PODCAST: Shame, DARVO, and Spiritual Bypassing feat. Jasmine Holmes

by | Apr 6, 2023 | Podcasts | 38 comments

Podcast with Jasmine Holmes Shame Never Cast Out

It’s definition day on the podcast, as we talk Shame with Jasmine Holmes!

Plus some other fun stuff!

I find Jasmine such an engaging person and a really insightful writer, who has done the hard work of wrestling with difficult things. 

Her new book Never Cast Out is all about the shame that all of us, especially women (and even women of color) can feel, and I really enjoyed reading an early copy of it. 

Then Rebecca joins me just for a few minutes for us to define several key terms that we use in our new book She Deserves Better–all of which are related to shame too!

Or, as always, you can watch on YouTube:

Timeline of the Podcast

1:30 Jasmine joins to discuss shame
5:20 The racial impact on shame
7:40 Shame vs Conviction
16:00 Shame motivators and minimizers
19:00 Truth vs Lies
25:00 Jasmine’s experience with teachings while growing up
31:00 Precessing new and old teaching beliefs
40:00 What is ‘DARVO’?
41:45 How this looks in Christian teachings
48:00 ‘Spiritual Bypassing’
52:30 Another ‘She Deserves Better’ Review!

Jasmine Holmes, Shame, and Never Cast Out

I just love Jasmine Holmes’ new book Never Cast Out, and I so appreciated this discussion. We looked at the unique ways that we can experience shame, and the difference between shame and guilt. Plus we talked about some of the unique challenges of shame both as a person of color, but also as an evangelical in general. Jasmine talked about how often we identify ourselves with what we don’t do, and it leaves us not understanding what we should do. 

And we talked about the three false gospels of shame, which I think all of us can relate to!

Let’s talk DARVO and Spiritual Bypassing!

Our launch team for She Deserves Better is going strong with almost 1000 members. We’ve closed the doors now, but if you pre-order She Deserves Better, you can still get a ton of bonuses, access to a webinar next weekend, and even a free audio copy of the book!

One of the things we love about the Launch Team is hearing what other people think of the book. And two things that kept coming up from the first few chapters was that people loved the terms DARVO and spiritual bypassing, but had never heard of them before.

So today on the podcast Rebecca and I thought that we would take a few minutes and just walk through what they mean, along with examples of how they are often used. We often assume that everyone knows these things, because when we hear them, we think, “oh my goodness, that’s so obvious, I don’t know why I didn’t see that before,” and then we assume we’re the last to the party. So I think you’ll like these!


Reaction and manipulation pattern used by abusers, or even abusive systems, when confronted wtih something that they have done wrong.

  1. Deny
  2. Attack
  3. Reverse Victim and Offender

Spiritual Bypassing

Here’s what we said in She Deserves Better:

“There’s actually a term for using religious language to avoid dealing with uncomfortable emotions: spiritual bypassing. Psychotherapist John Welwood, who coined the term, describes spiritual bypassing as the ‘tendency to use spiritual ideas and practices to sidestep or avoid facing unresolved emotional issues, psychological wounds, and unfinished developmental tasks.’ Instead of truly listening to the person’s pain, we provide distance from unresolved feelings using God-language. In practice, that means we make God sound indifferent to our pain, which God would never be.”

Things Mentioned in the Podcast

Podcast with Jasmine Holmes on Never Cast Out plus DARVO

What do you think? Have you ever heard the terms DARVO and Spiritual Bypassing? What has been your experience with getting over shame? Let us know in the comments below!


Rebecca: Okay.

Sheila: Welcome to the Bare Marriage podcast.  I’m Sheila Wray Gregoire from baremarriage.com where we like to talk about healthy, evidence-based, biblical advice for your marriage, parenting, and your sex life.  And I am joined today on episode 186 of Bare Marriage with my daughter, Rebecca Lindenbach.    

Rebecca: Hello.  

Sheila: We are in the middle of our launch for She Deserves Better.  And we have the book actually, finally, in our hands.  It’s awesome.  The physical copy.  It’s so pink.  And it’s so pretty.  And it’s so big.

Rebecca: I know.  It’s weird.  It’s such a heavy book, and we wrote it.  And we know that there are a lot of words.  We know that it’s a lot.  And then you actually hold it, and it’s like, “Oh, it’s like a legit, big book.”

Sheila: Yeah.  And it’s fun.  There are lots of cool charts and diagrams.  So that launches April 18th.  There is a ton of preorder bonuses if you want to get it early including a free copy of the audio version when that lands, I think, probably around the middle of May.  So check out the link in the podcast notes where you can get She Deserves Better early.  Later in this podcast, we’re going to be filling you in on the definition of two terms that keep coming up in our launch team.  DARVO and spiritual bypassing.  So our launch team has really loved how we covered that in She Deserves Better, and we want to fill you in on that too.  But first, we’re actually going to introduce you to another book that is recently launched by one of my favorite people, Jasmine Holmes.  And so will you welcome Jasmine as we talk about shame?  I am so excited to bring back to the podcast one of my favorite people, Jasmine Holmes.  How are you?

Jasmine: I am doing well.  How are you?

Sheila: I am doing great.  We’ve been looking forward to this conversation and all kinds of things happened.  And finally, I get to talk to you which is great.  I think we talked—was it just before Christmas—  

Jasmine: It was.

Sheila: Yeah.  So we were talking about one of your other books, Carved in Ebony, which I really loved about some of the history of African-American women who did amazing things for God in the U.S.  Especially homeschoolers but everybody needs to read it.  But if you’re a homeschooler, this would be great curriculum.  But if you just need some encouragement and just inspiration, it’s great.  But you have a new book out which fits in so well with our new book.  So I’m like yay.  We can do this together.  So it’s all about shame.  And it’s called Never Cast Out: How the Gospel Puts an End to the Story of Shame.  And you got personal in this one.

Jasmine: I did.  Yeah.  I did.

Sheila: Really good because I think this is something that, honestly, any woman can relate to just feeling like you are not good enough.  There is something inherently wrong with you.  So before we jump into it, let me know.  What do you think is a good definition of shame?

Jasmine: That terrible feeling of inadequacy and wanting to hide that we have when we’ve either done something wrong or are experiencing a feeling of being wrong.  And I differentiate between those two because sometimes shame is because we did something wrong, and we feel really bad.  And we just feel—we can’t even look at it because we feel so terrible about it.  But sometimes it’s just because we have failed to meet a standard that is not a biblical one and not a moral one.  

Sheila: Right.  I have these moments where I’ll be driving in the car.  And a memory will come back of sometime where I did something stupid.  And as soon as it comes back, I turn on the radio.  And I try to change the channel.  Anything to distract me so you don’t think about these things, right?

Jasmine: Yes.  Oh my gosh.  Yes.  That terrible—mine is in my chest.  It feels cold in my chest.  And I’m just like, “Oh my gosh.  I can’t.  I can’t look at that.  I can’t think about that.”

Sheila: Yeah.  La, la, la, la, la.  Yeah.  

Jasmine: Yes.  Yes.  Or how about when you’re trying to fall asleep at night and all of a sudden all the embarrassing things that you’ve ever—I used to—so I’m an extreme introvert.  And so I would hang out with people and be more extroverted and talk more than normal.  And then that night, I’d go to bed.  And I would always dread the bed time after hanging out with people because I’d be like, “I said this, or I said that.  I hope they didn’t take it that way.  Or I was awkward here.”  I would just go back over everything and feel so much shame.

Sheila: Yeah.  I know.  It’s like our inner dialogue is terrible.  Okay.  So you’ve already alluded to this a little bit.  But what role has shame played in your life?

Jasmine: For me, it has been—I call it my constant companion.  My frenemy.  The friend part is just because it’s been there forever.  And the enemy part is because it drives me crazy.  But I have experienced shame since I can remember.  My first memory is of feeling shame.  And I think for a lot of reasons.  Being a pastor’s kid, being the oldest of a lot of children, oldest daughter, super conservative household, even more conservative surroundings than my household, homeschooled.  It’s just this perfect—it was the perfect storm of shame.  

Sheila: Yeah.  And I love how in the book you also talk about how there is specific ways that women, in particular, can feel shame or even that there can be racial generational shame.  Can you speak to that a little bit?

Jasmine: Absolutely.  So for me for the racial aspect, growing up as the only black woman in my evangelical surroundings just had a lot of baggage from people just saying crazy things.  I was saying to an interviewer the other day.  I was like, “You’re really pretty for a black girl.  Or you’d be pretty if you weren’t black.”  Oh my gosh.

Sheila: Oh my goodness.

