A Cry For Justice

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

The Abuser is Acting With Intentionality — It Takes us Normals a Long Time to Realize This

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. (Romans 1:21)

I cannot tell you how many, many years I was blind to the fact that (1) I was dealing with abusers, and (2) They knew exactly what they were doing when they carried out their abusive tactics.  When they told me what I was thinking, they were intentionally abusing me, craving that power and control that is their diet. When they accused me, they were intentionally abusing me. When they lied and re-wrote history, they were intentionally abusing me. They knew exactly what they were doing and they knew precisely why they were doing it.

And yet, here comes Jeff the very next day after one of their attacks, running into them again and greeting them, being long-suffering, letting bygones be bygones — you all know the drill. Why? Why did I do this? I did it because I did not yet understand what they were and how they worked their evil. I thought I was dealing with a brother or sister in Christ who was simply “difficult.” How do you deal with a “difficult” person? Well, you are patient. You are forgiving. You respond to them as if they knew Christ but were still pretty rough around the edges. And there are people like that. The problem is, many of these “difficults” have been “difficult” for decades!! Where is Christ in them? Where is their growth into His likeness? One “Christian” lady I once knew even boasted of her “German General” stubbornness and then laughed about it, claiming to have been a Christian for decades.  I think not.

But, you see, when we wake up to the truth and realize that who we are dealing with is an abuser and that abusers KNOW full well what they are doing when they launch their schemes and attacks, that changes the whole playing field. Right? Now when I run into such a person there is no more smiling and forgetting and handshaking. Oh no. Now I hold them accountable because I know their wickedness is intentional and planned. I identify by the appropriate label what tactic they used on me — or tried to use.  It still isn’t a cake walk for me, don’t misunderstand. But you know what? I find that there are fewer and fewer of these evil ones in my circle of relationships now. In fact, I don’t know of a single one. You see, abusers tend to clear out when they know they are exposed.

Your abuser didn’t slip. He didn’t unknowingly do what he did because of some unconscious childhood event leftover in his psyche. He did what he did with intent. And that means he is culpable. Guilty. Someone to be held responsible.

He wasn’t just having a bad day.

109 Comments

  1. LH

    It is great when your eyes get opened and you can stop falling for their tricks. Just this morning an incident from many years ago popped into my mind, when my ex had said something that hurt me badly and then acted surprised at my reaction; now, after having my eyes opened to him and after reading your blog as well, I looked back at that and could see just how he was abusing me, and rather than feeling hurt I felt angry. And free from that particular hurt he inflicted back then; I could shrug it off today as a lie-abuse from him, and nothing that reflects my worth as a person.

  2. StrongerNow

    My abuser’s most recent story: “we both must have had some sort of mental breakdown.”

    Really. His has lasted for 35 years and mine was the kind of PTSD that happens when abuse is ongoing. And in the midst of a “mental breakdown,” I managed to move to a new city with my children and start a new life. Doesn’t sound like a mental breakDOWN to me, sounds like breaking FREE.

    His “clueless” act is so convincing that I still have trouble believing he acts with intent.

    • ChooseLife

      “Clueless act” says it so well! Sometimes it comes with a whimpering, poor me whatever do you mean expression. But oh yeah, he should get a standing ovation for playing dumb.

      Congratulations on your new life!!!

  3. joepote01

    Yes, this one took me a long time to realize. I kept seeing her as simply weak and difficult…therefore requiring greater patience and love.

    It took a long time to realize her behavior was intentional and well-planned. It took even longer to realize it was intentionally malicious (specifically intended to inflict pain on me, personally) and not merely selfish and self-serving.

    People ask, “Why did you stay?” This is a big part of the reason why. In hindsight it’s easy to see…at the time it was well disguised.

    • hopeful

      Joepote01
      Can I ask you for examples f how your wife was abusive? My husband calls me te abuser and is really sicking it to me. Frankly I feel very punished and used. I question myself daily in how I have treated him over the years, and have asked for forgiveness and healing fom him and from God almost daily. Thanks

  4. a prodigal daughter returns

    People that ask “why did you stay” display a lack of experience and wisdom that comes from living with someone that gets true pleasure, or at least gratification out of making people suffer. Personally I stayed because I couldn’t imagine anyone intentionally doing all my ex did to me. I couldn’t imagine that he had absolutely zero personal investment in what I thought was a marriage but was really a POW camp. The more he was who he was, the harder I tried to fix it. This is the addictive nature, the delusion that I just need to try harder because its not possible that someone is intentionally perpetrating evil for the fun of it.
    I choose friends very, very carefully and there are some family members that intentional bait, create havoc because they do not know how to live in peace. Their consciences are so seared that they delight in evil instead of abhorring it. The woman I know that are ikis, they may not hit people, although some do, but their capacity to ruin and create damage is astonishing.

    • poohbear

      prodigal daughter, your post rings so true to me! Nobody WANTS to believe her abuser is being cruel on purpose. We ourselves would never do such things, would never try to force someone to stay in a “relationship” via threats, gas-lighting, brainwashing, or other means of mental cruelty…how could he? Didn’t he once say he love us, a long time ago?

      I inwardly made so many excuses for his behavior…I talked too much according to him (and that’s why he purposefully no longer wanted to give me the time of day). I’d gained weight/aged, was no longer a pretty young thing (that’s why I no longer got even a quick hug here and there). His job stressed him out…why, of COURSE my daring to mention anything about my own life, made his “head spin.”

      Blaming ourselves puts the burden upon us, chasing the carrot on the stick that if ONLY we could somehow better ourselves to meet his standards, the abuse will stop. In a twisted way, it’s almost easier to blame ourselves and hang onto the shred of hope that maybe we can fix it and things will change, than to accept that he in all likelihood CHOSE us when he first laid eyes upon us, like a sniper his next victim, and purposefully and deliberately set on out a path to control, manipulate, and systematically beat down someone he felt he had a right to, for his own gratification.

      I used to write things down that happened in a journal, but I threw it away because it was a painful reminder of reality. I was in denial…I kept hanging onto the hope that “Today will be better. He didn’t find some reason to verbally shred me to pieces yesterday. Maybe there is hope!” I think I might start keeping something online for myself, though.

      Thank you for posting the truth…

    • hopeful

      Wow. POW camp sounds like my home. My husband is attentive, affectionate, sometimes kisses me passionately all leading toi his own sexual gratification, then dismisses me for days. I am not able to stick to the boundaries I set with him because I remain ” hopeful” that he will come around, take responsibility for the way he has treated me, and our marriage will be restored.

      • hopeful

        Poohbear….you describe me to a T. How are you doing now? I can’t live like this much longer. I don’t have the resources to leave. He won’t leave. My attorney told me not to leave… Yet I feel a part of me dying every day. I have a calendar that I keep in my purse that I write down the episodes we have and the days he is nice to me. I feel like burning it as it reminds me of the pain and confusion I feel daily.

      • poohbear

        I live in a POW camp, too, except mine wouldn’t touch me with a 10-foot pole, which in reality I’m sort of grateful for, yet I know he’s doing it to hurt me, to let me know how physically disgusting he finds me. Today he informed me that bariatric surgery requirements have changed, and that if I want, I can get it done in June so I won’t miss any time from work as I have 2 months off in the summer from my job (even though he makes over &100,000 a year, he needs my paltry paycheck!).

        I googled what one’s BMI must be to qualify for such surgery…I’m nowhere near “fat” enough. 😦 Any decent doctor would probably just tell me to get some exercise…it’s hard when I’m so depressed.

        This from a man who scarfs down 3 double cheeseburgers and an order of fries at 6 PM, then is hungry enough before bed to devour a bowl of pasta (I ate my modest dinner and was done for the night).

        I just got back from a long weekend trip that I reluctantly went on with him, for the sake of our minor child. I got to hear about how pretty French women are, and that his “ex” (some girl he dated THIRTY-NINE years ago as a teenager and dumped), had been of French origin, and how she’d asked his sister about him when they bumped into each other about a year ago. Was I supposed to be jealous?

