A Cry For Justice

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

A Typical Characteristic of an Abuser – He Never Stops Trying

Now the chief priests and the whole Council were seeking false testimony against Jesus that they might put him to death, but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward. At last two came forward…(Matthew 26:59-60)

It is not surprising that abusers are accusers. They are, after all, of their father the devil who is known as the accuser of the brethren. Slander and lies are his stock and trade and so it is with his children.

Probably every single abuse victim has been falsely accused, lied about, slandered, and libeled by their oppressor. And people have believed those lies. Duped by the abuser, they side with and enable him, becoming his allies.  And all this does not stop with the divorce.

Abusers do what they do. They do what they are. They keep on, for years and years, accusing and lying in order to oppress.  It has been my experience that years, even decades, can go by. You may not have even thought of your old abuser much of late and you are pressing on with your life. And then. . .bang! Some word comes your way. Some person you haven’t seen for along while. Something or someone communicates to you that the abuser is STILL at it. Spinning his evil lies. Making his false accusations. And people still are believing him.

Abusers you see, are wicked. They are children of the Destroyer and destruction is their mission. They don’t stop because they still are what they were. You will never, you see, hear anything like the following words from the abuser:

Oh yes, her. We were married for a long time and I am ashamed to say that I treated her. . .very badly. Oh I justified what I did to her for quite a few years but as I look back on the whole thing now, I am as I say, ashamed of myself. How petty I was. It was all my fault.

Nope. That is not going to happen. What WILL happen if you somehow, as I say by some word from someone or some other happening that communicates information to you about that old abuser, what you WILL see (and perhaps you will even be a bit shocked by the thing) is that the abuser hasn’t skipped a beat all these years. It is as if those years since you got away from him weren’t years at all, but only a few days. His character is unchanged. His tactics are the same.

Because abusers abuse. They never stop trying. It’s in their DNA. It’s in their soul.

43 Comments

  1. Your daily posts bring out so many facets of what has been my experience. Thank you, when the general truth is defined it helps to bring healing. Thank you so much for your ministry – thank you for shining light on it! If you have never experienced this kind of evil the easiest thing to do is deny or refuse to see the existence of this kind of oppression and it’s prevalence. The Lord opens our eyes and gives voice to our pain, soothing our souls in the psalms and many other places in His word!

  2. I now accept that “it is in their DNA, it is in their soul”. This is their propensity from the beginning and they choose, daily, to perfect the loving of evil and self.

  3. Brenda R

    Ps Jeff, I know this all too well, first hand.

    As I’ve said on another thread, this is my experience even this past week. I thought the divorce would stop him–he kept coming. I thought changing email addresses would stop it–he kept coming. I thought changing phone numbers would stop it–he keeps coming. When will he be outside my door, car, work place or house of worship? I will never be able to be off guard. No matter how many safety measures I take–he is there, somewhere. He will find reasons why he “needs” to be there.

    I am going on my first date tomorrow. This is over 2 years since leaving the abuser. The abusers friends and family were all told that I left for another man and that I was cheating on him during the marriage. I do not care what they choose to believe. God and I know different. My dilemma: is it fair or even safe to bring someone else into my nightmare? This man has said that yesterday doesn’t matter it is who I am today that matters, but would he feel this way if he realized what comes to the table along with me. I’m not saying that this is “the one” or there will even be a second date so I am probably letting my mind wander a bit too much. At the same time it may need to be considered at some point.

    Brenda

    • 7stelle

      “This man has said that yesterday doesn’t matter it is who I am today that matters,” — sounds like he is blaming you for who you were???

      • Brenda R

        7stelle,
        Quite the opposite!! He knows very little about my past other than he has met my daughters and still wants to take me out for what he sees now.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Brenda – I would proceed very slowly in revealing things to him. Not to deceive him of course, but what you have to do first is see that he is trustworthy. While this fellow’s words here about yesterday and today sound noble (and he may well have intended them to be), they are altruistic. Yesterday DOES matter in some ways. Your past has been your life experience and the Lord uses our past, good and bad, to shape us into the people He wants us to be. We have to take care then that when someone tells us “yesterday doesn’t matter” it won’t one day translate into “stop yakking to me about your past. It’s depressing.” To some degree, abuse victims will never completely stop talking about their past, nor should they. Yes, we heal, we spend less time speaking about the evils that were perpetrated on us, but the fact is that the Lord continues to reveal things to us even now from our past experiences. So we will continue to talk about the past. After all, that’s exactly what this blog is all about! A forum for talking about what has happened.

