Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

The Elephant in the Room – Don’t You Dare Point him out

Rom 2:15-16 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them (16) on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

I suppose this “elephant in the room” saying does not fit exactly here. I mean, as applied to the RASN and his/her wickedness. The elephants we speak of are masters at wearing a disguise, but they are exposed nevertheless to those they use and abuse. And sometimes even the used and abused ones don’t see the elephant clearly – at least for along time.

But let’s go with this illustration anyway. The elephant in the room I have in mind represents the evils of the RASN (once again, that is my acronym for revilers, abusers, sociopaths, and narcissists). Here are all of these wicked things the RASN launches against those he insists on controlling and having power over. Economic abuse, verbal abuse, withholding medical care, crazy-making, threats, alienating children…and the list goes on. And yet….

…no one is permitted, upon threat of injury and punishment, to speak of this elephant in the room. As I heard someone say recently, in our day it has become more evil to speak about wickedness than to do wickedness. That is, it is regarded as more wicked to blow the whistle on corruption than to be corrupt. And so it is with the RASN. There it is, but woe to you if you ever talk about it.

It is, you see, just fine for the RASN to do evil. And you wouldn’t need to talk about that evil if the evildoer were not doing evil! But that doesn’t matter. The evil deeds are to be out of sight, out of mind. Light must never be shone upon them. And if anyone dare do so, hellish fury will break out. The accusations will fly – you are the guilty one. You have not respected your spouse. You have gossiped or slandered. But the evil deeds are evil and they are real! It doesn’t matter, says the RASN. You talked about me! All else is dismissed. Now only YOUR “sin” is what matters, and you must be punished.

The elephant is always right there in the room. The stench of his manure fills the air. He takes up half the room! (no ill-speaking here about real elephants by the way. I’d rather live with one than a RASN). But no one is to talk about him. And therefore, the life of the RASN is a lie. It is a great big fiction, the script of which is written day after day after day. To live with such a person is to live under the threatening demand that you play-act in that lie.


“Fool” is Proverb’s Term for a RASN


The Lord is For His People


  1. Beth

    What can I do now? What is wisdom after years of silent ‘loyalty’ to the man I married, all the while under every form of covert and coercive abuse, 12 years after the divorce I finally got a grasp on the true reality of him and what he’s done to me, and I started speaking up, reaching out for help, even gently trying to alert my children while also trying to explain the disparity, and because he’s a badgerer and interrogator and has plants and flying monkeys manipulated to believe his victim sob stories and twisted narrative, he became aware that I was speaking about him in my personal circle, not to make him look bad, but to understand and be understood and find help to heal. But ever since, he has been working overtime to gaslight and record my emotional reactions to share, smearing my name all over the place, convincing my children of shameful lies mixed with enough truth for proof and including their friends on the gossip spreading train in the community in which I live, even infiltrating my place of employment. He’s been stalking me since before we were married, and the recordings I’m aware of are probably only a drop of what he actually has and shares, but just like with me, he silences everyone with the shame of it all and a demand of loyalty to him. I’ve tried talking things through with him, but he refuses to be real, and then just has more knowledge of my vulnerability to continue to be a mean girl, a gossip girl, spreading shame all while pretending to care. I’ve sought out 2or 3 witnesses to Matthew 18 the situation, but no one is willing to stand up to him, or they advise the “Christian” thing to do is give him the benefit of the doubt and remember that “we all fall short”.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Beth – you have described my experience perfectly as I have had to deal with RASN’s as a pastor for 40 years. They are the same. Their tactics are the same. You aren’t alone in this and I validate everything you said here.

    • You will make it through this….

      Sadly, everything you said is out of the RASN script. It’s hopefully some comfort knowing there are many out there who know EXACTLY what you are facing. The only Christ like interaction with the RASN is none, or as little as required (eg coparent requirements by the court). Keep your sights set on your steady step with Christ & know that there are brothers & sisters who pray for precious ones as you. We know you are out there even if we have never met. God bless you as you journey onward & never look back.

    • Anne


      I did the same as you, going to people in the church, including the Pastor. The monster had and continues to have them under his spell to this day; they doubled down on turning their backs on me and standing by him. The Pastor even performed the ceremony for his new marriage. Sorry, but she’s not his wife, she’s his new victim–she doesn’t realize it yet. All those same people who he lavished money on constantly taking them out to lunches and dinners and giving money to their kids for missions and school fundraisers, while denying me money, they are all about him. Not one of them cared, when I told them he had been abusing me our whole married life. Shame on them, every last one of them.

