Silence the Abused – Cover up the Crime

Silence the Abused –  Cover Up the Crime

By: Susan Deborah Schiller

I was married to a sociopath for two decades. We were active Christian leaders and from all outward appearances we were "normal". That's the scariest part about sociopaths – they look like normal Christians. Like tares in a wheat field, they blend in perfectly.

We lived and worked within the closed system of our faith. Most of our friends and family were inside the closed system and through repetitious sermons it was reinforced to us that the "world outside" was a dangerous place.

The "Us-Versus-Them" Mentality Keeps Many Victims Locked Up Inside Closed Systems of Control

It was easy to know what was dangerous, because my husband and I had graduated from a Christian college where the boundaries were constantly reinforced. Cards, dice, hair the wrong length, R-rated movies, rock music, dresses too far above your knees, smoking, drinking, cussing, and sharing a bed before you're married were some of our no-no's.

Being present in church a minimum of three times a week assured that we would be hearing those rules often enough to have the desired effect of an "us-versus-them-syndrome". It was visually apparent who was a believer and who was "of the world".

Our church was on fire for the Lord, and because I was working 60-80 hours a week on our church staff, overseeing the youth, children, and prayer departments, I was given a lot of praise for our church doubling in size; most of that growth was in the youth ages 18 and under. But my image was about to dramatically change, once I began "speaking up".

It began in the church office when all was quiet, and I began thinking, "Something is wrong; something is missing, and it's right at the core of what we're doing." One day it became startlingly clear what was wrong, and I began to speak up about it.

At home, I was feeling the same, only more so. It was to the point that my husband was threatening to mutilate my body and put a bullet in my head. (All of this was described in graphic detail, on several occasions, always behind closed doors.) He would usually follow up with this mantra:

"Sue, you haven't done anything wrong. There's just something inside me that wants to hurt you. But don't worry, I've got it under control."

I wanted to believe him and because he cried and seemed truly repentant I forgave him, believing that love overcomes all evil. Like most Christians, I had had no training in abuse tactics and I didn't understand that biblical due process never works with sociopaths.

He was having affairs and mishandling finances, but what was worse is that he called it all, "The Game".

Like many abusers, he had moments when he "confessed" his sins. One day he explained to me that it was all a game that everyone plays. There are two sides, just like most games, and on one side are the oppressors and on the other side are the oppressed. To an abuser, those are the only two options: hurt or be hurt. Survival of the fittest. "Grace" is not the answer, in confronting abusers.

Grace become evil's accomplice

Church leaders need to be educated about domestic violence among Christians. 

The Christian abuser is the worst.

Even Pat Robertson on the 700 Club has been known to protect abusive husbands, as recorded on video at this page. There are been very few places for an abused Christian woman to turn to, for help, until recently. I had no help at all, for nearly 20 years.

My husband said, "No one will ever see your pain. I can hurt you all I want without a scratch and no one will ever believe you. It's much more satisfying to rip out your heart than to hit your body. Anyone can throw a woman's body around, but it's a bigger challenge to kill her spirit in such a way that she will be blamed."

The abuse had been escalating over the course of years, and it was taking a toll on my body as well as my heart. When I try to share this story with non-Christians it's hard for them to understand why I didn't reach out for help or just leave. All I can tell you is that it was a result of all the "programming" – years of sermons – that caused me to feel it was appropriate to follow the church's proper channels.

Our pastor's wife "forgave" her husband for an ongoing affair with the nanny, and there were no consequences for him, even when he confessed his affair with church leadership. That's just the way things were, and the message to wives was explicitly clear. Forgive and move on.

But one day at work I was crying and couldn't stop crying. It was his day off, but my pastor suddenly appeared in the office. I ended up telling him everything.

When my pastor heard about what was happening at home, he was livid! He called my husband in to the office, verifying the facts were true, and then he dismissed my husband from his office as treasurer "until he learned to love his wife". For awhile it felt like after all those years I had a champion in my corner, but that's when things got even uglier. My pastor, under the guise of "counseling" used the information he received from me to attempt to seduce me. In the meantime, things went from worse to impossible, at home.

Fleeing from that situation felt kind of like Joseph running from Potiphar's wife, and then getting blamed for it anyway. Of course, I lost my job but the worst part was how the pain devastated our children.

Once you leave a closed system, it's like you disappear off the face of the planet. The friends I had known for the past 12-years – the mothers who we had shared raising our children with – silence from all sides!

We silence the abused and cover up the crime.

From that point on, I determined to keep everything "in the Light" so when we found our next church I told the pastor everything that had happened, keeping nothing hidden. He promised to help. The abuse at home continued to escalate. I never felt safe and was constantly on guard. Church leaders just weren't equipped to fight this level of evil.

After several more years I finally went outside the system to get help. I began to learn about cults from a whole different point of view. We had had a lot of cult teaching – pointing fingers at Mormons and other religious systems – but we never looked at what we, ourselves, were doing and recognized that what we were was an evangelical charismatic Christian cult. (I'm not saying that all evangelicals, all charismatics, or all Christians are a cult, but that there are more closed system cult-type churches than many of us realize.)

That's when all hell broke loose. My pastor called me into his office and said to me, "Sue, I'm ashamed of you! Why can't you have more grace?"

He pointed to another abused woman, whose husband was a sex addict, alcoholic, rapist, and child molester, and he said to me, "Why can't you be more like Kathy?" (Name changed to protect her identity.)

Next, he said something I'll never forget. "You have to choose. Either you listen to the counselors you've been going to or you listen to me. You can only have one pastor. And if you don't want me as a pastor, this is our final conversation. You will not be allowed inside our church and you are never to contact me again."

