LINKS, BOOKS, VIDEOS and RESOURCES on DIVORCE, ABUSE, and CO-PARENTING
Here are some helpful sources of information and help. Learning from someone who has walked the path will help you make good decisions. Scroll down to find books and resources that either I personally use or have been recommended to me. This page contains affiliate links that help offset the costs of this blog. Please click to order. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
- Domestic Violence Hotline Phone: 1−800−799−7233
- Suicide Prevention Lifeline Phone: 800-273-TALK (8255)
- Divorce and Christianity, Divorce and the Bible
- Emotional Abuse, Adultery, Domestic Violence, and Sexual Addictions
- Resources on Infidelity, Sexual Addictions, Pedophilia
- How to Help a Friend in an Abusive Marriage
- Biblical Theology of Divorce/Jewish Customs and Culture
- First-Person Accounts (Men/Women) on Divorce for Abuse or Infidelity
- Setting Boundaries and Dealing with Manipulation
- Parental Alienation and High-Conflict Divorces (from Narcissists and other Vengeful People)
- Books on Emotional Trauma, PTSD, Physical Effects
- Safety Tips for Abuse Victims, “Flight Bags,” and Safe Words
- Best and Worst Christian Marriage Books
- Child Communication and Discipline
- Sermon ideas for Domestic Violence Awareness Month (October in the U.S.)
- Regaining Your Sexual Life after Sexual Abuse or Coercion in Your Marriage
- Family Law Court Gender Bias in Child Custody Cases involving Allegations of Parental Alienation or Abuse
- "Am I Being Abused?" Self-Tests, Questionnaires, and Assessments
- How to Legally Document Your Injuries and Emotional Abuse
- Resources on Parenting Abused and Traumatized Chidren
If you notice any broken links or out-of-date information, please report them here: Report Corrections Here
1. Domestic Violence Hotline
- National Domestic Violence Hotline
- Phone: 1−800−799−7233
- TTY: 1−800−787−3224
Internet / chat: https://www.thehotline.org/
2. Suicide Prevention Lifeline
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
- Phone: 800-273-TALK (8255)
- Spanish: Espanol 1-888-628-9454
- Chat: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
3. Christian Books on Divorce
The Life-Saving Divorce: Hope for People Leaving Destructive Relationships, by Gretchen Baskerville.
Written for Christians and other people of faith, the Life-Saving Divorce gives hope to those who choose to leave destructive marriages. It brings comfort to those who worry: Did I try hard enough? Will my children be okay if I divorce? What does the Bible say about divorce for infidelity, domestic violence, emotional abuse, or other serious problems? Free study guides. Free chapter-by-chapter videos.
Endorsement: This practical and straightforward book combines a traditional high regard for scripture with the latest results of academic research by Christian scholars and applies it to pastoral realities. The problem of abuse within marriage is shamefully common but rarely mentioned, especially in churches. The approach of this book is both empathic and well researched, employing the latest stats alongside clear advice. A must for anyone involved in pastoral work and a lifeline for those suffering within marriages.
—Rev Dr David Instone-Brewer, www.DivorceRemarriage.com
4. Christian Books on Abuse
This book is written from a Christian perspective and speaks to women specifically, to help them identify and get free from emotional abuse in a marriage.
Is It Me?: Making Sense of Your Confusing Marriage, by Natalie Hoffman.
This book is also written from a Christian perspective for women struggling to make sense of a damaging marriage. It is a particularly gentle book that would work well to give as a gift to someone you know and love who seems to be in an abusive marriage, but hasn’t admitted it yet. Watch for the new small group curriculum that goes with this book.
Redemption from Biblical Battering: Your Path to Faith-Based Freedom, by Shirley Fessel.
This is a workbook-style book for Christian women in abusive relationships who are looking for a faith-based path to freedom. It is appropriate for a small group curriculum.
Out of Control: Couples, Conflict and the Capacity for Change, by Natalie Collins.
