Why Do Christian Spouses Abuse Their Marriage Partners?

The question is why DO Christian spouses abuse their marriage partners? How can you wrap your mind around Christ “followers” doing this to their spouse?

There is hardly a subject more confusing than trying to figure out the reasoning behind why one Christian marriage partner could ever even think it’s acceptable to abuse their spouse. This is the marriage “partner” who they vowed before God to “love and honor.”

It’s amazing how a Christian can so deeply hurt the one they say they love. They hide behind the Bible and the slanted logic of blaming their marriage partner to justify wrongful behavior. How do you make sense of something so bizarre?


To help you to work through this confusion, we will lead you to some resources that you may find helpful. Below you will find links to several articles that could possibly explain why Christian spouses abuse their mates. It doesn’t justify it, it just gives some insight into it.

We would love it if you could add comments at the end of this article. It might help other readers in their understanding of this issue. Perhaps what you write will minister to at least some of the needs.

Please click onto the links provided below to read articles on the following subjects:

From Todayschristianwoman.com, please read:

• The Silent Epidemic

From the Web site, Soencouragement.org:

Husband Abuse

The Department of Justice reports that approximately 95% of the reported victims of violence are women. But we can’t neglect the fact that many men are abused by their wives. Some of them are even battered, severely. It’s one of those “lesser discussed” subjects. But every abuse victim needs to have their voice heard.

It seems to be something that most battered men don’t discuss. This is so, for a variety of reasons. Some of them are: pride, teasing from other men, shame, and it’s a “guy” thing not to discuss such things. Another reason is because of the fear of incurring further wrath of their wife.

Resources for this Abuse:

However, to read an article that might help men in this situation, please click onto the Sounds of Encouragement web site link provided below:

Why Do Men Stay in Abusive Relationships?

For additional insight into this issue, the following article, written by Patricia Jones, would be a good one to read:


Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness;
who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.
Isaiah 5:20-21

Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International compiled this article.

If you know of additional articles and resources that could help others, we’d appreciate it if you could share them with us. THANKS!

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Filed under: Abuse in Marriage

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79 responses to “Why Do Christian Spouses Abuse Their Marriage Partners?

  1. (USA) Wow!! These are great! I take it these are a recent addition to the site?? I never found them until today, despite visiting the abuse section of this site in the past year or so.

    I could not agree more with ALL the many concepts mentioned in the 3 part response above.

    Our Good Lord and Shepherd has shown me many of these things (ie, the church’s’ skewed version of submission), in different ways, and this serves as a beautiful confirmation.

    Thanks, Cindy and Steve!

    1. (AMERICA)  I don’t know why a Christian abuses one another, but I know it happens. In my case, my husband became jealous of our pastor, for some reason, and everything became terrible. I didn’t understand. But I didn’t stop serving God either because I won’t allow my problems to blot out my relationship with God first.

      I do believe that God has the last say so. So why scream and holler? I tried that. That’s when God’s Spirit spoke to me, telling me to shut my mouth, hold my peace, because I was where He wanted me to be at that time. So I’ve let go and continue in the ministry He’s given me.

  2. Hi LT, Yep! These are new. We keep looking and looking for articles on different difficult (and not so difficult) subjects. It takes a lot of time and effort to keep looking; so if you or anyone else discovers any articles that are helpful, that we can point people to, please let us know. (We’re looking mostly for Christian articles, or at least those that don’t go against scriptural principles.) We are truly trying to do all we can to help people make their marriages the best they can be in Christ.

    Please know LT, that you are VERY appreciated, and loved and prayed for, by us and many others, I’m sure. Blessings!

    1. (AUSTRALIA) Dear Cindy, I’m pretty sure I’ve written to you before about my work but I can’t recall for certain. I’m a writer and advocate for Christian victims of domestic abuse. Most of the survivors I interact with are female but a sprinkling are male. I wrote the book Not Under Bondage.

      I now blog with Ps Jeff Crippen at A Cry For Justice. We have many survivors and a few supporters and even the odd pastor or two coming to our blog. We offer educational materials that are focused on responding to domestic abuse in a Biblical manner, we try to untangle the many misunderstandings of scripture that contribute to the problem, and the blog has become a very supportive place for survivors.

      If after checking out our blog, you decide to recommend it on your site, or if you decide NOT to recommend it, could you please email me and let me know. If you decide not to recommend it, I’d be very grateful if you’d tell me why. Kind regards, Barbara Roberts

      1. Hi Barbara, We have no problem recommending your web site and your book, and have added links to your web site and to your book (both here and in the “Abuse in Marriage” topic). We’re all about recommending biblically-based help to those who need it on particular areas of marriage. May God bless you in helping those who are facing those who are abused.

  3. (USA)  I found these articles on abusive spouses very helpful. I had to mentally and emotionally separate myself from my husband at least ten years ago due to his continued and constant criticisms, negative judgments, insults, demeaning put-downs, and emotional coldness. I felt and still feel that he was out to tear me down as a person to rebuild me in his image. I haven’t felt loved for years; simply barely tolerated, and, of course, my love for him is long gone.

    I’m happiest when he’s gone and just endure it when he’s present. I’ve prayed for the Lord to change my heart and his…and I have done everything I’ve ever read to improve things: act like I love him, set my will to love him, in short, act, act, act… But it’s so dead and nothing has changed. So what do I do? Continue to sacrificially endure him and fake act around him? Or divorce? Or separation? Let God be my portion? Grow old with him fighting misery all the time? I feel for him, but I’m tired of the battle (three kids: 21, 17, 14). Thanks for listening.

    1. (AUSTRALIA)  I understand how you feel, I am also in a similar situation with my wife who uses name calling, blame, character assasinations done in anger, which destroys any confidence in a relationship. I have tried several ways to keep out of this but found being passive, responding by debating the issue out, fruitless. The one thing that I found has challenged her behaviour is to stop her during the angry outburst and say you have an anger issue stand up and say I am not talking to you when you are like this.

      I encourage you to talk to some close and reliable and balanced friends. I did not for years and after having a heart attack at 50 years old I realized my marriage was having far more impact on me than I knew. I now walk away from my wife when she is in an angry explosion and say I won’t talk to you when you speak to me in that manner. This is making her more aware she needs to be accountable for her actions. We have two kids 18 & 16 and they now are aware that although my wife says it is all me, that their mum needs to change as well.