Jasmine: Oh my gosh.  And when I was in my—I got married when I was 24 so relatively young, I think.  But in my circles back home, kind of old actually.  And when I was 22, 23, people would say things like—at least one person was like, “Oh, man.  I feel like if you were not black, you’d be married already.  I think that some people just don’t want to marry you because you’re black.”  I’m like, “Thank you so much for that information and that insight.  Really appreciate it.”  But then it can also come in with just thinking about the past of black Americans.  I do a lot of work in history.  We talked about it last time.  We talked about the black women that I love to research and the historical periods.  A lot of people are like, “Why are you talking about slavery?  Why are you talking about oppression?  Why are you talking about that time of debasement?”  And it’s really because they feel shame.  They don’t want to think about this oppression and debasement because it makes them feel shame.  It makes them feel small.  It makes them feel lesser than.  And so they’re like, “I need a story of victory.  I need a story of accomplishment.”  And then on the flip side, the shame of some white readers, who are like, “I don’t want to read about white supremacy.  That makes me feel bad.  That makes me feel shame for the ways that I benefit or from the ways that my family has benefitted or from the ways that people might think that I have benefitted even though I haven’t benefitted.”  So there’s so much tied into that.  And then for women, specifically, there is so much shame.  Brene Brown says it so well when she talks about how women just are—we’re supposed to be everything all the time 24/7.  And any time that we’re not meeting that impossible standard, that exacting standard, shame just rears its ugly head.

Sheila: Yeah.  It can be so exhausting.  And so we know this.  When you talk about shame, everybody knows it’s a bad thing.  We say it’s bad.  But at the same time in some ways, we welcome it.  Our inner dialogue is often welcoming it.  How are some ways that we can actually think that shame is sanctifying or is good for us? 

Jasmine: I think really often we confuse it with conviction.  We think, “I feel really bad, and that must be the Holy Spirit,” because our experiences of Christianity are so tied up in feeling self loathing, right?  You’re filthy rags.  You’re debased.  You’re born in sin, shaped in iniquity.  You are—and all those phrases are biblical phrases.  But as Christians, we kind of tend to forget that they talk about us without the cross, before the cross.  And even before the cross, God still clothes Adam and Eve with righteousness.  Even before Jesus.  So all those things are talking about us without God.  All those things are talking about us without Jesus.  We are—on the one hand, our good works are filthy rags, Isaiah says.  But on the other hand, from the beginning of time, God had a plan to ransom us.  So even before we even make the profession of faith, we’re already precious enough in God’s sight for Him to set it up so that we can make that profession of faith.  So I think people often pull these verses out of context and make them this entire narrative of how we’re supposed to be feeling about ourselves and our actions from jump.  From the very beginning.  And so I know, for me, a lot of times, I’d be like, “Well, I feel bad.  That must be God talking to me,” because I had no concept of God speaking to me with gentleness or kindness.  It had to be condemnation. 

Sheila: Yeah.  I sometimes picture God like a giant magazine cover in the sky, right?  With seven ways you could get more done today.  

Jasmine: Oh my gosh.  Yes.  Yes.

Sheila: And six ways you could be more productive.  He’s looking at you, and He’s kind of thinking, “Okay.  Jasmine, you know I love you.  But man, I wish you could just do this so much better.”

Jasmine: Oh yeah.  You could have done this today.  I’m looking like an exhausted pigeon right now because I just was on my treadmill.  And I have to cut myself off because I do 50 minutes.  I try to do 50 minutes of exercise three times a week.  That’s what I’m trying to do.  And I’m trying to make it not punishing.  And I’m trying to not make it about losing weight.  I’m trying to just make it about doing 50 minutes of exercise to be healthy, for my blood pressure, for the dopamine, right?  But every time I get on my bike or my treadmill, I have to have this inner conversation with myself of, “This is not about calories burned.  This is not about pushing myself past the 50-minute mark.  This is not about,”—because so much shame is tied into just the act of me moving my body.  When you really zoom out, that’s crazy.  That’s crazy.  I’m a mom of three.  And I have so much work to do.  And I’m taking time out of my day to exercise and do something good for my body.  And even that is so riddled with the shame of, “Well, I should be dead lifting 300 pounds.  I should be working out for an hour and a half.  I should be,”—as though God is really in Heaven being like, “Mmmm, she only did 50 minutes on the treadmill today.”  That’s exactly how I feel.  That’s the unhealthy relationship with—and I’m not even going to say it’s an unhealthy relationship with God because I don’t think that really is a relationship with God.  I think that’s a relationship with my flesh with the voice of the enemy that is masquerading as a relationship with God because I really—I don’t think that God is actually actively sitting up in Heaven and being like, “Mmm, girl, that number on the scale is not what I want for you.”  But that’s how I treat Him so often.

Sheila: Mm-hmm.  I think about, too, the way we talk to our kids.  We almost forget that they’re made in the image of God.  Because the way that we frame children is, oh, you need to get control of them from the very beginning because they have such a natural sin bent, and they’re going to—we need to break their spirit.  And it’s like no.  Kids are made in the image of God, but there’s also such a thing as child development.

Jasmine: Yes.  Yes.

Sheila: And kids don’t—often, it’s just impulse control and emotional regulation issues.  And they’re just not old enough.  It’s not that they’re—

Jasmine: They’re just trying to figure it out.

Sheila: Yeah.  They’re not deliberately disobeying you.  They just need to figure stuff out.

Jasmine: They do.

Sheila: And often the way that we talk to them is so based on our view of how God sees us too.  Worm theology, I’ve heard people call it.  We are just worms.

Jasmine: That’s exactly—yes.  I feel like a lot of the teaching about children and—I’ll talk to older relatives in the South, man.  And they’ll be like, “He’s manipulating you.”  And I’m like, “You mean he’s trying to survive by doing what he can to get what he thinks that he needs.  Yes.  That is what he’s doing.  Is he masterminding and gas lighting and trying to take advantage of me?  No.  That’s not what he’s doing.”  It’s such a—to them, it seems like a subtle difference.  But it’s actually not subtle.  It was mind blowing for me to have my own children, to start reading about development.  Because before I got married, I was like, “Oh, I’m going to be that mom who is going to have them all in line walking in a row like ducks.”  Doing all the stuff right, right?  And my husband and I—so I’m the oldest of nine.  And my husband was like, “We’re going to have seven kids.”  And I’m like, “Yeah.  We’re going to have maybe eight kids.  And we’re going to home school all of them.  And we’re going to have them all just under control, doing everything right, and being everything to everybody.”  And it just took my first child—and it wasn’t even a sense of like it took my first child, and he wore me out.  And I was too exhausted to do the things that I was going to do.  More so, it took my first child and actually seeing him in a loving way—being like, “Oh, this is a person.  This is not just a little accessory that reflects me.  This is a person that is actually meant to reflect Christ.  And so how am I treating this person that is a reflection of Christ?  And am I instilling shame in him?  Am I telling him you should be all these things that are not actually Scriptural?”

Sheila: Yeah.  Yeah.  Yeah.  Oh, that’s so good.  Okay.  I want to read to you a quote from your book.  So this is something that you wrote that really stood out to me. You said, “In my mind, shame was a tool that Jesus was using to whip me into shape or a byproduct of the fact that I just needed to be trying harder.  Shame was something that belonged in my Christian walk as a reminder not to step out of line.  I viewed shame as a frenemy of sorts,” like you said earlier.  “It tortured me, yes.  But surely, it sanctified me as well.”  Whoa. 

Jasmine: Yeah.

Sheila: And then you go on to talk about these three faulty gospels that women have with regards to shame.  Can you run us through what those three are?  

