Betrayed and abused women often feel isolated and alone in their grief, fear, anxiety, and shame.
But they are not alone.
Miss C, a member of the BTR community, joins Anne on the free BTR podcast to share her own powerful experience of learning for herself that she was never truly alone – even in the depths of the most painful grief. Read the full transcript below and listen to the free BTR podcast for more.
Experiencing Intense Emotions Is Normal. You Are Not Alone.
Victims often feel a degree of shame or fear when they experience intense emotions. Feelings like:
However, it’s important to understand that these intense emotions are completely normal for women who have experienced or are experiencing trauma. It’s vital for victims to have safe places to express these emotions. Supportive, loving friends and professionals can help victims process difficult emotions and work through them.
Fear Of The Family Court System is Normal: You’re Not Alone!
Many victims fear male authority figures, government and court-appointed officials (like the police, CPS, guardians at litem, court evaluators, judges, etc.), and even attorneys.
Because the family court system has failed so many victims of abuse, you are not alone in your fears.
However, every single day, more and more good people are advocating for women and children. Find a supportive community, like the Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group, to help you process your fears and validate you as you begin your journey to healing.
If You Are Feeling Alone…
Many victims tend to isolate themselves when they are experiencing trauma. If you are feeling isolated and alone, try:
- Calling a trusted, safe friend
- Joining the Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group
- Going for a walk in nature
- Listening to the BTR podcast
- Calling a free crisis hotline
BTR Is Here For You When You Feel Alone
No matter where you are on your healing journey, BTR is here for you. You are not alone. Join the Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group today and find the community that you deserve.
Anne: Welcome to Betrayal Trauma Recovery, this is Anne.
Before we get to today’s episode, BTR is our daily online support group. We have 21 plus sessions per week for you to choose from. You don’t have to wait for an appointment, you don’t have to leave your home. We are here for you.
For everyone who has given this podcast, a five-star rating on Apple podcasts or other podcasting apps, thank you so much. Every single rating helps isolated women find us, and if this podcast has helped you when you rate it, you help another woman find it. So, your ratings, make a big difference. We got an interesting one-star review called Another Warrior from BigDog17!
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She said: I am single for several years now. This podcast helped me understand why I have been so broken after living with gaslighting, serious porn addiction, sexual addiction, lies, cheating, subtle demeaning controlling, and narcissistic personality disorder. This man led a secret life, and I continued to be loyal for too long. Thank you for courageously articulating this issue, which now has a name, and affirming my feelings. Keep up your good work, forget any naysaying. You’re doing fantastic work for so many women.
So, if this is you and you actually intended to do a five-star review please go back and change it, that would be really nice. But we also appreciate this fantastic one-star review so, thank you, Another Warrior.
We have Miss C back on today’s episode. So, if you did not hear last week please go back to last week, listen to that first, and then join us here. We’re just going to jump right into our interview.
You Are Not Alone: Seek Help From Domestic Violence Shelters
Why do you think victims are so afraid to get help from the police for example or from a government agency, CPS, maybe a domestic violence shelter, or maybe other various and sundry agencies? Why do you think victims are so afraid?
Miss C: To be totally brutally honest I really believe it’s because we definitely don’t feel like the government has your back if you are a believer.
Anne: Okay, so I’m a believer and I have never thought that. So that’s why I’m asking. I’ve been a believer my whole life and I’ve always been very pro-government, I guess. I don’t know if it’s pro-government, but I’ve always thought, oh, I can call the police. The police will help me, I can go to this agency, this agency will help me. So, for me, I did not have that experience. So, from your experience, that’s what you’re saying? Growing up you thought, oh, this isn’t a good idea; they’re not going to help me?
You Are Not Alone In Feeling Like You Can’t Trust Others
Miss C: I think to understand where I come from in that capacity. My parents did foster care my entire life. From the time I was like 13 all the way up. And so, we had a lot of social workers coming in and out of our home, a lot of experience, of course, listening to your parents and dealing with the social workers, and to be really honest we’ve never had a really great experience with social workers. And then, my only experience with CPS workers was because of relatives that struggled with addictions and had children taken from them. So, that’s on the complete opposite end from where I was coming, so in a way that was probably a little bit naïve thinking that they’re just going to make things harder.
You’re Not Alone In Being Afraid of Court Proceedings
So, I actually took my husband to civil court for two purposes; one was to gain physical and legal custody of my kids, and the other was to impose child support. And I remember when I was appointed a guardian ad litem for the kids because she was going to interview us and talk to them separately then me and then my ex, and she was going to give recommendations to the court in regard to the civil case. And I remember also feeling fear. Oh, my goodness, like, can I be who I am? Can I speak freely of my faith? Will she deem my faith as crazy and side with my ex? Because I know there are some people that don’t believe in a deity. So of course, I struggled with that, but again, she ended up being wonderful.