      I am not sure of the future either but know that my wife now knows that I will not stay if things don’t change. I have told her the same as I feel very alone in this marriage as well. That honesty has sent my wife to a psychologist for the last few years. Things have improved but still nowhere near a close relationship. I live in hope for the time being, that the Lord will heal her and our relationship.

    2. (USA)  Please, please, please tell me how you did this.

      It’s going on 10 years of marriage for us and my husband seems to hate me more and more as the years go by.

      Yes, he is an ordained deacon at our church, and yes, EVERYONE always admires him for acting so kind towards me. He truly revels in the positive attention. However, as you would guess, he is not like this behind closed doors.

      He’s extremely handsome and has let me know in so many words that I should consider myself “blessed” that he chose to marry me.

      Going to the leadership would do no good. He’s got them all fooled too. Sometimes, I truly believe that he belongs to satan! How can one claim to know and love The LORD, but, treat ANYONE, especially their spouse, so cruel…without any remorse?

      1. (ENGLAND)  A devil at home and a saint abroad. Looks are only skin deep, but evil goes to the core.

      2. (USA) Sounds like mine. So meek and humble in front of everyone but treated me (all of us) awful and like you said hated me more everyday. The Bible is full of the devil on the home and family.

        He tried to turn our kids against me (and did our middle one which he’s trying to correct), always thinking of other women and cheated again nearly killing me and our daughter. 23 years and now, he’s sorry and trying to do right but I feel there’s just too much damage done. He did this to make me marry him btw and she had all the same features right down to Herpes! Thankfully, we’re both disease free.

        He knows and admits these chicks are more fascinated with me than him and are only after money. As I saw someone else write “that is not love for God” no matter what he may say. Some people are better off not marrying and the truth is that if guys like this did leave us for someone else, he’d be doing all the same things to them.

        God is not mocked and is the same God from Old testament. My husband knows there is much coming his way in his “Harvest”. I do feel sorry for people like that. They cannot feel good when they look at “self”. He didn’t just stumble he’s been like this our entire marriage. Vile, untrustworthy and pathetic. Beyond sad and our boy just like him is heading for all the same. Please do pray for my family.

      3. (IRELAND) I was doing a Bible study when I came across your articles. I hope this helps you. This happens in churches more than you could ever know. I went through the same thing for years. I prayed for my husband every day and as a Christian wife did every thing I knew to do. I kept on loving him and forgiving him, never telling anyone what I was going through until the day he tried to kill me. If you are having this problem now and do not do something about it NOW you will end up divorced or worse. You must not allow your husband to continue in this behavior. You must get help. He clearly has many issues.

        With the help of others I separated from my husband. He did not seek help or repent and after two years we divorced. It has been 5 years since the horrible abuse I suffered but I can now say I am healed inside and out and Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.

        1. (USA) Thanks Ann. Important to note that God’s Word says that thine enemies will be that of thy own household. The devil is out to ruin marriage, families and children. Going on 3 years since that nightmare, I have never seen a man love and adore his wife as mine does.

          He knows what he did to God and us and is fearful. He is so ashamed of what he was. His parents were very abusive to each other. His dad shot and killed his mom in 06, then himself. Children do learn what they live. Love and prayers to all.

      4. Hi Sandy, I can relate to your story. My husband has punched me in the face, invited me to meet one of his girlfriends, insulted me. You name it, he has said it or done it & yet my husband is the most verbal in his men’s Bible class, even giving marital advice to others even though he disappears from home for months at a time and reappears without explanation or apology. All I can say is God has a plan for our lives, and being abused is NOT in the plan.

        Pray for guidance and remember that God made us in His image. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. Confide in a godly, trustworthy friend who will support you and listen to you. Most important, read your Bible. Maybe start with one of the Psalms. The word will strengthen you to trust God in making the right desision for your future. That’s what I did and stiil do.

        It is mandatory to ask the Holy Spirit heal you and to give you courage. I pray for spouses who are abused and pray for the abuser. I pray that the abuser will stop being controlling and gain self control, which is one of the fruits of the Spirit. God bless.

  4. (USA)  My question is, why are most abuse articles focused on husbands? While the means of abuse may be different, I don’t think men are MORE abusive than women. To say this is to say that men are more sinful than women, and scripture clearly tells us we are ALL sinners, and all fall short.

    I’ve found very few who understand this text, but in the few article here on this page that address the notion of women abusing or controlling men, this woman has it 100% correct,

    "Dr. Bristow points out that the Hebrew word translated "desire," or "teshuqah," is neither pleasant nor a romantic word. The word "teshuqah" was wrongly translated "desire." Teshuqah is "an insatiable desire to control a person. Eve was told that Adam would rule over her and that she would "desire" him, meaning that she would want to control him. He would be domineering, yes, and she would also be manipulative, cunning and controlling. Each of them, man and woman, would try to control the other." This understanding explains the mess we have in relationships today. Not every woman tries to control her man, just as not every man tries to do the same." (From: Why Do Men Stay in Abusive Relationships? By Barrington H. Brennen)

    I would believe that men are more physically abusive, but I don’t think they are emotionally abusive. Are many emotionally ignorant? Sure. But abusive? No. In fact, the articles presented above indicate that at most 1/4 and probably closer to 1/5 or 1/6 have at least one abusive incident, and far fewer than that are in a pattern of recurrent abuse. Yet many times it appears all men are painted as if they are chronic abusers. Ironically, isn’t that a form of abuse to treat all men as if they are potential abusers? It’s certainly judgmental if not controlling behavior.

    I think ignorance is far more prevalent that pre-mediated abuse. Too many times, in my opinion, this ignorance is falsely called abuse.

    I read an article somewhere else, about walk-away wives, that they know something is wrong with the marriage, but instead of telling their husbands, they expect that he’ll just know. They purposely don’t tell him, waiting to see if he gets it. That’s an abusive behavior, withholding information from a spouse. But we seldom see it applied to the wife’s behavior. The author of the article I quoted above gives token acknowledgment of women abusing men, but still says men do it more. Even though scripture says that men will rule over women, but the desire of a woman is to rule over the man.

    So that tells me that it’s not unique to one gender, both men and women are full of that desire, and abuse is likely an equal opportunity employer, choosing as many women as employees as it does men.

    Affairs are abusive behavior, and for every man in an affair, there is a woman right there with him.

    This is going to sound a bit harsh, but hear me out, it has a biblical basis. And let me put this caveat up front so there is no mistakes. Everyone is responsible for his or her own behavior, period, and there is no excuse for a violent or verbally abusive response.

