Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

Abuse Without a Word — Nonverbal Abusive Communications

Let not those rejoice over me who are wrongfully my foes, and let not those wink the eye who hate me without cause. (Psa 35:19)
A worthless person, a wicked man, goes about with crooked speech, winks with his eyes, signals with his feet, points with his finger, with perverted heart devises evil, continually sowing discord; therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly; in a moment he will be broken beyond healing. (Pro 6:12-15)

“I just won’t say too much.” “No, no. I think it best if I just remain quiet.” “What YOU said is gossip.” How often have you heard an abuser make these kinds of statements? All of them are designed, of course to accuse you and yet, because the wicked person doesn’t actually verbalize, he maintains he is righteous and you have no right to rebuke him.

The Bible has really a fair amount to say about non-verbal, devious methods of accusing, reviling, and sowing discord. The two quoted above are classic examples. This is what a worthless, wicked man does. He “goes about.” This is his mission, and it is intentional. In addition to “crooked speech” (which you can bet is disguised as pious and holy talk), he uses non-verbal body communiques with his eyes and feet and fingers as weapons of his perverted heart. With them he sows discord among people, alienating them from the victim and from one another. All of this only takes a wink of his eye applied at just the right moment, a shuffle of his feet, a raised eyebrow, or even (and perhaps the most devious of all), an expressionless flat facial affect accompanied by verbal silence.

We have seen these very things operative in years past in our church, and I can tell you that this wickedness was very effective at sowing discord among us. The culprits were very often verbally silent – “I don’t think it is right that I say anything” – after they had already communicated and accused by, let’s say, abstaining from a vote or refusing to positively stand together with others against some injustice.  Quite often these evil ones project dissonance that plants seeds of trouble by accompanying pious-sounding words with non-verbal actions or nuances that contradict those words, sending a message that trumps the one that is verbalized.

Non-verbal communications — the winks, the nods, the silences, even the choice of where to sit in a social setting — are also incredibly devious because the real message they express is clearly recognized by the victim, but not by others. This has probably happened to you. The abuser, at some gathering, jumps right in to help clear the table after a meal. What a noble guy he is. Yeah, right. The victim knows full well what his real intention is — to accuse and shame her in some way; or to parade as such a helpful husband that every other women at the gathering wishes her husband was a good as he is. Just what level of evil do these kinds of tactics require? What kind of a person naturally and habitually practices such things? I can tell you — a thoroughly evil person consumed with power and control on a quest for self-glory.

Sulking of course is still another non-verbal abusive communication. The silent treatment. Pouting. Sitting off to the side, distanced from the others. Not smiling. Having a ‘worried’ and serious expression on his face. “Did you see Hal tonight? Something must be troubling him. Poor man.”

Well, God’s Word to such people is this: calamity is going to come crashing down on your head and squish you like a bug. God hates and detests what you are doing. People may not ‘hear’ your winks and shuffles, but God gets it, and He is going to get you. In fact, Proverbs goes on in the very next verses to tell the winking wicked just what God thinks of them:

There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers. (Pro 6:16-19)

He hates you, Mr. abuser. God Almighty hates you. And He is coming. He is coming, for you.


Getting in the Wreck Over and Over is not Wise


Is it You, You Troubler of Israel?


  1. HealingInHim

    “Abuse Without a Word” — Pastor Crippen. You’ve nailed it!

  2. Innoscent

    My ex-husband used his devastatingly beautiful smile to sweep off the church crowd off their feet, especially the ladies who fell under his spell. O what a husband of gold I had, how blessed a wife I must have been! … according to them. His smile was automatic and he’d forget to turn it off sometimes like at funerals.
    More rarely he’d use crocodile tears to influence his targets toward specific goals. And it worked like a devilish charm.

    Yes, he woud do good actions to help with this or that, and overdo himself especially at church, and yet I was waiting for months that things get done at home, even simple things like repairs. It was SO frustrating!

    I have seen how narcissists like him love to keep silent and observe, suck it all in, scan everything to then use the information gathered to best further their diabolical agenda.

    • Z

      Dear Innoscent,
      Your last paragraph!! Describes a narcissist ex-family member of mine to a “T”! And I KNEW she was always silently studying me. Her eyes were always giving me the steady sideways scan. As if I wouldn’t notice it! And boy did she ever gather everything she could to use to try to destroy me later when I went No Contact with all my now ex-family. But it was all information that she twisted into lies to make me look like the bad guy. The “best lies” are said to be ones that have a grain of truth in them. That’s why she had to do her homework to learn true facts about me so she should then whisper and wink her perversions of info-lies-as her father, satan the liar, does constantly to us.
      She happily became the main abuser’s top lieutenant in his “allies of evil” cabal that joined forces (satan’s forces of evil) to make it a priority to turn people I knew against me. It worked.
      But God had already shown me the abusers for what they were and I then decided to go No Contact. Their planned mass abandonment, shunning and ostracizing of me by poisoning everyone I knew (and who I thought knew me) with their widespread and persistent smear campaigns was their retaliation for my final rejection of their abuse and all they are and stand for. And who they stand with. Their father satan-the father of lies, winks, sideways glances, signals with hands and fingers, feet that run toward causing trouble…ALL these things and more were everyday occurrences all my life.