        He also downed a whole bottle of tequila in the hotel, but *I* am the glutton 😦

      • poohbear

        Dear Hopeful, I just saw your comment to me! And I posted before I even saw it…how odd. Thank you for asking, sweetie…I feel your pain.

        Sadly, I believe for most of these men, there IS no hope of reconciliation…this is because they are in complete denial that they are abusers. Mine just replaced the screen cover on my phone the other day and managed to figure out that I’d been accessing this site from my phone…wow 😦 I’ve since consorted with a co-worker who instructed me how to delete my history, which I’ve done… I only use my password protected personal computer for this site now. But the look he got when he read the title of the article! 😦

        I’m sad to say, I don’t believe it will get better, not without a true life-changing experience through the Lord. And with someone who fancies himself a godly victim of a horrible wife, that isn’t possible.

        (((hugs))) Please keep in touch here…I understand how you feel…

      • a prodigal daughter returns

        Yes, hope keep me there a long time too. Hope was created out of nothing but self deception in my case. The worst deception of all is self deception. False hope, based on blinding my own eyes to reality is nothing but air. Its why I stayed so long, I was afraid to lose my hope. But you do anyway. All the promises broken, the worst being what could have been but never was.

      • hopeful

        Valerie. I never thought about the unopened card sitting on my husband’s desk, as a way to taunt me. Could very well be. There are so many questions that I want to ask him, however now that we r not in therapy together, I don’t feel safe. The unopened card is one of them.

      • hopeful

        Prodigal daughter…WOW…having hope and having it be a form of self deception scares me. Is this what I have been.doing for 15 months? Did I just spend the last 4 days in self deception because he gave me crumbs of affection?

        I thought that having a relationship with Jesus meant having hope and never giving up hope with my marriage.

      • Hopeful, having a relationship with Jesus means having hope. But the question is, hope in what? If you or others believe that you must never give up having hope that your marriage will improve and your husband will stop abusing you, and the two of you will live out your days ‘happily ever after’, that belief is dangerous.

        Why is it dangerous? Because if that hope never comes true — if your husband doesn’t truly and deeply reform — but you hold yourself to remain ‘loyal’ to the marriage regardless, then you are going to be only more hurt. When victims of abuse stay with their abusers in hope that God will miraculously change them, then what tends to happen is that the victim’s health suffers, she often develops chronic health problems becuase of the stress she is constantly under, and it becomes harder and harder for her to see thru the fog and get the space and strength to make decisions that might lead to her having an abuse-free life.

        So by all means hope in Christ: have hope, have assurance, that you are one of His called, chosen children, your sins have been forgiven, you are cleansed by the blood of Christ, translated from the kingdom of darkeness into the kingdom of light, and you will be given a new resurrection body in the New Heavens and New Earth. Have hope and trust that He sees your pain, your dilemmas, your difficulties, your strengths, and has compassion on you and will help you and guide you. But to bind yourself to the hope that your husband will stop abusing is not wise. Most abusers don’t change. They often fake change for a while, but then revert. You are not obliged to remain in a marriage which is so destructive.

        Many christians have an idolatrous view of marriage. They put “MARRIAGE” as an institution so up high on a pedestal it is as if they worship marriage. This view has been trapping victims of abuse in horrendous marriages for way too long.

  5. Bitter But Getting Better

    Yes Pastor Crippen, I had those same folks in my life, as you, for years and years. Matthew 10:16 says that He is sending us out as sheep among wolves. He says to be as wise as serpents and gentle as doves. The Christian church in America teaches us really well how to be the gentle part of this scripture but all but neglects the other part. This blog is teaching me finally, how to be as wise as a serpent. Another key word for me in this scripture is OUT, He is sending us out into the world not into our churches to hide out and study more scripture.
    Thank you!

  6. Outside the Wall

    but he loves me, he is just trying to protect me and care for me, by scaring the crap out of me so I can’t think of leaving his realm even to go out for a coffee, which I don’t have time for anyway because he needs me, and now it is too late, the spell is broken, I will take my chances outside the wall…

    • Jeff Crippen

      The spell is broken:)

    • Hi Outside the Wall,

      Welcome to the blog! So glad to hear you are “outside the wall”!!

      You will notice I changed your screen name as it was quite identifying. If you would like a different screen name email me at twbtc.acfj@gmail.com.

      Also, you may find our New Users’ page helpful. It gives tips on how to remain safe when commenting on the blog.

      Again, Welcome!!

    • poohbear

      So happy for you, outside the wall. You are brave and wise to have caught on quickly.

      I’m ashamed for having believed the lies decades longer than most. Yes, in the early days, his smothering was just his “need to protect,” and at first I felt flattered that someone apparently wanted to keep me “safe.” I’d never had that in my childhood.

      My returning home from somewhere innocuous to find smashed furniture, a TV, his rage…he needed to “protect” me from the big bad outside world. Nobody every protected me from HIM, especially the so-called Christians I ran to for help, who did nothing but condemn me because he hadn’t physically committed adultery (porn doesn’t count), the ones who blamed me as equally at fault because I wasn’t perfect, the pastor at the alter of the church who called me a “baby” for weeping and ordered me to stop (!)

      I wish I hadn’t let everyone throw the God hates divorce/divorce is only allowed for adultery thing at me so many, many times….maybe if I’d gotten past that stumbling block when I was younger, I might’ve come to my senses sooner. But I was afraid of getting out of God’s good graces, yet look where my believing their perversion of His Word got me?

      • bright sunshinin' day

        Poohbear, God made tears, tear ducts, and collected your tears in His bottle and did not despise one of them! Ps 56:8

  7. M&M

    It takes time because there are people who have genuine love yet struggle with anger. There are people who have a conscience but are harsh on some issues. And there are people who cause hurt by being selfish but aren’t directly aiming to cause the hurt. None of those are the same as abusers as defined above but they LOOK the same for a long time. This may be the same reason that ignorant people assume the victim provoked the attack-they’ve never met anyone who attacks without provocation. It is good for victims and friends to realize that attacks are unprovoked and deliberate, but it is not obvious to those who neither experienced it not read about it. Good for ACFJ people for explaining it!!

    • Outside the Wall

      Yes: this is what I am working through: “And there are people who cause hurt by being selfish but aren’t directly aiming to cause the hurt.” But the damage done is still very real. Especially to our children. 😦

    • poohbear

      Amen, M&M! Nobody but nobody really understands unless they live with someone who does these things. I used to think he was just being plain mean because he secretly didn’t like himself (I’ve always taught my children that bullies pick on others to make themselves feel better). I actually had some sympathy for him.

      But then I started to notice completely crazy, irrational attacks where he’d go absolutely whacky, attempting to undermine me as a neglectful, bad mother, when in fact he literally spends his own life working, sleeping, watching shows about “zombies” and using any precious time he COULD be spending with his offspring, out alone on the patio smoking cigars and drinking…but, I’m the bad parent. That confirmed it for me…he’s doing all this on purpose. Maybe his beating me down as a mom, makes him feel less guilty about his own short-comings, I don’t know. But I do know, it’s deliberate.

      • Curious

        Poohbear, There is a reason your husband attacks you and says you are a bad mother- it takes the focus off his actions (that he wasted his time and wasn’t a good parent). So, instead of dealing with the true problem of him not sharing the load in parenting etc, he has very intentionally put the focus on you by accusing you. You will spend your time feeling sad/angry and defend yourself and he feels that he’s won and played you. Don’t fall for it again.

      • ChooseLife

        My life too PoohBear. I think they attack our motherhood, because they know we have GREAT comradery with our children and this boils their blood. The want the same without the effort.

        The only way h gives time to the children is when his verbal & emotional battering causes me to shut down. Then he USES the children for attention!

      • For Too Long

        This is my first time commenting here, but I can’t believe how validating this blog is – especially what you said here! For twenty-two years I’ve been hearing about how bad a parent I am. In fact, I used to remark, whenever my husband would rip into me about it, that I supposed my epitaph would need to read, “Here lies the world’s worse mother.” Sad thing is – I wasn’t really being sarcastic; I actually believed it because he said so, over and over again! Thank goodness, though, my eyes have been opening this last year to see all his accusations and emotional manipulation for what they are.

