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Feb 4, 2022

How do you know if you or someone you care about suffers from abuse?

Today's guest, Michelle Donnelly, helps us determine how to identify abuse.

Michelle explains that marriage is designed to reflect God's relationship to his bride, the church. When marriage fails to represent the loving and nurturing character of the Lord's relationship to us, we must bring the discrepancies to light so we can correct the issues or offer rescue to victims. God hates abuse and does not condone it in marriage or any other relationship.

Abuse can impact workplaces, parent-child relationships, friendships, or other situations.

Victims can become deceived by abusers who pretend to repent or offer insincere apologies. The patterns of abuse repeat in a cycle. Donnelly cautions listeners to watch for manipulators who do not support their promises or words with matching, long-term patterns of behavior.

We discuss the nature of abuse as one person trying to assert power over another. Sometimes the domination is overt, but other times the subjugation comes through subtle and manipulative means. Perpetrators often shift all blame to their victims.

Michelle says, "An apology without changed behavior is manipulation."

We also clarify how God's design for relationships centers upon mutual edification, respect, and sacrifice for one another's well-being. Abusive relationships do not reflect mutuality; instead, the victim does all the sacrificing and the abuser takes all the edification.

Michelle and I highlight the importance of speaking up for those who remain trapped in abusive situations. Donnelly mentions the problem of spiritual abuse. She shares how the calm facade of a perpetrator will contrast with the way a victim might appear crazy due to the trauma they've experienced. Michelle explains that abuse victims suffer trauma comparable to the levels experienced by prisoners of war.

In Donnelly's book, Safe Haven, she delineates how to learn the signs of abuse and access important resources to help victims.

We also emphasize the need to pray for discernment so we can recognize abuse because manipulative, charming perpetrators cloak their crimes so effectively.

Michelle encourages listeners who might suffer abuse that God loves them so deeply. "The Lord has life in abundance beyond what you see right now. He is honored by seeking the truth."

We also stress the need to remain faithful in walking with one another despite the messiness of abuse recovery. Safety must be our top priority. But it's also important to understand the psychological and circumstantial strain which often causes victims to return to the abuser.

To listen to The Christian Single Mom's podcast or access Michelle's resources, visit her website at