A Cry For Justice

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

Scriptures That Demonstrate an Abuser is Not a Christian

It is crucial that we all keep the definition of an abuser in mind as we work to sort through the subject and all of its deceptions and intricacies. By “abuser” we are not talking about someone who sometimes abuses someone else. If we were, we would all be abusers. No, we are talking about a person who is defined by, whose very essence of character is – abuser. That is to say, an abuser is a person whose being is one of a profound sense of entitlement to power and control, who therefore uses a variety of wicked tactics to obtain and maintain that power and control, and who feels perfectly justified in doing so. Ok? That is the person we are talking about.

And I maintain that the Bible makes it very clear that such a person cannot be a Christian. Is not a Christian. Never has been a Christian. And in the majority of cases, never will be a Christian because he will not repent.  Consider the following Scriptures that support this conclusion.  As you read, apply these truths directly to the abuser as we define him and ask, “is this true of an abuser or not?”

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. (Psalms 1:1-6)

A Maskil of David. Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah (Psalms 32:1-5)  [NOTE: Is this characteristic of an abuser? Is this really what happens when the abuser sins? Is this how he feels?]

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jeremiah 31:31-34)   [NOTE:  See the application of this passage in Hebrews 8 which clearly demonstrates that this passage is speaking of the New Covenant in Christ, the new birth in Christ, the Church]

I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. (Ezekiel 36:24-27)

But to the wicked God says: “What right have you to recite my statutes or take my covenant on your lips? For you hate discipline, and you cast my words behind you. If you see a thief, you are pleased with him, and you keep company with adulterers. “You give your mouth free rein for evil, and your tongue frames deceit. You sit and speak against your brother; you slander your own mother’s son. These things you have done, and I have been silent; you thought that I was one like yourself. But now I rebuke you and lay the charge before you. “Mark this, then, you who forget God, lest I tear you apart, and there be none to deliver! (Psalms 50:16-22)  [NOTE: The abuser, who is described quite well here, has NO part in God’s covenant. That means he is not a Christian.  Notice also – VERY important – God gives this wicked one the LAW, not the gospel. Mark this…lest I tear you apart!  That is the message we are to give to the wicked, not “Jesus loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life”].

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. (John 3:1-5)

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)  [Think it through. Do people KNOW that the abuser is a Christian because of his demonstrated, practiced love for others? Especially for believers? Of course not]

For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. (Romans 8:3-9)

For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. (Romans 8:13-14)

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. (Galatians 5:16-17)  [NOTE: The “you” in the last phrase here is the Christian. The person YOU really are in Christ. And what YOU want to do is to walk in the Spirit, not do the desires of the flesh. A Christian is a person who DESIRES to walk in the Spirit and whose life therefore is characterized by that desire, by the fruits of the Spirit, even if imperfectly. The abuser does not desire to obey Christ and does not walk habitually in the Spirit. He may be rather masterful at pretending this Spirit-flesh battle is raging in him, but it is not].

Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, (1 Thessalonians 4:9)

And then you have virtually the entire book of 1 John.  Here are some examples:

If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:6-7)

And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, (1 John 2:3-4)

Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. (1 John 2:9-11)

No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. (1 John 3:6-10)  [Actually I really only needed to put this one passage here to prove the case, right?]

We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. (1 John 3:14-15)

Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us. (1 John 3:24)

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:7-8)

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. (1 John 4:20-21)

We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him. (1 John 5:18) [“keeps on sinning” does not mean perfect sanctification is required in order to be a Christian. What it does mean is that the habitual, characteristic walk of a Christian is not one of practicing sin]

There.  That should do it. The abuser is not a Christian, never has been a Christian, and never will be a Christian without real, genuine, miraculous repentance. I was kept in confusion for many years on this subject because of just plain false teaching in the churches I grew up in AND in one or two seminary classes I took. I remember one day after a soteriology class (the doctrine of salvation), asking the professor what we are to do with all these “either/or” statements in 1 John. He gave me some garbled answer like “well, you see, for John, things are presented more black and white, but we must be careful in how we apply what he says.” Hogwash!! By the way, that professor the very next year booked off from his wife and hit the road with a counselee he was “affairing” with.  His theology was quite convenient for him.

The abuser is not a Christian. The thing is impossible. No matter how smooth his deceptions are, how sometimes noble-looking his sheep disguise is, he is not a child of God. Remember, sheep do not put on wolf suits, but wolves love to put on wool. Good does not disguise itself as evil, but evil very often disguises itself as good. So when you have Mr. Abuser the “christian” – remember. The Mr. Hyde evil side is the real person.  Anchor yourself in God’s Word! It is our compass and is infallible. Don’t base your conclusions on observations of your abuser, or on your abuser’s claims,  or on stories other people want to tell you to try to claim a Christian can be an abuser. Go right back to these Scriptures (and there are many more) and anchor your certainty in their truth. As long as you keep struggling with the notion that an abuser, your abuser, is or might possibly a real Christian, you are going to stumble around in the fog of confusion.

 

A link to this post has been placed on the “What does Scripture Really Say? resource page as well as the Scriptures page on the top menu under the subtitle Scriptures Describing an Abuser 

 

54 Comments

  1. This is really good Jeff….it’s something that has been on my mind for quite some time. In the 29 yrs that my H and I have been married, I’ve never seen anything that would make me think he’s a believer.
    He never reads his bible…he’s never memorized any scripture, he’s never talked about God in the way a believer should, never discusses the messages he hears on Sunday, he has never been the leader in our home, he never gives God glory for things that happen in his life, for blessings he receives…nothing.