This book, written for the Church, gives an in-depth look at domestic abuse, using case studies and knowledge about abusive behavior traits gleaned from the author’s years of work leading workshops and helping the Church recognize and deal with signs of abuse in its midst.
Books on Abuse (General)
Written by a licensed, practicing therapist, this book covers the effects of psychological abuse and recovery for victims in easy-to-read language. This book can be useful for male victims of abuse as well. If a person isn’t sure if they are being abused, this is a good starter book.
Understand how abuse happens in Hennessy's first book, which is written in an easily understandable manner, to addresses controlling and abusive behavior from an intimate partner, especially of men towards women. The second book offers a path out of this control and into freedom.
Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men, by Lundy Bancroft. Also his book on how to leave: Should I Stay or Should I Go?
Lundy Bancroft is a counselor who specializes in working with abusive men, and he has written this book from that perspective, helping enable women to recognize when they are being abused and devalued and find ways to get free of abusive relationships.
Dr. Probasco’s own emergence from an abusive relationship and over twenty years of experience as a licensed marriage and family therapist enable her to offer this compassionate guide for victims of abuse to make the transition from victim to survivor to overcomer.
This book offers real-life stories of abuse victims, along with strategies, sample scripts, and action plans to help those in dangerous relationships deal with the abuse and get free.
FOR MEN OR WOMEN: This book explains how trauma bonds work—emotional and relational ties that bind a victim to someone who hurts them. It is a book that also works well for male victims, as the author himself was in a chronic abuse cycle.
FOR MEN: This book has been recommended by people in my private Facebook group. The Goodreads and Amazon reviews are insightful and positive, despite this being an older book, published in 1997.
Books on Spiritual Abuse
Written for both those who have been spiritually abused as well as those who may be (inadvertently or not) causing spiritual abuse, this book helps explain how people get hooked into spiritually abusive systems, the impact of controlling leadership on a congregation, and how the abused believer can find rest and recovery. (This is a good book for a person who is addicted to pleasing religious leaders, as many of us raised in the church are!)
This book takes scriptures that have often been used to harm people, or take away their rights, their voice, their boundaries, and their safety, and teaches us how to “untwist” those verses so that we can understand them as God intended us to, presenting the beautiful truth of God’s Word. It is a book about shaking free from spiritual abuse.
5. Books on Sexual Addictions, Adultery, Pedophilia
In this book, Dr. Skinner uses his insight from over ten years of research to explain why and how victims of sexual betrayal often experience symptoms that match those of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He also provides practical guidance in recovering from this unique form of trauma.
This book is written for women, and it has special applicability for those who live (or lived) with a sex addict or a partner who sexually betrayed them in any number of ways.
This is a funny, wry, irreverent book on being dumped by an unfaithful spouse. Tracy Schorn is the daughter of a Methodist minister and has a blog at www.chumplady.com. [Note: She sometimes uses profanity.]
Omar Minwalla’s Free Podcasts and Videos for Spouses of Serial Cheaters.
Podcast: Dr. Omar Minwalla is a Licensed Psychologist who speaks on sex addiction, compulsive sexual behavior, patterns of infidelity, intimate partner abuse and the resulting traumatic impact. https://theinstituteforsexualhealth.com/podcasts/
How to Report Child Molesting or Child Porn
If someone tells you about child sexual abuse or if you run across child porn images (real or not), report it immediately to law enforcement. Do not print it or send it or show child porn to anyone. Contact the National Center for Missing or Endangered Children and follow their instructions: http://www.missingkids.com/gethelpnow/cybertipline or by phone (1-800-843-5678). https://report.cybertip.org/
Podcast: “Speaking Out on Sex Abuse Podcast”
Jimmy Hinton and his mother, Clara Hinton, talk about pedophiles and how to protect your children and your church. Jimmy’s father was a pedophile and a pastor who had many victims before being caught and reported to law enforcement by Jimmy, and eventually incarcerated. https://jimmyhinton.org/podcast/
Church Resource for Protecting Children, Responding to Abuse, and Training Staff
The nonprofit organization G.R.A.C.E. (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment) empowers Christian churches, schools, ministries, and other organizations to recognize, prevent, and respond to abuse. They do assessments, certifications, and investigations. https://www.netgrace.org/
6. How to Help a Friend Stuck in an Abusive Relationship
Simply telling a person to leave their abusive marriage often backfires. In fact, it tends to drive them back to the abuser. If you want to speak in a way people will listen, this book is written as a practical guide for family and friends of someone in a dangerous marriage. Susan Brewster, a psychotherapist who has worked extensively with abused women and their families, offers tools and advice for those who want to support a loved one in her struggle to escape an abusive relationship, but who do not necessarily know how to do so in a way that truly helps, rather than controlling her or keeping her dependent on others.
