Shaming: A Favorite Tool of the Wicked

Domestic abusers are shamers, and we are very often far too willing to wear that shame.

Shame. Shame on you. Shame, shame, shame.

What does that word mean anyway? Permit Webster to explain:

a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior. Humiliation, mortification, chagrin, embarrassment, indignity.

But the kind of shame we want to consider here is false shame. This brand is not caused by wrong or foolish behavior (which would be true shame, something that can be good), but by false thinking about our behavior, often initiated by the false accusations of a wicked person. False shame is incredibly destructive. Shame is very powerful. If it is not truth-based, big trouble looms.

I should be ashamed if I sin. That shame leads to repentance. I should be ashamed if I walk down the street naked, if I lose my temper, if I lie and so on. A lack of shame for sin is a sure sign of depravity and we see plenty of it in our culture today.

1Co 6:5 I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers,

But there are things which we need not be ashamed of. In fact, which we must not be ashamed of. For example:

Luke 9:26 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

The wicked love to mock and shame God’s people, so it is not at all surprising that abusers (revilers as the Bible calls them) thrive on shaming their targets. False accusations. Attributing false motives. “Let me tell you why you did that. Here is what you were thinking….”. You’ve heard those words I am sure. “God is not pleased with what you did.” Yada, yada, yada.

False shame does not produce good results. It enslaves us. It leads us to false conclusions about ourselves, about the Lord and how He views us. It causes us to make bad decisions (like suppressing our true thoughts and believing the lies). “If you leave your husband, you are a bad Christian. God’s anger will be upon you. If you were really holy, you would be patient and forgiving no matter what your abuser does.” Lies. All lies. False shame.

A typical and notorious reviler, hiding in a disguise of “saintliness,” once pulled this false shaming business on me. It worked for a time because I wasn’t wise to this tactic. I had confronted a wicked, evil, vile man who was blaspheming the Lord’s name and making threats against me. It was late at night and he had phoned me. I stopped him and told him he was a wicked man and he should fear using the Lord’s name in his profanities. He then threatened me and said “I ought to just come over there and knock you senseless.” Drunks never know when to shut up, you know. I told him “You come right on over. I will meet you by the front door of the church. Let’s go at it!” He shut up and that was the end of the conversation. Never had trouble with that guy again.

Now, enter Mr. Shamer/Reviler. “Oh, pastor, I just disagree with what you did. That was wrong. As Christians we need to be kind and compassionate to people. We need to suffer persecution patiently. What you did was wrong.” Blah, blah, blah. Over the years this guy brought up these same shaming accusations several more times.  Why was he doing this? What was his motive. Power and control. Its always about power and control. He must control the pastor. He must be better and more holy than the pastor. He must appear as a holy “martyr” ready to suffer anything for the Lord. So he plays situations like this for his own self-glory.

This is wickedness. What I did was not only not sin, it was right. It would have been wrong to remain silent and not confront the man. It would have been cowardly to just “love him.”

Your abuser pulls the same kind of shaming tactics with you. Like most all of us, at first at least, you have put on his cloak of shame. It has labeled  you like that Scarlet Letter of literature. I am stupid. I am not a good Christian. I am not capable of properly seeing things. I am worthless and good for nothing.

Lies. All lies.

The fact is that I have talked with enough abuse victims over the years and listened to their stories to know this for a fact: Abuse victims, especially domestic abuse victims, particularly domestic abuse victims who are Christians, are the bravest, strongest, and most wonderful Christians I know. Enduring horrible abuse for decades, their faith still stands. They are willing to die for their children. They hope and pray that their abuser will repent and be saved (he isn’t going to, by the way). They put their trust in the Lord in the darkest times, even when everyone in their church abandons them or even puts them out. They are the last people on earth who need to be ashamed.

Domestic abusers are shamers, and we are very often far too willing to wear that shame.