Jasmine: Yes.   And all hail my editor because these three categories were her—was just throwing things at her.  There’s all these different ways.  And she was like, “I feel like these fit into three categories.”  That just made me sound really good.  Thank you so much, Ashley.  But the first would be—I think what a lot of more conservative Christians are maybe afraid of when they pick up my book because they’re like, “You want to get rid of shame.”  So that’s the shake it off.  That’s the I should never have to feel shame at all.  When I feel shame, I’m just going to tell it that I am a perfectly beautiful butterfly, and nothing that I ever do is wrong.  And everything that I ever do is perfect even when it hurts other people.  I think that’s kind of a caricature of the way that the world works.  Right?  That a lot of Christians see the world.  They’re like, “The world is just shame free.”  But actually, the world is really shaming because the world doesn’t have the Gospel, so they don’t have a list of—they don’t have the dos and don’ts.  They don’t have the Holy Spirit.  They just have shame.  And shame actually keeps the world in check.  We like shame in certain contexts.  I’m a big fan of Criminal Minds.  And a lot of the people that they deal with don’t experience shame.  So we need to experience shame.  We need the experience of shame.  But it’s a very base emotion.  It’s not the higher calling that we have.  So shake it off doesn’t work because it create a really scary society where people just do what they want whenever they want to whomever they want.  The second would be the—using it as a motivator.  Using it as motivation.  And this works for some people.  I was reading this book by a Christian influencer a few—that came out a few years ago.  It was really popular.  And she kept using all this imagery of, “Oh, the reason you’re fat is because you don’t get up off the couch and exercise,” or, “You don’t,”—and I’m like—reading this book I’m like, “You like this.  You all like this.”  But for some people, it works.  They’re like, “You called me fat.  No.  I’m going to get up and I’m going to prove you wrong.  And I am going to work out.  And I am going to get stronger.  And I’m going to,”—even—so for me, that doesn’t work.  If you call me fat and say that I’m on the couch eating bonbons, I’m going to be like, “Fine.  I’m going to eat bonbons even harder.”  That’s my personality.  So I—for some people, it doesn’t work.  But for the people that it does work for, it creates this lack of compassion.  It kind of—the way that—I think that you alluded to it earlier when you were talking about parenting.  The way that we disciple ourselves is the way that we disciple others.  And so if shame is our motivator, then that’s how we’re going to motivate other people.  And when shame doesn’t motivate other people, we’re going to think that they’re less than us because the highest person—the highest type of person is motivated by shame.  It’s great.  And then the third way would be to put it on people.  And we kind of see that in the Garden when God asks Adam why he ate the fruit.  He’s like, “This woman.”  So puts it on Eve.  “That You gave me.”  Puts it on God.  And then Eve is like, “The serpent.”  It’s kind of the shifting.  And I see this a lot with women.  And I’m not saying this in a like, “I’m not like other girls kind of way,” because I have been guilty of it myself.  But in the—so for instance, say my house is dirty.  I’m looking over the computer screen because my house is obviously perfectly clean right now.  But I’m imagining that if it was dirty.  And I thought, “Ugh, man.  But you know what?  I went to So-and-so’s house, and her house was even dirtier than mine.  So I’m doing great.”  Or, “I went to this other So-and-so’s house, and her house was really clean, neat, and tidy because she’s probably like really obsessed with it being clean and tidy.  And she’s not chill and laid back like I am.  And she’s not as fun of a mom as I am.  And she just can’t relax.  Her house has to look like a hotel.  She has to,”—so it’s just kind of trying to tear down other people or bring other people down a few pegs so that our shame isn’t as loud in our own ears.

Sheila: Yeah.  I see that a lot in marriage stuff.  Like you’ll hear someone say, “I mean yeah.  Of course marriage is sometimes drudgery, and your husband isn’t always Prince Charming.  But at least he’s not sleeping around.”  

Jasmine: Oh my gosh.  Yes.  Yes.  Yes.

Sheila: We do.  We say, “Well, at least this isn’t happening,” so as a way to—yeah.  To minimize it.  And to make yourself feel more on top of the heap, right?

Jasmine: Mm-hmm.  Absolutely. 

Sheila: Okay.  So sometimes—I like how you said too.  Sometimes shame tells the truth, but sometimes it lies.  And how do we know the difference?

Jasmine: It really is connected to our walk with God.  It really is connected to our abiding with Christ.  If we’re far from Christ and we’re not in His Word telling the difference is just going to be like trying to play darts in the dark.  But when we are walking with God, we have context, right?  We can stop.  And we can look and say, “Oh, I feel this feeling.  What is this?”  And here’s the beautiful thing.  Whether or not the feeling comes from the Holy Spirit, we have the same first steps of action which is to go before the Father and talk to Him about it.  Either talk to Him about it in repentance or talk to Him about it in, “Please help me abide more in You so that this feeling will diminish.”  But either way, the answer is to go to God with the feeling.  But also what does the Bible say?  Have you actually, actively done something wrong?  Or are you concerned with impressing other people?  Are you actually feeling conviction from God from standing in the presence of God?  Or are you feeling downtrodden because of how you look in the presence of other people?  Those are just some of the questions that can be asked.  But there are so many different ways that we can approach this if we’re willing to have frank conversations with ourselves.

Sheila: Yeah.  And I think that can be really hard because especially if we’ve grown up in the church sometimes even the Bible itself is associated with shame.  Right?  You went to that women’s conference ten years ago, and you swore that you would get up at 6:00 in the morning and read your Bible for an hour every day and pray.  And you haven’t read your Bible for three months.  And so now whenever you think about God, you feel shame, right?

Jasmine: Yes.  Totally.  Having a broader view of history has been such a help to me—and I know.  I’m always like history.  Let’s talk about history.  But seriously, people could not even read the Bible until the last hundred years every day.  Nobody had Bibles in their house that they were like picking up and reading.  Last hundred years.  Last 200, 300 years.  We’ve been able to have Bibles at home and have—study together and actually look—but that wasn’t the case.  So then are you saying that this medieval woman who couldn’t read the Bible in her language was in sin?  Are you saying that—are you saying that my ancestors who were enslaved and couldn’t—weren’t literate were in sin?  Does the Bible say to read it every day?  Does the Bible say to get up every morning really early and read it every day?  Does it actually—I think so many of those—people talk a lot about deconstruction.  And they give it a really bad name.  But I have found watching the next generation of Christians coming up—so I’m a millennial.  And this next little bit is Gen Z, and it’s crazy to be a millennial because I used to be the youngest generation.  And so people would be like, “Oh, yeah.  Millennials.”  And I’d be like, “Oh my gosh.  I’m so young, and I have my whole life ahead of me.”  And now Gen Z is literally in their 20s.  And I’m like, “Oh my gosh.  I’m not.  I’m not the young one anymore.  I’m like the teenager.  I’m the 20s version.”  I love watching them because a lot of people—Gen Z gets a really bad rap.  

Sheila: Yeah.  I love Gen Z.  I love Gen Z.

Jasmine: I love Gen Z.  They are so self aware.  They are so self aware.  They are so willing to question everything.  They are so compassionate.  They are trying so hard.  They are trying to so hard.  But then they are also laughing at themselves when they fall short.  And one thing that I love is their willingness to question the presuppositions that we’ve taken for granted because I believe that we serve a God who is capable of honoring that questioning.  I believe that the Bible is capable of standing up to that questioning.  And so even if it takes dealing with shame, even if it takes questioning things that you always took for granted, the Holy Spirit really is living and active.  And I truly believe that God wants us to have the knowledge or He wouldn’t have given us the Scripture.  He wouldn’t have given us this guide.  And so question it.  Hold it up and actually ask it really hard questions and grapple and be content with the fact that sometimes those answers don’t come right away.  When I first started questioning my ideas of biblical womanhood, those answers didn’t just magically all come together right away.  I really had to grapple with a lot, and I had to go through a lot of shame to get to the other side.  It’s not even the other side.  I’m not on the other side.  I’m in the middle.  

Sheila: You’re still trying.  Yeah.

Jasmine: I’m in the middle of it, but I can see some—a lot of crap behind me.  So I’m feeling really good about myself right now.  But I still have to go forward a little bit more.  My husband and I were just talking about money this morning.  And he makes more money than I do.  And I was like, “Oh, because you make more money, I’m the person who should be doing all the stuff around the house.”  And he was like, “Where is that in the Bible?  What does that even mean?”  So even just—I’m still questioning.  But I really think that the Scriptures are capable of standing up to our questioning.  So sometimes really grappling with shame especially when you’ve grown up in this super conservative Christian environment—especially when you’re a woman whose grown up in a super conservative Christian environment grappling with shame means grappling with the Bible and really asking it, “Did you really say this stuff that’s making me feel this way?  Because if you did, I—you got some explaining to do.”  And it can.  It can explain.

Sheila: Yeah.  I love that.  I think we read the Psalms wrong.  We read the Psalms like David is writing something nice.  And I think half the Psalms he’s yelling.  And I think if we could read the Psalms while yelling, it would be a lot healthier.

Jasmine: Just like what are you doing?  Yes.  Yes.

Sheila: I love that.  I’m parachuting in here to tell you about something which is not parenting related.

Rebecca: No. 

Sheila: We are in the middle of talking about She Deserves Better.  But you know what?  If you are an adult woman who is married, you deserve better too.  You deserve awesome sex.  And so if sex ain’t awesome, if you just cannot figure out what all the fuss is about, and you would really like to reach orgasm, we have an Orgasm Course.  And so we’re just here to tell you that and to tell you to check it out.  Because if you’re not reaching it, you should.  And you deserve better.  So check out the link.  We’ve got it in the podcast notes.  Okay.  Personal story here that you wrote.  You wrote this really insightful passage about how your parents taught you to protect yourself from the world.  But that was kind of as far as it goes.  The world is wrong.  Let me just read this.  So you were talking about who it was that your parents wanted you to be.  Okay.  And you said, “As I look back, I can now see that what it meant to be her was mostly oppositional.  I could tell you who I wasn’t supposed to be much more easily than I could tell you who I was supposed to be.  I could argue with you all day long about a woman’s place.  But if you asked me to paint a picture of womanhood that relied not on overblown caricatures of the cultural norms but on purely biblical love and excitement for who and how God had made me, I would be lost.”

