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12 Life-Changing Beliefs That Will Unhook You From Abuse Part Two [Episode 182]

12 Life-Changing Beliefs That Will Unhook You From Abuse Part Two

Share with a woman who needs hope!

I’ve got to share this with as many people as possible.” That’s what I decided when Amie showed me her thought work from Flying Higher. 

What the heck is “thought work”? Well, I’ll answer your question with a question.

How often do you have the same thoughts? You know, the crappy ones. “Nothing will ever change. If I could just get him to see how much he’s hurting me. I have to wait for God to move; I can’t do anything about this. I need someone to come rescue me. I’m trapped. I’ll never heal.” 

What if you had new beliefs that led to new emotions and new actions and an ENTIRE NEW LIFE

I’m not blowing smoke up your tailpipe. The truth is: You could have all your problems solved right now, and you’d still be stuck if your thoughts didn’t change too. And they don’t on their own.

Our beliefs keep us stuck in abuse. It’s only our beliefs that can free us. Thought work is the simple way to break free. 

Want some clear evidence? I recorded three episodes’ worth—Amie’s story. It’s incredible, and one of many in the Sisterhood.

In Part 2 of 3:

  • Old Thought: I help God change people with my words/actions.
  • Old Thought: Conversations should lead to a resolution and common ground.
  • Old Thought: If you love me, you’ll be there for me.
  • Old Thought: Giving sex to make my husband happy is right and good.
  • Old Thought: When people are angry with me, I HAVE to make it right. 
  • 5 of Amie’s New Thoughts (these were AMAZING; why do you think I couldn’t stop recording for two hours?)
  • Bonus New Thought #1: Pushing people to change is abusive in its own way.
  • Bonus New Thought #2: We can’t expect people to respect our boundaries.
  • Bonus New Thought #3: Christian culture is codependent.
  • The FREE PDF DOWNLOAD HERE for old thoughts vs. new thoughts

Related Resources:

  • Listen to Part 1 and Part 3 of this 3-part series!
  • Don’t worry about taking notes during this episode; I’ve got you covered. Download Old Thoughts – New Thoughts, then make your own!
  • While the Reboot Your Life After Divorce live event is over, you can still purchase the replays of this life-changing webinar! If you are a divorced Christian woman, Reboot Your Life After Divorce is for you.
  • If you can relate to Amie’s story at all, then check out what Flying Free is all about.
  • Are you a woman like Amie, serious about grabbing hold of a life beyond abuse? Join Flying Higher for incremental, comprehensive support in the Sisterhood.

Suscribe to the Flying Free Podcast

Hi. This is Natalie Hoffman of, and you’re listening to the Flying Free Podcast, a support resource for women of faith looking for hope and healing from hidden emotional and spiritual abuse.

NATALIE: Welcome to Episode 182 of the Flying Free Podcast. Today, we are going to dig into our interview that we started last week with Amie. And as I had mentioned last week, but if you’re brand new you might not have known this, but I had this amazing interview with this beautiful human being, and it was two hours long. And I didn’t want to cut any of it out. It’s so good. And so I decided to just split it up into three podcast episodes. So last week, 181, was part one, this week, 182, is part two, and then next week, 183, will be part three. So when we start, it’s going to awkwardly just dive right back into where we left off last week, so I apologize for that, but that’s the nature of the beast. 

But before we begin, I just want to let you know that the “Reboot Your Life After Divorce” — it’s like a workshop or a camp or whatever — it’s open now. And if you go to, you can register. So what it is is five days of getting together with me for ninety minutes every day starting August 29th through September 2nd. It’s going to be from 11:00 am CST to 12:30 pm CST, and what we’re going to do is spend five days together where I’m going to teach you some concepts, and then I’m going to bring some of you on, whoever wants to can come on and get some live coaching based on whatever the concept is that we’re going to learn that day. 

So day one we’re going to be talking about your divorce story; day two we’re going to be talking about finding happiness after divorce; day three, where in the world is God in the mess; day four, redefining your identity; and day five, creating your future. So if you want to be part of that live event for five days in a row, the cost is going to be $19. And by the way, if you can’t come to the live sessions, it’s okay. You will have access to the replays for as long as you want. You can just go and watch the replays. So the website again is This is for divorced women of faith, alright — Christian women who are divorced. Now if you’re in the middle of a divorce and you want to come register for this, you are more than welcome to come. I think it would give you kind of some hope for what’s on the other side of your divorce. If you’re divorced, for sure this is going to be for you. 

