Keep Your Accusation Radar Up — It Detects Abusers

I have written on this subject before,  but it comes around in my mind once again. Here is a fact that will serve you well in helping identify and defend against an abuser:

Abusers are accusers. A normal, healthy, safe relationship is not characterized by accusations. If someone is regularly accusing you (often in subtle ways that are disguised as ‘suggestions’ or ‘questions’) then you are dealing with a person who is at minimum not safe nor healthy for you.

A Christian wants to do right. We pray that the Lord will show us even our hidden sins so that we can repent of them and be healed from ungodly ways of thinking. So if someone comes along and tells a Christian he or she has done wrong, or had a wrong motive, or evidences some pattern of misbehavior that is not pleasing to the Lord, we listen. It isn’t fun and it is even painful, but we strive toward humility. Yet….

We must beware. There are times we must NOT listen. How do you “feel” around a person? Safe? Generally encouraged? Accepted? Loved? If so, you probably want to hear what they have to say. Besides, from this kind of person the nature of their statement to us is not going to smack of accusation. It comes in a spirit of kindness. And it doesn’t come except rather rarely from these type of people. On the other hand, if you will pay attention to your feelings and senses and the spirit (or Spirit) in you, you will find that your feelings around a wicked person are quite different. You feel unsafe. Discouraged. Rejected. Unloved. You may have tried to suppress those “negative” feelings and even denied them to yourself because after all, Christians aren’t supposed to feel that way, right? And hey, there are tons of Christians, including ourselves, who just assume WE are the problem.

Well, it’s not necessarily right that Christians aren’t supposed to feel that way. Wicked people WILL make us feel unsafe. The Holy Spirit in us WILL stir us to caution — level yellow and up to level red if necessary. And you will also find that, if you begin to make note over time, that this kind of person in your life rather regularly, not rarely, accuses you.

Think it through. How many other people in your life accuse you regularly? I mean the people who love you. They just don’t do it. So what can we say? We say what we said again:

Abusers are accusers. A normal, healthy, safe relationship is not characterized by accusations. If someone is regularly accusing you (often in subtle ways that are disguised as ‘suggestions’ or ‘questions’) then you are dealing with a person who is at minimum not safe nor healthy for you.

Understand! BOY! This is hugely helpful and freeing! Accusations are not normal. A relationship characterized by accusations against you is not normal. People who are regularly questioning our motives, telling us what we have done wrong, telling us what we need to do better, are doing exactly what Jesus said the wicked do to the righteous:

“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. (Matthew 5:11)

See? That’s what the wicked do. Accuser! Begone! We see you for what you are! Your master has been thrown out of heaven. He can’t accuse the brethren anymore, and I’m not going to let you do it either!

The Error of Seeing the Abuser as Victim

Proverbs 30:20 This is the way of an adulteress: she eats and wipes her mouth and says, “I have done no wrong.”

When there is a crime, there is a victim and a criminal.  It is just that simple.  If your house was burglarized, would  you believe for a second that the burglar is a victim too?  Well, many people actually buy into that kind of thinking. It happens all the time when dealing with abusers.  This is a serious error that adds much additional suffering to the real victims: the victims of the abusers.

What we are considering in this article is not the subject of how abusers play the role of victim. They do, and they do it very often.  They claim that it is their victim is who really abusing them.  Many people fall for that tactic.  But that is not our subject here.

What we are concerned with now is the very wrong notion that abusers are abusers because they themselves were abused.  That they are victims too.  The theory goes this way:  abusers came to be what they are because they were victims of some trauma earlier in their lives. Therefore, if we are to deal with them properly and help them, we must feel their pain and help them see the origin of their anger and abusive mentality.  Abusers are quite happy when we embrace this theory.  They love to play the victim. They know that victims are not confronted and held accountable, but rather are shown sympathy and provided with excuses for their behavior.

There are experts in the field of abuse who reject seeing the abuser as a victim.  One example is Robert Hare (Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us.)  These experts understand that many people who have had very abusive and traumatic childhoods nevertheless grow up to become kind, empathetic, responsible people.

In the end, it really doesn’t matter.  An abuser is an abuser.  What he does is evil and wicked and he needs to be held accountable for it, not given excuses so he can keep on abusing.  Many abusers are sociopaths.  They have no conscience. Therefore, efforts to “reach” such people by engaging them in some kind of “group hug” approach which is supposed to result in them coming to feel and see how wounded they were in earlier life – is doomed to failure. Grief over such things requires a conscience and empathy.  And those are things that classic abusers do not possess.

We close with this point from Scripture.  Can you think of anyplace in the entire Bible where God confronts sinners who are in rebellion against Him, and gives them any hint of opportunity to blame the circumstances of their past?  Let’s consider a typical example:

Isaiah 1:2-5 Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth; for the LORD has spoken: “Children have I reared and brought up, but they have rebelled against me. (3) The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master’s crib, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.” (4) Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, offspring of evildoers, children who deal corruptly! They have forsaken the LORD, they have despised the Holy One of Israel, they are utterly estranged. (5) Why will you still be struck down? Why will you continue to rebel? The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.

Of course we could quote such Scriptures endlessly.  God does not confront us with our sin and “cut us slack” because of our past history.  What He does do is offer to heal us and set us right with Him through His Son Jesus Christ if we will acknowledge our sin, repent of it, and put our trust for righteousness with God in Jesus Christ alone. That is the message the abuser needs to hear. Most will not. That is why I choose to focus my energies on helping the victims.

