Amy Nordhues Preyed Upon Breaking Free from Therapist Abuse

Amy Nordhues

Amy Nordhues Preyed Upon Breaking Free From Therapist Abuse

Author of Preyed Upon: Breaking Free from Therapist Abuse
Bio: Amy Nordhues is a survivor of both childhood sexual abuse and sexual abuse as an adult at the hands of a mental health professional. She is a passionate Christ-follower and expert on the healing God provides. She has a BA in psychology with minors in sociology and criminology. Her devotions have been published in The Secret Place (Judson Press) and include A Big Softy, Winter 2018, Fixer Upper, Summer 2019, No, Thank You, Summer 2021, and Unveiled Fall 2021. Her essay, Give Me a Sign, won 2nd place at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference Foundation Awards. Her memoir, Prayed Upon, won the Inspire Christian Writers’ “Great Openings” contest for non-fiction. She blogs at A married mother of three, she enjoys spending time with family, writing, reading, photography, and all things comedy.

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Amy Nordhues
[00:00:00] Ed Watters: To overcome you must educate. Educate not only yourself, but educate anyone seeking to learn. We are all Dead America, we can all learn something. To learn we must challenge what we already understand, the way we do that is through conversation. Sometimes we have conversations with others, however, some of the best conversations happen with ourself.
[00:00:45] Reach out and challenge yourself. Let’s dive in and learn something right now.
[00:00:57] Today we have a great person with us, Amy Nordhues. She is an author, a speaker, an advocate, and she wrote the book Prayed Upon Breaking Free From Therapist Abuse. Amy, could you please introduce yourself? Let people know just a little more about you please.
[00:01:17] Amy Nordhues: Yeah. Um, my name is Amy. I am a married mother of three, um, three E’s and um, a mom of four dogs
[00:01:28] so I have kind of a crazy house. Um, I’m a Christian and I’m a new author and I feel like it’s my passion now to give a voice to therapist abuse and clergy abuse for victims that haven’t had the opportunity to speak up.
[00:01:48] Ed Watters: Yeah, it’s remarkable what you’re doing and the story is incredible. You know, a lot of people, we face abuse in many different ways, but your abuse started when you were young and then you reached out for help and that turned pretty nasty. Can you walk us through the steps, why you went to this person in the first place and what the relationship was like when it first blossomed with this individual?
[00:02:27] Amy Nordhues: Yeah. I have a history of sexual abuse and as a result, I have a history of depression that just seems like I could never shake no matter how hard I tried. And My younger sister passed away in 2010 and it really threw me into a dark place. And, um, around 2012, I started attending a Celebrate Recovery at a Christian Church.
[00:02:48] And, um, in that process it brought me a lot of healing and kind of brought my, my faith alive in a new way and my relationship with God alive in a new way. I started attending that church that hosted the Celebrate Recovery and kind of called myself a passionate new believer at that time. And when I sought out therapy, it was just again, to have someone to talk about strengthening my marriage, and parenting issues, and, um, and really the core was kind of like, why am I still depressed and why am I always depressed?
[00:03:25] Why can I not shake this depression? And it’s kind of a last ditch effort. Um, And he came and this, this, uh, therapist was a doctor, he was a psychiatrist, and he came highly recommended. And I found out he was an elder at my church and I highly respected my pastor. And my pastor’s wife recommended him, my friends recommended him,
[00:03:46] and so I decided to give him a try. And he, he was an odd character, but I kind of set that aside and, and, and started therapy with him in the spring of 2013. And I knew that he, or right away, I would, I should say, he took a very spiritual approach to therapy and it was a little different, it was a little weird, but again, I thought it’s something I’d never tried.
[00:04:14] And it was like, do I have any other options? No. Do I have any other ideas? No. And as a new believer, I kind of felt like God had me on this new journey. And I thought that this just had to be a God thing that I ended up there and it just had to be part of my healing. Um, you know what I mean, that I ended up with him.
[00:04:33] And so I just decided to take it with a grain of salt and be open. And the, the therapy starting out was just kind of like imagining myself at different ages where there was trauma. Now he worded it as multiple personalities and his theory was that I had depression because I had evil spirits attached to these different parts of me.
