Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

**Most of You Have Seen Letters Like this

The following is a transcription of a hand-written letter received by one of our blog followers, an abuse survivor. Abused by her abuser and, so typical, by her church as well. The letter was anonymous except of course to claim it is from a fellow Christian “who loves” the victim and her family, including her abuser. I will refer to the letter-writer as “her” because the writing looks to be by a female hand. Here you go. Note it is addressed to the victim AND the abuser. After all, you know, marriage “troubles” are ALWAYS 50-50 shared blame. (I have bold-faced terms in the letter which the writer underlined) –

Dear _____ & _______
I want to start by saying, I love you guys!
I would also like to clunk your heads together!
So I propose a few questions, and insights with (illegible),
If either of you had a broken bone, would you go to the doctor? Would you get a cast or brace? Therapy on that body part to make it be back to the most strength possible?
If you had cancer (which may God graciously forbid) would you have surgery to remove it?  Radiology? Chemo?
If you had a heart attack, would you have stints or a bypass? Change your diet? Exercise?
Of course you would!
You are two, intelligent, hard-working believer!  You both profess you love the Lord! Now its time to Trust Him! Therefore, let’s cut the crap! Let’s stop playing 5th grade ‘he said,’ ‘she said.’ You have both made some horrific choices. We ALL have! But whatever you have been doing these past 2 years, IS NOT working!  The way I see it, you’re both incredibly selfish, full of pride and childish!
Yes – no denying some terrible unexcusable things have happened. For this, I AM SO SORRY!
But – here is what I know. Your 3 beautiful children are watching you! They are the real sufferers here. You are doing them a huge disservice. Your actions & how you treat each other is impacting them – and WILL – the rest of their lives. Time to move forward, and forgive!
Marriage is tough – 2 sinners living together, raising more sinners. Divorce – separation is worse than death! This is a personal thing for me, and  a real experience. This is what your teaching your kids. Come on guys. REALLY?
I’m not asking you to ‘get back together,’ right now…but it’s time to Work! You are both a HOT MESS! But, can you dig deep, for your children? I will not give up on you two!
I am so thankful your issues were broguth to light. I will not pick a side – from my own experience I pick your kids! Be sorry, be humble, be honest! Be sorry! Truly sorry! Please don’t take the road of hate! God put you together, he gave you 3 beautiful gifts. It’s time to move forward. Get the help needed. I am pleading with you to get intense marriage counseling. You can yess, scream, and get it all out. At the minimum, TRY!
If you do this, and then there is no hope, well, I’ll be sad! I know there is hope. Please have FAITH in God. That there is
It’s time! Your kids need you both! Start being honest with each other. God forgives ALL! Not trying – is lack of faith in God. You cannot show fruits without this faith.
-Matthew 8:26 ‘And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds, and the sea; and there was A GREAT CALM.’
-2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people which are called by my name shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
You guys are healable! HAVE FAITH! We love you – we are here for you both! We pray continually for your family! Please, please, please go together to counseling! The Ravines** is a good start! Get the tools needed to be together. Love, __________

** Asteriks are mine. I found this quote about the Ravines Retreat Center online. No way do I ever recomment these kinds of things to people, let alone sending an abuse victim and her abuser to this nonsense!

“The Ravines is a retreat center for marriages in crisis and for those who have lost their focus – where marriage struggles have become too much to bear. The Ravines offers Christian intensive marriage counseling  to help couples pick up the pieces of their broken (or breaking) relationship, creating a deeper and closer marriage.

We provide a three-day Couples Counseling Intensive experience where couples can find hope, healing and restoration in their relationship.  Couples receive Christ-centered therapy in a private setting and are given the uninterrupted time needed to work through difficult and painful issues.”

You all can no doubt see how, at best, stupid this lady is and most likely, how arrogant and self-exalting she is. Her letter is a typical formula for an abuse victim getting deeper and deeper into bondage. Just a few points which you have all probably seen for yourself:

  • The letter begins and ends with a claim of “love.” “I love you guys!” This statement is a cover for the blasts that are about to follow in the letter. All is excusable because, you know, she says it in “love.”
  • Notice the amazing number of exclamation marks, all-caps, and underlining. The letter really is written in an assaultive “I would like to clunk your heads together!” mindset.
  • She has NO (oops, all caps) idea of what abuse is. None. To her, there is only one problem in any marriage – a two-way shared blame street of selfishness and poor communication.
  • Her theology is anti-biblical. She insists that Christians are all still sinners, she denies that God’s wrath is on anyone, she insists that there is “hope” for everyone. In other words, there was hope for Pharaoh back in the Exodus days. I guess he just needed to go to the counseling center. “God forgives all.” Nope. No He doesn’t. That is why there is a hell.
  • She prescribes couple’s counseling while having no real idea of the abuse that is going on.
  • She thinks that all husbands and wives are sinners and that therefore marriage is always tough, but never is it anything that can’t be fixed in a 3-day “intensive.” I hate that term. “Intensive.” Intensive terror is what it is.
  • She is very, very accusatory. She throws the dart of lack of faith, of selfishness, of childishness, and more.
  • For her, staying in a marriage is always the best for the children. She  insists that an abuse victim (though she doesn’t even know about abuse) must remain in the marriage for the children’s well-being no matter what.
  • And did you notice this statement? “Yes – no denying some terrible unexcusable things have happened. For this, I AM SO SORRY!” Now, just what is she talking about? I suspect this means she (and probably the whole church) is aware of some of the abuse that the abuser has perpetrated on the victim!  And she says that what she knows about is “terrible and unexcusable.” She is “sorry” that this happened, but nevertheless the victim is to forgive and forget and return.
  • Anonymous. Why? How dare anyone say these kinds of things, intrude into someone’s personal life, and then refuse to identify themselves?

In the everyday affairs of life, it is illegal to impersonate a medical doctor. You can’t just hang a shingle out and tell people you are a doctor, start seeing patients, and prescribing medications and treatments. But in the church! Well, here is this lady announcing that she knows. She knows the problems and she knows the answers. Not surprising that her prescriptions will result in disaster, increased suffering, ruined lives, and even death.
I don’t know if this lady will ever see this post, but in the off-chance that she does – “Madam, you are not loving. You do not know God’s Word. You are at best a fool. You are the one who needs to be sorry, who needs to be humble, and who needs to be quiet.”


The Wicked Recruit False Witnesses Against the Righteous


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  1. Anonymous

    That was painful to read.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Anonymous – Yes, quite painful. And that in itself tells us something. While the Holy Spirit’s admonishment and conviction in a real Christian can be called painful, it is a different kind of pain. It is pain delivered by someone who loves us and it is pain that is the result of truth guiding us to repentance and restoration. This letter’s pain is nothing like that. It is more akin to the lashes delivered by a tyrant demanding that we return to prison. Wicked, evil. Horribly arrogant.

  2. Amy

    Reading that letter had me taking deep breaths to calm myself because it sounded so familiar from years back in my own life. Then I found myself trembling with anger at the fact that this woman pretends to really give a crap about what the abused is going through when it’s obvious her whole intention is to act holier-than-thou making presumptions like God hates divorce, children are better off in a two-parent home even with abuse present (let me tell you, my biggest regret is staying 20 years in an abusive marriage), and that both spouses are to blame for the abuse. Grrrrrr….
    I would love to write a letter in response to this woman…

    • Jeff Crippen

      Amy – if you write the letter we will post it here. If she weren’t so “anonymous” in not signing her name to it we could send your letter to her!

    • Jeff Crippen

      Do you ever wonder what these kind of people are like in their own marriage and family? I mean, what really goes on inside the walls of their home? Fly on the wall needed.

      • Amy

        I used to wonder that all the time and sadly, I felt that many of the Christian women who admonished me for even thinking of leaving my abusive marriage were probably themselves dealing with similar things in their own marriages. 🙁

        • Jim

          These are the very same comments or instructions delivered by many elders and pastors to the abused. Exactly!

  3. Wade Prichard

    Pastor Crippen if you think this is appropriate in this situation please pass on my comment to the victim.
    For those of us who love Jesus and have experienced what you are experiencing, for those of us who love Jesus and have had the opportunity to walk alongside someone who is a victim of abuse, I want to let you know we believe you! Our heart pours out to you…our prayers are for you…Hang on to Jesus…hang on to your three babies…We are literally typing this post with tears…

    • Jeff Crippen

      Wade – thankyou. She will see your comment here. She follows the blog regularly.

  4. walkinginlight

    I agree, the woman is a fool. Has eyes but can not see. Has ears but can not hear. Reading her letter made my blood boil!! Most times people who think of themselves as so righteous, pious and holy are the biggest fools of all. And why do so many misuse the scripture of 2 Chronicles 7:14?
    taken in context, this passage refers to the Jewish people. So many quote this out of context. So yes pastor Crippen, I also agree. She does not know God’s word. She might as well have some psychological degree dolling out man made human wisdom.