    He has unsaved family members, but he doesn’t seem to care about them at all…in fact, he hasn’t talked to his parents or sisters in over two years.
    After I found put about his emotional affair 4 yrs ago, the second one in 25 yrs, he’s not shown an ounce of true, humble repentance. Ever. He shuts me out emotionally, all while saying that he loves me and wants to “move on” but we can’t because I keep bringing up the past.
    It’s just lately that I’ve been questioning if he’s really a believer, because after 4 yrs of his emotional abuse, of being shut out, of being told that he has as a severe lack of empathy for others by his therapist, and sadly, he seems to be ok with that because “that’s just how he is” I just can’t help but ask how can a TRUE child of God can live without a conscience…how he can look at me, knowing he’s betrayed me, and just walk away from my pleas to fix this marriage, how can he lay his head on the pillow, night after night, and sleep the sleep of an innocent child, knowing I’m downstairs crying my heart out because of my broken marriage??
    How can a man who professes to be a Christian act this way??

    • Jeff Crippen

      Lonely – He can’t. The thing is impossible. So the question is, why are we being taught so widely by pastors and churches and professing Christians that such people must be assumed to be saved? I can tell you why. Because it causes THEM less trouble. It adds bodies and revenues to the church. It tickles the ears of those who just want to hear pleasantries. Of course this all comes, as you so well know, at the cost of continued suffering to people like you.

      • Still Reforming

        Yes, Pastor Jeff. Yes. Bingo! It causes THEM less trouble. When things became quite bad in our household, my pastor said on the phone to me one day, “You’re really putting me in a difficult spot.” I told him that he was already in such a spot without my putting him there – because as pastor he’s going to have to hear things like this. Frankly, when I left the church upon the return of my abuser there, I think the church leadership was relieved. It’s easier to deal with an abuser than the whistleblower.

      • Jeff Crippen

        It won’t be easier for them to deal with the Chief Shepherd when they have to stand before Him and give account for what they have done. As a pastor and Christian, even when I was a brand new and inexperienced pastor 32 years ago, I knew this much – The Lord does not permit the wicked to be in His church. In the very first months of my first pastorate I called on the church board to discipline a church member who was a notorious drunkard in the community. They refused. I battled them for 8 years. At my second church it was the very same thing. Gross, open sin but the church board refused to discipline the member because his sin was “a cry for help.” Oh please! In our third church the SAME scenario started playing itself out and I knew they would do nothing about it (keep in mind these were ALL supposedly conservative, Bible-believing churches). Finally 22 years ago we came to our present church and this time we resolved to do battle. Sure enough, same thing. Rank and open sin was the order of the day (all disguised of course with a facade of holiness when I had come to candidate as pastor). By God’s grace, we are still here and the wicked are gone. They of course simply went down the road, joined another church, and are continuing to practice their evil there unopposed. We have about 40 people left in our church. But we have peace. We have Christ. I simply cannot imagine a pastor who would rather tolerate a wicked abuser than to have to be “troubled” with confronting him and putting him out of the church and helping the victim. Christ is coming. There is a great Audit of His churches and undershepherds coming. It is all going to be exposed.

    • Jeff Crippen

      P.S. – This first paragraph you wrote describes my own father, now deceased, exactly. Yet I was raised in a church setting that insisted such a person is saved –

      In the 29 yrs that my H and I have been married, I’ve never seen anything that would make me think he’s a believer.
      He never reads his bible…he’s never memorized any scripture, he’s never talked about God in the way a believer should, never discusses the messages he hears on Sunday, he has never been the leader in our home, he never gives God glory for things that happen in his life, for blessings he receives…nothing.

      I wish that I could say my father departed this world in Christ. But we can have no assurance that such a person knows Christ at all. I have had people tell me “well, you know, that older generation just wasn’t as comfortable talking about their feelings or personal things.” I don’t buy this as an excuse. In every era when Christ gives a person a new heart and makes them a new creation and puts His Spirit within them, the old man has passed away and the new has come. Jesus said that His people confess Him before men. Sadly, I never in my life heard my father do so.

      • lonelywife07

        Wow, Jeff…how very, very sad about your father! I fear that for my husband, I really do! He’s in counseling now….well, kind of…he’s been less than a handful of sessions, over several months….this after I told him that I wanted to separate about a year ago.
        The counselor is a Christian, so I am praying that he picks up on the fact that my H, in all probability, isn’t even saved!
        Jeff or Barbara…I hope you see this and can help me with a couple of questions I have!
        My husband isn’t a “mean” abuser…I know, I know, that’s weird thing to say…but it’s taken me a long time to attach the word “abuser” to my husband and my marriage, so please bear with me.
        My H isn’t verbally or physically abusive…he is emotionally abusive, but only when it relates to me wanting to talk about the emotional affair from four years ago, or my feeling unsafe with him because of the affair, my not trusting him, etc. other than that, we get along ok. I mean, I know our marriage is NOT healthy, nor is it the way God intended marriage, but I’m not miserable….now. After the EA four years ago, I was in a bad way, but I’ve come out the other side, much stronger and relying on God more than ever!
        My H and I go out to dinner or a movie, shopping at the mall, we get with friends once a month for dinner, we go on vacations…he’s very passive, I can do pretty much whatever I want, so I don’t feel that he’s controlling at all and I do what makes me happy, outside of the marriage.
        I’m not walking on eggshells around him, my guts not twisted in fear or anxiety, not like it was the 2-3 yrs after I discovered his EA. I’m fine. Lonely, a bit sad that he doesn’t want to fix what’s broken, but all in all, I feel I’m doing ok.
        I have friends that I go out with, several church ministries that I’m involved in, and my H usually helps me in a couple of the ministries, with only a little grumbling on the side…and when he does that, I tell him to stay home, that I can do it myself…but he never does, he has to keep up appearances, you understand? 😉
        Anyway, in saying all of that…is it wrong to stay in a marriage like mine, where I know my husband is never going to change, where I know I can never depend on him to be there for me emotionally and I know he’ll never be there for our three boys, the youngest being 15…but that’s how it’s always been, I’ve raised our four boys pretty much on my own….homeschooling mom here….and he acknowledges that.
        I ask because I talked to two of my boys last night, 20 and 24, after they asked me to PLEASE not let their dad discipline their younger brother, because he just yells and makes threats, but never follows through…and they see that their brother doesn’t take his dad seriously….yeah, I know, no respect.
        Anyway, my son asked me if we were going to separate, and I told him I’m not sure, since his dad is in counseling now, and I wanted to see how that was going to go and my son said he was ok with that…but is concerned about the sin that is in our home, because of his dad’s not fully repenting and not having a true relationship with God.