        Interestingly, like your husband Poohbear, mine is a completely neglectful parent (he literally goes days without even so much as saying “hi” to our teen-aged daughter), and in retrospect I’m sure his tactics have been an attempt to deflect from his own deficiencies.

      • Hi For Too Long — welcome to the blog and thanks so much for sharing! 🙂

        I’m guessing (from the way you’ve commented) that you are already aware of our tips for keeping yourself safe on this blog, but in case you haven’t yet read it, you might like to check out our New Users Info page.

        blessings

      • hopeful

        I have felt like a failure as a mom for years. Just last night I felt corrected my by husband regarding a situation with my son. My super hero husband swoops in and wins over the issue my son and I were having. He tells me after that instead of shaming our son, we need to be pro active, bla bla bla. I felt myself immediately wither and obey hm. My husband thinks he is the authority of everything. If I challenge him and take a stand for myself, he calls me abusive and looks at me like I have 6 heads. Thank You God that you love me because I am losing it.

      • Annie

        The one bright spot in all of my situation is that my husband has never been able to convince the kids I’m a bad mother. Oh, he’s tried but they never believed him when they were young–how could they? They spent all their time with me and we enjoyed being together. He was never around because he had to work (he’d stay at work even when he didn’t need to “mentoring” his staff) and when he was home he was too tired. His favorite refrain those years was “I’m missing seeing the kids grow up”. Now hat het’re past the toddler years they see his efforts at bashing me and they smirk and roll their eyes. Later they’ll say “sorry dad treats you like that–he’s got problems”. Some of them do still think I can fix him–or rather want me to but in reality know I can’t and so they get frustrated by that. Because when I say I can’t make him do anything they always response that they know that.

        My husband will go days without speaking to the kids or even seeing them sometimes. Yet blames me because when he is around they don’t want to spend time with him because they have other commitments. Well, those commitments happen because he’s not around. Or they don’t want to spend time with him because those times are usually lectures that leave them defeated. Almost every time he’s with them I hear later how he lectured them. Sometimes the child will tell me later that “dad makes me feel like a failure”. I’ll ask “are you?” They answer “no”. So why do you suppose he said that? The answer varies by child but they all recognize that dad has some need to be negative towards them.

        Having children doesn’t bring him joy.

      • poohbear

        Thank you, Curious, For Too Long, and Choose Life…at least we all understand! He actually got upset the other day, because our child remarked that I don’t yell like he does…this comment threw him for a loop. “You’re ALWAYS yelling at him!” he said. It goes to show how they skew reality, I guess.

        Annie, I know how you feel 😦 Mine just woke up about an hour ago, came downstairs to toss a pizza in the oven, then went back up to his room…not so much as a word to our young son. He accuses me of “nagging” when I ask him as kindly as I know how, would he please spend some time with his child, before it’s too late.

        It hurts to think we had children with someone who just no longer cares…we ache for our kids. Mine berates his last remaining child, too…in a way, sometimes I think it’s almost a blessing that he doesn’t bother with him.

  8. Hopeful Grandma

    We are still living this nightmare! Our daughter-in-law has isolated our son and grandchildren from us, and other family members. After a recent intervention things were seemingly getting better and then she found out about it. Now she’s also isolated them from all of his extended family, as well as his abuse therapist. My husband is so frustrated with this whole mess, he wants to give it a rest, but I can’t just give up hope on our son and grandsons! Then we recently received a letter from their attorney, full of lies, threatening a lawsuit if we try to contact our son ever again. Please remember in prayer the parents (grandparents) that are also living in “The Twilight Zone” of abuse. Thank GOD we have a normal relationship with our other child and his family. Also, very thankful that the “light” finally turned on for many of you and that’s what gives me hope for the future for our son and grandchildren!

    • Hello Hopeful Grandma,

      Welcome to the blog and thank you for your comment. Yes, the grandparents in these situations suffer greatly also. I know my parents have gone through a lot (including legal issues) as a result of my abusive ex. Sigh.

      On a note of safety and protection, you will notice that I have changed your screen name. If you want a different screen name please email at twbtc.acfj@gmail.com Also, may I suggest you read our New Users’ page. It gives tips for staying safe when commenting on the blog. Sometimes the need to remain anonymous on the blog is vital as we do have abusers and their allies stalking the blog.

      Again Welcome!!

      • Hopeful Grandma

        Thank you

    • poohbear

      Hopeful Grandma, I’m so sorry for what you’re going through…I pray that a miracle happens and things turn around. How wicked for anyone who uses innocent children to hurt others. (((hugs)))

      • Hopeful Grandma

        Thanks for the “miracle” prayer, we definitely need one!
        Yes, very wicked indeed!
        Hugs and blessings to you

    • Hi, Hopeful Grandma,
      you might find it helpful to read the links in our resources page for Family And Friends:
      https://cryingoutforjustice.com/resources/online-resources-family-and-friends/

      • Hopeful Grandma

        Thanks for taking the time to share the information. You are appreciated!!!

  9. Great post, Jeff! These folks use our incredulity, our shock at their behavior, against us. Just because we can’t imagine acting that way apart from some outside influence (bad day, sickness, error, etc.) doesn’t mean they are not fully intentional. It only means we have great difficulty thinking like they do. Frankly, I don’t want to think like they do…

    Dave

    • StrongerNow

      It’s this same incredulity that causes others to disbelieve us (you must be exaggerating, it can’t really be the way you are describing, you’re hysterical, nobody is cruel on purpose) and send us right back into the mayhem. Or, of course, they blame us (what did you do to provoke him?).

      How unbelievably arrogant these pastors are! Ignorance is no excuse. The Bible is full of examples of people who were cruel on purpose (Pharoah, Saul, and on and on) — how could these pastors possibly see into the minds and motives of our abusers? And yet they call us deranged or liars, because they have never seen this hideous side of this wonderful Christian man! I could give the pastor a dozen examples of clues they are deliberately overlooking because they want to believe the best about him. Except they have to then be believing the worst about us. They can’t have it both ways.

      Makes me angry all over again remembering the betrayal of so many pastors I went to for help.

      • bright sunshinin' day

        Just as one cannot serve 2 masters, one cannot believe two stories that are in opposition to one another (antithesis)… Your comment sums up many a pastoral counseling room: “I could give the pastor a dozen examples of clues they are deliberately overlooking because they want to believe the best about him. Except they have to then be believing the worst about us. They can’t have it both ways.”

  10. The timing and applicability of this week’s posts (Monday, Thursday, and Friday) considering what has been going on around my house this week with my anti-husband are uncanny. Thank you for what you all do. You continue to help me so much.

    • hopeful

      What does anti husband mean?

      • ‘anti-husband’ is a term that one of our readers invented for her abusive husband. She felt it was totally inappropriate to refer to him as a husband, as how he treated her was the direct opposite of how husbands are supposed to treat their wives. He didn’t love her, care for her, cherish her, protect her, respect her individuality and dignity. He hated her, abused her, systematically sought to dissassemble her and keep her in fear of him.

        Because it’s such a great term, many of our readers have taken it up.

      • hopeful

        Barbara
        This makes perfect sense to me. I am living it. A few days ago my husband was affectionate on and off all day. I told him that his behavior confuses me and that I love him. He hasn’t touched me since. I can feel myself ready to blow. He is a broken man. I have lost the only safe place to talk with him. I have things I would like to get off my chest, but it will go south fast. He doesn’t care in the least about me. Never asks about the small groups I attend, rarely asks about my day or about me. Never buys me anything. He still has the anniversary card I gave him on Sept 3 sitting on his desk unopened.

      • Hopeful, I would like to suggest to you that your husband is playing the ‘broken man’ card in order to get sympathy — If he gets sympathy from you and from others, then it’s much less likely that you and others will hold him accountable for the ways he is mistreating you.

        Almost all domestic abusers (all?) play the ‘poor me’ card. It is one of their responsibility-resistance tactics.

      • Valerie

        I completely agree with Barb’s observation regarding the “brokenness”. As I see it, brokenness is what is actually missing from the abuser. They refuse to be broken and instead only control. If they were to be broken, then perhaps their hearts would soften enough to submit to God. But it is their very control that cannot coexist with brokenness.