      • Brenda R

        Thank you Ps Jeff.
        He already knows that I advocate for abused women and children. I loaned him my copy of Barbara’s book and he read it several months ago. He knows that I hang up the posters for ACFJ in various locations. So he does know where I stand on the subject but doesn’t know much about my personal experience other than I am divorced, am a believer and make good pumpkin bread.

        I feel that the past is important also and if I get very close to any man he will want to know some specifics. I would think that would be a normal topic of conversation at some point. Perhaps not on a 1st date. If a man doesn’t ever want to know what makes you, you, I think it is time to move on. There are some events that I have never spoke of–much too graphic for most to handle. It’s hard for me to deal with and I can’t imagine ever speaking of them with anyone.

        I will take it very slowly and journal as I go, IF there is a 2nd date. It could wind up being me that doesn’t want to hear more about the legal profession. I’ve read his bio online. He has a long list of credentials. I might not fit into his world. We’ll see.
        Brenda

      • Anonymous

        A red flag that I see now for myself is that from day one of us meeting there was a very apathetic interest in my past or my family. In my youth, and being unsaved, I brushed it off. The wisdom of God’s Word used by ministries such as ACFJ and others have confirmed my suspicions of a childish, selfish man where life revolved around his desires. I doubt that I will ever have another relationship, however, the Lord has shown me that true love means that the other person will desire to know who I am and that involves caring about my past – just as I would want to know much about their past and who they really are.

      • Brenda R

        Anonymous,
        Agreed. I found out much too late that much of what I needed to know about the xh was hidden. Bits and pieces came out over time, but not by him. His sister brought up some things that were jaw dropping, he gave the look and she moved on to other topics. I want to know as much as I can about friends. In an intimate relationship, I want to know more.

      • 7stelle

        Thank you Pastor. You put a finger on the possible element of disapproval in his statement that I could not express properly. Maybe I am hyper-vigilant and read into things too much too.

        Brenda it is so good though that now *you* get to say, ‘is this person right for me? Do they qualify and deserve my goodwill?’ Instead of ‘am I good enough for them.’

      • Round*Two

        Pastor Jeff,

        I was wondering before I logged into ACFJ today, when I will stop talking about the things my ex did to me? I know people get tired of hearing of what I went through, and even I don’t always want to talk about it, but, there are triggers or reminders that bring back these incidences. I say to myself, I was there, I was his victim and there is nothing wrong with letting others know what I went through. I may talk less and less about the abuse, but I’ll never stop talking about it completely.
        I have began a begun a new chapter in my book (figure of speech), but the first few chapters are still and always will be a part of my book.

    • Savedbygrace

      Hi Brenda- it’s a balance isn’t it- you are right to be cautious and on the look out for red flags and actually benefit from the hard won wisdom from all the difficulties and heartache of your previous abusive relationship, however- the balance for us all is not to be jaded or refuse to recognise the good when it comes along or live in fear of the ‘what ifs’.. proceed with faith, eyes wide open, I love your idea of journalling so that you can notice and reflect more, share with a trusted friend who knows you well… I hope you enjoy your first date, that it will be pleasant and fun… it is a real milestone in your recovery (even if you never go on another date with this particular person if he is not right for you) – you are opening yourself up to new relationship possibilities I think that’s very courageous and gutsy! so have fun:) let us know how it goes..

  4. 7stelle

    Even after their lie is shown false they will continue to perpetuate it with as much venom as before. They must be right; even about a lie—that is some twisted stuff.

  5. Anonymous

    Psalm 58:3, “Even from birth the wicked go astray; from the womb they are wayward, spreading lies.” Proverbs 20;11, “Even children are known by the way they act, whether their conduct is pure, and whether it is right.”

    These were just a few of the life-changing verses I found when I was waking up to the truth about evil in human form. Here it is plainly stated yet often glossed over by those preaching God’s word. Why? Is it because it goes against what we WANT to believe? Or because we have been taught that hard work and giving love on our part should lead to salvation of others and if it doesn’t we are failures or we are not working hard enough? Or would it be too devastating to realize that we have given birth to people who, no matter how much love we give, perfect behavior we model or chances we provide along with endless forgiving and forgetting on our part, will still only produce a person who manipulates, deceives, never loves others (hates them), thrives on secrets and pulling one over on people and desires to harm?