Jasmine: Mm-hmm.

Sheila: “As soon as it looked like I was getting it right, I was mostly getting really good at the appearance of being right with God.”  Yeah.

Jasmine: Yeah.  Absolutely.  And I try—I’ve been in therapy for seven years now.  And I try to be gracious towards—in my ideals towards my parents.  I try to see my parents as adults, who were grappling with real things as opposed to just seeing them as parents because I don’t want to just be seen as a parent.  I want my son to be like, “My mom had perinatal depression for the six years of my life.  She did her best.  And I understand her.  And it wasn’t perfect, and I’m going to talk about it in therapy about the ways that it wasn’t perfect.  But I know that she did,”—so that’s how I—I try to look at my parents how I want to be looked at some day.  And when I look at my parents and I look at—and a lot of people in that generation of homeschoolers, not raised in Christian families, trying to figure out the way forward for their family, having had a lot of traumatic experience that they did not go to therapy for seven years to deal with, trying to not have their children experience that same trauma, all these things—and I understand.  And I get it.  And I love them.  And I think that’s the reason why I’m still about to have a good relationship with them even though we’re very different.  And also I am still dealing with the kickback of growing up in a community that was more centered on who we were not than who we are supposed to be.  And the thing of it is that when you step back from that oppositional thinking and have to cast a positive vision for the future and a positive vision for family and a positive vision for who we are in Christ and you can’t articulate that, that is incredibly disorienting.  And in the nots and in the should nots, there’s a lot of shame there.  As soon as you step back from the shame and have to take the mic in your own hands, it’s paralyzing.  It’s terrifying.  It’s terrifying to not be oppositional.  It’s terrifying to try to have a positive relationship with womanhood, with family, with education, with all of these things that we are taught to fight about constantly.

Sheila: Yeah.  Yeah.  So true.  And I think understanding as well that a lot of that motivation was to protect.  That’s a lot of what we said too in She Deserves Better, our new book that’s coming out, because one of the points we made about dating rules and purity culture is I don’t think people today realize how bad the 80s were.  I grew up in the 80s.  Teen pregnancy was really high.  Drug use and alcohol use was really high.  Kids were super promiscuous.  And parents were like, “How do we stop this?”     

Jasmine: What are we supposed to do?  Yes.  Yes.

Sheila: Yes.  The pendulum swung way too far.  And somebody should have said, “Hey, this is not good,” at the time.  And not enough people said that.  So I’m not excusing it.  But I do think that for many parents it was just an honest desire to protect. 

Jasmine: Absolutely.

Sheila: And so we made everything into Christians don’t date.  Christians don’t kiss.  Christians court.  Christians—yeah.  They just are nothing like culture.  And yeah.  It was very oppositional.    

Jasmine: Yeah.  Even while being products of the culture.  Even the ideas of purity that we were like, “This is biblical, and this is coming straight from the Bible,” was like, “Is it?  Or is it coming straight from Victorian England?  I’m just trying to figure it out.  I’m just trying to see something.”  In my homeschooling circle—and I will say.  My family didn’t do this much.  I think because we’re black.  So what are you going to do?  They’d be like, “Oh, the good old days.”

Sheila: Yeah.  I guess it wasn’t good old days.  Oh my goodness.  

Jasmine: And so it was just like, “Okay.  Maybe not.”  So we’d always be like, “The good old days except for racism and slavery and segregation.  Abuse.”  There’s too many excepts.  But a lot of times we’d talk about the good old days always.  And it was kind of like trying to get back to this time.  And the more that I learned about history the more I’m like there’s no getting back to anything.  It’s really moving forward towards greater understanding, towards greater—and I don’t mean moving forward in the sense of like, “Oh, everything has to be this progressive,”—what does progressive even mean?  Even when I say conservative, I’m always like I realize that I’m painting with such a broad brush.  But it doesn’t mean letting go of values and letting go of the things that we believe that are really in the Bible but does mean actually interrogating what we’d been taught was in the Bible and actually interrogating the arguments that we just make because it’s better than the world.  There’s got be a better—there’s a better standard than just better than everybody else.  Better than the world.  Better than the next person.  Better than the—there’s a higher standard than that.

Sheila: Mm-hmm.  I love that.  So when you start doing that though—when you start questioning the stuff that you were brought up with, that’s scary.  

Jasmine: Yeah.  

Sheila: You kind of feel like you’re unmoored.

Jasmine: Yes.  

Sheila: And that has a lot of shame too.

Jasmine: Mm-hmm.  It does.

Sheila: So how do you process something like that?

Jasmine: Remember when I said I’ve been in therapy for seven years?

Sheila: Yeah.  I was going to say.  I know she’s going to say therapy.   

Jasmine: A lot of that.  A lot of my husband.  Sheila, oh my gosh.  Okay.  I don’t know if I told you this last time because I say this story all the time because it’s my favorite little party trick of what the heck were you thinking.  I started dating my husband March 25, 2014.  We got engaged June 11, 2014.  We got married October 4, 2014.  And I took a positive pregnancy test Thanksgiving week 2014.

Sheila: Wow.  So eight months after starting to date him, you’re pregnant.  You’re married and pregnant.  Okay.

Jasmine: And had a miscarriage that December with this man that I just had just—so I always say it’s a miracle.  It is miraculous.  And any young person that’s like, “Oh, you moved fast.  I should do that,” I’m like, “You should not.  You should not.”  I feel like somebody put—I am a wool sweater than got put into the dryer.  And I got really shrunk and bent out of shape.  And then somebody had to come in and re—you know how they can stretch it back out.  They did all that work.  But I’m like, “But the best thing to do is just take the time to air dry.  Just air dry.  Then you don’t have to fix anything.  It’s good.”  But I will say it’s just the work of the Lord because I ended up with somebody—I could have ended up with anybody.  He could have been anybody.  He could have been anybody.  We say that all the time.  We’re like, “You could have been anyone.”  And he kind of was anyone in some ways.  It was like, “I don’t know what I just did.”  And for him too because I was trying so hard to be this perfect picture of womanhood.  Then he married me, and he got the real version of me which struggled with anger and struggled with depression and struggled with—and he was like, “Oh my gosh.”  Both of us kind of felt like false advertising after we got married.  But God was so gracious because he’s given me a man who reminds me constantly of pulling myself out of shame, disrupting those narratives.  So he’s been a huge part in it.  Choosing your spouse is so important.  I was very quick with it.  But having a husband who disrupts those narratives has meant everything to me.  So my husband, therapy, choosing community that disrupts those narratives has been very important to me.  It’s just kept me so solid.  And I think also having a husband who understands—and it doesn’t have to be a husband, right?  It can be a friend or anybody in relationship with you.  Who understands the damage that really is wrought in the kind of conservative circles that I was in.  I think people think, “Oh, but you,”—my husband was the second guy that I ever kissed.  And I didn’t have sex until I got married.  And we did the whole courtship thing.  And we had our huge wedding.  Everything.  So when I tell people like, “That actually—that teaching was really damaging,” people look on the outside, and they’re like, “But everything looks fine.”  But it’s so much internal damage and so much internalized shame that just eats away at my confidence in Christ, my ability to have functional adult relationships.  I remember.  My husband and I.  We would fight all the time about things like, “Jasmine, you can’t just spend money without looking at the credit card.  You have to look at what’s in the account.”  Or like, “We have to budget.”  Or, “You have to drive somewhere.”  Or, “Or you have to,”—it was just so many little things of I wasn’t an adult when I got married.  I had been living at home.  I had been in this very conservative environment.  I thought that I was going to get married to somebody who was just going take care of my every need as long as I took care of his household and his children.  And so it really took my husband to be like, “I need you to be a grown up.  What is this?”  I tried to break off our engagement because I tried to—I was trying to get us an apartment.  He lived out of state.  And I was trying to get the apartment.  And he was like, “You can take care of the apartment stuff,” right?  And I was so paralyzed.  How do you get an apartment?  Oh my gosh.  How do you—I just got my license.  My driver’s license two years ago.  How do you get an apartment?  How do you do all this stuff?  And he just took me to task and was like, “Babe, you’ve got to—we’ve got to try.  You can’t be so paralyzed.  You’re going to get stuff wrong.  You got to move forward into adulthood.”  And so much of that is just dealing with shame, learning to grow up and differentiate myself from my parents and my surroundings.

Sheila: Yeah.  I love that.  I love that.  The last thing I was going to ask—you kind of already answered.  But maybe you have some more thoughts on this because this is beautiful, I think.  Is what roles does a good marriage have in God’s healing from shame?