        So if anyone can give me some guidance here…I’d appreciate it! Sorry for the length of this….I really have nowhere else to go to ask this. :/

      • Jeff Crippen

        Lonely – I have dealt with one other such man. I came across a good description of this type in a counseling book (can’t recall the title) that called him “the drifter.” They are a kind of covert abuser. The thing can be very deceptive. No original thinking. You wonder if anyone is really home “in there” when you look at them.

        I don’t believe it is wrong (sinful) to remain in such a marriage – but it is entirely your choice. The thing is, you need to do all you can (sounds like you have) to educate yourself as to the real state of your situation because it may be doing you and the children more harm than you might realize to stay there. Maybe not. But this man has long since broken his marriage vows. He has destroyed the marriage. You are free before God to formalize that divorce.

      • Jeff Crippen

        Lonelywife07- the book that describes your husband in a chapter called The Drifter is Toxic Relationships and How to Change Them, by Clinton McLemore. That one chapter I think would be a real eye opener for you. McLemore approaches various toxic personality types in this book and suggests ways to deal with them. In my opinion, the way to deal with them if at all possible is to have nothing to do with them.

      • Moving Forward

        Lonelywife07 – sounds very much like my situation. He doesn’t fit the profile completely, and I have to look over all the years to see the pattern, how I really don’t mean much to him. Now, of course after he left me blank separation papers, then walked out on us, forcing me to fill them in for our sanity, as he is very poor at sticking to his word, all of a sudden we mean something to him. Sorry, but a lot of healing has to occur, and right now he can’t see the truth and really refuses to do so. Talking to my older children convinced me the break was needed. He will still have to be allowed visitation, but that will be enough to see where he is at and where this is to go. Definitely not an easy road to walk, but we are on it and not getting off. We’ve been through too much already, even if it was “just” covert emotional abuse.

      • loves6

        I wish I was in your church and you were my Pastor.
        I question my husband’s Christian life. There is no talking about God in our home anymore, there is a facade of Christianity.
        We were in a very strict church environment for over 25 yrs. I never realized that I was verbally, emotionally and mentally and sexually abused in my marriage until 18 months ago. We have been together for well over 30 years.
        We left this church 3 years ago and my husband’s abuse got worse.
        He is known as a ‘nice guy’ by everyone.
        As I stand up for myself and say I’m my own person I can make these decisions myself he gets angry…passive aggressive sometimes with a sharp cynical tongue.
        He thinks be is being so sweet calling me love and darling but I can feel he is just ‘trying’ to be a sweet Christian .
        I say something, he always questions it like I’m not telling the truth….right down to me saying the kettle is on.
        My new church has no free help for me… I have reached out but no one has helped. I have paid a lady from our church for counselling sessions for me this are not addressing my abusive marriage.
        I have no one. … not one person that I can turn to. I have made inquiries with a place in my country that are very understanding of abuse. It is non christian but I have no more options.
        My husband makes me feel like I crazy. I have been rereading books again and seeing his tactics. ..problem is I don’t like him…. I’m so angry with him and this causes me to feel condemned and question my Christianity.
        Thanks Pastor Jeff. I love your directness and feel that this is of the Holy Spirit. I wish there was someone in my life thact could be my advocate…
        Blessings

      • Jeff Crippen

        loves6 – we are very glad you are here in our ACFJ community and will be happy to keep interacting with you and encouraging you. Isn’t it interesting how so many of these abusers who claim to be Christians identify with “strict” churches as you describe it? I think that they like the patriarchal environment they find there and it enables them in their deception. Even when no one else stands with us, Jesus does. He is the great Advocate and He shepherds His people.

      • Thank you Pastor Jeff. I really appreciate that.

    • Hi Lonely
      I concur with Jeff’s recommendation of that chapter on The Drifter in the “Toxic Relationships” book. I think it may ring some bells for you.

      And I agree with Jeff that it is not wrong for you to stay in your marriage. You are at liberty to stay, and at liberty to leave.

      I don’t want to talk down to you; you have probably been implementing boundaries and consequences for a while. But sometimes these things can do with being reviewed and revisited. So here’s a suggestion:
      If you continue to stay, you might like to think about boundaries you might want to set. For example, you might want to say to your husband that you will not contenance him discliplining that son by just yelling and making threats but not following thru on any of those threats. And if he does this again, you will take such and such an action. I can’t tell you what action to take if he breaks the boundary you have set, but maybe you could think of something creative like *you will stop cooking his meals for a week*. That might be a consequence that impinges on him, without being hard for you to carry out. And it would model to him that threats are just hot air unless they are followed thru with consequences.

  2. KayJay

    Very helpful, Pastor Jeff. Thanks so much for this post!

  3. Valerie

    Enlightening post Ps Jeff! Coming to the truth a year ago described here was the turning point in realizing my loyalty is to Christ before my loyalty to my unrepentant husband. Realizing these truths has caused me to worship God even more as I acknowledge I am not loved by God with a cheap love. Knowing the truth of His character promotes a healthy fear and greater humility.