    Because I was never given this choice as an option (people being born evil) it took me decades to come to the truth that yes, some people are born this way. Now we have people in many different fields of study who are also reaching this conclusion and there are tests to prove this. What does that mean for us? It means the same thing it always had–that God has a plan, he will be with us each step of our lives if we want him to be, and that he told us about these people in His word.

    The truth of God’s word is balm to my soul after all the lies I had internalized. I’ll never know but I often wonder, if I had been taught this hard truth from my youth (the truth that some people will always be 100% evil), would it have been so devastating? If nothing else, we can help each other right now, and this is what I pray God does; uses what I’ve learned (was forced to learn as I wanted to believe the lie that all are born innocent) to help others. Thank you again Jeff for a place to put what God teaches us.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Anonymous – This is a fantastic sermon! You nailed it with God’s truth perfectly. Yes, we were all taught these kinds of lies in most all the churches we grew up in – even in and perhaps even especially in – the conservative churches that profess to be Bible believers. It is wonderful to see that you have come into God’s truth and light! Blessings in Christ on you.

    • Hope

      “Or because we have been taught that hard work and giving love on our part should lead to salvation of others and if it doesn’t we are failures or we are not working hard enough?”

      “Because I was never given this choice as an option (people being born evil) it took me decades to come to the truth that yes, some people are born this way.”

      “The truth of God’s word is balm to my soul after all the lies I had internalized.”

      My life in a nutshell. God warned that the lies of this world run deep, I just never realized until recently that the Christian churches were full of them as well. Thank you for putting into words what I did not have the ability to verbalize.

  6. I appreciate your blog and your insight, thank you. However, I struggle with the comments about how abusers are actually really inherently evil and it’s in their DNA and they will never change. What about the power of Jesus Christ and Hope! I realize that the abuser has to be the one who wants it and only he can choose healing and freedom. Do you understand my dilemma? It just seems SO negative.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Kathy – I understand your dilemma, yes. Most of us have been there too and had to work through it. As strange as this may sound at first, the fact is that hanging on to a hope that anything is possible and that Christ can change any sinner is only going to keep an abuse victim in bondage longer. Why? Because while Christ is indeed omnipotent, He does not save sinners who will not repent. And abusers don’t repent – at least in the massive majority of cases. You might buy a lottery ticket and you might win the mega-bucks prize, but if you bank your future and your plans on winning, you would be foolish. That is how it is with waiting for an abuser to change. And especially when we are dealing with abusers who claim to be Christians, who have heard the gospel, and yet who continue in their evil all the while having quite a clear conscience about themselves. Further, we see in Scripture that God does give the wicked over to their sin at some point. Hebrews 6 is a classic example. Esau had crossed the line. Repentance for him was impossible and his tears were only because he wanted the benefits of the birthright, not the Giver of the birthright. So what we are teaching here is not negative. It is truth, and truth sets us free. Coming to an understanding that one’s abuser of 10, 20, 30 or more years is not going to change is a truth that frees the victim from bondage. Christians who come along and tell such victims “be patient. Keep praying. Jesus will change him” are simply enabling the abuser and adding to the victim’s suffering.

  7. Still Reforming

    This is a recurring refrain in my brain as of late – how evil is what (who) the abuser serves and lives.

    I see anger in him still. We’re now divorced, but when he sees me to exchange our child, he seethes. I see it in his eyes and his glare. The set of his jaw. He loathes me. I hear from our child the lies he still spews. She thankfully sees past the lies, and in self-preservation, she is adeptly and adroitly navigating the choppy waters. The Lord is protecting her. And me.

    Still, I ponder occasionally the anger that lies beneath that facade, and the only thing that makes sense to me is that he’s serving the evil one. That he loathes those who are truly in Christ and free. It’s the only way to make sense of the nonsensical.

