actively fight against having to change themselves into better people. And they use many covert, overt, devious and wicked tactics to fight against those who are calling them to change.

      His parents are his allies. If his parents DID start properly admonishing him and holding him accountable, he would start hating them. His parents, and your parents, are not safe people for you to seek support from. I honour you for seeking support from professionals who may be able to help you get safe housing. I encourage you to keep persevering in trying to get the professionals to help you. You probably know all about the DV hotline and other DV resources, but if you want to find quick links to phone numbers and websites for that, go to our Resources page (it is one of the tabs in the top menu).

      I honour you for weighing up the risks of staying versus the risks of leaving. I encourage you to keep doing that… and if possible to do it with the help and support of specialist DV workers. I know the shelter system is often overloaded, but maybe one day it may be able to help you find a way out AND the workers in that system will also help you get into affordable, safe, longer term accomodation as well. I WISH the shelter system and housing for victims of domestic abuse was better funded!

      You said, “I feel like I should know how to make it stop…”.
      I would like to encourage you to stop ‘should-ing’ on yourself that way. Most or all of us who have been abused have felt like we ‘should’ have been able to make it stop. But the only person who can make the abuser stop is the abuser. Law enforcement can restrain and punish abusers; but laws and punishment don’t make abusers stop.

      Rather than tell yourself that ‘you should know how to make it stop,’ may I urge you to honour yourself for how creatively and prudently you have resisted the abuse? Here is a free pdf which will explain more about what it means to honour women’s resistance to abuse — Honouring Resistance: How Women Resist Abuse in Intimate Relationships.

      And please please forgive me for taking so long to reply to your comment. I got diverted by the pushback we had on the post we ran about Gary Thomas recently.

  53. Misjudged

    My ex managed to convince social worker and psychologist that he is the victim and not me. Because I wasn’t articulate in what I was saying; because I didn’t record “facts” or have evidence of emotional/physical/mental abuse. Because I didn’t get things “quite right” when telling the professionals. They accused me of being a fabricator and a liar and a manipulator.

    I have been left him several years and still it goes on where he tries to control me. Social services are still in my life although are backing off, as they I think are now seeing inside the real picture having got to know me and him well. It’s been horrendous and awful and at times I’ve doubted myself. If I hadn’t the support of the few people close to me I would have cracked up.

    • Hi and welcome to the blog 🙂

      We always like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

      I changed your screen name to ‘Misjudged’ as a precaution. If you want us to change it to something else, just email The woman behind the curtain: twbtc.acfj@gmail.com — she will be more than happy to assist. 🙂

  54. findingmyselfagain

    I grew from a strong, outlandish, loud, outgoing, expressive, staunch woman – to acting timid, fearful, confused, doubtful, a shell of myself, high anxiety, and gave up trying to tell people what was going on because they just couldn’t get their head around such a ‘good act’ of the abuser. I was made to feel like no one wanted to hear about it anymore. Not to mention the constant denial that things were said they way I heard them. This continued over 15 years with full on covert narcissistic abuse. Until last year when I stumbled across narcissism, the signs, and the victims ‘side-effects’. Then I realised what was really happening and cut the abuser out of our family. Everything seriously was so textbook, it was easy to go no contact in the end – only my husband and I know the horrendous things that were said to us and about us from them in the month as we confronted, exposed and set boundaries respectfully to the person and the behaviour.

    Thankfully in that last month this person fully and undoubtedly showed all of their true colours and cruelty to my husband in a last bid to gain control, and the things that were said, the deep insults, the accusations that we were operating out of the demonic, that I had this spirit, that spirit, every other spirit operating within me to my husband, really could never have come out of a ‘nice Christian woman’, we actually witnessed two blantantly different and seperate personalities finally. We’ve never really told anyone all that happened, NO ONE would believe us, seriously. I’m disappointed I didn’t learn about it sooner, and get out sooner. 😦

    I am now the very opposite of quiet about my abuse. I have been lied about, made to look mad and nasty, and had every number of accusations made about me to my face, to my husband, to our family members, and to other people in the Christian circle of our city, blatant lies to save her own skin from being exposed from the appalling behaviour and words that has occurred in secret. The grand famous smear campaign.

    I will not go running around bagging her, but sure am not putting up with one more distorted manipulative lie about me. I am probably a bit of a monster at the moment, because I’m angry, I’m feeling pain, I’m feeling betrayal, but because now I’ve cut the supply – she’s now doing the exact thing to other family members – the control, the insults, the guilt game, the lies, the smirks, the blaming of us still even though we’ve had no contact for a year, the manipulation, the victim card, the tantrum card, the silent treatment, and around the merry-go round again – and I’m nowhere to be seen so I can’t get some weird blame anymore for that either – everyone IS starting to realise “it wasn’t just me and ‘all my issues’ and being difficult” all these years – as it was portrayed. It’s all blown up into being fully exposed. And now they’re having to find a way to deal with it all, cause I’m not going near it all. I’ve done my time. It’s over. So now I’m feeling vindicated a bit, I’ve calmed down because I no longer have to prove what was done, said, denied, manipulated, whispered in my ear, insinuated to others around me. They all have their own mental stories now. TRUTH takes care of itself. In the end TRUTH actually does prevail.

