Why it’s not your fault that you keep attracting the worst abusers

If you're the victim of a religious sociopath, I want to assure you that it's not because you're an ordinary victim of domestic violence. Don't let anyone tell you that it's because of your low self-esteem or whatever… it's definitely not that!

By: Susan Deborah Schiller

In a dream, I learned what caused me to attract sociopaths. In fact, seeing through God's lens caused me to understand that it was because I loved and honored Him that sociopaths were drawn to me. This was my dream:

Standing in the alley of a seedy area of the city, pieces of trash swirling around my feet, an elegant lady opening the door to a salon caught my attention. She wore a coral A-line dress and walked with a determined attitude that conveyed a sense of purpose. This woman took pride in her business.

Glancing inside her shop windows, I saw her sense of style extended to the interior of her salon. Yet it was not gaudy or outdone. It was simple, tasteful elegance. Everything was neat, tidy, and organized in such a way to make her customers feel at home and comfortable. I could tell she really cared about her clients, making each one feel special.

Despite her desperate outward circumstances, her loyal customers appreciated her business and traveled to the bad part of town to visit her salon. Once inside her salon, it was as if the gangland territory that infested the surrounding neighborhood did not even exist. Her salon appeared to transform her little street corner into an oasis of beauty and peace.

I watched as well-dressed customers began to enter her salon. It was truly a marvel how this woman did such a classy business in this poverty-stricken neighborhood. There was no doubt her heart was pure, for she loved to serve her clients with excellence, compassion, and love. But not everyone returned her love.

As I continued watching, I saw two women snooping in the front of the salon. They appeared to be her friends, but they were conspiring to ruin her. It wasn't long before they hatched a smear campaign designed to discredit her in front of her loyal customers.

Next, the betrayers spotted a rare and beautiful necklace hanging from the ceiling. It was the very same necklace that the salon owner had claimed to be missing for quite some time. One woman immediately hissed to the other, "She's been lying about her missing necklace."

They entered the salon where the owner was busy serving a customer in the back. Pointing to the retail portion of the salon, they accused her, "We found your necklace hanging from the ceiling!" The lady was taken by surprise and quickly walked near the cash register, where the women had pointed. Just as she saw her beloved necklace the lady stumbled and fell!

Hastily picking herself up from the floor, I noticed immediately her hand flew to her throat where she withdrew a broken pendant. After losing her original necklace, which seemed to be of exceptional value, she had a replica made. Nevertheless, she was brokenhearted over the irreparable imitation pendant, but something like hope began to arise in her when her eyes landed on the original pendant dangling from the ceiling.

At this point, my dream ended. Just before I came to consciousness I sensed God saying.

My presence in her life always does this. It's not her fault.

Rising to full consciousness, I realize it was a dream where you are actually taken somewhere in Time and Space – it was "real". I cried, for the relief was so real. It's God's presence in our lives that draws the persecution. It's not our fault!

John 17: I gave them your word; The godless world hated them because of it, because they didn't join the world's ways, just as I didn't join the world's ways.

1-4 "I've told you these things to prepare you for rough times ahead. They are going to throw you out of the meeting places. There will even come a time when anyone who kills you will think he's doing God a favor. They will do these things because they never really understood the Father…. ~ John 16

It's because you loved me so much that this great evil, an anti-christ spirit, has been launched against you. 

Your transformed life is like an oasis of beauty and peace in the midst of the war zone. Your very presence, as I live in you, is shaking things in you and all around you, but you are surviving and learning to thrive. All that you need is within you, right inside your heart.

You don't have to wait for the world to change – you go change the world, beginning right where you are. I've given you all authority to cancel the plans of the enemy. Every resource you need to accomplish your destiny was stored up for you since the beginning of Earth. (Ephesians 1).

Right now I want to speak to you who are in the midst of the battle. You married a sociopath and he's launched a campaign to smear your reputation. Using the same old strategies evil uses against all of us, he's gathered evidence to make you look crazy. Pointing the finger at you, he has people questioning your sanity, calling you a liar, and casting blame on you. 

He's robbed you of your savings and run up debts in your name. Yet, his lies are so convincing that he has people blaming you for the same. And, if he can, he will steal your soul.

His ammunition is your own fear, shame, and sense of powerlessness. He threats to expose and shame you. He threats to harm you, destroy your life, and kill you if he can. He will twist the minds of your children and use them as pawns to torment both you and them.

These weapons are destructive and they are real. He wants you to believe you are powerless to stop him, and even if he fails, your life will ruined, nevertheless. His goal: You will leave a legacy of domestic violence and a trail of tears for your children and grandchildren.

Since his weapons are of the world – a fear and shame based reality – you can disarm him in the same way Jesus did. (See Philippians 2). You don't have to fight on his ground. You rise up, as the royal warrior you are. You need to regain a warrior's mindset (click here to do so). You need a team to shout out the war cry. (Click here for more info.)

