Name Your Adversary: Your Core Identity is at Stake

Name Your Adversary: Your Core Identity is at Stake

By: Deborah White Dove

While there are voices who tell victims to "be nice, don't mention names, and only talk about your issues and problems, not his," I now recognize those voices as siren calls luring me BACK to silence, back to the same victim mentality that kept me in bondage for decades.

Pathological relationships need to be treated entirely differently than normal dysfunctional relationships. There are neurological differences of which we cannot afford to be ignorant. Victims of narcissists and sociopaths, especially, need to be released to speak.

There is a real danger to our souls, brains, and bodies if we bottle up our emotions, repress our memories, and bury our true selves. That is when we are most in danger of becoming like our abusers, blame shifting, accusing, and condeming.

Abuse murders a woman's soul and aborts her purpose in life. I call this "The Widow Maker" because her body is left alive for her abuser to enjoy seeing her suffer… but inside she is dead.

As my husband said to me, "I'm not going to divorce you; I just want to watch you suffer…" He threatens to physically kill not only me but those who attempt to help me. If you listen to the voice of my counselor, you will know that I tried to protect him for many years… and my silence and coverup only hurt him.

We need to name our adversaries. When my counselors first began using the term "sociopath" to describe my spouse, having witnessed his threats and violence, it helped me to identify what was wrong, so that I could begin to heal. It also gave my husband the opportunity to get appropriate help, which he chose not to do.

It's uncomfortable, but these types of social diseases need to be brought into the Light and talked about.

It’s a scandal when people waste their lives on things they must do in the darkness where no one will see. Rip the cover off those frauds and see how attractive they look in the light of Christ. 

Wake up from your sleep, 
Climb out of your coffins; 
Christ will show you the light! – Ephesians 5

When I first began sharing my story, even though it came out in a long 5000+ words, it was like I had been holding my breath for years and it all gushed out in one long exhale of pent up grief. It was such a relief.

Telling survivors to be careful to protect their abuser's reputation may seem wise on the surface, but when you first begin to speak out, it comes out like projectile vomiting and you just can't tell someone whose been sick for so long to "hold back," to "be polite," or to "make it look nice."

Below I am pasting a snippet of dialogue on a marriage forum that I participated in for 3 years, and this post immediately followed a week-long intensive for pathological marriages.

We were all encouraged to journal, both husbands and wives. I was placed in a secret part of the forum, for women whose husbands had threatened to kill them and/or others. This snippet from my online journal illustrates how our core identity is an abuser's target.

"These are a few of the things my husband repented for at the retreat, and they actually shocked me:

  • For being afraid that I would shine greater than him, because everything I attempted to do was succeeding until he had to shut me down. He specifically mentioned when we worked on the job together and I was taking on a huge task in operating heavy machinery in cleaning up hazardous materials and our employers were amazed at what I was achieving. Our project manager said that I "made him look good" when I began doing all the paperwork after daily field work. My husband confessed to sabotaging me.
  • For shutting me out of his personal life, because he wanted to have his own space. He specifically said, "I don't want her playing in my sandbox."
  • For shutting me out of his ministry life, because he was afraid people would like me better. He would not allow me to attend his healing services, and when people asked, he told them, "She's too busy writing her book." He threatened, saying, "I will slander you publicly if you aren't quiet."
  • For shutting me out of his family life, specifically for making false accusations and purposefully causing his mother to reject me.
  • For shutting me out of his spiritual life, specifically for not wanting to pray and worship with me.
  • For hating all women, not just me.

All of these rejections and betrayals were directly aimed at my core identity, my gifting and calling, my purpose in life.

What I have been fighting all these years for is my right to be me! The resistance is great, even still. It's like I'm not just fighting for my marriage, but for the right to be me."

When an abuser steals your identity, it feels like there is nothing left but a hollow shell. Psalm 31 accurately depicts this type of toxic environment:

 I’m in deep, deep trouble again.
I’ve cried my eyes out;
    I feel hollow inside.
My life leaks away, groan by groan;
    my years fade out in sighs. – Psalm 31

Do you feel empty, like a hollow shell of who you used to be? Do you feel dead inside, like an automaton, just moving through the motions and doing what you know needs to be done, should be done, must be done?

Who are widows in modern times? They may be single women whose husbands have died, yes… but also they are married women who are suffering silently as unloved wives, by men who hate them and murder their souls. The church has become a widow maker!

Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world. – James 1:26

There is a satanic system in our churches today that has targeted women's hearts, telling us to be "nice," "submissive," and "silent". Worse, it blames the victims – the very widows we are to be reaching out to!

It's based on distorted, twisted Scriptures. "When Grace Becomes Evil's Accomplice" is a word of advice written by my marriage counselors in response to the journal entry I shared above.