Jasmine: Such, such an incredible role.  In a lot of ways in early on, my marriage was a source of shame because I was not who I thought I was going to be when I got married.  I had all these ideals of who I was going to be when I got married.  And then I had a miscarriage in December.  And I have always struggled with depression.  I have always struggled with depression.  Didn’t know what it was.  I have always struggled with anger.  Hid it really well.  My husband was like, “You have a terrible temper.”  And I’m like, “Nobody who knows me would say that.”  He’d be like, “Does anybody know you but me?”  Touché.  Touché.  I mean even my parents were like, “She has a temper?  I mean, sure.  When she was a baby.  But no.”  She throws things.  She’s mad.  She’s really mad.  And a lot of that was just me reacting to shame because it was like I don’t feel—I don’t feel like this capable wife that I thought I was going to be.  I am not this Proverbs 31 woman that I thought I was going to be.  I’m putting heavy quotes around this.  I can’t even carry a baby to term.  This is one of my purposes in life is to have babies.  And I can’t even do that.  And so, so much of it was just we—was me growing up alongside my husband.  Him just really pushing me towards more independence.  Him pushing me towards more—I remember after I had my firstborn everything was supposed to be perfect because now I’ve had this baby that I wasn’t able to carry before.  And I was so depressed.  I was so depressed.  I remember taking my little boy to the doctor and her being like, “He’s lost two pounds,” when he was ten months old.  And me being like, “How?”  And she said, “I get it.  You see him every day.  So you’re thinking that he’s—you’re used to the way that he looks.  What is he eating?”  I said, “Doesn’t eat.  He just nurses.”  “Well, he needs to eat food, and we need to think about maybe incorporating some formula.”  Talk about shame.  Oh my god.  What?  No.  Breastfeeding all the way for two years even.  No.  I can’t do formula.  I can’t—and I just remember being in such a tailspin of, “My motherhood is—if I’m not a good mother, then I’m not anything.”  And my husband would be like, “You are a good mother.”  But he set me up a blog.  He said, “You always used to like to write.  And I think that you should start writing again.”  And, “No.  I left all that behind.  I’m a mom now.”  “I think that you should start writing again.”  And then a teaching job came open.  And he’s like, “I think you should start teaching again.  It’s just two days.”  It was a two day a week teaching.  “I think you should start teaching again.”  And he slowly teased me out of this—I mean without him giving me permission—I needed permission.  Without him giving me that permission, which I don’t need now—but then, I did.  To move away from this cloistered, shame filled idea of what womanhood and what motherhood and what wifehood was, I don’t know where I would be today.  We probably wouldn’t still be married because I would have been very resentful of him.  And putting all of the trauma that I had brought into our marriage—I would have put it on him.  And so yeah.  Our marriage has been one of the main healing influences.  To the extent that I was at a conference talking about our marriage and the beautiful ways that my husband has just kind of pulled me out of my shell, my shame shell, and she was like, “Do you ever just feel like a really bad feminist because your husband is literally a hero in your life?”  I’m like, “You know what?  If that makes me a bad feminist, that’s fine.  Put me on the back of your horse and carry me to the Promised Land.  I’ll go.”  I’d rather be here than where I was.  

Sheila: Oh, that’s beautiful.  Well, thank you, Jasmine.  Tell people where they can get your book.

Jasmine: Yeah.  Nevercastout.com will have all the links to major retailers.  

Sheila: Okay.  Awesome.  So yes.  Again, the book is Never Cast Out: How the Gospel Puts an End to the Story of Shame by Jasmine Holmes.  And it’s so great to have you here again.  We’ll have to do this another time about—

Jasmine: Absolutely.

Sheila: – your next book or something.  But yeah.  We love having you join us.  So thank you, Jasmine.

Jasmine: Thank you so much for having me.

Sheila: I really love talking to Jasmine.  She’s just really fun.  She’s a fun person.  And I hope that people check out her book because I think these are important things to talk about.  And last week on the podcast, Rebecca, we talked about trauma and EMDR because a lot of people—those are words that we throw around.  But we don’t always unpack and understand what they mean.  And shame is another one of those words that we don’t always unpack and understand what it means.  But in our launch team as people have been reading through She Deserves Better, one of the things that they tell us that they didn’t know about is the concept of DARVO.

Rebecca: Yeah.  We’ve gotten that from a couple of people saying, “I had never heard this before.”  And it’s funny because we’ve been talking about this for a couple of years now.  More behind the scenes.  We talk with a lot of people who are in kind of abuse advocacy spaces and that kind of thing.  So we’re kind of the kind of people who assume that if we’ve heard of something everyone has.

Sheila: Yeah.  Because I always feel like I’m the last to hear about stuff.  

Rebecca: I know.

Sheila: And then I’m embarrassed I didn’t know what it was. 

Rebecca: I know.  So anyway, so it’s a great little tool.  So what DARVO is is it’s just an acronym that describes the method by which people’s psychological resolve is worn down against abusive people.  So it stands for deny, attack, and reverse victim and offender.  And this pretty much just describes the method that is commonly used.  Kind of the pattern that we see with people who are being victimized or who are being—yeah.  Gas lit or—and end up becoming a victim to an abuser.

Sheila: Yeah.  And so we showed how actually a lot of our Christian teaching to teens is just DARVO.  We are constantly DARVOing teen girls.  And so we have these pretty boxes throughout She Deserves Better where we give examples of how, “Hey, here’s how this teaching is used to DARVO girls.”  So let’s—do you want to just walk them through that?

Rebecca: Yeah.  Sure.  We can talk you through a few of them.

Sheila: Okay.  So here is one where we’re talking about emotions.  All right?  Deny.

Rebecca: Yeah.  Deny is you don’t feel what you think you feel.  And that’s in a lot of these books.  We see things like, “The heart is fickle.  You can’t trust your heart.  You don’t feel what you actually feel.”

Sheila: Yeah.  If you’re upset, you’re not really depressed.  You just need to work on faith or whatever.  Okay.  How about attack?

Rebecca: Attack is if you do feel that way it’s your fault because you don’t trust God enough or you have allowed a demon to have a foothold on your heart. 

Sheila: Right.  So if you’re upset, it is your fault.  You did something to cause it.

Rebecca: You did something wrong.

Sheila: Okay.  And now let’s reverse victim and offender.  

Rebecca: If you show that you’re feeling that way, you’re going to be a bad witness.  And you’re going to hurt the church or even potentially threaten someone’s salvation.

Sheila: Right.  So now you, the person who is being hurt, are actually the one doing the harm. 

Rebecca: Yeah.  What’s the world going to think if Christians are walking around all depressed?  You need to have joy.  Joy is a fruit of the spirit, right?  I mean we genuinely—we get told that.

Sheila: So here’s another one.  DARVO and safety.  And in this part of the book, we were telling the story of you at youth group actually where there was a creepy dude, who was much older.  The girls were not comfortable around him.   

Rebecca: There was a credible accusation of sexual assault about this boy.  Okay?

Sheila: Right.  And you told the youth leaders, and they told you that you were being judgmental.

Rebecca: And that this boy needed Jesus.  And we heard this over and over again in our focus groups too.  And we see it—I mean it happens all the time.  We’ve heard it over and over again.  We see it in our literature.  Yeah.

Sheila: Mm-hmm.  Mm-hmm.  Okay.  So here’s how that might play out in this situation.  

Rebecca: So DARVO and safety.  Deny.

Sheila: He’s a good kid, and he deserves to be included.

Rebecca: Attack.

Sheila: You need to learn to accept people you think are weird.  Don’t you think you’re being a little judgmental?  

Rebecca: And reverse victim and offender.

Sheila: He needs Jesus.  Do you think gossiping about him like this is going to help him come to the Lord?  

Rebecca: And remember that all this is about girls being like, “Hey, I’m pretty sure this guy is a rapist.  And I don’t want to be at an overnight sleepover with him.”  This is exactly what we’re talking about where it’s like you belittle the problem.  You go on the offense.  And then not only do you attack that person, you make the actual potentially abusive person or the problem the victim.

Sheila: Right.  

Rebecca: There’s this pattern that we see over and over again.

Sheila: Okay.  How about DARVO and consent.  And here’s one that fits in with Vera’s story that we shared with you—what?  Two weeks ago now on the podcast.  So here is what she heard.  Right?  So deny.

Rebecca: If you had really wanted to not have sex, you would have stopped him.

Sheila: Yep.  Or attack.

Rebecca: What were you expecting dating a non Christian?  It takes two to tango.

Sheila: And here is the reverse victim and offender.  

Rebecca: Once boys get started, they can’t stop without help.  So if you want to be able to stop, it’s safest to not even start.  You put him in an impossible position, and you should have known better.

