A Cry For Justice

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

Abusers ALWAYS Work to Make Us Look Bad

Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said: “Should a wise man answer with windy knowledge, and fill his belly with the east wind? Should he argue in unprofitable talk, or in words with which he can do no good? But you are doing away with the fear of God and hindering meditation before God. For your iniquity teaches your mouth, and you choose the tongue of the crafty. Your own mouth condemns you, and not I; your own lips testify against you. (Job 15:1-6)

I don’t know if Elphaz was an abuser as we define the abuser or not, but certainly he was abusing Job here through false accusations. At minimum he was an ally of Job’s enemy (Satan) duped into thinking Job was guilty of sin and was being punished by God.  But we can learn at least two things from Eliphaz’ biting words of “counsel” here:

  1. Abusers always, always, always work to make their target look and feel guilty. Job is righteous, but Eliphaz lays it on him, heaping on load after load of accusations. “God is against you, Job. You are lying. The mess you are in is the result of your own evil doings. You are condemned by your own words.”
  2. What abusers accuse their victim of is the very evil THEY are guilty of doing. Eliphaz, not Job, is the one here whose “iniquity teaches his mouth” and who “chooses the tongue of the crafty.” Eliphaz’ accusations are true in an ironic way – they apply to HIM.  

Abusers want to have power and control, and they know that people who lack self-confidence and who are weighed down with guilt and blame and shame are much easier to control than someone who sees the truth clearly. So put-downs are the name of their game, the currency in which they deal.

And this can help us identify an abuser.

If you are in any kind of relationship with a person who (you have to think carefully about this to get through the fog)…with a person who regularly makes you feel guilty, shamed, and blamed, then at minimum that person is an unsafe person to relate to. At worst they are an abuser. We aren’t talking about a true friend who wants to help (for your own welfare) by pointing some problem out in your character, nor are we speaking of a police officer who tells you that you are guilty of running a red light (when you did). No, the person we have in mind is the person who feigns to be a friend or who claims to be a Christian, but who (in contrast to most all the other people you know) “hits you in the gut” with his words right out of the blue with a fair degree of regularity. And you thought they were just trying to be a good Christian by telling you these things, right? So you believed them. You wore the guilt trip they wanted you to wear. You looked bad. You looked guilty.

Just what the culprit wanted.

We need to develop a kind of “wisdom radar” that alerts us to these kinds of people so that we come to understand exactly what it is they are up to. And then do whatever we can to get out of relationship with them. How many church members who claim to be Christians need to be called on the carpet here, exposed for all to see, because “the poison of asps is under their lips” as Paul says?  How much grief and trouble would be replaced by joy and peace if this kind were put out from among us?

And by the way. That “wisdom radar” really is already installed in our ROM operating system that the Lord gives EACH one of His genuine people. It is called the Spirit of God in us, the Spirit of truth exposing the spirit of error and evil. Unfortunately through false teaching and naivete, many Christians today treat the warnings of the Spirit in them pretty much like a car alarm.  “Warning, warning…beep, beep, beep….Oh, never mind, some knucklehead must have set off your car alarm. Disregard.”

The Holy Spirit NEVER gives false alarms. NEVER.

15 Comments

  1. Moving Forward

    Yes, the abuser ALWAYS works to make us look bad. With a lawyer, with the pastor, with his allies, with the children, in every email, with his coworkers, with the in-laws (my mother, but she’s too smart for him), I’m sure the list goes on, this is just where I have watched it happen. Praise God I already know who I am in Him, but it can be wearing and fog-creating to deal with the accusations and blaming on a continuous basis. And like was pointed out, it is projecting. Such a bitter tone he uses when telling me to let go of my bitterness. So thankful to have reached a point where I can laugh at the insanity and put it into my “save for future use” folder. But it still hurts, and legally, is a pain to deal with.

  2. Anthea

    That is the story of my life: guilt, guilt and more guilt. Blame, shame. It is a GREAT way to keep someone DOWN. My abuser also loves loves loves to project his own faults on to me or others. I learned years ago not to bother sharing if I had a headache, as I would be accused of “just wanting attention.” Of course I never got any attention unless I was literally at death’s door. But you can be sure he plays up any small sickness and basks in the attention he gets. He accuses others HORRIBLY of “using people,” of “being insecure,” of “not saving for retirement,” and on and on–all things he does himself. In fact now whenever he accuses someone of something, that is a tip-off for me that he must have a problem with it himself.