If you are someone who’s already a member of Flying Higher, you don’t need to come to this live or register for this, because I’m going to put all of the replays on the membership site when I’m done so you can watch them all over there. The only reason you’d want to register for this is if for some reason you want to be there live. Then you’re going to need to pay the $19 and then you’ll get access to the live. It’s going to be on Zoom. You won’t have to show your video or anything — it’s very private — unless you’re going to get coached. If you want to be coached, then you will need to be in a location with high speed internet. You’ll have to be able to show your video, and I’ll have to be able to hear you, right? 

So we’re going to move into our interview now. And just so you know, I will just briefly introduce Amie, but I introduce her in a little bit more detail in Episode 181. Amie has been a long-time member of Flying Free and Flying Higher. She’s a very active and contributing member. She has been such a blessing to the people in our group, and she is an incredible human being. And I gave the Flying Higher ladies an assignment to write down many of the old thoughts that kept them stuck for so many years, and then alongside those old thoughts, to write down some of the new ways that they’re thinking and believing since they’ve done this personal development work in Flying Free and Flying Higher. And so Amie took this assignment very seriously, and she sent back her list, and it was so incredible that I thought, ‘I’ve got to share this with as many people as possible.” Because I want women to understand and to see what is possible if you do this work. And so I decided to have her on the podcast. There’s going to be a PDF download in the show notes that you can download and you can see her thoughts side by side. But without any further ado, let’s dive right back into the interview that we left off last week. 

AMIE: So another old thought was, “I believed that if I spoke words of concern to someone who claimed to love me, that they would take my words to heart and God would use those words to change them.” And I realized this through my counselor — this is what my counselor refers to as playing the role of the Holy Spirit. 

NATALIE: Been there, done that.

AMIE: I learned that this is not a good thing the very, very, very hard way. So, “I believe that this is the work of the person with the Holy Spirit to be convicted of destructive patterns. I do not have the power to convict.” And I think this is often why we become very desperate in relationships, because it goes back to that, “If I say it the right way,” and “If you love me you’ll change,” and all that. We just become very desperate. Whereas when we speak words in truth, we say clearly… What does Brené Brown say? She says, “Clarity is kindness” or vice versa. So we speak truth in love, and then we let the Holy Spirit do the rest. And whether they hear you or not, it’s not up to me. 

NATALIE: Right. Well, and sometimes what we think is the truth sometimes isn’t actually helpful for them in that moment anyways. You know what I’m saying? They’re not there yet. They’re not ready to hear that yet. I know for me, I used to think that I kind of knew what was best for everybody else, you know?

AMIE: Well yeah, totally.

NATALIE: I was like, “I’m a good Christian; I read my Bible; I’m a homeschooling mom. I know. I know what’s right and what’s wrong. I’ve been reading  my Bible since I was seven. And that person obviously doesn’t, and if they did, if they would do what I know is true and right, then their life would be so much better.” And so I would make sure to let them know, because I loved them. And I genuinely did love them. I had good motives, and again, there’s a theme kind of playing out here. Our old thoughts are very much Christian culture. It’s what we are taught that “This is the way.” 

I want to make a point here too about our forum that we have, because we have this… It’s not on Facebook. It’s a private forum for Flying Free and Flying Higher members to interact with each other in. I am amazed by how very little I actually have to ever call anyone out. I mean, I can’t even remember the last time I had to do that, honestly. Because there’s such a culture of holding space for everyone to be wherever they’re at rather than thinking, “It’s my job to tell them that they need to think differently.” Like, you’re giving all of these old thoughts and your new thoughts, but if someone comes into the forum and is giving an old thought that they’re believing and they’re not quite there yet with the new thought, nobody ever jumps in there and says, “Well, you know what, that’s really kind of stinkin’ thinkin’. You should really think about it like this.” Nobody does that. 

AMIE: No, because a lot of our old thoughts are programmed into us, so when we see other people struggling with an old thought or wanting to live contently with that old thought, we get it. I get it. I get why you think that way. And so we don’t come at it from a judgemental perspective.

