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Healing Begins With Understanding

Understanding what a destructive relationship looks like.

Domestic violence is all about power and control. It is characterized by a pattern of abusive behaviors that are intended to gain and maintain power and control over an intimate partner. It can be emotional, physical, sexual, economic, spiritual, or psychological, and can include any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone. If you constantly find yourself “walking on eggshells” in order to avoid upsetting your partner, you are likely in an abusive relationship.

When one person in the relationship clearly has more power than the other and consistently uses it to promote selfish interests, that’s a clear sign that the problem is far more than just a marital problem. We believe one reason domestic abuse is so often mishandled and misunderstood is that it is often so covert. Most often, there is no physical injury at all.

To identify whether or not a relationship is abusive, we need to look for an overall pattern of coercive control. Do you feel free to express yourself? Do you feel as if the relationship is one-sided and only your partner benefits from it? Do you often feel afraid of upsetting your partner? Abuse can be very subtle, but the bottom line is that it diminishes who you are and gives extreme power to your partner. *

*Taken from Called to Peace: Companion Workbook by Joy Forrest . Blue Ink Press. Kindle Edition.


Week after week in our support groups we have women who wonder if they really belong there.  Not only that, but pastors and biblical counselors are hesitant to offer full support to a victim because they aren’t sure who or what to believe. It’s easier to believe it’s a marital problem rather than oppression. However, there are some rather clear patterns when it comes to domestic abuse.  At Called to Peace Ministries we seek to provide education and support to those in abusive situations, and to equip those who desire to help them.

Many survivors report their churches tend to only provide help if the abuse has been physical, but when the wounds are caused by harsh words and controlling behaviors and the victim is living in fear, many church leaders are confused about how to proceed and we want to help guide you through these challenging situations.

Is It abuse?

Individuals affected by domestic abuse may experience many challenges, including: severe emotional distress and confusion, lack of effective counseling, and basic necessities, such as housing, employment, childcare and transportation.  Many choose to stay in abusive situations simply because of these limitations. 


CTPM provides crisis counseling, advocacy, support groups, and practical support to survivors of abuse in order to help them bridge the gap from crisis to peace.

The Power and Control Wheel is based on surveys from over 200 victims of abuse. It reflects their common experiences of abuse. Called to Peace Ministries finds this tool to be accurate to the experiences of the women we serve.


In scripture, we find that these abusive traits are the exact opposite of God’s definition of love in 1 Corinthians 13. We often ask those suffering in destructive relationships to read this passage, because it can also be a great way to help them determine whether or not their relationships are abusive. Scripture is also clear that God hates oppression. We reflect his heart when we offer support to those who have suffered mistreatment.

The Bible is clear that God hates oppression.
“Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” Psalms 82: 3-4 ESV