Counseling for Spouses of Narcissistic Pastors & Leaders

Trauma-Informed, Virtual
Coaching and Christian Counseling

Support for husbands and wives of toxic, narcissistic, and abusive Christian church and ministry leaders.

Whether you are a pastor, leader, or member, a toxic and abusive culture can devastate our relationships and ministry and harms us emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Covert narcissism is often found at the root and weaved throughout a toxic culture. Because it is hidden from most members, victims who encounter the toxicity face endless self-doubt and confusion about what is happening and why. Those who identify the toxicity and attempt to make changes or expose it often encounter an entire system viciously turning on or abandoning them. If you have children, all the emotional and mental resources you have left might be going toward protecting them from social impacts, abuse, and likely parental alienation. 

Click to Read About Common Impacts to
Spouses of Narcissistic Pastors and Leaders

  • Sleep issues (insomnia, nightmares, etc.)
  • Difficulties eating properly
  • Frequent migraines, stomach problems, intestinal issues, or autoimmune symptoms
  • Frequently too cold or too hot
  • Jumpy
  • Intense emotions that are difficult to calm (anger, sadness, etc.)
  • Depression, hopelessness, shame, 
  • Feeling like you don’t know who you are or that you lost yourself
  • Feelings of dread 
  • Difficulty thinking clearly or making plans
  • Feeling nervous or anxious
  • Depression, irritability, or short temper
  • People who you thought were trusted friends are supporting the abusive leader.
  • Members and other leaders expect you to reconcile and continue as if things are significantly better.
  • The impacts of the abuse are being exploited to make you appear to be a significant part of the problem. 
  • You fear being alone or around people.
  • You find yourself excessively trying to explain yourself.
  • You constantly try to do better and please others.
  • You experience intense feelings of isolation and loneliness.
  • Anxiety, obsessing, over-thinking
  • Lack of motivation, depression, hopelessness
  • Switching between being highly active and alert and crashing into sadness and exhaustion
  • Constant worry
  • Panic
  • Need to control every detail
  • Increased struggling with addictions (under/overeating, shopping, researching, alcohol, being around people, etc.)
  • Tangible impacts of financial abuse
  • Self-sabotaging success
  • Feeling on edge or walking on egg-shells
  • Nothing feels pleasurable
  • Find yourself frequently giving in to the abuser.
  • Feeling like your going crazy or going to lose it
  • Difficulty processing challenging information
  • Feeling foggy, numbing out, and forgetful
  • Difficulty making plans and decisions
  • Constantly trying to figure things out
  • Continually second-guessing yourself
  • Obsessive-compulsive behaviors
  • Flashbacks and frequent triggers 


  • Discussing or thinking about forgiveness, bitterness, grace, joy, marriage, and other Biblical concepts brings intense shame, confusion, and anxiety.
  • You feel disconnected or numb reading the Bible, worshipping, and praying.
  • What was your refuge and place to grow spiritually is now a space filled with fear and pain.
  • You have difficulty feeling God’s presence.
  • Chronic guilty plagues you.
  • You can’t reach out for help to your friends inside your church or ministry because your role is to minister to them.
  • Everything you do is so closely watched that you can’t find a safe space to figure things out and develop a plan to address the abuse.
  • Advisers focus on what changes you need to make to work on your part of the relationship.
  • Your complaints are minimized or used against you.
  • Talking about the problems escalates the abuse.

Do You Need?


Are you constantly confused and questioning everything? 

Get the validation and insights you need to unravel your individual situation and clearly understand the truth about what is happening.


Have you tried everything, but nothing seems to be helping?

Get the personalized guidance, effective strategies, and roadmap you need to confidently choose your next steps.


Are you realizing just how deeply you have been impacted?

Get the trauma-informed support and direction you need to overcome the impacts and move forward in your life.