    However, I think just like men don’t understand the differences in physical strength, women don’t realize that a similar if not the same sort of disparity occurs in the verbal/emotional realm. Ladies, you are often far stronger in this realm than men are. And many of you use this strength in ways that abuse your husbands, or at the very least, fail to take into consideration that you have this advantage and many times your words and actions are just as hurtful emotionally/verbally as any physical blow one might inflict upon another.

    Sometimes a man will feel backed into a corner by your strength in these areas. Sometimes you will pick a fight and not fight fairly, using your advantages in these areas. These are attacks, and no different than being attacked physically.

    In the biblical story of Nabal and David, Nabal was a foolish husband with a wise wife, Abigail. David and his band of men camped near Nabal and protected his flocks and lands. As was the custom of the day, those who received such protection shared some of the harvest with those who offered the protection.

    Nabal refused to share with David, and this angered David. David was organizing his band of men to attack Nabal. Meanwhile, Nabal was having a party and getting drunk on wine while David made his preparations. His wife, Abigail knew this was not the time to approach him, because he couldn’t hear what she was saying at that time.

    Instead, she gathered food and meat and set out to meet David before he attacked her household. She approached him, and used wise words with him in an attempt to change his decision.

    Many things came out of this story.

    1. David was glad she approached him in a respectful fashion. It defused the situation.
    2. She did what was right for her family, even if her husband was a fool (and Nabal means fool)
    3. God dealt with Nabal. The next morning, when he could hear, when he was no longer drunk with wine, Abigail told Nabal what she had done. It appears Nabal was immediately stricken with a stroke, or something like that and soon died.
    4. God took care of Abigail, she became David’s wife.

    Sometimes it’s not your job to correct or to fix your husbands. I’m not saying they are not wrong. We men are often wrong. But how you approach the issue plays a large part in which direction it will go next. If you play it wrongly, it’s just as abusive as if you were 6ft tall, 225 pounds and used your physical strength on him.

    Certainly affairs, abandonment, and other such actions are abusive. Maybe not physically, but certainly verbally and/or emotionally. Typically, women are far better at criticism than men, and often in more sneaky, passive aggressive ways. For example, if you don’t tell him, but share these things with your girl-friends, I argue that doing so is far more destructive than telling him to his face. You still feel what you feel, but are keeping him in the dark about it.

    You may not feel it’s safe to say anything. In a few cases, that may be true. But in most cases, it’s far safer to say something in a respectful fashion, with the goal of building a better relationship than it is to keep it a secret. Secrets and withheld thoughts and feelings are a silent killer of relationships. When you combine that with the typical man’s emotional ignorance of much of what is going on around him, and you have the setting for a marital disaster.

    I think many times, where things go wrong is that folks set out to fix their husbands. I have to fix my husband, he has the wrong ideas about this. Isn’t that merely that desire to rule over her husband? As the Bible predicts, very often it’s played out in life.

    Who is going to respond well to that? It’s offensive, and if continued, it’s abusive. Marriage is about understanding the perspective of your spouse. If he wants the kids to clean up, honor that, yet suggest that there may be a better way to accomplish that goal.

    From a man’s perspective, if he tells a child to do something, such as pick up the waste baskets around the home and put the trash in the large can, and the child doesn’t do this, then it feels like his authority is being undermined. If you come in and make excuses for the child, then how are you supporting him?

    Now if he yells and screams, then what? Well, why not first understand how he feels? I keep hearing women say they want their men to be emotional. Well ladies, here it is, he’s being emotional. Oh, you say not like that. Well, sometimes emotions are not pretty. Sometimes what we feel is anger. It has to be safe to be angry. We are told to be angry, but do not sin. So does that mean we shouldn’t yell? I dunno. Did Jesus yell? Oh, he did.

    I’m not saying one should tolerate a tirade of curse words. But if a child says they will do something and after a few dozen times the child doesn’t do what they say they will do, is the problem that the husband is getting mad, or that the child is not following through with his/her word?

    The problem is not the yelling. Should it have been addressed long before he started yelling? Yep!

    Why is he yelling; why is he mad? Well, he probably doesn’t perceive that he’s heard. After all, he’s expressed how important it is for the child to keep his word, and the child continues not to follow through, and maybe there is some excuses being offered on behalf of the child by mom.

    Will such behavior on mom’s part contribute to her husband being heard?

    Now I’m not talking about a situation where a 6 year old is expected to tote a 100 gallon trash container to the curb. I’m talking about situations where the child is old enough to understand what the words mean, and is given an age appropriate task. I’m not talking about infrequent mistakes, I’m talking about patterns of behavior that are annoying and how they can appear to the husband.

    Sometimes his expectations do need to be shaped. People do things because they think they are the right things to do. If your husband thinks your child needs to learn how to be responsible for the trash, then explore what he’s trying to accomplish, rather than just tell him he’s expecting too much. Why not find a path to get to his objective, instead of just telling him he’s expecting too much. It’s like that about sex. Who wants to hear no? How about instead of no, proposing an interim step or steps to the final objective. It’s like saying not now, but I want to get to that later. It’s a good goal.

    Too many times it seems that such ideas are shot down or undermined by mom. The worst comes when the man is undermined, and undermined, and undermined some more. Isn’t that just a form of criticism? I say it is. It’s nothing more than her desire to rule over him.

    Does any of this excuse abusive behavior? No.

    But I think many times, it either creates an environment where frustration begins to take root. And the man, often at the verbal or emotional disadvantage, continues to feel attacked and always on the defensive.

    A few of these men, and I do believe it’s the minority, fight back, either with words, or with violence. Few want to acknowledge that she has been trying to rule over her husband, and focus only on his inappropriate actions, totally missing her sinful desire to rule, instead of being a partner. I’m not saying she has no voice. It’s the ruling that’s the problem, not that she has ideas.

    Nobody deserves abuse, nobody.

    However, it seems to me few abusive situations are a "kicking the dog" situation. I think most of these cases are men being pushed beyond their level of skill in dealing with such situations in a healthy and loving way. Such articles talk about kicking the dog situations. Yet they don’t tell us that these are the minority of cases. Most case DO involve destructive patters by both husband and wife. Yet it is politically incorrect to suggest that there may be more than one victim when allegations of abuse or brought forward.

    Do they need to learn more healthy habits? Of course.

    However, the other side of this coin is to recognize that while the victim never deserves the abuse received, often the victim has provoked the attacker. Or worse, the "victim" was originally an attacker, but because the wounds she inflicts are emotional, they are not "real" therefore she is not an abuser, but merely a victim.