    It feels like an overwhelming task when I consider there seems to be a very small minority of followers who understand this truth. The moment you hint that God does not love everyone…that He hates the wicked (as stated in numerous passages) the ears of those around me have been closed like I’m referring to blatant heresy. I notice I have changed how I write and talk to people wrt scripture. I do my best to make clarifying statements indicating that the biblical truth I am speaking is only relevant for God’s children and that everyone can not claim the promises of scripture (the positive ones for protection and blessing). For example, I would now say God loves/protects His children rather than a blanket statement of God loves/protects you. While I am uplifted by contemporary Christian music, its message also rings with an undertone of unconditional love that troubles me at times. Yes, we all need more uplifting in this world dominated by the evil one but I have seen how my husband has falsely claimed these truths for himself when he can not because He currently is not God’s child.

    I think one of the issues that creates confusion for people is how love is demonstrated. If my husband would do things like open a door for a woman, promote a community project for someone in need or make comments about how God has been good to him, people (including myself for many many years) falsely concluded that he had love in his heart. Yet when I took a long hard look at the decades I was with him, I realized that he did nothing sacrificial. Any “good deed” he did was to promote self by adding to his curb appeal. I also noticed a trend where he would do a good deed for someone when someone else had caught him in a lie or unflattering light. Damage control, not selflessness.

    Scripture really is clear when you read it for yourself and don’t allow others to simply tell you what it means. It is critical for us to know truth for ourselves!

    • ESR

      “…I realized that he did nothing sacrificial. Any “good deed” he did was to promote self by adding to his curb appeal. I also noticed a trend where he would do a good deed for someone when someone else had caught him in a lie or unflattering light. Damage control, not selflessness.”

      Yup, I have begun to notice this pattern. The bad behavior continues, BUT there is a really BIG GESTURE to distract. And sadly it works, because everyone wants to see the Gesture as the real deal and the bad behavior as a temporary glitch.

  4. ESR

    Practice righteousness and love your brother. – that seems to be this gist of most of these, and this is where I struggle. It seems to me that this concept is used against me more than it is used against the abuser. If I am unwilling to reconcile, standoffish, or anything other than just happy to spend time with them then I am the one who is not loving my brother. “See they are trying… they bought you that huge gift (and gave it to you in front of the whole family) they are trying and you are not. YOU NEED TO FORGIVE!”

    But then I read verses about how you should not spend time with a liar, and I see how David stopped believing that Saul was ever going to stop trying to kill him. I see the verses about how a slanderer is to be put out from the congregation. I search my heart and realize that I wish this person no harm, I just don’t trust them, and have no desire to be around them. I recently read someone talking about how its okay to pray God’s judgement on an abuser because Justice and Mercy are actually two sides of the same coin. But I find myself praying for their correction (meaning heart change) and my deliverance. No – I don’t think this person is saved, and I am not holding out hope. I would like God to change their heart, but I have no desire to stick around as a witness, or to test its veracity. I just want us to go our separate ways.

    • What a lot of church people fail to see is that all they see is a very tiny percentage of the totality of life with the abuser. They see his public side for less than 1% of the total time a spouse sees him on a weekly basis. They see the public persona, but they don’t see the steady drip, drip, drip of the name calling, the yelling, nor the torrent of physical abuse leveled by them. They see the mask alone, not the hideous face of evil behind the mask.

      We are told to not judge by appearances, but that is exactly what many church people do, form opinions based on the little bit they see. When will people realize that the Sunday facade is just that, a facade?

      As to praying God’s judgment, I prefer to pray that God will deal with the person in His way and time, leaving room for both God’s sovereignty and the free will we all have to either obey or not. Let them suffer the consequences or blessings of the choice they make, just like we all must.

  5. savedbygrace

    I think this was one of the hardest things for me. So many believed that my ex-husband was a Christian (after all, he was such a nice guy..right?) and thought that the NT commands on how to treat a fallen brother applied, and that I had to remain married to him. I’ve not shared any of my story here, maybe I’ll email you later…but this was all said after he nearly beat me to death. 6 weeks in the hospital, two major surgeries, three months on IV nutrition with a home care nurse…but he was a Christian. Or so they said. Not only does that alienate the victim, it enables the abuser.

    • Jeff Crippen

      I would love to hear your story, learn from it, and help encourage you.

    • IamMyBeloved's

      So thankful you got away from him, Jessica. You have a safe place here to share your story, if you want to. This is why it is so important to use a biblically right and true interpretation of God’s Salvation and what it is, not our man-made ideas of what it is. So sorry you had to endure all of that.

    • Brenda R

      Jessica,
      This was not a “fallen brother” or a Christian, this was/is an attempted murder.

      Ps. Jeff,
      Thank you so much for pointing all of this out in such an easy format to understand. I will be keeping this readily available for future use.

  6. Ann

    A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)  
    [Think it through. Do people KNOW that the abuser is a Christian because of his demonstrated, practiced love for others? Especially for believers? Of course not]

    My anti-husband goes to church every week, attends all the church breakfasts, buys items from the children like Girl Scout cookies, goes on all the youth retreats to help chaperone, helps the church basketball coach by keeping score and providing some training equipment. In 20 yrs. he has physically attacked me about 4 times, out-of-the blue screamed and cursed at the top of his lungs for nothing I did wrong at least a dozen times, has put me down in front of his family and a woman in our neighborhood, flirted with other women and refused to help me through some serious health situations. So yes, he is kind to other Christians, me not so much.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Ann – he is a counterfeit. A wicked man masquerading as a Christian. I have seen them over and over and over down through the years. They crave the self-glory they get from everyone whom they have duped. The man who has attacked you and cursed at you is who he really is. If those other “Christians” ever confronted him as they are supposed to, he would rage at them as well. He knows that you know who he really is and he hates you for it. Be careful and don’t hesitate to take steps to protect yourself by going to a womens’ center or calling the police.

      • Ann

        Pastor for a long time I use to think ‘well he’s not doing these things to me everyday, week, or month’, but when he did do them they were shockingly violent. I just thought I had no reason to complain, because there are women confined to their homes, being physically attacked on a consistent basis, no money, sexually assaulted, etc… But when I told a detective “He’s only physically attacked me 4 times in 20 years”, his response was, “Don’t you think 1 time is too many?! I know too many woman who never escaped attack #1–know what I mean?!”