It shocked me. But I had had far too many conversations with my other counselors and I knew I had to leave. It would be seven years before I heard teaching on proper biblical submission and true grace.

Silence the abused – cover up the crime.

Shortly afterward, the pastor called an emergency meeting, to which I was not invited. I had two friends who shared with me, independently of each other, what happened at the meeting. One friend told me, "Sue, we've been told that you are a dangerous person and that none of us should talk to you. What's happening??"

Later, another friend appeared and said Pastor had taken him aside and apologized for my behavior, telling my friend to choose between him and me. And that if he chose to support me he would be banned from the church.

My own children were told that I was mentally ill, unstable, and that I had hypnotized people into believing things that were untrue. They accused me of using mind control, even, and convinced my children that I was crazy. All in loving, caring, let-me-help-you-to-recover-from-this-horrible-tragedy terms.

If an abuse victim speaks up, the "us-versus-them" mentality automatically compartmentalizes her OUT of the "us" and into the "them". There are only two sides in an abusive reality.

Abusers cover for other abusers. Abusers project their own image onto you, accusing you of what is happening in their own lives. I didn't know this then. The shame and helplessness were overwhelming. I cried night and day for hours at a time.

My counselor, who specialized in deprogramming, began to teach me from the book of Galatians what freedom and grace really look like. He never taught me what to think, but rather showed me how to think for myself.

It took many years for me to begin to recover. It was the storytellers who saved my life.

There are some people who stand as mighty beacons of light – like light houses next to a stormy sea. They simply tell stories. They don't tell you what to think or what to do. Their story is their testimony, and we overcome the world by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony.

The best thing we can do is to LISTEN ATTENTIVELY to the stories survivors are sharing. Just listen. Put duct tape over your mouth, if necessary.

Don't race to cast out demons, break curses, and correct what appears to you as faulty thinking. I've had that happen, too, and it's DEVASTATING! They were trained ministers with a well known international inner healing ministry, but they had absolutely no knowledge of mind control or sociopathic abuse.

Not all counselors understand how to help a cult survivor who has been deeply traumatized. Most pastors and counselors do not understand, at best, and at worst, aid the abuser and blame the victim.

Some very nice Christian people said to me, "Sue, we love your husband!" That's the thing about sociopaths – they are charming, popular, and believable!

Those were the scariest words of all and because I greatly admired and respected these Christian ministers. I realized I would receive no true help or support from them. I left Christianity entirely, for several years, as a direct result.

A few people did get the courage to contact me, years later. In every case, their primary concern was, "Are you in a church now?" The shame burned in me for years, but what it burned was not my soul but the very programming that needed to go up in smoke! Sometimes pain is a gift.

When they heard I wasn't in a church that meets in a building kind of church, they gracefully ended the call and I never heard from them again. I never understood why until I began hearing advice like this: "Be careful of the wounded Christians outside of church. They are full of toxic waste due to bitterness and anger. Don't get too close or you'll be contaminated by them."

It's just more of the "us-versus-them-syndrome"… which is probably the clearest sign you are part of a cult.

What has helped me the most to begin to thrive, not just survive, but to thrive is learning to "move in the opposite" direction.

The world is inside of us, inside all of our systems (political, religious, education, etc) just as the Kingdom of God is inside of us. The battle front is in our minds.

Shame, Fear, and Control are the generals of the world's system. Christ is the captain of the Lord's army. Our thoughts and words are missiles and swords, bombs and grendades.

The most important "move in the opposite direction" is to break our silence. In telling our stories we break the Shame Barrier!

I believe God is raising up Dread Champions, like David's Mighty Men, from the survivors of sociopathic abuse. We've been trained in the desert. We've been behind enemy lines.

Thousands of years ago God put into place a plan to save every family – every man, woman, and child. It's called "The Avengers". We get payback – a double portion. It's our inheritance that every abuse is turned into something Good.

We're not just here on earth to survive, but to thrive.

In writing our stories, we are breaking the shame barrier. Instead of silence, we are getting our voices back. Instead of cover up, we are exposing. Instead of cowering, we are gaining the courage to confront evil forces. Not by blaming and shaming, as our abusers do, but by using our inheritance to rewrite our future and to create our world.

Instead of ______ (fill in the blank with whatever has been stolen from you – peace, reputation, relationships, etc), you get ______ (fill in the blank with what you believe God has in store for you).

This is our inheritance as servants of the Lord, children of God. We are His peacemakers. We cry out for justice. We rescue victims. We go after the one who was shunned and abandoned. We doctor the wounds.

The Kingdom of Heaven is within you, but it's a narrow gate to pass through the entrance. We must become like children – not like experts – but like little children.

Don't be afraid you'll never be normal again. Instead, be glad for the pain, for you're about to get an "Instead of"!

Because you got a double dose of trouble
    and more than your share of contempt,
Your inheritance in the land will be doubled
    and your joy go on forever. – Isaiah 61:7

Nothing changes unless we change. The Word of God, a sword in your hand, is "living and active and sharper than a double-edged sword…."

Passivity is your worst enemy. Faith is active or it dies. Faith is using God's Word to tell a story that creates a better world.

You mission, if you choose to accept it, is to write your own story. Invest what you learned into something that will bless the next generation. Write down the "intead of's" and let's write ourselves into a better world!