    There’s something in me that pities him when I see that. Not in any kind of way that has mercy. Not that. It’s kind of a …. hmmm… I don’t know how to describe it. Just, well, a detachment perhaps – some kind of feeling of sorrow that he’s so lost and angry. But then I drive away and my thoughts are on my Lord and my God and I am happy. It’s just in those moments when I see that anger that I think how sad it is that he’s so lost. And then I’m grateful that my Lord and Savior showed me mercy in countless ways – first in my salvation, and then in every single moment of my deliverance from my abuser. He delivered me first from my sin and now from the tormentor of my soul. Free to worship and serve my God again – something I had stumbled around near the end of the “marriage.” Hallelujah!

    There’s so much truth that’s been forsaken by the contemporary church, and His people perish for lack of knowledge and correct doctrine in this regard. That is as much to be pitied. Sadly, it is willful ignorance. It is not because they have not been told. As Anonymous observed, I think it boils down to pride.

    • SR, your mention of being delivered, brought to mind, 2 separate incidences of deliverance for me. 1) When the professional that I was employed by sold the practice to another, I continued to work there for 3+ yrs. It was extremely difficult, the main reason being, the office manager was a wicked person. When I began praying for God’s blessing and favor over the practice, I was fired in a matter of days for a flimsy reason. It was the evil person who set up the firing of two of us. I was finally set free.

      2) I cried out to God for someone to bring a halt to my now ex’s evil behavior. (c)hristian people were blinded to his evilness. A medical situation put us together with nurses who recognized abuse immediately. When I realized that finally, someone was responding, I said out loud that it was abuse and they protected me until a family member took me into a safe place for a time.

      These experiences of deliverance, I recognize today, as a foreshadowing of deliverance and protection set in place when, a couple months later, I did file for divorce with some boundaries set in place for protection.

      Much of the time, in that 10 yr period, I thought and felt that God was absent or was not paying attention to me. I was very wrong. Today’s recall is more affirmation that I was believing a lie. Today, I repent of my unbelief.

      • Still Reforming

        Carol,

        You and share similar testimonies. I too prayed for change – perhaps a deliverance of sorts, but what I expected was a change of heart – both in my (now ex-) husband and in the pastor of my (now former) church. As God answered, He delivered me from both, and yet their hearts never changed. God delivered in ways only He could do and that I would never have predicted. So…. He gets all the glory, as well He should.

        I find your remark about believing a lie fascinating. I think it makes a lot of sense, and yet, I don’t know how I could have not believed that the way I was living was as God would have it – due to all of the particulars. I guess what I mean is that I don’t know if I could have done any differently than I did, and yet, my understanding of how a Christian CAN behave in such an abusive situation and still be faithful to God and His Word is changing.

        I never thought divorce was a Christian option. Now I definitely do.

      • Still Reforming,
        I remember the specific moment, 3 yrs after divorce, that I told God that I was actually staying connected with Him. As opposed to disconnecting and moving away so much. It has been a life long struggle, wearying, it began with trauma as a 4 yr old. The greatest blessing is that I gave my life to Christ that same summer. The conflict ensued as I encountered the perpetrator every week at church. The teachings that God loved me were entwined with the accusing eyes of the perpetrator and thus, shame. Memories of the abuse surfaced much later, after I was years into my marriage.

        I cannot put into words what the last 4 yrs have been like, drawing close to God and wanting to stay there. As I lay my head on my pillow each night. The phrase flows out, ” thank you God, for today.”

        There has never been a season where I totally rejected God, but the 30+ yrs of marriage did not align with what I tried to believe. In fact, most of day to day life did not make sense. And so, yes, I was very hard on God through seasons of greatest struggles. I did not verbalize these struggles to others, instead spoke care and encouragement so as not to bring others down.

        I have held to the quote by Leanne Payne, “The journey of life is for setting love in order”. But I understand it differently now than when I first read it, 20+ yrs ago.

      • Still Reforming

        Carol,

        Thank you for sharing those memories of yours. Four years old. I cannot imagine the pain, and yet, I find it interesting how so very many of us who have suffered abuse in marriage had similar abuse suffered in our younger years.

        Although I did not share your exact experiences with the same exact associations made in church, I was raised in a home where the paternal view of God was very strict – and…. distant. Quiet. My dad lived upstairs. The rest of us had bedrooms there, but…. we mostly stayed downstairs. There was little contact or communication between parents. And when she (and we) left him… well, there was just about as much contact (ie, next to nothing). But we had more peace and less tension.