Sheila: Yes.

Rebecca: And pretty much all of this just comes from Vera’s story and the story of so many others we talked about in the focus groups.  This is genuinely what happens.

Sheila: Except that the deny victim and offender we were actually quoting from For Young Women Only.

Rebecca: Yeah.  Reverse victim, offender, deny victim, offender, or reverse victim.

Sheila: Yes.

Rebecca: But the bigger thing too is that when we say this stuff we’re not saying that one person does all three of these.  Not at all.  We’re saying is that when we’re steeped in a church culture that has these negative messages you hear them throughout.  And they all work with each other to systematically tear down your psychological resolve, to systematically kind of get under your skin, to convince you of things that don’t actually—that aren’t actually true.

Sheila: Yeah.  And as we were talking about with Jasmine, this is how shame can be formed because you feel like you were the one who did the wrong thing even when you were the one who was wronged against.  You feel like I somehow sinned against him.  And we can see this really well in the DARVO and modesty.  

Rebecca: So deny would be?

Sheila: Boys are just visual.  It’s how God made them.

Rebecca: Yeah.  There’s not a problem here.  This is God’s design.  Okay.  Attack would be?

Sheila: You’re dressing like someone trashable.

Rebecca: Yeah.  It’s your fault.  You shouldn’t be dressed like that.

Sheila: And if you recall from the podcast we did a couple of weeks ago on the eight year olds who were intoxicating, that was one of the exercises in Secret Keeper Girl was to—are you dressing like someone who is trashable?

Rebecca: And that idea of someone being trashable versus a china teacup is still in the 2021 edition of Eight Great Dates.  

Sheila: Right.

Rebecca: So yep.  Still get to ask which friend was trashable in 2021.  Anyway, okay.  And then reverse victim and offender would be?

Sheila: You are a stumbling block.  You are causing him to sin by what you are wearing.    

Rebecca: Exactly.

Sheila: So he’s not sinning against you by lusting against you and making you feel uncomfortable.  You are sinning against him by putting him in this impossible situation which he cannot get out of because God made him to lust.  And so it’s all your fault.

Rebecca: Yeah.  Exactly.  And so is it any wonder that we hear from girls who say, “Well, I was sexually assaulted by my boyfriend, and then I kept on thinking back to what I was wearing.  And maybe I had incited the lust in him.  Maybe I had just worn the wrong thing.”  Yeah.  Because they’ve been trained to already think those things.

Sheila: Yeah.  It’s really.  It’s really problematic.  So that is what DARVO is.  Deny, attack, reverse victim and offender.  And it is a strategy that is used systematically by abusers or abusive systems to make the victims feel like they are actually the ones at fault because if the victims feel like they are the ones who have done the wrong the victims will stick around.

Rebecca: Yeah.  Because they aren’t able to put to words what’s happening to them.

Sheila: Mm-hmm.  If the victims realize they’re being victimized, they might leave.  

Rebecca: And by saying it’s systematic, that doesn’t mean that it’s conscious.

Sheila: Yeah.  

Rebecca: It doesn’t mean that it’s conscious, and it doesn’t mean that it’s a decided effort.  Like yeah.  All of our youth group pastors, everyone is getting together to be like, “Yeah.  We’re going to gas light some girls today.”  No one is saying that.  It’s just that what happens is this kind of culture that is so male focused the way to perpetuate a male focused culture is to silence women.  And the only way you can really silence girls is by convincing them that they don’t actually have any problems and that they are the ones who are really at fault or else they’ll speak up.  And so yeah.  Speak up.

Sheila: And, again, what people have found is that—researchers have found is that these are just common things that are in abusive systems.  This is just how abusive systems work is deny there’s a problem.  They attack the person who tries to speak up about the problem, and then they reverse victim and offender.  Okay.  There’s another term that people really liked that we were using in She Deserves Better that people hadn’t heard.  And it’s the idea of spiritual bypassing.  Do you want to explain this one?

Rebecca: Yeah.  I’ll just read the quick excerpt from our book.  So in She Deserves Better, this is how we explained spiritual bypassing.  “There’s actually a term for using religious language to avoid dealing with uncomfortable emotions.  Spiritual bypassing.  Psychotherapist John Welwood, who coined the term, describes spiritual bypassing as the tendency to use spiritual ideas and practices to sidestep or avoid facing unresolved emotional issues, psychological wounds, and unfinished developmental tasks.  Instead of truly listening to the person’s pain, we provide distance from unresolved feelings using God language.  In practice, that means we make God sound indifferent to our pain which God would never be.  Spiritual bypassing focuses on spiritual platitudes, which may even be true, but ignores the deeper truth of God’s compassion for us.  It might be helpful for your daughter to meditate on His eye is on the sparrow when she is feeling stressed out.  But telling her, “You don’t need to be stressed because His eye is on the sparrow,” is invalidating.  Shutting down someone’s feelings is not shepherding their emotional health.  If your daughter is crying over her wheaties on picture day because she woke up with a zit on her nose and you tell her, “Jesus can handle that,” you’re spiritually bypassing her.  Yes.  It is true.  But she already knows that.  And besides, it’s unkind and unhelpful.”

Sheila: Exactly.

Rebecca: Yeah.  It’s like shut up.  It’s the shut up and sit down.  That’s what they’re trying to get you to do.  Right?  People who are experiencing—and a lot of times it’s a protective thing, right?  If someone can’t handle feeling someone else’s pain, right?  We especially see this around things like grief.

Sheila: Oh yeah.  Oh gosh.  The things that people said to me in the week after my son died it was incredible.  God just needed a little angel in Heaven.  Or it’s not always easy to understand God’s will.  But isn’t it great that He has all of this in His control?

Rebecca: It’s like no.  No.  The baby just died.  It’s not great.  

Sheila: Yeah.  And just a lot of things like that.  So when we spiritually bypass, it’s like we’re saying—a lot of what we’re saying is true.  Okay?  But there’s a time and a place for everything.  And when someone is really hurting, when we speak those sorts of things over them, what we’re really saying is I don’t want to talk about your pain.  Your pain is making me uncomfortable, so I’m going to say something which is going to shame you.  This is, again, what Jasmine was talking about earlier so much of Jasmine’s story again is spiritual bypassing.  It’s shaming you for your feelings so that everybody else doesn’t have to deal with them.

Rebecca: Yeah.  Because in the way that it’s shaming you is by implying that if you were simply more spiritual or if you were more godly or if you were more focused on Jesus, then this wouldn’t be bothering you quite so much.  Right?  It implies.  Like the idea of, “Well, His eye is on the sparrow, so you don’t need to be stressed,” implies that if you’re stressed you’re not really remembering that His eye is on the sparrow.

Sheila: Exactly.  I would remind people that this is something that we often do because we’re trying to help people feel better.  But check your heart, if you’re in these situations.  And is it really that you’re trying to make them feel better?  Or is it that you feel awkward and uncomfortable?  And you want to end the awkwardness.   

Rebecca: Yeah.  Is it that you want them to feel better because it will make it—you feel better?  

Sheila: Yeah.  Or is it just that you’re looking for something to say.  Because if you’re looking for something to say and you don’t know what to say, often the best thing to say is, “I just don’t know what to say.  I am so sorry.”

Rebecca: Yeah.  You don’t need to say something that sounds profound because usually it’s going to be utter crap.  I’m going to be honest.  If you’re just pulling something out of your butt, don’t be surprised when it’s crap, okay?  That’s all I’m going to say.

Sheila: That could be a graphic right there.  Becca says if you’re just pulling something out of your butt—

Rebecca: Pulling something out of your butt don’t be surprised when it’s crap.  Okay?  That seems like a good place to end this segment, doesn’t it?

Sheila: So that is spiritual bypassing.  And that is DARVO, and that is shame.  But the good thing is that we can do better.  We can do better for the next generation.  When we start to recognize these things that we often do pass on to people without realizing it, when we start to recognize the systems that do DARVO, when we start to recognize our own propensities to spiritual bypass, when we start to recognize how we can shame people, then we can also stop because she deserves better.  You deserve better.  We all deserve better.  So before we end, I want to read to you one of the new reviews that’s come in on Goodreads for She Deserves Better.  Okay.  So Kelsey writes, “This book is amazing.  As someone who grew up in the midst of purity culture, this has debunked so many of the harmful beliefs I held as a kid and a young adult.  I loved the parts that can be read with my daughters so they don’t have to take these bad messages upon themselves.  Also to add, I was worried they would swing the opposite way in their beliefs.  But they take a better approach than I expected.  They do focus on the importance of teaching our girls they have value and helping them form their relationship with God so that they can follow the Holy Spirit’s lead in hopefully choosing to save sex for marriage instead of using lies and scare tactics to convince them to stay a virgin.  Also does a good job of reminding girls and parents that their virginity is not the most important way to show God you love Him, and you have so much value to Him even if you have sex before marriage or are sexually assaulted.”  So yeah.  I like that.  I think people often are afraid that we’re going in some weird direction.  And no.  We’re just like, “Hey, Jesus.”  That’s our message.  Hey, Jesus.  Let’s look at Jesus.