 

My Full Story     What I Believe    Contact Me

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

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

D September 11, 2015 at 6:02 am

Dear Susan, Your writing does me so much good.  And some of the responses are amazing.  I don't even know where to begin, and I don't plan on rambling.  🙂 I don't plan on it.  Closed systems, aka cults: yes, I have been there.  Targeted in a church: they think he walks on water.  Plays piano beautifully in services, sings in choir, all kinds of people share their deepest troubles with him and he offers them up for prayer in Bible studies and cries big crocodile tears.  Nobody in the church believed me or would even talk to me.  Anger and confusion on my part. I did not handle it well.  Stopped attending church and thought that meant I had abandoned God.  (God doesn't live in the church any more than school teachers live in the school!)  Enter sociopath.  Year long relationship felt like 10 years!!.  Lost jobs, career, self-esteem, feeling of safety in the world, trust in people, trust in myself…  For one year  after I was completely non-functional, second year scrambling to find my legs, about to start year three.  God willing, I will start to see tangible results (like a job) from all the recovery work soon! (Trying not to need a homeless shelter in a few months).  Thankfully, I did not completely lose faith in God, but needless to say, it has been a struggle. I had been praying and reading the Bible through it all, and I believe that's why I was able to get out of the relationship before he could discard me.  Though it was only a year, it felt like ten.  We all know what it's like to be in a relationship with a sociopath, so I won't go into it.  I see a therapist weekly and talk on hotlines daily, and with a small handful of friends who have been through it.  And, I do tell my story to ones who KNOW I'm not making it up.  I may have avoided a nasty discard, but I have been hit hard by the smear campaigns.  You describe the us/them mentality and dynamics so well.  (Maybe not in this article.  I've read a few this morning.) Anyway… lately, I am wanting to talk to Christians to get perspective on things, for example, about turning away from God in anger.  I've been taught/encouraged to not feel anger, so I never quite know what to do with it.  In recovery, I'm learning to express it in healthy ways.  I've been attending a church, but have little faith in the church.  Realizing, in fact, I was not called to have faith in a church!  You even mention "solitary Christians."  Well, I've been listening to the gospels on youtube because my eyes are tired.  Your conversation with Anna about mirroring to others the state of their soul is very intriguing!  I don't claim to be all goodness and light as I have serious flaws, but lack of conscience or empathy is not one of them.  (Thank God!  May that always be the case).  I don't know how to say it…  People possessed with demons recognized Jesus's divinity.  If we have Christ in us, people are going to see it and how much more so the really depraved sociopaths, et al. who know exactly what they're doing! Also, I am floored…  My eyes have been opened from this (the latest) experience with a sociopath.  I have been forced to learn of my weaknesses and what made me vulnerable to him.  Now I see vulnerability in other people SO clearly.  Some interactions with really kind, empathetic people leave me worried for them because I see how easy it would be to manipulate them.  For a while, it made me feel like there was something wrong with me that I would be "thinking about that."  In fact, I don't think about manipulating people.  I'm sure I have – it's a pretty human thing to do and not even realize it.  But when you see it, when you deconstruct the abusive relationship and understand how it actually went down… ("I" statements)  I just have so much more clarity about human interactions, and it's pretty mind-blowing.  Before the sociopath, I had a hard time believing such evil exists, and I saw good in people that wasn't there.  Sometimes my seeing the evil makes me feel evil.  Sometimes, I feel like I have been infected by my ex.  Jesus says, "be wise as serpents, innocent as doves."  I believe that after an experience like this, we all have a choice what to do with the knew wisdom whether we become like the abuser, or become more like Christ.  The wisdom I have gained from my experience is frightening, but then, every step I have taken in the past few years since getting out has been filled with much fear. I think I am starting to ramble, so I will stop here.  One question:  please, did you have a similar experience:  seeing the evil and feeling infected somehow, and doubting your basic goodness?  Don't know how to phrase it.  Even Jesus was tempted in the desert.   I am really enjoying your writing and gaining from your sharing your experience from a Christian perspective.  I will leave it at that, and continue to read.  But, if you could answer my question, or point me to a link that covers such topics, that would be great!  And now, I try to sleep one more hour!  Thank you!!

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Susan Schiller September 11, 2015 at 7:37 am

Dear D,

Your voice is much needed and a great blessing to me today!

Never be afraid of rambling. I do it all the time – it's helpful! It's in the writing, itself, that we find answers.

You have asked if I ever felt "infected" by evil, or if it's affected how I feel about my own self. And the answer is YES! In fact, I've learned to be very grateful for all the evil God allowed me to encounter face-to-face. You see, I asked for it. I actually intentionally prayed for God to give me His hardest tests! I was naive, of course.

God warned me, right at that moment when I prayed that prayer… and He told me 1.) He had a better plan for me that involved being farther away from the front line, 2.) That I would be very lonely (he repeated that 3x), 3.) That people I thought were my friends would reject, betray, and abandone me (yep, that all happened), 4.) and that I would see evil face-to-face and I would not like it. He then finished by asking me, "Do you still want to follow Me?" And I said yes, with His grace. And shortly afterward a spiritual earthquake happened, causing an evil tsunami to absolutely crush me, leaving me utterly ruined for normal!

Have I written about the benefits? Yes: http://heartscribes.org/benefits-of-living-with-a-sociopath/ And if you follow the links within the article, there are more benefits…. 

I wish I could say the pain is completely gone, or that the ripple effects have subsided, but no, in my present life I am still helping the next generations get free…. and it's ugly and hurtful and sometimes more terrible than what I've gone through, because it somehow hurts more when the little ones hurt than when I, myself, am hurt.

The smear campaigns…. http://heartscribes.org/the-most-powerful-weapon-to-defeat-a-smear-campaign/ … it literally kills your ego. Not fun.

