Satan and Abuse Victims

Image of Satan by Gustave Doré, in John Milton’s Paradise Lost (1866), Source (PD)

“All hope abandon, ye who enter here”

-Motto over the Gates of Hell, from Dante’s Inferno

Abuse victims know Satan all too well.  We have met him in the form of pedophiles and panderers; parents and caregivers who did not know how to love; partners who used and discarded us like so many unwanted toys.

Truth and Lies

We have been tormented by Satan in every way possible – mentally, physically, emotionally, sexually, and religiously, to the point that some of us have come to view death as a relief.

That statement about death is, of course, one of Satan’s lies.  But we have been told so many lies, we no longer recognize the truth.

Trust and Control

Where there is a history of abuse, the desire for control can be heightened.  Having been grievously harmed, we are determined not to be harmed again.  Which means trust is an issue for us.

Our wounds are so deep that some of us have vowed never to trust again.  In the interest of safety, we have willingly traded freedom for isolation.  A high price to pay.

But isolation is no guarantee of peace or safety.  That is just another of Satan’s lies.

Cries for Help

Most of us have cried out to God in our anguish.  Many have concluded that He long ago rejected us or simply does not exist (more of Satan’s lies).  A few of us have come to believe Satan is the stronger (a lie he gladly endorses).

Faith and Fear

It takes enormous faith to let down our guard, lay our defenses at God’s feet, and allow Him sovereignty over our lives.  Victims’ reluctance is more a reflection of fear than stubbornness; more a measure of the sins to which we were subjected, than those we committed ourselves.

Legalism and Self-Esteem

Acutely aware of our defects – real and imagined – and often rejected before, abuse victims are intensely sensitive to rejection.  Fearful that God will reject us, if we do offer to submit to His will, victims are flooded by feelings of inadequacy.

We must reclaim our self-esteem before we can surrender freely to God.  Otherwise the concept of surrender is likely to feel too threatening to us.  We were forced to submit to the evil inflicted on us.  The thought of submitting again – even to a good and holy God – can be overwhelming.

In the aftermath of abuse, we hardly dare assert ourselves, as it is.

This is not to say that we must be “perfect” or even “good” before God will come into our lives.  That is yet another of Satan’s lies.  God meets us where we are.

A frantic effort to “please” Him by doing good works (or flagellate ourselves for every failure) is unnecessary.  It amounts, in fact, to legalism – adherence to the letter of the law, at the expense of the spirit.  God does not ask this of us.

Our value in God’s eyes is not something to be earned at all.  It stems from the family relationship we have with God.  We are His beloved children.

Recognition of that profound truth can go a long way toward healing the wounds left by abuse.

“…but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isa. 40: 31 NIV).



Filed under Child Abuse, Child Molestation, Christianity, domestic abuse, domestic violence, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Religion, Sexual Abuse, Violence Against Women

24 responses to “Satan and Abuse Victims

  1. This is an amazing post Anna. It is incredibly insightful and true.
    ” In the interest of safety, we have willingly traded freedom for isolation. A high price to pay.
    But isolation is no guarantee of peace or safety”. – This is inspired! I can relate to this and I have only now just realised why I was doing this.

    • I’m so glad you liked it, Sam. As abuse victims, we stumble around in darkness. I know I have. It takes the light of truth — the light of Christ — to illuminate the darkness, and conquer our demons.

      Much love,

      A. ❤

      • Yes we do stumble around in darkness, Anna, and what makes it even worse, is that much of the time we are searching for answers or clues to why we behave a certain way in the light of abuse. That is why your posts, which are spot on are such a source of hope and healing. Thank you!❤

      • I cannot tell you how much that means to me. I am not through stumbling, myself. But I am of the opinion that light is better than darkness. If God can use me to light even a match for another abuse victim, then the effort has been well worthwhile. ❤ ❤ ❤

  2. incarceratedshadows

    An excellent piece of writing Anna.
    My latest post is actually about Satan.

  3. lynettedavis

    You have managed to articulate what I could not. Thank you.

  4. I’m evidently following you twice now that I’ve connected the dots with your other blog. This one is interesting, and I look forward to getting better acquainted with it. Take care.

  5. Such wonderful posts Anna! I am reading a lot about child abduction these days. May be you want to write something to the mothers to teach children not to accept things from strangers.. I absolutely love your style of writing and I will not venture on this topic anymore!

    • I’m so happy you like them, Rommanne. 🙂 You are clearly someone with a kind heart who loves children.

      It would be easier to instruct our children how to avoid child molesters, if we could better identify them. Certainly strangers can be a danger. Children should not interact with them in our absence.

      However, parents, grandparents, caregivers, and family friends can all pose a threat, especially when abuse is defined to include emotional/psychological and/or physical harm and neglect. The boyfriend of a woman with children by another man can, statistically, be a great danger to them.

      The response to signs of abuse can be as important as prevention. Acknowledgment of the abuse, rescue of the child, reassurance that the child is loved (and has done nothing wrong), and professional counseling are all elements involved in repairing the damage from abuse.

      Our challenge is to remain vigilant without becoming paranoid, and to keep our children safe without afflicting them with crippling anxiety. It is a tall order.

      A. ❤

      • Bingo. Doing it Without being paranoid,there is such a thin line there. And identifying a touch of care from a touch of abuse is very difficult for a child especially if it is from a care giver. I so wish we could clean the mindset of the people. That is one area which we are unable to penetrate

      • Like you, I cannot understand why someone would harm a child. All those of us who love children can do is guard against it, and try our best to heal the wound if it does occur. But we ask the impossible of mothers everyday (LOL). ❤

  6. This post makes me see how it can be overwhelming when asking an abuse victim to submit and surrender to God , especially because they have, one way or another, been forced to submit or surrender against their will. Making such calls must therefore be done with all sense of sensitivity. I like how you make it clear that the call for submission the second time must be done out of a place of love and willingness, rather than a place of fear and control. This is a wonderful post.

  7. I really like your clear writing style, and the posts are just the right length.

  8. krcc

    The verse in Isaiah at the end of your post is always my go-to verse for strength. Amen.

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