        My ex faked brokenness for a season and I was totally duped. Life circumstances had him scrambling a bit and he appeared contrite and broken. But months later when his life circumstances increased he only became more cruel. He even spoke against the kind ways he had treated me and how sickening it was for him to even appear broken.

        On a side note, my ex also refused to open a birthday card from me. He left it smack dab in the center of the table for months so I would know he hadn’t opened it. If he was so hurt over our relationship that he couldn’t bring himself to open it, then he would have hidden it. He wouldn’t have wanted to be reminded of what was supposedly painful. That can be seen in our instinctive reaction to close our eyes when hearing bad news. We block what is painful, not willfully put it in front of our face to see over and over. But instead he chose to taunted me with it. Sick.

  11. ChooseLife

    My eyes were open by my h himself! After him saying some deeply hurtful remarks and me feeling devastated he would say such things I cried, “Why are doing this?!” Him: “Because I knew it would hurt you” and there wasn’t even one tiny bit of remorse in his voice or facial expression for doing it.

    So many years I went back & forth in my head knowing I heard mean & cruel words and then confused, because he goes to church. And he has a Ph.D in re-writing history. His Lies are outright, half-truths, or omission of information.

    • Hi ChooseLife,

      Welcome to the blog and thank you for your comment. Repeatedly re-writing history, lying, and purposefully hurting others are all hallmark traits of an abuser – and all behind the mask of Christianity. Aaargh. . .

      I hope you are in a safer place now. And may I suggest you take a look at our New Users’ page if you haven’t already done so. It gives tips for staying safe while commenting on the blog and other pointers.

      Again, Welcome!

      • ChooseLife

        Thank you for the welcome TWBTC.

        Do I wish I was free! I stayed WAY TOO long; the fallout to my health & financial situations overwhelms me some days. Other days I am making some in roads to being free from, not a marriage, but a mirage built on deception. So many years of shifting shadows with him; so much crazymaking! It”s chilling to realize we have lived with imposters & slept with the enemy.

    • he has a Ph.D in re-writing history.

      BINGO! what a great phrase!

    • poohbear

      Choose Life, your h and mine must take notes together. I can’t go into detail here because I’ve had former posts edited for being too revealing as to my identity, but, I know mine knows EXACTLY what things to say to stick a knife in my heart…I’m certain the devil knows too and whispers them in his ear first.

      I understand about the confusion…mine hasn’t set foot in church for many years, yet, he regularly gets mailed “newsletters” from Christian teachers he respects, has a room with bookshelves literally packed with Christian books, and even got choked up a couple years ago while watching a documentary on the Shroud of Turin which showed what Jesus’ face might actually have looked like when He was on earth.

      Maybe they become so skilled at lying, that they even fool themselves?

      I’m glad you were able to see it for what it really is…

    • StrongerNow

      When my h was hurting me during sex, and I asked him why he wouldn’t stop, he said, “As long as it isn’t hurting me, it’s not my problem.”

      • Maybe they become so skilled at lying, that they even fool themselves?

        In his book “Why Does He DO That?” Lundy Bancroft says that some abusers do seem to really believe their own lies.

        The Bible has quite a lot to say about self-deception. Here is one verse:

        If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. (James 1:26)

      • poohbear

        StrongerNow, that’s is HORRIBLE! (((hugs))) Mine hurt me plenty of times like that, too, including refusing to wait till my stitches healed up after childbirth even though the doctor said to (and then complained out loud about my being “all big there now” sorry TMI), but what your h said was the epitome of selfishness…so sorry that you went through this 😦

  12. Babylove

    Yes took me a long time to realize that abusers know exactly what they are doing and it is difficult for a normal minded person to comprehend such evilness. Now i do not let anyone in my circle of trust that shows the slightest bit of abusive ways. i pray daily for God’s hedge of protection around and over me…amen

  13. Herjourney

    Denial
    Meaning-
    *Failure to acknowledge an unacceptable truth or emotion or to admit it into consciousness, used as a defense mechanism.
    To those of you who have lived with abuse longer than you should have.
    I admire your strength.
    If you have had thoughts such as …
    I regret the day I came back because I didn’t want to be alone.
    This was my story.
    For over 3 decades I was deceived by the devil.
    But God was there! The timing to reveal to me his deception was not in my hands. Slowly God began showing me . The truth. The truth will set you free.
    But not without a cost. The cost to say No to abuse has a high price tag. Financially
    Emotionally
    Spiritually
    Physically
    Family and friends may disown you.
    The church may judge you.
    Your abuser wants to see you fail.
    Oh! the depths of suffering the survivor will go through.
    I am a broken and poured out vessel for God to use.
    I now can relate to men and women of faith. Who refuse to be labeled a victim of DV.

    • poohbear

      Thank you, her journey. I’m a “long-timer” as well, and your post gives me hope that there might be light at the end of the tunnel somewhere, and that God is ever faithful no matter what wrong decisions we may make because we’re terrified of what might happen if we leave…He knows all and sees all, which is a great comfort.

      You are “broken and poured out,” but now you can truly be filled with HIM!

      • bright sunshinin' day

        Yes: “You are “broken and poured out,” but now you can truly be filled with HIM!”

  14. CrazyIsCatching

    For 20+ years, I blamed myself. I still have to stop and rewind the tape that plays in my head. Why is he so nice to others and so mean to his family? I had a counselor point out to me that if he can be nice to others, he can control it.

    He’s behaving more with me, but continues to call the kids names behind my back. My youngest expresses hate often for his dad (only to me) and wishes that he’d leave. How can this be normal?

    I’m so tempted to think that I’m mistaken and that I’m overreacting, but then I remind myself that God led me to discover Lundy Bancroft’s book. Now the craziness that I’m dealing with has a name.

    • poohbear

      CrazyIsCatching, you are not over-reacting…you are perceiving behavior which doesn’t make sense, because it actually doesn’t.

      If I call my h on the phone, I can always tell when there are other people in the background, his co-workers and especially his family of origin, because of the tone of his voice. He’ll be SO loving and polite when others can hear (“see what a nice husband/dad I am?”). When he’s alone, I can give him a ring and within 2 seconds be made to feel like an unwelcome flea who’s just landed on the dog’s ear.

      They CAN control it; they just choose not to.

      I’m happy you’ve found the book.

      • CrazyIsCatching

        Yes Poohbear! I know EXACTLY what you mean. That’s one of the first red flags that I saw early on in marriage. His tone of voice would change as would his body language. To me, this was one of the most hurtful things of all.

      • ChooseLife

        YES PoohBear!, ALL of what you wrote, EXACTLY!!! That stupid sweet sickening tone on display!

        I finally figured out that the long silences in between his rationed responses were due to him working on the computer. It ALL amounts to wanting nothing to do with me, that is unless I can benefit him some way.

    • hopeful

      My husband has several different tones in his voice..
      So I always know when it’s a good day or I am in trouble. He also has pet names for me that convince me he still loves me.

      How do you all read the book by Bancroft and still live with your husband?

      • Annie

        you asked:

        How do you all read the book by Bancroft and still live with your husband?

        Because I made a decision that right now it is best for me and my children to stay

        But having read Lundy’s book has empowered me–I can leave when I choose. My husband falsely believes that I am desperate to stay with him. I am not in any immediate physical danger (though leaving I believe will have to be carefully done–he will blow a fuse).

        I am teaching my children they may love their dad but his behavior is wrong and he needs help. I minimize my interactions with him as I work to build myself up. It’s hard.

      • Some of us stay with our husbands, at least for the moment. Others of us have left. We don’t judge anyone for staying. And we don’t judge anyone for leaving. We try to just support each other wherever we are at. 🙂

        For myself, I left and divorced.