        And it’s taken me a very long time to realize how insidious abuse can be–half truths, just not supply an answer, rewriting history, withholding information, out right lying, ‘not remembering’ an evil done, preferring others over me (because you know they needed him), making me wait for help or not helping at all during a time of trauma, accusing others of the rift between us instead of taking responsibility for it, feigning concern to obtain information only to use it against me. No wonder I never could get close to him, he was purposely holding me at arms length; that is unless he wanted sex.

      • Jeff Crippen

        Ann – the detective was absolutely right. Don’t be hard on yourself – abusers are very deceptive and their tactics mess with one’s mind. You are right, the physical assaults are just a part of his cycle. All the evil he did/does is intentional and everything he does that looks “good” or “kind” is actually just part of the abuse cycle he uses to keep you confused. Very glad you are here. I hope if you haven’t come to an exodus to freedom, you will be able to.

  7. Savedbygrace

    Hi Jeff, well you delivered! These scriptures are powerful stuff, a real paradigm shifter , I feel gutted – I have a lot to process
    Thanks to everyone who comments – it all helps lift the fog…

  8. Innoscent

    “No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning.” 1Jn 3.6-8

    Jeff, when I would quote this passage to my H to try and show him something was clearly wrong with his chronic sinning (emotional abuse – ‘the steady drip, drip, drip’ to use WendellG’s phrase), his typical response was “I’m a work in progress”. Meaning he could not fix everything all at once but at least he was trying. The thing is what I witnessed and suffered grievously was that his ‘progress’ was actually in the wrong direction, progress to do me even more harm! What he called ‘sanctification’ really was ‘degradation’ in his own agenda.

    Unfortunately pastors, allies, friends, counselors, etc. accused me of being demanding on my H to do better, that it was counterproductive, that I didn’t love unconditionally, and so I ended up being the guilty one hindering my H’s efforts.. 😦

    • Innoscent, here is something you might like to put to your pastors, allies, friends and counselors:

      Premise 1: God’s love far surpasses our paltry ability to love.
      Premise 2: Since God is perfect, He must have shown Cain perfect love when he counselled Cain to change his attitude.

      Question: Did God’s perfect love make Cain change?
      Answer. No.
      So why do you imply that if I’d loved my husband perfectly, he would have changed?

      • Oh Barbara…excellent point! I’m writing this down to use in the future!
        And in reference to what you said above…Yes, I have boundaries in place! I moved my husband out of our bedroom on after we went to an office party at his work, and I felt a female coworker was a little too friendly, and he blamed ME for overreacting, and making “something out of nothing!”
        Me? Overreacting…this after TWO emotional affairs during more than two decades of marriage!! And I stopped fixing his lunch for a while…and I’ll do it again, if need be!
        I haven’t let him move back into our bedroom…even though his counselor thinks I was wrong to do this, that this will “create more emotional distance between us”…well, my husband IS passive aggresive, we haven’t been emotionally close…EVER!!! But I am finding that what the counselor says is true…I am enjoying the emotional distance!! 🙂
        I will say one thing…he was shocked that I moved him out of the bedroom…he was out of town at the time, and he did start back to counseling, after he’d skipped several weeks!
        But I’ve learned to have NO expectations when it comes to my husband…he’s not a humble man, he a Peacefaker (thank you Leslie Vernick) and I truly believ he’s not saved!
        I shared this post with my 2nd oldest son and he agrees! I do have the full support of my children, so I am blessed by that!
        I’ll check out the book Jeff recommended! Thanks so much for the info!!

      • lonelywife07, this thing that counselor said:

        his counselor thinks I was wrong to do this, that this will “create more emotional distance between us”

        Can you see how the counselor was blaming you for the emotional distance? That counselor does not get it. Let me say that again. That counselor does NOT get it. The counselor does not acknowledge that you moved your husband out of the bedrooom because HE had been creating emotional distance between you and him, by continually abusing you.

        If you can do so, I suggest you shuck that husk of a counselor. I don’t know if that’s a legit expression; it just came to me. But I think you’ll get what I mean. 🙂

      • Innoscent

        Excellent Barbara! That’s exactly it. Thank you for making it so clear. 😉
        Even Lucifer who was created perfect in a perfect environment, surrounded by a perfect God still chose to become Abuser #1!
        The counseling crowd have their premises totally mingled and jumbled. They look at you through their marriage counseling glasses to evaluate the situation and apply their stereotyped marital advice. When is it that they will take them off and use the infrared binoculars to read the Bible and see for themselves the real story?

        How is it that suddenly I (the wife) am expected to love my husband unconditionally, when Eph 5.25-27 says the husband IS to demonstrate sacrificial love for his wife and lead her on the path of sanctification? Like Lucifer they preached a reverted gospel (gnosticism)… Spooky!

        Is God’s ‘love unconditional’? That’s a pop phraseology of the peace and flower power movement of the 60’s and a devilish sophistry that’s swept the church throughout. It’s Satan’s lie to Eve repackaged ‘Has God really said you will die? No, He loves you so much!’ But my Bible says that God is done with the rebellious people:
        Hosea 9.15 All their wickedness is in Gilgal: for there I hated them: for the wickedness of their doings I will drive them out of mine house, I will love them no more: all their princes are revolters.
        And in Rev 3 God even says the Laodiceans make Him that nauseous that He has to vomit them!

