Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

Preaching Perseverance and Patience to Abuse Victims? Time to get a Clue!

Many thanks to No One Down Here for this powerful comment. I decided to make it a stand alone post to be sure everyone was able to see it.  She wrote this in response to the artwork strip done for us published on Nov 4th.  Pastors, church leaders, “biblical” counselors, church members – are you listening?  Most of them of course will not, but then we write here primarily for abuse victims/survivors.
Here then is NODH:

By the time a person has come to the church for help/relief, etc…
The abused person has already:
–preached all of 1 Corinthians 13 to herself multiple times, probably has the whole thing memorized
–searched her soul for all the things she has done wrong or could do wrong and begged for forgiveness
–searched her soul for all the hidden evil thoughts against the one abusing her and begged for forgiveness, you know, the thoughts that were hidden so deep, SHE didn’t even know she had thought them. They were suggested to her by HIM.
–begged for God’s forgiveness for calling her husband a jerk after he had been on a tirade for hours
–begged for HIS forgiveness for calling him a jerk after he had yelled at her unrelentlingly, calling her worthless, incompetent, hopeless, worst parent ever, worst wife ever, unloving, unbiblical, a witch, a bitch…
–preached “do not judge” to herself, castigating herself for her own issues, determining that who is she to call him out on his MAJOR issues when she also has sins
–talked to herself about “submission” over and over and over… doesn’t matter if you don’t like it, do it anyway because HE is the one to whom you should submit
–told all her faults to HIM so that he would forgive her and finally love her. repeatedly.
–read all the passages about divorce and why she should not…
–prayed for him, prayed for “them”
–stayed up late and got up early to better meet his demands. every day.
–shoved herself under the bus so that HE could be magnified. constantly.
–excused his sin because, let’s be honest… She has also sinned, and no one is perfect, and no marriage is perfect…
–worked hard to make everything perfect for him and collapsed a thousand times a thousand times in anguish when her work was rejected as not good enough.
The abused person has also already:
–confronted the abusive person about his issues and received the answer of “it’s your fault.” multiple times
–forgiven him the few times he asked for that, before it degraded into “I have done nothing wrong, it’s all your fault… I have tried to help you, and you will not be helped.”
–attempted to be accountability partner for other sins since he asked her to… with the results of “leave me alone.”
–brought in some one else as the “take it to 2 or 3 others…”
In short… by the time the abused person goes to the church, she has already determined that none of the things she is now being told to try will ever be effective, because she has already done them. Again and again. She is beyond that, she has shoved down the fear of “what if they don’t believe me…” because she has nowhere else to go.


Stephanie's Story – Part 6 – Excommunicated


A Good Picture of a Bad Pastor in Action


  1. Don't Lose Hope

    Some people don’t change. Regardless of how loving and patient you are. The churches needs to understand the and be there for, and rescue those, who are being abused.

  2. Krikit

    The poster is spot on in this! More and more, I found hope does not live in “church.”

  3. Leanne

    Said so good and truly. Churches need to hear the truth and change how they treat victims of abuse!!

  4. katkollies

    Sometimes all this happens by the time she actually gets up the nerve to tell anyone at all…church or individual.

  5. C

    So very true. And so well said.
    Thank you NODH and Pastor Crippen,
    may Christ give you love, comfort, strength,

  6. Stormy

    I experienced abuse by the abuser and the allies he gathered against me who were leaders in the church group, it was horrible. There was no place to go, no one to turn to, no one to that would believe me. He had so cemented his fake persona in place his alibis were iron clad. The wolf mask extremely secure. I was trapped and the fake Christians enjoyed watching me suffer. How they mocked and sneered and jeered. Behind my back of course.

    • C

      My heart goes out to you
      (and to all who suffered similarly).
      That perfect fake…nowhere to go to…
      You said: …watching me suffer. How they mocked and sneered and jeered.
      Isn’t that telling!
      Next step is making the sheep pray for victim – actually against her. And secretely boasting about how they twisted the minds of the well-meaning.
      Jesus called them a brood of vipers.
      May His light shine.