NATALIE: Yeah. And we also know from just having come along a little ways further that they’re going to eventually see the results of that thinking in their own lives, and they’re going to come to that realization all by themselves that “This isn’t working for me. I’ve believed this for so long, and it’s not working for me anymore. My life is not where I want it to be. Something is wrong with what I’m thinking here, and I don’t know how to change it.” 

And then they start asking for help, and that’s when we can start offering them… Just offering. Not saying, “Well, you should believe this,” or “You should be believe that,” but just offering them ideas, like, “What if this little part of what you’re believing isn’t even true? Is there any evidence that you might be able to find in your life to say that that’s maybe not even true? What are some other ways of looking at this that might be truer, that would actually help you feel a little bit differently in your body and help you show up in your life in different ways than you’ve been showing up over and over again in the past?” 

AMIE: A lot of women are coming into the forum because things aren’t working, and they want help with it. So they’re already in sort of a towards motion towards help. I think a lot of times what happens is we want to help people who are not in a towards motion towards us. They’re not coming to us for help — we’re just knocking on their door and saying, “Hey, this is an issue” or whatever, and they don’t have that forward motion towards us. 

NATALIE: Yes. And I say this a lot in the program, even, that this is what we see a lot on social media, I think. In Christian circles on social media, someone will say something, and then everyone just jumps on them and is like, “Well, that’s not right because of this reason,” and “That’s not right because of this reason,” and everyone feels like they’re got to chime in and correct everybody else. Again, that’s the Christian culture that we’re swimming in, and it’s so destructive to everybody. 

AMIE: It also has some codependent-type tendencies to it, because we have this belief that “I’m not going to feel okay with my thoughts unless you agree with my thoughts.” 

NATALIE: Yes. Exactly. 

AMIE: So that’s where you get a lot of arguing. I think that was in one of my new thoughts/old thoughts, too. The last old thought that I had was, “Every conversation with my husband, children, or church needs to come to a consensus, common ground, and resolution.” That’s what people are doing on Facebook, right? That’s what we do when we engage in a conversation with people. “So this resulted in me engaging in long, circular conversations often with little to no resolution or landing on common ground.” 

My new thought is, “It’s important for each person in the conversation to be able to express their thoughts and to be heard. It’s important for each person to express their thoughts and to listen to the other person’s thoughts. This allows each person to take in the information and decide at which level of relationship they can be with one another. It’s okay to have differing thoughts about things. It’s okay to take a break or end a conversation if I feel that I or the other person is becoming emotionally dysregulated and/or the conversation is becoming destructive to me, the other person, or the relationship.”

NATALIE: Yes, I love that. Oh my gosh — that is so important. 

AMIE: Yeah, because we are just out there trying to get our thoughts across. What you see on social media is everyone’s trying to get their thoughts across, and they’re just destroying each other.

NATALIE: Yep. And even in the survivor communities, actually, I can see this as well, because survivors are finally speaking up and using their voice and speaking what their experience is and speaking what they believe and standing on their own convictions, which is amazing. But not everyone is going to agree with them, and they still feel that emotional dysregulation, like they have to have other people agree with them. You don’t. We can give other people permission to not agree with us, and we can still be in relationship with them. 

They’re not going to be in our inner circle of friends where we feel the safest, maybe. But I’ve had survivor friends who I would consider very good friends of mine who believe differently than I do on some issues that I feel really convicted about, okay? And we’ve gotten into conversations where we’ve done just exactly what you said — where we’ve had to just step back and go, “You know, this is an area that we actually don’t agree on, and it’s okay. I love you and I respect you for your opinion, and I understand where you’re coming from. And I also love and respect me for my opinion, and I know exactly where I’m coming from. And we can still be in relationship with each other and not have the same opinion on this particular topic.” And there are a lot of hot-button topics in our world today that Christians disagree on, you know? 

AMIE: Yeah.

NATALIE: But there’s so much fracture in the church and in relationships just because of, like, even when it comes to divorce, where you lose… You know, one of my sisters, her and her husband, as soon I got divorced it’s like, “Okay, we can’t have anything to do with you. We can’t talk to you or invite you to weddings or anything because you are a divorced person.” All of a sudden, I’m a pariah because they believe differently about divorce — really? 

