Relationship Truth: Unfiltered

Relationship Truth: Unfiltered is a place for people of faith to find real answers when it comes to destructive relationships. Leslie Vernick is the author of seven books, including the best-selling, ”The Emotionally Destructive Marriage.” She has dedicated her life to cutting through the religious confusion and teaching women to grow in their relationships: with God, with themselves, and with others.

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6 days ago

Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE
Are you in an emotionally destructive marriage? Get Leslie's Quick Start Guide HERE. 
Listen to this podcast where Alicia tells the story of being married to a sexually abusive pastor. 
In this episode, Leslie and Julie explore the challenging issue of marital rape, drawing on personal experiences and insights from biblical teachings. Join them for an honest conversation that sheds light on this sensitive topic with compassion and understanding.
Understanding Marital Rape
Definition and misconceptions.
Societal and religious views.
Biblical Perspectives
Scriptural interpretations.
Cultural biases and implications.
Challenging Misconceptions
Myth vs. reality: Marriage and consent.
Importance of mutual respect.
The Role of Mutual Respect
Biblical teachings on respect and autonomy.
Building healthy marital dynamics.
Setting Healthy Boundaries
Importance of boundaries in marriage.
Safeguarding dignity and respect.

Monday Jul 01, 2024

Resource:Leslie's People Pleasing Course
In this episode, Julie and Leslie explore the connection between trauma and people-pleasing habits. They discuss how past experiences can lead us to prioritize others' approval over our own well-being. Through real-life stories and practical tips, they empower listeners to break free from these patterns, find their voice, and foster more authentic connections.
Why Understanding the Connection is Important
Childhood patterns: Survival mechanisms that may not serve us well in adulthood
Impact of unresolved trauma on adult relationships and well-being
Signs of People-Pleasing Behavior
Difficulty saying no, anxiety when refusing requests
Constantly seeking approval, compromising personal values
Roots of Negative People-Pleasing Behavior
Relationship trauma: Abuse, neglect, abandonment
Response mechanisms: Fight, flight, freeze, fawn
Personal Experiences with People-Pleasing
Leslie Vernick's journey: Balancing pleasing others with self-care and values
Setting Boundaries
Importance of identity and responsibility in setting boundaries
Practical examples: Saying no without guilt, prioritizing self-care
Strategies for Healing from Past Trauma
Recognizing trauma's impact on decision-making and relationships
Taking responsibility for personal healing and growth
Importance of internal healing for breaking the cycle of people-pleasing
Steps towards self-awareness, setting boundaries, and healing from trauma

Monday Jun 24, 2024

Register here for our UNLIMITED Moving Beyond People Pleasing Drop-In Group Coaching + Video Curriculum
Today, Julie & Leslie are exploring how some of your best qualities and highest Christian virtues can make you a target for toxic individuals. Have you ever wondered why you seem to attract destructive people despite your kind heart and good intentions? This episode will help you understand and transform how you navigate relationships, allowing you to embrace your strengths while safeguarding your heart.
People Pleasing:People pleasers are often generous and eager to make others happy, which can make them susceptible to manipulation. Without the ability to say no, people pleasers may find themselves overextended and exploited. Learn to buy time before committing and practice saying no without guilt.
Loyalty:Loyalty is a noble trait, reflecting a commitment to relationships. However, blind loyalty can lead to staying in harmful relationships with habitual liars or abusers. Pair loyalty with discernment and wisdom to know when to break away from toxic situations.
Forgiveness:Forgiveness is a core Christian virtue, emphasizing grace and mercy. However, endless forgiveness without consequences can enable continued abuse or neglect. Healthy forgiveness includes justice and setting boundaries, ensuring there are consequences for harmful actions.
Forbearance:Forbearance promotes patience and tolerance, important in any relationship. Being passive and ignoring habitual sin or evil can be dangerous. Be intentional about forbearance and confront issues when necessary, following Ephesians 5:11 to expose deeds of darkness.
Kindness:Kindness reflects God's love and compassion. Niceness without boundaries can lead to being used and misused. Be kind but firm, setting limits on unacceptable behavior without compromising your values.
Selflessness:Selflessness mirrors Christ's sacrifice and service. Being overly selfless can lead to losing your identity and becoming an object in the relationship. Steward your life wisely, balancing self-care with serving others, and maintaining your individuality.
Trust:Trust is fundamental to any healthy relationship. Naive trust can lead to betrayal and harm. Trust with discernment, recognizing when someone is not trustworthy and acting accordingly.
As we discuss these virtues, remember that we are currently enrolling for Leslie’s Moving Beyond People Pleasing program. This course is designed to help you apply these principles in your life. Visit to learn more and register.
Final Thoughts:
Embrace your Christian virtues but pair them with wisdom and discernment to protect yourself from toxic individuals.
Taking care of yourself is not selfish, it’s stewardship. Prioritize your well-being to better serve others and fulfill your God-given potential.
Remember to consider the entire counsel of God, not just isolated verses, to guide your life and relationships.
Thank you for joining us today. We hope this conversation helps you navigate your relationships more wisely and embrace your strengths while safeguarding your heart. Until next time, take care and stay true to your values.