        And that… was…. hard to describe. Because we often associate our images or relationship with God as that of Father, well, after that we all stopped going to church and didn’t want God in our lives so much. I kept trying with my earthly father. Reaching out, but…. well, we didn’t have much common ground, but I still needed a dad. Anyway, I don’t want to dishonor him here in any way, and… I think of all of us, he was the only one who showed any real faith, but it was so hard to connect with him. Mom was much easier, but less interested in matters of faith.

        I see testimonies here of abuse in childhood, and I ponder how that has influenced many of us to enter these abusive relationships – not that we knew them to be abusive when we entered them. In fact, it took me a looooong time to catch on to what was really going on in my own marriage.

        Thankfully, our heavenly Father has sovereignty over all of it and in His mercy has not forsaken us. Like you, I have much for which to be thankful – and I do thank Him. He didn’t need to include me in His family. And I’m grateful for all of those here who I have met on the journey.

        Sometimes I ponder the past decades of abuse and this new turn in the road, and I think of the verse I’ve had above my kitchen sink for years now: “My aim is to know Him, the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings.” (Philippians 3:10) I would hazard a guess that each one of us here has fellowshiped in His sufferings, because I often think of how lonely Christ must have been – with the betrayal, rejection, loneliness, abuse, all of it. And so, knowing that verse, as odd as it may sound, I thank Him for even the abuse. Of course I didn’t want it. Of course it’s wrong. But I thank Him for it anyway, because… like Corrie Ten Boom’s sister Betsey (in The Hiding Place) told Corrie to thank God for the lice in the bunkers of the concentration camp (which eventually they learned spared them from rape by the guards), I know there’s a purpose for it in His kingdom, His economy, His great mercy. I hope this isn’t misunderstood as meaning abuse is good or right. I just mean that God will use this horror, I pray, for His glory and the good of His people – as only God can.

    • Hope

      “I see testimonies here of abuse in childhood, and I ponder how that has influenced many of us to enter these abusive relationships – not that we knew them to be abusive when we entered them. In fact, it took me a looooong time to catch on to what was really going on in my own marriage.”

      Yes. I wanted to verify what you said here, that childhood abuse is a set up for many and if one doesn’t realize that it is indeed abuse, one may very likely go on to more of the same.
      My father is verbally and emotionally abusive, but only to me, strangely enough. Yes, it set me up for a marriage of abuse, I never saw it coming, I never understood, I didn’t even have this word in my vocabulary. My father is now banned from our home since 2008 and as I started to heal, my husband got worse. The abuse from both overlapped for 21 years – not so good. Now it’s just my husband, but it got a lot worse before I clued in, now I no longer care and I am on a healing quest.

      It took me my entire marriage to date to realize it was abusive and destructive. I only realized it as of January, 2015, this year! Talk about a looong time, it will be 29 years next month. Ugh. (I’m working on a plan, the kids are all grown and 2 out of 3 are no longer living home.) Thank you for posting all of this.

  8. KayE

    This post exactly describes my experience. Almost everyone assumes that once the relationship is over then the abuse is over. Those who don’t understand tell me I just need to move on. How can I “move on” when the abuser continues to stalk me, even after he divorced me and after he married someone else? He will never stop unless he’s made to stop. And who will stop him? Certainly not his many and widespread Christian allies- including friends,family,missionaries, evangelists,church elders and pastors. They don’t stop him, they help him by spreading the lies and slander.
    This would only happen in the Christian community. No-one else would defend and support an abuser who has so obviously and deliberately tried to destroy his victims.

    • Bitter But Getting Better

      KayE,
      Not only the Christian community protect’s abusers. I just read today how Whoopie Goldberg is still defending Bill Cosby even after hearing he admitted to drugging women for sex.
      It is more hurtful when Christians, your spiritual family turn their backs on you. I’m sorry that has happened to you. I understand because my church abandoned me as well. Even though they have forsaken us God never will.

  9. a prodigal daughter returns

    The relentlessness is astonishing and not just limited to abusive spouses but those whose lives are bent on carrying out demonically inspired retaliation for those that dare stand up to them. This is an excellent post

  10. Savedbygrace

    Thanks for this timely reminder Jeff..forewarned is forearmed..
    Probably every single abuse victim has been falsely accused, lied about, slandered, and libeled by their oppressor. And people have believed those lies. Duped by the abuser, they side with and enable him, becoming his allies. And all this does not stop with the divorce.