      • Beth

        Anne, I take no comfort in the fact that you can relate because of your own suffering, but I am thankful for you sharing some of your hardship to help me have a better grasp of what is happening and what to do. I completely get what you mean about his wife actually being his next victim— he has kept his longtime girlfriend and me apart despite me wanting to have a mature relationship for the sake of the children. Division, isolation, secrecy are even more tools they use to spin their webs of lies and deceit. The most heart wrenching part of it all is what I now know as NPA— Narcissistic Parental Alienation, and how he has filled my beautiful children’s heads with such garbage and skewed their outlook on people and life just to hurt me, all while they defend him just like I was once trained to do💔 Isaiah 49 is my prayer for that. I know we both have so much more we could share, it seems endless and unfathomable. May God have mercy and truly be our very present help in this time of trouble.

  2. Beth

    Jeff, I am thankful for your validation, while also choosing to “weep with those who weep” because of a shared yet unwanted experience. Your blogs have been very eye opening as well as validating to what I’ve been enduring, so thank you for the work you do, it is making’s a difference. I just wish I knew how to stop or bring about accountability for someone who is unreasonable, irrational, and hell-bent on utterly destroying me, the mother of his children, and my reputation, just to keep his alternate reality alive so he looks good and is victorious in all things. Everything becomes a competition, and I am exhausted, and can’t escape him.

    • Anne


      You are exactly right when you say he is, “hell-bent on utterly destroying” [you]; he *wants* to do *exactly* that. He doesn’t even care if it hurts the children. Abusers are users to reach their end. When Pastor Crippen pointed out to me that my abuser hates me, it was a hard blow at first, but in the end it gave me additional clarity and thereby a renewed resolve to get away from the monster. “The truth will set you free.” Please don’t “fight” for his understanding, approval, help, or even your reputation; find all those things in Jesus; He’s thoughts of you are the only ones that count and He loves you abundantly.

      • Beth

        It’s true what you say about not fighting, I wish I’d never gone to him to try and talk things out, or anyone else for help or to be understood or for him to be held accountable. Since breaking my silence my life has only gotten worse, and I’ve realized there is no help but in Christ alone.

        • Anne

          Beth, I understand why you would want to be heard; I went through that myself; it was so draining. I stopped when I realized I was a hamster on a wheel and he enjoyed it. No one in my life has stood up to the monster, because if they did, they would have to act and there’s just too many selfish, cowards who are unwilling to pay a price for standing up for the abused. I decided to put the energy into getting free both during the marriage and afterward.

          The truth is you and I and all the other abused spouses here did (do) not have marriages; we are/were prisoners of war. We made (and others will follow), “the great escape.” We have lost much, especially having children who take the abuser’s side–dagger to the heart. By God’s grace we can embrace the now with all its possibilities.

          • Beth

            Agreed, it was not a marriage but servitude, and “dagger to the heart”… yes, threats of burning in hell for all eternity mean nothing to me. I’ve had a lot of loss and pain my whole life, and nothing can aptly describe the wrenching, punching and tearing pain my heart endures every single day now for what he has done/is doing to my children just to keep hurting me. I’m trying to reconcile it all with the pain and grief of God giving His one and only Son to take the punishment for our sins to save us, and how my suffering fits into the “all things” that work together to conform me to His image. I surrender all.

    • Lynn


      My heart breaks for the hardship you’ve endured in the hands of someone who was supposed to love you and didn’t. While my pain stems from two narcissistic parents and not a spouse, I empathize with the struggle you find yourself in, I want to share what has helped me in dealing with my RASN parents. From what you’ve described, you’ve married a RASN. He isn’t going to be won over by anything that you say or do. Nothing is ever enough for these types of people. You could give him everything and it still wouldn’t be enough. I had to deal with that in my family before finally coming to the hard realization that nothing I say or do will ever be enough. They are a black hole, an energy vampire looking for their next fix of supply.

      It finally hit me that the only way that I was going to be able to truly heal from the decades of trauma my parents inflicted on me was to give them back to God, ask that He deal with them in accordance to their actions, and go no contact. I realize not everyone can go no contact, especially if there are children involved. I do recommend looking up the term grey rock – it means to speak and act with as much interest as a grey rock – and see if that can be a strategy to help you more effectively deal with your RASN husband. Every time you react, he wins. He lives to get reactions out of you because it feeds his need for supply and he knows its inflicts pain on you. So, do what you can to stop reacting to him. This will be extremely hard. It may temporarily create more drama, but over time, it can help you regain a stronger sense of control over yourself.

