When you are navigating an abusive relationship, a separation, divorce, or post-separation abuse, you need validation, community, and knowledge.
BTR is your resource for support.
Miss C joins Anne Blythe on the free BTR podcast to share her story of how Betrayal Trauma Recovery supported her by helping her identify and understand the abuse she was experiencing. Read the full transcript below and listen to the free BTR podcast for more.
BTR Is Your Resource To Learn About & Understand Abuse
[BTR] acknowledged the pain and acknowledged the shame and acknowledge of the betrayal; it acknowledged the true trauma of it.Miss C, member of the Betrayal Trauma Recovery community
Betrayal Trauma Recovery is one of the few organizations that identifies pornography use, infidelity, sexual coercion, and manipulation as abuse.
Women are validated and able to begin creating safe lives when they learn the truth.
BTR is your resource to learn the truth: betrayal is abuse. Plain and simple.
BTR is Your Resource For Identifying Whether Or Not Your Abuser Is Changing
Many women come to BTR asking the question, “Is my husband really in recovery?”
Offering resources on grooming, gaslighting, what recovery really looks like, and personal coaching sessions, BTR is your resource to help you determine what you need in order to live the safe, peaceful life that you deserve.
- The curated BTR booklist
- One-on-one coaching sessions
- Center For Peace, an affiliated program of abusive men
BTR Is Your Resource For Support Through Every Stage Of Your Journey
You may have just discovered pornography on your partner’s phone or computer. You may be in the thick of a lengthy custody battle. Or you may be years into your own recovery from emotional and psychological abuse.
Wherever you are in your healing journey, BTR is your resource for support.
The Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group meets daily in every single time zone. Find the support that you need today.
Anne: Welcome to Betrayal Trauma Recovery, this is Anne.
I have Miss C back on today’s episode to continue her story. If you have not heard of the beginning of her story, go listen to that first before you join here.
Before we get to her, Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group has multiple sessions a day in every single time zone. You can join on your phone you can join on a computer. What you will get are women who care, who want to see you. We recommend that women join no more than one session per day.
BTR Holds Abusers Accountable
I got a super interesting email from an abuser. This is what he said: Anne, I wanted to write and thank you for your podcast. I am a sex addict in recovery. It has been important to me in my recovery to understand the complete depth and breadth of the trauma I am responsible for. In the last 15 months, yeah COVID, I have learned much more about the impact addicts have on their partners. I’ve recently found your podcast and it is a resource I would recommend to all addicts ready to understand the impact of their actions. All of that learning has come outside my 12-step fellowship. I’m incredibly disappointed SAA has so few resources and tools about the trauma we have created. I have noticed over the last few months now in our recovery community we avoid the word abuse or perpetrator because the addict may not “be ready for it” or her reaction is her reaction and that is not my side of the street.
One of the tools of the program is the 3-second rule, and because of your podcast, I am reminded how the conference approved tool reinforces that we as addicts “can’t control ourselves” and are “powerless over our thoughts to objectify women” and reinforce the sexualization of women. I suppose it’s important to acknowledge we can fall into patterns of objectifying, but this tool reinforces “we can’t help it” and then our best option is not to look.
So, I think he’s talking about the podcast episode I did with Sheila Gregoire, about Every Man’s Battle.
Center For Peace Is Here For You
Then he goes on to say: I realized I have complained here. My intent is to say thank you for the teaching you are doing, which is not happening in the SAA recovery community. I wanted to express gratitude for the podcast, it has helped me in my recovery. Knowing the damage I have done, I want to advocate in SAA for better education for those of us who have betrayed our wives, and tools like this are helpful for the people who have perpetrated abuse like myself, who want to and I would argue should understand what they’ve done. Thank you.
Thank you so much for sharing that. This exact letter is why we only recommend Center for Peace for recovery from being an abuser because it’s the only program that we know of that treats pornography use and the sexual acting out as an abuse issue. It is an abuse issue. It’s not an easy program. It’s a year-long program and it’s the most intense program out there and was designed to make sure that men are committed to a year because abuse is a long-term issue, and it takes a long time.
BTR Is Your Resource For Identifying Abuse
Okay, now we’re going to continue the conversation with Miss C.
Many of you remember a while ago we had, Miss C on the podcast, she was sharing her story. Our interview was interrupted. Right when we were interrupted, Miss C going to talk about how she found Betrayal Trauma Recovery, and how that helps her change her perspective. So, let’s start there.