    With hindsight these lies are easier to identify. When you are out of the abusive situation they are easier to name. Lies create confusion- especially when they are ‘sugar coated’ ( or “christian” coated..) or have the ‘appearance’ of truth eg the abusers half apology: I was wrong, yes I did hurt you, you are right, …..I’ve learned to look for the ” BUT” which invariably follows… 😦

  11. Struggling

    I need to start posting to keep my sanity. I’m in an abusive marriage more than 20 years. I recently read Why Does He Do That? and I read this blog daily. I’ve been seeing a counselor (more than a year) and I’m coming out of a terribly dense fog. My husband doesn’t like it – at all. I’m so scared to post this, but I need to.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Struggling – Way to go! It really does help, doesn’t it? Not only the reading, but being able to be affirmed and vindicated by others just like yourself. That’s what happens on this blog. It’s like a community of people who love one another and who share the same experiences, so they understand each other. You are very brave. Welcome!

    • Dear Struggling,
      Welcome! and thank you for your comment.

      If you haven’t already, may I suggest that you read the New User’s page found on the top menu bar. It gives tips for staying safe when commenting on the blog.

      And I will echo what Pastor Crippen said, “Yes, you are very brave!” 🙂

    • Brenda R

      Struggling,
      Coming out of the fog is hard, but also freeing. I hope you will begin to feel at ease here. You are amongst friends. Praying for you. Brenda

      • Struggling

        Thank you, Jeff & Brenda. I’m scared to death of saying something identifiable, but at the same time wanting to be heard. Painfully and regrettably, my husband has my church’s ear even though I went to them months ago and told all. Everyone says that emotional and psychological abuse is just a damaging as physical abuse, but I don’t think anyone actually believes it. It is terribly painful.

      • Struggling,
        You are wise to be mindful of saying something identifiable as anything posted on the blog is public. However, to calm your fears a bit the moderators read each comment before they are approved and we watch carefully for identifying information. We edit any information that may not be safe to publish and if we edit a comment we will make a note of that when we publish the comment. Also, if you should change your mind about a comment you submitted, let us know and we can delete it. If you have any further questions about comments feel free to email me at twbtc.acfj@gmail.com.
        twbtc (the woman behind the curtain)

    • Hope

      I wrote this for you, Struggling, hang in there!
      (moderators, please do not post this if it is inappropriate)

      Truth
      I see the surface of the water,
      Light,
      Bright,
      Beckoning me upward
      From the dark abyss
      In which I have been living for so long.
      Unable to even breathe freely,
      As though a cloying
      Fog surrounds me,
      Or a dark sea engulfs me.
      The light breaks through;
      Through the dense fog;
      Through the black water
      That has become my home;
      Through the pit
      To the gates of hell
      Where I have been dwelling
      All this long, long time.
      The tiniest orb of light breaks through,
      And beckons me onward,
      Drawing me to itself –
      Ever calling my name,
      Insistent, Persistent, Eternal.
      MM
      7/6/15

  12. Lynn

    That is so frightening

  13. Annie

    Struggling-I’m glad you’re here. I’m feel much the same way as you. If my dh ever saw what I wrote my life would get even more difficult. But after a few posts I wrote I realized I needed to be here! ( I disguise details and delete my browsing history each time I finish reading this site. And I have my own email account he can’t access.) I have absolutely no one in real life that would believe what my life is really like and yet I come here and read posts that could have been written by me! It’s amazing! But also sad–my husband who thinks he’s so special is just like every other abuser out there — a mean, entitled person. Unfortunately, he has the ear of so many friends and family and he’s convinced some of them I’m a stubborn, self-centered person who’s doesn’t understand what a marriage is.

    I made the mistake a few years ago of telling him he was selfish and self-centered. I didn’t know what a narcissist was then (in fact I’m just learning about that now). Since then hardly an opportunity goes by that he doesn’t take advantage of to make me look selfish and self-centered. No matter what I’m doing (I’m a mom so I do plenty for others) he twists it so I look bad or so he thinks. For example, I can be eating a snack and he will make a big deal out of how I made myself something and nothing for him. I can be helping a child with homework and he demand to know why I haven’t done his laundry yet.