    • Oh my gosh.. I totally understand the drip drip drip term…
      Oh yes I have been told by my husband that he is a work in progess.. I have to give him time to deal with his past issues from childhood just like he has given me to deal with my..
      I have tried for years to love my husband with all his faults and failings. I am now over it.
      My husband uses the things you mention against me. I feel like I am in a court room with him sometimes when he turns around and uses very strong arguments against me.
      You are not alone…

  9. Lisa

    I am responding to Lonelywife07 from 1/9/15: Reading your post reminded me of the 18 of the almost 21 years married that I spent asking/begging for my ex to give me attention; be focused on us instead of always pleasing others; give a care to my thoughts and emotions. I would even ask him, playing at first, if there was anything I could possibly do that would make him jealous because he was too much on the other end of the spectrum. So, your words, “He’s very passive, I can do pretty much whatever I want, so I don’t feel he’s controlling at all…….” and, “I know I can never depend on him to be there emotionally….” brought back to mind a season of my process of getting out. 1Tim3:8 says “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is WORSE than an unbeliever.” When I was focusing on this verse and reading it in his face I was talking about financial provision. We went through a 5 year season where he was “caught up” in fanaticism and wouldn’t/couldn’t/didn’t provide financially. But, one day the Lord led me to read somewhere that the verse didn’t only refer to a financial provider, but a provider emotionally and spiritually. That set me free. Next, the Lord kept putting in my hearing from various sources, “The opposite of Love is not hate, it is indifference.” Bingo! That was it for me. That isn’t marriage and he just wouldn’t get it.

  10. MJ

    Totally agree with this article, always have, always will. God’s Word is clear on those living in sin, not simply sinners, for we all fall under that title, but those who continue to daily live in sin; those who are not growing in their walk with God. I do try to be careful, though, not to become self-righteous and think my heart is better than another. Do I gossip or complain or overeat on a daily basis? Those are questions I try to ask and hopefully, do less and less. Back to abusers, who claim to know God, they are liars and the truth is not in them. All the verses used here are clear on the truth that abusers are not followers of Jesus Christ. I pray for those abused by so-called Christians, to see the truth and not be confused by wrong teaching that is much too prevalent in the church today. Reading God’s Word ourselves is vital. Thank you for this article.

  11. Still Reforming

    Lisa –

    You wrote: ” 1Tim3:8 says “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is WORSE than an unbeliever.”

    Indeed. And the typical pastoral response to this? “I believe that it is my duty to try to preach to the abuser and see Him or Her saved.”

    You cannot have mercy without judgment – but if that judgment is perverted, then it is the opposite of mercy. It is cruelty and adding to the abuse. The preacher becomes the enabler. They have taken the word “repent” out of the words of the gospel: “Repent and believe.” Now, it’s watered down to merely “believe,” but no need to repent. Easy believism. Lip service is good enough in our church. Come have a seat. Be warm and well fed. No need to prove repentance here.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Lisa and Still Reforming – You are describing what is and has been so wrong in most churches. It comes down really to a false gospel. Logically, the end result is denial of the existence of hell. After all, really, these guys are saying that when it all plays out, “love conquers all.” Well, it does. But not in the way they imagine it. God’s love practices justice for His people and for His Name and glory. His love sends the evil wicked man to hell.

      Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring. This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering– since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.
      (2 Thessalonians 1:4-10)

  12. Ben B.

    Amen! Amen! Amen!

    So many people in the church just think that an abuser woke up on the wrong side of the bed a few times when you share your experiences with them. That simply sitting down as a family and talking things out will fix things. Nearly 2 years ago my mom left my abusive narcissistic father (Praise the Lord!), after which I cut off all communication with my N father. I let it be known I would not talk with him again until he did 3 things, I made sure that he knew what they were, plus his brothers and sisters along with his friends. (They were reasonable things that a normal christian would already be doing.) After this he talked to a christian counselor over the phone a few times and then had 1 face-to-face meeting (long term professional counseling was one of the requirements I listed before I would talk to him again), the counselor then called me up and said that I should not remove my N father from my life, Christ would not do that to us. He said I needed to reach out to him with love and forgiveness and that I could help be part of his healing process. He said that he truly believed that my father was a completely changed man (after only meeting him 1 time???). But then a few sentences later he said that I didn’t need to focus on how many times he would fall (abuse again) in our relationship, but focus on his efforts to get back up again. Hmm… so he’s completely changed, but I have to be willing to be abused again until he stops falling down (stops abusing)???

    People in the church need to take the scriptures you shared seriously, they are approaching an abuser all wrong. They are approaching an abuser like someone that has had a temporary lapse in judgment, someone who had a moment of weakness. When really they need to be treating them like they would a heathen, someone who has never had a relationship with the Lord, someone who has a hardened heart, someone walking in the darkness and never been in the light.

    Oh yeah, my N father, after nearly 2 years is still falling down (abusing). I hear of stories or incidents from some of his family or his friends. So glad I’m away from the abuse, the last two years have been such a blessing, I have been on such a wonderful journey with the Lord. I actually get to study the Bible and have my own convictions, draw my own conclusions about things. I don’t have to have my N father’s dismal view on things, I don’t have to fear being yelled or screamed at for not having the same twisted view of scripture that he did. The list could go on and on.

    Thanks again Jeff, for sharing those scriptures and helping people to know what the Bible truly says about an abuser.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Thank you Ben for telling your story. You handled this very well, drawing specific boundaries and calling your father to accounts. That counselor needs to go out of business yesterday.

  13. M

    I feel so lost right now. I have been praying for my family to heal, for my husband’s eyes to be opened to his own need for healing, and the incredibly damaging toll his behavior is taking on both me and our child.

    I have been a christian for quite a few years. My husband has, in recent years, appeared to have come to faith. At first he seemed very zealous in terms of wanting to serve at church, read the bible. . . . Over time, however, it dwindled, and my husband’s former struggles and issues reared their head, once more, and yet, more deeply.

    I feel like I’ve hit a wall in my marriage, and day by day, I’m losing more of myself.

    . . .
    In recent years, I’ve recoginised that what I’m experiencing is cycles of abuse. It has been excruciating to me because he refuses to accept responsibility for anything. He flat out refuses to repent. I have been more than willing to take responsibility for any unhealthy patterns I’ve contributed to the marriage, and have actually been in christian counselin working on my own issues of childhood.