Rebecca: Yeah.  Exactly.

Sheila: And let’s get back to who Jesus is and how we can live Him out in our lives.  So yeah.  That was encouraging.  I’m glad people are seeing that.  That makes me happy when people read our book, and they see Jesus because that was always what we were aiming for.  So that is all for this week.  We will see you next week again on the next Bare Marriage podcast.  And remember, if you’re pulling something out of your butt—  

Rebecca: It’s probably crap.

Sheila: – it’s probably crap.  Bye-bye.  

Rebecca: Bye.

Written by

Sheila Wray Gregoire


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Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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  1. Nathan

    I’ve never heard those terms myself, but I’ve seen them in action. People making comments or groping, then saying it’s her fault for wearing a revealing dress. This happens in politics, too, where people accuse their opponents of doing the bad things that they actually do (in politics, though, both people are usually guilty of it anyway).

    Bypassing happens a lot, too. Basically, somebody does something bad, then quotes bible verses left and right to appear spiritual and moral. Or goes on an on about their position in the Christian community, acting as if that makes bad things they do okay.

    But as Keith once said, abuse it NOT okay, no matter how many bible verses you can recite from memory.

  2. Lisa

    Sheila, where can I go to get the transcript of episode 186?

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      It will be up soon! So sorry. Katie had technical issues with her computer this week so the podcast was late and we couldn’t get it to the transcriber in time.

  3. Jane Eyre

    I have never heard of “spiritual bypassing.l. The description is great.

    There are a lot of times when someone says “this hurts” and it gets brushed off because if you were really pious, you would be okay with it. Think, someone young dies, and it’s a lot of “don’t you know this is God’s will” or “you will be reunited in heaven,” completely forgetting that Jesus wept.

  4. CMT

    “when we hear them, we think, “oh my goodness, that’s so obvious, I don’t know why I didn’t see that before,””

    That’s exactly how I felt about spiritual bypassing, too. I didn’t know it at the time, but that habit was a huge part of my upbringing, at home and in church. I’ve spent a good part of the last few years unpacking and discarding those unhealthy patterns. One of the tricky things for me was that (unlike, say, DARVO, which is pretty clearly abusive), the people who taught me to sidestep my feelings with spiritual platitudes really did mean well, I think. They were giving me the best tools they had. So I really think that concept should be talked about more so that we can start breaking that cycle.

    • Kelly

      I agree! Spiritual bypassing needs to be talked about more.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yes, I think many people who use spiritual bypassing are meaning well. It just doesn’t work.

      • CMT

        Another thought after listening to the full podcast: I really appreciated Jasmine’s empathic take on her own upbringing. I have also realized that my parents and many others who gave me shaming messages (and I think spiritual bypassing can be a form of shaming) were dealing with their own stuff as best they could. It can be tough to hold the tension of having compassion for the people who raised us, while also acknowledging that they harmed us in some ways.

    • Nessie

      I agree with CMT, most really are trying to help. But I’ve also experienced a church who used this technique to let people off the hook, including the pastors, a bit too freely. Once you are aware there are better tools out there, you can’t claim only, “But we didn’t know better!” That may be true for the past but not for how you move forward, and that’s the problem when nothing changes. I think that’s some of the frustration with many authors/pastors mentioned around here- once tGSR came out, there should have been change.

  5. Jo R

    Welp. Jasmine literally just described every bit of “Christian” discipleship I’ve ever received. No grace, no love, nothing but shame for not being enough, and starting with the shame of being a second-class human by being born female. No amount of sanctification will ever fix that, so why wouldn’t I assume God hates half the humanity He created, or that I could ever be enough?

    And DARVO happened all the bloody time in said discipleship. ***I*** was too sinful, too rebellious, too hard hearted, so I couldn’t possibly be a good Christian, and actually, I might not be a Christian AT ALL.

    Yeah, I’m REAL excited about trying to find a church community that won’t plunge me over my head back into this exact same sewage. Am I misremembering something Jesus said about two or three gathered in His name? Pretty sure even with my limited counting skills that Mr. R and I make … uh … TWO. (Not to mention the fact that Paul expects SEVERAL people to talk at Christian gatherings, rather than listening to one person’s monologue, but I digress.)

    If I could, I’d quote every single word Jasmine said, but y’all can just listen to the podcast or read the transcript for yourselves.

    Love Sheila and Rebecca for introducing another book to read. And yes, please make that saying into some merch!

    • Nathan

      It’s very sad that such things happened to you, and likely you’re not the only one. Even if you were doing a lot of bad things, there’s a difference between calling out bad behavior and telling somebody that they’re inherently a bad person. I hope you can find a good church and place where they accept everybody and help lift everybody up instead of beating them down.

      But, but, but “Girls should…” (I’ve heard that, too)

    • Nessie

      Jo R-
      I’m so sorry you’ve had so much hurt from the place that should be safest. You do what is right for you, but if it gives you any encouragement to try a church again, I finally found a safe place after years of searching. The pastor knows I am processing through a lot of crap and pushes me to keep healing- but with patience, compassion, and understanding. If a place like that exists near you, I pray you will find it when you are ready.

      I’ve had salvation doubt placed on me. It really messes with a person. That you are fighting to try to sort all this out still shows great courage and determination imo.

      In case you need to read it: you are loved just as you are. I hope you reach a point of feeling how loved you truly are.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      For sure! 🙂 Maybe we will make that into merch!

      I’m so sorry for what you’ve experienced in church. I totally get it. Rest well. It takes time to heal.

  6. Nathan

    I was confused at first, but I think that spiritual bypassing can manifest itself in two ways.

    1. I abuse somebody, then start reciting bible verses and talking about how high up I am in the Christian community, so that what I did isn’t really so bad after all.

    2. I abuse somebody, then tell them to cheer up, and accept it, since suffering is good for the soul, and it’s better to forgive and move on rather than rock the boat.

    • Kelly

      This helped me:. christiancounselingco.com/spiritual-bypassing-mourn-with-those-who-mourn

    • Mara R

      #3(?) It can also be… Someone else abuses somebody. But the depth and magnitude is too hard to bare or way beyond your spiritual pay grade. But instead of trying to understand or get them help, you hand them clichés and do the spiritual by-passing dance.

      I’ve also been known to call spiritual by-passing “Christian Vulcanism”. The pain or emotion is too great so just avoid it all together.

  7. Kelly

    Rebecca made me laugh so hard with her butt comment! Thanks for this interview, and for explaining spiritual bypassing.

    Sheila, it seems like a lot of what you do for me is bring light and explanation to experiences, thoughts, and emotions I’ve had over the years that have been coupled with confusion, but I could never figure out why I was confused or why something didn’t sit right with me. Thanks.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I’m so glad we could help with that!

  8. Kit

    Good morning Shiela!

    It seems like the transcript isn’t working on the website today. Is that a problem on my end or did it get uploaded incorrectly to the website?

    Have a great day!

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      It isn’t up yet. I’m sorry! We had technical problems and I’m hoping to get it up soon.

  9. Em

    I think Elisabeth Elliott is the ultimate spiritual bypasser…

    Great podcast. I love hearing Jasmine!

  10. Nessie

    Being raised by a narc mom, church DARVO was just more of the same. It seemed so “normal.” Been unpacking that for years, decades, now. Hate that others have experienced it also, but I take some comfort knowing others understand the hurt and deconstruction resulting- it’s validating at least.

    Spiritual Bypassing- great term. Some awkward/hurtful things I’ve gotten: “Be glad God didn’t give you more kids- you had your hands full raising a kid on the autism spectrum!” “God only gives “special” kids to special parents.” (The tone in this was beyond disgustingly condescending.)
    My kid isn’t broken but maybe your compassion is, people. (But I have some people who see how awesome he is, and they are the ones truly living life as the Church was intended and encourage us!) 🙂

    *Side note re: messy house shame: I keep my house messy so others that visit me feel better about their own housekeeping, lol.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, I hate what parents said to you! That’s so awful. I’m so sorry.

  11. Codec

    So a couple of things.

    Do these writers think men can’t say no to arousal? That men may think things are moving to fast? Do these writers understand that a lot of people use porn because they are terrified of entering relationships? I have to wonder.

    I appreciate that you guys understand that a lot of this is not an organized effort to gaslight people. It is still pretty messed up that these things are happening.

