I interviewed Cindy Burrell who is the author of the book, “Why Is He So Mean to Me? and a writer on the topic of emotional abuse. She’s a mother of four. A survivor of a 20-year abusive marriage to a Christian man who memorized Scripture and taught on marriage topics at church, Cindy tells her story, and how she finally felt the Lord releasing her from the marriage. She tells about the process of recovery and rebuilding her life during and after divorce. She tells us about her kids, and she talks about having boundaries while doing online dating.

And don't miss her wonderful (and surprising story) about she met her new husband 15 years ago (online!). She calls him the “love of my life.”


She also wants to give tips to people helpers, counselors, pastors, and therapists so they can do a better job at identifying mental abuse and help their clients. See timestamps below:


01:30 – Her story

02:25 – Examples of types of emotional abuse

03:20 – No counselor used the word “abuse” to describe her husband’s controlling behavior

04:00 – The tipping point: How the Spirit told her that living like this was insane.

05:00 – How well-meaning therapists and pastors accidentally pressure the victim and side with the abuser

08:00 – 1 Peter 3 requires husbands to be understanding and to give respectful treatment to their wives.

09:21 – How desperation drove her to divorce.

09:55 – God made a path to freedom, but she was still afraid of the future.

10:45 – Rebuilding your life is a walk of faith. Watch and see how God provides. A good counselor who understands abuse is beneficial.
12:15 – Getting past a negative view of men.

13:15 – Online dating disasters—and success

16:00 – Setting boundaries when doing online dating

18:00 – Meeting her husband online. Not “love at first sight.”

20:00 – Do you have too much baggage to remarry? No.

21:45 – How her children feel about her 2nd husband.

23:40 – Why do counselors miss abuse?

25:00 – How abusers deceive us. What happens when words, actions, and attitudes don’t line up?

26:00 – How abusers blame you for their marriage-destroying sin.

27:00 – Better ways for therapists to help abuse victims

30:10 – Examine the fruit of the abuser: are they bringing love, joy, peace, patience, etc., to your marriage?

31:00 – “Holiness over happiness” messages trap abuse victims in unsafe situations.

32:00 – How life-saving divorces make your home MORE holy, not LESS holy.

32:45 – Recommendations for therapists.

36:16 – We want to break the cycle to protect our children. The dysfunction ends with me.

37:50 – If you don’t leave abuse, your children may decide to either become predators or prey.

38:40 – Be careful about counselors whose goal is to keep your marriage together. An abusive marriage isn’t noble: it’s destructive.

38:56 – Dealing with regrets that you failed to protect your children, and didn’t get them out sooner.

43:00 – How to combat regret.

43:30 – Description of Cindy’s books and website www.HurtByLove.com

45:10 – Expecting criticism from church leaders who don’t understand. Praying about it. Talking to the Lord.

45:45 – When an abuser abuses, they’ve broken their vows.

47:00 – It’s dangerous to do marriage therapy or couples counseling with an abuser in the room.  www.lifesavingdivorce.com/couplescounseling

48:00 – We need more Christian counselors who are trained in abuse.

48:30 – John & Julie Gottman’s blog says that half the people who come in for counseling, whether they admit it or not, are victims of violence. https://www.gottman.com/blog/v-is-for-violence/

48:45 – Sometimes well-meaning counselors accidentally treat abuse as a communication problem rather than a coercion or control problem.

49:30 – Abusers are charming and skillful at deceiving the counselor

50:00 – Counselors have a duty to warn if their clients are marrying someone with an issue known to have poor treatment outcomes: pedophiles, abusers, serial adulterers, etc.

52:45 – Gretchen talks about her 20 years in churches as a Christian divorce recovery leader and how she (as an infidelity survivor) changed her mind in 1998 to view emotional abuse as a biblical reason for divorce. Here is the Scripture basis for that: www.lifesavingdivorce.com/abuse-in-bible


CONTACT:  [email protected]

Book is available as a paperback or Kindle.



Gretchen Baskerville is a Christian divorce recovery leader and researcher. For more than 20 years, she has worked with Christian women and men going through difficult, life-saving divorces, listening with compassion to those who have suffered from domestic violence, betrayal, infidelity, and emotional abuse. She helps heartbroken people find strength and courage and healing.


Her book, "The Life-Saving Divorce" is about the one-half of U.S. divorces that are for very serious reasons. She will give you optimism about your children's future (nearly 8 in 10 children turn out fine after divorce, according to top researchers); and will help you understand emotional abuse, "gaslighting," the abuse cycle, and tips for surviving high-conflict divorces.


For examples of emotional abuse, read Chapter 4 in The Life-Saving Divorce book.


What's a Life-Saving Divorce? A Life-Saving Divorce is a divorce for the serious reasons:  a pattern of sexual immorality, physical abuse, chronic emotional abuse, domestic violence, felony behavior, life-destroying addictions, or abandonment/neglect.


How to Get the Book, "The Life-Saving Divorce: Hope for People Leaving Destructive Relationships"

Paperback Book/Kindle via Amazon: https://amzn.to/3aH5Dfp  As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Follow Gretchen Baskerville:

Subscribe to Gretchen's You Tube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRgtUNfTlYIRDt8iOK6XPKQ

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/gretchen.baskerville

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GGBaskerville

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gretchenbaskerville/



Other helpful links

Website and Blog: http://www.LifeSavingDivorce.com

Top 50 Blog Posts by Topic: https://lifesavingdivorce.com/popular/

Life-Saving Divorce Email Signup: http://www.LifeSavingDivorce.com/courage


Do You Need Support?  I’d like to invite you to my private Facebook group, "Life-Saving Divorce for Separated or Divorced Christians." ANSWER the 3 QUESTIONS. This is a group for women and men of faith who have walked this path, or are considering it.


Start Here



Does God Hate Divorce? He May Hate Divorce, But He Hates Abuse & Betrayal More!


Physical and Emotional Abuse & Infidelity


God Allows Divorce to Protect Victims


How to Find a Good Supportive Church


What If My Pastor Says It Would Be Wrong to Get Divorced for Abuse?



Divorce Saves Lives: The Surprising (Wonderful!) Truth About Divorce Nobody Told You

Will I Ever Find Love Again? Dating After Divorce: Good News

Finding Happiness and Health After Divorce


Thriving After Divorce: These Christians Tell their Stories

Self-Doubt, Second-Guessing Ourselves, and Gaslighting


Children and Divorce: Researchers Give Hope


High Conflict Divorce and Parenting


Recommended Reading List and Free Resources for Christians and Other People of Faith


Common Myths






GET THE BOOK! The Life-Saving Divorce is about divorces for very serious reasons: a pattern of sexual immorality, physical abuse, chronic emotional abuse, life-altering addictions, abandonment, or severe neglect. This book will give you hope for your future, and optimism about your children. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.



SIGN UP below for the email list for find out about helpful new blog posts, videos, and FREE Kindle book giveaways.