    It’s come to the point where, our child doesn’t want to be around him anymore.

    Yet, in the midst of this, he still continues to post scriptures on his facebook, carries around his bible and bible books, and to the outside world, appears to be the leader and protector of the home. I know I am not being beat with fists, but I feel like I’m emotionally broken and dying from lack of nurturing and care. No one outside would ever believe me if I told them what life is really like behind closed doors.

    The more time has gone on, the more I feel I have lost my husband, my family, and myself. Sometimes, I see small glimpses of the person I thought I knew, of a person who loves me, and wants to be close to me, but it’s becoming less and less.

    He obsessively watched tv and stays on the internet. If you try to engage him at all, he becomes very irritable, and withdraws even further. He is repelled by any affection I try to show him, . . . I feel like I’m starving to death from lack of care and affection. He knows how painful this is for me, which is why it’s so much worse when he withholds affection and communication purposely, for long periods of time ( I usually have no idea what has triggered this mood). He also does not like to have any discussions at any time, and is usually repelled by any expectations put on him -from simple requests, to serious requests.

    I recently told him how much his behaviors are hurting me, and that I want him to heal, instead of more distance created between us. I encouraged counseling, and told him I can’t go on like this anymore. I told him I loved him, and he looked like I had shamed him, and was extremely threatened. Then, silent treatment happened, over the following days.

    I cannot go on like this. I feel like my spirit is breaking. I’m exhausted from living life alone, and walking on eggshells around him. If he isn’t willing to get help, I can’t stay. Is there any hope for someone with these behaviors?

    I gave him an ultimatum some months ago, about separation, and he agreed to the terms of the ultimatum (his part was to go to counseling).

    Months later, his behavior has worsened, . . . His hostility is constant now. And, now, he has totally dropped the ball on going to counseling. He did not keep his word to me.

    I told him that if he doesn’t not keep his word and follow through to get counseling, he will leave me with no choice, but to leave. He became very threatened and angry by me saying this, and remains unrepentant.

    I sit here and wonder what life I’m living.. is this what a christian would do to their family? I understand self preservation, but to this point? He seems entirely willing to lose us to preserve himself. When given the choice, he chooses himself, every time. I am praying that the Lord would help me. Thank you for listening.

    [Eds: this commment was heavily redacted to disidentify details and protect the commmenter. ]

    • Dear M
      as you will see, I have edited your comment for safety reasons. Welcome to the blog. 🙂
      I am sorry for what you are suffering from your husband (and what you suffered in your childhood).

      Please read our New Users Info page to get tips about how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.
      Hang round, read as much as you can here (including the books we have on our Resources pages) and be assured: you do not have to stay with this man. From what you wrote, he has clearly not followed through with his undertaking to go to counseling, but rather, is choosing to become even more abusive. This is not a safe place for you to be.

      I recommmend you read our Safety Planning page and our Hotlines page in our Resources section (see the resources tab at the top of the blog.)

      I’m sorry for having taken a while to publish your comment. It needed so much editing I didn’t have time to look at it till today.

      • M

        I appreciate you taking the time to reach out, edit my comment to protect my identity.

        This ministry is a lifeline esp now,as I have felt lost at sea, with little hope or understanding of how God felt about what my life has become.

        As you said, the abusive and disturbing behavior has worsened. If we have had a simple argument, he disappears, and many times, I’ve found him in dark rooms,curled up on the floor in fetal position. It’s really scared me. I’ve approached him in shock and concern, and he snarls ” Get away from me!!!!!”

        He is appalled by physical touch, but also highly jealous and revolted by the affection of others. If he’s” caught” me hugging my pet, he gets very jealous and angry, and puts me down. He is very jealous of our pets, and if I care for them.

        If he is angry or punishing, he neglects them, and really alarmed me when he held one of our dogs neck and muzzle so they couldn’t breathe, when he was angry. The dog was panicking, and hubby is in a zone, not letting go. I had to scream for him to let go.

        He also has gotten worse with wanting to control me through money. I have constant anxiety living with a walking time bomb who can go off at any time.

        I appreciate you just letting me vent. I have never felt safe to share this in the church.

        I look forward to reading more on your site, and reclaiming my voice

      • Brenda R

        M,
        The fetal position in a dark room? That cries out for help that you cannot give. Torturing a dog because he is angry and zoned out.. Controlling your through money. M, I am afraid for you and praying for you.

      • Dear M, did you know that having a history of animal abuse is one of the warning signs that a domestic abuser is a HIGH RISK abuser – — meaning there is a high risk of a lethal outcome in the marriage. That means you are at high risk of him becoming violent enough to murder you. And choking is another indicator of high risk. He has choked a dog. There is an easy step from this to him choking you. And choking is attempted murder: it cuts the airway so the person being choked is at risk of being asphyxiated.

        Please please ring a hotline, and please look at our Safety Planning page and follow the links there so you can develop a safety plan. And also, in a case like yours I would strongly encourage you to contact your local DV service and ask for them to collaborate with you on developing a safety plan. They are experienced at this, and they know your local legal system and how it can best help you.

  14. imsetfree

    “If someone sometimes abuses someone then that person isn’t an abuser”. Ok. So that means I never really was abused then. Because although it was a pattern it didn’t happen every single day?

    • I think you may have misunderstood what we are trying to convey, imsetfree.

      Abusers often put on a nice or charming or godly front. They do this to confuse people. To make people think they are truly godly honourable upright individuals who would never intentionally sin against anyone. Wearing this mask in church, and putting it on sometimes even in their own family behind closed doors, does not mean they are not abusers. How we know that they are abusers is if they display a pattern of coercive control over the people they choose to target. Often they show this true side of themselves only behind closed doors to their immediate family. Sometimes they just show it to their spouse, but pretty much hide it from the children.

