Determined To Rise Above The Lies, Infidelity & Abuse

Welcome to Betrayal Trauma Recovery, this is Anne. Today, I have Sara Nye and Kelly Smith, two of the three co-founders of Determined to Rise, which is a non-profit that provides in-person retreats and events for women in trauma. We decided to officially partner with them, because our missions are very similar, but we do two different things. I’m really excited to have Sara and Kelly on the call with me today.

Anne: Sara, your first event was in Bear Lake, Utah. It was the fall of 2017. Can you tell me why you decided to start Determined to Rise?

Why Trauma-Informed Resources Are So Important
Sara: We decided to start Determined to Rise because we’d realized there weren’t really events out there for us that were as big as we wanted, as inclusive as we wanted, for the price point that we wanted, and with as many professional aspects as we wanted. We just felt like we might be able to do it better, and we thought we’d go ahead and give it a try.

Anne: I had three women from my local group here, that I meet with in person, go to your event, and they absolutely love it. That was my first inkling of, “Hey, I want to partner with these guys, because they do such a great job. Cali, what surprised you about the first event?

Cali: It surprised me that we were able to pull it off at such a large scale. We had so many women there. I think we had 82 women, and we were just three women trying to pull off this huge event. It surprised me that we were able to get the speakers that we did.

Why Are Connections With Other Trauma Survivors So Vital To Healing?
We got high caliber therapists and professionals. We were able to do crafts and meals. The connection that these women had with each other, was something that we wanted to create—not that it was surprising, but it was very rewarding to see those connections form.

Anne: I just want to add here that Sara and Cali are trauma survivors themselves. This is a retreat by trauma survivors for betrayal trauma survivors, who have experienced so many of the things that we all have experienced. Sara, what surprised you about the first retreat?

Sara: The thing that surprised me is I went into this retreat knowing that we were going to provide a lot of connection, a lot of fun, a lot of emotional processing, but what I didn’t expect was the lives that we were able to change. Some of these women I’m still in contact with, and they continue to update me on how their lives have changed since the retreat, how their confidence has grown, how they’ve been able to learn to implement boundaries in their lives, and how they feel better than ever. That’s not something I anticipated, that really surprised me.

How Seeing Others In Their Journeys of Healing Can Help Trauma Survivors
There was one woman, in particular, who almost didn’t come to the retreat. I actually had to talk to her three times on the phone, before the retreat, to calm some of her fears. Because it could be scary to put yourself out there and connect with strangers, but it’s so good. It was so good for everybody there. That’s what she said. She said, “You know, I came out of my shell, I showed up, and it changed my life.” I still talk to her all the time, and she’s just doing better and better and better.

She was actually chronically ill before the retreat, not able to walk. She had to have help to get around. Now she’s living on her own, she’s happy, she’s active again, she’s healthy. It tears me up a little every time I talk to her, because that’s something that, literally, changed somebody’s life for the better, and I didn’t expect that.

Anne: I love when women who have been through betrayal trauma and have been abused get together and feel the strength and the beauty that all of us have. For some reason, it just helps to see other women who are smart and beautiful and capable who have been through similar things and think, “Okay, this isn’t me. This is not my fault, and this is something that I can recover from.”

When Is The Upcoming Retreat For Determined To Rise?
Anne: Cali, tell me about the retreat you have planned for March.

Cali: In March, we have a big retreat planned down in Southern Utah, over by Zion’s National Park. We are currently having people enroll. It’s going to be on March 2nd through 4th. It’s called, “The Warrior Within You Retreat,” and we’re going to do things like self-defense classes and archery classes, different kinds of events to empower the warrior within each of us. We, again, have a high caliber of therapists and professionals coming—and we’re very excited.

Anne: If you don’t live in Utah, and you don’t know anything about Utah, you could fly into Salt Lake City, or you could fly into Las Vegas and rent a car. It’s about a three, four-hour drive from either place. Is that about right?

