MARCH 2012 Newsletter

LUKE 17:3 Ministries
for adult daughters
of controlling or abusive birth-families
A sisterhood for those who seek support in developing self-esteem, setting boundaries and limits, forgiveness, Godly confrontation, recognizing and cutting ties with reprobates, healing, and rejoicing in the peace and love of
 the Lord, our Father
take heed to yourselves. If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him……..Luke 17:3
Because He lives, we can face tomorrow! Happy Resurrection Sunday to All !
VOLUME 10, ISSUE 1                                                                                                                         MARCH 2012

Luke 17: 3 is the scripture often misquoted, usually by an abuser or his enabler, when he tells you that the Bible says “Forgive and Forget”, or that you must forgive him because you are a Christian. However, Jesus is very specific when he tells us to rebuke the sinner, and if he repents, to forgive him. Have you rebuked your abuser, and has he or she repented?
If you have ever experienced Adult Child Abuse by a parent, sibling, or other relative, We Welcome You!
Our newsletter is sent to you free-of-charge, as the Lord continually provides. Do you know someone who would like to be on our mailing list? 
If so, please contact:
Rev. Renee Pittelli
Luke 17:3 Ministries, Inc.
P.O. Box 684
Chestertown, NY 12817
or E-mail us at:
Please ask about our Luke 17:3 Ministry in Tennessee, founded by Rev. Denise Rossignol.
Thank you Jesus!
Part 1
By Rev. Renee
            Once upon a time, I used to have a pleasant fantasy. In it, I would tell my birth-mother that her behavior was upsetting to me. She would apologize, tell me that she would never dream of continuing to hurt me because she cares for me a great deal, and promise to stop her offensive behavior immediately. Then, true to her word, she would never do it again, enabling our relationship to be happily restored. Boy, was I living in la-la land.
            When that never worked, I had a slightly more complicated delusion. 
After I complained about her mistreatment, she would continue hurting me anyway. Since it stressed me out to be in her presence, I would begin to avoid placing myself in that position. 
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Then another of his disciples said to him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”…Matthew 8:21-22 NKJV.
So in everything, do unto others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the law and the prophets…Matthew 7:12 NIV.
The lamp of the wicked is snuffed out; the flame of his fire stops burning. The light in his tent becomes dark; the lamp beside him goes out. The vigor of his step is weakened; his own schemes throw him down….His roots dry up below and his branches wither above. The memory of him perishes from the earth; he has no name in the land. He is driven from light into darkness and is banished from the world. He has no offspring or descendants among his people, no survivor where he once lived. Men of the West are appalled at his fate; men of the East are seized with horror. Surely such is the dwelling of an evil man; such is the place of one who knows not God….Job 18:5-7, 16-21 NIV.
(Continued from Page 1….)
I would begin to feel distant from her. I might even decide to take a break from the relationship for a few weeks or months, of which I might or might not choose to inform her, to get my thoughts together about what to do next. Mom, sensing my withdrawal, would realize what she was doing and become concerned about losing the relationship. Afraid that she might really be driving me away, she would come to her senses, immediately stop her hurtful behavior, and make every effort to be as pleasant to be with as possible. Her turnabout would enable me to enjoy being with her, and our relationship would be happily restored. Yeah, right. What in the world was I thinking?
            If we were talking about normal people who truly do love and care for those who love them, this would really happen. In fact, the reason we try to talk things out with a loved one who is hurting us is that we are hoping against hope for such a happy ending. But those of us who have had the misfortune to try and reason with a control freak or an abuser quickly learn that there is almost NO CHANCE that this will actually ever happen in our situations. 
            No matter how calmly and politely we request a change, things will go south fast. Any attempt we make to have a loving and rational discussion will quickly degenerate into a crazy-making, nasty argument. We will be left scratching our heads and wondering what on earth went wrong, and why a simple plea for a little consideration had to be blown up into such a big deal.
            On the surface, abusers seem to have absolutely no sensitivity to others at all. But in reality they are acutely sensitive to their victim becoming stronger, beginning to heal, or pulling away from their toxicity. Control freaks sense instantly when they begin to lose their grip on their victim, which will mean losing their ability to control her. They are desperate to prevent that from happening, and will pull out all the stops to keep her enmeshed with them.