    I think in far more cases, the abuse is mutual. I think many women would be surprised to hear how hurtful their words and responses are to their husbands. How they feel attacked and abused.

    I do think these men need to speak up. But I think, just like we need to give voice to the physical violence victims, we need to also give voice to these men who are overwhelmed by what to them, must feel like a constant emotional and/or verbal assault.

    So let’s not forget the story of Nabal and Abigail, and that how and when you approach a topic plays a large role in how it will turn out. Are there some cases where it doesn’t matter how you approach it? Of course. But let us remember that this is the MINORITY of case, not the majority. Most men are not abusive, nor are most women. However, men are NO MORE abusive than women, regardless what man gathered stats tell us. The Bible tells us we are ALL sinners.

    A victim is never responsible for abuse. However, in any circumstance, BOTH people are responsible for the environment. Are you creating an environment where your spouse feels their only recourse is to respond in an abusive fashion?

    1. (CANADA)  I am a woman and was physically and emotionally abused for many years. For some reason this long article gave me the creepy crawlies. If you ever were so tortured and someone actually thought you would provoke them to do that to you, this person has a very serious mental illness. This has nothing whatsoever to do with figuring out who commits the crime more men or women.

      I did not ask for torture; believe me, it was hell. Something really strange happened though. After time under such treatment you acquire a taste for it even if you still hate it. You get this adrenalin rush when you finally admit to the most despicable lies, just to feel a measure of peace.

      I think that is a very sick place to have come to. I now have to be very careful never to go back to him so as to get my pain fix. Who cares who is better at mental or physical torture? Is THAT an issue? Mental torture is many times more damaging than physical abuse whether a woman does it or a man does it.

      1. (UNITED STATES) I could not agree with you more. You are encountering people who don’t have a clue about personal responsibility. Abusers have to blame their victims in order to justify their behavior. A true Christian is a follower of Christ and follows his loving example– no exceptions, no excuses, no blaming others. Anyone who claims to be a christian, but attacks others without remorse, emotionally or otherwise, is a liar. You are wise to trust your instincts on these “christian” perspectives on abuse. NOBODY deserves or brings abuse on themselves, and NOBODY can stop an abusive person from having an abusive mentality, no matter how nice they are. It is NOT your fault, don’t let anyone deceive you into blaming yourself for someone else’s actions. God Bless you

  5. (USA)  I wanted to say to whomever is reading that abuse is serious! Do not think that abuse (in whatever form) occurs because you could be doing something differently. Abuse comes from anger from within a person that is not healed and until healed it does not matter what the other people in the home do.

    I completely disagree with Tony’s implication that if a person were acting differently, perhaps it would stop. This is simply not the case. I’ve read too many articles that support this. In the case of David and Abigail (I Samuel) – nothing Abigail did made Nabal act as a fool. It’s who he was, regardless of what the others around him did. I’ve listened to my mother-in-law talk about how she tried to change time and time again in hopes her abusive husband would stop abusing her and the kids. Nothing she did or tried made a difference.

    I myself live in an abusive marriage which I struggle with every day. As long as I keep going to God, He changes me where I need it (assuming I’m humble enough to be changed) but God’s changes in me have made NO DIFFERENCE whatsoever in my husband’s attitude. The physical abuse stopped only because my church forced my husband to stop. And he fought that pretty hard, too. The verbal and emotional abuse continues.

    Please educate yourself if you live in an abusive household. Stormie Omartian’s book, Praying Through the Deeper Issues of Marriage, points out that her husband’s anger problem was HIS problem, not hers.

    Let me make this clear – people with an anger problem will always point the finger somewhere else for something or someone to blame for it. That does not make it true. To Mary – if your husband is saying you "cause" him to act as he does, it’s NOT true. Do not believe that. Those are the lies of Satan. They are the lies that angry and abusive people use (and that Satan takes advantage of) to keep the victim in fear as well as keep the abuser from seeing a need for change in his or herself.

    Abuse is a very serious problem. Please take the comments of Tony with a grain of salt. I’m not trying to put him down or cause offense, it’s just that as a victim of spousal abuse and seeing that it’s come down at least 2 generations in my husband’s family, this is too serious to take lightly. People who have not lived with actual abuse, do not understand and may try to tell you it’s your fault or that if you changed, it might make your husband change. To say that because a woman or man may not have the best, most diplomatic communication skills is somehow equal with physical abuse? I must say I’ve never, more wholeheartedly disagreed with a statement more than I disagree with that one. There is absolutely no comparison between the two.

    If a man feels his wife has emasculated him or disrespected him in some way, he should talk to her calmly about it and they can move foward with a solution. But to say that that somehow is equal with a man physically abusing his wife? Absolutely not.

    Change as you feel the Lord wills, but do NOT expect it to make a change in your husband. The bible says that husbands might be won over by the chaste behavior of their Godly wives. I Peter 3:1 Notice it says they might be, not that they necessarily will be.

    You can’t change your husband, but you are accountable not only for your actions but your inaction as well. The bible says in Titus 2:11-12, to reject ungodliness. You must set boundaries for what you will and will not tolerate. Not because you can change your husband (or anyone else), but because it is biblical in rejecting ungodliness from others. We have the scriptural right to do so.

    If anyone reading this is still wondering whether or not the abuse victims are a cause of the abuse, in any way, ask yourself this question and perhaps the answer can serve to enlighten you. Why do most physical abusers (as well as a lot of emotional abusers, too) only abuse their family and do so behind closed doors? They lead normal lives at work and in social settings. You don’t usually hear of abusers hitting their bosses or the waitress who served their drink wrong. My understanding and personal experience is that they inherently know it’s wrong but are unwilling, incapable (or both) of doing anything about it. Abusers tend to live in denial.

    Mary – please read the resources of this website and read Christian books on abuse to educate yourself. Read God’s word and applicable verses to your situation. Take all comments written by "lay people" here on this site with a grain of salt (including myself) and only go with what the Lord leads you to as the truth you need for you and your life. Also, see the article on this website called functional fixedness – it talks about setting up boundaries of respect. God bless.

  6. (USA)  I was listening to Dr Harley’s radio show today and he said something very interesting. He said more men than women are hospitalized due to abuse perpetrated on them by their spouse or partner.

    That was interesting. With the perception of DV being man on woman violence, I would have thought that women being hospitalized would far out number men. This is not the case.