      • hopeful
        Your comment about ..
        ” He would use pet names to convince you he still loves you”.
        I can relate.
        I have a given name. Not a pet name.
        I too, thought using those pet names for me was so sweet.
        Now I understand what he was doing.
        While on a phone call to an elder.
        God showed up!
        Off the phone we were in a heated disscussion.
        But
        When the call was answered by my h. His tone of voice changed in a flash.
        Even using his pet name for me while talking to his spiritual guru.
        Another wake up call.
        Just at this moment .
        I now understand why I didn’t like hearing my given name.
        Wow
        It still is difficult to hear my name used with respect by others outside my family.

        I would like to know what the pastor or Barb has to say about husbands who only use pet names for their spouse.
        Thanks

  15. Traumatized

    My ex was a real wolf in sheep’s clothing. I wasn’t even aware that I was being abused until it was too late and I was spent emotionaly, physically and financially. I didn’t even recognize myself after about a dozen years. He comes off as such a nice guy, and I blew of the weirdness. But always left a sickness in the pit of my stomach. After more than a decade, he told me he never loved me, that he “MADE” me love him. That he was only with me so that nobody would find out who he really is and what he was up to. I was traumatized. I still have a hard time wrapping it around my brain all the loving things he said and did and the love notes, etc. He told me they were “just words that came out of his mouth”. The person I shared my bed with was a total stranger…feels like rape and I can’t wash that off fast enough.

    He slandered me to everyone he possibly could so he could look like the victim, before I even knew what hit me. It was sheer horror all at once, and so surreal at the same time. Too ugly to be true. But now that the mask had come off and I see the real him, I see evil in his eyes. He brags that he doesn’t feel bad about what he did to me because he has no conscience. Refuses to apologize (even though he is 12 steps –he claims he is a sex addict and “sick” and I am supposed to feel sorry for him). Yet, he sits in church wearing his IRON Man t-shirt (if anyone here knows what I mean), and he is lurking around the church for his next target.

    I can’t warn anybody, because everyone thinks he’s such a great guy and he’s made everyone believe I am the bad one. I’m too afraid to even walk into that church. It bothers me a lot that I can’t even warn people. He set this up so well. I battled this for a long time. It is hard to forgive someone that conned me for so long. Those are lost years. Years that will never make sense. I am still traumatized. He tells everyone how bad I am because I won’t forgive him, and can’t at this moment. “I”M BAD?” Now that his mask is off and my blinders are off, I see him for what he is. I believe he truly lacks a soul. And that is the scariest person I ever met. Someone like that is capable of anything. What is happening in me now, is that the closer I get to God, the more I see his blackness. I feel it in a room when he walks in, I hear it in his voice (the phoneyness), his body language, and the things he does that says a lot about his lack of integrity.

    Thank you for all your posts. It truly helps to know someone out there understands what I went through. I was raised to believe in the good in everyone. It never occured to me that there were people like that. But the more I read scriptures, the more I see that we are warned aboout these people. It is not talked about in church anymore. What I see in church is a lot of rainbows and butterflies, and the truth is completely lost.

    • Hi Traumatized; welcome to the blog 🙂

      You will notice that I changed your screen name and removed a bit of detail from your comment. I did this to protect your identity. I encourage you to check out our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

      Thanks very much for sharing.

      • Traumatized

        Thanks Barbara. I appreciate that. I’ll be more aware of that in the future. 🙂

      • Dear Traumatized, you asked for tips about how to pray for the emotional stuff (triggers) to be healed. I suggest you might like to read the posts on this blog tagged PTSD.
        You can find a complete list of our tags in the top menu, but here is a link to the PTSD tag:
        https://cryingoutforjustice.com/tag/ptsd/

        And I have heard or read somewhere that PTSD can be largely understood as unprocessed grief. So I suggest you let the emotions (tears, anger, etc.) flow, when it’s safe to do so. 🙂

    • ChooseLife

      Traumatized, I really understand about the weirdness factor. My h conducts himself so normally, especially around women he’s attracted to. He gives the best of himself to most others; I get the crumbs and he rarely conducts himself like an adult around me.

      It is horrible! what’s been done to you. It does sound like he has no conscience and he doesn’t get how dangerous that is.

      I hope you can be free from him. Look on the site RESOURCES page to help with taking steps in that direction.

      • Hi ChooseLife
        I had to change the screen name on this comment you just submitted. This is not a rebuke, just letting you know. 🙂

      • Anne

        ChooseLife, that’s it exactly! I used to say to myself ALL THE TIME, “work and church, get the best of him, we (his wife and kids) get the rest.” Which was pretty much crumbs, if even that. And it hurt so much. I’d cry out, why am I not worth his time and effort, but the rest of the world is? What am I doing wrong, why can’t I ever be the one he showers the care on?

        And someone mentioned the change of voice, body language. YES! On the phone, his voice was so kind and nice … work and church people he was talking to. He’d get off the phone and say something to me and the tone was impatient, mean or harsh. In a split second. That used to hurt so much too. I’d wonder what it was I was doing to cause the nice, friendly man turn into a mean person.

        I’m still with him … most things have changed as the mean man has gone under cover as he senses I think, how close I am to leaving. But stresses bring out glimpses of how he really feels about me and nothing inwardly has really changed.

        When I do leave, he can say and make me look like a horrible person …” look at all I did for her those last months, look at how nicely I treated her, doing all the things she said she wanted … And still she left. Nothing would have been enough for that woman”

        But the things I want most, he can’t give me. Respect and acceptance of who I am, what’s important to me. Because who I am is not the Stepford wife he wanted. I killed myself emotionally, spiritually and physically to be her, but it was never enough anyway, because it never is.

        At least that’s what I’m finally understanding. My eldest went to counseling for three years at school before I even knew we were being abused (I always thought it was our fault, not his), and the reason that finally got her going on the path to healing was first, not understanding why who she was (and she’s an amazing person in all ways!) was never enough, never good enough for her dad. And then second, through counseling, learning that who she was WAS enough, that it was him and not her with the problem!

    • Savedbygrace

      Dear Traumatized, thankyou for sharing your painful journey- I wasn’t even aware that I was being abused until it was too late :
      be assured it is never too late to be on a healing journey, you are taking your self further away from evil and it sounds like you are walking closer to God in the midst of this too..
      I understand what it is like to want justice and for the record to be set right- but sometimes we don’t get a direct opportunity to do that. I have been amazed how many people I have spoken to who have seen through my h’s facade ( just wish they would have said something!) and you may be surprised too- just because he is saying it doesnt mean everyone will believe him. The fact that you have made a stand may cause some to do a re think. Ultimately God will vindicate you- keep trustingx
      I love these word from Psalm 37

      Do not fret because of those who are evil
      or be envious of those who do wrong;

      for like the grass they will soon wither,
      like green plants they will soon die away.

      Trust in the Lord and do good;
      dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.

      Take delight in the Lord,
      and he will give you the desires of your heart.

      Commit your way to the Lord;
      trust in him and he will do this:

      He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
      your vindication like the noonday sun

      Be still before the Lord
      and wait patiently for him;
      do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
      when they carry out their wicked schemes.

      • hopeful

        Savedbygrace

        I would love if people would sit me down and tell me what they see wth my husband. His friends, his Christian supports…which he has closed himself off to..Anyone in his world that ses beyond his charm, good looks, attractive body, big shiny truck, best dad ever ego. I need validation from the people who know him that I am not crazy.

    • poohbear

      Dear Traumatized…GOD sees the truth…your h can never fool HIM. Please try to take comfort in that.

      I never did until recently, because my h has always convinced me somehow that *I* was the evil one, the abuser, and that the Lord was somehow aligned with him. I have a long long way to go but, I’m coming to realize that God is not out to hurt me (like my h) and isn’t plotting to strike me down with a lightning bolt because I (gasp) am fed up with the abuse and imagining that “long-suffering” means letting someone who once claimed to love you, use you as a verbal punching bag till one of you dies.