It's time to get our lives back. We are ALL affected by this toxic atmosphere whether we've been abused or not. Survivor's stories matter because we are all connected. We are One in Christ. We need each other. Our stories build the bridge to all those who have been isolated, rejected, and shunned in the aftermath of abuse.

Together, we can heal the backbone of society, the FAMILY, and it begins with opening our hearts and minds. It begins with opening the windows and doors and letting the Light pierce the darkness inside our churches and communities.

Let's LIVE the 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians. Let's LIVE the 5th chapter of Ephesians. Let's LIVE the Beatitudes and James 1:26.

Let it begin with telling your own story and listening attentively to one of our stories. Let's delve into our core, telling our story layer by layer, and rescuing and restoring our God-fashioned core identity containing the blueprint of our unique purpose and mission!

Contact me     Kind Words from Readers     What I Believe    My Story

With all my love,


Hi, I'm Deborah White Dove. Yes, it's my pen name, and it was given to me by a blind man who shyly whispered it to me in a Divine encounter. Yes, it's my real picture… just an ordinary selfie in my backyard. 

I live with my family in the mountains, surrounded by ancient forests, pure streams, and mighty rivers. I work at a local grocery store to earn my living. My earthly needs are simple as I try to let my inner child lead me, instead of me trying to be what the world says I should be and do.

My kingdom of God career is a Heart Scribe. I love to write from God's heart and have been recording His living Word for the past three decades. It's brought me so much beauty, joy, peace, and happiness! 

I love to inspire trauma survivors to write their life stories, unearthing the treasures of their past and sowing them into the future. We dip our pens in blood and write the pain away… as God has shown me how to do, in the company of supportive friends and family. We are writing ourselves into a better world and it's the most exciting place to be!

Copyright © 2017 Heart Scribes, All rights reserved.   For reprint permission or for any private or commercial use, in any form of media, please contact me. 


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Anna December 28, 2016 at 3:34 am

Hi Susan,

I used the exact words "hollow shell" describing how I felt to my mother when I was finally able to leave my abuser. The Lord saved me only three months in, and I praise God I didn't marry my abuser. I'm a 19-year-old college student and still live at home; it's thanks to my praying mother that I am free now. However, I was still left absolutely destroyed, and I consider this semester completely stolen from me. I missed out on being with my friends who really love me. My joy in everything was stolen. I no longer enjoyed things I was passionate about and my excitement for my upcoming trip to Japan(where God has placed my passion) was almost non-existent. I gave up my dreams of living long term in Japan to meet his requirements of moving all the time- to never being nailed down. I lost my love for people and was programmed to mock them instead, loving only the choice few he could easily control. I never swore more in my life than the week I realized how much he had stolen from me.

I am young and naive, trusting and romantic. Perfect prey for a sociopath. (I even match the physical description of the young woman you wrote about in your article "the perfect prey".) We went to the same college ministry. The ministry run by the pastor who I've looked up to and learned under for the past four and half years. He watched me for a year and then made his move when I was grieving breaking up with my previous boyfriend(he was a sweet guy but our lives were moving in different directions so I broke up with him because I wasn't willing to give up my passions. Ironic, right?). My abuser did and said everything I wanted to hear. I can look back to those first weeks and see every red flag and sign of sociopathic reprogramming, but not then. I was duped and head over heels for a guy who didn't exist. He demanded all my time and talked condescendingly about all my friends who were worried about me. Certain friends that had warned beforehand that he couldn't be trusted were constantly torn down by him till I believed him. My mother prayed constantly, and the holy spirit helped me out of the relationship.

only now my trusted pastor and half of the college ministry thinks I've terribly hurt this already "broken" man and expects me to be friends with him again. The other pastors at our church wouldn't even listen to my mother's plea that this man might be a sociopath. I went back to my few, close friends from before, and even after not speaking to them for three months, they welcomed me back and believed me when I spoke up. They got scolded for shielding me from my abuser at church, and the friend who has through all of this worked to help me will have to step down from leadership in the college ministry because he can't be "nice" to a sociopath who attacked his friend.  He and I are facing the beginning of a smear campaign, I know, and it hurts that he has been dragged into it as well. I am in Japan right now for the winter break; thank God for protecting me and giving me time away from my abuser, but I have no idea what kind of world I will return to in two weeks. If I have to leave this church I don't know if I could go to another institutionalized church. at least for a while. Perhaps I could start a house church and find internationals and other abused to help.

God hasn't shown me what my next step is. He is healing me and giving me back my passion and light and he's doing it in the place I love the most. Thank you for sharing your stories. They are helping me understand and process what I went through and teaching me how to better help others who have been or are abused. I am thankful now that I have wisdom in an area that is still so hidden. I know God will use me to help others, and hopefully prevent young girls my age from falling into sociopath's traps by spotting the signs and listening to their pleas. 