AMIE: I think because so many of these issues are tied up in salvation — so people make a lot of these truths into salvation issues. So then they don’t want to associate with anything that they think is morally wrong. 

NATALIE: Yeah. You’re right. 

AMIE: It’s sad.

NATALIE: But then we get into the “It’s us versus you,” which is not helpful for anybody. That doesn’t help anybody. Because now, if that’s true, if we can say “It’s us versus you” on this level, then we can say “It’s us versus you” when it comes to race, when it comes to gender, when it comes to socioeconomic status, when it comes to popularity. It’s such a mess. Our world is really in such a mess. But you know what this is today, this particular episode… I might even split this episode up into two, because I just think it’s so important.

AMIE: I know. I’m just looking at my list and I’m like, “Oh, that’s such a good one. Oh yeah, that was a good…” just as you’re talking about different things. You’re talking about your sister, and one of my old thoughts was like, “If you love me, you’ll support me by agreeing with all of my choices and being able to emotionally support me in my journey.” That was one of my old thoughts, and I had so much resentment toward people who were just not capable of being that for me. 

NATALIE: So how did you change that thought?

AMIE: So this thought popped up with a couple of family members, and then church leadership was another one that, you know, “If you love, then you’ll agree with me,” right? And these are people that I had had connection with for so many years, and then also people from my ex’s side of the family. The new thought was, “People love out of the overflow of their hearts. They love at the level that they are capable of. They love at the same level as they love themselves. It makes me sad, but I accept that not everybody is able to emotionally support me or be an emotional support person for me. They love me at the emotional level that they’re capable of, and I accept that and I accept the level of relationship we have instead of wishing for more. I can be sad and I can grieve what I had hoped the relationship to be, but I no longer push and manipulate myself, so I don’t change myself to be who other people want me to be. I work on that. And I try not to have those expectations on other people that they need to change in order to be in relationship with me.” And I just never believed that I’m not in relationship with people. I’m just in relationship with people, with everybody, at the level that we’re able to have. 

NATALIE: That is so beautiful. Oh my gosh.

AMIE: I want my church to change. I do. I want them to change their beliefs about things, and some of them do and some of them don’t. But if I sit there and I’m angry at them and I’m pushing them to, then I’m just manipulating them. Then that becomes abusive in its own way too, and Jesus didn’t do that with the church. He didn’t do that with anybody. I know that my church, some of them feel like I just call them Pharisees, but I don’t. They’re church leaders, and I said to them, “We would all love to be Jesus in the story. We would all love to be the Good Samaritan in the story. We always want to be the good guy in the story, but the reality is we’re not always the good person in the analogies that Jesus would give.” So we have to accept people for who they are and the beliefs that they have. I believed just like them for a long, long time about divorce and separation and all those things. 

NATALIE: Yep, same. 

AMIE: And I preached it to lots of different people, and it was only through life’s circumstances that my opinions changed, so I have to extend to them… The same grace as I give myself, I have to give that to them. And perhaps their opinions will change, but maybe they won’t. And that’s okay, because I have agency to do other things, to be spiritually fed in different ways.

NATALIE: I think what you’re describing, and honestly what this whole episode (or, now I think we’re going to make it into two) is describing is the transition from emotional childhood or emotional dysregulation to emotional adulthood. And I want to point out too… Because we did a class called “Living Into Emotional Adulthood” in the Flying Higher program. When this podcast is aired, I’ve got a five-day program called “Reboot Your Life After Divorce.” It’s going to be August 29th to September 2nd. And it’s a five-day where I’m going to be getting together for five days in a row for ninety minutes each day with divorced women who want to come. It’s only going to be $19 for five days of this. And we’re going to be doing a lot of this work. And then I’m going to introduce you to the Flying Higher program and give you a little taste of that. 

But one of the classes in Flying Higher that you have access to as soon as you join the program is this course called “Living Into Emotional Adulthood.” And that’s what this is. And when I think of emotional adulthood, Jesus Christ is the epitome of that. Because He was completely self-regulated and living out of His full adult identity while also loving and caring for and holding space for a lot of dysregulated, dysfunctional people who were unable to figure out what their identity was and who they were. And He offered that stability and that regulation just through His essence. 