Jill's Staying Well Journey

Monday Jun 17, 2024

Monday Jun 17, 2024

Join Moving Beyond People Pleasing!
In this episode of Relationship Truth: Unfiltered, Julie Sedenko talks with Jill, a woman navigating the complex journey of staying well in a challenging marriage. Jill shares her story of setting boundaries, seeking therapy, and balancing hope with vigilance. Her experiences provide valuable insights for anyone facing similar marital struggles. Tune in to hear Jill's candid account of the ongoing battle to maintain wellness in her relationship.
Introduction to Jill's Story:
Jill's background and the challenges she faced in her marriage.
Early signs of an emotionally unhealthy marriage.
Navigating Family Influences:
Impact of Jill's mother-in-law on her marriage.
Establishing boundaries with extended family.
Steps Towards Healing:
Seeking counseling and church community support.
Building a business together and navigating financial struggles with faith.
Challenges of Staying Well:
The constant effort required to maintain healthy boundaries.
Handling emotional triggers and setting consistent limits.
The difficulty of not reverting to old patterns of behavior.
Balancing hope for improvement with vigilance against setbacks.
Navigating emotional health within the family and maintaining stability for her children.
Recognizing and addressing codependency and manipulation in relationships.
Behavioral Changes in Marriage:
Positive changes in her husband's behavior and their communication patterns.
Significance of transparency and trust-building.
Final Thoughts and Advice:
Jill’s advice for women in similar situations.
Emphasizing the language of behavior and the importance of reflecting on personal responses.

Monday Jun 10, 2024

In this episode Leslie and Julie dive into the complex topic of intent and its role in destructive relationships. They explore the distinction between deeply selfish actions and those stemming from misguided theology, mental or physical illness, or past traumas. The discussion highlights whether intent should influence how we process harm and respond within our marriages, even when unintentional damage occurs.
Key Points:
Intent vs. Impact:
The importance of recognizing that even unintentional actions can cause significant harm.
The need for restitution and justice regardless of intent.
Forgiveness and Amends:
The balance between forgiveness and the necessity for repair and restitution.
Addressing Harm in Marriage:
The importance of acknowledging and addressing the harm caused, even if unintentional.
The role of genuine repentance and changed behavior in rebuilding trust.
When to Stop Bringing Up Past Hurts:
The necessity of ongoing conversation and understanding the victim's perspective.
The difference between genuine repentance and dismissing the victim's feelings.
Trust and Safety in Relationships:
The critical role of trust and safety in maintaining a healthy marriage.
Examples of irreparable breaches of trust, such as adultery or financial deceit.
Mental Illness and Responsibility:
The balance between compassion for mental illness and maintaining personal boundaries.
Sacrificial Suffering and Boundaries:
The distinction between noble sacrifices and enabling harmful behavior.
The importance of not sacrificing one's well-being to enable another's worst behavior.
Recognizing True Change:
Identifying genuine changes in behavior and heart versus superficial compliance.
The importance of mutual care and respect in a truly healthy relationship.
Listener Takeaways:
Self-Worth and Dignity:
Understanding that a partner's indifference or cruelty is a reflection of their character, not your worth.
Embracing your value as an individual and image bearer of God.
Living in Reality:
The power of facing the truth about your relationship for making informed decisions.
The importance of personal growth and becoming your best self.
Quick Start Guide:

Monday Jun 03, 2024

RESOURCES:JOIN HERE: Moving Beyond Insecurity Coaching WeekDay One Journal AppLundy Bancroft: Why Does He Do That?
Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE)
In this episode, Julie talks to Kay, a woman who adopted children later in life and dealt with a very destructive marriage. She knew from the beginning there were issues, but chose to try and make it work anyway. Learn from her mistakes and listen to the hope she has to offer.Early Signs and Struggles: Kay recounts the lack of red flags during courtship, the first major incident on their honeymoon, and the initial discovery of her husband's infidelity. Julie and Kay discuss the shock and embarrassment Kay felt upon discovering these betrayals.
Cycles of Abuse and Financial Instability: Kay describes the cycles of destructive behavior, the impact of her husband's work-related stress on their family life, and his inability to maintain steady employment. She also shares her experience of financial abuse and a pivotal event in her marriage.
Turning Points and Seeking Help: The critical moment Kay found Leslie Vernick's book, "The Emotionally Destructive Marriage," which provided hope and clarity. Kay's decision to make significant changes for the well-being of her children and herself.
Filing for Divorce and Health Challenges: Kay recounts the moment her husband revealed his troubling mindset, believing it was a wife's duty to endure abuse and die. Shortly after filing for divorce, Kay was diagnosed with breast cancer and decided to keep it private for her own safety and her children's well-being.
Rebuilding and Moving Forward: Kay reflects on her journey to safety, securing legal protection and custody rights, and the relief of a stable life for her children. She expresses gratitude for her friends' support and the strength she found through faith and community.
Final Thoughts and Hope for the Future: Kay shares her commitment to teaching her children the value of truth and self-respect. She offers advice to women in similar situations: Be honest with yourself, seek support, and prioritize your well-being and safety.
Key Takeaways:
Over-functioning in a marriage can mask deeper issues of abuse and inequality.
Financial abuse can take many forms, including minimal contribution and control over household expenses.
Journaling and honest reflection are crucial in understanding and addressing abuse.
Supportive communities and honest friendships are invaluable in navigating and recovering from destructive relationships.
Practical and realistic interpretations of scripture can provide clarity and strength in challenging times.

Monday May 27, 2024

RESOURCES:Quick Start Guide - Violence Hotline:1.800.799.SAFE (7233)
In this episode of Relationship Truth: Unfiltered, Leslie sits down with Assistant District Attorney and Adjunct Professor, Molly Catherine Goodson to explore the intersection of faith, justice, and abuse. Molly Catherine shares personal journey and professional insights, discussing how her faith sustains her in this high-stakes role. She provides practical advice for victims of abuse, highlights the church's role in supporting and protecting them, and emphasizes the importance of empowering women within the church community.  Note: Molly Catherine is not representing the state of North Carolina in this episode.
Balancing a High-Stress Job and Personal Faith: Molly Catherine discusses how her faith helps her manage the stress and high stakes of her career, sharing the importance of worship music and the powerful prayer from her pastor that helps her stay grounded.
Maintaining Faith Amidst Evil: Leslie and Molly Catherine explore the challenge of maintaining faith in God's goodness despite witnessing daily evils, emphasizing the importance of viewing circumstances through the lens of God's character.
Biblical vs. Legal Justice: A discussion on the differences between biblical justice and legal justice, explaining that while Jesus takes on our sins, earthly actions still have consequences.
Forgiveness and Consequences: Addressing common misconceptions in churches that forgiveness erases consequences, stressing that actions have consequences and forgiveness does not negate the need for justice.
Empowering Women: Encouraging women to learn essential life skills to become less dependent on their abusers, highlighting the empowering effect of managing finances, household tasks, and other responsibilities.
Church Support for Victims: Practical ways churches can support victims of abuse, such as knowing local resources, helping with logistics, and offering emotional support. Emphasizing the church's role in ensuring the safety and well-being of individuals over maintaining relationships at all costs.
Hope and Redemption: Molly Catherine shares a hopeful story of a victim of sexual abuse within a church community and how proper support and handling of the case led to justice and healing.

