Episode 1: Navigating Toxic Systems and Maintaining Agency with Dr. Alison Cook

Jul 02, 2024

Have you ever wondered how to find your way back into healthy relationships after abuse and trauma? By providing clear steps to Name, Frame, and Brave our experiences, Dr. Alison Cook offers practical wisdom to move toward healing and wholeness.

We talk about the unique challenges of leaving toxic spaces and environments when they involve family or our livelihood, ways to set boundaries, and to remain curious to our internal world.

Episode Transcript




I think for a lot of folks, especially coming out of faith communities, I think that fawn response is often sanctioned. It's socially acceptable. It's almost sometimes affirmed as a sign of spirituality or superior faith.

The low-hanging fruit of naming could be something like, something doesn't feel right.

So often when we get into memes and one size fits all answer, you know, someone will be talking to a friend and say, man, you know, I just don't, I feel like this person doesn't get me. I feel like my, boss or the pastor of this church is sort of demeaning me or sort of minimizing me and a well -intended friend will say, you should just talk to them about it. You should just go to them and share with them what's hard. Well, if there's something toxic going on in that system, that's the last thing you want to do. Those vulnerable feelings that we have around feeling minimized, feeling invisible, feeling sidelined, feeling marginalized, feeling angry. Those are pearls. Those are pearls of vulnerability that we want to share with safe people who've earned our trust.

Agency allows us to walk bravely with open hands. And I found that incredibly empowering for people.

We don't have to get it right once and for all, but we do want to move forward with that sense of empowerment about the decisions that we're making.

Episode Resources and Links

Guest Spotlight

Dr. Alison Cook is a therapist and host of the top-ranked The Best of You podcast. She is the author of I Shouldn't Feel This Way, the ECPA bestselling book The Best of You and coauthor of Boundaries for Your Soul. Widely recognized as an expert at the intersection of faith and psychology, Dr. Alison empowers individuals to heal from past wounds, develop a strong sense of self, forge healthy rela­tionships, and experience a loving God who is for them.

Website  |  The Best of You Podcast  |  Instagram  |  Facebook

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Broken to Beloved is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that works to provide those wounded by spiritual abuse and religious trauma with practical resources moving toward healing and wholeness, and to provide pastors and church leaders with resources to grow in trauma awareness and implement safeguarding practices. Get more information or give a tax-free donation here. 

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