Anne: That did not end up being the case?
Miss C: Not even close.
“The Family Court System Is Really Tricky”
Anne: That being said, I’ve never been afraid per se, but I have heard some horror stories, right. Like a guardian ad litem who made it worse or, you know, a custody evaluator, so I have heard horror stories but I’ve also heard really great stories so I think it feels like a crapshoot. Yeah, I’m like, pray, pray, pray for God to be your warrior to get the right guardian ad litem to get the right custody evaluator. Let God be the warrior because the family court system is really tricky.
Miss C: It is tricky and so far, I feel blessed in that capacity.
Anne: That is so great.
Part of what I’m wondering and the reason why I’m bringing this up is this fear of outside help. I’m wondering if it’s part of the way that the abusers isolate their victims? To say, you know the outside world, perhaps the government, perhaps agencies, perhaps whatever is evil and they’re scary and you don’t want to get help from them, you don’t have anywhere to go. Do you think that was part of it a little bit?
“I Knew It Was Going To Be Okay”
Miss C: Oh absolutely. I remember when we would talk about getting a divorce, we would talk about a divorce, and he would bring up stuff like that. He would talk about how they’re not going to understand, they’re going to pull our kids in one direction and another direction, and if I dare bring up anything about the pornography they’re going to label him a pervert, and like just all these different things. Right away, of course, if you bring anything up that has any impact on the kids that’s going to resonate with me. And being afraid of asking them for help, I wasn’t afraid when we had to go to the police. That was a knee-jerk reaction almost, I knew it was going to be okay when I talked to them.
Anne: So, Miss C has some situations that she can’t talk about right now because they’re pending, but we will have her back on the podcast when those things are settled to give us an update about what’s going on. So, if you’re kind of like, is there something going on that we didn’t hear about or that we don’t know? The answer to that is yes, but we can’t talk about it now.
“There Are People Who Do Care”
Miss C: Well, I think if anything I probably would want to talk about is that if you are sitting on that cusp, and you definitely don’t know which way to turn, you feel all alone, you feel full of shame because your husband has repeatedly abused you with porn that you’re not alone, that there are other women out there. There are people who do care, and you don’t have to sit in the dark by yourself. More than anything, in the darkest times that I had, it may sound cliché and it may sound hard, and it may feel weird in the beginning, but you have a Father. You don’t have to have all the right words to say, but He is your father, and you can go to Him, and you can tell Him how awful this is and how much it hurts you, and how much you need Him.
“You’re Not Alone”
One of the verses that I clung to many many times was, “He heals the brokenhearted and He binds up their wounds,” and I can’t tell you how many times I prayed and I asked him to heal this part of me that was broken, heal the part of me that sees myself as a failure, heal the part of me that feels ugly and unattractive and jealous of these women who get their attention, and he looks at them in a way that he doesn’t look at you in a way. You can ask your Father to help you heal that part and to bind up the wound that is caused by that because whether you’ll choose to admit it or not, every time that they take you there, whether you find out or whether you don’t, or you just suspect something is wrong. Your Father’s there, and he can hear those, and He can bind them, and He can pull your close, and you’re not alone. You’re just not alone.
“Trauma Mama Husband Drama”
Anne: I’m going to take a break here for just a second to talk about my book, Trauma Mama Husband Drama. It’s a picture book for adults so it is the easiest way for you to explain what’s going on to someone who might not understand it. It’s also just a good reference for yourself because it shows what’s happening with very telling and emotional illustrations, as well as infographics at the back. After you have purchased the book, please remember to circle back around to Amazon and write a verified purchase review, along with a five-star rating. That helps isolated women find us. It bumps Trauma Mama Husband Drama up in the Amazon algorithm and even if women don’t purchase the book, it helps them find this podcast, which is free to everyone.
Here’s a five-star review we just received: Short but profound. This is a fantastic book. Anne did a fabulous job of explaining such a heavy and complicated topic in short, easy-to-understand language. It’s a great reference book too since it has the infographics in the back.
Thank you so much for that review, I love reading those I always really appreciate it. And now, back to our interview.
When You Feel Alone
I appreciate you saying that. There have been so many times where I have cried, and I haven’t been able to stop crying. You probably have that experience too, right. Currently speaking, maybe my listeners have heard it in my voice lately but I’m on Lexapro, it’s an anti-anxiety/anti-depressant medication and so I’m a little less emotional lately, so I don’t tear up at all when I’m on this. Normally I’d be like I know how you feel, I’ve felt that way too, but right now because of the medication that I’m on currently I can’t cry, but I remember these times where I would just cry and cry and I could not stop, you know. I’d go in my closet, and I’d lay in my bed and my pillow would just be soaking wet, and I remember not being able to feel comfort from the spirit and praying and praying.