    So let’s not paint this as a male only issue. It seems the evidence is growing that men to are victims not only of emotional or verbal abuse, but also of physical abuse.

    1. (CANADA)  My husband hit me enough to hurt me but not enough to hospitalize me. This man vs woman thing only tells me you take issue with women and has little to do with abuse.

    2. (UK) I fully agree and do hope I can share my 10 year story of an abusive wife. I already suffered mentally all my life and now it continues with an abusive wife who verbally, mentally, and physically hits me and marks my body. This especially scars my mind, body and soul. Oh how I have prayed for some help as I can’t take it on top of anxiety and panic for over 50 years. I am so lost and helpless even with my own sufferings. Never mind this on top so often. The thing is where is there help and understanding for me?

      God bless you all.

    3. (UK) I think the different inherent personalities of men and women have a lot to do with it. I went through a stage early in our marriage where I basically had the teenage rebellion I hadn’t had as a teenager. The part of my angry behaviour I am most ashamed of, apart from the constant emotional abuse, was how often I would throw things at or hit my husband.

      Most of the time, he would just hold my wrists until I calmed down, then hug me and it would be done for another day or so. But as someone who had never fought at school or had a some sort of fight hobby (kickboxing, martial arts etc.), I had no idea of my strength, or at which point to stop. I wasn’t aiming to injure him, I had issues left unresolved that had turned to angry and I was lashing out at whoever was nearest, which was always him. Thankfully, as he is a big man I never managed to injure him, beyond the odd pinch.

      The cruelest part is that some part of me knew he would never tell anyone, there was shame in admitting a woman had been able to hit you, which I believe is why many of the men with less serious injuries never turn up for treatment. Women are more likely to fear the relationship, and fear leaving it, so bear the smaller injuries too but for different reasons. Such women are also afraid to go to hospital for fear of the response of their abuser, which means they probably only get there when it’s so serious someone else takes them.

      Had I ever injured my husband, I believe he would only have gone for treatment if very serious -due to the attached shame. Yet as his reluctance would have been shame, not fear for his life, he would have been more likely to attend than a woman with the same injury.

      Another factor is probably that men are more likely to know their strength. When play-fighting in bed (apologies, I’m in my late twenties, but it’s the best example I have), if I use all of my stength I may just ‘win’ enough to tickle him etc. But if he uses all of his, he would hurt me, and the ‘safety point’ he knows to stop at doesn’t allow him to ‘win’ very often if I am using all of my strength. My point is a woman abusing a man could use all her strength, but there’s a stigma attached to that man defending himself with all his strength, and the safety-zone is not powerful enough to stop her.

      For the men in this situation, like symbolic777, my heart goes out to you. I eventually discovered a large part of my problem was the combined pill I’d started when we were married, but the rest was insecurity and habit. We, and God, solved most of it over the first 2 years of our marriage, but I still had the stupidest mood swings. It was when I came off the pill in the third year to have a baby, that everything lifted like a cloud, within that first four to six weeks. After our daughter was born, she’s 3 next week, I went back on the mini-pill (POP) instead. I still have mood swings, but they are slow and recognizable. My point is that some women may need to look into their hormones and personal issues first.

      Sadly, this doesn’t help in cases where the woman has been the same for years, but as hateful as abuse of women is, we all need to keep our eyes open; there is also a world of silently suffering men we need to pray for, in the double hope their wive’s issues can be resolved.

    4. The stats you give are not accurate. Most woman donnot seek medical treatment unless the injuries are life threatening. Think about all the woman who have been shoved pushed, punched, and raped by their husbands, and have not sought medical help. In my own case my ex-husband put his hands on me many times and bragged he never left a mark.

      I was very abused very harmed and and affected. Yet if you look at medical reports you will actually find him going to the ER one time alleging I closed his foot in a door. My point? Just looking at that would indicate I abused him and I have not been abused. Unfortunately medical records alone are not solid evidence for stats.

  7. (CANADA) The main reason women are abused in marriage relationships is because they stay in the abusive relationship. Any man that will continually abuse his wife is truly messed up. The wife should leave and not return until she is sure the man has changed. This does not happen overnight. It could take years or may never happen. The point is that no woman, or man for that matter, should stay in a continually abusive relationship. They should divorce this person after it is clear they are not changing. By the way, repentance means to change and real change only happens when true repentance, confession of sins and the work of the Holy Spirit is involved.

    God is a woman’s true husband. She needs to receive His love. JESUS only wants to share His bride with someone who will treat her the way they are suppose to, according to scripture.

    The main teaching in the Bible on relationships is “to be in peace.” There are no perfect people and the best of us have to be forgiven occasionally, but continual abuse is a stronghold of satan to destroy God’s people.

    Pastor’s who do not understand that two cannot walk together unless they agree are used by satan to hold women, and some men, in captivity. Living in a relationship that is continually abusive will kill you before your time is up.

    It is well known that not feeling loved, continual stress, anxiety and fear will make you physically sick. Sickness is not from God, but is from satan, and he is laughing at the church, especially the Pastor’s who call evil good and good evil.

    I recommend to any woman that is in this type of relationship to stop reading now, pack your things and get out of there. Find a Pastor who understands how precious you are and will support you through this mess. A Pastor who can help you heal and understand why you did not love yourself enough to leave. And then grow in love for God and yourself.

    And I want to tell you that you are precious, and God will pour out His love to you and will send His Word to heal you. Tell God you are sorry for not loving yourself enough to leave before today. Take the time to heal your broken heart and then, in God’s time, walk in the life your loving heavenly Father has planned for you! In JESUS name, amen!

    1. (C)  Thanks for your great article on the subject of abuse. I have lived in it for 24 years and like you said , I did not have a name for the behavior I was living under, and was continually told that I was the one with all the issues. Sad day!! God is restoring me and renewing my mind. Only the Holy Spirit can restore the internal damage that was done, but He is a God of unlimited resources.

    2. (UNITED STATES) Randy, advising women to drop everything and leave their abusive husbands immediately is dangerous. A little research into the subject and you will discover that it is documented and fact that women are at greater risk for attack and even homicide during their attempts to leave and start over. Many women have small children and have been stripped of their financial independence, and even family and friends over the years of being lied about by their abuser.

