A Cry For Justice

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

Predators look for the blind, the lame and the already wounded

I (Jeff Crippen) have been watching some instructional youtube videos on how to best use artificial plastic baits for fishing — getting them put on the hook correctly and so on. I also know from experience that to properly rig up a herring to troll for salmon you want to be sure it rolls in the water as you pull it along.

The reason you want the correct action on your bait is because it needs to mimic a wounded fish, minnow, or other critter. This is because predatory fish watch for the weak or injured and go for them. Sometimes they do it even if they are not particularly hungry. It’s just because they are predators.

And this got me to thinking.

Abusers are predators. They go for the easiest targets quite often: the blind, the lame or the already-wounded. Pedophiles, for example, have honed their radar to spot troubled children or youth. They like to go after these kinds of kids because they know they are more likely to get away with abusing them. There are a variety of reasons why pedophiles prefer to home in on those children. Troubled kids might deeply desire love and attention, and the pedophile can easily behave in ways that make the kid feel ‘specially cared for’ (= grooming). Troubled kids may have parents or guardians who have substantial problems of their own, and thus are less able to proactively look out for the kids under their care. A troubled kid may have acquired a reputation as a nuisance, a liar or an attention seeker, so if that child “tells” the rest of the adult world will be much less likely to believe that child’s report.

Likewise, abusers in the domestic realm (and the ecclesiastical realm) often set their sights on someone they think they can relatively easily get power and control over. And someone whose testimony is less likely to be believed.

Now, if this be true, then there is opportunity here for us all to become people who abusers are much less likely to target. Namely, we need to become people who are wise about evil. People who know the mentality and tactics of the abuser. People who know the Lord’s truth and who heed His warnings about the wicked who will try to creep in among us. I have seen it firsthand. As soon as myself and our church grew wise about evil (through some hard lessons) and we began to teach about it specifically, the light started getting too bright for the wicked to continue with us. Oh they had all kinds of excuses (all of which were blaming us of course) for leaving, but we knew what was really happening. They knew that they would no longer be finding easy targets among us. So they moved on.

Diligently learn and teach what God’s Word says about evil, abusive people. Teach those truths to your children. Teach those truths to the flock of Christ. This is all part of putting on the armor of the Lord and being strong in His might.

I can tell you, if a wolf hiding in wool has his sights set on a young lady in a church, and then he finds out that the very mindset and tactics he himself is using are being openly exposed from the pulpit, and if he finds out that the pre-marriage counseling of that church entails reading sound books on domestic abusers, the probability of him moving on to easier pickin’s is going to radically increase.

***

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18 Comments

  1. Isn’t that the truth. When I met my current husband I had been separated for a few years but I had an ex who wouldn’t stop stalking me and dropping [to] the house and using all kinds be of excuses to come to the front door just to feed on my reactions to his continued cruelty.

    I met my husband and he was able to see that my ex needed to be stopped. At the time I was grateful but it turned out that he was 10x or so of the devil than my first husband. I was vulnerable age … [Eds: we removed this bit because we couldn’t work out what was meant] I fled the marriage a year ago and I have since discovered how this man took advantage of me in so many ways financially some ways I was aware of and some was hidden that didn’t come to light until our separation.

    • Hi dear sister, welcome to the blog. I edited your comment a bit to make it more clear (I think there were some typos in it). If I edited it incorrectly, please let us know.

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

      It is not a good idea to use your real name on this site unless you are well and truly safe.

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

  2. Sister

    I would like to add that they also target normal dedicated daughters of the King who want to follow His will with every fiber of their being, but have been set up/groomed from the pulpit, Sunday School, celebrity pastors/authors & “c”hristian radio, to trust & obey church leadership & their husbands.. ie “c”hristendom’s Satanic indoctrination makes all the normal intelligent daughters of the King completely vulnerable to the sons of Satan & impedes their ability to get away from them.

    • You’re right, Sister.

      And being set up/groomed by the church that way, they are already wounded to some degree. They have been taught that assertiveness is sinful, and that longsuffering means allowing people (including character disordered people) to mistreat them so often that by the time they might decide to call STOP to a character disordered person, that person is well and truly running down the hill at top speed and will not stop.

      George Simon say the best way to deal with character disordered people is when they show a mite of disrespect (unwillingness to consider the needs and rights of others) to nip it in the bud by refusing to engage or interact with them. And the teaching of the ‘c’hurch conditions people, especially girls and women, to do the exact opposite. — to squelch all thoughts of being assertive.

    • BeenThereDoneThatTwice

      Oh, how (sadly) right you are. Many of us started out strong but with the teaching from the pulpit and Bible studies (which tended to leave out some other pertinent verses of the Bible) and with our sincere desire to be Godly, we melted into a lump.

    • Sister

      And then there are some who are normal children who have no choice, who are not believed by a teacher/doctor because their families are way “too nice” to do such things. Normal children who are powerless. They are not allowed to have a voice. They cannot disengage.