            An abuser will not allow you any distance, any room to breathe, or any time to think. Many of us have tried to limit our time with our abusive relatives rather than cut off all contact. Many of us have decided to take a “vacation”, of several weeks or months, from our relatives to see if we can clear our heads and reconcile the relationship down the road from a fresh perspective. This can increase our self-esteem, independence, and growth, and it is the last thing an abuser wants.    Abusers will not respect our request for a break or for time to think. They will allow us no more than a few days before intruding on our “sabbatical” with another call or email. Totally lacking in self-control or any respect for what we might want, they just can’t wait to continue the discussion, add something else to what they’ve already said, or add more fuel to the fire. When they decide we’ve taken enough time, then time’s up! They will demand that we hear them out. They will pressure, hound, and harass us to speak to them again before we are ready. If, instead of insisting on the time we requested and just cutting them off, we give them an audience, before you know it we will find ourselves right back in the same old argument.
            Some of their tactics are quite obvious, but some are much more subtle. In this article, we will discuss five very clever strategies designed to manipulate you into staying connected and under your controller’s thumb. 
            These strategies are very deceptive and not at all what they seem to be. At first glance, they appear to be aimed at driving you further away and daring you to really end the relationship. It is almost as if your abuser is saying, “You can’t tell me what to do- I’ll show you- if you don’t like it, then get out!” 
            But he actually NEVER expects you to REALLY do that! Appearing to repulse you even further is really a clever disguise for tightening the noose and reeling you in. Keep in mind as you read on that, contrary to appearances, these ploys are NOT meant to push you away- THEIR REAL PURPOSE IS TO KEEP YOU CONNECTED TO YOUR ABUSER BY FORCING YOU TO CONTINUE TO RESPOND TO HIM! His goal is to keep you talking to him, even if the “talk” is an argument. If he wins, you will still be having the same argument, and therefore still be attached to him, a year from now.
Strategy #1
            Normal people, upon learning they are causing pain, do their best to change upsetting behaviors immediately. Most of us would never deliberately hurt another person, especially someone we loved and who loved us. So we are naturally dumbfounded when our abusive relative does just the opposite. When a control-freak senses you are pulling away or gaining strength, instead of stopping the offensive behavior, she continues, or even escalates it.
            After being rebuked, not only will many abusers not stop their hurtful behavior, they will do it even more! They’re not going to let you tell them what to do! It’s as if they are daring you, challenging you, and saying “Oh, yeah? And what are you gonna do about it?” But remember, although they appear to be TRYING to drive you away, they are not. They are trying to do just the opposite- to keep you connected and arguing with them.
            This is when we can clearly see that our relative is operating in an adversarial spirit instead of a cooperative spirit. When you begin to set limits, your abuser will balk at you taking control. She feels as if you are challenging her for domination or power. You are growing and becoming stronger, which threatens her. You are no longer intimidated by her histrionics. What she is doing no longer works, so instead of stopping, she ups the ante.
            When this happens, you are going to have difficulty comprehending it. You will be flabbergasted, confused, upset, and maybe even angry, because you approached your relative in the spirit of goodwill to resolve a problem, and she reacted by getting even worse. After telling her that her behavior is hurtful, to have her continue and do it even more removes all doubt as to whether she was intentionally trying to hurt you or not. Now you will know that all along, it was deliberate. You have revealed your feelings, and she now knows what gets your goat, so escalating the abuse makes it a very personal and intentional slap in the face.
            You will not want to believe that a person you love and have always treated well is doing this to you. You will be devastated and appalled. You will be compelled to express your righteous indignation and to tell her how terrible she has made you feel. Doing this keeps you communicating with her and enmeshed with her. Bingo!- she won! 
Strategy #2
         Escalating the argument is another way of protesting that you are growing strong enough to set limits, or to distance yourself. This happens when your relative overreacts to your complaint, no matter how polite and carefully worded it was. You probably spent time rehearsing how to approach your relative in as respectful a way as possible. You had high hopes of resolving the issue to everyone’s satisfaction, but you can see now that you needn’t have bothered. 
           What should be so simple to resolve, if everyone involved truly cared for each other, will turn into a huge battle. No matter how nicely you try to start out, things will go downhill real fast. There is no reason at all for a big fight, but an abuser will start one out of any perfectly nice attempt to clear the air. Your relative will make a mountain out of a molehill and blow a slight disagreement all up out of proportion. 