How did you find Betrayal Trauma Recovery? What happened that made that possible for you?
Finding Betrayal Trauma Recovery
Miss C: Well, I think like anybody when you’re going through something you’re looking for help. You’re looking for just anything to guide you to the next step because it’s all so confusing. Plus, there’s so much shame connected with it that it’s not, how do I make spaghetti sauce? Your friends or anything like that kind of go incognito in a way and you go do searches and I just happened to pop online, and I just typed in different things and there was multiple helps out there, books. I just happen to come across a video, and it was an introductory video for a course where it talked about pornography and trauma.
It was the first time that I ever like seeing those two words put together and it was that word that actually drew me into Betrayal Trauma Recovery because no one else said that, recognized, acknowledge that to go through this and to repeatedly go through it, and basically almost alone, it’s traumatic. You’re constantly questioned how you feel, as a woman, as a mother, as a wife. It hits you on every level. It’s been a while, but I do remember I watched the first two or three episodes, and I remember feeling like, yes. Like yes!
“It Acknowledged The Betrayal, It Acknowledged The True Trauma”
It acknowledged the pain and acknowledged the shame and acknowledge the betrayal, it acknowledged the true trauma of it. To put the word trauma to it, really, really opens you up and speaks of a pain that goes beyond what anybody has ever described before. It’s almost like, oh well you know, your spouse is looking at other women and you know it’s harmless, at least he’s coming home to you, and it almost belittles it. It was so refreshing to have someone for once put the word to the pain that I already felt.
Anne: At that time did you start listening to the Betrayal Trauma Recovery podcast?
Miss C: You know, I wish I could pinpoint exactly. It was several things. I remember delving into stories and reading and I can’t remember if I actually clicked on a podcast, but I do remember the stories. So, I remember reading those and going, yes, yes, like, I totally get where you’re coming from.
BTR Is Your Resource For Understanding Abuse
Anne: After finding us, you started thinking about the word abuse. Was Betrayal Trauma Recovery also your first introduction to considering that what you had been experiencing was abusive?
Miss C: Yeah. I think to actually hear it put that way it’s also along the same lines as the trauma. It almost goes hand in hand, it helps you to realize that this is something that is happening to you. It is something that hurts you. I think we endure it, for better or for worse, all this falls under the worst part. So, you don’t really categorize it as abuse because who wants to say I’m abused, you know? Who wants to feel that way or think that way, or even accept the title?
Anne: Once you start considering that you’re abused and things are falling apart for you, what happens now?
“You’re Able To Recognize… How (The Abuse) Affects You”
Miss C: I think actually the separation is what was started by me realizing that this was abusive. Because once you actually step outside of looking at it like this is for better for worse, this is my bed I need to sleep in it, and you actually step outside of it and you realize that he’s abusing you, you’re able to recognize all of the fallout from the abuse, and how it affects you, how it affects your children because of the decisions you make to make it work.
And so, I definitely know that as I started waking up to the truth of what was going on. Instead of it being okay I’m just going to stand by my man and I’m going pray for him and I’m going be that helpmeet I’m supposed to be, to realizing this person was abusing me, and through me, he’s also abusing our children because it’s giving a false narrative to what marriage really God intended it to be.
Anne: Do you think that you would have been able to recognize the extent of the abusive behaviors had you not separated?
Separation Helps Women Understand The Extent Of The Abuse
Miss C: No, absolutely not.
Anne: Talk about why. I agree. After my ex got arrested, I had this period of no contact, and that was when everything became very clear to me, and I thought if I wouldn’t have had that separation time I don’t know if I ever would have recognized it. So, will you talk about that for yourself, and how that period of separation helps you kind of come out of that fog?
Miss C: I think it’s probably indicative of all abuse victims. When you are in the abuse, you go into survival mode. You do what is necessary for the love of your family, your home, your children, to make peace. And in making that peace you absorb the abuse. You take it. Take it and try to make it, and there isn’t healing. You can’t heal when you’re, you can’t even look at healing or even look at what’s really happening to you when you’re just surviving.
The Grooming Process
Anne: Yeah, I think the other thing is when your partner is abusing you and you can’t see they’re abusing you. It’s kind of a catch .22, right. Because if they’re kind to you in a moment of grooming, and they’re nice and they say they love you. If that does not feel like abuse. That feels pretty good. It doesn’t feel like grooming at the time, it is grooming, but you don’t recognize it as part of the abuse. You think oh he’s Jekyll and Hyde, you don’t realize that the good guy is actually still the bad guy. Does that make sense?
