What I write next is a confession of my heart as an abuser. Many are being abused and know the other side of this, and I do not want to afflict anyone who is being abused with guilt. I don’t want anyone who is being abused to take from this that the abuse you are going through must be my own fault, and if I would just change there wouldn’t be a problem. I hope this will help you see that your abuser is most likely justifying what they are doing and can’t see through their own issues. It is never right for another person to treat you in such away that distorts the image of God, a tall order that we don’t live up to.
If you are an abuser I hope you will start to see what you are doing and take steps to get things right in your relationships. You will find a lot more peace in your life . It is very obvious to others when a person is not at peace in their life. They cause so much hurt in other’s lives, often without realizing it.
When the topic of not accepting responsibility for what an abuser has done comes up, I marvel. I know my stubborn heart and I can hardly believe I actually saw my own faults and failures. I too could look at someone else and their issues as the reason I was doing what I was doing. I felt very justified in my thoughts and feelings at the time. And yet somehow God performed a miracle in my life and helped me understand what I was doing to hurt others. I started to understand the feelings in my heart of rebellion and defensiveness. I had a huge wall that came crumbling down, and it is one of the best things that ever happened to me. One of the things that was such a help to me was realizing I needed to work on myself and leave the rest to God. My guess would be that the abusers who are the worst are not reading this. It is mostly likely the one who has been wounded. I pray for each of you who read this that you will be able to see what God would want you to see. This is where going through the Mending the Soul Book and Workbook can help you get a clearer picture of what is going on in your life.
I understand the person who is so frustrated in their attempts to change another person to what you are certain is best for them and for yourself. You feel you have a clear view of the picture and therefore know how to guide this ship (relationship) you are on. After all you are the one who has lived a normal life ,and it is the other person who doesn’t understand how life really ought to be. Hmm, I wonder if I didn’t know about esteeming others better than myself. I wonder if I knew how important humility was. I wonder if I forgot God allowed this relationship to teach me things, not just for me to be the teacher. Oh I had so much to learn and didn’t even realize it.
The core issue in all of our lives is not being able to accept the fact that we are wrong, or what the bible would call sin. We need to have a standard to measure ourselves by so we can see right and wrong in our lives. The Bible is that standard and God has given it to us out of His love. It is where we find freedom from the bondage of the things that hold us in unhealthy patterns of life. So even though I would never be arrested for my abuse, what I see is the seed of what is in the heart of all abusers is also in my heart. Those who commit what we would measure as great sins of abuse and those who would commit the sins that by most people would just be overlooked,both need to uncover these sins and cleanse them from our lives, or they may become more serious.
My mind goes to the story in 2 Samuel chapters 11 -12. Kind David, who had committed a grievous sin of adultery and then murder, was in denial until Nathan the prophet came to him .Nathan told him a story that angered David until David saw himself in that story and realized he was the guilty one. David repented and says in 2 Samuel chapters 12 and 13, “I have sinned against the Lord.” If you don’t have a bible you can read it here: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Samuel+11+-+12&version=NIV
This is what the Lord would desire from each one of us, a heart that can admit wrong. Another verse is Proverbs 28:13 ;He that covereth his sins shall not prosper; but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.
The following is a bit of what Steve Tracy Author of Mending the Soul says about this topic:
What is exceptional about abusers is their commonness. Abusers come from all strata of society. For instance, several years ago the U.S. Customs Office undertook a large child pornography sting operation. They arrested dozens of men and in the process documented approximately sixty different professions represented among the defendants. The list read like a vocational cross section of American society: attorney (2), actuary, butcher, college music teacher, janitor, owner of a funeral home, salesman (3), police officer (3), farmer, graphic artist (2), defense contractor, school bus driver, house painter, and structural engineer. (2) Abusers cannot be predicted by race, occupation, demeanor, education level, or facial features. Thus, one of the most chilling aspects of physical and sexual abusers is their invisibility. This presents a disturbing situation for all of us who want to protect ourselves and our children from abuse. If the family dentist, our child’s Sunday school teacher, the retired engineer next door, or our auto mechanic could be a dangerous abuser, then what do we look for? If abusers cannot be visually identified, then what common characteristics do they possess? Let’s look first at four general characteristics of abusers.
Tracy, Steven R. (2009-05-26). Mending the Soul: Understanding and Healing Abuse (Kindle Locations 681-690). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
1.Pervasive Denial of Responsibility – In the twelve years my wife, Celestia, and I have worked with abusers and abuse victims, the single most consistent characteristic we’ve seen in abusers is their utter unwillingness to accept full responsibility for their behavior. I have rarely seen abusers confess to abuse unless there was crystal-clear, overwhelming evidence of their behavior—and even then they’d typically minimize what they had done and shift the blame.
Tracy, Steven R. (2009-05-26). Mending the Soul: Understanding and Healing Abuse (Kindle Locations 691-695). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
2.Bold Deceitfulness Closely connected with the abuser’s unwillingness to own his or her destructive behavior is bold deceitfulness—a “skill” abusers need in order to maintain their innocence, avoid the discomfort of changing long-established patterns of behavior, escape the painful consequences of their actions, and assuage their own nagging consciences. Families, congregations, and secular leaders often find the audacity and persuasiveness of abusers’ deceitfulness to be overwhelming. Abusers can be masterful at manipulating words and actions to confuse, confound, and put others on the defensive.10
Tracy, Steven R. (2009-05-26). Mending the Soul: Understanding and Healing Abuse (Kindle Locations 764-769). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
3. Harsh Judgmentalism In spite of (and even because of) their own destructive behavior, abusers are often very judgmental and harsh toward others. This allows them to maintain the “high moral ground” and deflect attention from themselves onto others. To do so is often an effective way of maintaining their moral facade; thus, it perpetuates their denial of responsibility. This harsh judgmentalism is also a godless method for unrepentant abusers to deal with their own shame. Instead of facing their shame, much of which is a gracious, God-given, internal witness to their sin, they displace it onto others. Abusers often become quite sophisticated at this technique, for it is generally developed over long periods of time.
Tracy, Steven R. (2009-05-26). Mending the Soul: Understanding and Healing Abuse (Kindle Locations 798-804). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
4. Calculated Intimidation Because abusers’ lives are built around twisting reality, avoiding consequences, and engaging in behavior that brings temporary relief to their inner torment, they typically cannot face the reality of their destructive actions. Most abusers are desperate to keep their victims from revealing the truth. Thus, they often strategize to intimidate their victims into silence and submission, which allows them to continue to abuse with impunity. This also creates further damage to the victims, for it adds to their emotional trauma and can intensify feelings of powerlessness and vulnerability.
Tracy, Steven R. (2009-05-26). Mending the Soul: Understanding and Healing Abuse (Kindle Locations 851-856). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
A hymn that comes from Psalm 139:23 plays in my heart right now.
1. Search me, O God, and know my heart today,
Try me, O Savior, know my thoughts, I pray;
See if there be some wicked way in me;
Cleanse me from every sin, and set me free.
2. I praise Thee, Lord, for cleansing me from sin;
Fulfill Thy word and make me pure within;
Fill me with fire, where once I burned with shame;
Grant my desire to magnify Thy name.
3. Lord, take my life, and make it wholly Thine;
Fill my poor heart with Thy great love divine;
Take all my will, my passion, self and pride;
I now surrender, Lord, in me abide.
4. O Holy Ghost, revival comes from Thee;
Send a revival, start the work in me;
Thy Word declares Thou wilt supply our need;
For blessings now, O Lord, I humbly plead.
Author J. Edwin Orr