Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

Right Back at Ya! The Abuser’s Tactic of Reflective Blaming

Recently I had a refresher course in abuser tactics. Not in a classroom, but in real life. I need these reminders to help me continue to learn how to put into practice what I have learned about abuse. Necessary, because we all so easily revert to our old errors we used to be bound by when we were still “in the fog.” In this case my reminder was that I must not yield to accusations or to suggestions by the cowardly. We all have to learn to dig in our heels, stand firm, and say “no, I am right and you are wrong.”

Many times distortions of our Christian faith that we have been confused by tell us that such an attitude evidences a lack of humility, that surely we are all sinners, that we need to look at ourselves carefully, that we need to acknowledge our own sin…blah, blah, blah. Yes, these things can be true, but they can also be perversions of Scripture that the wicked use against us.  In dealing with the wicked, as someone has recently said, we must be shrewd. We must be wise as serpents. “No, I am right and you are wrong and I am not going to listen to you.”

It’s the same old story you all would recognize. Power and control seekers bullying and lording it over others. They will not listen to anyone. They will not admit any wrong doing. They are never wrong. YOU are the problem. And furthermore, the very idea that YOU would dare act in such an un-Christian manner by saying such things to them…well, you should be ashamed of yourself!  Sound familiar?  I bet it does.

Now, what do we mean by “reflective blaming.” It goes like this, “Here is the irony”, the wicked tell us,  “The very same ungodly spirit that you are saying we are guilty of is what you yourselves are guilty of.” See what he is saying?  “Well, you say that we are abusers, but you are abusing us by saying so.” It’s like addressing a mirror that has the capability of reflecting everything you say back at and upon you. We even see this in children. “Well you do it too!”  And of course the goal of the abuser in using this tactic is to remove at least 50% of the blame from himself and put it back on you.

When this reflective blaming hits you, how do you respond? If we aren’t careful, we will let it do its intended damage by accepting this blame. Hey, that’s the humble Christian thing to do, right? No! As soon as we catch ourselves starting to think and feel that, “whoa. I’m guilty. I have sinned by confronting my abuser. I should have been more kind and humble and….” – STOP!! No, I am not guilty of the same thing that the abuser is doing. I reject that charge. We must look the abuser in the eye (when it is safe) and say “I reject everything you are saying. Don’t try to remove guilt from yourself by deflecting it to me. I am not guilty of abuse. You are.”

Then listen to the wicked howl some more. “No one has EVER spoken to me this way!” No, they probably haven’t and that is a huge part of the problem.


We Have a Choice: Follow Christ or Become Cruella Deville


The Comforter


  1. Leanne

    Excellent response!!

  2. Anonymous

    The omission of the instructions to NOT continue in sin is truly amazing. Trying to reason with the unreasonable is helpful only to the point of gathering information of a person’s value system, not trying to change it. The deflection and blame game speaks to their heartlessness.
    Now they have exposed themselves. Confronting and arguing with this fool is not only a waste of time but dangerous. At the first opportunity, walk away from this type of person and avoid them at all costs whenever possible. If avoiding them is not possible smile and be as superficial as possible looking for the nearest exit sign.
    Stand strong and with dignity. Never stop doing what is right and good. Thank you Pastor Crippen for this reminder.

  3. Be free

    A good refresher, unfortunately it came by your re-exposure to the tactics. Agree with your comments, and approach.

    Once the abuser, on behalf of satan himself, starts either the behind your back smear campaign, or the deflection, circular-talking, maze-making, accusatory nonsense – that’s your signal to take the one way exit away from them and their allies. Although likely to attack you in this way again, if they get the chance in the future, they have to move on to their next major supply once you have exited and hung the “not returning” for more message.

    It’s the same with business contacts, coworkers, church members, supposed friends or family, etc. satan’s tactics are the same no matter who is his willing servant – our response to them is what matters.

  4. Veronica

    This is such an important lesson to learn. Before I married my current wonderful husband, I got involved with a sociopath who claimed to be a Christian. I saw the red flags everywhere and broke up with him several times. But good intentioned Christians as well as a male therapist all told me, “You see every man as an abuser and are judging him through your ex-husband.” And I’d ask myself, “Am I doing that?” So in the spirit of dealing soberly with yourself (Romans 12:3), I dismissed those checks that the Holy Spirit was giving me. Praise God I woke up before any marriage plans were made, and the Lord told me after that: “Don’t throw away your discernment.” Since then I don’t care what people accuse me of, being too harsh, or judgmental, or whatever; when I see all of the signs of an abuser or abusive behavior, I call them out, no matter who they are. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it’s a duck. (P.S. I have no doubt that male therapist is an abuser himself.)

    • I posted an article this morning at my other blog – Light for Dark Times – about how having been abused doesn’t authorize us to be mean to anyone who unintentionally triggers us. BUT I wanted to be clear that what Veronica is talking about here and how she resolved to stand up to allies of abusers is not what my post is about. Calling out abusers and their allies IS right and good. Thank you Veronica.

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