But in the end, you will be grateful!

You have a sensitive heart, my friend. Have you read Dale Carnegie's book, "How to Win Friends and Influence People?" It's like the perfect book for sociopaths, because they can simply read it and know exactly how to manipulate people. It's a good book – and has valuable info, but in the wrong hands, it can empower controllers.

That's what you are armed with now – your eyes have seen evil and so know how it things. You see empathetic people who are at risk and in potential danger.

It's not YOU that's the problem. Those thoughts are probably not coming to you because you have become one of THEM, but rather, because your eyes are open. And you know you have a choice. You actually could become one of them…. a person who uses the knowledge of good and evil to bring harm.

That is the danger…. in judging the abusers we can actually become like them. That is my greatest fear, really.

If they can't subugate us through terror, they can gain allies through our silent particpation (by not speaking up or doing something about injustice when we see it) or through our ungodly responses to evil. Anthing less than the life of Jesus in us can make us allies of evil.

This is the only thing that I'm afraid of, frankly!

I hope you are able to sleep, Diane…. you have a good heart. You are arming yourself with knowledge. You're on a good path, because you desire Goodness, Truth, and Love!

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Susan Schiller September 11, 2015 at 8:16 am

SMALL STRAWS IN A SOFT WIND by MARSHA BURNS:

There is a widening chasm of separation between light and darkness, good and evil, strength and weakness.  Beloved, I have called you to the place of light, good and strength.  Refuse to allow anyone or anything to keep you from your rightful position, says the Lord.  Choose wisely in every situation and be resolute.  Proverbs 3:31 Do not envy the oppressor, and choose none of his ways.

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D September 13, 2015 at 5:55 pm

Hi Susan!  Thank you for your reply!

You said "God warned me, right at that moment when I prayed that prayer… and He told me 1.) He had a better plan for me that involved being farther away from the front line, 2.) That I would be very lonely (he repeated that 3x), 3.) That people I thought were my friends would reject, betray, and abandone me (yep, that all happened), 4.) and that I would see evil face-to-face and I would not like it. He then finished by asking me, “Do you still want to follow Me?” And I said yes, with His grace. And shortly afterward a spiritual earthquake happened, causing an evil tsunami to absolutely crush me, leaving me utterly ruined for normal!"

Man, I can relate!  I too prayed a few "naive" prayers.  30 years ago:  1) "Take away everything I rely on that is not YOU."  This prayer was complete with 36 hours of fasting, drinking only water.  I quickly got out of the mind-control cult which was the second hardest period of my adult life. I felt like I got off light, but apparently with God, there is no statute of limitations on prayers.   LOL.   8 years ago (because I didn't learn not to pray crazy prayers.)  I prayed for God to:  2) "Reach in and change my heart and make me want what you want because I'm tired of wanting what I can't have."  Prayed this daily for about a month.   My eyes have been opened.  First, I moved from my beloved home town to a different region of the country (a city I don't like) to be near a sister who is NOT supportive.  She talked me into moving here so she could have free childcare. In the past 8 years, I lost jobs, moved a lot and got rid of possessions as I downsized living situations several times due to finances, and now have all my stuff in one tiny room in someone else's house.  Then due to sociopath and "friends" who went with him, I lost more jobs, a career I can't seem to get back into, friends who were never real friends anyway (but betrayal hurts regardless). Realized my family groomed me for the sociopath.  I came pre-groomed so he didn't have to do any grooming.  Went no contact from family.  I lost my sense of belonging, sense of safety in the world, trust in myself, trust in other people, Christians, any sense of direction and/or purpose.  Here I am…  If I don't find a job to support myself, I will have to let go of most of the rest of my possessions and go into a shelter.  I am in the process of letting go anyway.  I have had a taste of freedom from people and stuff.  However, that does not mean I am not FRIGHTENED.  I know I need correction, but I am dragged kicking and screaming through the whole process.  hahaha…  "God, this is not what I meant!"

I try to pray very carefully now.  But honestly, I think true prayer is just giving God permission to do what he plans to do anyway.  That's how I explain crazy prayers. 

I have asked God many times, "what is it you want?"  A relationship:  my attention and affection seems obvious.  Then I think of want meaning "lack."  And I realize God lacks nothing.  And that made me think of "my grace is sufficient for you."  I am meant to be happy with what I have and where I am, and thank God.  I am struggling.  My therapist and the hotline counselors tell me I'm strong.  I don't have any objectivity.  If my friend were dealing with what I've dealt with, what would I say?  Actually, in recovery, I have made friends who have gone through what I have.  I didn't know them when they were going through the worst of it and not one of them is as open with their present struggles as I am.

Anyway… thank you for your thoughts on becoming like the abuser.  I have seen other abused people go that way and it has surprised me.  It seems disingenuous of me to be surprised…  (Here, I am thinking with my fingers on the keypad.)  I know I am not pure goodness.   It scares me too, and I don't want to believe I could go that way although that is a fear.  I don't want to think about it right now.  

Thank you for this site!  And your food for thought.  I need to think less right now and pray more.  And eat dinner.  Also, thanks for providing a space to share these things.  I don't have a place to talk honestly about my faith or lack thereof.  After I wrote my first message to you, I navigated around the site and read a lot more.  Good stuff, but I need to be more moderate or I will overwhelm myself.  How many times can I say thank you?  It's meeting a need.   Blessings to you.  Diane

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D September 13, 2015 at 8:23 pm

Actually, in recovery, I have made friends who have gone through what I have.  I didn't know them when they were going through the worst of it and not one of them is as open with their present struggles as I am. I actually did just say this.  It feels harsh.  I'm grateful for my friends, but I'm also frustrated, angry, lonely, afraid and I feeling vulnerable.  You're right!  This rambling does reveal some interesting things!  Diane

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D September 14, 2015 at 10:59 am

Luke 10:27 "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' God tells us what He wants. In the Bible. And He HAS been changing my heart through this adversity. I am a different person from who I was 7 years ago!  I don't know who I am. That is frightening.  