Marvia March 25, 2015 at 8:30 pm

This is worth reading multiple times.  Thank you for speaking truth, for speaking up, and for speaking hope.  These words matter.  These words bring hope.  Blessings to you sister!!


Susan Schiller March 26, 2015 at 3:03 am


God bless you, my sister! It’s truly good to see your face and hear your words. Thank you 🙂


Susan Schiller March 16, 2015 at 3:38 pm

In response to a widow who has been baring her soul, spilling her messy story, Kimberly Dimick shares the following words… which I believe convey God's heart in response to a victim who needs to speak… 

Thank you for pouring out your heart and for trusting us as you get all of this–UP AND OUT of you, instead of it festering inside, holding you in the darkness. There is POWER in talking it OUT. It is both freeing and frightening at the same time. When you do not see responses right away, I think it is because I have the fear of the Lord to weigh every syllable. It is not what I think but to get God's mind on it, as it is all the matters. . I do not want to give you pat answers or fluff. I want to hear the Holy Spirit and say what the Father says to you, whether or not it makes sense to me. 

-I, in myself, knowing my own lack, do not know what to say

-I fear I do not know how to help at times 

-I don't want to say the wrong thing and hurt you 

So putting all my own fears aside, I will tell you I am not a trained counselor, I am not a drug counselor. BUT, I do know the Wonderful Counselor, the Prince of Peace, Mighty God and Everlasting Father! He is all I have and that is everything!! 

What I do know is this anguish did not seep into you on its own. There is a CA– USE. Getting to the root and helping you pull that out can work wonders. My part is to infuse whatever little faith working itself out through LOVE toward you. 

All of this pain was ugly going in and will be ugly coming out. After all, what are the effects of AB– USE and EVIL supposed to look like coming out?– pretty? under control? Measured? I do not believe so. 

That is what Joshua told me when I would vent like a mad woman!! At first, I thought, my Lord, this can not be right! I don't "look" like the sweet, Christian girl I had worked years to perfect. By trying to cover-up my anger for the sake of appearing like I loved Jesus, turned out to be a kind of self-protection. To PRETEND I was okay so others would not further find fault in me, I finally understood is more like self-righteousness than believing that God gets it and WANTS me to be HONEST about being victimized. God spoke to my heart that He cannot heal what I am NOT real about. I didn't set out to believe I could be a good girl on my own apart from Jesus but this is another LIE and layer to what EVIL effects in us. We get victimized and then are told to "play nice" about it. NO, NO, NO!!! 

Putting masks on to protect ourselves does more harm than good. The WISDOM comes in choosing SAFE people who love you for YOU and understand the culmination of years of being victimized take its toll on us. Then to add insult, all the voices from within and without tell you to constantly keep your emotions in check. This is being victimized over and over again. WHO, tell me, can heal while one is still in chains?- – the chains of being told to, "keep a lid on it"!! 

This kind of pain does not need a mask or pretense! Healing inwardly, comes from vulnerability, transparency and a place of support and safety you can run in to. You can run into God, of course, but also need flesh to represent WHO God is and that He does NOT change. He will not REJECT you. God does not downplay the effects of evil and from being a target of abuse. He is real about it. His very heart is for the oppressed and downtrodden. YOU are on HIS heart. Healing comes when GOD targets YOU for GOOD. God will turn what was meant to take you down and cause you, instead to RISE up. 

Awake, awake, Clothe yourself in your strength, O Zion; Clothe yourself in your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; For the uncircumcised and the unclean Will no longer come into you. Shake yourself from the dust, rise up, O captive Jerusalem; Loose yourself from the chains around your neck, O captive daughter of Zion. For thus says the LORD, "You were sold for nothing and you will be redeemed without money."…Isaiah 52: 1-3

Trying to control the dam breaking can actually do more hurt than good. All of your terror, anguish and anger HAS to come out to be healed. It has taken up residence in your heart and soul far too long. It is too twisted to figure out by ourselves. I believe this release is a principle of how God heals us inwardly. In rejection God proves He accepts you, in brokenness God proves He cares, in chaos and crisis God proves He can bring peace, in our insanity God proves truth sets us free from the madness. 

I love you sister and am humbled by your openness. 


Leave a Comment

{ 5 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post:

2010-2018 All Rights Reserved. No information on this website has been evaluated by the FDA. The information presented is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Consult your physician before undertaking the suggestions on this site. Actual results will vary depending upon the individual and their commitment to the steps set out here. Testimonials are from real persons who are readers of this blog. Before using this site, please read our Website Agreement, which contains terms and conditions, plus our privacy notice. Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links on this site are “affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Facebook Disclaimer: