What About Forgiveness, When Living With a Sociopath?

What About Forgiveness?

By: Susan Deborah Schiller

Jesus commanded us to forgive each other, even up to 70 x 7 times, which means "unlimited grace". At the cross, with his dying breath, he prayed, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."

In Light of His example, what are we to think, when it comes to living with a pathological liar, abuser, and someone who is intent on murdering our souls?

I wasn't married to a normal man. In fact, he used to tell me he wasn't a normal man and he asked me to please not treat him as a normal man. What he meant, was that he was a "super-man". He didn't need the Bible and he didn't have to pray, like normal people, for he was allowed to walk and talk with Jesus in the flesh, as he repeatedly told me.

His huge revelations and anointing for signs, wonders, and miracles made him "untouchable", he said. His "accountability partners" never bothered to talk to me or to know me well; therefore, he succeeded in being a monster, in private, while appearing as a saint in public.

In regard to forgiving this man, I have forgiven him… but in doing so, I also say, "Shalom" with honesty about what happened. My peacemaking is saying good-bye.

That is, I must make my own closure, because it's extremely rare that a victim gets true closure from a sociopath I won't forget the man who said, "I don't just hate you, I hate all women!" I won't forget the man who said to me, "I don't want to divorce you; I just want to watch you suffer. You're going to see what you missed!" 

You can't truly forgive a person who doesn't repent. Most of the time, it's because they are demonized, I believe.

I call this part of my ex-husband, the Widow Maker. I can forgive the man, but the spirit who controls him, and nearly possesses him, no way – I cannot forgive a demon.

A sociopath, in my own personal opinion based on 30 years of living with a sociopath, is very nearly possessed by a demon(s). They are highly toxic people, and every interaction you have with them is potentially lethal. 

Did Jesus forgive the money changers? Did he forgive the religious leaders who were deceiving people – the ones he called snakes, vipers, and whitewashed tombs?

Jesus called a snake a snake. He didn't forgive the snake for being deceptive. He exposed the deception. Jesus forgave the repentant one… the woman caught in adultery, the tax collector… He forgave everyone who was repentant. He knew their hearts, without them having to speak. 

He knew the ones who nailed His hands and feet to the cross. He knew the fickle crowd who roared, "Crucify him!" He knew they were deceived by their religious leaders. He forgave the repentant man on the cross next to his, but he said nothing about the other criminal on the other side.

I want to copy a little of what I wrote at "Shalom" and see what you think… test my words:

Some enemies are meant to return to us as friends. Others are "tares" or "children of the devil" and they have committed themselves to destruction. We cannot align ourselves with them. We cannot forgive them, give them grace, or have any type of fellowship with them. We are not even to pray for them or give them our blessing.

Even angels have trouble discerning who they are, as Jesus tells us in the parable of the wheat and tares. One of their favorite career paths is "pastor" and they are found prevalently in our churches, hospitals, and counseling offices. Only God is equipped to handle these people.

If you would like to learn more about why forgiveness, mercy, and grace can cause us to be accomplices to evil, in the case of dealing with sociopaths, I can refer you to Pastor Sam Powell, who provides much more insight on this than I can afford to get into on this page!

His sermon, "How to Deal with Abusive Men in Church" is availabe in the Rescue and Restore section of this website, or click here.

Remember, pathological relationships are completely different, even opposite, of normal relationships. Forgiveness, mercy, and grace can cause us to be accomplices to evil, in the case of dealing with people who have pathological problems such as sociopathy. 

Nevertheless, we must have closure, and there will never be a rational way to have closure with a person who is irrational, so you must create your own closure.

For most of us, the person we need most to forgive is ourselves… and God. If it helps you to forgive your abuser and God leads you to do so, please do. But only when you are ready. Only you know when you are ready.

Our anger is meant to serve a purpose, to wake us up, to see that our souls have been in danger. To forgive early on, may cause us to return to the abuser.

My friend Kimberly Dimick, say this:

"I found this (a friend's dream, warning her to be aggressive against the wolf in sheep's clothing, otherwise it would return even more aggressively) interesting that it was specifically a wolf trying to devour her. That tells me that these men ARE wolves and out for destruction. It is hard sometimes as a Christian to really have to admit one is clearly recognizing EVIL. No wonder why God did not want us to eat from that "tree".