    My point Is…I actually sent a similar message to a estranged family member that we have nothing to do with at all who decided to message me at Christmas, who thought it was their right to come out of the blue and tell me that everything is in my head, and I need to get over what I think this person does because they just aren’t like that (remember we have nothing to do with this person…so somehow they know ALL about what is going on apparently) – my message was very much like the message you have posted as an example for a covert abuser. I have no sympathy at all. Which makes me look very cold and calculated to those who only get a quick glimpse and a sharp word, if they stick their noses uninformed little beaks into it as flying monkeys. I’ve had to turn that part of me off, so people don’t further make me feel ‘guilty’ out of their misunderstanding and total lack of really knowing what we’ve had to deal with.

    However I wrote my message out of confidence that NO ONE any longer will tell me my abuse hasn’t, didn’t, or can’t have happened – especially when they don’t even live in the same city as any of us. No one is going to tell me that I just need to do something that will actually magically make everything better because it’s not really what I think has gone on. No one is going to tell me diddly squat anymore. It near destroyed everything within me – and no one is going to ever get the footing again.

    I have A LOT of healing to do. A LOT of forgiving to do, and A LOT of balancing of peace within me to find in Christ. I can get bitter about it big time – but I am trying to concentrate more on growing my self esteem and my life and our family again, and less on what has been done, said, or taken from me all these years. As I gain, as we gain our lives back from their constant carnage and onslaught, I think less of what I’d lost, but can’t seem to forget it all.

    I can see where this email example is full of haughty, superiority and deflection, and belittling to make the receiver feel they don’t know enough to ‘have an opinion’.. But it shouldn’t always be brushed off in case it really screams survival, determination, no more self-blame, no more illusion or deceitful veils, and fed up frustration at people who choose to not see what really has been going on. There is such a fine line. Questions for ‘more understanding’ is needed. And I guess this is where a Pastor decides to dig deeper, ask more, pray for further discernment, and gain an understanding on whether the person is operating out of hatred and deceit, or hurt and new-found survival, again I believe it’s a really fine line that can’t be established with just one email, or one visit. Sure the person is still operating out of hurt somewhere in their life – both abuser AND victim. 😦 People who are moving from victim to survivor and not timid, shy, unsure, broken, self blaming – that’s victim – survivor is fight, survive, assert, no more crap, still broken, hurt, sometimes very angry, and a re-building of strength that has been diminished, looks very off to those who don’t understand. It comes off looking crazy for awhile. With support, good Godly company and submission to Jesus to heal all that has been wounded in us, it WILL balance out again.

    Abusers are like chameleons. You need A LOT of experience and/or discernment.

    • Anonymous

      Findingmyselfagain, Lovely comment!

      I’m grateful on your behalf that your spouse was with you and that you were able to completely leave (escape) from the environment that clearly fostered and nurtured this abuser.

      What you are going through is so healthy and so NORMAL, and in time you will see the beauty of it all. For now, you are seeing and feeling the “right” emotions to the injustice that was perpetuated by this person by the willing and / or unwitting allies. Going no contact is the best way to “drop the end of the jump rope…” and get out of the game. It will get better and you will gain tons of wisdom and tons of insight. And because of this when (not IF) another abuser starts trying to sell you their wares, you will more quickly clear out and refuse to play –AT ALL COSTS– because you know that ANY price is too high to pay to be in a relationship with these evil ones.

      I’m so proud of you!

  55. Brooke

    Isn’t it possible for a “victim” to gain some emotion strength and start advocating for himself or herself? Victims don’t have to hold onto shame and humility to be real victims, do they? Isn’t it healthier to replace that shame with esteem and ones own worth?

    • A victim can indeed strongly advocate for himself of herself. And victims don’t have to feel shame to be ‘real victims’. What makes a person a victim is the fact that someone else has victimized them. Victim may have many different responses to being victimized. Shame, fear, anger, self-advocacy, advocacy for other victims…. those are some of the many responses victims may have.

      Regarding humility, that is a virtue which all Christians, including all victims who have suffered abuse, are encourage to cultivate. But humility is not the same thing as being timid, or being quite, or being complaisant with abuse.

      In regards to the idea of “replacing shame with one’s own worth” — I think I understand what you mean by that but I may not.

      On this blog we advise the abused person to “hand the shame back to the abuser”.