Miss C: Right. Oh absolutely, for you to say the phrase Jekyll and Hyde. I can’t even tell you how many times I use that phrase when I would talk to my friends or family about what would go on, you know, because they would see him at church or in social situations and he was so helpful and so like loving towards me and the kids. I would say that many times. I’m like that’s, you know, Jekyll or Hyde, I don’t know which one is the evil one, I don’t know, but that is many, many times how I described it.
Grooming Is A Form Of Gaslighting
What you said too about not being able to recognize the abuse. I think when your partner is telling you things like, I’m so sorry and I love you and I don’t mean to hurt you and I’ll do better next time and I recognize this isn’t good and I’m not easy to live with, That kind of almost puts it on me. It’s so manipulative to tell somebody you know, I know I’m not easy to live with, but you know you’re so loving and you’re so kind and you’re so forgiving and encouraging. It puts it back on you, so it’s like oh okay so I need to be more loving, and I need to be more encouraging, and you get to be a monster.
Anne: I’m going to take a short break here to talk about Trauma Mama Husband Drama, my picture book for helping people to help them understand the trauma that you’re experiencing from abuse.
Trauma Mama Husband Drama
I had a really interesting conversation with a clergy person the other day, and he was talking about how they can repent and through Jesus, everyone can change and, you know, the things that we hear all the time. And I said, “Yes, I agree with you, but you need to know what he needs to repent of. He doesn’t just need to repent of looking at porn, he needs to repent of abuse.” That’s really the heart of this. Is that for a woman, she experiences, all of the things, you know, the emotional, the psychological abuse, the sexual coercion, the abuse that is pornography use, that is “sex addiction.”
Trauma Mama Husband Drama helps people understand that. Check out our curated list of all the books we recommend here. Any book you just click on it takes you to Amazon. So please click on Trauma Mama Husband Drama, it’ll send you Amazon, put it in your cart, and then once you get it circle back to Amazon and write a five-star review. Every single one of those reviews helps isolated women find us, and even if they don’t buy the book, they’re made aware of this podcast which is free to everyone.
Okay, now back to the conversation.
How Do Abusers Respond To Boundaries?
It’s also very misogynistic because the wife is to sacrifice her happiness, her needs, her interests, her whatever in order to make sure that he’s a decent person. That’s just crazy. So, what happens next? I’m assuming, tell me if I’m wrong here, that he starts to groom again while you’re separated here? Because we see one of two things, when women set a boundary or they separate, they either get one of two things. They start grooming, oh I’m going to be better, you know, I’m sorry, I’ll get into a program or something like that or they just literally like, give up and like abandon their family and don’t try to do anything. So, I’m guessing it was one of those two things, maybe I’m wrong. I can’t wait to hear.
Abandonment & Financial Abuse
Miss C: I actually had a mixture of the two. At first, it was abandonment. It was abandonment and finances, and it was abandonment in just spending time with the kids, and it was me who was spinning my wheels like, okay, we need to make sure we get together, and the kids want to see you and. It would be him who, you know he had headaches, stomachache, he was tired, the week was too long. And you know, the kids are desperate to want to connect with him. And then when he would call and talk to them, he would call maybe once a month, and I would mention something to him, hey you know like, you probably should call the kids like every other day. Like you’re not here. And he said, he actually had the audacity to say that he doesn’t like calling them because they barely seem interested in talking to him.
Anne: Because it was all about him. Is that what you’re saying?
Miss C: Right, yeah. Oh yeah.
Anne: Because they’re not asking him about how his day was.
Miss C: Right. He said they don’t talk to me, they don’t answer my questions, they don’t even seem interested in talking to me. It just feels like a waste of my time.
When Abusers Show Their True Colors
Anne: My time.
Miss C: And I remember we did, of course, I came back with, “This isn’t about you. You’re supposed to be asking them about their day, how they’re doing, what’s going on. Like this isn’t supposed to be fulfilling for you, it’s you showing that you’re interested in their life as a father and you’re trying to be there in any way you can, but no.”
Anne: Yep. They don’t have the capacity and I understand that I don’t think.