  5. Cara

    There are a lot of ‘c’hristian books, marriage retreats, and presentations given that sound much like the letter writer’s message. It’s awful. It’s dangerous. And it’s always harmful to the victim. It’s almost like those foolish Chicken Soup for the Soul books, sprinkled with a few Scriptures. All of it is nonsense. And this is exactly the thing that is commonly thrown at women who are being abused.
    It also brings to mind the Dunning-Kruger effect. Most people who wouldn’t assume competency in brain surgery, for example, will vastly overestimate their abilities in what seem to be more simple, straightforward matters, like advising abuse victims and giving unsolicited, dangerous ‘marriage advice’.
    It’s also the brainwashing of churches, ‘c’hristian books, probably a good dose of Focus on the Family type call-ins via radio programming, and augmented by the societal inclination to make abuse into a ‘takes two to tango/shared responsibility and blame’ scenario.
    Moreover, children subjected to an abuser parent don’t fare better. There are plenty of kids out there who are forced to abide by inane court orders of visitation, despite knowing the dad to be a batterer. One judge even went so far as to put a child into a juvenile detention center and kept there for a long time, to force the child to see the abuser father, according to the court’s visitation order. All in the name of ‘preserving the father’s rights and his bond to the kids’. And in case anyone has ‘parental alienation’ thrown at them, such was a base-less theory created by a pedophile who got rich off of helping abuser dad’s win custody and smear campaign the mom. Courts brainwashing into this insane theory totally fabricated by a pedophile for the purposes of helping abusers get their kids.
    As for mediation – there should NEVER be mediation in any case of abuse. There is too much of a power imbalance for mediation to ever be possible and again, one doesn’t mediate with abusers, as it helps abusers and hurts victims. This is seen in waivers of mediation requirements for divorce cases when domestic violence is involved. The attorney who recommended remarrying the abuser makes my blood boil.
    So many Christians seem to be brainwashed by bad theology, bad teachings and believe that people aren’t actually evil, that abusers aren’t evil children of the devil, and that ravenous wolves don’t devour innocent sheep. ‘We’re all sinners.’ Sin-leveling.
    The worship of marriage and the preservation of marriage at all costs. It’s so detrimental to victims and it’s so common. So many women and children are sacrificed to abusers.
    Finally, there are plenty of lists of the negative effects and harms of children who witness domestic violence and grow up in a home where the man abuses the mom. It traumatizes them. The boys learn to be woman abusers. The girls learn to be abused. It’s so detrimental. So, good for the mother of the three children for getting out. Even if custody is split, they’ll at least have half of their lives without the abuser parent, which is better than being subject to the abuser all the time.

  6. IrisJane

    Having married into a shiny Christian wolf pack, filled with both overt and covert abusers, the covert being the deadliest, I’ve come to realize that both types arrogantly think they have the right to intrude into peoples lives and worlds without really having any foundational knowledge or justification to do so. It’s the arrogant intrusiveness done in the name of love, care, concern, and helpfulness that has to me, really shown itself to be another poisonous weapon in the enemy’s arsenal. It either wears their victim down gradually with small, tiny, daily cuts or provides one major blow with a machete, such as this letter writer has done…both are meant to destroy, to assassinate someone’s soul, spirit, mind and character, all while being covered in a sickly faux Christian light. They are petty and mean, constantly critical and CONSTANTLY in other people’s business…(see what I did there).
    Whether it’s a mother daily criticizing her daughters (and others) choice of clothing or hairstyle with sharp little innocent looking verbal barbs guised as care, to the so called ‘church’ telling an abused wife her supposed made-up faults, while whitewashing her husbands extremely destructive ones. It’s all so twisted on so many levels, but it’s consistent, and we need to recognize these hidden arrows and knives when they are thrown at us so we can see them for what they truly are, which is what you’ve allowed here Pastor Crippen., thank you.
    I’m so incredibly tired of these people.
    Blessings upon the one who received this horrible letter and may the writer of it somehow see this post and have the evil scales fall from her eyes.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Iris Jane- true truth here. Nailed it in your description of this kind of snake. I have known way to many of them in churches. Now I kick them out the door the first time they show their nature.

      • IrisJane

        Yes, seeing the true nature of an abuser up front now is a bit easier thanks to your writings and those of others on the front lines of exposing these wicked people, and I hope that more true Christians will start to recognize the signs earlier than later to save themselves and their children the suffering that come from being entangled with these charlatans, because that’s what it’s like, being entangled in barbed wire, with every move to escape embedding the barbs deeper and deeper.
        All of these recent and new truth teachings are finally cutting through the wires and freeing many from the unholy and twisted barbs though, but it’s a painful process.
        We have to take those first initial ‘signs’ of a disturbed character seriously, looking back I see them all so clearly now and so desperately wish I would have listened to my gut more, but we always think, and want to think, the best of people, not ever realizing or comprehending that some have no ‘best’. That’s the huge eye opener.
        By the way, I’m not able to ‘like’ comments, but would do so for each and every one if I could, on every post. The thoughtfulness and wisdom of this community are such a gift. Blessings of continued eye-opening Godly truth, freedom, healing and protection to all, and also to those who sometimes or all the time, don’t have the strength of heart to write a comment, but are reading and absorbing these truths none the less…I’m with you more often than not.
        Thank you Pastor Crippen.