 

Abusers Often Betray their Disguise in Subtle Ways we Must not Ignore

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. (Proverbs 6:12-15)

Winks with his eyes. Signals with his feet. Points with his finger. The nonverbal ways of the wicked man. Let’s think about these things a bit.

Quite a number of years ago — almost 20 I think — I attended a pastoral training class at a mega-church a few hours away from us. The pastor there was putting on the class. He was well-known because after he took a church over two decades or so before, the church rocketed to over 6,000 people. Huge campus. Millions and millions of dollars being invested in a completely new facility. He was the man. Their bookstore was filled with his books and tapes.

So we went there to learn “how to do it.” … Stupid. I know, I know.

During the morning presentation this pastor made a statement when he was talking to us about counseling. He said, and this is pretty much an exact quote, “Do you all know what is the most frequent question people ask when they come to me with their marriage troubles?” What do you think he gave as the answer? You won’t guess. Here it is – “They want me to help them sort out oral sex. Is it right? The wife is hesitant and the guy wants it. So they are in conflict.”

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The Worst Abusers are the Kind Who Parade as Christian Leaders

But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1 Timothy 5:8)

  1. “He premeditates his actions. He uses people and every thing he can get as an alibi to cover or justify his actions. He is the master of excuses, a liar, a deceiver and frequently contradicts himself. He is very aware of his power of charisma and persuasive talk.”
  2. “He is not verbally or physically abusive. He sounds loving and caring.”
  3. “He admits he has failed in his role as a provider, protector and leader of the family and then asks for forgiveness and says he is not happy about it either and he needs help to understand why that happens in his life, but he never changes despite all the help is offered to him.”
  4. “I find this abuser the worst because it is not very evident. He disguises himself as a good father and loving husband thru words and showing himself very active in the family matters, but in the reality does not take responsibility for providing, protecting and leading the family.“

These descriptions of a wicked man were sent to us by a Christian wife and mother whose abuser claims to be a godly servant of the Lord. And he has been successful for many years in convincing the people in his church and in other Christian organizations that he is the real deal.

Continue reading “The Worst Abusers are the Kind Who Parade as Christian Leaders”

“How do I Avoid Getting Tied up With Another Abuser?” – A Common Question

2Co 11:13-15  For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.  (14)  And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.  (15)  So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.

Recently I was asked a very good question by an abuse survivor who has had more than one experience with abusive relationships, one in which she was nearly killed. The question is stated in the title of this article, “how do I avoid getting tied up with another abuser?”

Well, the answer is not an easy one. There is no fixed formula with guarantees. As the Apostle Paul said in the scripture quoted above, evil comes in very, very deceptive disguises. How many of you for instance can tell about how charming and wonderful “he” was when you first met him? And how he is still thought of as the most wonderful, godly saint in your church? No, there are no acid texts. But we can still apply some pretty good wisdom.

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An Example of How an Abuser Ally tries to Creep in Among us

Some time ago (before we started accepting comments at Light for Dark Times) I received the following note from a man I have never heard of. He was complaining because I did not allow comments. Essentially my reason was because I could not take on a double work load of comment moderation. Anyway, here is what he said. I have had numbers of these kinds of guys over the years send me very similar demands (and that is what this is, a demand). Why? You shall see in a moment:
I hope you realize that it also makes it appear as if you figure you have all the answers and don’t need or want input from your readers. I hope I’m wrong, but that’s just how it struck me.
Dialogue does far more for people than lecturing or preaching. You are missing a good bit of your opportunity. Get a volunteer to screen your comments. Then you don’t need to moderate them yourself. That will give you an opportunity for more teaching and also to clear up misunderstandings with your readers. How do I know? Because that’s part of my job description at a ministry I work for.
Now, guess what? A bit of research and here is what we find.  This guy who demands to be permitted to expound and enlighten all of us, said this in an article about marriage, divorce, and remarriage-
I feel that we are better off to take the ‘no remarriage’ position rather than take chances…  I feel that when we start opening doors for divorce and remarriage, we start down a slippery slope that has no end….I feel that for me to break my vows to my wife, even if she breaks her vows to me, would be wrong for me. That also is the position of most of the groups sponsoring this site and the church I am part of. I realize that this isn’t what you were hoping to hear from me, probably. But I think it is the only safe position.
So, what is his motive? He runs a website “ministry” at which he peddles his perversions of God’s Word, and he wants me to allow him to unload his wicked ideas here, right in the midst of readers who have been subject to evil, including the evil of domestic abuse and abuse in their churches. He wants to oppose what we say on this blog. He is like the enemies that dogged the Apostle Paul wherever he went, teaching a false gospel to enslave others and exalt himself. He wants to teach. He wants to be “first.” He is the kind who visits your church and then insists that he be allowed to teach the class or preach the sermon right away.

Continue reading “An Example of How an Abuser Ally tries to Creep in Among us”

Abusive Tactics: The Claim to Know Our Thoughts

1 Corinthians 2:11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.

In the course of my experience with controlling, abusive individuals, I have learned the hard way that a favorite tactic of such people is that of telling us what we are thinking and what our motives were for doing something.  This has happened to me many times and I am sure it will resonate with our readers.  You do something or say something and in an attempt to control you and/or instill self doubt and false guilt in you, these kinds of people will then announce to you why you did it.  This is impossible of course.  And yet we often fall for it.  Oh, and the motive the abuser attributes to our action will never be a good motive.

Continue reading “Abusive Tactics: The Claim to Know Our Thoughts”