Books on Making Close Friendships
Many people who find themselves needing a life-saving divorce want to build new, healthier friendships that are supportive and nurturing, especially if they feel alone as a single again. This old classic is still an excellent book on making and keeping friends.
7. Theological Books on the Biblical Text and/or Ancient Jewish Customs and Culture
This is a long, scholarly book for people who really want to dig into ancient languages and biblical customs. Instone-Brewer’s findings support divorce for infidelity, sexual immorality, abandonment, neglect, physical abuse, and chronic emotional abuse.
This is Dr. Instone-Brewer’s shorter version of his work in Divorce and Remarriage in the Bible. It was written for pastors.
Keener deeply considers the biblical text and cultural context of the Bible in order to help us understand the true meaning of the words of Jesus and Paul on divorce and remarriage and develop a soundly scriptural view of the “forgiven” status of all believers: married, divorced, or not.
This book addresses interpretations of biblical texts about divorce from the perspective of a survivor of domestic violence and concludes that the Bible permits divorce when a marriage has turned dangerous.
Together with co-author Rebecca Davis, pastor and author Jeff Crippen presents Christ’s body with a work steeped in Scripture that lays before us a map of the abusive mind, the tactics of abuse, the effects abuse has on its victims, and the tragic way our churches have failed the victims of this sin. He issues a clarion call for those who love Christ to answer the call to love the oppressed and speak for the victims, as Proverbs 31:9 says: “Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
Using Scriptural support, the author addresses the question, “What does God really think about divorce?” He urges readers to view divorce as a gift that, like grace, is often misused, but is a blessing from God. He advocates a movement from a judgmental attitude to a redemptive one.
8. First-Person Stories of Men and Women Who Were Victims of Abuse or Infidelity
This book is an informally written diary from the author’s personal experience in an abusive marriage, and how he finally came to grips with the fact that this was a toxic marriage that needed to end.
This book is valuable for Christian leaders who’ve had an unfaithful spouse. The author is a minister with an MDiv, who successfully defended his ministerial credentials following the divorce.
This is the author’s harrowing story of abuse at the hands of her husband—a well-educated, charming preacher no less—offered in hopes that her story would help other women caught in a cycle of domestic violence and would also give a balanced, biblical approach to counter such abuse (for pastors and counselors).
Give Her Wings: Help and Healing After Abuse, by Megan Cox.
This book is the author’s personal story of abuse. She gives excellent advice on knowing what to do, why abuse is wrong, and why and when to leave—all with a solid basis of powerful Scriptures.
9. Books on Developing Boundaries and Learning to Deal with Manipulators
This acclaimed Christian book on godly boundary-setting will help you learn how to set boundaries so you aren’t run over by others and taken advantage of by them. (While this book is very helpful for people who are rebuilding their lives after divorce, this may not be a good book for those married to people with personality disorders or spouses with a long pattern of abuse. Trauma survivors have criticized the authors for being too optimistic about the effects of setting boundaries, and for appearing reluctant to condone divorce as a healthy consequence for abusive spouses. See their book, Safe People, below.)