Sara: It’s about 3 hours and 15 minutes either direction, and we also have carpools available from both Salt Lake City, Idaho, Arizona, Las Vegas. We have a whole carpool page set up just for people to connect, who would like to ride together and share the gas.

Why Hearing From Trauma-Informed Specialists Can Be Helpful In Healing
Anne: That’s great. It’s also fun to get to know new people and play carpool karaoke.

Sara: There’s actually a 15-passenger van headed up from Arizona, so it’s going to be—that one’s going to be a fun one. Everything that is included includes lodging, food, all of the workshops, all of the classes, a T-shirt, a gift, a swag bag. We want to make sure that everybody feels just as included as everybody else at the events.

For what you’re getting for the price is amazing. These speakers are really great speakers. Geoff Steurer is our keynote speaker for this one coming up in March. He is one of the founders of the Southern Utah chapter of the Utah Coalition Against Pornography. He was just so excited to come do that for us. He’s actually going to be staying the whole weekend, just to hang out with the women, and talk to them and give them guidance one-on-one, with no extra charge. That’s pretty big in and of itself.

Anne: I’ll be down there. We’re going to do a giveaway for an APSATS coaching session, so if you come make sure you enter!!

Why Empathy Is So Powerful In Healing From Trauma
Anne: Cali, for locals in Utah and, hopefully, for locals all over the country, eventually, Determined to Rise provides Self-Care nights.

Cali: We try to do one every other month or so. It’s just on a smaller scale. Rather than an overnight retreat, we do a self-care night at a smaller location or at someone’s home. We can just sit with each other, get to know each other, and connect. It’s a really good opportunity for people who don’t really have those connections to be able to come and make a friend, or talk to somebody, just put themselves out there.

It’s not necessarily all about recovery, or anything like that, it’s just about connecting with women who are more, or less, in your situation or can empathize with your situation. We’ve done things like Paint Night, where we’ve brought in someone to teach us how to paint a painting. We’ve done a Valentine’s Night. We’ve all come to someone’s house and just did a big game and treat night. We try to do these every other month, and they’re a really good experience for everybody. We’ve had a lot of really good feedback.

Why Having Women Who Understand You Is So Vital After Trauma
Anne: Even before you start thinking, “Okay, how am I going to recover from this?” just being around other women who you can be honest with, and they react appropriately. They give you a hug, they tell you they’re sorry, they’re not like, “Oh, really? What did you do?” “Oh, well, maybe if you lost a few pounds,” you know, some crazy thing that we’ve all heard from someone who wasn’t safe. We don’t say stuff like that, because we know what it’s like.

Cali: Yeah. I think, at the first retreat, that was the thing that was so powerful for me, was being around 80-something other women who just got it. I didn’t have to put on a mask, I didn’t have to pretend, I didn’t have to hold back, or try to be anybody that I wasn’t. I could just be myself. I could talk about the hard things, or I could not and it was okay, because they just understood either not wanting to talk, or wanting to share.

That synergy that you feel, when you’re surrounded by that many women who get it, it’s like a buzz of air. It was tangible. You could just feel this energy of belonging and connection and comfort. I’ve never felt it as any other way. It’s such an amazing feeling.

How Is Gaining Connections Helpful When Healing From Trauma And Betrayal?
Sara: I had a lot of women tell me that same thing, that just the feeling in the room, just being in that environment with so many women, was just so powerful to them.

I did want to add, too, our first two events have been in Utah, but we do want to branch out. The plan is to, eventually, be able to take this to everybody who needs it, to have it close enough that anybody who needs it can have it. If people have ideas about locations where there might be enough interest to do an event on this scale, they’re more than welcome to email us and start that conversation about where this is needed and how. Because that is the ultimate goal, is to be able to include everybody.

Anne: The website is Sara’s email is available there, if you click on their Contact button. Those of you familiar with the podcast, when you go to their site, you’ll see that out podcast is on their site, because we provide two different resources for the same mission. We provide the coaching services, and support calls and support groups online, as well as a podcast and the transcription of the podcast on our website.