You know, Heavenly Father please help me, please send someone to help me, and just this black void of nothingness, but I kept praying. I kept reading my scriptures, I kept trying to obey the commandments or obeying the commandments. I kept believing, even though, you know, I believe, help thou my unbelief sort of the thing. The fog did move, eventually, you know.
You Are Not Alone In Your Grief
Miss C: You know what that is, though? This is what I found. Those are layers of grief. That’s why they feel that way. It’s just layers upon layers upon layers of grief, and you’re not going to feel anything while those layers fall off except grief. It is a part of the healing process, and we mistakenly think God is not near and it’s not. That’s not true, it’s grief.
Anne: I haven’t thought of it that way before. That is a good point. I do know, even though I didn’t know to call it grief, that the only way was through it. You couldn’t avoid it, you can get around it. I mean you could watch TV and you could eat a lot of popcorn, which help, but really there wasn’t anything that could make it go away.
Miss C: No, because all of those are distractions. We’re queens of distraction. Our kids can distract us, our friends can distract us, the TV can distract us, our phones can distract us. But you take all of those away. Everybody goes to bed. TV gets turned off, there’s nothing on your phone that you haven’t looked at a bazillion times, and then you’re in the dark. And you’re alone.
You’re Not Alone In Trying To Process Heavy Emotions
Anne: Yes. Yeah, and it is awful. With me when things have been really difficult and I just can’t, like it’s so stressful, medication has helped. I don’t have anything clinical going on, but like the year that it was so stressful I was on medication, and I have something going on right now that’s also really stressful, so when I talked about it with my doctor and under doctor’s supervision, I decided to go back on anti-anxiety medication. It’s a catch .22 for me because I still can feel emotion but not as deeply. So, I’m very content and happy and calm most of the time, which is great, but also there’s not that level of like, I don’t know, depth of like gratitude that I have felt in the past and emotion so as soon as I make it through this I’m going to go back off.
You’re Not Alone If You’re Suffering From Anxiety & Panic Attacks
Miss C: I felt the same way. It was actually really explained pretty well to me, is that when you go through years and years of abuse, your body learns to run on this flight or fight process constant, constant, constant, and then when you have peace like I did when I finally moved away and I had my own space, the peace was just as painful because now my body is still going fight or flight, fight or flight, fight or flight, and I would have anxiety attacks. I would pull up to the church and be unable to get out of the car. My kids would go running in. They had their classes, they’re excited. I would sit in my car and cry.
My family would come out. Just concerned, and I couldn’t tell them anything except this is anxiety like I’m having a full-on anxiety attack and I can’t stop this like I have to just go through this. And it was so hard because I could tell they look at you like you’re a little bit nuts. Like they’re concerned about you, you’re losing it. I’m concerned, you know, but unless you’ve been on this side of an anxiety attack you can’t even. It’s such an out-of-body experience too.
Anne: Did you ever take or consider anxiety meds?
“Whatever You Need To Do To Take Care Of Yourself”
Miss C: I didn’t. I went to the natural path, and I take what’s called VitalBiome. It’s a plant-based supplement. It absolutely helps. Yes.
Anne: For us, it’s like whatever helps. There was a time where I decided I’m not where I was, I think it was a couple of years ago, where I was going through a difficult time. I mean, my listeners have heard me go in and out of difficult times this whole time, and I thought, should I go back on medication? Then I thought no, I shouldn’t right now. Right now, I need to feel this, this is the time where I need to experience this.
This recent one, I definitely was like nope I need to go back on it, So, there’s no judgment here, it’s like, whatever you need to do to take care of yourself, right. Self-care, so that you can take care of your children, take care of your job, take care of your life, and being gentle with ourselves to make sure that we are healthy is super, super important when we’re going through this. God loves us and He will guide and direct you.
“Whether You Like To Acknowledge It Or Not, We Are Victims”
Miss C: Yeah, I definitely think one of the other, along with being gentle with yourself about medication, is also to be brave enough to not necessarily physically walk away because you might, well, you might just get mad and walk away. But in this season, you’re going to be hit with loads of advice on how to handle it, and how to walk it, how to process it, and how it affects your kids. I remember one of the phraseologies that to this day will set me on fire. That is to not be a victim and don’t teach your children to be a victim. Do you remember that character where he’s got flames shooting out of the top of his head? That sets me on fire because, to me, whether you like to acknowledge it or not, we are victims.
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Miss C: We’re victims.
Anne: I realize this is a super awkward time to pause the interview, so please stay tuned, I’m going to continue talking with Miss C next week.
If this podcast is helpful to you, please support it. Until next week, stay safe out there.