We are created for relationship and to behold our Savior who is so lovely! It goes against what we think or have been told God's love is. It is not easy seeing the aspect of God's nature and character as JUST. Yes, His justice is beautiful in regards to justifying a truly repentant sinner. That is amazing grace. Learning how to walk circumspectly, knowing to be on the look out for evil takes wisdom and discernment. Who wants to see evil clearly? Not me, but it is necessary to save lives."

We must guard our hearts, and forgiving can feel like opening our hearts to them again. Forgiving can be a way of letting go, and sending them into God's arms, where He will know what to do with them.

Forgiving can be a way of disconnecting. Forgiving can be a way of freeing yourself, and so I do encourage you to forgive, if you are strong enough to stay away from your abuser, mentally, emotionally, and physically.

Forgiveness, as a form of release, can be healthy… but true forgiveness can only be extended to someone who is genuinely repentant. 

Extending true forgiveness to an abuser can harm them, you, and others. It's dangerous to forgive an unrepentant abuser! I can refer you to Pastor Sam Powell, for a much better explanation than I can present!

In the meantime, if someone is telling you to "forgive and move on," you may want to listen to your heart, and forgive with a healthy dose of wisdom. Take your time. Forgiveness is important, but you don't want to give away your soul in the process. Pathological 'love' is tricky!

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With all my love,

Sue

Susan Schiller knows how it feels to lose everything: marriage and family, church and reputation, finances and businesses, and more. Susan's upcoming, interactive memoir, "On the Way Home," tells the story of how she came to be known as "the most abused woman" her counselors had yet met and how she learned to navigate to freedom and fullness.  
 
Today Susan helps people write their life stories, unearthing the treasures of their past and sowing them into their future, creating new family legacies.
 

Copyright © 2010 to 2015 Team Family Online, All rights reserved.   For reprint permission or for any private or commercial use, in any form of media, please contact Susan Schiller

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

kelly November 8, 2017 at 8:58 pm

Dear All,

I am in a deep place. I found out my fiance is a sociopath living a double life and married in another country. I have a child with him and I have not informed him I know everything until I see him face to face. I NEED HELP, I AM A CHRISTIAN AND I FORGIVE HIM AND IT'S BEEN A WEEK SINCE I'VE KNOWN HE IS LIVING A DOUBLE LIFE FOR 3 YEARS NOW. I AM FEELING LIKE I WANT HIM BACK AND COULD FORGIVE HIM. WHAT SHOULD I DO? AM I MAKING A GOOD DECISION? 

I JUST NEED HELP PLEASE, URGENTLY.

 

Reply

Rene' July 7, 2015 at 12:19 pm

Thanks, Sue, for this wonderful post!

In my experience, the sociopath will use a forgiving nature against you. It is a double standard, though, as he will never forgive the minutest infraction from you, and that infraction usually occurred by wearing you down by repeated button pushing. I have learned that forgiveness is unilateral: meaning I can chose to forgive alone, but reconciliation is bi-lateral: meaning it takes two to reconcile. We are not commanded to reconcile to unbelievers. Can one ever truly reconcile to a sociopath? Never! It's a back to back, adversarial relationship and a continual lose-lose for the honest party. It's a never-ending process of being baited to submit to strife. It's more than forgiving 70×7. The ONLY way to be able to forgive is to STAY AWAY FROM THEM and let YHWH fight the battle for you. The Scriptures promise they will fall into the trap they created for you with their lies. It's best to remember that they are being controlled by the spirit that openly opposes the Messiah and Jesus tells us to not tolerate that spirit. We have authority to tell it to "shut up and get out." Scripture directs us to resist and that spirit will flee from us (of course, we need to live a lifestyle of obedience for this to be successful). The enemy is adept at twisting Scripture so that we willingly allow an open door to his abuse. The church's teaching on forgiveness is often one of those doors.  Go to the TEACHER Himself to get interpretation, then ask for confirmation. 

Blessing and Shalom!

-Rene'

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Susan Schiller July 7, 2015 at 1:40 pm

Rene, what a strong voice you have – full of truth and love!

Yes, yes, and AMEN to your words of wisdom! The back-to-back adversarial position is exactly right and a good word picture. You are right in stating that the only way to forgive is to stay away from them and let YHWH fight the battle for you, and that they will end up falling into the trap they laid for you.

If you treat a sociopath as a normal person, it’s lose-lose, and you speak the truth, Rene.

Through the twisting of Scripture we, ourselves, open the door to more and more abuse. To understand God’s nature and heart is uppermost, compared to intellectual knowledge of Scripture, I believe.