[00:04:59] And that [00:05:00] was a big pill to swallow, not gonna lie, but the way the therapy worked was kind of like normal therapy in that I would just, I think I picked, the first age was 13 and it was just describe yourself at that age, you know, what was going on at that time. And I had had a lot of trauma around that time, and then it was, imagine Jesus coming into that space.
[00:05:20] And then he prayed away any evil present, but the process of doing that had its healing, you know, benefits and, you know, it was all about Jesus and prayer. And, um, so it proceeded like that and then it was like I would go on to the next age, but the weird part was that he wanted to name those parts of me and that was really uncomfortable.
[00:05:45] Um, but again, I was like, it’s just a name, just, just come up with a name it’s not a big deal. I started feeling like he was, you know, a gift and a blessing, and he was a father figure for me, and just really grateful and felt like he, felt like I was getting better, felt like I was turning the corner on the depression.
[00:06:09] Um, but, you know, I think, I wasn’t sure if it was the therapy, or having somebody I could talk to, and somebody who understood me, and got me and supported me. I’m gonna stop there because you asked how it got started, that’s kind of how it started when I thought everything was good and, and as normal as, you know, multiple personalities can be
[00:06:31] or his diagnosis.
[00:06:33] Ed Watters: Yeah.
[00:06:33] Uh, did he, did he cite any scripture, like Ephesians 6 when he was touting this at you or any backing from scripture at all? For that
[00:06:47] Amy Nordhues: you mean about the evil spirit?
[00:06:49] Ed Watters: Spirit side?
[00:06:51] Amy Nordhues: No, but he told me the Holy Spirit was his boss and, you know, that he always prayed about his cases and what he should do next.
[00:06:58] And I was disturbed at first about this whole idea of evil spirits being attached to me. Um, but it was not something that I had not ever heard of, you know, growing up, my mom mentioned different things, possibly being related to evil spirits. And, and I did go to my pastor’s wife who was a good friend and kind of brought it up to her
[00:07:18] and she said, oh, that type of spiritual warfare prayer is very common. And she said, her husband, who was the pastor and this doctor did that kind of prayer all the time. So I thought, okay, you know, maybe it’s just new to me cuz I’m a new Christian, new to, didn’t know a lot about the Bible. Um, so, but no, he didn’t, you know, cite any specific scriptures, but it was like, maybe that’s why I can’t be free of depression.
[00:07:47] I mean, it makes sense that there’s something like that going on, that’s gonna be something that I would’ve never thought of and that I could never get rid of.
[00:07:56] Ed Watters: Right. Yeah. That, that’s very touchy when, you know, individuals start intertwining religions, because I’ve, I’ve heard you tout on other podcasts that, that, that kind of is a
[00:08:10] shunning point for a religion and that’s not the idea behind spiritual nature and finding ourselves. So it, it has to be really tough coming to a place where you think it’s going to be safe and then finding somebody actually preying on you for a long period of time in order to achieve an ultimate goal.
[00:08:38] Can you talk to us about that a little bit?
[00:08:42] Amy Nordhues: About the grooming process, you mean?
[00:08:45] Ed Watters: Yes.
[00:08:47] Amy Nordhues: Yeah. I thought the grooming started around Christmas time, which would’ve been April to December when he offered me a shoulder rub or a foot rub for a Christmas present. Um, but after I got out I realized the grooming started when I, on day one when I went in and he, kind of in a silly way, got an afghan out of his
[00:09:08] cupboard and, and covered me up with it and kind of tucked it under my chin, kind of in a, again, he was very goofy, very weird. Um, but in a way it was, that was a good cover because it didn’t really seem to go with evil. It seemed more goofy grandfatherly, um, than anything. But, so the grooming had started right away but I didn’t recognize it till about December. And
[00:09:32] along that process in, you know, from April to December, it was just, I felt special. Um, he started to give me longer sessions, uh, without me asking for it. And at first that was weird but then I kind of appreciated it and I kind of thought, well, I need it. I mean, and you know, there was special candy just for me
[00:09:53] um, little things like that. But fast forward to the following [00:10:00] year he, you know, upped it a little bit when he offered to dance with me one session. But again, I thought that was my idea because I had mentioned imagining a part of myself dancing with Jesus, like a father/ daughter type dance and how that was healing,
[00:10:18] so I thought he was doing it for me. Um, now, when he was inappropriate with me while we were dancing I knew that wasn’t, that wasn’t right. But it felt like if I told anyone, they would be like, why are you dancing? And I would have to tell them my stupid idea that I brought up and it felt like my fault.