      By yourself, you will not be able to hold your RASN husband accountable. I know that sucks to hear, but it’s true. As terrible as he is to you, unless there is a way to prove that he is breaking the law, the only hope you have is that God will swiftly bring his perfect justice into your situation. I know the feeling since it’s where I am at with my parents. This is where praying imprecatory prayers can be really comforting and empowering. If you search the Unholy Charade site for Hezekiah and read the title “Hezekiah’s prayer as a model for us”, I’ve shared out a template that I use when I feel the need to pray an imprecatory prayer against those who have abused me. It’s modeled after Hezekiah’s prayer 2 Kings 19:14-19. I hope it may be a real tool that can help you feel like you are doing something relating to holding your RASN husband accountable.

      In the end, the wicked will receive their perfect justice and we will be free of them for the remainder of eternity. Hold on to Christ and ask for his wisdom and guidance through this difficult time. Be very careful of who you share your story with, including family. It can backfire with the wrong person or people. It becomes a weapon in the hands of evil people. I’ve had to learn that lesson the hard way too. My brother would play my mom and me off of each other. I would get in trouble trying to warn my brother of our mother’s bad behavior. While you may have a strong desire to share your side with your kids, know that can be a weak point that can be exploited to bring you further pain.

      Gain wisdom about RASNs so you can understand your options and put together a plan to help you more effectively cope with the attacks you are experiencing. Dr. Les Carter and Dr. Ramani – I don’t think they are Christians, but they have lots of sage advice about understanding and dealing with RASNs, and have helped me heal.

      You can do this Beth. It will be challenging but worth the effort. Continue to seek God. Spend time in the Psalms. It is a place of great comfort and strength for me. Don’t forget. Who the son sets free is free indeed. Go be free.

      • Beth

        Lynn, thank you for your care, and sharing good advice. Unfortunately, I have come to a place of complete hopelessness short of God intervening with a miracle, and I find myself no other road to walk other than continued dying to self since God is allowing this to happen. I’ve prayed to know Christ and the fellowship of His sufferings like Paul wrote to the church in Phillipi so I shouldn’t be surprised at my fiery trials. I am learning to be silent before my shearers although it’s so hard when I’m tired from enduring alone for so long and I just want some help as things only continue to get worse and worse. I’ve always been late to the party, and have made every mistake including giving him everything to pursue peace and it still not being enough, and trusting the wrong people. I am exhausted with all the reading and enlightenment and being awakened with middle of the night suppressed memories of so much abuse yet nothing has brought freedom or justice. The grey-rocking only gave him more material to call me a robot and heartless and convince my sons that I was the one doing wrong, and going no contact has given him free reign to fill in the blanks with his imagination and stalking recordings of gaslit moments or me sharing with someone who wasn’t worthy of my trust. I am sorry for what you’ve endured, and am happy to hear that you’ve been able to manage things well. God bless you.

  3. Anne

    Pastor Crippen,

    The title of your blog here really caught my eye! At one time I had called a counselor with whom I broke down and shared details of my life with the abuser that I never shared before, because it was one of the few times the abuser wasn’t present. Former “sessions” always involved the monster making my poor health the topic of conversations and what I understand now as the way to hedge off any looks into his behavior. The counselor responded to my facts and questions: “Your life is like having an elephant in the middle of the living room and there’s dung everywhere, but it’s being ignored!” It was the 1st time that actually it was *the counselor* who was finally seeing the truth. He then suggested I read, “The Men Who Hate Women, and the Women That Love Them.” WOW! Total eye opener; practically the whole book is underlined! Validating and fog lifting! It was one of many springboards to take me to freedom. Seeing your title reminded me of where I was and where I am today. God was at work in a multitude of ways leading me through “the Red Sea” to the other side. My life is still not “easy” now, but I much prefer to live in the truth of God’s love and provision, then to live with a liar who masqueraded as husband.

  4. Beth

    And I ask myself, when I’m finally one day just like Jesus, will I be able to say it was worth it? Am I able to trust God completely despite the almost unbearable allowances of such suffering? That if there was any other way, would He not be merciful to provide?