      I applaud your comments in reference to teaching/educating about abuse, exposing the abusers’ tactics, not only in premarital counseling, but most importantly in teaching the youth and singles and preaching it from the pulpit as Jeff does. It ought to be mandated to be posted in all the bathrooms and doctors’ offices. Teaching/education are the key. It’s not about being unwise to evil. It’s about being uninformed. In my sister’s case, it wasn’t because she was wounded or melted into a lump, it’s because she did not know to label it abuse. He was a “c”hristian. She spoke up. He said he was sorry. If they say they are sorry, you are not given an option, you are supposed to forgive. Without having been taught, she did not know to label it as abuse.

  3. Renewed Spirit

    BINGO!

  4. kind of anonymous

    I wonder if it can work the other way too, that we somehow can be unwittingly attracted to the wrong type and find them over and over again, almost like we have some unerring radar for selfish cases of arrested development who aren’t at al interested in dealing with their own life issues. I don’t think that even if we are somehow wrongly attracted to the same wrong type it means we deserve to be abused or ongoing abusive and dishonest behaviour is our fault. I wonder if this is a spiritual thing sometimes.

    • Hi KOA,

      We prefer not to use the term ‘arrested development’ for the psychology of abusers. Why? Because it gives the abuser a very handy excuse: it depicts the abuser’s behavior as something he can’t help doing, rather than something he consistently chooses to do.

      The term ‘arrested development’ is used by the supposedly reformed abuser Paul Hegstrom. We don’t endorse Hegstrom’s work nor his ministry Life Skills International. Nor do we endorse all the programs and books that have cloned from his work. (click here for more on why we don’t endorse him)

      can we be unwittingly attracted to the wrong type and find them over and over again, almost like we have some unerring radar for [abusers / character disordered people] who aren’t at all interested in dealing with their own life issues.

      I encourage you to read this post as it addresses that question of yours:
      Is there something in the victim that the perpetrator latches on to? And do women ‘attract’ abusers?

      Is it a ‘spiritual thing’? Is there a spiritual reason behind why a woman enters into relationship with an abusive man? I don’t think we could say yea or nay to that. There might be spiritual reasons, sometimes, or in some cases more than other cases. And what kind of spiritual reasons? Any number of them…. here’s a few possibilities —

      – God in His providence could be allowing the woman to experience some bad things because He is going to help her learn and become more wise through that experience, maybe so she can help others in the future, maybe so she matures in her Christian faith…

      — Satan could be (on God’s leash) targetting the woman using his agent the abusive man (fellas, reverse the genders if you need to) rather like Satan put Job through all that suffering but God brought good out of it in the end

      – the woman out of her own passions (fleshly desires) may give herself to illicit temptation such as sexual immorality in the arms of a man who was charming but turned out to be an abuser.

      I’m sure there are more possibilities too…

      But in my observation and personal experience, Christian women who are victims of domestic abuse quite often peer under every rock trying to find spiritual reasons for their plight. This may not always be the most helpful tack to take. It is generally more helpful to become wise to the mentality and tactics of abusers/character disordered people, recognise and expose the abuser’s tactics for what they are, elucidate and honor the victim’s resistance, and attend to safety planning.

  5. Un-Tangled

    Do you ever feel as if the predators never stop coming? It seems as if I and my husband stand up to one abuser only to have another come in. While I was confused and hurting from the treatment of my Mom/family, a very nurturing couple stepped in and became “the parents I didn’t have.” No matter what church or organization they joined, they very quickly rose to leadership positions. Later, we saw how they lied to and manipulated others. The man told me that he knew someone who could “make lies sound like truth” just like my Mom. I asked, “Really? Who?” and he said “Myself.” His wife told me that she didn’t feel that most people could handle truth, so they had to make it more comfortable for them. I finally told her to never, ever try to manipulate truth for me because it is only truth that sets us free and she isn’t my god, able to know what I need in my life to help me grow.

    My husband had friends whom he generously helped when they were struggling even though we aren’t rich. One friend told him that if society ever fell apart, he would first come to steal from us and then “takeover” the property of a local man who lives “off the grid”. Seriously? The second friend often took advantage of my husband. When the friend started declaring that he or his daughter could live with us while they moved to our new area and/or making plans to use our new home as a private vacation retreat for him and his friends, my husband finally had enough. Then there is my husband’s family who came against us when we refused to give unlimited contact to a predatory brother. A few months ago I joined a team of admins at a FB page. The page seemed really nice but in the few months I was a team member, the senior admin got rid of four other admins (calling them bigots, psychopaths, etc.) and he told me of constant chaos among team members in the years before I got there. I observed that he would get defensive very quickly if anyone criticized him. It emotionally triggered me so I resigned as kindly as I could. I don’t think the admin took my resignation well and I’m sure I have joined his list of “terrible people” who are psychopaths, bigoted, etc. I feel extremely panicked today and I have to remind myself that it’s ok for me to leave an unsafe group of people.