    I have been trying something new lately — trying NOT to feel boatloads of guilt for every imperfection, which he seems to want me to feel. So if my house is dirty, and I have been lazy, I am trying to not feel guilt for that. I want to clean, not to relieve guilt, but because I WANT to do it for myself or my family. It is a new sensation for me. I will save guilt for things that really deserve it, although at this point it is hard to distinguish what those things are.

  3. Herjourney

    Thankful for the book of Job.
    Our worst enemy can be in our own circle of friends?! Also… Family included. Jobs wife was not on Job’s side either. Nothing is said about her other than what came out of her mouth. Curse God and die. Poor Job you might think.
    No way! God was on Job’s side.
    Let em talk I say.
    God will remove the wicked at the perfect time.
    Knowing who we are in Christ and remembering what He brought us through. Is enough for the weakest among us. Don’t forget! Give thanks today.
    If God is for us
    Who can be against us.

  4. Annie

    Anthea–I can sooo relate. I especially liked this “In fact now whenever he accuses someone of something, that is a tip-off for me that he must have a problem with it himself.”

    Until a couple of years ago my husband has never really been one to engage in much talk about politics. His favorite thing to do if he did would be to take the opposite point of view from the person he was talking to. He’s quite proud of doing that. He thinks he’s clever. It’s really annoying. He likes to say his conservative friends thinks he’s liberal and his liberal friends think he’s conservative. The reality is you don’t know what he really thinks because he thinks it’s a game.

    But now he loves to go off on a monologue full of emotion about a particular politician– how self-centered, lazy, arrogant, thinks he’s the smartest in room, talks about himself all the time, etc, etc. Yes, he’s accusing President Obama of all the things others have accused the president of. But the gusto and force in which my husband carries on about it is really something. Almost like he’s trying to deflect from himself. I mean he’s never met the guy and he speaks as if it was personal like the president had done something to him directly. One time the whole family was in the car and he started with this monologue and I couldn’t help but think that he was describing himself and not the President. I’m sure my kids thought the same. In fact one of my kids once told me dad projects “a lot”.

    His latest thing is to get on me for spending. I called him on it because I was getting tired of being told to stop spending. I listed all the things he spends on (hobbies, coffees, donuts, cable tv, tools etc) and since I don’t do those I suggested that I’m not sure how I can save more. I buy groceries and gas. Then I suggested I stop buying certain foods (that he likes–snacks, desserts) and then mentioned I haven’t bought clothes, shoes or gone to the doctor in years. He didn’t answer me for awhile then responded with “I haven’t bought new shoes in awhile either”. That’s was his take-away.

    So his way of dealing with a need to save is to tell me to do it. And then he’s taken care of it. There’s nothing he can point to specifically so he gets his satisfaction from making me feel guilty about buying necessities.

    Here’s what I realized recently, he gets on me all the time. Not always in anger but as if I’m a child. He’d tell me to clean the house or do the dishes, etc. I felt bad. I felt bad and was responding as if I were a child because that’s how I felt when I was a child. He treats me as a child and I would react as I did as a child-feeling guilty. So now that I realized I was reacting as a guilty child I’ve made a point of not reacting at all. I’ve told my children that a husband does not talk to a wife as if she’s a child. I no longer feel guilty that the laundry is still in the basket and if he makes a big deal of it I let it go and don’t focus on it. In fact, I don’t do it. I decide when I have time to do it and do it on my schedule. Because I realize now that is his way of “taking care of it”. Not actually helping. Laying blame and guilt on me satisfies him that he’s done something and he doesn’t have to act.

    • His favorite thing to do if he did would be to take the opposite point of view from the person he was talking to. He’s quite proud of doing that. He thinks he’s clever. It’s really annoying. He likes to say his conservative friends thinks he’s liberal and his liberal friends think he’s conservative. The reality is you don’t know what he really thinks because he thinks it’s a game.

      That is the verbal-abuse tactic known as countering.

    • Sunflower

      The spending. Yes. The other day I got, “The first time I was married, we got into debt. Now we’re in debt. When I was single I was never in debt. Therefore, it’s being married that is the problem.” My reply, “I know two redheads that drive green cars, therefore all redheads drive green cars.” Sheesh, there are so many other factors, like, he used to have a job and now works for himself, taking over a family business while family members cheat him, blackmail him………… The debt is quite large, yet it’s my fault for going over budget in one area (way under in every other) by a much smaller amount than what the debt is. And I’m chuckling a bit…….I, too, have cut back on his favorite snacks.

