Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

Getting in the Wreck Over and Over is not Wise

Rom 3:13-16 “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” (14) “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” (15) “Their feet are swift to shed blood; (16) in their paths are ruin and misery,

I have written on this subject before, but it has been some time since I did and the topic deserves frequent mention. It regards healing from trauma, abuse, or injuries suffered in a car wreck. Let me state it this way:

You cannot heal from an injury if you keep getting injured over and over.

And that is exactly what happens when you suffer the same car wreck repeatedly. As long as an abuse victim is still being assaulted by an abuser, the wreck just keeps happening and healing isn’t going to take place.

Now, for some period of time many abuse victims cannot leave due to various circumstances beyond their control. They are in the abuse and they cannot get free, so everyday crash. The wreck and injuries just keep coming. But others choose to stay when they could get out.

I am challenging those of you who may be in this latter category. You are getting injured over and over again. The crazy-making makes you crazier. The attacks on your value as a person are eroding your personhood so that the person you are, or were, increasingly disappears. That broken arm isn’t going to heal if it keeps getting fractured every day.

Enslavement to an abuser (and that is what he wants – slavery) increases over time. In many cases that I have seen, people who choose to stay in that slavery often begin to take on the characteristics of Pharaoh the slave master and become unsafe people themselves. You simply cannot choose to remain in the atmosphere of evil, breathing its poisonous vapors, and not be affected and even transformed.


Accused of Being Cruel for Blocking Cruelty


Abuse Without a Word — Nonverbal Abusive Communications


  1. Amy

    If only it were that easy to just leave, there are so many variables that can keep an abuse victim entrapped in an abusive marriage, and sadly, the ill-advice from their church is one of those reasons. And I know you know this, because you write about it.

    I stayed 20 years and that is the biggest regret of my life, especially because it enslaved my children also to the abuse. My oldest son, now 30, has let me know that my staying all those years became his choice by default and he blames me for so many things.

    Over the past 11 years of being free from my abusive ex, I have tried hard to let go of the guilt and shame of having kept my children in that unhealthy situation and being scared of leaving. But when you know how it has affected your children so much, it’s like a nightmare that keeps playing over and over, and some days the heaviness of the shame and guilt can become too much to carry.

    Fortunately, through my blog I initially started for myself as a place to release those emotions and find healing, was used by the Lord to encourage other women in abusive marriages to find freedom. Even in our brokenness, the Lord can use us and perhaps knowing that what I suffered through can be used for good to help others, helps give me peace and comfort. <3

    • Susan

      Going back to Pastor Jeff’s analogy, you can say to yourself over and over “Thank God I’m not allowing that car to run over me anymore!” You past abuse is not who defines you now. And PS, your kids have to find their own healing now, you are not responsible for that. Don’t let one unkind word get past you or you will become the “victim” all over again! What I mean if it feels like an arrow being thrown at you, just put on the armor of God and know you are protected! You might even (kindly) repeat what an accuser says in his own words, formed as a question? It might make him/her think what they are saying. i.e: “I am the reason you are like this?”

  2. Sarah

    I find this true of that one particular co-worker who always attempts to unnecessarily overcomplicate everything – not only their own work but everyone else’s. They have either been raised or/and are currently in an abusive family and replicating the abusive behaviour at work. When challenged, that coworker will also tantrum to get their way – just like an abuser – even if it means doing more work, because suffering is ‘sainthood.’ All they are doing is exhausting everyone and squandering resources.

    • See it

      Thank you Pastor Crippen, this is so very true and gives a great visual to remind us we can’t heal from a wreck if we keep getting in a wreck. Time and time again we see this. I see this at work in the enslaved team members, the ones who believe they can’t get jobs elsewhere and continue to endure in hopeless situation and insane workloads….. I see it in horribly destructive marriages, the ones that shred your every level of safety and turn the other into someone they had never wanted to be…. I saw it in my family of origin, those that couldn’t get away or chose to stay because of money and religion picked up the very same pharaoh-like traits they had despised.


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