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When People Say Things They Shouldn’t To Abuse Victims

Admitting you were abused or hearing stories by other people of abuse they endured is very uncomfortable & unpleasant.  No one wants to talk about abuse.  I sure don’t!  I’d love to write about more pleasant topics & never think about the abuse I endured ever again.  Yet, I know this is impossible.  Even if I quit writing about it, the aftermath of abuse never goes away.  It’s always there to some degree, so talking about it is normal.  Most people talk about abuse in their past either slightly, a lot like me or mostly somewhere in between.

Anyone who has decided to open up about abuse has learned that not everyone is a willing, compassionate listener.  When you gather your courage to discuss the most painful experiences of your life only to be met with invalidation, it can be incredibly painful.  I hope to help you learn some ways to cope with that in this post by sharing some common comments people make to abuse survivors.

“Why didn’t you tell anyone?”  Many people who haven’t survived abuse don’t understand why a victim wouldn’t reach out for help.  It’s totally acceptable to educate anyone who asks this question.  Abusers threaten their victims to keep quiet.  They also tell their victims no one will believe them.  They even destroy their victim’s self esteem to the point the victim believes no one would care anyway, so there isn’t a point in telling anyone.

“You shouldn’t talk about this.  It’s not the Christian thing to do, making him/her look bad.”  People who say this are often also survivors of abuse, yet who lack the courage to face their pain.  Others facing their pain makes these folks feel badly, so they try to shut down the open person.  Often, there is no getting through to these people, so it is best not to discuss abuse with them.  It is vital to know though that there is nothing “un-Christian” about discussing your experiences.  You aren’t making the abuser look bad.  The abuser already did that by being abusive.

“Are you really sure that’s what happened?”  This comment is often said by someone who knows both victim & abuser.  This is said by someone who really doesn’t want to accept that someone they care about is capable of such awful behavior.  It also is said by a narcissist’s flying monkey who is trying to instill doubt in the victim so they tolerate more abuse from the narcissist.  Take this comment as a red flag that the person saying it is NOT safe!  Don’t discuss your experiences with this person.  Doing so only will lead to you being hurt, possibly also being the victim of a smear campaign.

“Nobody’s parents are perfect,” “No one gets along perfectly with their parents,” or “Everyone has childhood hurts.”  When a person says these statements, it hurts.  They are lumping vicious abuse in the same category as simple personality differences.  So invalidating!!  Shock value can make a person realize how foolish their words are.  Saying something like, “So my mother berating me to the point of obliterating my self esteem while I was a child is the same as another mother not letting her child wear a certain shirt to school?  That’s what it sounds like you’re saying, & I disagree with you.”

“Stop thinking about it” or “Stop dwelling in the past!”  Wouldn’t it be nice if it was that easy?!  Again, it’s acceptable to educate whoever asks this question.  Tell them that C-PTSD & PTSD are common after abuse, & are brought on by experiencing such horrific trauma, it literally broke a person’s brain.  A quality these disorders share is constantly reliving the trauma through flashbacks, nightmares & intrusive thoughts.  Not thinking about things is impossible when your brain won’t let you.

“Why would you talk about this now, all this time later?”  When in the midst of suffering abuse, the victim is busy trying to survive.  Talking about it at the time rarely seems important.  Once the victim is safe, survival mode ends & this person can think clearer.  They often try to process what they just escaped by talking about it.  Or, they are triggered by something… a sound, smell, someone that reminds them of their abuser in some way.  Not a lot of people are aware of this, & that may be the case with the person who says this to you.  Tell him or her.

“You’ll get over it,” “It could’ve been so much worse!” or, “Look for the positive in everything!”  Such comments are what I think of as toxic positivity.  While it is good to be positive, too positive is unhealthy.  It’s unrealistic which easily can lead to disappointment.  Comments like this also make a victim feel ashamed for still being affected by the trauma or needing to discuss it in order to heal.  Don’t waste your time talking about past trauma to people like this.  You’ll only end up hurt by their calloused words.

“At least he/she didn’t hit you!”  A common belief is that the only type of abuse is physical.  Anyone subjected to narcissistic abuse knows this is utter nonsense.  Emotional, mental, sexual, financial & spiritual abuse are all horrific forms of abuse.  They simply don’t leave the clearly visible scars that physical abuse does.  The uneducated need to be aware of this, including the person who says this to you..  You can also tell them that PTSD & C-PTSD are physical damage done to the brain by exposure to abuse & trauma.

“What did you do to make him/her treat you that way?”  This invalidating & shaming statement is so common!  It makes victims feel responsible for the terrible things their abuser did to them, & that is utterly wrong!  No one can make another person abuse them, period, no matter what they do or don’t do.  Did Jack the Ripper’s victims do anything to make him kill them?  What about Ted Bundy’s victims?  No.  These men saw an opportunity & took advantage of it.  Their victims did nothing to deserve what these killers did to them.  This is a point which you can bring up to the person who says such a disgusting statement.

“You should be more patient with him/her!”  No.  Just no.  The more patient you are with an abuser, the more they will abuse you because they see that you will tolerate a lot.  It could help to ask this person why should anyone be understanding with someone who repeatedly hurts them & shows no desire to improve their behavior?

“You should be more careful when picking your romantic partners!”  This statement is nothing but victim blaming.  What the heartless person saying this fails to realize yet needs to know is abusers can come across any way they like – very charming, kind, compassionate, romantic, successful.  They rarely are abusive monsters 24/7.  If they were, no one would get involved with them because it would be clear what they were really like.  They lure victims in by appearing to be much better people than they truly are.  While this seems like common sense, unfortunately it isn’t.  The person who says this statement to you needs to be educated!  Tell them this!

Unfortunately, there always will be people who don’t understand what it’s like to survive abuse.  There also will be people who want to silence victims, no matter how much or little they discuss their experiences.  The more you heal, the less these people will bother you, I’m happy to say.  I also hope this post has helped you to learn some ways to deal with these people!  xoxo

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Narcissists Think Fear + Obedience = Respect

Recently, God told me something fascinating.  “To narcissists, fear plus obedience equals respect.”  I thought this was fascinating & it made a lot of sense!  Narcissists clearly have no grasp of what true respect really is.  They also have no grasp of how to get respect.  What they do to get their so called respect is nothing like what most people do.

Most people realize you can’t demand someone respect you, you have to earn their respect.  Narcissists don’t think that way.  My mother used to tell me, “I demand respect!”  Didn’t work… I had very little respect for her.

Also, most people don’t try to force someone to do anything.  They go on about their lives not trying to force someone to respect them.  They instead do things that earn people’s respect such as helping the underprivileged or homeless.  Narcissists don’t care about doing good deeds to earn respect.  They believe that they’re entitled to it no matter what.

I also thought at first that this pertained only to overt narcissists.  They have no problem yelling, cursing, demeaning, invalidating, intimidating & using physical force on a victim to get whatever they want.  It can be easy for people to become intimidated by such things & become obedient to the narcissist.

As I thought about this, God said it goes for covert narcissists too.  They may not be so obviously intimidating, but they truly can instill fear in their victims which makes them obedient.  Their weapons are quieter, such as using guilt, shame, acting disappointed & the silent treatment, but they are effective nonetheless.  That also made sense.  A victim may not be afraid of a covert narcissist screaming at them or hitting them, but they do still fear the covert narcissist’s quiet wrath & will do about anything to avoid it.  Fear & obedience.

I also wondered how narcissists know to do what they do.  I mean, they’re not exactly insightful.  Yet somehow they also know what to do to each unique victim to get what they want.  How do they all know that fear & obedience will get them their so called respect?  God answered that question too.  He said the devil tells them things.  Apparently he & his demons basically whisper things to them, & the messages are kind of like a subliminal message.  These messages are spoken quietly & subtly, so narcissists think they are their own ideas.  They’re also simple, along the lines of “If you scream at her, she will do what you want” rather than explaining more complicated details, such as fear & obedience equal respect.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying that narcissists are helpless against the devil’s will.  They aren’t, but they choose not to ignore him.  Repeatedly doing the devil’s work has shut down their natural empathy & their willingness to listen to God.  2 Timothy 2:26 in the English Standard Version, it says, “and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.”  Clearly, people can choose to reject doing the devil’s work.