[00:10:37] And so he was very skillful at tying everything into, to me to where I thought was that, did I initiate that? For example, I never would’ve asked him to come sit anywhere near me on my side of the office, you know, ever. And I, I know that’s where the foot rub and shoulder rub idea comes from, is to get him over there.
[00:10:57] Um, that didn’t work out for him because I panicked and said foot rub just to get him back farther. Um, but let’s see, how did he work that? Oh, I was, I was really emotional one session and he came over and sat in front of me on the ottoman and started to dab my tears with a tissue, which it felt a little embarrassing, but then it also felt kind of sweet.
[00:11:22] And I felt like, oh, he’s just trying to, you know, kind of heal these old childhood wounds. And he’s, you know, just trying to make me feel extra loved, I guess, but that was his ploy to get near me. So then when I saw that he was uncomfortable sitting on the ottoman because he’s older and he had had a surgery and I asked, do you wanna sit next to me?
[00:11:43] Well then down the road when there was a sexual assault, I thought, again, I can’t tell because whose stupid idea was it for him to sit next to me? I thought it was mine and I thought had I not asked that this wouldn’t have happened. So I went back and forth the whole time like that thinking, not realizing that he was really steering the ship the whole time.
[00:12:04] Um, yeah. And I’ll, I’ll stop there because I’ve probably answered your question.
[00:12:13] Ed Watters: Yeah, uh, it’s interesting that, you know, The process, it’s really confusing to me looking in at this situation also because, you know, I’m looking at, you know, a courtship. Uh, it, it seems like this guy had some sort of a delusional idea that this was a courtship instead of a job.
[00:12:44] And even that red flag of, you know, personal contact in a session like that, uh, that is alarming and many, many people talk about that sort of thing. And I find that it happens quite a bit after looking into what you’ve gone through. This is not just you, there’s several areas in our system that it’s affected.
[00:13:16] Could you talk to us about the network that this has actually carried out through?
[00:13:23] Amy Nordhues: You mean the frequency?
[00:13:26] Ed Watters: Well, I’m, I’m talking about, you’ve got it in the churches, you’ve got it in schools, you’ve got it in government officials and you know, it, it’s just,
[00:13:37] Amy Nordhues: I know it’s scary.
[00:13:38] Ed Watters: Uh, steamroller authority.
[00:13:40] Yes, it is.
[00:13:41] Amy Nordhues: It is an abuse of power anywhere where there’s power, any setting. And, when shortly after I got away from this abuser and I had started the process of reporting him to the medical board, the Atlanta Journal Constitution at the time was doing a series called Doctors And Sex Abuse or Sexual Abuse,
[00:14:02] and they researched for two years all the medical doctor, medical complaints in the entire country and shows a handful of doctors to feature and mine was one of them. And I was very grateful for that. But again, I didn’t even know that doctors were doing this as well. I mean, I knew that it was new to me that therapists were doing this.
[00:14:25] I was flabbergasted to know this was common with medical doctors from all fields. And in the churches, you know, I’d heard about that and that was a little bit more saturated and I knew that happened. But it was just mind blowing to me that a therapist who I thought was extra loving, extra patient, extra kind, or they wouldn’t go into that field.
[00:14:46] It was just amazing to me that they would be taking advantage of vulnerable people.
[00:14:55] Ed Watters: Now. And now you mention vulnerable people, [00:15:00] you know, and from an individual looking at you without knowing your past and all of that, you’re not a stupid person. You’re very educated, you’ve got a BA in psychology with, you know, uh, what is it?
[00:15:22] Criminology and sociology minors. Yeah, this is not something you would expect to be happening to somebody with that degree of knowledge, especially in those fields. Uh, now, did you ever register that in your head as you were going through it and, uh, going to your knowledge base and saying this, this isn’t right
[00:15:53] I’ve gotta do something about it. And when did that actually kick in for you?
[00:16:00] Amy Nordhues: Yeah, you know, it was very strange because it was like part of me was observing the situation, full intellect intact, I had my, uh, gut instinct fully intact and it was like I was watching everything from a distance and seeing when it was inappropriate.