 

Abused in Your Sleep – Another Control Tactic of the Wicked

I was told that my body was not my own, but the touching went on despite me saying I was so tired and wanted to go back to sleep. I would wake up from the touching and pretend that I was still asleep.  I can only remember once or twice that it went the whole way while I was sleeping. But I’ve since discovered now that my ex was sexually abusing me but using scripture to justify it.

This power and control tactic is not at all uncommon. Over the years I have had numbers of abuse victims tell me exactly what this quote from a survivor describes. Abuse during sleep. And very commonly, sexual abuse during sleep.

Abusers, as you know, lust for power and control. They demand it. It is like the rush of some drug to them. They even want their target to know that she is not even beyond that control during sleep! And so they demand sex at 2am or they startle her awake by shouting and raging about something she supposedly did wrong – and then eventually go back to a sound sleep themselves!

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Just How Deceitful can an Abuser be? – When Bad Fruit Looks Good

1Co 13:1-3 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. (2) And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. (3) If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Jesus said that we can know evil people “by their fruit.” That is to say, we watch the kind of fruit that their lives produce, that is visible – their words, their actions – the visible things you see. And it is what we can see that tells us what we cannot see – the true condition of their heart. Bad fruit = bad tree. Good fruit = good tree.

But sometimes discerning these things isn’t all that easy. No doubt many victims of abuse struggle with this. So let’s do some serious thinking about this.

Continue reading “Just How Deceitful can an Abuser be? – When Bad Fruit Looks Good”

The Wicked Have no Shame – Observations on the Abuser

Isa 2:17 And the haughtiness of man shall be humbled, and the lofty pride of men shall be brought low, and the LORD alone will be exalted in that day.

If you have ever experienced “life” with an abuser (which no doubt most of our readers have) then you understand what I mean when I say that abusers have no shame. After all, they are the center of the universe. They are never wrong, never to blame. They have no conscience. They are not repentant. No shame.

This shamelessness evidences itself regularly in such a person. After treating their victim cruelly for instance, they will sleep quite well and behave as if it never happened. “Hey, babe, how about getting me a beer?” Or, “what are you so glum about this morning?” They will insist that the victim do the forgiving and forgetting, and even the repenting. After all, ultimately the whole abuse scenario the evening before was the victim’s fault, you know.

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Abusers Love the Darkness rather than the Light

We don’t usually publish on Tuesday, but this little nugget of truth couldn’t wait. Abusers are secretive and enjoy keeping their targets “guessing” about what they (the abuser) are going to do or think or say in given situations.

Don Hennessy nails it when he says (emphasis mine),

He (the abuser) cannot allow you to influence him because he is terrified that you will gain access to his inner world.  He is reluctant to enter that world himself because he knows how dark it is, but he prefers the darkness rather than allowing you to shine light on it. (Don Hennessy, Steps to Freedom: Escaping Intimate Control*)

And Scripture confirms this truth:

John 3:16-19 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (17) For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. (18) Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. (19) And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.

 

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Abuse and Christianity: Why the “Christian” Abuser is the Worst Kind

Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish everyone with tears. Acts 20:28-31 ESV

I think that Christians are faced with the worst kind of abuser — the “Christian” abuser.  The person who claims to be a Christian but who is nothing but a facade and who, in reality, is a power and control motivated, entitlement-thinking wolf in wool.  And it is important for us to realize this.  Not only are we often the most naive people when it comes to “getting it” about abuse, but we in the Christian church often have to face the most evil abusers.

Why do I suggest this?

Continue reading “Abuse and Christianity: Why the “Christian” Abuser is the Worst Kind”

Projection – A Typical Trait of a Toxic Person

Dale Ingraham shared an article from Shahida Arabi recently which included this characteristic of abusers. I am not familiar enough with Arabi to recommend her material, but she certainly nails it in this statement about “projection.”

She calls the abuser a “toxic” person and that is a very accurate term. Wicked people are toxic to others. Poison. As long as we are in some kind of relationship with them, they are poisoning us. I have written elsewhere that abuse is murder. It is a slow but sure toxic poisoning.

Continue reading “Projection – A Typical Trait of a Toxic Person”