I’m telling you this in order that you may understand what you’re dealing with regarding narcissists.  You aren’t dealing merely with an obnoxious person when you deal with a narcissist.  You’re dealing with an evil spirit wanting to hurt you.  Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” 

Remember what exactly you are dealing with, Dear Reader.  Learn about spiritual warfare, & most importantly, stay close to your Heavenly Father.  All you have to do is ask Him & He will gladly help you in any situation, including this one.

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Types Of Abuse That Are Rarely Recognized As Abuse

When most people think of an abusive person, they think of someone who is physically abusive, such as the man who beats his wife & children.  Some may also think of a verbally abusive person, too.  There is so much more to abuse than these two methods, however!  Narcissists often use the following tactics, so it’s wise to be aware of them.

Forcing a person to do something they don’t want to do is abuse.  This can include anything, such as following unreasonable rules, looking a certain way or even performing sexual acts.  The forcing can be accomplished in many ways, like withholding money, using intimidation, guilt or shaming or simply telling the victim there is no choice in this matter.

An extremely possessive & jealous romantic partner is being abusive.  Almost everyone has a little bit of possessiveness & jealousy in them, & that is normal.  Being upset someone flirted with your spouse is bound to bring out that jealous streak.  What is not normal in that situation is if someone becomes enraged at their spouse, accusing them of having an affair with the person who flirted with them or even resorting to physical violence.  When your partner’s jealousy makes you afraid to speak with anyone your partner doesn’t approve of, this is a sign that their behavior is abusive.

Giving no privacy is abusive.  Unless you have given someone a valid reason not to trust you, such as if you cheated on your spouse, there is no good reason for you not to have privacy in your relationships.  It’s healthy for each person in a relationship, any relationship, to have a reasonable expectation of privacy.  Each person should be able to trust that the other person won’t snoop through their emails, phone, purse, etc.  Snooping makes a person feel guilty & paranoid about everything, even when they have no reason to feel that way.  It’s a miserable way to live!

Isolation is abuse.  If the other person you’re in a relationship with tries to keep you from seeing your friends & family, this is a huge red flag!  Abusers of all kinds like to isolate their victims as a means of being able to control them.  Isolation limits the information, help & support a victim can receive, which makes them easier to abuse.

Intimidation is also abuse.  My ex husband used to punch walls sometimes when he was angry with me.  He even told me that I was lucky he hit the wall instead of me, because that was what he wanted to do.  Intimidation also can come in the form of someone telling you that they’ll tell everyone you know private things about you & that no one will want anything to do with you after they know those things.

Keeping you from accessing any money is abusive.  Naturally parents don’t allow their children to access their bank accounts, but they also don’t restrict their children from working.  They also don’t expect their children to give them most of their paycheck for rent.  A spouse that refuses to add your name to bank accounts or credit cards, or prevents you from working is also being abusive.

Using religion to force you to behave as they want is abusive.  Spiritual abuse seems to be on the rise.  It can come from those in the church, spouses & even parents.  Spiritual abuse is when someone tries to manipulate your behavior by twisting Scripture around to justify their abusing you or manipulating you into doing what they want.  This is one more reason I believe it’s wise to have plenty of knowledge of the Bible.  People who spiritually abuse can be quite convincing with what they have to say.  The best way to combat this is to have knowledge of the Bible & a relationship with God.

Just remember, Dear Reader, anyone who shows these behaviors is being abusive.  Don’t tell yourself it’s no big deal, it doesn’t mean anything or any other excuses.  These behaviors are abusive & you have every right to protect yourself!

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Misusing Christianity For Abusive Purposes

So many people I have spoken with were abused under the guise of Christianity.  Parents abuse their children because they think Proverbs 13:24 basically saying,  “Spare the rod, spoil the child” means parents have the right to beat their children.  They are also often the same parents who claim their children aren’t honoring them by refusing to tolerate their abuse.  There are also husbands who demand blind obedience from their wives because Ephesians 5:22 says wives should submit to their husbands.  There are even those active in their church who abuse other church members.  Some sexually abuse children, others ostracize other members for not fitting their ideal of what they should be & more.

There are so many things wrong with such situations!!