[00:16:21] And then I had this other part of me that I, I know comes from a sexual abuse history that robbed me of my voice and my ability to say no. And my ability to trust my own judgment, and my ability to put my judgment above someone else’s, or my opinion above someone else’s, especially someone who’s a doctor, uh, who’s 20 years my senior.
[00:16:44] So they’re an elder, um, a professional. It, it wasn’t that I didn’t see it, it was that I didn’t feel that I had the right to do anything about it. And I know that’s confusing, it’s even confusing to me. But, and I’ve said this before, but it’s almost like when you’re abused as a child in any way, or as a young person, um, it’s like your know is removed from you.
[00:17:11] It’s like you’re on your, your subhuman and you don’t have the right to make a decision and act on it because you just don’t have that much worth. So, the other person of more value, their opinion stands always even if everything in your being is screaming that this isn’t okay. So it was very confusing for me because I was, now at the beginning there was some confusion, I’m not gonna lie.
[00:17:40] I didn’t know that everything was grooming and I didn’t recognize all the red flags, but I certainly recognized the big ones. And sadly didn’t think, like with the shoulder rub or foot rub, sadly didn’t think there could be an option three, didn’t think I could say no. Um, and how that happens, you know, I don’t know.
[00:18:03] And it, it is so bizarre to me and that’s one of the reasons I have a list of old rules that I was living by and I write them out to sound absurd so that people can read ’em and think it is crazy that we’re allowing ourselves to believe this stuff. That, you know, someone in a position of authority does not make poor decisions or, you know, something along that lines.
[00:18:28] It is crazy, but yet we abide by those rules so many times. For it’s, you know, even when I reported it, it’s like I don’t have the right to destroy his career even though he almost destroyed my life.
[00:18:45] Ed Watters: Well, you know, about the Stanley Milgram experiment with the, the authority, and people doing things because of authority. That’s a very interesting experiment and, uh, people should look into that because we do weird things without actually realizing it. And if we actually think about these things a little bit before we just climb into it
[00:19:16] and that’s hard. I mean, I, I’ve went through sexual abuse by male and female. So I understand these feelings and how you feel less than, uh, disempowered. But once you do find that empowerment standing up to these assaults, not only
[00:19:40] for
[00:19:41] me, but to the world that I live in. Uh, it’s, it’s very interesting that we have these struggles in the first place, because like we said, we expect these people to be
[00:19:56] kind to us. Family members, authoritative [00:20:00] figures, people in power and they abuse it all the time. Uh it’s it’s a disease, it really is. And like you said, you don’t really know why you think that, it’s just one of those thoughts that happen. Did you ever talk to your husband during this process about any of these, uh, problems and feelings that you were having?
[00:20:27] Amy Nordhues: No, sadly, we were very disconnected which was probably another reason that I was seeking out counseling and we had been in that state for many, many years. Um, and I didn’t really see a way to make it better, honestly. But when it was a year and a month after I started seeing this therapist, when he sexually assaulted me.
[00:20:48] And there was no confusion on my part about whether it was right or wrong or whether it was my fault or not. I absolutely 100% knew it wasn’t my fault and that it was wrong. I wanted so bad to grab my husband and just tell him everything and just beg him to help me. But I was so afraid to tell him That this happened at my age, that he would ask me questions, you know, about, well, it just, it felt like it was going to end up being my fault.
[00:21:24] Well, I understood he did that and that was wrong. But now wait, let me get this straight, you asked him to sit next to you and so what, why was that again? Or, um,
[00:21:37] just sort of things that I had allowed like, so you were, you let him give you longer sessions and let me get this straight, he, he wasn’t even charging you for a while. It just all came, seemed to point back to my inadequacies, my failures, and really what under underlies all of that for me was what I saw as my neediness and my defectiveness and my brokenness that,
[00:22:03] and that’s what I didn’t really want anyone to know. You know, anyone in the world to know is that if I wasn’t so, you know, screwed up or had these weird, like why at this age am I enjoying a father figure? Why, why do I love this attention? Like, that is so weird, like, what is so wrong with you that you enjoyed him sitting close to you?
[00:22:27] You enjoyed the nurturing, like you’re a freak. I just felt like a freak of nature, um, and that’s why I was too afraid. I, I just, and that’s what sexual abusers count on is that they know as victims, we are going to, at least at first, take all the blame or at least take a large chunk of it. And then there’s another piece to that.