    • Lynn

      I know when we are in the midst of the fire it’s normal to question if the sacrifice we made is worth it. I did that a lot when I was going through the worst of it with my family’s betrayal. I remind myself that this suffering is temporary, even if it doesn’t feel like it. God is in control. He will grant me justice for the hell I’ve endured.

      That on day 3 trillion, 900 million, 453 thousand, and 24 of eternity, those in hell are no closer to relief than if it were day 1. They will get exactly what they deserve in accordance with their deeds, which brings me comfort. They’ve sown the wind and will reap an eternal whirlwind of their own destruction. It’s why Paul calls our suffering in this life light and momentary afflictions. That’s not to trivialize the pain we go through but to remind ourselves that eternity with Christ in the new heavens and new earth is waiting. It will be glorious. It will make what we experience now seem like next to nothing. We won’t have to see our abusers any longer. We will get to live freely in paradise where the only tears we will shed will be from uncontained laughter and joy. Meditate on that when the pain feels too much to bear.

      • Beth. The churches need to obey the Lord and stop allowing evil abusers to remain protected and enabled. However, even if they would do what God’s Word commands your abuser is not going to change. I always say – “abusers never change and a marriage to an abuser doesn’t need to be fixed, it needs to be ended.

        We must always give God glory, even when affliction comes, and bless His name no matter if He gives or takes away. God always has a reason and nothing touches us that He has not decreed for His glory and our good. We must not decide what God should do nor accuse Him when He does not follow the way we think He should go.

  5. Anne

    “…and nothing can aptly describe the wrenching, punching and tearing pain my heart endures every single day now for what he has done/is doing to my children just to keep hurting me.” [Beth]

    It’s a deep grieving, because we love our children so much and gave them our whole beings loving, protecting, comforting, and guiding them. I’ve only found a measure of relief from the pain you so aptly describe–I stopped making overtures to my children–texting, phoning, giving them birthday presents, reminding them the holidays were coming up and would they like to get together, etc… I have left them to him, entirely.

    They never had his attention growing up; he choose to spend his time and money on his secret, sick, real life: pornography, affairs, pursuing money. His only way to keep them by his side is to heap money on them, because they naturally flock to that. It’s the only attention they will ever really get from him. Any money, activities together is the monster *still* using them. ‘See everyone, my children spend time with me; I am not the horrible person, my ex-wife says I am.’ It’s ALL for show. He’s desperately trying to erase that I am their Mother, by inserting his new victim, into their lives at every turn. He prearranges airfare well in advance of all holidays, so that he guilts them with, ‘but I’ve already bought the tickets, you have to come.’ I no longer celebrate holidays like I use to; I’ve carved out new ways for myself, new traditions and I’m embracing it! MIRACLE! Because I grew up in a large family, and we celebrated holidays with everyone together!

    Now for my children there’s no buffer for them when he acts out towards them [and I’ve heard he’s done just that]; I use to rescue them from all of that. It’s the only way for them to hopefully see the *real* him.

    I will keep moving foward as best I can; God is close to the broken hearted.

    • Beth

      Anne, I understand what you’ve shared, and I am so sorry it is your truth, yet I am encouraged by your strength to cling to the Truth and trust Him to work everything out in His way and time. It is not easy letting go, quite painful in it’s own right in fact, and sometimes I question if I’ve done everything I could or if I should keep fighting albeit seeming futile, because giving up so to speak causes my mommy heart to scream how wrong that feels. I am happy to hear you are receiving miracles as you move forward with God in what you can control, and I hope and pray that your childrens’ eyes will be opened and their hearts will return to you and to God. Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us. God bless your tender heart, Anne.

      • Beth- in reply to your latest comment (which I didn’t publish), be sure to read tomorrow morning’s post which largely answers the numerous questions you brought up. I address the real root of the problem.

  6. JKR

    Excellent post (as usual) and the comments here are absolutely heartbreaking particularly because I can relate to them myself.

    Two things.

    First, I’m reminded of this Bible verse…

    Isaiah 5:20 (ESV) “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!”

    Second, in addition to this blog and Pastor Crippen’s books, you might want to get your hands on a few other Christian books that have been INSTRUMENTAL in how God has used them to help me through this (or at least check out the videos from these fellow believers on YouTube and Instagram)…

    Kris Reece

    Dr. David E. Clarke PHD

    “The Life-Saving Divorce” by Gretchen Baskerville

    There is hope!

    Grace & Peace,


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