Abusers are hard to identify. They know that our churches are fertile hunting grounds. Christians can be kind, trusting, forgiving, and gracious. Predators can see that as a weakness to be exploited.
Abusers use several tactics to control people and manipulate others’ perceptions.
Abusers consistently use their power for selfish interests.
- master manipulators
- very charming
- generous with their time and money
- the first to volunteer to help
- claim to be the victim
- alter reality
- spread rumors
An intentional misleading, misinterpreting, twisting and altering of reality. The victim will become unsure of they can remember things properly because the abuser denies the things the victim remembers to have happened.
The abuser will make the victim feel like there is a problem with their memory and that they cannot properly remember events and things that were said by the abuser. They will rewrite events in any way they see fit and call them reality.
The victim is commanded to believe the version of reality the abuser tells them to, rather than their own memory of the events.
Over time the self-esteem and self-confidence of the victim is eroded away and they turn to the abuser to explain what is real to them. The abuser may suggest, accuse, or cause the victim mental illness. The abuser will accuse the victim of being unable to tell reality from fantasy.
The abuser will often play the victim themselves and tell people that their partner is abusing them.
He will make up stories about the victim or change things around to make the victim appear at fault.
Friends, co-workers, church members, even therapists believe that the abuser is the victim. They take on the abuser’s reality and believe the victim to be “too sensitive”, “mentally ill”, or whatever characteristic the abuser concocts.
The smear campaign can continue long after the relationship is over. The abuser can ruin the victim’s reputation and strip them of any friends, allies or family support.
The abuser may show others how he has tried to help the victim with money, support, and advise. The abuser ends up looking like the good partner who was taken advantage of.
People do not expect people to lie about their entire personality. It does not occur to normal people that someone would lie about everything including who they are, what they want, how they feel and what they think altogether.
“Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves; You will know them by their fruits.” Matthew 7:15-16