[00:22:50] And I, it’s sad to admit and it’s also confusing to me. But even though I felt like suicidal in that moment and like, I will never recover from this cuz I truly thought he was an example of Christ in my life. And I truly thought he was like a father figure for me, that God had sent me. And now he has, you know, blatantly, uh, taken advantage of me.
[00:23:13] Um, I was still attached, I wasn’t attached to him, I realize now I was attached to the fantasy of what I thought he was and what he created. He created this, you know, magical place where I could go and he was like a safe father and it filled all these voids and I felt like known and safe. And, you know, he learned in therapy what my needs were or my voids were and he filled them and it just felt like I can’t walk away from that.
[00:23:45] So, you know, they make sure that you are thoroughly trapped before they make a large move like that. And I would’ve loved anything, and I hated myself forever that I didn’t leave after that incident. And all it took for him to weasel me back in was he called me into the office that weekend, my family had gone out of town.
[00:24:07] I was so, too traumatized to go with them and I couldn’t explain why I was so emotional. He called me into his office and he shed one tear and told me that he just wanted me to feel loved, he, I had never felt loved. I in that moment switched from, you know, I hate you, I wanna die, I can’t believe you did this to me, to
[00:24:30] I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry. I thought that I, he was trying to help me and I, because of my neediness and wanting to sit close to him, caused him to slip up. And that had not, it didn’t even matter to me that he did it, it just mattered to me that I saw, oh, that was never his intention. He must feel just devastated that he did this.
[00:24:55] And it was kind of like, well, you know, men can’t help it, you know, and well, you set him up for this. And [00:25:00] I forgave him and I went back and luckily it only took another month and a half to leave. Um, and the only positive I can say about that, because I, like I said, I was so ashamed that I went back, was that if I had not stayed another month, I would not have seen the true evil and I would not have seen the true predator that he was.
[00:25:26] And I don’t know that I would’ve reported him, I think I would’ve like snuck away and crawled under a rock and kept the secret. Because I was still confused as to what my role was and what his was. Now fast forward towards the end when I saw 100%, he’s playing me. I’m trash to him, I’m nothing to him. Not only does he not love me, he doesn’t give a crap about me,
[00:25:49] then I was able to report. So I have to say sometimes that I’m grateful for that extra time, as painful as it is, because it allowed him to take advantage of me several more times.
[00:26:03] Ed Watters: Well, you, you talk about that and it’s like Stockholm syndrome, you actually longed for that. Because actually you said it straight out, those things that you weren’t feeling filled with, you know, the need for companionship, and acceptance, and all of these love type feelings, you weren’t actually able to get that
[00:26:34] from where you were at in that point in time in your life. However, knowing that now, you know, hindsight is always 20/ 20, but truth in the face of fear is always the best logical outcome for anything like that. And facing the facts that Hey, I might be having issues with my spouse. Me and my spouse have to sit down and be truthful, honest with each other
[00:27:13] so we definitely know we’re in lockstep in our relationship. That’s so hard to do, especially when both sides, in my instance, comes from sexual abuse. And, you know, these immoral things that happen in life, that’s quite an experience to go through. Do you have any tips and tricks for, especially women, how to help yourself come out and find that inner strength to face that truthful nature that you must find in the first place
[00:27:55] Amy Nordhues: with your spouse,
[00:27:56] you mean?
[00:27:57] Ed Watters: With
[00:27:58] anybody, but especially your spouse.
[00:28:02] Amy Nordhues: Yeah, for me, with my spouse, I’m, I’m a super conscientious person, I’m a super honest person. So the only answer for me in going forward was to tell him everything. Now, I had a psychologist who often is the, um, expert witness for these type of cases.
[00:28:21] And it was really comforting when he told me Amy, you don’t owe anyone any explanation. You are a victim of a crime, but as far as my marriage was concerned, I just wanted to tell him everything. Um, and in a way it was, it was horrible. I mean, it was horrible to go through and it basically shattered what,
[00:28:44] you know, kind of the straw house we had built together as our marriage, and allowed us to really start from square or, you know, ground zero and rebuild something for the first time that had closeness, and honesty, and emotional connection. And, um, you know, so that’s, that’s how I would address that. And, and now we have an excellent relationship and
[00:29:08] yeah, we wouldn’t have this great of a relationship now had I not gone through this trauma. But I would not recommend anything like this, um, obviously, or wish this upon anyone. But, um, I, I feel like, you know, God was a huge part of that, of, um, using it to rebuild something, um, good. But as far as finding your own personal truth,
[00:29:35] I again, feel like it was God who gave me the strength to finally walk away, but I, and I had to get help. I had to reach out to my pastor and his wife to help, to sit with me during a session that I didn’t go to so that that tie could be severed. But then after that, my advice after that, I would still [00:30:00] feel real shame and self hatred.