            Once again, normal people do not react this way. How easy it would be for your relative to say, “Oh, sorry. It won’t happen again.” End of discussion, problem solved, and everybody’s happy. Now wasn’t that easy? But, Noooooo……It’s gotta turn into World War III!
            Why? Again, it’s the adversarial spirit vs. the cooperative spirit. Abusers regard such discussions as golden opportunities to vent and have temper tantrums. Your abuser isn’t looking for a compromise, a mutual solution, or a relationship in which everyone can be happy. He is looking for POWER and CONTROL. This isn’t a partnership, he wants to be the BOSS! How dare you? Who do you think you are to speak like this to him? You are just a bug he can squash under his feet.
            Now, he can’t come right out and tell you that he won’t stand for anything less than total domination. If he’s honest, you’ll probably run for the hills, and he won’t have you to kick around anymore. But he can get more and more outrageous and demanding, knowing that you will feel obliged to respond. He can get all worked up and enraged, knowing that you will probably feel that you must stick around to try to calm him down and reason with him, because it was never your intention to upset him. As long as you try to explain yourself, justify your position, or even scream and yell back, he has won- because you’re still attached to him.
            When you realize that your attempt to have a calm, rational, respectful discussion is being turned into a nasty, full-blown argument, take control back and END IT. Just stop talking, hang up the phone, or turn your back and walk away.
Strategy #3
            Putting you on the defensive takes many forms, from voicing a complaint about you to complete character assassination. Your abuser might claim you are wrong for taking offense at offensive behavior. She might question your motivations for refusing to continue to be her doormat. She might that say you deserved whatever was done to you, or that you brought it on yourself. She might tell you that you are emotionally or mentally defective (“You’re too sensitive.”, “You take everything the wrong way”, “You misunderstood what I said”, “You always make mountains out of molehills”, etc.) My birth-mother conveniently forgot all the battles she herself had had with my birth-father, and the life-long parade of fed-up ex-friends and relatives, when she stated, with a perfectly straight face, that I was “THE ONLY ONE who had a problem him.”
            Your relative might make an outrageous accusation or tell a blatant lie- the more outrageous or blatant, the better, because that guarantees you will feel compelled to respond.
            And how many of us wouldn’t feel compelled to respond and defend ourselves when someone is lying about us, or accusing us of something we never did? Our abusers often know us better than we know ourselves. They know exactly how to push our buttons. They know we are so careful to be kind, nice, good, and righteous. They know we try our best to be loving and good-hearted. So they aim right for the personality traits that they know we value the most. They are counting on us being horrified that anyone might actually think we were not nice.
            Once you have fallen into the trap of defending yourself, you are in for a long night. A skillful abuser will have you justifying every word you have said since the year of the flood.   You will find yourself trying to explain the rationale behind every perfectly reasonable thought and every perfectly correct feeling you have ever had. 
            Just remember, your abuser doesn’t really believe what she is accusing you of, anyway. She knows it’s not true, so you don’t have to convince her. She is not really trying to resolve anything with you, she is simply trying to keep you connected and responding to her. And she is having a little fun by getting a rise out of you and seeing that she can make you get all upset and flustered. When you allow this, you have given her far too much power over you.
            Sister, you do not have to prove yourself to anyone except the Lord. You are never going to satisfy or please critical relatives anyway, no matter how much you try, so you might as well save yourself a lot of time and trouble and just give up. More than once I have had to inform my hypercritical birth-parents that their opinion of me didn’t make any difference anymore. It was always going to be negative, anyway. They seemed to have a great deal of difficulty comprehending this. It’s tough for a control-freak to realize that one of the most effective weapons he once used to control you no longer works, and that whatever he thinks doesn’t matter. When faced with a silly and nonsensical allegation, the best answer is to simply shrug and say, “That’s ridiculous and I’m not even going to justify it with a response.”
            In “Desperate Measures- When They Sense They’re Losing Their Grip On You” Part 2, we will discuss the last two ploys used to keep you attached, Prolonging The Discussion Ad Nauseum, and Disowning You (yes, that right- disowning you!) We will also help you break the pattern. To be continued in Part 2………….
   “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
   Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
   Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
   Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
   Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work….And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name and I will do it”…John 14:1-10,13-14NIV.