      There are often very little if any resources where full services can be offered to women to help them get entirely on their feet, and there is ignorance facing these women who are seeking help at every turn, from the police officer she calls to assist her, down to her so-called support systems like church, filled with people who give her conflicting and contradictory messages, but never much help. Your advice is touching and well-meaning, but women need the hard facts of what they are dealing with, with real solutions to help them escape. No one should offer advice unless they are trained, studied up, and had some experience under their belt. Abuse is a life-threatening situation, not just a spiritual one.

  8. (USA)  Let me begin by saying that we are both born again, Holy Spirit filled, and both ordained ministers. I have been married for 36 years. My spouse began cheating on me from the first month of our marriage. I was so naive I didn’t know it until about 12 years later when she told me about all her affairs. That practically killed me and, while not suicidal, I didn’t care whether I lived or died for several months. At twenty three years, 1996, she told me three times in a row the morning after making love, how all her other lovers had been better than me and how my love making was terrible. That was the last time we were intimate. I actually tried three years ago, not for me but for her and had taken us to a romantic place but I was not able to have an erection. By 1990 she had quit having sex with others because she was afraid contracting an STD. She finally became really born again in Christ.

    From the time we were married she has periodically flown into a rage for no apparent reason. It was at its worst in the 1990s when it would be at least once a month but sometimes two or three times. I could come into my house after work and find myself being screamed at within minutes after arriving by an enraged wife. I couldn’t even begin to understand this. She has never been physically abusive to me. We adopted a son in 1990 and she used to spank him sometimes more than was called for, or slap him, until I finally pushed her away from him and took him away for a couple of days when he was about 3. She never physically hurt him after that. However, she has continued until this time to verbally abuse him. Recently she has made his fiance cry on several occasions.

    We have gone through various marriage programs but she has always managed to take what we are learning and somehow turn it against me. I was looking at the book from Fire Proof and when it got to the part about asking her for three things that I do that make her feel bad I was not able to do it as that probably would have triggered another outburst and I just don’t want to put myself in that position any more if I can help it.

    I have not been able to isolate any kind of behavior on my part or hers that actually triggers her outbursts though. Recently, during a meeting with other ministers, someone said something to her, I don’t even remember what, that triggered anger and she started telling everyone how I was dead to her and had been for years along with other words that were not so nice. As I was quiet (I have heard things like this for so long I no longer respond and I would not embarrass her anyway by responding although she has many times embarrassed me in public by such things) I was blamed by all present for being uncaring and fully at fault. This led to a program that required us to share our feelings with each other for 10 minutes each day. While she could tell me how terrible she felt, I was not allowed to say anything, other than everything was great, or she managed to take what I said and turn it against me.

    She has felt free to slam my family however and whenever she wants but I better not say anything negative about her family. She comes from an alcoholic family (neither of us drinks) which is very dysfunctional and I come from a loving family with very little strife.

    Last week I woke up at 6:30 AM to her having an argument with my son in our bedroom. I tried to break it up and separate them but she turned on me which began a day of off and on screaming or accusing, (most of which made no sense) where she said I was dead and she also called me Satan among other things. I am not an arguer and very seldom loose my temper but I lost it that day. She actually apologized the next day (nothing to do with my losing my temper) which is only the second time in our marriage of 36 years that she has apologized for anything. Two days later she was mad again although I have no idea about what.

    All these years she has periods of quiet although never longer than two or three months. I have always forgiven her and still forgive her. Even though I forgive, the hurt has continue to build up. She can be very loving at times and is so very sweet. She is always sweet and loving to others and has a true gift for one on one ministry. She is very highly esteemed by all. I cherish the times she will put her arm in mine and stand close or say she loves me. (This has in the past made up for the times she has said she hates me.) Each time I pray and forgive and have thought it would now stop. It never does.

    I used to feel totally at fault and guilty but have recently learned there is such a thing as verbal abuse of a husband by a wife. Just recently I began seriously thinking about having an affair but I praise God that He brought me to my senses before I acted on anything. Thank you Lord that these thoughts lasted only a couple of days. Several months ago she went to two Alanon meetings which seemed to help for a couple of weeks. However, I now despair of her changing.

    I have been diagnosed with clinical depression for several years and take medication for it. My self esteem is about as high as an ant. I feel a failure at being a father by not protecting my son well enough, of being a husband, of being a lover. As I am learning about husband abuse I have a possible source for my depression. I have always forgiven, continue to do loving things and encourage her, and have never thought of divorce as I believe Jesus is against it. I care deeply for her but suspect my love, as it should be for a wife, is gone. (Is that possible?) I was thinking of telling her today that if she would be happier elsewhere she is free to go. However, she is having one of her sweet periods and I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I continue to stay in this relationship because I think it is what God would have us do but despair of having happiness or actually sharing my life with someone I could love and would actually love me back. Is this desire wrong?

    Well, while I despair of my own situation, perhaps others may read this and it will help. We both love God and we are both good people, loved by others, and successful ministers. To most outsiders we have a perfect marriage. To be sure, there have been wonderful times with many good memories. But, the psychological damage that has occurred is real and the hurt is real.

    1. (USA)  Hello Avi, Hold on. Though it’s been hard for you all these years, you are not alone. The Lord is watching all your patience, endurance, prayers and you are storing up treasure for yourself in God’s Kingdom. Well done for not answering back the unkind words you have received from your wife. You are doing just the right thing. Continue to get comfort and the peace that surpasses all understanding from the word of God. Don’t be discouraged, there is a war against good and I believe you have the armor of God. You will certainly reap in due season. We can’t begin to imagine what God has prepared for those who have fought the good fight of faith. Please stay faithful and dedicate all you do as unto the Lord.

    2. (CANADA)  Hi, I just left my husband of 36 years. I did not experience the affair part but my husband hit me regularly for the first about 10+ years. It was hell. Then I came to know Jesus as my Saviour and although the physical abuse didn’t stop right away, it did eventually. The emotional abuse never did until I left a couple of months ago.

      All the things you are saying sound completely familiar to me. My faith is strong and I never dreamt I would leave him, though I have thought of it often. I may not divorce him but cannot live under the same roof any longer. God hates divorce but which does he hate more, constant strife between two people, the lying you have to do to try keep the peace which doesn’t really work, or divorce (or just separation as in my case)?

      It’s a huge turmoil to the family (I have 4 children; married, and 10 grandchildren). From the minute I stepped out of that house I have gotten increasingly stronger and God has been more real to me than ever. Maybe it’s the right timing (another story there). I feel no condemnation, only a loving God who is daily touching me and healing me. My prayer for you, “May God’s abundant love and mercy be upon you.”