Monday May 20, 2024

Leslie's Quick Start Guide:
If you'd like to ask a question for a future "Ask Leslie" episode, go to Questions in this episode:
Doesn’t there have to be infidelity, domestic violence or abandonment as a reason for divorce? 
8:51 What does it mean to detach and can I detach from my husband who shows contempt for me and dismisses my feelings and needs
23:56 How is empathy different from people pleasing?
27:47 What is a narcissist and how do we appropriately use this term?
37:33 What does chronic indifference look like in a relationship?

Monday May 13, 2024
Quick Start Guide
1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
Marital Challenges:
Rachel describes her passiveness in her marriage, emphasizing the tension between maintaining peace at home and the public persona she had to project.
She recounts instances of emotional and verbal abuse from her husband, including public humiliations and controlling behaviors.
Custody Battle and Legal Struggles:
Rachel talks about the difficult decisions she had to make regarding her children’s well-being and her work-life balance.
She details her harrowing experiences with the legal system during her divorce and custody battle, highlighting the allegations and the temporary loss of contact with her children.
Health and Recovery:
Rachel discusses the impact of stress on her health, leading to hospital visits and a brief institutionalization.
She shares her journey towards healing, emphasizing the role of her faith and community support in overcoming her challenges.
Empowerment and Advice:
Rachel reflects on the lessons learned from her struggles, discussing the importance of recognizing one's worth and the potential dangers of staying in destructive relationships.
She offers advice to listeners who might be in similar situations, encouraging them to seek help and prioritize their safety and mental health.
New Beginnings and Continued Challenges:
Rachel discusses the ongoing challenges of co-parenting with an abusive ex-partner and the strategies she employs to maintain stability for her children.
She explores the emotional impact of her journey on her relationship with her children.
Spiritual Growth and Personal Insights:
Rachel shares how her understanding of biblical teachings on marriage and divorce evolved, highlighting how new interpretations helped her find freedom from oppression.
She discusses the role of her faith community and resources like the Conquer program in providing support and validation during her recovery.

Self-Compassion in Action

Monday May 06, 2024

Monday May 06, 2024

Dr. Alison Cook
I Shouldn't Feel This Way
"The Best of You" Podcast
Lesllie's Quick Start Guide
I. Story: Understanding Emotional Triggers A. Example of anger towards adult child B. Framing emotions: Is it about the other person, oneself, God, or circumstances? C. Importance of recognizing the source of emotions
II. Three Practices for Emotional Health A. Naming Emotions 1. Recognizing and labeling feelings without judgment 2. Importance of self-awareness and emotional vocabulary
B. Framing Emotions 1. Understanding the context and underlying causes of emotions 2. Examining personal responsibility and perspective
C. Braving Action 1. Taking intentional steps based on emotional understanding 2. Balancing discernment and action in response to emotions
III. Selfhood and Agency in Relationships A. Acknowledging personal needs and boundaries B. Exploring societal and Christian expectations for women C. Embracing selfhood as essential for healthy relationships
IV. Recognizing Self-Gaslighting A. Identifying invalidation of personal experiences B. Cultivating self-trust and authenticity C. Partnering with God's discernment in navigating emotions
V. Benefits for Spiritual and Psychological Growth A. Integration of faith and psychology in emotional healing B. Understanding the role of emotions and the body in spiritual life C. Tools for self-compassion and emotional resilience
This episode delves into practical strategies for emotional discernment, emphasizing self-awareness, framing emotions, and taking intentional action. It highlights the importance of embracing selfhood and offers tools for self-compassion and growth, regardless of one's spiritual beliefs.


Relationship Truth: Unfiltered

Relationships. They can be difficult and even disappointing. But what about when they become destructive? Does God want you to stay in a relationship "no matter what?" 
You know you're supposed to forgive. Does that mean forgetting? What if the sin continues?
In this podcast, relationship expert and best-selling author, Leslie Vernick tackles all of these questions and more. And she doesn't hand out the same old drivel you may have heard in the counseling office. 

Get ready for real, biblical help for even the most destructive of relationships.

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