Psalms 21:7-8 For the king trusts in the LORD, and through the steadfast love of the Most High he shall not be moved. Your hand will find out all your enemies; your right hand will find out those who hate you.
One of the very common tactics of abusers is variously called crazy-making, or alleged Stockholm syndrome. Those aren’t exactly the same things, but they both mess with your mind in a big way. They lay false guilt on you, shame you, make you blame yourself and justify your abuser…and on and on. Recently I saw this kind of mechanism at work and thought it would be a good thing to share with you.
So here is a family member. Could be an abuser spouse, or as we all know, it could be a relative who abuses to control. Charming exterior persona. Well-liked by and popular with tons of people. But behind the scenes, you get this nasty email or comment. Maybe something like, “if you really loved so and so you would do so and so and because you have not done so and so, well, you just don’t care at all about so and so. I just don’t think I can be around you. Go away.” Keep in mind now that we are talking about a scenario in which YOU in fact did NOTHING wrong. Your “offense” is a creation of the wicked one’s imaginations.
Job 33:9-10 You say, ‘I am pure, without transgression; I am clean, and there is no iniquity in me. Behold, he finds occasions against me, he counts me as his enemy.
Punishment, you see. For what? For not doing what they demand you do. Keep in mind of course that generally these kind NEVER communicate their expectations to you. Their goal is to control, not to work things out you see.
Alright, that’s the attack and the punishment. What comes next? In a normal, healthy relationship what would come next is repentance by them. “I had to call and tell you how sorry I am for the way I behaved toward you the other day. I was in a foul mood, but that’s no excuse. Please forgive me.” But this isn’t a normal, healthy, safe relationship. You can never have and will never have a healthy relationship with an abuser. No, here is what comes next: “I just called to tell you what a great job you did the other day. That was a very special thing you did and I really appreciate you for it.”
Huh? Am I nuts? Didn’t you just tell me a few days back that you don’t want to be around a piece of scum like me? Did that really happen? Maybe I misunderstood…no, no, it happened. You blasted me and guilted me and told me you didn’t want to see my face. So what’s this all about? What’s this “making nice” as if the ugliness never occurred?
Well, what it is is wickedness. It is evidence that this person is polished at using abuser tactics to control, to manipulate, and to possess power over another, all the while maintaining outwardly their masquerade as “the greatest person ever known.” You see, this kind of — what shall we call it — antipodal behavior, this exercising of opposites, is intentionally designed to keep you off balance. It’s purpose is to instill self-doubt in you. It is a kind of psychological conditioning not really that different from giving an animal some kind of negative punishment (jolt on the shock collar for barking) and then a doggie cookie for when they do something good (go potty somewhere besides on the living room carpet). A conditioned animal obeys. So does an abuse victim as long as they don’t understand what is happening to them.
The solution? See what is happening. Name it for what it is. Recognize the person using that tactic habitually is an evil, unsafe person. Work to withdraw yourself from relationship with that person.