      • Innoscent

        Dear Z,
        I hope you are well and I’m SO glad GOD set you free from your abusive ex-family gang bully and her “famafia”! They showed their true colors as you escaped them and went NC. Fangs out and smear campaign, typical!

        32 The wicked watches the righteous,
        And seeks to slay him.
        33 The Lord will not leave him in his hand,
        Nor condemn him when he is judged.
        Psalms 37

        The silent studying and scanning is one big red flag to me now, I sure wised up! And the same way they “study” the Bible to gather information to be “ab-used” in order to trap their victims and make allies with their saintly platitudes and twisted interpretations.

        They are wicked watchmen!

        • Z

          Yes, Innoscent, I am doing pretty well. It’s been a long road recovering from not only my childhood violent abuse but an adult violent attack by “famafia” (love it!). I have my husband and I have Jesus.

          False teaching by false Christian “shepherds” in my ex-family made an idol of “family”, just as many Christian pastors and elders and counselors and friends and family…all do with “marriage” as well. They taught me that I must suffer whatever the abusers doled out and keep forgiving those unrepentant reprobates BECAUSE they were “family”. I committed the ultimate unforgivable sin in their eyes by calling the police on “family” for their last violent attack on us with serious injuries resulting. (They were studying my husband with the wink and pointing fingers, etc..too. He was a target of their abuse as well).

          These people are nuts!! AS IF “family” attacks one of their own with a weapon with the intent to maim or kill!! Criminal violent felony by family>OK to them. Calling the police for the violent bloody crime by family>unforgivable to ALL of them!
          Yes, God led me out of the bondage that night of the attack when I saw them for the demonic people they are and set me free.
          I have to try to start over as an orphan with no family, no relatives or friends. I don’t trust churches as ALL my abusive or abuse enabling ex-family, friends, relatives were churchgoing professing Christians. You know them, the ones who wear their masks and perform their act so over the top to dupe people into believing they are really saved Christians. They aren’t. Period. And they overperform to deflect any talk that leaks out about them being abusers.

          I’m glad to be free of the charade I had to live within all my life. But it’s lonely sometimes and very hard to start over meeting new people and making new friends when we are retired and Covid has made making new friends even harder than it was. People already have their groups of family and friends at this age. And people seem more closed off than they used to be since Covid. But I’m grateful for a loving, godly, supportive husband God gave me to be my helpmate for this life.

          Thanks for validating the winking and pointing and studying we were targets of by these evil people with hate, harm and jealousy in their hearts. Psalm 37:32-33 as well as many other Scriptures, show this sneaky and evil behavior, heart and mindset have been around for ages.

          I hope you are doing well too! God bless you.

          • Innoscent

            I’m so glad dear Z and praise the Lord that you are in a better place than your troubled past, and that you can help other abuse victims through your witness for Christ. You did the right thing by calling the police and hold your famafia to account. I wish my older siblings, neighbours, etc. did that to my abusive father at the time.

            I’m in the same boat of being an orphan, having to start afresh with relationships. I live on my own in a new place and I stopped attending compromised church. Like you I have noticed how hard it is to make true friends these days. First it’s hard to trust, then as you say people have no time and are all on survival mode in this society gone crazy. But in the middle of all this God has been the closest and most precious to me, and His sweet love and presence has sustained me all along. I can truly say that I have never been so happy in my life. One lady here on this blog once described an abuse survivor’s life as a “mosaic” life, where all the broken pieces are put back together in a different way to shine all the more. Love it!

            I especially am grateful to God for learning so much about evil tactics and how to detect red flags as soon as possible. And have my internal spiritual radar repaired and turned on by God’s grace, and such blogs at the COFJ, then Unholy Charade which have been a huge help to me for the last few years.

            As regard to family, Jesus had lots to say about siblings, like in Mt 10 where he lays it all bare, the animosity and betrayal…

            At the same time, He shows who true family is as in Luke 8:
            “20 And it was told him by certain which said, Thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to see thee.
            21 And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it.”

            Also in Psalm 68.6, He has a wonderful promise to the lonely and bruised:
            “God setteth the solitary in families: He bringeth out the prisoners into prosperity;
            but the rebellious dwell in a parched land.”

  3. He will……

    Thank you Pastor Crippen, it’s chilling how satans tactics work exactly the same no matter our location. We are several states apart yet it’s as if you were writing about the exact encounters here.

    Even now I cringe at the thought of enduring some of the abusers periods of deafening silence – it was always the precursor to the worst evil being played out – or on its way. I shudder at the way the room was orchestrated by their evil, it was either in the abuser’s snide silence or in the over the top vocalization…. both were signs….brace yourself.

    God does hate what was/is going on…. the abuser games are satans playbook…. Indeed the Lord is coming… and he has the last stand….. on tiring “game” days such as this, it is a refreshing reminder…. He does hate what they chose to do and are doing, and he will deal with them…. just as he promised.


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