Miss C: No, and so then he would vacillate between the two. I didn’t know which one I was going to get to be honest. There would be times when you know because we had a lot of financial agreements between us, and there would be times as long as he didn’t feel slighted by me in any way things were fine and child support would come and help with shoes and school and this kind of stuff would come, but I stepped on his toes wrong, and then he just would go turn like a spoiled child and not speak to me and not help with money. So, it was continuously abusive and manipulative even though we were separated.
BTR Is Your Resource Through Post-Separation Abuse
Anne: Post-separation abuse is really common. I wouldn’t say it’s really common I’d say it’s the norm. A lot of people will say, oh, you know, all you need to do when you have an abuser is get divorced, but they don’t realize that there is ongoing abuse even after divorce or during a separation that’s very difficult. So, did you decide to get divorced at this time or when did you make the decision that you were going to get divorced? And how did you make that decision, right? Because that’s a very difficult decision for a Christian woman who has been trying to “help her husband” for all these years. So, yeah, let’s talk about all those factors.
Miss C: I didn’t come by it easy that’s absolutely for sure. I think probably from the point that I first separated because we separated twice, and from the point that I first separated to the point that I knew that I was done it was about three years. So, there was quite a bit of just being so unsure. One of the things that I brought up numerous times with different people that I took counsel with was that I don’t want to be displeasing to God. I know that I’ve made this covenant. What do I do with this covenant, this promise that I made? And oh, that just tore me up.
Betrayal Trauma Recovery Will Support You Through Your Separation
Anne: Was there a way that you’ve resolved that? How are you feeling about that now?
Miss C: Yeah. Well, my story is a little bit different in the fact that it just didn’t end with him constantly being abusive with porn and being narcissistic or anything like that. My story ends with, at the time that I found this out, we’d already been separated for a solid year, but I definitely was on the path to divorce. But I will admit, pre-finding out what I found out, we had made the decision between us because we didn’t want to drag the kids through a court process, we didn’t want to bring the government into our lives and our children’s lives. We had decided to stay separated until the kids were of age and then divorce then.
So, we figured we could make this work between us, figure out finances between us. And to really think that 99% of that was going to be me giving a lot because out of love for my kids. Because he really was during that year, it really was a nightmare. He was a nightmare to deal with. I mean there were months when we just decided not to do visitation because he would have mental meltdowns and mental temper tantrums and, you know, he didn’t want to come to church, and the kids wanted him at church, and it was always something with him.
“I Never Allowed Him To Come To Our Home”
He was such a child. I dreaded visitation weekends because I knew I would just have to put up with him until it was over, and after it was over, I always had a headache. I wouldn’t allow Him to come to our home, because the home that we had when we before we separated, was just not right. The atmosphere was not right, and I knew it was him. And so, I wanted a space where the children were secure and safe, and that being our home, I never allowed him to come to our home. All of our visitations were at a restaurant or movie or park or something like that.
Anne: If you could go back in time, do you feel like that, let’s not involve people, let’s just try to settle this between ourselves, was a bad idea? Would you do that again, or were you like, it was okay, it turned out okay, or were you like, man, I should have just gone for it back then? I mean, what are you thinking about that now?
“I Really Believed CPS Was Evil”
Miss C: I will say there’s a lot of elements of bringing in help that I had a lot of preconceived ideas with.
Anne: Okay, so talk about that.
Miss C: Like I really believed CPS was evil. To be honest.
Anne: For our listeners who don’t know, she’s talking about child protective services which is a government agency, right. It supposedly supposed to protect kids, but we have heard some horror stories, so yes, I know what you’re talking about.
Miss C: Right. I really believed that, oh no, I’m going to invite the bad guy in, and this is going to be horrible. And so, of course, I was mortified, and I didn’t ask for them. Once we proceeded, the way we had to proceed, she was assigned to me. So, there were a lot of things that now looking back, where I see they happened the way they had to happen. And I can’t sing her praises enough. She has been as close to a friend as she can be because of her professional position.
Reach Out For The Help You Need
Anne: So, you went from thinking that CPS was evil, and you were terrified of them to being very grateful for their help?
Miss C: Absolutely, absolutely. She jumped right in and, I mean she knew the games almost like the back of her hand. The games that would be played. And she had resources available to alleviate those places and offered them before I asked for them.
Support the BTR Podcast
Anne: We’re going to continue Miss C’s story next week, so stay tuned.
If this podcast is helpful to you, please support it. Until next week, stay safe out there.