    3. (ENGLAND)  I will say sorry in advance for this, but you just seem to tolerate it all because you believe you are doing the right thing. Actions say far more than words. You claim to be Spirit filled Christians, yet the behaviour sounds nothing like it. Something is seriously wrong. No one could be abusive if they are truly of the Spirit. Actions are a reflection of the person, what is deep down shows on the surface.

  9. (US)  I have lived in an emotionally abusive marriage for 30 years. But, no more. I have allowed sin and unrighteousness to rule and reign, but no more.

  10. (AUSTRALIA)  AP, I can see you are being an ambassador of God and cannot tolerate anything less than His righteousness. This is what finally convinced me to stand up – that it was either His righteousness or sin that would reign in my family, and in the end I too chose God’s way.

    It may not be easy and many people will question you, but they don’t walk in your shoes, they don’t see what you see, they don’t experience your life behind closed doors. Thankfully, abuse in Christian families is being exposed and sin cannot thrive in darkness. A pastor, who apologised to me on behalf of all pastors, said how he had just helped a woman free herself from a 40 year marriage. This is not the first time she has left. The last time she left, she was urged to go back because that’s what good Christian women do. She suffered another 6 years of abuse.

    I am not surprised at the number of texts and phone calls I have received from Christians who want to fix my marriage. This is besides those who ask my close friends whether they should intervene. Most assume that I have not considered counselling, not realising that I had over 20 years of counselling. This is part of the cycle of abuse – trying to get sympathy from friends, especially those from church, even if he wasn’t committed and has suddenly got revived.

    A pastor and advocate from US told me that most of the women she works with have only one or two friends who “get it” about their domestic abuse and have no pastoral support. Based on this, I am amazed that people like you, AP, are able to see the light and have the courage to say “No” to a life of sin.

    This is an interesting article in reply to the common first response of a Christian on hearing about domestic abuse, “what about the men” http://www.cbeinternational.org/files/u1/free-art/what-about-all-men.pdf

  11. (AUSTRALIA)  Domestive violence or abuse against a woman or man is evil. It destroys people and gives children in such homes a destorted view of marriage. No one wants to be called an abuser, hence the denial associated with it. I think DV is similar to sexual abuse. Those who commit DV, do so because they can get away with it. They will never aknowledge what they have done. To the outside world they seem perfect. and as a result live a double life. I believe God gives us all time to change on this earth. However, the time given to some of these abusers is taken for granted because, they refuse to change and often feel that they are right. Despite this, we will all give an account of our lives when we stand before God. Everyday for the thief but, one day for the owner.

    I find that DV is hard to deal with as a Christian. I have left my spouse 3 times but nothing has changed. Each time I left, God made me feel compassion towards my spouse, as a result I went back. Currently I am contemplating leaving again. It is a shame that when we talk about DV, it often degenerates into a battle of the sexes.

    We need to find a way through christ to prevent domestic violence from happening in families because I do not think that the church understands how to deal with the issue. The lack of support and condemnation from the church has made some victims become confused or to seek help outside the church. However, it is important to remain prayerful and believe that God is with one.

    I have had to deal with so much abuse in my life. This has made me at times depressed and caused me to cry out to God for help. I remember once my spouse told me during the praise and worship that the Holy Spirit had told him that he had offended me. We should forgive an abuser but understand that it will not make them change. Only God’s intervention can cause an abuser to change.

    I had a dream a few months ago, God told me that he had seen everything my husband had put me through but, he wants me to embrace him. This can only be done by his grace. So keep praying so that this evil will not have any root in the body of christ. Amen.

    1. (USA) Hi Theresa, Thank you for your comments. You are right in saying that the church needs to do something about this and make movement to stop the violence and not be so silent. My heart goes out to you that you have had to suffer in this way. I hope you’re able to find peace and safety in the future. NO spouse should have to suffer abusive, violent behavior at the hands of anyone, let alone alone from their marriage “partner.” I’m so sorry you’ve had to experience this.

      Something I want you to consider and pray about however, concerns what came to mind when I read your words, “God made me feel compassion towards my spouse, as a result I went back.” Theresa, I have to tell you that I’m all for reconciliation of relationships and marriages. We serve a God of reconciliation. Reconciliation is what the ministry of Marriage Missions is all about. But we also serve a God of wisdom. God may have given you compassion for your spouse — I don’t doubt that. But having compassion for someone where you’re praying for them and encouraging them to get help… and going back to live with them when they are still prone to being violent, are two different things. You can have compassion for a person, praying that they will get the help they need to control their impulses, to fix that which is inside of them that is broken so they won’t act out in violence any longer. But that doesn’t mean that you have to live with them while they are going through the process of getting the help they need to stop the violence. You are not doing yourself or them any good by allowing yourself to be in such a place.

      A hungry person that is being fed is not as motivated to go out to find the means to feed their hunger in the future. But if they no longer have food at their disposal, their hunger pangs will be highly motivating. The Bible tells us, “if a man will not work, neither let him eat.” If your husband truly is sorrowful for hurting you as he has, he will be more motivated to go the next step to get the help he needs to stop hurting you if he misses your living with him. Do you see what I mean? If he does not have you within his reach to abuse and he does not have you within his reach to physically feel your comforting love, he might be more motivated to get help to stop punching the one he says he loves. Embracing your husband in prayer and encouragement to get help… and embracing him physically by living together before he is truly healthy and whole so he stops abusing you, are two different things.

      Theresa, I can’t tell you what to do. But I want you to prayerfully consider what I’ve written. I would LOVE to hear someday that your husband went through the process to get the help he needed so he is no longer abusive, and that you and he are back together as husband and wife, living a more peaceful and loving life together. That would be great for both of you, and I know God would be pleased, and so would we. But you may need to remove yourself from being in a place where your husband can give into his violent impulses, so he is more motivated to get the help he needs and THEN go back to living together in peace. I’m talking about “tough love,” being given on your part. Please pray about this and consider what I am writing here. I truly want the best for both of you.

      “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ — to the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:9-11)

  12. (USA)  Reading these stories made me cry as it brought back memories that seem like a distant memory sometimes. I was married for 13 years to a man that, seemingly, was perfect in every way. He had been a practicing Christian for 25 years, charismatic, had a great job, came from a wonderful family, and wanted children. I was a recent born again Christian and had struggled with self-esteem issues due to my upbringing.