There's a time and place to go to court, church, police, etc. But in my experience and in listening to other victims, there is not only little hope for rescue there but it often re-traumatizes and re-victimizes innocent people.

I believe the spiritual component to sociopathy must be addressed on the front end of the battle. Prayer is not just for binding up wounds and healing your broken heart. Our prayers create our world. What we speak is what we get. We can make our enemy sick, tired, and so depressed that he wishes he never came against us.

Our weapons are mighty and fully capable of disarming our enemy.

   It takes leaving fear and shame behind.

      It means choosing to grin in the face of disaster

         It means getting naked and unashamed.

            It means rising up and running TO the battle because you know WHO lives in you, and WHO YOU ARE!

Does the fear of exposure haunt you? Amy Gallegos beat the devil to the punch in her story, "The unrated truth of Amy Gallegos". Are you afraid of losing your job, reputation, family and friends, and more? You haven't really begun to LIVE until you've lost everything!

The anti-christ did his best to subjugate me. When he failed to subjugate me, he tried to kill me. He used smear campaigns, gaslighting, and all the usual strategies… but the abuse didn't end until I got off his playing field.

I learned how my enemy thinks.

   I stopped being alarmed or even surprised.

      I quit expecting him to see his ways and change.

         I ceased expecting other people to do something about the incredible injustices. 

I began to get my life back. I began to understand that this is not ordinary domestic violence. I discovered how my faith community and family empowered the abusers, and even created them!

You are not an ordinary victim of domestic violence. And if you are treated as one, you will lose everything, as I did. There is something truly great within you, if you have been abused by a religious sociopath. I have listened to so many survivor's stories that I cannot help but conclude this is true – it's your Great Beauty and Brilliance – the Glory of God within you – that has drawn the depth of these attacks. 

My legacy to my children includes sociopathic abuse – the worst form of spiritual and domestic violence. It also includes crucifixion and resurrection, deep pain and suffering along with a peace and joy that can never be moved. My wounds have become windows for the glory of God to shine into their lives in ever greater measure. 

My granddaughter asks me, "Why can't we have a family that isn't broken?" In the first chapter of Isaiah we see that God probably wishes His family would stick together, too. All I know is that Love Always Wins. And Malachi 4 speaks of a Time at the End of this Old Age, when families will be reunited and the glory of God will cover the earth from sea to sea. It may be darkest before the dawn, but a New Day is quickly approaching and it's not all that far away!

My Full Story     What I Believe    Contact Me

With all my love,


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 © 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

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Vicki Kerkstra January 22, 2016 at 8:27 pm


Words cannot even begin to describe the hope finding your site brought me. I was sunk so far into a pit after living my entire life in fear and under extreme spiritual, emotional and physical abuse. I truly wondered if I could keep going! After reading your stories and the hope they bring, I feel like I can not only start living again, but that I MUST share my story. Thank you soooo much for doing what you do!! I'm excited to begin my healing journey as well as bring understanding, hope and love to those I share with as you and they have me. 



Vicki K


Susan Schiller January 23, 2016 at 4:53 am

You are a truly amazing woman, Vicki! I can sense it in my spirit but also how you want to share your story to give hope to other survivors. Go for it! Know it’s not easy but it’s well worth it!


Ron Cross September 3, 2012 at 11:40 am

Very personal and heart-felt Susan. Thank you for sharing your heart in such a candid, honest way. I know so many people are being blessed by your ministry.


Susan McKenzie September 3, 2012 at 5:34 pm

Hi Ron, it’s a quiet beginning, but more and more women are signing up for my newsletter and sharing their stories… little by little. Thanks so much for your words of encouragement 🙂


Susan McKenzie September 3, 2012 at 6:22 am

There's always a little part of me that dies each time I hit the "publish" button, but there's also a "hope" button in my heart that hopes that my words will encourage and strengthen someone in their journey to Love.

Sometimes you get so used to being accused of evil things that it almost makes you want to quit, to just go into hiding to just "live within." But God has commanded us to "go out and make disciples" and He's so confident of the Lion of Judah walking beside us that He even sends us out on roads where the wolves prey.

I'm just learning to trust, and so if it means more will misunderstand me or accuse me… then I'm taking courage and strength from the message in this dream, that it's HIS PRESENCE that draws the attacks… the anti-christ spirit that is in the world.

It's as we share our stories that our Light shines, the Light of His presence… and I hope you will also be encouraged to share your own story!


D September 25, 2015 at 12:30 pm

Hi Susan!

It's uncanny!  Every time I have a question, the next time I read an article, I get an answer.  i was wondering how you can be so honest with your story.  I am afraid to tell my story online for fear my ex is searching and will find it and know how better to "get to" me.  You have a hard time with the "publish" button.  I get that!  Thanks for moving through the fear!

And, I was set to thinking along the lines of this post a while ago.  Trying to understand why I keep being attacked by flying monkeys.  The flying monkeys carry on the smear campaign and some of them don't even know they're flying monkeys.  Anyway… it's hard to accept this new reality, hard to get my head around it.