My Approach

I believe we are all beautifully unique, including YOU, so a “one size fits all” approach often isn’t helpful and can even be hurtful. So, instead of using a cookie-cutter plan, I enjoy working together with you to create a path forward that considers your unique personality, challenges, and strengths.

I believe that you are the expert on you. My role is to listen and learn about you so that I can provide the guidance and support you need to get to where you want to go. The best growth and healing occurs in a space where you feel free to ask questions, disagree, and talk about what is helpful and what isn’t.

I believe every person is valuable. Unfortunately, trauma often causes us to confuse the impacts of trauma with our identity. When this happens, we are left feeling deeply ashamed, hopeless, crazy, and weak. I value you, and I want to create a safe space where you can feel and know your value too!



Willow Life Coaching and Counseling, LLC does NOT provide medical services. Please see a licensed medical provider if you need medical and mental health services.

About Me

Bonnie Ronstrom

I’m a certified life coach, victim’s advocate, and pastoral counselor. I specialize in walking toward healing with those harmed by toxicity, narcissism, and spiritual abuse.

My passion is to provide the validation, support, training, and resources individuals and organizations need to overcome the devastating impacts of toxicity and abuse.

Whether you need a one-time consult or a place to heal, I look forward to meeting you and exploring how we can best work together. I work with clients from all over the world through virtual, trauma-informed coaching, Christian counseling (non-medical), groups, training, and consulting services.

Contact Me

Frequently Asked Questions

Christian Counseling

Do you take insurance?

My services are not medical, so they are not covered by medical insurance.

Who do you work with?

I work with English speaking adults from diverse cultures, countries, and backgrounds.

If you didn’t see an answer to your question, the link below will take you to more frequently asked questions.

What does working together look like?

The various parts of us (body, mind, soul, spirit, emotions, personality, abilities, etc.) are so intricately woven together that all aspects of us are impacted when we experience hardships and trauma. For this reason, I believe the most profound growth and healing occur when all parts of us are part of the process.

When we first meet, I’ll ask about your goals and what you hope to gain from working together. Some people have a clear picture of what they want, while others are overwhelmed and focused on surviving today (an expected impact of abuse and trauma). If this is your situation, we can start with your immediate needs, such as helpful information, clarity, a safety plan, or strategies to calm the chaos and anxiety.

I let each person decide how often they want to meet (permitting time in my schedule) and if they prefer to meet via phone or video chat.

As we talk, I discover your personality, experiences, preferences, and abilities. Getting to know you is an essential part of helping me present options and strategies that will be effective for you. I don’t believe a one-size-fits-all approach works. 


Part of being trauma-sensitive is that I’m always listening for potential triggers and roadblocks so that together we can develop creative ways to help you keep moving forward and avoid being retraumatized. 

Trauma alters how our brain and nervous systems function. Even when we are no longer in a harmful environment, having “trauma brain” causes physical problems and makes everyday tasks and interactions difficult. An essential part of healing is helping your brain and nervous systems return to healthy functioning. Thankfully, our brains are capable of changing and developing new patterns. Even though trauma is devastating, healing is possible!

People are traumatized when they go through deeply distressing events. When these distressing events are ongoing (such as in the case of Narcissistic Abuse), the impacts are profound.

When there is stress, our brains temporarily change how they function to help us respond to the stressor and recover afterward. Prolonged trauma causes our brains to take on new patterns of functioning. Certain brain areas become overactive while others under-function. These changes are sometimes referred to as “trauma brain.”

Here are just a few of the signs of “trauma brain.”

Lack of focus

Memory issues, Forgetful

Fatigue, Unmotivated

Anxious, restless

Emotionally reactive

Difficulty feeling connected to anyone

Difficulty thinking through challenging topics 

More impulsive

Drawn toward addictions (food, shopping, drugs, researching, etc.)

Sleep difficulties

Loss of hope or difficulty thinking about the future


Overthinking & obsessing

Headaches, stomach and intestinal issues, auto-immune disorders

Skeptical of everyone and everything

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