      …”one’s own worth”… if by that you are referring to our worth as individuals created by God in His image, our worth as people who have been been saved from the penalty of sin by the substitutionary death of Christ, and our worth in that we can rightly be honoured for all the creative and prudent ways we resisted the abuse, I am completely in agreement with you.

    • Brooke, to follow up my earlier comment, here are some links which will amplify what I was talking about.

      Prayerfully hand shame back to the abuser

      Honouring Resistance: How Women Resist Abuse in Intimate Relationships

    • And please allow me to welcome you to the blog, Brooke! 🙂

      We always like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

    • Hi Brooke, we received a comment in the last 12 hours or so from someone who used the screen name Brooke but used a different email address from the one you have used in your comments that have been published on this blog.

      If that comment was from you, this is to let you know that we can’t publish it because it named the abuser by name and we try our best on this blog to prevent any victim being identified by her abuser or his allies.

      Furthermore, the comment was asking for prayer for the abuser. While of course it is fine for anyone to pray for an abuser, we do have a couple of posts about that which you or the other Brooke (if she is reading this) might find interesting and/or helpful.

      Here they are:

      To pray for our abusers… or not? (we don’t need to pray for the sin that leads to death)

      Have I prayed enough? – a question often asked by victims of domestic abuse

  56. DEZ

    Sooo true… why is it that so many people generally side with an abuser?

    • Hi Dez and welcome to the blog. 🙂

      We always like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

      If you think the name ‘Dez’ might identify you to your abuser(s), please email The woman behind the curtain: twbtc.acfj@gmail.com — she will be more than happy to change it for you. 🙂

      why is it that so many people generally side with an abuser?

      Because abusers are very skilled at manipulating bystanders and authority figures. They often do this by telling a weeny teeny bit of the truth about the bad things they’ve done but massaging the story to make it look like ‘It wasn’t that bad — And my partner is really crazy — And my partner is making up so many lies about me — And I’ve told her I’m sorry —And I”m even going to counseling. So I really am serious about changing!”

      Lines like that suck the bystanders into thinking that the person isn’t an abuser, and he’s such a nice guy anyway (his public face is nice, it’s part of his manipulative strategy).

      And there is a LOT of ignorance about the dynamics of domestic abuse in the community. There are lot of myths about it. And abusers help perpetuate and disseminate those myths.

      Here is a good page about MYTHS and FACTS about DOMESTIC ABUSE It comes from Australia, where they prefer to use the term ‘family violence’.

  57. Olivia

    You basically already said this but it’s true real victims somewhat stick up for their abusers, saying “he/she so not like that all the time” or “he/she is usually so good I don’t know why …..” or similar. All designed to make him/her not look so bad to others. The real abuser wants everyone to think badly of her/him.

    • Hi Olivia, welcome to the blog 🙂
      We always like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

      If you want to change your screen name to something else, just email The woman behind the curtain: twbtc.acfj@gmail.com — she will be happy to assist. 🙂

  58. Olivia

    The part about being angry is true to. The real victim expresses “hurtful anger”, and the abuser shows “hateful anger”. You can tell the difference.

  59. lovingheartjournal

    Reading this type of thing helps so much with the healing process, thank you ❤

    • Lovingheartjournal,

      Welcome to the blog! I’m glad you are healing!!

      We like to encourage new commenters to read our New Users Info page as it gives tips for staying safe when commenting on the blog.

      Again, Welcome!

  60. Aro

    About 4 years ago, I had a friend whose abuse consisted of playing the victim. He was the only friend I was able to stay in touch with when I started college, and we were in a class together. If I didn’t want to talk or hang out with him, I had better have a good excuse, or he’d type out entire pages of how exactly I’d hurt him. He ended up trying to monopolize all of my free time and following me around on campus whether I wanted him to or not. If I didn’t want to talk, or if I vented about something on the internet instead of to him, he’d sulk and give me the silent treatment. Then he’d go on monologues telling me how selfish, spoiled, and terrible I was and how much I’d hurt him until I was crying from guilt and shame. He’d go into detail about how he prayed for me and how after everything he’d said to God about me, I had no right to be treating him like this.

    But it’s kind of funny, because eventually, I figured that if I was hurting him so much, we should just stop hanging out. So I told him that. It didn’t even occur to me until after it was over that I had been abused.

    • Aro,

      Welcome to the blog! Glad you were able to get safely out of that relationship!

      Also, we like to encourage new commenters to read our New Users Info page as it gives tips for staying safe when commenting on the blog.

      Again, Welcome!

Trackbacks

  1. Recommended: A Man’s Point of View: Thomas’ Domestic Violence Story « Thoroughly Christian Divorce
  2. How easy IS it to spot an abuser, when he is both Jeckyll & Hyde? « A Cry For Justice

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