Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

What is Christmas Like With an Abuser?

Mat 1:23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).

Christmas should be a joyful, memorable day for many reasons – chief of which is the good news of the gospel, that God has provided us with a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. A Savior is born who is Christ, the Lord. In addition, Christmas should be a season of children being together with mom and dad, the family going to a Christmas Eve service at church, grandparents coming for the holidays – and more. I hope that all of you have such memories.

But…throw a RASN (reviler, abuser, sociopath, narcissist) into the mix and the night before Christmas turns into the nightmare before Christmas. As with everything the abuser touches, Christmas becomes just another means to exercise power and control and to punish anyone who dares to refuse to bow down and worship. Presents are purchased, or not purchased, for these devilish reasons. Silent treatments, child custody clashes, criticism of the tree decorations, the meal prepared, manipulation of relatives for the RASNs own purposes, and on and on it goes.

Perhaps some of you would like to share your experiences with these painful things here in the comments. You can bet that as we read one another’s stories we will see the same evil goals at work because RASNs are all schooled by their father the devil. I hope that in having the opportunity to share your stories here you will find some encouragement this Christmas season. Christ is born. He is our Savior. He loves His people, and nothing the wicked can do can ever separate us from that love.

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13 Comments

  1. The moment I saw the title of this post, my first response was: “Hell.” Any holiday, special occasion, or travels, are always ruined by an abuser. He manipulated relatives (even your own!) to get them to gang up on you. I always felt alone when visiting my own parents, and somehow I would end up the bad guy. His gifts were either something he wanted (once it was a Jenga game) or nothing at all (another time my friend had him go buy a stroller for my daughter on Christmas Eve just so I’d have a present that year). OR he would go extravagant and get something we couldn’t afford. With any of those situations, the gift giving was never a blessing but a curse. Inevitably he’d create a situation that would end in an argument so I would be feeling awful when we’d go to a friend’s house, and he would act as if nothing was wrong. Yes, Christmas with an abuser is hell. I’m grateful now that my Christmases are peaceful and nice. My heart and prayers go out to those who are still having to deal with a RASN.

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    • Pam

      Exactly right and they have the unique ability to make it look like your fault and tell the twisted story for years to come. Peace and Christ’s joy to you all

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  2. Deb

    Christmas with a RASN is lonely. The kids have wised up. They only come in a group, and not on Christmas. One is coming today (Christmas Day) with clear boundaries already set. “We arrive at 2:30 and will leave at 3:30.” So basically, we sit alone for the day. I respect their choices but damn, it sucks.

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  3. Jacob Dedrick

    I was fortunate enough to be able to spend my Holidays with my grandparents and parents. I really never had a Christmas that was disappointing. But that’s the rub. When you realize that so many Christmas’s your father was verbally abusing (or physically) your mother it makes your heart sink. Now we have Christmas at my house with Mom and siblings and have an awesome time celebrating the Birth of Christ our King.

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  4. Martha Tonges

    I do not want to remember. 27 years of torment. Jesus intervened 4years ago.The 1st Christmas after Jesus cast the beast out of our home, my son would have nothing to do with Christmas. Could not even bring himself to open his gifts until days later. All those years had done far more damage than I realized. Christmas is still a bit awkward for all of us , but I do see healing taking place. We live in PEACE, which is PRICELESS. So grateful for our Beautiful Jesus. And grateful for the teachings posted here. God bless you Jeff Crippen. ♥️

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  5. Rhonda

    Christmas 2006, my children, parents and I got into the van to go to my sisters. I got the mail from our mailbox and we drove off. I see a letter from Court. I open it up and my ex-husband had a bench warrant put out for my father, mother and I.

    He would only give us the children when my Dad was working. We made arrangements that we would meet at the police station to exchange.

    Each time , we went to court it was a new lie. My husband basically wanted the children so he could get money for them.

    Easter 2005 , he intercepted my phone call from my parents. Then he went and got our children and hide them. I called the cops about the kidnapping. Since we weren’t divorced he could do whatever with zero penalty. He tol he too k the children out of state. So I asked him to bring them back if I went about 200 miles away and phoned from a landline.
    It was spring break. I worked as a substitute teacher. During my 6 day trip. He went to the court and did an ex parte motion falsely saying that I was in a mental hospital and they were going to let me out and I had threatened to kill him and the children. The court gave him exclusive rights to our home and he refused to give me my clothes or costs or retainer. Once, I came back to Kentucky the abuse shelter took me in

    Then he took that paperwork to the school they called me and asked me what was wrong with him. I had no idea that he was just a liar and it was just a game . I thought maybe he was having a breakdown. No , he was just like his sister. She went to court and said he tried to kill her. She got full custody and he stayed in Michigan. Bach then the lie for her husband was he was bipolar. Now almost two decades later my children repeat the lie that he is schizophrenic. I had to get a letter from my psychiatrist. He said my husband refused to talk to him and my diagnosis was Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from the chronic stress of domestic violence .