      On a side note, he knows I’ve been studying narcissism, so he found a site for narcissists. Says it can drive you crazy reading it, like how they brag about fooling counselors. I don’t think I want to know. I’m just tired.

      “Laying blame and guilt on me satisfies him that he’s done something and he doesn’t have to act.” Exactly. I think that sums up a lot of what they do. Talking about it for hours or reading about it also makes them feel like they’ve done something so they don’t have to act. Being hearers of the Word and not doers, deceiving themselves. (can’t remember the scripture reference) Self deception is huge.

      (Eds. note: Comment slightly edited for identity safety)

    • Anonymous

      Annie–Such an insightful comment! I too came to the point in my life where I did things when I wanted to do them and how I thought was best. Evil ones are unappeasable and are, as the bible says, grumblers and fault-finders. One example. For YEARS when I was putting silverware into the dishwasher and my husband was there he would tell me that I needed to put all the forks in one, all the spoons in one etc (never mind that I was DOING THE DISHES, cleaning the kitchen, etc while he was doing nothing). It was just one of the HUNDREDS or things my husband nitpicked me about. But at some point he read that you shouldn’t do this as they often get stuck together etc. Once God showed me the truth of my husbands heart (he’s a psychopath so he’s blasphemed the Holy Spirit) all this EVIL and CONSTANT fault-finding made sense and it’s the reason that I have been so stressed all my life (my dad is a p too). It’s also the reason I no longer care what HE thinks and why I look to the Holy Spirit through God’s word to direct me.

      What so many of us are never taught and / or never allowed to acknowledge is that children of the devil NEVER STOP BEING EVIL. Not for one second, not for one breath, not one thought in their head is anything but evil. But the BIBLE tells us this: 2 Peter 2:14, “…having eyes full of adultery, and who cannot cease from sin;…” when you look up the word for “cannot cease” it says, ” unable to stop, unceasing, not quieted, that cannot be quieted, incessant, not ceasing from, not abandoning (giving up),” and it’s one of those words that’s used ONLY ONCE in the bible–important stuff.

      So here we have the truth of the matter–that evil ones of this caliber NEVER CEASE from sinning, never cease from harming, never cease from being / thinking/ wanting to be evil. They DESIRE ABOVE ALL ELSE to BE EVIL and when they show us this truth about themselves it is our duty to BELIEVE THEM. Preachers who fail to preach the truth of God’s word–well–you deserve what punishment you get and I’m gonna try not to be standing near you if Jesus comes back in my lifetime.

  5. Sonflower

    This post is SO applicable to my situation. I’ve only recently realized that this condemnation and shaming is what I’ve been living under for the past decade – at the hands of the person who is supposed to encourage and affirm you the most. Isn’t it amazing that you can’t see it for what it is! …. At least not at first. When you become worn out, exhausted, anxious, depressed, etc., then you finally begin to ask why? And what’s really going on here? I had NEVER in my life had ANY kind of mental health struggles, until about a month before I got married ….. And they have not let up until recently. When I finally began to look at what was really going on and “calling a spade a spade” , then the healing began and is ongoing.
    Thank you “HerJourney” – your post about God being FOR us is very encouraging and hope-giving to me right now!

  6. E

    Trying to love a sociopath “unconditionally” is like hugging a Sawzall.

    • Hi “L”,

      Welcome to the Blog! And thanks for the comment!!

      When you have a moment may I direct you to the New User’s page. It gives tips for staying safe when commenting on the blog.

    • Kandyce Brothers

      i know i tried, it sucked everything out of me & i was left a shell of a person

  7. Anonymous

    These sociopath narcissists live a miserable life with miserable thoughts in a miserable existence. And the only thing that keeps them to the task, is the task itself. They work at it 24 / 7. We need to breathe fresh new air and get out from under their cruel and evil plotting and planning. Psalm 10 nails it!

    • Annie

      I used to think that about my husband and felt sympathy towards him because I thought how miserable he is and I’d never want to be way. Now I don’t believe that at all. He wants to be that way because he’s getting something out of it.

      • Anonymous

        As long as their insatiable appetite and quest for power and control remain the focus and goal and the fuel that drives and energizes them, all misery, no matter how deep, will always take a back row seat. And if they look at themselves and the horror of their evil, they would implode, and so therefore they positively must project and scapegoat! And so the abuse continues. And ongoing unrepentant sin never gets better, it spirals downward at a rapid pace and even worse as they get older. We must flee!

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