    The title of this post — he never stops trying — came to mind a few days ago when our family visited a relative for dinner. This invitation occurs often but husband rarely goes but for some reason he did this time. I sat in living room chair that had a little pillow on it and I remember moving it out of the way and then returning it when I got up to eat. The relative noticed it later on the floor and made a comment to husband about me leaving it on the floor (that’s a whole other story!). Husband said to the effect “yeah, she’s always destroying my stuff too.” One of my children witnessed this and told me later. Instead of “I’m sure it was an accident. She wouldn’t do that intentionally” or some such supportive comment he says what he says to make sure relative knows he’s a suffering husband. Poor him. Of course, what he said isn’t even true. But he is relentless in making sure everyone knows how he’s suffering.

    He’s a fountain of negativity. Before my eyes were opened I would have felt the need to defend myself against his negative comments when he directed them at me. Now I don’t care. I’m so tired of it.

    • Still Reforming

      Annie,
      Like you, so many comments here resonated with me as if I had written them. And your comment resonates also. I heard so much of my own language thrown back at me by my (now ex-) husband that at one point, I said to him, “Do you realize how much you repeat my words?” His response was, “Why not? It works for you.”
      That gave me a tiny clue as to his thinking. He thought that something “works” for me, whereas I always think that whatever we were discussing was about the substance of it, not whether or not it served me or him.
      Incidentally, the thing that he repeated was out of context, as I imagine you’ve likely heard things taken out of context as well. In my case, I had earlier told him that I wasn’t going to bicker anymore, because there were so many times when I’d say something and he’d twist it and then we’d end up going around and ’round until it was just pointless.
      So one morning, when I made some innocuous observation like, “The garbage is full” (and therefore needs to be taken out), he replied, “I’m not going to bicker anymore.” That’s when I stated how much he repeats my words.
      So I learned over time how to be very careful with my words because they always came back to bite me. And not just to my face, but especially behind my back. He learned how to paint a picture of me using the very words out of my own mouth – to characterize me before others. What is particularly disturbing though is how easily they believe him. What is it about the evil man that people – especially professing Christians – believe so readily and dismiss the true victim just as quickly? That’s really frightening – in many ways, but not least of which from a spiritual perspective.

      • Annie

        Still reforming-
        Your comment about your husband saying “it works for you” helps me understand something I hadn’t gotten before. My husband has accused me of so many things over the years and I never understood if he knew me as he claims why he’d think such terrible things. I realize now he thinks I was doing manipulative things like he does (instead of like you discussing the substance of the issue)!

        Something to ponder this afternoon.

      • Still Reforming

        Annie,

        I think that with many of these abusers – if not all – they see others as they are, not as the others really are. Similarly, for example, I saw my husband as I saw myself – that is, I presumed upon him that he was approaching the relationship as I was – that he was in it for us (not just himself), that he was interested in truth or in substance, and so forth. Likewise, he presumed upon me the way he saw (and sees) the world: that I was out to get him, that if he doesn’t get me first, I’d “win” or have things “work for me” instead of him.

        I used to think he was just playing mind games (which he also was), but I think it was much, much more than that. He really views the world as a tool – others are only to be used to serve him. It’s all about him. All him all the time. There really is no serving others, unless in so doing it serves his purposes.

      • Still Reforming

        Annie,
        A clarification to my comment just posted: “They (abusers) see others as they THEMSELVES are…” When I re-read after posting, I realized that all those pronouns weren’t necessarily clear, although I expect you caught my drift? Abusers see others as the abusers themselves are, hence the view “working for them.” The non-abuser world likewise presumes upon abusers their own respective worldviews, although it doesn’t turn out to be the case. Abusers worldviews are skewed around themselves.
        (Hope I didn’t just make the waters muddier with this clarification. 🙂 )

  14. Carol2

    I divorced my verbally abusive husband in 1988. I just returned to my home city after living in another state for 8 years to learn that he still verbally bashes me. I truly believe it will never end.

    • Brenda R

      Carol2,
      It never ends. Not only does the xh bash me, but he bashes his 1st wife and did often while I was married to him. When I left him, he bashed me to her and went out with her for a while. To my knowledge, he is not seeing her any longer and most likely back to bashing both of us. In his view she was a lush and an adulteress. Supposedly, I had many affairs over the year and accused of it often. My thought was always how many have you had that you think this is a habit of everyone.

      I had my first date since the divorce this weekend. So much for leaving him for another man.

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