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Susan Schiller September 14, 2015 at 10:07 pm

I believe we come to know who we are as we come to see God face to face, allowing ourselves to gaze into His eyes and He gazes into our eyes. When we see and know Him for who He truly is, we become like Him. We change our "I am" statements to who He sees us as… We're stepping into a new skin… http://heartscribes.org/glass-behold/

God sure is smiling on you, D. I feel His immense pleasure with you!

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Susan Schiller September 14, 2015 at 10:00 pm

It's hard to be vulnerable, isn't it, D? Especially for those of us who know that some enjoy exploiting our weaknesses. But we know that it's when we are crushed, bruised, and broken that we are made wine and precious oils that bring healing to ourselves and others.

You're not harsh, D…. keep writing, my friend!

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Susan Schiller September 14, 2015 at 10:03 pm

I love to hear your voice, Diana – it’s not often I meet a fellow traveler like you! One who prays the crazy prayers, that is… and trusts God even when He dares to gives us those answers. We are most blessed, I believe, even when we face losing everything. It’s hard to really live until you’ve laid everything down on the altar, or picked up your cross, or have been nailed to a cross. Not many are willing to go there, but you are… you are a treasure!

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D September 21, 2015 at 4:23 pm

Hi Susan, I've been busy meditating on things.  Your site has given me a lot to think about.   No more crazy prayers from me for a while.  The answers to my prayers have felt like a burning… how do you say it?  Purified by fire.  ?  Except I am not pure.  Every day, I learn I have more to confess from that relationship and the choices I made.  At the time, my choices were not so clear to me!  Nothing was clear with the gaslighting, et al.  Humbling experience is an understatement. I can't do it without God's grace.  (I also, just read your post on "the benefits."  Whew!  I appreciate your honesty.  It is helping me!!) Last week I listened to Matthew and Mark, and watched visual Bible Luke and John.  And now, I'm watching Luke again.  If I keep watching Luke, the video (actual Bible text) I'll be able to recite the stories in order by chapter.  Every time I watch (because my eyes are not great for reading), I get more from the stories.  And, I cry while I watch, I think I'm grieving.  Sort of like Peter when the rooster crows and he realized he denied Christ 3 times!  I don't really know what grieving the spirit means, like does the spirit cry within me?  I read Psalm 35 But when I stumbled, they gathered in glee;     assailants gathered against me without my knowledge.     They slandered me without ceasing. 16 Like the ungodly they maliciously mocked;[b]     they gnashed their teeth at me. and Psalm 38 Because of your wrath there is no health in my body;     there is no soundness in my bones because of my sin. 4 My guilt has overwhelmed me     like a burden too heavy to bear. Susan, you said:  It’s not YOU that’s the problem. Those thoughts are probably not coming to you because you have become one of THEM, but rather, because your eyes are open. And you know you have a choice. You actually could become one of them…. a person who uses the knowledge of good and evil to bring harm. That is the danger…. in judging the abusers we can actually become like them. That is my greatest fear, really. I asked myself, "why did I not see how far off the mark I had gotten!?!?"  Because, as happens in a relationship with a sociopath, my focus was on him!  Talk about downward comparisons!  And yet, I cannot blame him.  I feel like I failed a test. I do have to say though, that the sociopath took a crowbar to my deepest insecurities.  God let this happen so I will let go of the things I have felt I cannot live without. Attachments to specific people (family) who stand in the way of my relationship with HIM and the approval of people in general.  (My family groomed me for the relationship with the sociopath.  He didn't have to do any grooming.)  I am doing what I can to LEARN the lesson!  It has been very costly. I could go on, but I plan to prepare some things for tomorrow and relax before bed.  Anyway… Take care.  Diane

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D September 21, 2015 at 5:19 pm

And, Susan, thanks for your kind words: It’s hard to really live until you’ve laid everything down on the altar, or picked up your cross, or have been nailed to a cross. Not many are willing to go there, but you are… you are a treasure! I've had everything taken from me and, as they say, every thing that was taken has claw marks in it.  Not sure how willing I have been.  🙂  This is extremely hard stuff to process and you are always very kind and gentle in your replies.  I don't know how I would reply to some responses you receive.  You offer a lot of grace to people.

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Susan Schiller September 21, 2015 at 8:36 pm

Claw marks… those are good words, D. Yes, we're sorely marked, aren't we… yes.

Grace… too often I've given "false grace". I hope I can strike the right balance. It is easier online, you know?

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Susan Schiller September 21, 2015 at 8:34 pm

Diane, you’ve gone really deep into this Love, I can tell. 

I wept when I read what you wrote: “I do have to say though, that the sociopath took a crowbar to my deepest insecurities.  God let this happen so I will let go of the things I have felt I cannot live without. Attachments to specific people (family) who stand in the way of my relationship with HIM and the approval of people in general.  (My family groomed me for the relationship with the sociopath.  He didn’t have to do any grooming.)  I am doing what I can to LEARN the lesson!  It has been very costly.”

Yes, me too… whew! Yes.

There are so few of us who have discovered the greatest blessing in the scourging we received, even the torture. I’m so grateful to know you, Diane.

