Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

The Confusion of Abuse: More Thoughts on the Fog

Romans 1:24-25 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, (25) because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

I once read M. Scott Peck’s book, People of the Lie. Certainly the Christian reader will find areas of disagreement with Peck, such as his acceptance of some classic Freudian theories, but nevertheless I am finding the book profitable.  There are excellent insights into the nature of evil which are certainly beneficial to victims of abuse.  Abusers are, indeed, people of the lie.

Wherever there is evil, there’s a lie around…. Evil always has something to do with lies.”

That is the kind of statement Peck makes that victims of abusers come to understand perhaps better than anyone else.  Where there is evil, there is deception, fog, and confusion.  Confusion that is rather amazing, as a matter of fact.  This is why victims should not feel stupid or shameful just because it may have taken them years to sort the thing out.  Peck, a trained psychiatrist, tells of cases he has had that required years of therapy sessions before he realized that he was dealing with a person who was — evil.  Evil clouds itself in a lie.
One of the traits of a narcissistic person who is characterized by a mentality of entitlement can be chaos.  This, coupled with the lies, adds even more confusion to those who have to deal with such people.  Chaos can often masquerade as mere absent-mindedness, but in the case of many abusers it is really the product of total self-absorption.  This is not harmless daydreaming.  No, sin is a lover of self, and in the abuser, self-love finds its full fruition.  This self-absorption causes the person to be wrapped up in his or her own little existence, giving no concern to the existence of others — or even to the physical world around them.  One example Peck gives is that of a woman who regularly got lost when driving from point A to point B, though she was a very intelligent person.  He finally sorted it out.  She was so wrapped up in her self that she was not about to observe street signs or other directions.  Not out of some kind of absent-mindedness, but because she was the chief being in her universe.
These kinds of people create a sphere of chaos around them.  They are dangerous to work with. They misplace and lose things.  They trash their possessions without a thought.  And, worst of all, they trash the people who are close to them.  All because their obsession with themselves results in no care or empathy for others.
As I heard it put so well recently, evil people are not mistaken.  They are malevolent.  We will be their victims until we begin to understand these things.


Another Letter of Ex-Communication from a Reformed Baptist Church to an Abuse Victim


The Most "Godly" Person You Know Probably Isn't


  1. Debby

    Rat maze where there is never an ending, just a moving of the walls. Wow. You could not be more spot on. And of course the “reward” we ate running after is the fantasy of a normal, healthy relationship.

  2. Holly

    Wow Pastor Jeff–this describes my ex-husband so well. The atmosphere he created was chaos and uncertainty every day. We could never plan anything for work the next day (on our farm) because he wanted confusion and anxiety to reign. Everyone was supposed to follow him around and obey his every command. He once even referred to the farm as an “empire.”
    He regularly lost items and wrecked machinery costing thousands of dollars to repair. I worked like a dog while he drove around in his truck and wasted time in any way possible. He did do the tractor work, but then that made him “important.”
    I raised two children and stuck it out for over thirty-five years, and it took a terrible physical, mental and emotional toll on me. But Jesus is my Savior so I know God will work it all for good and for His glory.
    Thanks for teaching the truth of evil in the world. We don’t need to dwell on it all the time, but we should be aware of the enemy. Most Christians are too naive.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Holly- i know a farmer EXACTLY like your ex. It took me a long time to figure out what he was doing and why. Now I know.

  3. sue

    Dear Jeff Crippen and Friends, i knew of such a homeowner, stuff got lost and damaged through sloth and neglect. Things were not maintained, makes ya wonder – especially since even the average 10 year old has a better sense of priorities.

  4. Sarah

    Lost keys, lost wallet, lost glasses and everyone stop and help find them RIGHT NOW…wow, you know my X. I remember one time we went to the county fair on a week night and I had arranged the entire logistics (leave early from work, pickup the kids, met up, switch to one car, snacks, etc) and we get there and he not only has no money but no wallet (no license, no debt/credit card, etc).
    This is why my greatest feeling when he left was relief.

  5. Mhiggins

    I could just copy and paste your post into mine. You said it so well. Always looking for the ever moving cheese. And so confused when it keeps moving.

  6. katkollies

    Wow, this was good, and so timely! I had never thought about self absorption being a reason for the chaos and always being tuned out. Always. Except when I was being “checked on…” Ugh!

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