And I think that’s what our calling is. I think that’s what our opportunity is when we talk about being like Christ. It’s being like that. That’s what I think of. And that’s what I think of when I read your list. I was like, “That’s what that is.” This is a list of “This is who I was when I was dysregulated and had all of these beliefs and tried to control everything in my life, and then this is who I am when I’m really just only taking responsibility for myself and allowing others to have their experience. Not trying to control them, but allowing them and loving them in that experience rather than trying to get them out of it or change them in some way.” 

And honestly, it’s ironic, because we think that if we work and try hard to change people that they’re going to change, and that never, ever works. If we really want to see people change, we need to let them be free, just like God does. He lets them be free, and He just loves them. The Bible says that His kindness is what leads people to repentance, not His control and His shame and His beating you over the head. It’s His kindness that draws us to repentance to just change direction in our lives and go in a new direction. Anyway, do you have any thoughts about that?

AMIE: It’s beautiful. Oh, I had a bunch of thoughts, but now they’re all gone. When you’re talking, then I’m always like, “Oh yeah, that, that.” Emotional regulation is a huge thing for me. Like, just understanding in my body how emotional regulation or disregulation shows up, and then being able to take care of myself in those moments. Differentiation, too, is another term that is really helpful. It’s such a beautiful concept to be able to understand and know yourself and protect that as like that insulated cell. I think we learned that in the course. We are there, and then when we are a healthy cell, then we don’t allow other things to come in. We protect ourselves from other things infecting us in different ways. And then also allowing others to be differentiated as well, giving them space. So that was the emotional… Speaking of emotional stuff, I think I’m becoming emotionally… I think I’m becoming a little bit dysregulated right now with my own thoughts. 

NATALIE: Well, let’s look at one of your other old thoughts on your list and how you change it to a new one. We’ve kind of been skipping around your list, I’ve noticed. 

AMIE: Yes. I’m going to do the old thought that has to do with a topic that I’m not 100% comfortable with talking about on a podcast, but I’m going to do it, because I think it’s really important for people in general, and that’s the one that has to do with sex. 


AMIE: So I had this old belief, so, “I believed that giving my husband sex when he wanted was an invested into the outcome of the next day. If I engaged in sex with him, even though I was detached and adverse to being with him in that way, he’d be happier and less irritable the next day,” which is generally true. But I gave in. That is a theme in my life. For the possibility of relationship and love, I do things that I originally say I’m not willing to do, and then I end up doing them because I want to be in relationship or have that love. And so using sex or intimate relationship with people, giving people what they wanted, was a very destructive pattern that, you know… I didn’t have a lot of partners, but the partners that I did have, that was all part of it is I would say “no,” but then somehow I would get to a point of “yes” just because I didn’t want to risk being rejected or someone being angry with me. 

So my new thought is really beautiful. And it is, “I am a beautiful daughter of the King of the universe, and giving my body in the hopes of a good day is degrading and disrespectful to myself. I honor and love myself and only give myself mentally and physically to those who desire true intimacy.” And my counselor explained intimacy as “In to me see.” And so a lot of times in destructive relationships, you’re not able to show up in your relationship 100%. There are parts of you that you have to hide. You know how destructive relationships work, right? So we can’t show up as ourselves. We have to be perfect; we can’t make mistakes, otherwise there’s anger involved; we can’t say “no,” otherwise we’ll be labeled or we’ll be badgered or we’ll be coerced. 

And so this is a thought that I hope is going to stay with me moving into the future, is that I don’t give myself in ways that I’ve said I’m not willing to give myself because people badger me or persuade me or coerce me into doing things that I said “no” to. And this was also something in the other relationship that happened, is that originally when I reached out to this person, I reached out because I was concerned about them. And slowly the relationship began to change, and everything that I had said “no” to I ended up saying “yes” to. And understanding how that happened is really important for me moving forward. And that was something that the counselor had said to me too. 

You know, I remember the person saying to me, “Would you be willing to do this?” And I said, “If I ever did that, I would kill myself, because I could not live with this shame.” And yet, within a period of time, I ended up doing those things, and so kind of understanding what the hooks and what in me gets hooked is really important, because I need to… God gave me responsibility for one person: Amie. That’s it. I always think of that song, “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.” And I have to protect that. I need to be strong for myself and a good example to my children. 