I’d like to ask permission of another woman like us – a survivor of the worst of the worst – who has the most astonishing insights. She and I walk hand in hand together and it’s so delightful when we can share insights!

I’m going to ask her if I can share some of her insights with you – I think you’ll be thrilled by what God’s doing among us!

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D September 22, 2015 at 1:42 am

HI Susan, I'm awake in the wee hours… thinking.  Ugh!  I do value sleep very highly.  Anyway… I never believed in evil, but there are many stories in Luke of people being healed of demons. and I never believed in angels, but there are stories in Luke about people being visited.  And in Acts.  If I'm considering the existence of demons, I need also to consider the existence of angels.  So, I'm up googling. Claw marks… those are good words, Diane. Yes, we’re sorely marked, aren’t we… yes. Ooooh… I never thought of the claw marks in me!!  I am a battlefield and there is one who fights DIRTY. I am in need of soothing this dark night.  I could use assurance from an angel, but…  I think it would scare me deeply if such a thing were to occur.   I hope you are sleeping well, Susan.

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D September 22, 2015 at 1:44 am

googling and praying.  

Susan Schiller September 22, 2015 at 6:14 am

Hi D,

God uses so many different kinds of messengers and healers, angelic and human. In my life, angels have appeared both in dreams and in real life. Recently, I had a dream where I was on a battlefield and a medic appeared. He yelled out, "She needs a blood transfusion!" I woke up just then with a sense of so much gratitude in my heart. Someone had seen my true spiritual condition! I felt cared for, seen, and heard.

I have been helping a woman and her child escape from a sociopath and believe me, you get wounded in action when you step in to help one such as they. I can't tell you how many times God has sent someone like that in a dream at night. The Bible is full of stories of people dreaming, who woke up with direction, wisdom, and more.

So I pray for you right now, Diane, for God to visit you in dreams at night – so you can sleep and get help at the same time! I bless you with dreams and visions that heal your soul and body.

Bless you, dear heart!

anna February 14, 2015 at 5:22 pm

Dear Susan,

I have been living in fear for the past few years or so. i have tried everything to recover from the pain that i've been put through, but i'm afraid i was going in the wrong direction. somehow, i have been a magnet for the worst people out there, and managed to be involved in a series of relationships with severely damaged people. love affairs, platonic relationships, friendships – you name it. i have to admit, there was a bit of an avenger in me, for i always thought i had the strenght to fight them and make them realize what they were doing was wrong. and i did manage to do that, always at some point. but, it only made things worse – they got more angry, more capable of doing bad things, and more in touch with their dark side. and they made me lose more, of course, because they know how to hurt you deeply more than others. this, i found out in the course of life, was not the best strategy, nor was it a good one in spiritual terms, for revenge only makes you bitter inside. so i tried with the graceful method – state your case, make them realise they have wronged you, and then be kind, because kindness heals all. this proved out to be even worse, which came as a shock to me. turns out, the more fair you are, the more hate you get. i do not understand the logic behind it, honestly. i learned how to be fearful, i learned how to be self-destructive, i even learned how to trust no one, not even my closest friends, for fear of betrayal and misjudgement, and most of all, how to ignore my own hurts. i live with a sense of deep shame, for i am not proud for the way i have been living my own life, and i don't know whether i am deeply good or bad. i tried my best to make people happy, i am told i am always uplifting, i am told i am a source of positive energy by many, my friends managed to get their lives straight because of my empathy and advice, but as for myself, i feel like i am standing on the edge. i feel like i am understood by no one, like i am the biggest enemy there is, my reputation is gone, and i am coping hard with learning about the whole truth. i don't know anymore, what my truth is. i have been severely bullied, left alone, campaigned against and betrayed. please tell me what is going on, i feel like i can't reach my positive energy anymore and it's like the fighter in me has died, and it feels like i am completely alone. i find your blog really informative, and uplifting, and i can deeply relate to the hurt you've been put through. congratulations, i know how hard it is, and i find your strenght really encouraging and miraculous. you are a true champion!

 

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Susan Schiller February 14, 2015 at 8:53 pm

Dear Anna,

You are my heroine, from the parts of your story you have shared here. I will open up my bedroom this morning, a few hours ago, to a conversation I had with my husband. Saturday mornings have been my story time – a time when whatever needs to come up just comes up. Today I needed no tissues… there comes a time when you’ve shared so many times that you’ve talked the pain out and you realize your heart is filled with light again. And the fighter in you comes back.

What did we talk about? Pretty much what you just said. And I realized that I am a person who exposes darkness, simply by my presence. I don’t even need to open my mouth. I walk into a store and stand in front of the cashier to pay for my purchase and her eyes jiggle back and forth like a crazy person. The darkness is stirred up, just in looking at me. Wherever I go I find myself discovering deeds of darkness. I don’t hunt for it. I don’t want to see it. But my presence alone causes things to get stirred up.

New agers walk past me and turn toward me saying things like, “You’re aura is huge – it’s a blinding light!” I never even knew what they were talking about until I looked it up. When I graduated from an internship for inner healing and deliverance a prophet called my name and I came to the front. He didn’t know me, but he said, “As soon as I called your name and you stood up I saw the biggest ball of fire – you are a huge ball of fire!”

I was working at a hotel and went to a Christmas party for employees. Three Lakota Indians were seated at the banquet table and I walked behind the chairs to get to my chair. All three of them spoke to me afterward, exclaiming that they felt my fire as I walked past them. They had never felt such a hot fire before. It caused them to want to get to know me, to discover the source of my “power”.