Personally I believe that as wrong as abuse is, when it is done using God as a justification or as a way to lure victims in, that somehow makes the abuse even worse.  The person in this situation not only has the fallout of the abuse to deal with, but also is going to have a lot of spiritual damage as well.  They may believe God doesn’t care about them or maybe that He simply doesn’t exist at all because what happened to them was so horrific.  I felt the same way.  My mother went through a phase when I was a teenager of telling me that she knew she was going to Heaven when she died because she was such a good person.  I, however, was terrible to her so I was destined for Hell.  I thought no God could exist & let me go through what I was going through, but if He did, I clearly wanted no part of Him if that was truly how He was.

Also, it seems to me when people twist Scripture around, if you look at the Bible, somewhere there is at least one nearby verse that clearly proves their interpretation is wrong.  Look at Ephesians 5:22 for a second.  Yes, it does say that wives should submit to their husbands.  It also says in the verse immediately before that a couple should submit to each other.  It clearly isn’t one sided, but you won’t hear an abusive husband mention Ephesians 5:21.  The same goes for abusive parents who claim their children aren’t honoring them.  The Bible also mentions in Ephesians 6:4 & Colossians 3:21 that parents shouldn’t provoke their children.

Truly toxic, abusive, narcissistic people will use the Bible or the label of “Christian” to justify their wicked behavior.  To combat this, you have to know the Bible at least a bit.  Nowhere in there does it justify any form of abuse!  If you have any doubts, do your research with a good concordance or the internet.  It won’t take you long to see how wrong the abuser is.

People also claim they are Christian to be underestimated, so people will feel safe with them or if they’re on the fence about something, they will think it’s OK because this person said they’re a Christian.  Most people hear someone say they’re a Christian & somehow think those people are impervious to mistakes or bad behavior.  Nothing could be further from the truth!  EVERYONE makes mistakes for one thing.  If we didn’t, we wouldn’t need Jesus.  And for another thing, no true believer is going to be deliberately abusive towards someone else.

Rather than take someone on their word, observe a person’s behavior.  Any true Christian’s behavior should show that they are doing their best to live a good, Godly life.  Sure, they make mistakes, but they quickly try to fix them.  If they hurt someone, it isn’t done intentionally, they are fast to apologize & change their behavior so it never happens again.

There are plenty of wolves in sheep’s clothing out there, looking for innocent victims.  Remembering the points in this article can help you to avoid them.

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Spiritual Abuse

Narcissists abuse their victims in many ways –  emotionally, mentally, financially, physically & sexually.  Some also abuse their victims spiritually.

Spiritual abusers aren’t only those who are preachers, deacons or others who are active in their church.  Anyone can be a spiritual abuser.  When my mother’s abuse peaked when I was in my late teens, she became very spiritually abusive.  She frequently told me that I was going to hell for the terrible way I treated her.  She never was active in a church or taught me anything about God.  In fact, she always said she hated Christians.

If you’re wondering if the narcissist in your life is abusing you spiritually, there are some signs to look for.

 

  • Twisting Scripture around or eliminating parts of it to suit their agenda is a big red flag.  A narcissistic parent who tells their child the commandment says to honor your parents, yet never considers where the Bible says parents shouldn’t exasperate their children is guilty of this behavior, as is the narcissistic husband who says wives should submit to their husbands while conveniently forgetting the rest of the verse says husband should also submit to their wives.
  • Narcissists also may lie to the victim, saying they are doing God’s will by abusing the victim.  This can do a tremendous amount of damage to a victim.  It can turn someone against God, or destroy their faith in Him.  I did not believe in God as a child, since I had no real teaching about Him, but my mother using Him as a weapon to hurt me made sure I didn’t want to know anything about Him either.
  • Someone who reminds victims of the imperfection of human nature as an excuse to abuse is being spiritually abusive.
  • Claiming a victim shouldn’t get angry because it’s not Godly is spiritually abusive.
  • Anyone who tells a victim to “forgive & forget” the abuse, to stay with an abuser no matter what or gets angry when a victim gives an abuser consequences is being spiritually abusive.
  • Some narcissists are quite active in their church, making themselves very valuable to the church with their service.  They will recruit enablers who are also in the church, so when their victim speaks out, they shun the victim.  The logic is something like, “He couldn’t be like she says!  Look at all of the good things he does for our church!”
  • They also may tell people that the “good” people at church are disappointed in the victim for behaving so badly, whether or not this is true.  This can leave a victim feeling unable to reach out for support.