When Betrayal Trauma Feels So Hurtful, Having Empathy and Connections Can Help
We don’t do anything in person and Determined to Rise is providing that in-person real life, face-to-face, actual—you know, you can give someone a hug contact, which is also so important. If you’re interested in getting involved with that, please email Sara from their Contact page. Sara and Cali, thank you so much for being here today.

Anne: You’re welcome. I will see you guys soon, in March, I’ll be down there and I’m so grateful for all of the good work that you do with your non-profit. Women all over the world are doing such exciting things to help each other and, as we all get stronger, there is an army of healthy women. We’re going to change the world together, it’s really exciting.

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Why Reaching Out Helps So Much In Recovery From Betrayal Trauma
When I started Betrayal Trauma Recovery, I knew that all our service would be online, because women are so isolated. It’s so difficult to get out of the house because of childcare, or because of your location, or because of all kinds of different factors that make it very difficult for women in this situation to get out of their homes. I know you need in-person contact, but in the meantime, please join the Betrayal Trauma Recovery Club where we have a session every single weekday and two on Tuesdays, where you can interact with women online.

These are face-to-face meetings, you’ll see their face, you can talk to them, they just happen to be on a computer, rather than in person. Also, schedule a support call with one of our coaches. Our support groups run differently than any other groups you’ll see. We do have days and times when they run, so you can see, “Oh, okay, this is going to run on Monday, it’s going to be at 8:00 p.m. Eastern,” but it doesn’t start until it fills. Right now we have women enrolled in the workbook study, Facing Heartbreak. That one is very inexpensive. It’s 16 weeks, it’s $320.00. Coach Ray runs that group.

We Recommend Covenant Eyes Accountability and Internet Filtering on Each Device

What Types Of Resources Are The Most Helpful For Trauma?
We also have Setting and Holding Boundaries that is going to be on Saturdays at 1:00 p.m. Eastern. We have women signed up for Healing my Self-worth and Self-image, which is just a one session group with Coach Sarah, which is very powerful, and then Coach Cat’s group, So I Have Betrayal Trauma, Now What? Where Coach Cat takes you through the betrayal trauma healing stages and helps women understand, perhaps, where they are, and where they need to go.

We have an awesome opportunity where Coach Rae is going to be co-facilitating a group called, How Do I Protect and Heal My Children with Dr. Jill Manning. They will be facilitating that group together, so that will be on Saturday, March 17th at 3:00 p.m. Eastern. That does have a particular start date because of Dr. Manning’s schedule. I created the Betrayal Trauma Recovery Checklist to save women from 7 to 30 years of pain and heartache.

How Can I Continue My Healing From Betrayal?
I’ve had so many women say, “I wish I would’ve found you 10 years ago.” “I wish I would’ve found you 20 years ago, my life would’ve been different.” Please let people know about that checklist and let them know about us. The healing process does take a long time. We recommend that women start with Betrayal Trauma Recovery Club, it’s the most inexpensive way to get out of isolation and get the support that you’re looking for. Purchase a support call package and then look at our different groups and see where you are and which topics would work for you.

Thank you, always, to those of you who have rated us on iTunes or any of the other podcasting apps that you use. Every single rating that you give us, or every comment that you put on the BTR site, increases our search engine rankings, and helps women who are isolated find us. Women are searching online for this, and I don’t want them to find, “Seven Ways to Better Communicate with Your Spouse,” I want them to find the truth that they are not at fault, that they are beautiful and loved, and they can set boundaries to find the peaceful life that they need and deserve. Until next week, stay safe out there.

Knowing What To Do And Why



Most women think, “What do I do?” when they discover porn on their husband’s phone or their husband rages at them. This checklist is a proven path to an emotionally safe relationship. My goal is that every woman has access to this check list when they:

  • discover porn on their husband’s phone.
  • experience a strange conversation with their husband where things just don’t make sense.
  • have a feeling in their gut that something isn’t right.

For those of us who wasted years stuck in the cycles of our husband’s abuse / addiction, this checklist would have given us back years of our lives. It’s the only way to a peaceful and safe home.

My hope is that every woman will have access to this checklist and learn about the concepts taught here.

The Betrayal Trauma Recovery Checklist

 Because lies, manipulation, gaslighting, emotional abuse, and narcissistic traits are common for users of pornography, begin to think about what it means to be emotionally safe. Get educated by listening to the Betrayal Trauma Recovery (BTR) Podcast. Consider sharing your situation with safe people. Someone who tells you outright or implies that there is something (anything) you can do to change your husband or “help” him is not safe. “What did you do to set him off?” is a typical statement from an unsafe person.

⃞ Make a daily self-care plan. Start small! Step outside and take a breath of fresh air. Get the nutrition and sleep you need. Focus on meeting your own emotional, physical, mental and spiritual needs — and allow yourself to receive love, validation, and answers from safe and supportive people.

⃞ Schedule an appointment with your gynecologist, OB or midwife to be tested for all STD’s, even if your husband tells you he’s only used pornography. Request a full-panel STD workup every year with your annual physical. We understand that this step can be emotionally overwhelming or horrifying. However, it will provide you with objective, direct, and potentially life-saving information.

⃞ Read / listen to the following books & podcasts:

 Determine your level of emotional safety. Establish a support network by identifying the safe people upon whom you can rely. Schedule a support call with an APSATS-trained Betrayal Trauma Recovery Coach who can help you to determine your next steps, based on your individual situation. If possible, join Betrayal Trauma Recovery Club and/or a BTR Support Group for consistent support.

 Avoid attempting to identify the cause of your husband’s problematic behaviors. As you lean into your recovery from betrayal trauma, you’ll likely find that understanding the source of his behaviors (shame, trauma, personality disorders, addiction, etc) don’t make a significant difference in how those behaviors affect you — nor will it empower you to change, undo or minimize its traumatic impact. For too many women, seeking to “help” your husband figure out the source of his behaviors while those behaviors are still present only keeps you in harm’s way.

⃞ Move toward establishing an “emotionally safe home zone” as soon as possible. Unlike seeking to understand the source of your husband’s behaviors, this priority goal actually WILL make a big difference! In most cases, this means needing your husband to become 100% honest with you and everyone else within his community of support. He needs to be accountable, stop his problematic behaviors completely, and make restitution to those he has harmed — beginning with you and your children. If/when your husband can make and maintain those changes without resentment toward you, that’s a sign that he is capable of sharing your “emotionally safe home zone.”

 Recognize that couples therapy is rarely the right place to start. Here at BTR, we recognize that, in cases involving porn use and abuse, there are NOT “two sides of the story” — there is only truth. We know that pornography use is NOT a “couples issue”. Emotional abuse is NOT a “communication breakdown”. Too many professionals prematurely attempt to provide couple therapy without first holding your husband accountable for his porn use and abuse, thereby minimizing the seriousness of his behavior. In the interim, consider communicating with your husband’s therapist or coach only to report specific violations of problematic behaviors and recovery commitments. 

⃞ Begin to think about boundaries that support your need for emotionally safe space, even temporarily. Though your situation is unique to you, many betrayal trauma survivors need boundaries such as:
Abstain from sex
Detach from abusive and manipulative conversations
Sleep / live in separate parts of the house
Explore a temporary or indefinite separation
• Choose to limit or eliminate all contact for a period of time
• Allocate time, energy and money toward your own healing, not just toward his recovery
Request a therapeutic polygraph, ideally in conjunction with a complete therapeutic disclosure
*BTR does not advocate for divorce. BTR’s aim is to help clients establish emotional safety for yourselves and your children, in whatever form that takes.