      This site is wonderful, and I hope you’ll continue to find encouragement here…

      • Traumatized

        Thank you everyone for your very kind and inspiring words. I find the hard part now is what’s in my head. Some moments I think I’m doing fine, then something happens that triggers the pain. For the longest time I would think “if only he would apologize and show some remorse”. But it never came. I could never understand why. What’s so hard about apologizing? If it wasn’t for websights like this one, I would never have understood that I will never get that from him, and I am just torturing myself waiting for him to do the right thing. I know it is going to be a long road to getting these thoughts of pain and injustice out of my head. I pray for God to help still my mind of these thoughts. Sometimes it works, sometimes I feel like I am going backwards. I realize that I need to put more trust in God. I guess I haven’t gotten to that point yet. I have only recently turned back to God after neglecting that part of my life for many years. This may sound weird, but would it be an ok question to ask if there any tips for praying about this?

    • Bitter But Getting Better

      Traumatized I could so relate to your story. My h as well is what some may call a sex addict but I call him a serial adulterer! Your comment that he is lurking around the church for his next target is exactly what mine does. He’s a hunter continuously looking for fresh victims. Thank God that I have finally seen the truth about him. It took a lifetime though. I do take comfort that God’s word says that He restores the years the locust have eaten. Blessings to you!

  16. Seeing Clearly

    Identifying an abuser does not come easily for me. If I am drawn to someone, I have to be wary because I am comfortable around abusers in the initial stages. I am embarrassed to admit that I gravitate to them. Overt abusers don’t trick me very often, but I am easily sucked in by the covert ones.

    Gradually, I have been transitioning to a new religious gathering and the leader was one of the first reasons I have continued to connect with this group. Sometimes I wonder if I should walk away for good because the discovery process of who the abusers are is so tiring. Perhaps this leader is the genuine article, but egotistical, confident in his leadership style. He appears to be respectful of me and a little complimentary.

    I am experiencing a fair amount of fear as I move forward. At the same time, I am enjoying meeting new people, listening to their stories, and introducing myself as a whole individual with no reference to my ex.

  17. This comment was submitted by a new reader today. I’m publishing it under my gravatar as the gravatar shown in the comment submitted might have been the commenter’s own photo, and we want to protect her safety.

    I have dubbed her “Homeless,” as the screen name she gave was identifying.

    Here is Homeless’s comment, edited to remove details that may be potentially identifying details:
    ____________
    Thank you. My abuser just stopped paying for our house and kicked me and my children to the curb laughing and mocking me. He owes me a LOT of money in back support with only a measly bit given to us in the past few weeks so we would not have any income to get a place to live. And he took me off my business accounts put his family members on.

    I have not been able to find legal counsel to enforce the orders and law. The state has taken away his driver’s license, business license, boat license and registration…….he still does all of them illegally drives drunk with scripture on the side of his truck. [More about financial abuse – details removed to protect commenter.] I am still legally married to this guy, he keeps putting off the divorce and won’t submit any paperwork. Said he could hire someone to have me killed. My church has not even offered to help me and my children. Only God in need of a MIRACLE. Satan was kicked out of heaven when his head got this puffed up. God takes down one and he raises up another. Trusting God for a place to live…. He told the children it’s your mum’s fault; go find a place to live tell me where it is and I will pay for it…………History says he is LYING! Can anyone help us? JUSTICE!!!!!

    Thank God for you……….I thought there was something wrong with me after all they said I had to STAY MARRIED for LIFE!!! I made a Vow before God and I can never remarry as he is with his girlfriend who he has known for years……….her husband has divorced her because of their affair. One Word DECEIVED!!! Living in a Hotel for another week for free owned by a church. Jesus Christ is Lord. Praying for God to lead us, guide us, and keep us in safety.

    • standsfortruth

      Hi Homeless, your story sounds so much like mine in some ways. (Especially thinking I had to stay married for life.)

      I am glad you found this blog. My heart and prayers go out to you, and I am thankful that you found some shelter supplied by a church for now. My hope for you is to find a way to retain a low or flat rate good divorce lawyer if possible, because these abusers will continue to abuse unless someone holds them legally accountable. (This has been especially true in my case)

      If possible look for a lawyer that will not turn a blind eye to abusive custody matters. And having written documentation of any professionals to advocate your cause with the children is important. That way you have their support on paper which may be needed in court.

      It will be difficult while still being married to your H to qualify for food stamps and most likely he will not cooperate with offering his income to help you qualify, so I found another way to bring in food. When my H cut me off finantially I discovered that some of the catholic, and now christian churches, have food box days that are really quite generous in what they offer. I actually had to quit going for a while because i had no more room to put what they offered.

      And telling the police about any threats that he made to you will then mean there is a report on file which may be useful in later court proceedings.

      Take it one day at a time, so you don’t get overwhelmed, and just know that God will bless your efforts to help yourself and your children, and reaching out for help to others during this time.

  18. Curious

    I was raised in a Christian home and was shielded from evil. This made me perfect bait for my abuser husband. It is really a dis-service to our kids when don’t teach them about evil. I am still shocked at the evil I see from my husband, even to his kids. Over the years I have realized that he does everything with a purpose. He is a different person outside the home.

    • poohbear

      I understand a bit…sometimes I think that being raised in a “Christian” home can almost have a disadvantage, if it’s done by sheltering the children to the extent that they don’t know evil when it comes their way.

      They are all different when they’re outside the home, Curious…that’s part of their making it look like it’s all our imagination, that they really are loving and wonderful.

    • poohbear

      Hi Curious, there was no reply feature under your response to my post, so I’m putting it here. I believe you are right!

      And I’m grateful that his last tirade happened during a time I was texting a friend who had recently watched our child…I was able to tell her about it right after he stormed out for work, so hopefully now at least there’s someone else I know in real life who got some idea of what he does. Would you believe he yelled at me that our child had bruises? I checked, our child checked, and there were absolutely none! Proof that he lives in his own imaginary world to the point that he even sees things (scary).

      Thank you for your reply 🙂

  19. Seeing Clearly

    Healing after divorce is like peeling an onion. Along with other types of abuse, he was financially abusive. I now am most certain that money is his highest god. He has such strong emotions tied into money. He had total control of our money and I was to blame for all that ensued, In his heart, I was an irresponsible idiot.

    A very small, reoccurring incident is haunting me just lately. We put most miles on a primary car and much less on the secondary. Each week he handed each of us our meager monetary alotment. Later in the week, he would return home with the gas tank nearly on empty and announce that I would need to fill it up soon or run out. His excuse for bringing it home empty was that he did not have any cash on him. Now it falls to me. I do not have any cash left either, but have no choice but to come up with a way to buy gas; go to the bank and withdraw or use a credit card. Both are breaking his rules. I was very naive. Every day was a struggle.

    Jeff, I think you are saying this was intentional abuse. I had not thought of it that way. I have been grappling with the reality that he was mad and angry over money every day and I hadn’t really thought of him as a angry person. I did tiptoe around our finances. I worked hard in the home being frugal, in the church, and working at a career. But I could never do enough to have a say or have my own money. Finally, I was reduced to going on disability due to depression and anxiety. He took all of that money as well. In my early 50’s, he had total control of our money by putting every spare penny in an account with only his name on it. Of course, he explained that it was my fault that he had to hide the money. By then, I had given up and within a few years, filed for divorce.

    I can’t recall a single time that he admitted to being wrong about any financial issue. The word “intentional” abuse is very upsetting to me because it tells me that I was set up, maligned, lied to, lied about to our children. I spent so much of my life trying to make money, not because I had an insatiable drive, but because the brainwashing that I won’t go into here. And when it should be all over, I am making spousal support repayment to him for 12 months because he overpayed by one month and wants it back. I was able to break it down into 12 payments. You are right, we normal people are so slow to get it. To say it is a deep wound that will take a long time to heal is an understatement. Now it feels like a sharp knife in the hand of an angry man tearing through my skin and not stopping until he has pierced my heart.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Absolutely, totally and completely intentional.

      • Seeing Clearly

        Thank you for honesty, Jeff.