        • Jeff Crippen

          Thank you very much Iris Jane!!

        • Cara

          Being entangled with barbed wire is good, but razor wire seems more apt with some more extreme abusers. It’s exactly what the experience of being entrapped by an abuser is. Being wrapped up in razor wire. Every move you make results in greater injury. You’re stuck. And whatever the victim does, it has to be very calculated and it must contain the acknowledgement that it will cause greater injury, but the small chance of escape is worth it, because otherwise evil keeps its victim. Some make it out, some don’t.
          If people understood the victim is wrapped up in razor wire, then people wouldn’t shame the victim for being unable to escape. The abuser has carefully wrapped the victim up in razor wire. Coils and coils or razor wire.


    Thank you, Pastor Crippen, for this very important and necessary post and discussion. I would give this post 100 “likes” if it were possible. Your comments and bullet points are all the truth, nothing but the truth!
    That garbage about divorce/separation being worse than death (of a parent for the children) was one of the things I have heard repeatedly over the years. It is not true. Living with an abusive husband/parent is a hell on earth that is far worse than divorce could ever be. The woman who wrote that letter is an abuser herself for telling the victim those things under the pretense of “loving them.” Her comment about the couple getting intense marriage counseling was followed with the statements, “If you do this, and then there is no hope, well, I’ll be sad! I know there is hope.” She contradicted herself by saying, “If there is no hope,” and then adding, “I know there is hope.” She has no idea what she is talking about. THERE IS NO HOPE OF HEALING WHEN IN A RELATIONSHIP WITH A WICKED PERSON. NO HOPE. PERIOD.
    The recipient of that letter needs to ignore everything in it and if possible, burn it.

  8. cindy burrell

    That letter had me cringing and mentally preparing to take that woman on.
    Divorce is a fate worse than death? Pure nonsense. On the contrary, divorce was a saving grace for me and my four children and has been for countless others, or wickedness does not bow to even the wisest counsel.
    I just want to tell that lady, “Oh, foolish woman… You presume to have the solution to a problem of which you have absolutely no understanding. Please keep your arrogant, ignorant judgments to yourself.”

  9. Z

    Is “Ignorant Fool” too strong a label for this woman? I am a victim of child abuse by parents, a child who witnessed domestic abuse and violence regularly, and an adult who made the common bad choice at age 20 that many victims of child abuse and/or DV to marry another abuser just to get out of my violent, abusive home and away from child abuser and domestic abuser parents ASAP.
    This woman purports to “know” but couldn’t possibly know how it feels to be a child in an abusive home. Even without my own child abuse, just witnessing the DV between parents was enough for me to feel suicidal as a child. I prayed for God to take me. I prayed to just die. Often. And this “loving christian woman” wants to speak for me and for other child victims? I had no one to turn to for help or safety so I prayed for some “angel” to send Social Services” to my home to remove me from it. I’d have preferred to be anywhere but there. And we all know how horrid the foster care system is. I’d likely have been abused there too. But I couldn’t see any hope or feel safe at home with the ongoing abuses and DV.
    So I am personally irate at the gall of this “christian” to put on an act of being loving to this woman victim of abuse and her poor children. They are most certainly better off away from their father, the abuser. To imply that living in terror every day is better for those children than divorce (giving them peace and a chance to heal and maybe even thrive!) is so irresponsible and ignorant. And untrue. I’m still dealing with the fallout and aftereffects of my abusive and DV home decades later. CPTSD, nightmares, reliving the abuses and DV, panic attacks, chronic and acute anxiety, chronic health conditions, immune system weaknesses…Yeah. That’s what God wants for His beloved children.
    This woman doesn’t have a clue. Take away her pen immediately!!