    My adult children still believe most of the lies. It’s like they live in denial in order to survive. My husband kept taking me back to court. The next lie was that I was a director of a school and making 36k a year.

    The court never punished him for perjury and they told me to quit turning the teachers against him. His actions had consequences but he blamed me. I was amazed at the ignorance of the court. Our court battle ended about 19 years later.

    Fortunately, the court required a mental evaluation. The doctors wrote a 52 page report. They told me I had to work with a psychologist. She was amazing she went through the report. She explained Narcissistic Personality Disorder and worked with me trying to recover from the abuse.

    We got a counselor for our children. I remember the judge wondering why I would drive from Michigan to Kentucky. The judge believed that my son wasn’t living with me. My neighbor testified and instead of believing me, my neighbor. He believed the liar. My son was 18 but still afraid of his Dad. He was afraid that I was going to ask him to testify.

    Every Christmas we gave him the kids for fear of retaliation. Now, I know who he really is but it took years for me to discover his lies to different people.

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  6. Christ’s day…. at last

    Thank you all for sharing. Each story is completely understandable, after the RASN experiences you can recognize the others’ situations- RASNs, particularly around holidays or special occasions – are awful. The RASNs may hide their holiday horribleness – or not – from others – yet when you are their target, you just get through their games, trying not to get sucked in.

    It’s been years now and I could care less about any of the three ring circus between the RASNs, their games, the holidays for show and their yo-yo “gift”games (punishing you through the thoughtless or twisted gifts) and smears….and now no RASN spouse who was so physically cruel and torturing….. the worst was trying to hide the injuries so no one would know… if they found out what the RASN was doing to me when no one was around it would’ve been a bigger hell for me. I pray for those who are still in, that the Lord will pave the way… away…. and if it can’t be physically right now, then he puts that buffering hedge around them until it can be…..

    It’s now Christmas – true Christmas…. today as I reveled in the peace of the day, no more walking around the house in fear, no gut wrenching knot hearing the phone ring with a RASN call or text – or not, no more cringing when hearing them open the door, or the sound of their feet on the floor, or their voice of condescending twisted superiority….no… it is not more…. it’s just a quiet smiling and thinking how Christ is finally allowed here on this day…. and it is the best Christmas present ever…. free at last

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  7. Cordelia

    Everything had to go his way. From the time we got up to open presents to what we ate, to what was watched on TV, etc… I almost never got home to see my parents on the holidays (he always made sure we lived *very* far away).

    When our children were very young I told them how my parents would allow my brothers and sisters and I to rise early on Christmas day, before the sun came up, to open a few presents; we just couldn’t make a lot of noise. Our Mom almost always joined us. It was a thrill to sit together under the lit tree, while the snow danced past our living room window against the still darkness. Later on our Dad would join us and we’d finish opening presents. My children asked if they could do that; only one time I allowed them to do it. When the lazy abuser got up (almost noon) he screamed and carried on so horribly. Told our precious children they were “selfish, rude, and disgusting.” He went on a tirade that lasted a very long time. He crushed their tender hearts and mine. My heart breaks all over again remembering how he tore into our innocent and tender gifts from God. A father: NO, husband: NO,
    kill joy: 1000%!!!

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  8. ArtsyK

    Excellent post, and excellent comments. Agree with all. I would only add that RASN’s don’t give “gifts” in my experience. They are merely making deposits into their “you owe me later” accounts.
    Spent my holiday alone, in Priceless Peace. It was wonderful….

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  9. ArtsyK

    Thank you Jeff for these posts. Your courage is an inspiration. I wish more pastors/churches would follow suit.
    People wonder why so much evil dominates our planet right now, and think more churches would help. From what I can see, it is precisely BECAUSE of most churches that things got where they did. Too many disordered people hiding in, and protected by, houses of faith because clergy and others were too afraid to call evil out for what it is.

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  10. SJH

    Christmas, other’s birthdays, graduations or any celebration were the RASN is NOT the center of attention…

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    • Seeker

      Yes, exactly. They can’t stand it when somebody else gets attention. I find my RASN acts out the worst when it’s somebody’s birthday. He absolutely can’t stand it that the attention is on someone else and he’ll drum up some ridiculous drama to steal the attention. It’s sickening.

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