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What's New:

  • The 2018 Conquer Conference: Be Brave, Grow Strong tickets are here. This event happening October 2018, will be amazing. You can click here for more information.

Are You an Abuse Magnet?

By Leslie Vernick

Many women wonder if there is something about them that attracts abusers, especially when they have experienced multiple abusive relationships. For a number of reasons, some women (and men) may be more vulnerable to predators.

A woman may be more vulnerable to being abused because she is too naive and/or too nice. She has not been taught by her mother or father to “bare her teeth” when she is in relationship danger. Instead, she learns to ignore the warning signs, to pretend everything is fine, to make nice, to be accommodating to her own peril, and to go the extra mile.

While being accommodating and kind are fine qualities, a girl must also be taught how and when it’s time to speak up, set boundaries, say no, and walk away from a relationship that is disrespectful and dishonoring to her before it ever becomes abusive.

When a woman does not know how to protect herself against a predator, or she’s taught it’s ungodly or unfeminine, she is far more vulnerable to being manipulated, intimidated and abused.

Thirteen Traits that Make You a Target for Abusers

In my counseling and coaching work I’ve observed 13 traits people possess that make them more vulnerable to being abused. Having any one of these traits or all of them does not make the abuse you experience your fault, but in your naiveté and/or unhealthiness, you do become a magnet that attracts abusive people.

These traits are not in any specific order nor do you have to have all of them to make you more vulnerable. Just having one of them can make you an abuse magnet and put you in an unhealthy or dangerous place in your relationships.

1. When you are initially attracted to someone you don’t look for good character qualities (such as honesty, faithfulness, diligence, and responsibility) but easily get swept away by charm (such as a great smile, a lot of money, the way he kisses you, his flattering words).

2. You frequently ignore your early gut instincts that something isn’t right. Instead you rationalize, minimize, or tell yourself you are imagining things or overreacting.

3. You believe you don’t deserve a better relationship, therefore, you settle for what you can get and what he gives you, even if it’s hurtful and abusive. You believe that having someone is better having than having no one.

4. You fall for smooth words and fast-talk over looking at the hard facts and his past behaviors.

5. You feel empty without a man (or woman) in your life.

6. You have a hard time sticking up for yourself in assertive ways. Sometimes you try but it’s usually in an aggressive over-the-top manner, which you later regret. In your guilt you revert back to your passive accommodating ways.

7. You typically over-function and/or under-function in your relationships. You feel all the responsibility to repair what is wrong and take all the blame. You tend to not think for yourself or make your own decisions. You allow yourself to be controlled.

8. You perpetually avoid conflict and feel bad or guilty for saying no to people

9. You cling to fantasy story lines and love myths such as if you love someone enough he/she will change, and God will make everything work out in the end.

10. You have few or no boundaries or you allow others to violate your boundaries with no consequences

11. You accept unacceptable behavior from others and blame yourself.

12. You do things for the other person that is against your own values and better judgment (like co-sign a loan, let him sleep over when you barely know him, lie for him).

13. You make excuses for abusive behavior or minimize and rationalize it. (He’s tired, he had an abusive father, he’s depressed, he’s had a hard day, he has poor self-esteem).

If you recognize yourself as having any of these thirteen traits and are tired of being an abuse magnet, NOW IS THE TIME to make some changes.


50 Life Lessons for Grads

By Janet Holm McHenry

Fifty young people share the most important lessons and words of wisdom they wish they had when they began life after college. Who better than a recent graduate to help you navigate life after college?

With encouragement and advice, fifty young women and men share what they learned the hard way so you can better prepare for the same challenges.

From ‘Money Isn't Everything' to ‘Real Friendships Take Effort,' these short, but insightful essays address the real struggles, opportunities, and fears that you might face as you finish your education and begin your independent adult life. Following each essay are five bulleted life lessons to encourage and equip you on your chosen path.

If you would like to enter to win, you can click here to provide name and email address.

The winners of Lavish Grace: Poured Out, Poured Through, and Overflowing by Kathy Howard are Susan F. and Christina L.


Upcoming Events

May 4-5, 2018
Grace Fellowship Church
York, Pennsylvania

For more information please click here.

June 1-2, 2018
Community Church at Tellico Village Loudon, Tennessee
For more information please click here

Want to have Leslie speak at your event? Click here to find out more information.

Did I Make the Wrong Choice When I Left My Marriage?

Question: I am currently separated from my spouse of 24 years. I tried everything I “thought” was godly & honorable to make my marriage better, but nothing worked.

My spouse throughout the history of our marriage developed a pattern of engaging in secret relationships with other women. I have witnessed him for the first 20 years of our marriage engage in physical contact with female friends including horse playing, rough-housing, and intimate contact. I confronted him on many occasions and asked him to stop the behavior, but he refused to comply.

In addition, he has been verbally and emotionally abusive to me throughout our marriage. The final straw for me was last October of 2017. We got into a heated argument that escalated into him grabbing me from behind, strong-arming and tussling me against a wall in such a way where I had to threaten to call the police if he didn’t release me.

And so, I left home in October of 2017. As a result, I lost everything, my home and the life that I had become accustomed to. Lastly, during our separation (November 2017) I discovered that my husband was involved in yet another secret friendship with a woman who is young enough to be my daughter. When I sought help from my Pastor and a Christian counselor, my Pastor rebuked me for leaving my spouse. The Christian counselor said that my “account” of my spouse’s actions were not concrete evidence to separate but were simply my “subjective experiences.”

Now, I’m alone. I filed for divorce, I lost my church family, the friends that I thought were ours were really my husband’s! I’ve been living in a hotel since October 2017 afraid to go back to my spouse, embarrassed to go back to my church, all the while trying to find peace in my spirit that my decision to leave the chaos and the violence was a wise decision.

And so, I guess my question is – did I sin against God, my marriage, and the church by leaving my spouse? What do I do now? I’m 53 years old and I feel like a wandering lost child who is trying to navigate the world on her own. I do somehow sense that God has His loving hands in my life. Thank you in advance for addressing my question.

Answer: Your question and your entire experience breaks my heart and I want you to know it breaks God’s heart too. I’m so sorry you’ve endured so much pain. The disrespect, the demeaning, the devaluing of your experiences both from your church and your counselor, and the continued deceit from your spouse along with the abuse is sinful and harmful.

But you asked me a question. Did you sin against God, your marriage and the church by leaving? No. Your physical, emotional and spiritual safety and sanity are important to God. You are his daughter and you are precious to him. God hates what happened to you both in your marriage and from your church and counselor.

God never approves of a husband flirting with other women, lying to you, and physically and emotionally abusing you. Paul cautions husband’s to “love their wives as Christ loved the church” (Ephesians 5:25) and Peter reminds them “do not be harsh with them” (Colossians 3:19).

Here’s What People are Saying About Leslie’s Conquer Support Group

What I love most about Conquer is the love, support, wisdom,guidance from the other women in this group. Loneliness isolation and feeling crazy diminishes when the support from this group

~ Betsy (Conquer Member)


Leslie wants to help you grow in your personal and relational effectiveness. Please submit your questions by clicking here.

Then, visit Leslie's Blog as she posts her responses to one question per week.

Note: Due to the volume of questions that Leslie receives, she is unable to respond to every question.


Leslie Vernick PO Box 5312 Sun City West, Arizona 85376 United States