 

Coping with spiritual abuse isn’t easy, but it can be done.

 

  • Do you know Jesus as your personal savior?  If not, I really suggest you turn to Him now because you truly need help!  There is information available on my website at this link: Salvation Through Jesus Christ.
  • Learn what the Bible has to say.  Use an easy to understand translation like the Good News or New King James version.  The more you learn & the closer you draw to God, the more truth you will see & the more you will see the narcissist has been lying to you.
  • Question things the narcissist says to you.  Not necessarily out loud, but to yourself at least.  “How does this coincide with the Bible?”  “Is there Scripture that backs up what he/she is saying?”
  • Pray.  Pray often & pray a lot.  Ask God to show you the truth & to give you clarity.  While God is holy, He is also a very loving & gentle Father.  He will guide, teach & even correct you while never making you feel badly about yourself.
  • Do you have good Christian friends?  If not, it’s time to find some!  If you know someone who has been a Christian for a while, & is actively trying to be a good example of their faith, this person can help you to keep focused on the truth.  If the narcissist prevents you from having friends (as so many do), see what you can find online.  There are many online forums & groups.  You can find friends there that the narcissist doesn’t know about.
  • Never forget that your Heavenly Father loves you a great deal.  He does NOT want you suffering & miserable.  He does NOT condone abuse nor does He want victims to suffer in silence.  Speak out & protect yourself.

 

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The Closer You Get To God, The More Challenges You May Face

Have you ever noticed sometimes that the more your relationship with God improves, the more bad things seem to come your way?  Suddenly it seems like everything is going wrong, & the things that are going wrong are big challenges.  If only they were simple ones like having a flat tire.

This is because the closer you get to God, the more the devil hates you & wants to steal your peace & joy.

I have seen this in my own life recently.  A couple of weeks ago, I spent a good part of my day in tears & praying about a big problem happening in my life.  That afternoon, one of my wonderful, Godly friends texted me.  She reminded me that with God, all things are possible & that He loves me.  The amazing part of this is that I didn’t tell her anything that was happening until after she sent me the text & I explained why this meant so much to me that she did that.  This incident caused my faith in God to grow by leaps & bounds.  Since then, I’ve been experiencing more nightmares & flashbacks than usual which causes my health to be worse, my husband & I have been getting along worse & even my cats have been fussing with each other a lot which is highly unusual for them.

If things are suddenly going badly in your life, this may be why.  Did you have some sort of spiritual breakthrough recently?  Are you feeling closer to God than usual due to an answered prayer or display of His favor & love?  That may be why things suddenly took a turn for the worse in your life.

During these trying times, I’ve learned that as hard as they are, there can still be peace.  On the outside, nothing has really changed in my life at all.  Things are still challenging.  However, I know beyond any doubt that God is still in control.  He still loves me, He still has my back.  Even during the bad times, He is still with me.

That goes for you too, Dear Reader.  Even when it doesn’t feel like it, & it seems like God is a million miles away, He’s still with you & taking care of you.  And, the only reason things are going badly at the moment is the devil is mad that you’re closer to God.  He’s trying to destroy your faith, to make you think things like, “If this is what happens when I get close to God, I’m done believing in Him!”  Don’t give him what he wants!  Stick even closer to God!  It makes a big difference!  Maybe not in your circumstances immediately, but you’ll be better able to handle the bad things, you’ll have more peace & less anxiety & depression.  One thing that helps me too, is to remember Psalm 23:4

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” (NKJV)

I have found these Scriptures to be comforting & helpful as well…

Psalm 33:8 “Let all the earth fear the Lord; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.”  (NKJV)

Psalm 33:18 “Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, On those who hope in His mercy, ” (NKJV)

Proverbs 8:13 “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverse mouth I hate.” (NKJV)

Remember, you are NOT alone, Dear Reader!  God is in your corner with you, no matter what.  xoxo

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