    • Innoscent

      Dear Z, I’m glad you wrote this, the perspective of children. Like you I lived the horror of abuse as a child by a wicked father, a witness of his daily violence on my poor mother and a victim of his emotional and sexual abuse. At least he didn’t call himself a Christian, he hated religion. The Lord had pity on me and the very sufferings that Satan piled up hoping to crush me to death (through depression and suicide), these made me turn to Christ, my Saviour. Alleluiah!
      With this kind of upbringing and environment I was the ideal prey for an abuser, a wolf under the guise of a Christian, the worse kind of Satanic weapon. Thank God, after all these years I’m in a safe place now, but my abuser is still parading as a saint in our previous church…
      Yes, parental abuse messes children up for life, and this woman should first humble and educate herself about abuse and listen. She’s totally blind, deceived by the abuser and a choice weapon for him. Like so many other Christians… 🙁

  10. sweethonesty7

    The horrible, no good, false assuming, false guilt producing, sin leveling, scripture twisting, (false savior, “I’m not asking you to ‘get back together,’ right now…but it’s time to Work! You are both a HOT MESS! But, can you dig deep, for your children? I will not give up on you two!”) zero wisdom, worthless “insights” of a ‘friend.’

  11. Cara

    I suspect Christians also stumble because they mistakenly assume that others are like us, that they actually do want to do good, to be better, to honor one’s vows, to serve Christ in their lives. We must disabuse ourselves of that mistaken notion. It is largely not so. And it is a dangerous, foolish assumption to make. I struggle with this too. It invariably leads to harm, injuries, victimization, damages, pain and suffering.

    If more Christians realized how many evil people there are, they’d not espouse such views as the letter writer. I would suspect she is of the ‘love them to Jesus’ mentality, too. It’s a cancer, wide-spreading cancerous false belief/mentality of the church.
    I wish more churches and pastors taught these truths. Abusers are evil. Most people are not Christians, even if they profess such. Most all of the world is evil. There is no such thing as a marriage to an abuser – it’s predation and victimization, not marriage. And society fails women and children again and again.

    • frankiesmith2064

      Sickening all of it just sickening. Thank you all for sharing —-every comment makes me stronger. It’s true most people are evil. I hope each day to meet friends that are good. My immediate very small circle is good but has been vetted with time and wisdom. Just met a new person and she showed herself to be ugly and mean. Another confirmation that guard must be up and extreme vetting must take place prior to letting anyone in your life. Thank you all love and hugs

      • Cara

        I appreciate your comments, too. Especially your sharing of how you have a vetting system and how you too are hopeful to meet friends that are good. I still have that silly, desperate hope that I’ll encounter good, trustworthy, upright people but it’s almost invariably shattered these days. Thankfully we have the internet and CRC and this blog.
        “Just met a new person and she showed herself to be ugly and mean.” Excellent share! This is how I need to improve. It’s easier to see others’ lives and from afar make judgments, but it’s harder when personally interacting with someone. And then there is the TOXIC push of many churches to have Christians always examining their part in the situation, assuming the best about others, giving the benefit of the doubt, and being full of grace and politeness (nicey nice). Nope. TOXIC brainwashing stuff. When someone shows themselves to be ugly and mean, it’s because they are. If, by chance, it’s because of trauma, or a bad day, etc., then that too will show itself, but most often that almost never happens.
        I’ve heard people disclose that they get belligerent or mean when drinking “I stay away from hard alcohol, because it makes me mean” and I appreciate such disclosures, because I tend to find the truest person comes out when anyone drinks. Not that drinking is a good thing, but there are a host of little tells that one picks up, painfully with experience and too much time. You assessed this latest woman to be ugly and mean. I’m sure you’re very likely right. Takes a lot though, because truly evil, predatory people usually come off with much finesse and polished impression management skills, excellent, practiced deceptiveness, excellent liars, etc. that deceive you into believing they are okay people. Really messes with a person’s head just how much deception there is, just how many people are predatory, and just how often targets are victimized with pre-traumatized individuals that much more likely to be re-victimized. Predators sniff out the wounded. Psychopaths are clinically shown to be superior in assessing past trauma in the gaits of persons on the street, and super obviously beatdown people weren’t used. So abused women should be all the more careful because the predators are watching and seeking out pre-traumatized persons to target. It’s their M.O. And they spend their lives perfecting such hunting skills. So, guards up, Christian ladies, and fight against all the ‘nicey nice/be polite/be kind’ socialization and training you’ve been given all your lives.

  12. Thelma

    Received letters such as these from my former sis-in-laws who were like my ex, their brother. I ”responded” to them in pencil in the margins & filed them. I was going thru my divorce at the time. I continue to have no contact with them. I’ve been in their homes & seen how abusive they are to their own husbands- just not physically- which their brother was to me. I’m glad I didn’t sit thru “marriage counseling.” Thank God that’s over & thank God for your teaching Pastor Crippen!

    • Thelma

      I would add that I took all my children with me when I left & they are so glad I did!

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