        God, I ask that You gather me under your wing as a hen gathers her chicks. May I abide here as I invite the clear and complete movie to play before me of being intentionally abused by an angry, deceitful human. Protect me, God, from a landslide of memories and emotions. Here I will find my rest and my refuge. I am grateful to you that You want me, that you never violate me, and that you will nurture me under your wing. Amen

    • Moving Forward

      The wounds are deep. Mine prefers to use access with the children as the knife of preference, but money is another favourite. He goes into big debt, and its my fault because he is trying to give me what I want (then why is so much of it tools, guns, and knives). He starts businesses that fail, and it is my fault because he’s just trying to provide. He works long hours away, and its my fault because he doesn’t understand why it take so much money to run a household, so then he cuts the amount I get. Meanwhile, he is spending money for food and fun like water, then telling me he has not enough for support payments. His food budget for one was higher than mine for seven! His favourite thing to say was that all I thought of him was as a paycheck. During marriage, not true. I wanted him to be so much more, but he was so focused on money and it was such a convenient thing to blame on me, and being anything more was too much work, nor did he care to try. Now that he’s left, he’s chosen to reduce himself to being just that. Besides, I was just his mattress. But God is so good, and had been my guide, provider, and comfort along the way. I have a long way to go, but I know God is greater than any evil devised by man or devil, and His justice will be served in the end. There will be tears and valleys along the way, but I have to keep looking up. I pray God will give you peace about this, and healing.

      • Seeing Clearly

        Thank you for your compassion, MF. Only those who have lived in this abusive neighborhood can identify. I wonder if we humans will ever mine the depths of abuse. Certainly, Jesus, has when He died on the cross, but first experiencing every abuse. So Jesus, the healer, walks each step with us. But only as fast as we are able to journey.

      • poohbear

        Wow, Movingforward, mine is obsessed with money, too. He’s downright materialistic and greedy…he goes way beyond just trying to provide for his family. He’s always in a conflict with his co-workers about who gets more overtime. I work too, and feel like a single mother because he deliberately works as many hours as he can to the point that he has NO time for our child. His excuse has always been that he “didn’t have anything” as a child. Well, neither did I, but when I married him we were both dirt poor and I’d gladly have lived a modest life with a good man who loved me, than be in the nightmare I’m in now.

        I never know what to expect…one day he rips me up for his not saving a few cents per litre of petrol, the next he derides me acting “like a little girl asking permission” when I tell him I need to buy some new underwear for myself. He says, “We need to cut back on spending,” yet he’s always buying tools, alcohol, smokes, clothes for himself, and eating at fast food restaurants even though I offer to cook dinner. It makes no sense to me.

        He’s told me he’s seriously thought about “ending this” (our “marriage”), but he doesn’t because “You’ll screw me (financially).” So, all I am to him is security that he can keep his wretched castle and riches he’s built up for decades…oh, and I do the laundry 😦

        I’m glad you’ve come to a place of peace and trust in God, despite the obstacles brought against you.

      • Anne

        Mine likes to say I think of him as an ATM. While he works hard to support us, I gallivant around spending the money he works so hard to make.

        I felt so guilty. Even though the majority of the spending was food and household expenses and some activities with the kids (free and low cost things mostly)

        My counselor said to me one day … don’t you work too? (Me: yes. But I don’t make even close to what he does) She asked … do you spend more than YOU make on yourself or the activities you did with the kids? (Me: No. Not even close) Think about that she said.

        As I did, it suddenly hit me … He had me so brainwashed that I felt I contributed nothing to the household, even though I worked outside the home AND did everything in the home too. (Cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping, etc)

        Then he had the gall to make me feel guilty when I chose to do things to develop and nurture my relationship with the kids. He could have joined us. We always invited him to be a part of our activities. He was always “too busy” with work and church. But that was a choice he made.

        But I allowed him to make me feel guilty. No more. At least … I’m trying to get rid of the false guilt. It’s a daily process. 🙂

    • poohbear

      Carol, I’m so sorry for your pain. Why is money a god to so many of these men, and why do we women often work so hard, both outside the home and unpaid work IN the home? Your story sounds so much like my own…I’ve always worked as many hours as I could, and he demands my check be deposited directly into the checking account, even though he has access to many thousands of dollars that I cannot touch.

      Yes, it hurts to realize it’s intentional. It almost feels better to think they were just being thoughtless and inconsiderate. But wanting to exercise control over another human being to the point that they break down, is calculating and deliberate. I cannot believe your ex would demand repayment of a spousal payment! 😦

      I pray you’ll find peace and comfort in the Lord…(((hugs)))

  20. Annie

    Whatever the “normal” response is to a situation I can guarantee my husband will say or do the exact opposite yet make it appear he has no choice or that I’m the weird or mean one, or he’ll say something to provoke a reaction, embarrass me, etc.

    (This event has been paraphrased to protect the identity of the commenter) I was reminded of this today when he asked me to do something and my response was a normal, easily understood response – a response I would give to anyone. He responded to me with a smart-mouthed answer. The first few times that happened (or similar type responses to something I said–intentionally misunderstanding what I said and trying to make me look stupid) it gave me pause. I wondered “is there something wrong with answering ‘sure’?” Of course, not! In the old days (the foggy years) I would have corrected myself and answered as he wished but as time went by and too many incidents happened like this I would have said “why are you being ridiculous?” which would have eventually ended up in a major argument about how awful I am to him while I wondered why he persists in answering so oddly. (Ahhh crazy-making) So now you know what I did this time? I didn’t answer him. I have found silence is the best weapon. I know it’s probably not safe for some to use that but for me it works.

    Yes, my husband doesn’t let a single opportunity to stomp on me verbally pass him by. He told me a few years ago he intends to break me because only then will I understand what a marriage is. And he is relentless. I can be sitting at the table and he walks through and makes some mean comment about me sitting there. So I don’t have to say or do anything to him to get rebuked.

    My husband tries to appear normal to the rest of the world and many times it would hurt me that others got the “nice” him while I got the “mean” him. But now I realize there are others that have seen through him–he’s been fired numerous times and he has terrible relationships with a number of people in his life. He, of course, blames them but it’s happened too many times to always be someone else’s fault. I believe people he’s worked with often see through him for the phony he is and they won’t put up with it.

    I spent way too many hours trying to figure out why everyone else got the “normal” man and I got the “mean” one at home. Then I realized he could switch it on and off. So then I wondered did I make him this way? But then I thought even if I were a quarter of how awful he claims I am what husband who loves his wife chooses to beat her down every chance he gets to break her? So even if I’m terrible he chooses his responses. He didn’t choose to be kind, he didn’t choose to help me be a better person. He didn’t try to find joy and happiness in our relationship. He worked his hardest to make even the simplest things as difficult as possible.

    Even today I was sitting at the table I was eating a sandwich because I’d not eaten breakfast since I was so busy and I knew I had to start lunch soon. Husband walks through the kitchen and says “I see you have time to make yourself lunch. You don’t have any lunch for me?” in a tone designed to make me feel as if I’d neglected him as usual. Little did he care that was my first meal of the day and he’d already had breakfast. A normal husband wouldn’t resent that his wife was eating lunch. A normal person would have fixed his own sandwich or maybe kindly asked for one also. No, not my husband, My eating a sandwich is evidence of how awful and selfish I am and why he must treat me the way he does.

    I know in the early years I did try kindness, bending over backwards trying everything I could to move our relationship forward in a positive way. I was supportive when he got fired, I tried to plans things I thought he liked, etc. He was negative about it all. Now I try to avoid him as much as possible.

    I still get trapped by his comments and it does drive me crazy but at the same time I’m glad because that means I’m normal!!! So many times do I find myself saying to myself after one of his stupid comments “who thinks or talks like that?” Not me because I’m normal!

    • poohbear

      Annie, good for you (re your last paragraph). They do make such nonsensical remarks, once you hold these comments to the light. I’m glad you realize you’re the normal one…it took me forever.

      Mine has always made me feel like he’d gone out shopping one day for a beautiful BMW, but came home with a dinged-up old clunker. He actually used to “joke” : “I always hoped for a strong Christian woman, look what I got…”

      But then I look at him, and see how miserable he is, and have finally stopped blaming myself for that and feeling guilty. He has no friends at all (he used to try to say we had friends but I scared them all away with my craziness…finally I asked him to name just ONE person, and he couldn’t.

      I’ve finally come somewhat to peace with myself…I’m not hideously unlovable…HE’S the one who drives others away. He still berates and insults me on almost a daily basis, but his words are now like water running off a duck’s back.

