Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

Tag: abuser’s allies Page 1 of 3

Right Back at Ya! The Abuser’s Tactic of Reflective Blaming

Recently I had a refresher course in abuser tactics. Not in a classroom, but in real life. I need these reminders to help me continue to learn how to put into practice what I have learned about abuse. Necessary, because we all so easily revert to our old errors we used to be bound by when we were still “in the fog.” In this case my reminder was that I must not yield to accusations or to suggestions by the cowardly. We all have to learn to dig in our heels, stand firm, and say “no, I am right and you are wrong.”

Many times distortions of our Christian faith that we have been confused by tell us that such an attitude evidences a lack of humility, that surely we are all sinners, that we need to look at ourselves carefully, that we need to acknowledge our own sin…blah, blah, blah. Yes, these things can be true, but they can also be perversions of Scripture that the wicked use against us.  In dealing with the wicked, as someone has recently said, we must be shrewd. We must be wise as serpents. “No, I am right and you are wrong and I am not going to listen to you.”

It’s the same old story you all would recognize. Power and control seekers bullying and lording it over others. They will not listen to anyone. They will not admit any wrong doing. They are never wrong. YOU are the problem. And furthermore, the very idea that YOU would dare act in such an un-Christian manner by saying such things to them…well, you should be ashamed of yourself!  Sound familiar?  I bet it does.

Now, what do we mean by “reflective blaming.” It goes like this, “Here is the irony”, the wicked tell us,  “The very same ungodly spirit that you are saying we are guilty of is what you yourselves are guilty of.” See what he is saying?  “Well, you say that we are abusers, but you are abusing us by saying so.” It’s like addressing a mirror that has the capability of reflecting everything you say back at and upon you. We even see this in children. “Well you do it too!”  And of course the goal of the abuser in using this tactic is to remove at least 50% of the blame from himself and put it back on you.

When this reflective blaming hits you, how do you respond? If we aren’t careful, we will let it do its intended damage by accepting this blame. Hey, that’s the humble Christian thing to do, right? No! As soon as we catch ourselves starting to think and feel that, “whoa. I’m guilty. I have sinned by confronting my abuser. I should have been more kind and humble and….” – STOP!! No, I am not guilty of the same thing that the abuser is doing. I reject that charge. We must look the abuser in the eye (when it is safe) and say “I reject everything you are saying. Don’t try to remove guilt from yourself by deflecting it to me. I am not guilty of abuse. You are.”

Then listen to the wicked howl some more. “No one has EVER spoken to me this way!” No, they probably haven’t and that is a huge part of the problem.

The Wicked Work to Alienate Others Against Us

Proverbs 26:24-26 ESV  Whoever hates disguises himself with his lips and harbors deceit in his heart;  (25)  when he speaks graciously, believe him not, for there are seven abominations in his heart;  (26)  though his hatred be covered with deception, his wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.

It is a very consistent evil. The wicked work to turn people against the righteous. This deceit can take many forms, but I will just give you one example in this post.

Accusation by Abusers to Victims: "You Cannot Keep Friends"

For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (Isaiah 53:2-3)

Abusers are the children of their father the devil. So it is not surprising that they share one of his favorite tactics — accusation. And one of the very common charges that abusers level at their victims is something like this: “You never keep friends. Your friendships never last. You always reject them eventually. Or they reject you when they see how weird you really are.” Ever heard that line? I have. Plenty of times.

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