NATALIE: I’m glad you brought that up, because I think that’s a huge thing for women, actually. Like, huge. So I’m glad you brought that up. I know that wasn’t easy. I want to say too, in relation to that and this whole concept of old and new thoughts: You can have an old thought and become aware of it, and you can even create a new thought that you like and that you believe. A new thought doesn’t work unless your brain actually believes it. So then your brain kind of believes both. Your old thought is like your default thought that your brain is so used to believing. And then your new thought is newer, and your brain also believes it, but both of those thoughts kind of coexist together at the same time, and the old thought will always be bigger and more easy to drop into because it’s been in your brain for so long and you’re so used to practicing it, whereas the new thought is kind of like a baby thought that you believe.

I tell people that you have to tie the two thoughts together, so it’s like… I was just actually talking about this in a coaching call last night. It’s like, I brush my teeth everyday, and I always do that and I never have to think about it. I just know that I’m always going to brush my teeth every day. But I don’t always do pull ups. So if I want to do pull ups, I might want to tie that new thing, that new habit, to an old habit and put them together, like, tie them together so that the old habit I always will do, and then the new habit, I’ll do it when I do the old habit. So when I brush my teeth, I’m also going to do twenty pull ups. And then in that way, I actually am rewiring a new habit to the old one. And we can actually do that with thoughts, too. So when you would have that old thought of, “Well, I will give myself in a sexual way to someone if it means that I can get something in return that will help me out,” to the new thought, “I’m a beautiful…” you have to tie it in with the new thought. You’ll always go to that old thought.

AMIE: Oh yeah.

NATALIE: But if someone else came along now… Well, let me just ask you. If someone else came along and you found yourself in that same dynamic, the one that you had been in prior to this, doing this work, would this new thought be strong enough now? Have you practiced it enough that it would be more powerful for you, or how do you feel?

AMIE: I haven’t practiced it in this specific way because I’m not involved with anybody. I think where this idea or this thought would also come up in just, you know, when someone asks me to do something. I didn’t have a lot of good boundaries, and if I did make boundaries, very easily I just let them walk right in, right? So that idea for me is like, if I say that this is my boundary, then I’m going to be respectful of that for the sake of me, because I am a beautiful daughter of the King. So if I’m in a situation where someone starts calling me names, then I’m going to respectfully step out of the conversation to protect myself in that same way, in a sexual way.

Like, this showed up in a sexual way within the relationship, but any time I would have a boundary, it was very easily crossed, and I have to work on having a boundary that actually stays. And I remember my counselor saying that, because I would say, “I feel like I’m a really good communicator. I don’t get what the problem in my marriage is.” And she asked me to put my hand up, and then she put her hand against mine and she pushed it over. And she said, “Okay, now I want you to resist.” And then I did. And she goes, “That’s your work to do. You’re good at setting boundaries, you’re good at saying, ‘No, no I won’t do this,’ but then how do you get to a point where you’re doing things, where you give in?” And that is the work that I had to do. To stand.

NATALIE: Yeah. You can apply this to something as simple as, let’s say that you go to church, and you’ve decided that you’re only going to go to the church service and you’re not going to stay for Sunday School because you don’t want to, or you just have other things that you want to do. And then someone says, “We want you to, after church is done, we’re wondering if you could be in the nursery, serve in the nursery.” And you put your hand up and you say (I’m going off of that illustration), you’d put your hand up and you’d say, “I’m not going to do the nursery because I’ve got other things that I want to do.” “Well, what are they? We really need you to do the nursery — we need everyone to step up and volunteer, and this is a way that you could do it. And we really need you, and it would really help these people.” And then you don’t resist. You just are like, “Okay, well, I guess I can do that.”

AMIE: Yeah, totally. Another good example for me is if someone comes to me and they say, “Do you want a piece of cake?” and I say “No.” Then they say, “Oh, but look, so and so made it, and you can eat it,” and then I, right away, I just feel like, “Oh, oh, I should take it.” There’s so many examples of that. But I think for women, you know, all the way from the age of… Even in the abusive relationships that I had as a child, like, the sexual abusive dynamics, people would come to me and they would say, “Would you do this?” and I would say “No,” and then I would end up doing it. And I need to have my own back. It’s like the moment where you looked at the mirror at yourself and you said, “I have your back.” We want people to respect our boundaries, but in reality, we have to hold our boundaries. 

