Tag Archives: manipulation

Did He Apologize or Not?

Apology:  [uh-pol-uh-jee]:  a written or spoken expression of one’sregret, remorse, or sorrow for having insulted, failed, or wronged another.

One evening several years ago,  a woman with whom I had been corresponding sent me an urgent message.  Only minutes earlier, her estranged husband had shown up unexpectedly on her doorstep with a bouquet of flowers in hand.  The man tearfully professed his love for her, promised her that he would never harm her again and begged her to take him back.  The woman was stunned.  She wanted to believe his words and rush into his arms and receive him back into her life, but something cautioned her to hold back.  She accepted the flowers and calmly told him she needed to think about what he had shared and watched him go. Continue reading Did He Apologize or Not?

The Power of Words

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.”  Genesis 3:1aserpent

The word “crafty” used in Genesis 3 describes the serpent that came to the garden.  The word has also been interpreted to read “subtle,” “clever,” “cunning” or “shrewd.”  The description clearly implies that this particular being’s intellect alone posed some kind of a threat. Continue reading The Power of Words

Passive and Controlling Abuse: A Dictatorial Form of Emotional Violence

If you put together a list of all the primary strategies that abusers woman behind barsuse to keep their victims living a life of emotional paralysis, 99% of them would probably apply to the man to whom I was married for 20 years.  But as I read and hear other women’s stories, other more subtle patterns emerge, and among them is a practice I have struggled to identify even in my own history, a bizarre combination of passive and controlling abuse. Continue reading Passive and Controlling Abuse: A Dictatorial Form of Emotional Violence

101 Things an Abuser Might Say

“Love…is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its intimidationown…”

I Corinthians 13:4-5 (in part)

The abuser claims to care, but it is not love that motivates him.  His end-game is to assume total domination and control over his victim, to coerce his bride into accommodating his egocentric agenda and surrendering to his all-encompassing will. To accomplish his purpose, he has at the ready an arsenal of verbal strategies and cues designed to invoke a predetermined response in his victim.  His design is to dismiss, disarm, distract, confound and ultimately intimidate his victim into forfeiting her person-hood and assuming a role as his powerless possession.

Bearing these things in mind, here are 101 things you might hear an abuser say.


  1. You’re a nag.
  2. You’re a witch.
  3. You’re a whore.
  4. You’re a liar.
  5. You’re a loser.


  1. You’re fat.
  2. You’re ugly.
  3. You’re stupid.
  4. You’re lazy.
  5. You’re selfish.
  6. You’re crazy.
  7. You’re sick.
  8. You’re deluded.
  9. You’re psychotic.
  10. You’re worthless.
  11. You’re pathetic.
  12. You’re a horrible wife.
  13. You disgust me.


  1. Shut up
  2. Leave me alone.
  3. Go away.
  4. I don’t care.
  5. Stop wasting my time.
  6. Don’t even think about it.
  7. You don’t want to go there.
  8. If you don’t like it, you can leave.


  1. I don’t know what you’re talking about.
  2. Whatever gave you that idea?
  3. I never said that.
  4. Don’t be ridiculous.
  5. You never make any sense.
  6. You are always exaggerating.
  7. Everyone agrees with me.
  8. You’re wrong, and that’s all there is to it.


  1. How dare you.
  2. You should be ashamed of yourself.
  3. This is all your fault.
  4. Who do you think you are?
  5. You got what you deserved.
  6. You don’t know how good you have it.
  7. I don’t need you; you need me.
  8. After all I have done for you; this is the thanks I get.
  9. You should be apologizing to me.


You just need to be more…

  1. …forgiving;
  2. …patient;
  3. …unselfish;
  4. …understanding;
  5. …submissive;
  6. …gentle;
  7. …quiet;
  8. …respectful
  9. …sensual.
  10. I said I’m sorry.
  11. It’s not that big of a deal.
  12. You need to get over it.
  13. You’re always overreacting.
  14. You’re overly sensitive.
  15. All you do is complain.
  16. Nothing I do is ever good enough for you.
  17. What more do you want from me?
  18. You can’t take a joke.
  19. You expect too much.
  20. You are never satisfied.
  21. You’re not perfect.
  22. You just need to trust me.


  1. I make the decisions around here.
  2. I don’t care if you made plans; I just changed them.
  3. This conversation is over.
  4. Stop talking.
  5. Just do as I say.
  6. There is nothing you can say that will make me change my mind.
  7. Don’t ever bring it up again.

I’m telling you right now, you’re not going to…

  1. …get your degree;
  2. …get a job;
  3.  …make me look bad;
  4. …leave me with the kids;
  5. …spend time with your friends;
  6. …spend time with your family;
  7. …have people over to the house;
  8. …go anywhere without my permission.

I never said you could spend money on…

  1. …household repairs;
  2. …social outings;
  3. …clothing or personal needs;
  4. …medical attention;
  5. And by the way, we’re moving away.


  1. You have no idea what I am capable of.
  2. You wouldn’t want anything to happen to the children.

If you ever decide to leave me…

  1. …you’ll be sorry;
  2. …I will make your life a living hell;
  3. … you won’t get a dime from me;
  4. …someone’s going to get hurt;
  5. …you will never see your kids again;
  6. …no one else will ever want you.
  7. …no one will ever find you.

Faith-based exploitation:

  1. I am the head of this house.
  2. You must submit to me.
  3. Your body belongs to me.
  4. If you divorce me, I will make sure everyone knows you’re the one who gave up on our marriage.
  5. I have already talked to our pastor, and he’s on my side.


  1. You know I love you.
  2. I promise it will never happen again.

These  comments that correlate with an abuser mindset only scratch the surface of the array of verbal and non-verbal means an abuser will use to intimidate a bewildered victim.  Other tactics include raging, cursing, isolation, the silent treatment, posturing and physically blocking, glaring, terrorizing (throwing things, slamming doors, harming pets, etc.), destroying or selling personal property, material deprivation, neglect, financial hoarding, and sexual abuse.

If this pattern represents the kind of relationship in which you find yourself, I have given you 101 reasons to get out.

Copyright 2016, All Rights Reserved

“I’m Trying”: Setting the Stage for Failure

crossed fingersAfter separating from my abusive husband, I made it clear that I would not live with him unless and until his attitudes and behaviors changed dramatically.  After a couple of weeks of listening to him whine and complain about my unrealistic expectations, he suddenly entered Alcoholics Anonymous and seemingly found the will to turn his life around.

His overall demeanor took on a hue that appeared consistent with heartfelt repentance and a drastic change of character.  It seemed he had miraculously been awakened from his toxic stupor.  The nasty man was all at once the happy-go-lucky guy who forthrightly apologized to me and our kids for his hostile behaviors and failings.  Suddenly he wanted to play with our kids at the park and seemed more sensitive and respectful toward me.  He spoke in positive, glowing terms and seemed wholly committed to the follow-through to save our marriage and our family.  The man passionately assured me that our dark days were behind us. Continue reading “I’m Trying”: Setting the Stage for Failure