[00:30:01] And so my advice and my tips would be, to start trying to uncover what those lies are that you’re believing about yourself, whatever they are, um, that allowed you to be taken advantage of or whatever, and begin combating those with scripture and truth about who you really are. And I started to do that with my, with myself, and I didn’t even believe them,
[00:30:26] I didn’t even believe the scriptures I was reading. They just were like, blah, blah, blah to me, I had way too much shame and self hatred to feel good about the words I’m reading in the Bible about you are wonderfully and beautifully made, and you’re my perfect creation, and I love you. And because I’m a writer, I just started writing in poetry style, but I just wrote letters to myself from God, just back and forth him speaking those truths into me and me saying, but, but look what I did, but I look what I allowed, but look how bad I am and broken
[00:31:00] I am that this happened. And just, you know, let His truths eventually override my faulty beliefs and that is, was the turning point for me in really discovering my truth and getting my power back. Because I could have gotten away from this doctor, and I could have broken that tie, and I would’ve learned from it, and I would’ve been stronger, but if I was still walking around believing all those lies about who I am, then I really wasn’t that free.
[00:31:31] Ed Watters: That’s, that’s powerful right there because that’s, that’s the evil monster that we really have to face yeah. Is those thoughts and feelings that we think about ourself. Once we change those thoughts about ourself, people start seeing you in a different light and that’s so important and critical in growing in any aspect of our life.
[00:31:59] Uh, talk to us about, you know, this was a struggle going through this, especially with a religious type person involved. Talk to us about rediscovering your faith in a new light, and understanding forgiveness, and getting to the heart of the issue.
[00:32:23] Amy Nordhues: Yeah. Forgiveness is a big one and it’s a really touchy area for victims,
[00:32:29] um, you know, for me, it was very cringeworthy at first, too. It was just like, that’s the last thing we want to hear. For me, I just knew that to get the freedom that I wanted, that I was going to have to forgive, and I didn’t know how I was going to do it, and I didn’t wanna do it. And just really out of trying to be a, please God, I, I, I kind of
[00:32:55] tried to pray that I would forgive him. But I, I just was like, God, you already know that I don’t mean it so what’s the point? And I was at an event and I heard someone speak about being, um, I heard someone speak about how they had been molested when they were younger and same thing,
[00:33:16] they, they knew they were supposed to forgive, but they didn’t really know how to do it. And she said that God let her know that He wanted her to start praying for her abuser’s salvation. And I of course thought, oh, I know this is for me, I know God’s speaking to me. And again, I’ll do it, but I absolutely don’t mean it,
[00:33:36] so I don’t see what the point is. So, um, I thought I had to think about it for a while because I’m such an honest person. I can’t even pray a dishonest prayer, you know, because God will know. And I started thinking about how, um, God doesn’t make evil, and He doesn’t make predators, and He doesn’t make sociopaths.
[00:33:59] And if everything He makes is good, then I thought, well, if God restored him to the person He made him to be, then I’d be okay with that person going to heaven. And I could pray for that person’s salvation, I cannot pray for the one that I know. And so I started praying that, you know, God would restore him to the person He made and that if it was God’s will that, that person would go to heaven. Because I thought, well, that person might be delightful,
[00:34:33] you know, like I might like that person, like I don’t even know, but that’s kind of how God helped me through that. And in, in time it, I could feel it less and I could just feel the power and the energy that the doctor had in my head, I could feel that start to diminish. And so I knew it was working, I knew that I was letting it go and, and pretty soon I just felt pity for him and, [00:35:00] uh, indifference really.
[00:35:02] Um, I had some people that I tried to tell about the abuse while I was still in it. And even towards the end that were, said some very hurtful things to me and it, and it took a little longer for me to forgive, forgive them. But, um, you know, I worked on that next because the truth is, you know, especially when a, like a church is involved or, or in any organization, people don’t wanna deal with it.