Thank you for your courage in sharing so much of your story and realizations.  Your last message to me didn't include a "reply" button, so I couldn't reply.  Was that because you don't want me to reply?  I don't imagine that to be the case, but I am learning to address things more directly.

I have bookmarked this page and read it 3 times already.  I hope I will get past shock and terror it induces and see that it means something really good for me.  I hope I will get past the fear of repeated victimization.  Your "Secret Heroes" post is somewhat encouraging, yet, I am not quite seeing that yet.  Even if I have had some great therapists, amazing friends, wonderful and understanding hotline counselors.  The fear of never working again and being homeless looms over me, but I am beginning to entertain the idea that maybe a shelter will not be the worst thing that's ever happened to me.  Especially since God is in control and works out all things to the benefit of those who love him.  Increase my faith, please, God!  So… Yet more cognitive dissonance!?  God's ways are mysterious. I am realizing that I speak so vaguely in these messages because I am afraid.  It would be nice to not be so afraid.

Thanks again.  Diane


Susan Schiller September 28, 2015 at 2:31 pm

Hi Diane,

It’s always a joy to hear from you!

You seem to have a real desire to get your story out, and you know, it’s not necessary to use your name. Without a name, I doubt if your abuser(s) will find you. But if they do, only you will know if it’s worth it to you. For me, it’s worth it, but only I can make that decision for myself… and only you can make that decision for you.

As for the missing reply button… I’m not sure what may have happened, but I’m guessing that perhaps the software only allows for a certain number of nested replies and then you have to start over with a fresh thread.

No worries about writing to me too much or too little. Whatever you are comfortable with works well for me. I was out of town for a few days and so it took awhile to get back online. I’m one of those weird one who doesn’t carry a cell phone or an Ipad… and I was too remote for internet.

Pretty soon I will be sharing an article that may be encouraging for you, regarding housing…

I bless you, Diane – thanks for sharing your story! I look forward to more and more chapters of your story, whether with your real name or anonymous or a pen name… I believe in you!


D October 1, 2015 at 4:55 pm

Hi, Susan!

Thanks for your message.  I am really curious about the housing article.  Not feeling well enough (achey, scratchy throat) to write much of a reply.  Going to bed early.  May listen to a sermon on Ephesians.  Yesterday, I wrote a whole page detailing my sins during the relationship with the sociopath, and then went back to before the relationship and the things that made me vulnerable to him, and then went back further.  It started with specifics and then end up as general categories of sin.  Yikes!  Today, I got up EARLY and sorted through my stuff and got rid of a large trashbag full.  I guess I felt inspired to let go!  Having a hard time with the idea of forgiveness and grace. And, I don't feel I can be a very good Christian.  Tonight, I feel drained and like I am coming down with something, so it's soup, water, water, water, zinc, Vitamin C, water, water, water, tea, Ephesians, sleep… for me. David said because of his sin there was no health in his body.  I was targeted by a predator and that was not my fault.  But, I still have to look at myself and confess.  It's hard to keep a balance on these things.

I hope you and yours are well.  Diane


Susan Schiller October 1, 2015 at 6:23 pm

Sometimes we try too hard, Diane, to make sense of it all, to release, to forgive, and in taking personal responsibility. Sometimes I forget that God’s not in a hurry with me and that it’s okay to not have it all together all the time. Maybe the overwhelm of adding up your sins is making you feel sick… don’t forget to tally up all the gifts and talents God’s loaded you with, and all the good that has come through and from your life. What you focus on multiplies and increases.

I had to reckon with my own sinfulness, and I am not as good of a Christian as I used to think I was. In reality, I’m enjoying God a lot more as a “sinner” that when I was so righteous (self-righteous, that is). Holiness, for me, has changed from being a “saintly person” to a person who is simply comfortable in her own skin, confident in the righteousness of Jesus Christ to cover her nakedness.

I’m learning to relax a bit, to accept the weaknesses in my character. I used to be such a striver, a perfectionist, especially when it came to obedience and doing the right things. I was an over-achiever in the righteous acts department. Maybe the only difference in me today is that I just want Jesus to live through me. And that takes no effort, just rest. The act of resting is an act of war.

I send you light and love, Diane, with prayerful thoughts of healing, wholeness, and rest to you!


D October 20, 2016 at 4:07 pm

Hi Susan!

"Maybe the only difference in me today, is that I just want Jesus to live through me. And that takes no effort, just rest. The act of resting is an act of war."

Wow! Revisiting this a year later.  Thank you! I'm learning to let go of the struggle to let go. My friend told me today she is "working hard at relaxing." We had a good laugh. Nature helps.  I need to find some in the big city.


Anyway… remembering first reading your posts last year.  :^)


Susan Schiller October 22, 2016 at 11:10 pm

D, it’s always great to see you!

I can relate to “working hard at resting” 🙂


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