This week I am continuing my podcast mini-series on abuse (which isn’t so mini, after all). Joining me to discuss faith-based toxic relationships is Sarah McDugal. Sarah is a speaker, trainer, and abuse recovery coach who works exclusively with women wounded by toxic relationships in the faith community.

There are various forms of abuse that can take place within a faith community. One scenario is the church as the abuser. Another often seen is using the church as a weapon of abuse. Sarah joins me to discuss how abuse shows up within the church and what we can do to change the narrative.

While this episode deals with abuse within the faith community, Sarah makes a poignant statement about the purpose of her teachings, “My first desire is to call the faith community to be humble enough, to recognize where we failed, so that we can rebuild and we can change it. Second, if you are a woman, listening to this [episode] thinking, ‘Oh my goodness this is my life,’ I want you to know that there are resources. There is help…You are not alone.”

Show Highlights

  • Fundamental theologies of the church and how they enable abusers. (3:23)
  • Why we must recognize that abuse happens in the faith community. Plus, we explore some ways it shows up. (4:00)
  • The vulnerability of women within the church: most churches and faith-based communities are patriarchal in their core foundation. Those who carry the greater level of power in the majority tend to be men. (15:39)
  • How marriage counseling within the church environment is damaging. (23:11)
  • Why the interpretation of the biblical text matters: love and truth versus coercion and control. (36:39)
  • Changing the discussion around sexuality, marriage, and sexual satisfaction for women of the Christian faith. (38:37)
  • Some solutions for women who want to escape an abusive relationship within the faith community. (48:04)
  • We explore the four abusive relational elements, including entitlement and control. (59:51)

Learn More About Sarah:

Sarah McDugal is a speaker, trainer, and Abuse Recovery Coach who works exclusively with women wounded by toxic relationships in the faith community. She has published three books: “One Face: Shed the Mask, Own Your Values, and Lead Wisely,” “Myths We Believe, Predators We Trust: 37 Things You Don’t Want to Know About Abuse in Church,” and “Safe Churches: Responding to Abuse in the Faith Community.”

Sarah is the founder of WILD, which offers individual coaching, recovery resources, training events, online courses, and private support groups. She emphasizes intentional prevention, responsible strategy, and holistic healing in her appearances on podcasts, TV, radio, and lectures.

Resources & Links:

Sarah’s website
Systems of Abuse Chart
Parenting Resource List
5 Day Self-Compassion: Use Code KATE7 for $7 off. Offer extended to the first 100 listeners of the Divorce Survival Guide podcast.
Sarah on Facebook
Sarah on YouTube
Sarah on Instagram
Sarah on Twitter
The Thrive Fund