A guide on how to navigate boundaries in your workplace, including a substantial section (the second half of the book) that includes phrases to use when faced by a boss or coworker who tries to manipulate you.
This book specifically addresses setting boundaries with family members and loved ones. It includes explanations and examples, with anecdotes that help you learn how to respond to people in a positive way.
Safe People, by Henry Cloud and John Townsend.
10. Books on Hostile Divorces and Parental Alienation (When Your Ex Turns Your Child Against You)
See Section 17 for articles and podcast on gender bias in the family law courts.
This book is practical and easy to read. It gives tips on what to watch for, as well as actual phrases to use when responding to your kids. It has a workbook-format section at the end of each chapter.
The book is basic and practical. It covers more of the legal aspects of child custody, including situations such as kidnapping.
Toxic Divorce: A Workbook for Alienated Parents, by Kathleen M. Reay, Ph.D.
Toxic Divorce is an excellent workbook to help parents with their feelings, providing strategies and tips to de-escalate parental alienation so it doesn’t progress from moderate to severe.
This video is for parents, containing tips for parents who wish to reconnect and reunite with their alienated children. [Note: It is not meant to be watched with your children.]
Don't Alienate the Kids! Raising Resilient Children While Avoiding High Conflict Divorce by Bill Eddy (lawyer)
This is Eddy's book on raising kids after divorce. He talks about "1000 Little Bricks," the bad behaviors of both parents, family members, friends and divorce professionals, that help build a Wall of Alienation between a parent and child. He is an attorney, therapist and mediator.
Bill Eddy is an attorney, mediator, and clinical social worker. Book covers the court/legal process of divorcing, including hiring a divorce lawyer, gathering evidence, and what to expect from your ex- and their attorney.
In the heat of a custody battle, or high-conflict divorce, this is a book on how to handle vitriol, hate, hostility, and false accusations leveled at you by your ex. How to respond...or not respond.
When your ex-spouse attacks you with insinuations, false accusations, and threats during the divorce process, this book will help you decide how to respond. Using real-life correspondence and a touch of humor, the author helps you see past the words, and look at the underlying message, then decide how to respond in a way that will help you in divorce court. Also check out her blog, www.onemomsbattle.com And You Tube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCI4AhUPJiUSU_wqtSqRoaOw
FREE Expert Advice on HIgh-Conflict Divorces
Free Expert advice: Rebecca Zung is an attorney who specializes high-conflict divorce. Her blog: https://www.rebeccazung.com/blog-entries/ Her You Tube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnhT4fBE1OWOn7c0Quxdf4w Her Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rebeccazung/ One of her private Facebook groups: https://www.facebook.com/groups/divorcetransformationsupportgroup/
Free Expert advice: Bill Eddy, lawyer, mediator, licensed therapist at High-Conflict Institute. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/highconflictinstitute/ You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnPDugfElJEgWCHbZhMGttw Web: https://www.highconflictinstitute.com/
Free Expert advice: Dr. Ramani Durvasula is a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice in Santa Monica and Sherman Oaks, CA and Professor of Psychology at California State University, Los Angeles. Her blog and videos educate people about dealing with narcissists. Her blog. is at https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/guide-better-relationships Her You Tube channel is: https://www.youtube.com/user/DoctorRamanDurvasula Her Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/doctorramani/
Free Expert advice on Co-Parenting: Tina Swithin is an expert on high-conflict divorce and co-parenting in a high-conflict situation. Her blog, www.onemomsbattle.com And You Tube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCI4AhUPJiUSU_wqtSqRoaOw Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/onemomsbattle/
FREE Expert Advice on Parental Alienation: Check out Ryan Thomas, on the topic of parental alienation. When Ryan Thomas was a child, his mother (and her family) turned him against his father. Now as an adult and an advisor to alienated parents and manipulated kids on how to reconnect, he offers a lot of information, including free videos: http://ryanthomasspeaks.com/videos/. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ryanthomasspeaks/ Blog: https://ryanthomasinternational.com/media/
FREE Assistance in collecting back child support if your spouse moves to another state: OCSE
11. Books on Trauma, Recovery, PTSD, Medical Effects of Abuse
Classic book on the history of trauma and PTSD by leading Harvard Ph.D. researcher. Explains the treatment and stages of recovery for trauma victims, whether from military combat or from sexual, physical, or emotional abuse or assault. It starts with getting to safety. This book will help you understand people who've experienced horrific life events.