Rene, your voice is valuable – I am so glad you have shared here. I hope to hear more from you and to learn of your story. It sounds like we have walked on a similar journey!

Shalom and blessings, my friend!

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laura August 5, 2014 at 11:26 am

From my collection of quotes:"Life becomes easier when you learn to accept an apology you never got."

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Susan Schiller August 5, 2014 at 11:37 am

I love quotes!

And this one is powerful… thanks, Laura!  In a way, the apologies we don’t receive today will one day be given to us, I believe. One day every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord… one day everyone will know the truth, including about how we feel… and the truth will come out! I believe Christ is setting things right, even beginning now… and so, in a way, we can accept their apology, for outside of the limitations of Time it is happening right now – this apology we need to heal our hearts. 

Well, sometimes I find the most complex answers, but in away, it’s also simple to me…. just thinking outside of Time…  Thanks, Laura! 🙂

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Joyce Lagana August 1, 2014 at 9:10 am

Hi Sue,

I believe you have been given divine insight into forgiveness.  I think it is one of the many-faceted concepts that sometimes is incorrectly taught and thus harms rather than helps the victims who become trapped in guilt and condemnation because they haven't been able to bring themselves to a point of forgiving.  Bless you for being willing to stand up for truth!

I can identify with your reader who was eaten alive by other victims.  Your response is so gracious. "It's so easy to look backward and to see the common traps survivors seem to stay stuck in, and forgiveness is certainly an important key in unlocking our chains. I, too, struggle and feel frustrated when I see victims remaining victims, choosing to remain stuck in their prison cell. It's a common tragedy."

I feel frustrated as well — I can only keep loving them and praying for their freedom.  

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Susan Schiller August 1, 2014 at 9:19 am

Your words carry great weight with me Joyce, for I know you are a teacher of the Word of God and a shepherd of God’s precious lambs. 

Thank you for knowing my heart, for affirming me, over and over. As one who has survivored and overcome great abuse in your own life, you understand this issue from both sides. I believe it’s valuable for those of us who know both sides to speak up, to offer balance.

The church has been so hurtful to abuse victims, even blaming and shaming them, compounding the abuse. We need voices like yours, Joyce…. and like Laura’s, too. Laura is one who is coming out, speaking up, and not just laying down. She refuses to remain stuck, and so she’s creating a new legacy for her family. She is a gateway for Light to enter her genetic line, to change the DNA of her family line.

Thank you so much, Joyce, for adding your voice here – thank you for the Truth you speak so boldly in all ways, including in the walking out of your day to day life!

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Susan Schiller July 30, 2014 at 12:04 pm

Laura emailed me a comment, requesting that I post it on this page:

I still live with my abusers,but i'm emotionally detached and i use forgiveness as an antidote.Most victims get stuck in waiting for an 'i'm sorry' that will never come.Forgiveness is not about abusers,it's about me.For me,forgiveness does not require the presence of abusers nor their apology.When god forgave,he never waited to be asked.As a woman,i choose to forgive the sinner.Only god can forgive the sin.When judgement day will come,god will tell me:"I sent you a temptation to see how you'll deal with it.Have you fallen into the devil's trap and held on to poisonous rage? Or have you listened to my voice and did as i commanded?".For me,forgiveness is the core of religion.Living with my abusers,what would happen to me if i did not forgive? Maybe i would have killed myself or drowned in a sea of toxicity.Other victims have escaped and created their own life,and still can't forgive.I don't have access to that freedom or a normal life.But i am responsible for my soul going to heaven or hell after death.

Thank you, Laura!

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Susan Schiller July 30, 2014 at 12:08 pm

I have posted it, Laura, and for now the website is working well. I’m so sorry you have trouble earlier!

 

I am so sorry you are still living with abusers. I can definitely understand why you need a daily anti-dote to the toxicity of their lives. 

 

Will you be able to leave, at some point, do you think? I truly hope so!

 

Thank you for sharing your perspective – the rage itself is toxic. Anger is good to stir us out of numbness or lethargy, or to move us to action, but long-term it’s toxic to our souls. 

 

Like you, I choose heaven…. LIFE, abundant life.

 

Your soul is beautiful, Laura!

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laura July 30, 2014 at 12:36 pm

I feel our hearts are alike.Like you wrote on a recent blog post,"the most beautiful people are formed by trials."

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Susan Schiller July 30, 2014 at 1:20 pm

That’s a beautiful compliment, Laura – thank you!

Reply

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