I shared all these things with my husband and I said to him, “I can’t go anywhere, whether it’s church or business, without somehow getting into the middle of some sort of chaos, darkness, or whatever… I always end up exposing what is going on. 

My piano teacher, years ago, said to me, “Sue, you’re a dangerous woman.”

Well, I don’t mean to be or do any of these things! I am a quiet woman and I love peace!

I don’t know if this helps you or not, Anna, but I do know that there are people like you and me. The story you share is one we all share. We always seem to get involved with people who are doing wrong and our presence exposes it. 

A few months ago I read “Innocence” – a book by Dean Koontz. It helped me to understand how people like me are seen as “monsters” because we mirror to others their own state of their soul. I hate evil, Anna, and I sense that you do, too.

I don’t know what kind of calling or mission this is we are on. It kills us. It’s so hard. All I know is that I can’t stop. And so I keep writing. 

If it helps at all, to know that you’re not alone…. to know that you’re okay… to know that you’re all right, then maybe that is all I can tell you. It’s a lonely journey, Anna. When Jesus spoke to me about this, before it all began to unfold, he warned me it would be lonely. It is. I had no idea just how lonely it is.

But we are not alone. Please email me or share more of your story here. Just talking can really help. I’m here. I understand. It’s hell on earth… but it’s also darkest before the dawn. And we’re here to bring heaven to earth. And it’s happening. That’s what all this shaking is about. All I know is that there is a purpose in this and God’s in control. It’s all going to be revealed one day and you will be glad. I hope to see your face on that day and to feel your relief and to rejoice with you. For today, just know I’m holding your hand. You’re not alone.

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anna February 15, 2015 at 10:06 am

Dear Susan,

thank you so much for your reply! i feel much better and stronger just from reading your words of wisdom. you pointed out so many things that i am already familiar with, it just gives tremendous strenght to hear them from someone else, knowing that your feelings are on spot and that your beliefs are reinforced. and i believe this to be the true lightworkers doing – bringing something good up without even realising it. a very wise and positive person once told me – we are not our thoughts, we are something else. at that time, i didn't truly understand the meaning of this, but right now i think i do, somehow after reading this reply of yours it all made sense to me, and it explains so many things! and thank you for helping me sort this all out, dear Susan.

as for the many experiences you've mentioned, i've smiled while reading them, for i know exactly what you are saying. i have this lovely 'oh if you only knew' feeling about you, a great need to tell you and show you how much i can relate. you wrote about the experience with the casheer – this is exactly what's been happening to me lately, as i started to have more and more faith. for example, i went to a party recently, and that day was one of my more introspective days, one of those times when i was completely in tune with my own feelings and thoughts. and i got there, and realized soon enough that people were having strong reactions to me – those who were pretense and hiding something, they were instantly repulsed by me, altough somewhat pulled in to see what was i about, but keeping a distance, while those whose eyes smiled with joy shared some of their lovely stories with me and felt a bit awkward, but respectful – it was as if i knew exactly who they were, like i saw right through them. and i did, but the thing is i was very calm and silent and respectful, i didn't say anything, i was just being myself and had no intent to go to a party and do this, i wanted to have a few drinks and then go home. this is all purely energetical, as i've come to see. and it happens without us doing anything on purpose. 

the other thing is, and i would like to share this with you and many other readers out there, i've noticed something very interesting in terms of how people come to see me. i myself, just like yourself, am a calm and loving person, i love peace and harmony, and many have told me that i am like a ball of lovely emotions, easy to love. i also have a hidden strenght, which comes to surface when it's time to tell the truth. energy workers have told me that i have a strong, solid aura, and that that i am a positive force. but, as for everyday people, there are three categories: the first one sees me as a strong and loving person, one who protects, nurtures and fights for, the second one sees me as this insecure, submissive person, and the third one sees me as an awful person, these are the sociopaths who have told me more often than not that we are made of the same stuff, that we're the same, and that i am even worse than they are, i just keep it under the surface. i found this disturbing and very confusing, but i finally came to some conclusions that i want to share. the first category are either my good friends or just loving people i come in contact with, those who are on the same wavelenght like myself, they are my most loving companions, and they are the ones i can most easily share my insights with, so they probably see me for who i really am. the second category is the ego-based category, they are people who operate on ego levels and mistake sensitivity for insecurity. more often than not, they dismiss the things that i'm saying, they are often irritated by my analytical inputs, but they always come to me when they have issues they need to work through. i find myself often being angry with them, for they don't want to see anothers' point of view, and they try to box me in. but on the other hand, they are usually fighters themselves, and their purpose is to make me stronger, while mine is to make them more emotionally receptive. the third category, of course, is the one most disturbed by my light. they realise i see more than other people do, but what they don't understand is why i keep that insight from abuse. they would like to see me doing awful things more than anything else, because they would prove me to be bad, while i'm not, and they would have a justification for themselves, something like "it's not that i'm bad, it's the fact that i see so many things i can use and abuse that makes me more powerful". the difference here, of course, is that seeing something is one thing, and what you do with that knowledge is the other. sometimes, with sociopaths, it's like you're two sides of the same coin – the good and the bad, and they tend to mistake this for compatibility, and later when they realize what's really going on, decide that you have to be destroyed for the sake of their sole existence. 