[00:35:30] They don’t wanna deal with confronting the abuser, they just don’t. Um, it’s inconvenient, it’s uncomfortable, it’s awkward, it’s scary and so a lot of people blow victims off. And that was probably harder for me, but I eventually was able to forgive there too, because I just didn’t wanna live in bitterness.
[00:35:51] I’d always lived angry with God and bitter about just this whole earth thing He had going on here and how I didn’t, you know, ask to participate. And I didn’t think it was fair and I didn’t get it. And I thought He kind of abandoned us here and we were supposed to just read the Bible, and good luck to us, and, you know, hope we make it kind of thing.
[00:36:15] And I had so much anger that, um, I was not willing to go back to that place. So I was gonna do everything in my power to forgive so I didn’t have to go back. I think I have a rule that says, um, don’t let this abuser, this, um, situation, throw you back into that lonely dungeon.
[00:36:37] Ed Watters: That’s a good quote, I like that. You know, often, uh, I think about this world and where we live in like a cesspool, and we have to make it all rosy and clean, and, you know, for us and I often take it to the cross myself. When Christ was hanging there with the two individuals on the left and the right and, you know, He, He said, forgive them Father for they know not what they do.
[00:37:12] That’s some of the last knowledge Christ imparted on us and that I, I think about that every day, every day of my life. I look at the cross and I see the salvation on the cross given to the thief because he accepted. But that forgiveness as He’s nailed to the cross hanging there, uh, battered, bruised, crown of thorns, bleeding, you know, it, it that’s power.
[00:37:48] And when you actually dive in and understand that, you start humbling yourself and all of these things that have occurred to you. Because believe me, I haven’t been through quite what Christ has been through and I hope I never have to because of His mercy. And understanding that, it, it’s really been a life saver for me because I felt that bitterness, the hatred, and, you know, wanting to hurt anything and everybody around me, especially me and I didn’t even recognize
[00:38:30] that vicious thought cycle. So, you know, what brought you into writing a book out of all of this?
[00:38:43] Amy Nordhues: Yeah, I, I really think I wrote the book because I needed to understand what on earth just happened. How did I, like you said earlier, an intelligent person, normal, fairly normal person, allow this to happen and, or get into this to begin with and stay so long?
[00:39:03] Why did I stay so long? You know, why couldn’t I leave? And, you know, I never used to think I could relate to say a battered woman, but I totally relate because it’s a similar process kind of, of the abusing you and luring you back in type cycle. But I wrote the book originally for, for myself and I had to write out a lot of details for the medical board and, and then eventually for a lawsuit
[00:39:30] and so I wanted to write everything down while I could remember it. But after I wrote the book, um, I started to see that there was some value in it for other adult victims. And I knew how much shame I felt as an adult, even childhood victims feel ashamed, so you can imagine how adults feel. Um, And I just wanted to offer to them,
[00:39:56] um, look, this happened to me and I consider myself to be [00:40:00] a fairly smart, normal person. I just want you to know if this happened to you that, um, you can feel the same about yourself, you don’t have to feel like something’s wrong with you or you’re freak like I had thought at first. And then, um, as the story evolved and as I gained healing, Because I, I wrote the book over a period of almost six years cuz I would walk away from it,
[00:40:24] um, tell God I’m not doing it anymore and then decide, you know, go back to it. As I healed enough, I started to see these new rules emerging, which was really cool, and I started to see kind of a bigger picture, a bigger spiritual picture, and a bigger growth picture than just the abuse. It was kind of, like we said earlier, kind of the self hatred and then, and healing from that, which is on a, which is a completely different level of freedom and healing.
[00:40:56] And then I, and I thought, you know, this, I would love other people and other Christians to be able to see that you can have a trauma of this magnitude and God can still be present and God can still be, can still make, turn it into something good. Cause we read that and we hear it, you know, He can turn ashes. But I got to actually witness it firsthand and, and it was amazing to me,
[00:41:23] it was amazing to me what God could do. I never would’ve dreamed He could make anything good from this. And so I wanted, you know, other people to see that and I wanted them to, you know, a lot of victims that I’ve spoken with just can’t get past the point that God allowed it. God allowed it therefore He’s not a loving God.