    On the outside looking in, we appeared to be the “perfect Christian family.” We were involved at our church. He played and sang worship music. I was a Sunday school teacher. We had 4 beautiful children. The truth behind the facade was that my world was crumbling. I wanted to be the perfect Christian wife and live the fairy tale. But, he was a controlling, manipulative, verbally and sexually abusive man.

    I became a shell of myself, a person my parents didn’t even recognize. I thought there was something wrong with me. If I prayed hard enough, tried hard enough to be a good wife, submitted to him in every way then everything would be alright. But, I realized I didn’t want my girls growing up thinking this was o.k. It took a lot of therapy to realize I was being abused. Some days he would call me 10-20 times from work. If I didn’t answer, there would be retaliation. Often he would be calling for phone sex. If I didn’t comply he would remind me I’m supposed to submit to him and if I didn’t satisfy him, who would? He would call me mean names in front of the kids. When I told him I didn’t want any more kids, he stole my birth control and forced himself on me. He got angry with me one day and grabbed me and shoved me into the wall in front of my daughter.

    He was addicted to porn even though we had sex regularly, 3 or 4 times a week. He would tell me how to dress, when to get my hair colored, what to think. When I came back from the gym he wouldn’t even touch me unless I took a shower immediately. He demanded my attention all the time. If he called me from work and the baby was crying, he would tell me to leave the baby and pay attention to him.

    Getting divorce was the most gut-wrenching ordeal. My oldest went through emotional turmoil and spoke of wanting to die many times. I cried myself to sleep for months. I felt like a failure as a Christian.

    Now, three years later, I’m happily re-married to an amazing man who tells me how beautiful I am every day. He lets me be me and loves me for who I am. He loves my children and they love him. I stumbled in my Christian walk going through divorce. But I made it through and am stronger and am a better mother. It’s not easy day to day, but I thank God for bringing me through and leading me to a new, wonderful life.

  13. (CHINA)  This title is beyond misleading and wrong. The majority of Christian spouses love and respect each other. Are you saying non-Christians don’t abuse their spouses versus Christians?

    It is the sinful nature of people that leads to abuse. It’s certainly not the Christian faith that causes it, so don’t mislead people. This page is coming on first result in google when I search “why Christians are abused,” and again I find this page abusing the name of Christianity!

    People do bad things to each other, because they are sinners, not because they are Christians. Seriously!

    1. (USA)  Agreed. A better title might be, “If you abuse, are you really a Christian?” Or, “Why do some abusers claim to be Christians?” Or “How can you claim to be a Christian when you abuse your spouse?”

  14. (U S A)  My wife is an alcoholic…very abusive physically and emotionally. I have grown very tired of her antics. After sobering up it’s always, “I’m sorry. I don’t mean it.” or whatever excuse she comes up with. I walk away; I try not to speak at all. She talks to her mom and sister and blames me for our problems. I put her in rehab and that didn’t work, now she is asking about God and as I explain the bible she says I’m preaching at her. What can I do?

    1. Steve, I am sorry for what you are experiencing and from what it sounds like, with very little help or support. Unfortunately, like any other person who has addictions you can never force them to get “well.” She will have to become broken and so sick of her life that she asks/begs for help. When she does I suggest you put her in a recovery program put on by Teen Challenge International. Don’t be fooled by their name; they work with adults of all ages too, AND they have the highest success rate (over 80% after 5 years of sobriety) of any program in the U.S. They have over 200 residential programs across the country. Check them out at http://www.teenchallengeusa.org.

      What do you do in the meantime? Continue to love her unconditionally and pray for her brokenness and her willingness to reach out to God for the help she so desperately needs. I believe God is calling you to be the “hero” here. It is an “Outrageous Commitment.” Go into our web site and read this week’s Marriage Message on the topic. It’s on the home page. I pray God will give you an uncommon strength to see this through so that you and your wife will experience the kind of love in your marriage that the Lord intended. Blessings! –Steve Wright, Marriage Missions

      1. (U S A)  Honestly the hero in me is done… I am turning it over because I have nothing left in me or anyone to talk to. I feel more alone everyday and I have lost hope with this! She is miserable and wants us as company in her misery. Seems there is nothing that helps.

        1. (ENGLAND)  I agree with you. I had to walk away. It was a non-stop battle with the husband. It was never to going to end in a good way. He refused to change, wanted forgiveness 70 times 7. There comes a time when you have to admit defeat, addiction means just that. No matter what they claim, it is all a part of the syndrome. They are up and down; they are never straight in their ways.

          Claiming to want help is part of the syndrome, and by sticking with them you are just enabling them to keep doing it. This is draining the life out of you. It is taking away your life. God puts limits on things. He shuts the door on certain ones when they continue in their ways. I wish you all the best.

  15. (USA)  To Steve, I’m sorry to hear what you are going through. My suggestion to you is to read the book Boundaries and/or the book Safe People. I think it will give you specific guidance on what to do in response to the “I’m sorry” conversations.

    You need to set your boundaries and stick with them. These books are co-authored by two professional Christian counselors. They should not only educate you on how to specifically respond, but also to clarify why you need to. If you feel the need to walk away when the apologies are given, it sounds like you may need better words and stronger ideas in your own mind as to why “sorry” won’t cut it anymore (and it shouldn’t). God bless, LT

    1. (AUSTRALIA)  I used to refer to the Boundaries series a lot. In fact, I used to grab anything by Cloud and Townsend. While I still find them helpful, I must say that they were limited in their help in domestic abuse. Boundaries are to keep neighbors from entering your property. But if you have a neighbor who is intent on bulldozing your fence, then it’s time to move neighborhoods.

      Trying to set, then maintain boundaries, is essential in normal relationships. But where there is a personality disordered abuser involved, this is going to expose you to more trauma. You cannot have such engagement without being wounded. By the end of it, you will be little more than a walking shell, unable to continue. Brain scans have shown that the brains of children who are exposed to such behavior are significantly altered. They, too, will suffer just from witnessing or experiencing such actions.

      The other thing in Boundaries that was confusing to me was the authors’ assertion that if you set limits, and the other person doesn’t like it, he or she will simply leave and as sad as it may be, you cannot stop others from leaving, but you don’t have to initiate it. The proven fact is that abusers seldom leave. If you don’t take the initiative, you or a child may lose a life. If not, you will certainly lose psychological wellbeing.

      Jesus once asked what it would profit a man to gain the world but lose his soul. Similarly, at what price do you try to save the relationship? If evil pervades it, and the other person is not willing or capable of changing that, then what good would it be to salvage the relationship and see the family sacrificed at the altar of evil?