      And another mark of an abuser is that when you confront them with the harm and pain they have caused you, they fight back in a myriad of ways. They don’t admit fully what they did wrong, they make excuses for it, they try to shift some (or all) of the blame onto you, they minimise the evil of what they did, they lie, they re-write history, etc etc. And they may also put on the nice guy mask again, to make you think that you must have imagined it and they are really that nice person. But the nice is the mask, the intentional and recurrent wickedness is the truth.

      I suggest you read Lundy Bancroft’s book Why Does He Do That? IMPORTANT NOTE: While we endorse Lundy’s writings about the dynamics of domestic abuse, we do not recommend anyone attend the ‘healing retreats’ Lundy Bancroft offers or become involved in his ‘Peak Living Network.’ See our post, ACFJ Does Not Recommend Lundy Bancroft’s Retreats or His New Peak Living Network for more about our concerns.

      • Or maybe even better for you than Lundy’s book, would be Jeff Crippen’s book Unholy Charade: Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church. You can find it in our sidebar.

      • imsetfree

        The denial bit does describe him. He gets very angry anyway if I tell him I’m hurting or am struggling but if I confront him he will often get angry or tell me to leave the room. If I protest he says I’m being abusive and demanding. He always told me he would have been mores successful in life if it wasn’t for my wild behaviour growing up. The wild behaviour that was a cry for help

      • He always told me he would have been mores successful in life if it wasn’t for my wild behaviour growing up.

        What he did there is called ‘shifting the blame’. All abusers use blame-shifting as one of the tactics of fighting: they fight against having to take responsibility for their bad behaviour. So they blame the way they behave on other people – most often they blame the person they are abusing. Sometimes they also blame other people, people in the wider community.

        You were not to blame for your father’s ‘lack of success in life’. In fact, the likelihood is that by his rude, reckless, callous, impulsive (etc) behavior, he brought his ‘lack of success in life’ upon himself.

  15. imsetfree

    Oh and the minimising.
    “Its not like i hit you”
    “Lots of kids get their hair pulled and yelled at”
    “Well if you’re going to condemn me…”
    “You read books about abuse. You most likely got those stories mixed up in your mind thinking I did those things to you
    “You’ve always had a weak grasp on reality”
    “You take yourself too seriously”
    “I’m only teasing”
    “Its what parents are for”
    “You’ve got to learn to do better”
    “You’re abusing ME”
    “Everything I do is wrong isn’t it?”
    “That never happened”
    “Why can’t you just move on?”
    “You should be over it by now”
    “You enjoy all this”
    “Liar. Attention seeker. Witch”
    “You’re just a trouble maker”

    From my mother
    “Well its only verbal abuse isn’t it?”
    “Count your blessings”
    “Forgive him”

    • Your list here includes quite a few different tactics of verbal abuse. It may help if I name them for you:

      “Its not like i hit you” — minimizing, discounting

      “Lots of kids get their hair pulled and yelled at” — defining reality, minimising

      “Well if you’re going to condemn me…” — a threat that he will punish you if you criticise his bad behaviour

      “You read books about abuse. You most likely got those stories mixed up in your mind thinking I did those things to you.” — false accusation. Gaslighting (making you think you are going crazy)

      “You’ve always had a weak grasp on reality” — defining reality, false accusation, belittling

      “You take yourself too seriously” — defining reality, unjust criticism, undermining your dignity and your sense of who you are

      “I’m only teasing” — verbal abuse disguised as a joke

      “Its what parents are for” — Entitlement attitude big time. Weilding power by claiming to have the right to mistreat you if he chooses to.

      “You’ve got to learn to do better” — belittling, demeaning you, treating you like an imbecile, telling you what you ‘need’ = defining reality.

      “You’re abusing ME” — blame-shifting, false accusation

      “Everything I do is wrong isn’t it?” — pity-play, belligerent mockery, sarcasm

      “That never happened” — Lying. Rewriting history.

      “Why can’t you just move on?” — minimizing how bad his conduct was, telling you how you should feel and think, evading responsibility for his bad behaviour and the impact it had on you.

      “You should be over it by now” — ‘should-ing’ on you. Telling you how you should feel, think and behave. Denying your right to personal integrity — your right to have your own feelings and thoughts, and to choose how you behave. Ordering you.

      “You enjoy all this” — false accusation to shift the blame away from himself

      “Liar. Attention seeker. Witch” — Name calling. False accusation.

      “You’re just a trouble maker” Ditto. And defining reality.

      From my mother
      “Well its only verbal abuse isn’t it?” — minimisation, discounting

      “Count your blessings” — ordering you, telling you to squash your unhappiness and pain and anger

      “Forgive him” — Ordering you; laying guilt on you if you don’t forgive him. Telling you how you ‘should’ feel and thus discounting your personhood.

      • by the way, a lot of what I learned about the tactics of verbal abuse, I learned from The Verbally Abusive Relationship, by Patricia Evans. You can find it on our Resources list in the books section.

  16. Marilyn

    Oh my, oh my oh my. I have read extensively on this site, but this all describes my husband..the snake-eyed charmer/blamed, and my father the violent sarcastic bully, and his father the violent, sadistic, ego mad bully!

    I am thankfully aware now and for some time have been showing my sons the way this has run in the family.
    They are young adults who see the need to keep away from this. Good Christian friends and male role models have helped them, and me, see the patterns.

    Not under any delusion that this could rear its head in them, but their future wives are close to me and I have a chance to help.
    The freedom and victory! I won’t and don’t forgive the violence and neglect and manipulation I have suffered, but I’m awake to it, and in a great support group, male and female now. More godly power to this brilliant site….Thankyou.

    • Hi Marilyn, would you kindly email TWBTC ( twbtc.acfj@gmail.com ) to let her know if you want to use the name Marilyn in all your comments on this site. Thanks. 🙂

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