[00:41:41] And I have to say, I probably thought that a lot of my life too, but I went through this and I could see God calling for me and just throwing me lifeline after lifeline and trying to help me get out. And, and then, um, just kind of scoop me up afterwards and just love on me and so I could love on myself. And I just wanted that message to be put out there too, because I think it’s, um, a not very popular one.
[00:42:11] When it comes to, you know, abuse and God’s role.
[00:42:20] Ed Watters: It’s interesting you, you bring it up and, you know, I, I think we go through these things, these troubles, these trying times. It’s like His way of breaking our own self down into concrete basically, rubble so He can mix it up and form us into what He actually wants us to be. Because each of us have a mission, something about us sets us out to do something.
[00:42:52] So always go out and try to achieve, do what you enjoy doing, and try to be the best person you can be each and every day. It’s, it’s a gift when you figure that out and live it. Uh, I like the artwork on your book, it’s a bird freed from a cage. What inspired that?
[00:43:23] Amy Nordhues: Yeah. I love that too, thank you. Um, towards the end of the book, when I’m asking the question, why couldn’t I leave or why couldn’t I get out sooner?
[00:43:33] I say I was a bird in a cage sure, but the cage door had always been opened, why couldn’t I fly away? And that kind of speaks to the, you know, sometimes I call it the proverbial gun to the head. It kind of speaks to, outsiders are asking, all you had to do is walk out the door, it’s not that hard. And, you know, was there a gun to your head? Or like, and they don’t understand the cage that, that the, um, abuser puts you in
[00:44:03] that is so much stronger than that. Even stronger, I would say, and I hate to step on toes because I don’t know, I haven’t experienced it, but just as strong as the threat of violence. And, you know, they weave so many things together that form this web that is very strong. They make, you know, you feel sorry for them,
[00:44:21] you feel, you know, too guilty to leave, you feel indebted to them, it go, the list goes on and on. Um, and the, also on the cover, there’s a, it’s a female in the background holding the cage. You can’t really see it very well, but there’s like a female’s fingers on it and that kind of represents that, that I was the one keeping myself ensnared. And that even though he did build that cage, the responsibility for getting out of it was on me.
[00:44:54] And the reason that the cage worked for me was because of those [00:45:00] defective beliefs that I had. So it was sort of a mutual, um, enslavement, I guess you could say.
[00:45:10] Ed Watters: Well, that’s powerful right there, I love that. And I did not recognize the fingers until you pointed it out. And, and the meaning behind that is wonderful, I love it. Do you have a call to action for people?
[00:45:29] Amy Nordhues: I would love it if, um, anyone listening would go to my website. Um, do you want me to mention it or are you gonna have it in the footnotes?
[00:45:38] Um, it’s, A, M, Y, N, O, R, D, H, U, E, S, as in Sam, and in the middle of the page it’ll say, you know, sign up here with your email to follow me. And that way you can know what’s going on, what the, what the latest thing is. And, um, on my website you can find a link to purchase my book, it’s in ebook and paperback
[00:46:06] on Amazon and wherever books are sold. Um, yeah, that’s probably the, the best call to action is right there. And that way they can also, um, follow my blog and, and hear different interviews that I posted on my website.
[00:46:23] Ed Watters: All right, and you’re always open to speaking engagements, all of that. They can also reach out on the website?
[00:46:33] Amy Nordhues: Yes, I, I will speak wherever anyone is willing to listen basically. Um, and also I really want victims to know that I have as many resources as I have been able to find. I have on my website for, uh, anywhere from reporting to a medical board, to, um, you know, just finding support groups. There’s an organization called Tell,
[00:46:56] Therapy Exploitation Link Line and they have been very helpful to me and other victims. You can email them and, uh, many adult victims, educated women, will respond back to you from all over the world. And so that, that, that was a nice early source of support for me and then you can email me and I will respond to anybody who reaches out to me.
[00:47:21] Ed Watters: Amy Nordhues, you are a very powerful woman. You are definitely going to have an impact on this world. I thank you for spending the time here with us today on the Dead America Podcast.
[00:47:36] Amy Nordhues: Thank you.
[00:47:41] Ed Watters: Thank you for joining us today. If you found this podcast enlightening, entertaining, educational in any way, please share, like, subscribe, and join us right back here next week for another great episode of Dead America Podcast. I’m Ed Watters your host, enjoy your afternoon wherever you may be.

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