NATALIE: That’s right. And it’s very uncomfortable. 

AMIE: It’s like that time in the bathroom where I’m saying, “No more, no more. I’m not doing this anymore. I can’t.” But it’s me. I have to do that. I want to think that there’s men that are out there protecting me or whatever, because I believed in patriarchal-type culture, but the reality is it’s me. I’m responsible for that.

NATALIE: That’s right.

AMIE: So these moments will come up, maybe not in a sexual way, hopefully not in that kind of a situation, but there are lots of examples where you say “no” and then someone says, “Well, you’re being very stubborn.” That’s always a big one in my relationships. Both the people said that I was stubborn. And now I’m like, “You call me stubborn, and I know I’m standing and I’m standing fast, and I’m standing firm.” Or another word, which is a curse word, is “bitch.” I hate that word, because I’ve been called it so many times. And now if someone calls me that, then I know they really want what they want, and I’m not giving it to them. 

NATALIE: That is amazing. That is so, so good.

AMIE: So I have to protect my own back. We do. We have to empower each other to be that differentiated, strong self. 

NATALIE: Right. That makes me think of… One of my typical old thoughts was that it was someone else’s responsibility to rescue me or to take care of me. And this goes along with that, that I had to finally realize, “I’m the one. God’s called me to be the one who takes responsibility for protecting myself. If there’s any rescuing to be done of someone named Natalie, that’s my job. Even if it’s uncomfortable to say ‘no’ to people, to have to say ‘no’ to them over and over again because they insist, that’s still my job to continue to say ‘no’ to them.”

AMIE: Yeah. That’s a good segue into another one of my old thoughts, was that, “I believed that if someone was angry or had what I considered negative feelings or emotions towards my choices that it meant that I was bad and I would be out of relationship with them. As a result, I capitulated, apologized, and withdrew my opinions or the boundaries that I had voiced or put into place.” And that old thought, you know, I capitulated, apologized, withdrew opinions or boundaries because I had bad feelings, right? It makes you feel so horrible to say “no” or to stand your ground. 

And then my new thought is, “Everyone has opinions and thoughts, and if somebody is angry about my thoughts, then it’s their responsibility to manage their emotions. I’m responsible to manage my own thoughts and emotions, and if someone is upset about my boundaries, it’s okay.” And that’s a hard one, because when someone’s upset with me, I feel horrible. I feel horrible. And that’s what lures me into capitulating or giving into people. I feel bad. I feel terrible. And now, you know, through this work and through other work in counseling, I have to learn to be okay with feeling bad.

NATALIE: Yes. Leslie Vernick, she was my coach way back when I was still married, and she told me that I needed to learn how to… How she put it was, “You need to learn how to tolerate other people’s negative emotions towards you.” So that word “tolerate” was like a lightbulb moment for me, because I thought, “I can’t tolerate it. I can’t handle it. I have to change it so that these bad feelings that they have, which are making me feel bad, will go away.” We think that bad feelings, that we have have to fix it. We don’t. We don’t have to fix the bad feelings in the other person. And it’s okay that we can feel bad about it too. We’re just going to have to learn how to tolerate those bad feelings. And everyone’s going to be just fine. It’s actually very human for all of us to have bad feelings sometimes

And that’s where we’re going to call it a wrap for this week. But if you come back here next week, you can listen to the last part of her interview. You’re not going to want to miss it, because again, there’s so many more things that she has to share that are profound and amazing and life-changing. So I look forward to seeing you back here next week. Until that time, fly free.

"Natalie has a gift for describing emotional and spiritual abuse! It's so confusing, but she is so clear and practical about expressing the reality of surviving soul murder. I'm always wanting to share with others. If someone has eyes to see and ears to hear, she will illuminate this subject of abuse. I rarely remember sermons, but I remember what Natalie teaches. Natalie is so real, and she gives real hope about how to walk in the truth and become who you were created to be. The truth does allow us to thrive and fly free! Thank you for giving us wings, Natalie!"
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An online coaching, education, and support community for women of faith in destructive relationships.

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