Trauma from abuse or combat or being exposed to it can change both your body and brain. It's no wonder that some people who were in long abusive marriages have health issues, often a "whole range of physical symptoms, including fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and other autoimmune diseases…"
12. Safety Tips for Abuse Victims, “Flight Bags,” and Safe Words
If you are in danger, call 911 now.
Focus Ministries’ 9-page safety plan:
https://www.focusministries1.org/SafetyPlan.pdf Focus Ministries has curriculum for adults and teens, training events for licensed counselors, tools for pastors, books and training manuals, groups for pastors’ wives, domestic violence support groups. Their primary focus is women.
Request that the U.S. government deny a passport to your children, which would prohibit your ex-spouse from taking the kids out of the country. https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/International-Parental-Child-Abduction/prevention/passport-issuance-alert-program.html You can also speak to an agent there about your concerns.
Verifying Mail Theft
If you are concerned about mail theft, sign up for USPS's Informed Delivery service that sends a daily email showing images of the the letters and parcels scheduled to be delivered that day: https://informeddelivery.usps.com/box/pages/intro/start.action
Domestic Violence Resource Center’s preparation list
Domestic Shelters Database:
Find a shelter in your area. Also has videos on recognizing emotional abuse and recovery from controlling relationships: www.domesticshelters.org
Low-Cost Counseling for Child Sexual Abuse Survivors
Together We Heal. www.together-we-heal.org
For those abused by clergy: SNAP www.snapnetwork.org
13. Best and Worst Christian Marriage and Sex Books
Looking for a good book on marriage to use in a small group Bible study or couples class? Here are the best and the worst according to Sheila Gregoire, a researcher whose team conducted the largest ever survey (20,000 participants) of Christian women's marital and sexual satisfaction.
Best and Worst Christian Marriage and Sex Books
Helpful Marriage and Sex Books
- 6. The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy and Kathy Keller
- 7. Intended for Pleasure by Ed and Gaye Wheat
Harmful Marriage/Sex Books
- 8. Sheet Music by Kevin Leman
- 9. The Act of Marriage by Tim and Beverly La Haye
- 10. The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian
- 11. His Needs, Her Needs by Willard F. Harley Jr. (tied)
- 11. For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn (tied)
- 12. Every Man’s Battle by Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker
- 13. Love & Respect by Emerson Eggerichs
This chart was created by Sheila Gregoire who published the findings of her 20,000-women survey of Christian women’s marital and sexual satisfaction in her 2021 book The Great Sex Rescue. Using the findings, the team evaluated the top Evangelical marriage books and sex books. To see the evaluation criteria and the detailed analysis of each book, go here to download the rubric. https://tolovehonorandvacuum.com/gsr-rubric/
14. Books on Child Discipline
Discipline that Connects With Your Child's Heart, by Jim Jackson
This is a good book for communicating with and disciplining young children. There's also a Facebook page.
Why I Didn't Rebel, by Rebecca Lindenbach
For parent of tweens and teens (middle school and high school)
15. Sermon ideas for Domestic Violence Awareness Month (October in the U.S.)
Pastor Neil Schori of the Edge Church, Aurora, Illinois
RAVE Project - Sermons and Resources for Faith Based Congregations
Faith Trust Institute - Sermon Contest Winners
Evangelical Covenant Church - https://covchurch.org/ava/domestic-violence-awareness-sunday/
List of Pastors who accept abuse as biblical grounds for divorce: Their sermons on divorce for abuse
16. Books on Healing From Sexually Abusive Spouses and Enjoying Sex Again
This book has been recommended by men and women in my private Facebook group who've been sexually abused by their ex-spouse and experienced humiliation, fear, coercion, scorn, rape, etc. It is not a faith-based book. Lehmiller is a researcher with Kinsey.