      • M&M

        Sounds to me like you ARE a strong Christian “BMW” and he’s the “clunker”. Sounds to me like you are as innocent and loving as the character that inspired your screenname (Winnie the Pooh) yet a lot smarter. I’m glad you’ve come to realize that the insults aren’t true, but it’s sad that you even have to deal with that. When I read your screenname, it makes me dream of a world where it’s safe to chase butterflies without having to watch your back. For sure that will happen in heaven, but hopefully you will find some peace and “butterflies” even now. Psalm 34:18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit.

      • poohbear

        Thank you, M & M, for your sweet reply (there’s no reply feature under your post, but I hope you see this). My username was a nickname given to me by my wonderful (late) father.
        I’ve done my fair share of wrong in the past, so any good in me is the result of God’s work in my life 🙂 I do, however, love butterflies and wish life could be so innocent!

  21. Amy

    Wow, this is so true! I knew things were wrong in my marriage of 20 years to an abusive man, but it took me about 10 years into that marriage to actually use the word ‘abuse’ and when I did it still was hard to have it roll off my tongue, but after all, it couldn’t really be abuse if he wasn’t hitting me or the kids, right?! WRONG!!

    And although I did come to realize I was living with an abusive person — and no, he wasn’t just having a bad day or had an anger problem — it truly wasn’t until he walked out on me over 6 years ago that I came to see just how intentionally manipulative he truly was. His walking out was actually a very well calculated move on his part — kind of like playing chess. He had all of his pieces placed perfectly and when the time was right, he made his move! And I was the pawn he was ready to take and destroy!

    Two weeks ago I received real validation after all these years of how truly intentional he is in his schemes towards ohers as a current girlfriend contacted me with questions about him — questioning things that do not seem right. And all these years later, I feel as if God has sent this person as a way of restoring all those years stolen from me by that intentionally abusive man — a man who was not some poor lost soul, but who knew, and still knows, very well what he is doing.

  22. Crazy is Catching

    Has anybody else experienced anything like this?? My spouse would tell me stories about a man (that he doesn’t even know, he’s heard these things via word of mouth) who had a horrible wife. She spoiled and ruined his kids to point where he had to leave her. My spouse has told me several times that I’m too lenient and that discipline should be 10X the crime. I’ve never told him that he cannot discipline, only that the punishment should fit the crime and that I don’t want him calling the kids names such as useless, worthless, idiots, fools, etc.

    Additionally, he’ll leave the newspaper open to an article that he knows will catch my attention. The latest one was about overprotective parents raising oversensitive children.

    Remember when the woman beat her son that was demonstrating about race and police violence? The video that went viral? He asked me several times to look at it, so I did finally and he went on about the woman should get the mom of the year award.

    I don’t take the bait anymore for any of these “hooks”. He doesn’t get a rise from me. Is this abusive or just general games of an immature ass?

    • Moving Forward

      My stbx also left articles and books and Bible verses lying around where I would see them, and the effect on me was of an abusive nature. I felt battered by it. The words may not have been there, but he made it very clear what he thought and felt, and it was all negative.

    • CisC, I think that sounds like abusive behaviour: psychological abuse, emotional abuse, mind games. THere are veiled threats in what he says. There is a pattern of conduct: it’s not just a one-off foolish saying. He is calculated and premeditated in the way he does this. All that points to abuse. Certainly he is immature and an ass (a fool) but he clearly LIKES being that way because he uses it to hurt you. Yes he is an immature ass, but he is much more than just that: he has an evil malicious heart.

      And the way he does it makes you wonder “Is it abuse or is it just general games of an immature ass?” So he cleverly contrives to do it in a way that makes you uncertain whether it’s abuse or something less serious than abuse. This is typical of abusers: they do things to keep their targets in a state of perpetual self-doubt — for when the target doubts herself and doubts the reality of what it going on, she is more easy to control.

    • poohbear

      I’d say it’s both, in that he’s undermining your parenting skills, but masking it in a way so you can’t say he came right out and told you how bad he thinks you are; he’s also not being mature enough to come right out and say what he feels, choosing instead to play games.

      This must be a common thing they do, though. My h has high blood pressure. He’s always blamed me for it, even though he drinks too much, seems forever in conflicts with people he works with, is obsessing over how much money he can make, etc. But, he’d never accept that these factors might be the cause, and would leave his computer open for me to see message forums for people wronged by their significant others, and how it had negatively affected their health.

      I’m glad you’re not falling for his bait. 🙂

  23. CrazyIsCatching

    Thank you Barbara, Moving Forward, and PoohBear! I pray every day that God will show me what to do.

  24. wbgl0

    I wanted to let you guys know that your blog is making a difference. I used it to educat my dad on abuse today. Our pastor preached on 1 Cor 5:6-6:20 today, and we were talking about it. Our conversation went something like this:

    Dad: What did you think about the sermon?

    Me: It was great, but I got worried when he used 1 Cor 6:1-8 to say Christians should try mediation before taking things to court because lawsuits make the church look silly. Sometimes women in abusive marriages are forced into mediation by their churches, and mediation can be a very dangerous thing for abuse victims.

    Dad: Well, why can’t the church protect the victim and move the couple toward reconciliation? The pastor said today that Christians are supposed to be moving towards Jesus in every area of their lives including relationships.

    Me: Well, this anti-abuse blog I read uses 1 Cor to explain that someone who’s abusing his family and while claiming to be a Christian isn’t a Christian . So you don’t have two Christians with marital troubles. You have a believer married to an abusive non-beliver. The church doesn’t need to help him move towards Jesus because he’s already moving away. So the Bible says we have to ‘expell the immoral brother.” It sounds harsh, but letting people like this stay in the church hurts the whole body as well as the family involved.”

    Dad: That makes sense. It’s the whole leaven thing.”

    He got it, you guys! Or he started to. Keep up the good work!

  25. Barbara wrote:

    Hopeful, having a relationship with Jesus means having hope. But the question is, hope in what? If you or others believe that you must never give up having hope that your marriage will improve and your husband will stop abusing you, and the two of you will live out your days ‘happily ever after’, that belief is dangerous.

    Why is it dangerous? Because if that hope never comes true — if your husband doesn’t truly and deeply reform — but you hold yourself to remain ‘loyal’ to the marriage regardless, then you are going to be only more hurt. When victims of abuse stay with their abusers in hope that God will miraculously change them, then what tends to happen is that the victim’s health suffers, she often develops chronic health problems becuase of the stress she is constantly under, and it becomes harder and harder for her to see thru the fog and get the space and strength to make decisions that might lead to her having an abuse-free life.

    So by all means hope in Christ: have hope, have assurance, that you are one of His called, chosen children, your sins have been forgiven, you are cleansed by the blood of Christ, translated from the kingdom of darkeness into the kingdom of light, and you will be given a new resurrection body in the New Heavens and New Earth. Have hope and trust that He sees your pain, your dilemmas, your difficulties, your strengths, and has compassion on you and will help you and guide you. But to bind yourself to the hope that your husband will stop abusing is not wise. Most abusers don’t change. They often fake change for a while, but then revert. You are not obliged to remain in a marriage which is so destructive.

    Many christians have an idolatrous view of marriage. They put “MARRIAGE” as an institution so up high on a pedestal it is as if they worship marriage. This view has been trapping victims of abuse in horrendous marriages for way too long.

    A light bulb turned on today 🙂 I have been thinking it feels hopeless but I know I should have hope. So I asked hope in what? In Christ. How does this hope work in my marriage? The answer isn’t to look for hope in my marriage. Then I read this comment of Barbara’s. 🙂

    I’m doing a jig and I feel like some chains fell off! For real! 😀
    Had to share the little break through 🙂

  26. citizen of Heaven

    Praise GOD!
    May GOD BLESS you Pastor Crippen.
    You are exactly right! I am a year late responding to your post, however I am thankful that I didn’t miss it.
    No more smiling, no more forgetting, no more handshakes, No!
    They also to be held accountable!
    You said it Pastor!
    THANK YOU!
    I’m printing this 🙂

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