and as for this:" I shared all these things with my husband and I said to him, “I can’t go anywhere, whether it’s church or business, without somehow getting into the middle of some sort of chaos, darkness, or whatever… I always end up exposing what is going on. "

this i found to be the most lonely part of it all. i thought it was something awful inside of me, like, why do i make this happen, why does it always have to do something with me, i just appear and things start happenning, it's chaos and it's darkness indeed, and afterwards it all sorts out and by that time i usually have to leave, either because i am dismissed by most people, or i don't feel the need to be there anymore, because i am tired, and feel like there's nothing else i could do, like my mission is complete. and then i am alone, like i am right now, but feeling much better, because i do not belong with darkness. and as for the romantic relationships, i was usually the turning point – after the break up, when i faced them with their dark sides and told them i was not going to put up with it anymore, after that i found out something interesting – they fell apart for a while, and then became darker than usual, but shunned away from the world. it's like they came to terms with their own darkness and accepted it. i don't know whether this is good or bad, for a while i thought i made them worse than they are, and it made me doubt my own good side, but then i realized it couldn't be true, for i have suffered so much during those relationships and they tried so hard to break me, and then found out they couldn't, that they came out stronger in their evil, and i came out stronger in my grace. maybe this is the way things operate here on earth, maybe that's the way it's supposed to be…

thank you so much for letting me share these insights, and giving me this space, it is a big thing for me, and others must feel the same way, it is so kind of you and it is therapeuthic as well as purposeful…if you wish to email me, feel free to do so, i mean if you sense that we could make something better for each other, and share some insights and come to new conclusions, i'm here for you as well. you are most definitely not alone 🙂 

 

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Susan Schiller February 15, 2015 at 3:18 pm

Hi Anna 🙂

I want to come back to this conversation soon, but I won’t be able to today. Yes, there are others like us and I’ve gradually been meeting a few here and there. “Lightworkers” you call them, and yes, it certainly is about energy. 

There is someone like us that I would like to bring into this conversation, so I will be back! It made need to be private, as that person is well known we usually speak through email. I’ll let you asap.

Thanks so very much for sharing, Anna. I hope you will share more of your stories, because it helps us all to understand and to not be alone, even though we live in different parts of the world.

Sending love and light to you!

Sue

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anna February 15, 2015 at 4:13 pm

Dear Sue,

thank you for your reply, i'm so sorry if i've taken so much of your time, but i just wanted to leave this one last post, you don't have to approve it to be public if you don't want to, i just thought this was the easiest way to reply to you at the moment. i just wanted to share with you that i'm not sure about this third party email exchange, i'm sure you have the best intentions, but i'm just a bit anxious by nature, we could do that of course but i first need to know more about the person in order to fully trust the whole process…or, we could leave it as it is, with these lovely posts and replies, i just thought i should let you know that for some reason i am not completely comfortable with this idea…maybe it is best that we leave it like it is. i hope that's not a problem! i wish you all the best, lots of love and light! 🙂 

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Susan Schiller February 15, 2015 at 4:53 pm

Hi Anna,

I do understand, and most of us feel the same way. It’s not a problem at all! And I really want to spend more time with you soon. I have much to learn still and we each have pieces of the puzzle. 

I’m with my granddaughter and we’re involved in a project, but I’ll be back very soon! Feel free to share anything you wish, whether publicly or privately! 🙂

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anna February 16, 2015 at 8:31 am

Dear Sue,

thank you, once again, for your understanding and kindness. Please don't feel pressured in any way and have lots of fun with your loved ones! you have already done so much for us all 🙂 

and for the record, i have read many blogs dealing with the subject of sociopathic abuse, but never before have i seen so many good ideas and concepts in one place, like i do here. you have connected so many dots – the purpose, the abuse cycles, the neuroscience behind it – you have even uncovered the truth about some of the people in the churches, leaders who are pretense, the truth behind the facade of kindness. you have reminded us all of what true grace and strenght really are, and also that they should belong together. and to top it all, you gave us the space to share our stories. and i must say, for all these reasons, i find you very revolutionary. thank you once again, and may you live in peace and joy! :))) 

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Susan Schiller February 16, 2015 at 9:59 am

Dear Anna,

Your words are full of healing – thank you! I would love to hear  more of your story, especially of your childhood years. There are some uncommon similarities many of us share, and I wonder if perhaps you have experienced these, too. 

It’s wonderful to know we’re not alone, isn’t it?

My email is here, if you’d like to chat privately.

xxxoooxxx

Sam January 13, 2015 at 1:59 am

I just want to say thank you so much , I did not know what would my outcomes be if I don’t have ur counseling through ur writting , thank you again ur are a truly a gift to humanity

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Susan Schiller January 13, 2015 at 7:05 am

Hi Sam,

Your warm words have blessed me much and I ask God to restore to you double all that’s been lost, stolen, and destroyed and to give you abundant life. Thank you for sharing your voice and your heart!

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Joyce Lagana June 3, 2014 at 1:21 pm

Thank you.

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Jessica Stone May 8, 2014 at 8:16 am

Sue – I couldn't have said this better myself:

"The best thing we can do is to LISTEN ATTENTIVELY to the stories survivors are sharing. Just listen. Put duct tape over your mouth, if necessary.

Don't race to cast out demons, break curses, and correct what appears to you as faulty thinking.

YES!!!!!!!!  Thank you for sharing what this experience has been like for you and the importance of people finding the truth!  You can definitely a "bright light!"

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Susan Schiller May 8, 2014 at 8:31 am

Tears form in my eyes and a lump arises in my throat to know that it somehow makes a difference, to speak up, Jessica. Thank you for helping me to put on my “brave” 🙂

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Susan Schiller September 22, 2015 at 6:16 am

The first is helpful but the second is full of awe and wonder…. and I pray God gives you the answers you seek and also the experience of Divine wisdom and knowledge!

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