Painful sex, marital rape, sexless marriages, and sexual coercion in Christian marriages are serious problems. Why do they exist? What can be done? This book, based on a huge 20,000-person survey of Christian woman's marital and sexual satisfaction gives women (and men) advice on how to have a better sex life. Although many Christian marriages report happy sex lives, a significant number do not. Why is that? Today Sheila shares her startling findings: that many false messages in Evangelical marriage books make our marriages and sex lives significantly worse—and how to fix it.
17. Parental Alienation and Gender Bias in Child Custody Cases
This section is for academic studies on parental alienation in the court system. For general books on parental alienation, and how to deal with it, see Section 10 above.
Academic Papers Documenting Evidence of Court Bias. By Dr. Joan S. Meier, George Washington University. Make sure your attorney is aware of these.
Meier, Joan S. and Dickson, Sean and O'Sullivan, Chris and Rosen, Leora and Hayes, Jeffrey, Child Custody Outcomes in Cases Involving Parental Alienation and Abuse Allegations (2019). GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2019-56, GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2019-56, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3448062 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3448062
Meier, Joan S. and Dickson, Sean, Mapping Gender: Shedding Empirical Light on Family Courts’ Treatment of Cases Involving Abuse and Alienation (2017). Joan S. Meier & Sean Dickson, Mapping Gender: Shedding Empirical Light on Family Courts’ Treatment of Cases Involving Abuse and Alienation, 35 Law & Ineq. 311 (2017). ; GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2017-43; GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2017-43. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2999906
Podcast with Dr. Joan S. Meier, professor of Clinical Law at George Washington University Law School, and Founder and Legal Director of the Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment and Appeals Project (DV LEAP). She is a nationally recognized expert on domestic violence and the law, appellate litigation, and clinical law teaching and has founded programs to provide legal representation, advocacy, and counseling to victims of domestic violence. Professor Meier has co-written several significant pieces of federal and state legislation, and frequently delivers presentations and trainings to attorneys, judges, and professional organizations.
A fascinating story of a group of women in Texas who sought to reform a legal system that gave custody to child molesters. CourtWatch, played a crucial role in defeating five of the judges in the 1994 judicial election and turned the tide.
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18. Questionnaires and Assessments: Am I Being Abused? Am I in Danger?
Questionnaire: Are You In An Emotionally Destructive Relationship? - Leslie Vernick
Questionnaire: Women’s Covert Abuse Assessment (enter your email and the questionnaire will be sent to you) – Natalie Hoffman
MOSAIC Threat Assessment (Choose from: domestic violence, or workplace violence, or student threat)
Stanford Health Center: Standardized intake admission and abuse screening questions
Danger Assessment for homicide risk, Jacquelyn C. Campbell, Ph.D., R.N., Johns Hopkins
19. How to Legally Document Your Injuries and Emotional Abuse
Legal Documentation of Your Abuse – Free
How to document both the abuse and how you resisted the abuse the best you could. (Abuse victims always resist, but they do so in ways that may not be evident because they are trying to stay safe.
Calgary Women's Shelter: Honoring Resistance - https://www.calgarywomensshelter.com/images/pdf/cwesResistancebookletfinalweb.pdf
My Dignity - https://www.insightexchange.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/My-Dignity-My-body-is-mine-First-Edition2694.pdf
How to Analyze an Account of Domestic Violence - https://www.insightexchange.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Insight-Exchange-Language-Lab-Example-from-PX-2019.pdf
20. Parenting Abused or Traumatized Children
Karen Purvis Institute of Child Development: The Healing Families Series. https://child.tcu.edu/tbri-video-viewing-guide/#sthash.XxuywfPj.dpbs
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