    As for DARVO this is nefarious. You see this in actual propaganda. An example? Goebels turned Poland into the aggressor claiming that Poland attacked first by criticizing the invasions of Chekoslovakia and that they were taking what was rightfully theirs.

    Jesus sure did say that the lady who broke the perfume on him loved him.

    Please make that line a shirt. It works so well. I would wear that shirt.

  12. Mara R

    About a third of the way through the Podcast.

    I can really relate to the part where Jasmine talks about being the oldest daughter. I am also an oldest daughter. And when dealing with me and my younger siblings (who figured this out quickly and used it against me) she would literally say to me, “Shame on you. You’re older. You should know better.”

    And I carried that for years. I carried it into my marriage. And my spouse, who was the youngest of eight, also figured out, very early, how to use it against me.

    It wasn’t until I was in my thirties that I even realized that this needed unpacking. Eventually, when “Shame… Older… Know better…” played in my brain, I started answering back. I replied, “Older than who? The whole world?” “Know better than who? The whole world?”

    I was unpacking so hard that once when someone asked me what I was up to these days, I told them, without skipping a beat, “I’m in rebellion to unrealistic expectations.”

    I HAD to overcome that shame my mother put on me before I could ever figure out how the ex was manipulating me using both DARVO and Spiritual Bypassing… And a whole host of other manipulative tactics that worked so well because of the shame placed on me by my family of origin.

    I even wrote a post back in the day called, “The Oldest Daughter Syndrome”. Not going to link it because all the links in that post are broken.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, that’s really rough! I can just imagine. I was an only child, so I didn’t get any of this!

    • Jo R

      “I’m in rebellion to unrealistic expectations.”

      Thanks tons, Mara! What a great line, and I will immediately be stealing it. 🤗

    • Lisa Johns

      “A whole host of other manipulative tactics that worked so well because of the shame placed on me by my family of origin.” This is so many of us — we are primed for abuse and manipulation in marriage because we’ve never seen anything else. And many of us (I know I’m not alone here) were told, “This is normal — everyone has problems — we’re a *good* family,” so when the marriage goes sideways early on we don’t know to reach out for help. This just absolutely sucks!!

      • Mara R

        To clarify, I grew up before the purity message thing and before my family of origin turned to evangelicalism.
        My shame was put on me by my mother who was also the oldest daughter (of an oldest daughter, of an oldest daughter). The shame thing was very generational.
        But even without the purity aspect (oh, I can only imagine) it primed me for the other messages like what came from “The Act of Marriage” and all the Dobson B.S.

        It’s not just a church thing. It’s a culture thing. But the church needs to stop lining up with culture and buck culture because Jesus knew that women deserved better than living under patriarchy, purity, and shame culture.

  13. EOF

    This is such a timely and needed message! I’m definitely picking up her book (and I’m already reading She Deserves Better ~ SO good!!)

    I’ve spent the last 3-4 years trying to find my place with God. At first, I was trying to find proof that God didn’t hate me. What other reason would he make me a woman to submit to an abusive upbringing, an abusive marriage, and abusive church leaders? So many decades of abuse left me sick: physically, emotionally, and spiritually. This blog and your books have been an integral part of opening my eyes to the truth.

    Now I’m on the path toward healing. After so many decades of harm, it’s going to be a long process. But with so many people like you and Jasmine focused on helping heal the harassed and helpless, I have hope! I wish I could snap my fingers and make all the trauma disappear from my body, but I know that’s not realistic. But I do believe I will be healed and that God wants that for me.

    Thank you.

  14. Jim

    I understand the feeling of shame. I have struggled with weight for most of my life and I have felt a lot of shame around that. I bullied in school because of my weight and I am still trying to feel better about my appearance.

    • Mara R

      As one who has also struggled with weight, I feel ya.
      And I’m glad you are aware and working on this shame. None of us deserve to live under it.
      And as you have mentioned, living under it, if not addressed and healed, makes it easier for us to turn on others.
      Jesus never called us to live under shame. The church has a lot more unpacking to do.

  15. Nathan

    I’m amazed (in a good way and in a bad way) how often this repeats itself on this site. Somebody (Sheila herself, a book author, etc.) will outline and analyze an effect like DARVO, then an enormous number of people will chime in and say that this is EXACTLY how they’ve been feeling for years or decades, but never really understood it until somebody laid it out academically.

    It’s sad that so many suffer under these dynamics, but it’s good when people realize that no, they aren’t crazy, God doesn’t hate them, it’s not their fault, etc.

    Hopefully, more healing can begin. There’s a lot of healing that’s needed.

  16. Jim

    Wow, I see that my comment about my experience with shame was deleted. Why is my experience not valid?

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      It wasn’t deleted, Jim. I just wasn’t moderating over Holy Weekend. I was offline.

  17. Laura

    “I’m in rebellion to unrealistic expectations.” I love this Mara R!

    Excellent podcast as always and proof that people like Jasmine, who grew up ultraconservative, can learn new, productive healthy ways to live and grow in relationship to Jesus. I think I know who her father is but I won’t say here. I just know that he’s ultraconservative and believes in the stay-at-home daughter movement and Quiverfull movement. When one has been raised in that culture, it sure is tough to break from. However, I was raised almost the opposite. Though my parents had traditional roles (stay-at-home mom, bring home the paycheck dad) they did not adhere to traditional beliefs. Mom balanced the checkbook and both parents made decisions together. There wasn’t the mentality of my dad being “head of the house,” except when it came to the census. Then at 17, I got saved in a charismatic church where the pastor had very patriarchal beliefs and often preached on the end times. You could not believe in evolution or that dinosaurs existed because dinosaurs were not in the Bible. You had to believe that husbands are always in charge and even if he is not good at handling the finances, they must do it anyway.

    I loved the part about spiritual bypassing and I know I’m guilty of it. Sheila and Rebecca said it so well that we unintentionally do it when we are uncomfortable about people expressing their pain and heartache, especially when it comes to the death of a loved one. A “well-meaning” Christian friend of mine who just does not have a filter and often puts her foot in her mouth had told me that God did heal my father after I told her how I prayed for God to heal him but he did not live. My friend said, “God did heal him, he’s in Heaven.” Um, that’s the last thing I wanted to hear about a month or two after my father passed away nearly 10 years ago. So when people are experiencing the passing of a loved one, I try to say as little as possible and just be there for them.

    Throughout “She Deserves Better,” (SDB) I see plenty of examples of authors spiritually bypassing their readers. It’s so appalling and if I had a daughter, I would not be recommending those books to her. I am so glad most of those books were not written when I was a teenager. IKDGB (by Joshua Harris) came out two years after I graduated high school, but I did not read that book until I was recently divorced and in my mid-twenties. That’s when I devoured some of those same books that are critiqued in SDB. One would think that after having gone through a divorce and living on my own that I would realize that a lot of the advice in those books should not be applicable to me. I didn’t need my father’s approval if I wanted to go on a date with a grown man because I was living on my own and paying my own bills. Plus, I lived in a different state or town than my parents.

    For the last few years, I have been working on rebelling against unrealistic expectations without realizing it. Over the years, a friend of mine was often talking about trying to be like the Proverbs 31 woman (who by the way was not a real person, just a literary character in the Bible)
    and that just never sat well with me. She acted as though that woman was the only example of a biblical woman to aspire to be like. God did not create any of us out of a cookie cutter.

  18. Mara R

    Ah, the Proverbs 31 woman.
    Another passage of scripture mutilated and weaponized by clumsy, un-enlightened, shame-ridden, and/or immature men.

    If I had a platform, one of my first messages would be “Redeeming The Proverbs Woman” and I’d dismantle the shaming messages associated with her. And then I’d preach about how empowered she was and by her existence (even as a literary character) so can we be empowered.

    Because, you see, Proverbs 31 is NOT a to do list. If’s a can do list. Or a can be list.
    If someone is bringing shame on you using Proverbs 31, they are doing it wrong. They are preaching it wrong.
    It’s not about laundry and dishes. It’s about allowing women to use their God-given talents for His glory, whatever those talents are. The possibilities are endless and have nothing to do with the dank and darkened understanding of Womanhood that Piper and Grudem peddle.

  19. Larry Lanham

    Before the serpent brought iniquity to the garden, shame was in place yet had never come into play.

    Like all other emotions, shame had an original, Godly purpose.

    When Eve looked at the tree and saw that the fruit was desirable and good, that was iniquity. When she took a bite, that was sin.

    Iniquity twists the truth that shame is designed to bring us to the cross… just like how animals have the ingrained knowledge to migrate…. shame is supposed to bring us to Jesus.

    Iniquity perverts shame, and, like Adam and Eve, it makes us want to hide.

    As it was in the garden, listen to the voice of God.

    Jesus said “no man can come unto me, except the father draws him”


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