  7. harrisjoy77

    I agree so totally! After 40 years of marriage where my life goal was to please God no matter the sacrifice, and submitting as if my pastor/husband were God himself (as taught – “as unto the Lord” – and cheerfully, too – not just to avoid negative consequences), our counsellor’s answer was to submit and pray more and be patient so God could work in his heart.
    Even my oldest son – now an IB pastor who cut me off for “not being by my man’s side” (see 25 July 2017 “60 Minutes”), told me that I submit more than any other woman he’s ever known.
    My son, Jason, now my pastor, is preaching through Job and says that, while retribution theology is true (reap what you sow), Job’s 3 friends failed to recognise that this did NOT apply to Job – he had NOT received evil because of hidden sin. It was because he was the opposite of evil that God could brag on him! I think this is a strong encouragement for godly women everywhere riding out their partner’s abuse, and I think pastors who counsel them to go back and submit more totally miss the mark in the same way, and cause further oppression and discouragement to victims who have become desperate enough to actually approach them!

  8. no one down here

    Thank you for understanding and kind comments here.
    The betrayal from the church is worse than years of abuse. You come to expect the one hurt… You sorta understand it. You begin to understand it more when you realize that the person you are dealing with cannot be a regenerate person. Not when he is entrenched in that much unrepentant sin.
    In innocence, you reach out to the church, expecting that they will of course protect you and cast out the wickedness. When that innocence is shattered, it seems impossible to pick up the pieces. But God doesn’t expect us to clean up that mess… His love and kindness is bigger than the hurt. His protection and provision is more real than the church’s siding with wickedness. Like Caleb and Joshua, persevering through the wilderness journey and still singing God’s praises, cling to God. Cling to Christ. Embrace Him and know that His everlasting arms will not let you go. People will fail, but God never. One day, the truth will be known, on earth or in eternity.

    • Jeff Crippen

      No One – I think that also one of the things that is so difficult to process is that what we have thought was the church – isn’t. At least largely so. Think of the blind man Jesus healed in John 9. His “church”, the temple, put him out. Turns out his church wasn’t Christ’s church at all and it was outside that he found the Lord. Out side the false temple we find the true temple and the people who truly know Christ.

      • no one down here

        Thank you for saying those things. It really has been one of the hardest things to process. Hard to process that church leadership could believe a blatant liar. These things only make sense when you don’t consider it a real church. But this flies against decades of education.
        I continually look to God, because that is truth, that is where my faith has to be, not in a husband, not in a preacher, not in a group of church leaders … my salvation does not rest in these people.

        • I agree. Part of the problem is lack of education of the unique dynamics of abuse that a normal person doesn’t even think of. Jeff, you have done an amazing job of education and we’re grateful! The key to surviving being betrayed by your church, for me, has been to realise that 1. God was my fortress and rock all those years (I fled 8 yrs ago) and 2. not to equate the church with God. That church is presenting a twisted picture of who our awesome God really is. Just walk with God and joy in Him!

  9. KairoticLoLo

    Every point listed here is 100% accurate. This is *Exactly* how it went. I can’t express how perfectly this picture reflects my situation. It’s to the T. My journals from the marriage are all about how amazing and wonderful he is and how he provides for me/us and how i need to just accept him as he is and be thankful and that I need to change and work on my depression because it causes problems for him and I need to submit more so he doesn’t get so frustrated and I need to do more for him because he needs it, etc etc etc. Yeah… then the first church drove it all home and made it worse. The second church “encouraged reconciliation but agreed separation was necessary” but wanted us to get counseling together, then finally I said “forget the church – I know where I stand and what I have to do to be okay and safe,” and I’ve never looked back.. Thank GOD for the ones who do understand and are supportive.

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