“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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Abusive Tactics: Telling Victims What to Think

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.

Pharisees claim to know out thoughts and motives better than we do.  Those of you who have done much reading about abuse know that abusers, be they domestic or spiritual or both, proclaim the ability to crawl inside the mind of their victim, see what the victim is thinking, discern what her motives are, and in addition tell her what she is to think and what her motives are to be.  Of course no one except the Lord can do this, but the abuser can be very convincing.  I remember a scene in the movie Cape Fear (not recommending it by the way) in which the evil character (Robert Di Niro) is doing this very thing to a teen-age girl.  It was very well portrayed as he diabolically analyzes and dictates her thoughts and motives to her, holding her mesmerized.

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Abuse and Pre-Marriage Counseling: We Must Change Our Approach

There are scores of books written and designed to be used to counsel engaged couples, purporting to make them better prepared for marriage.  Many pastors insist on pre-marriage counseling before they will agree to perform a wedding.  I am sure that their intent is good, but frankly, I have never enjoyed nor felt any degree of excitement about this kind of counseling.  I have done it out of “duty.”  It is expected.  People think that we need to pull out all the stops and do everything we can to turn a shaky takeoff into a solid flight.

But it isn’t working, and I think we know it.

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