    And there have been others. It’s like they come, one after another, before we even have a chance to regain our balance. Sometimes I think, wow, it sounds as if we are making really unwise choices in relationships, but we didn’t choose our families and, honestly, we aren’t choosing as friends people who are obviously “evil.” They all appear sweet, nice, spiritual at first…until their mask comes off. I’m beginning to think that the most dangerous person is the one who comes as a friend. When people are nice to me, I find myself getting wary. But sometimes I wonder if I really am the monster. But, for the life of me, I can’t see where I (or my husband) am mistreating people. We are kind, generous, compassionate. We don’t insist people do everything “our” way. We don’t take advantage of people. We don’t try to turn one person against another. And we repent when we’ve wronged a person. We simply try to set boundaries for our own selves.

    I do have a couple friends who truly are good people. They are people who have also suffered at the hands of evil.

    I suppose a benefit (if I can call it that) is that each person helps me understand a new facet of evil and a new boundary that I need to set. But we learn to recognize one facet and set one boundary, and the next person comes in a different form that we don’t recognize. I’m researching how to recognize evil, including reading your posts here at ACFJ. I feel as if through the years we have been in an accelerated course–like “How to Recognize Evil 101.” But not only do we have to recognize and stand against abusive people, we have to struggle with the guilt and self-blame that comes from within us. I’m really getting extremely weary. And I’m struggling with PTSD. I’m much more easily overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, and saddened than I used to be.

    When does it end? And how can a weary person find rest?

    • Hi Un-Tangled
      I’ve published your comment but if you have second thoughts about it because it contains some fairly identifying material, we are happy to remove it. Email twbtc and myself if you want us to remove it. Our addresses are on the ABOUT page (see top menu).

      As I was reading your comment I was thinking that God seems to be putting you and your hubbby through an extensive training course: how to recognise manipulators and evildoers, and how to respond to them. So when I got to the part of your comment where you said

      I suppose a benefit (if I can call it that) is that each person helps me understand a new facet of evil and a new boundary that I need to set.

      I was pleased to see that, because that’s what it seems like to me too.

      When does it end? Going by the experience that Jeff Crippen and I have had, there is never an end to encountering evildoers and manipulators. Not till we get to the New Heavens and New Earth. But the learning curve does get easier… as we get more wise and more practiced at seeing and drawing firm boundaries against manipulators at the first sign of them doing their thing, it does seem to become less draining. However, it all depends on how much one’s life is entangled with or affected by the wicked ones. I recently have had to put hundreds of hours into addressing some wrongdoing in the way the apartment block in which I live was being managed. It took an immense effort on the part of me and some other owners, but we achieved a good outcome in the end. I couldn’t just ‘walk away’ from that wrongoing, as I own and live my apartment and I don’t want to sell it.

      Jeff C testifies that he took years and years to wake up to the tactics of evildoers and he certainly didn’t figure out how to respond to them overnight.

      So I think you and your hubby are still on the learning curve. But if you can think back and assess how far you have come, you’ll probably be able to see how much more wise and skilled you are than you once were. Try to pat yourself on the back for how far you’ve come.

      And how can a weary person find rest? I always find that sleeping helps. And having a good cry can often help too. And praying something like this: ‘Please slow the pace down a bit Lord, if you can. Thank you for teaching me, and I’m still willing to learn, but can I please have a bit of rest along the way?”

      When I’ve been being triggered, I find that the most effective way of processing that is to allow myself to feel the full emotions that have been triggered, and being gentle and easy on myself till it’s emotionally processed or the feelings have subsided and settled. When I’ve tried to ‘brave it out’ or have judged myself as being ‘stupid’ for having been triggered, that has only compounded the problem and made it harder to recover from. So I’ve learned by experience that when I’m triggered, it’s a good idea to lower my expectations of what I can cope with and what I can do for a while. I mentally allow myself to go on ‘light duties’ so to speak for a while.

      • Un-Tangled

        Thank you Barb. I always really dread reading the response to anything I share anything because I’m so anxious about not being believed and being told that I just need to love and forgive more. 😦 But you and Jeff are always so supportive and strengthening–as are the readers who comment. I learn so much from all of you. It’s a huge relief. I only just found ACFJ a few months ago and it’s the first time I have found Christians who have understood. I have been reading through all the past posts to 1. to receive validation that what I have felt/believed about abuse is true, 2. to understand more fully the tactics of abusers so I can better recognize and prepare for them, 3. to have scriptures untangled from what evil people teach, and so on.

        I used to not be so anxious. This week has been really tough because I was triggered by the chaos in the FB group. I had panic attacks, and trouble sleeping, and I felt disgusted and sick about encountering more abusive people. But I’m going to choose to cheer myself for recognizing it much more quickly and leaving.

        Thanks again for your support. ❤

      • it sounds like there are a few or at least one wolf in sheep’s clothing in that FB group.

  6. Sunflower

    I just found this Shakespeare quote:

    “And thus I clothe my naked villany
    With odd old ends stol’n out of holy writ,
    And seem a saint, when most I play the devil.”

    from Richard lll

    • I have checked out the link in this comment, and chosen to publish the comment.
      The story details sexualized abuse of girls and women by a missionary doctor, and a Baptist preacher.

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