 Set appropriate boundaries while waiting for your husband to show these signs of recovery:

  • Honesty and humility
  • A willingness to meet your needs without anger, resentment, or retaliation
  • Accountability for his secret infidelity (lies, porn use, and masturbation) and emotional abuse (deception, manipulation, gaslighting)
  • Clear restitution for his lies, infidelity, and abuse

  Be gentle with yourself. As a betrayal trauma survivor, recognize that even your “baby steps” count! When the pain is intense and survival feels overwhelming, remember that an entire army of other women have survived this experience—and YOU WILL TOO. We know, because we’ve been there, and we believe in you!

For support implementing this checklist, join a support group or schedule a support call today.


Here are downloadable PDF’s for you to print. Because many women experiencing betrayal trauma struggle with finances, we have found these PDF’s help when approaching church leaders or businesses to ask for donations to BTR on your behalf, so you can receive these proven services. BTR is a nonprofit 510(c)(3) and donations are tax deductible.

Self Care Challenge: My Bra Fitting With Courtney

*Click here for more information about how to donate your bra to I Support The Girls.

We’re still working on our $5,000.00 goal for the end of the year. If you have donated, thank you so much. For those listeners who have not donated yet, please go to Consider making a monthly donation to support this podcast and all we do here at Betrayal Trauma Recovery, we really appreciate your financial support.

I had the most amazing experience last week. I went to a bra fitting with Courtney, and she changed my life. I’ve actually been excited to wear a bra, which I haven’t felt in years!

Facing Self Care When It Can Be Triggery

We’re going to talk about self-care today.

Before we talk about it, I want to acknowledge that, during my trauma years, wearing a bra was very difficult for a lot of reasons. Because I was so overwhelmed with everything, for some reason, it expressed itself like I didn’t want to wear a bra, I refused to wear a bra. It stressed me out going shopping for bras.

I am now at the stage where I am working on self-care. I know that some of you are not at that stage yet, and I have been at that—I don’t know what stage to call it, where you’re in your sweat pants, watching Netflix, eating popcorn.

If you’re in that stage, stay there for as long as you need to, and don’t feel guilty about this episode, because I have been there myself. Since I am in this new stage of self-care, and moving forward, I wanted to connect with Courtney, and get a bra-fitting, and really start progressing my healing, and starting to take care of myself.

Anne: Welcome, Courtney.

Courtney: Thanks. Thank you for having me on.

Anne: Courtney runs Bra Fittings by Court, an amazing service that she does to help women who are stressed out, or need help with choosing bras. Courtney, tell me how you discovered that you have such an amazing talent for fitting women.

Courtney: When I was in college, I got a job at Nordstrom in the lingerie department. Little did I know that that job would, literally, change my life. I quickly found that fitting bras is more than selling bras, it’s a lot more complicated than that.

Self Care Can Be Very Emotional

There’s a lot of emotion involved in it. It’s an intimate process, you’re seeing women in their most vulnerable state, with their shirt off. I found that I was really good at helping women feel comfortable.

I found that most women were never taught how bras should fit, and that 99% of women are wearing the wrong size bra. I found that I was educating these women on how to dress their bodies, and how to take care of their bosoms. I felt like I was giving back to the world. I felt like I was making a small difference in the world by helping women feel more confident, and beautiful. This is my way to make a small difference in the world.

Anne: I think you’re making a large difference. Like, for me, it made a huge difference. I had such a good time.

Courtney: We did have a good time.

Anne: Getting undressed in front of you, and having you put a bra on me was so healing in so many ways. You know have a bra shop in your home called Bosom Friends.

Courtney: Yes.

Making Sure You Have The Necessities – Like A Bra – Is Self Care

Anne: It’s a beautiful shop, just being in there made me happy. The colors! There’s this big sign on the wall that says, “You’re like, really pretty.” I thought, “Thank you, I really love this.” How does helping women with their bra problems relate to self-care?

Courtney: Most women are busy, they don’t have a lot of time, and so a lot of women hate going bra shopping. Which I completely understand because a lot of places, places like Walmart, Target, Kohls, those places don’t have a large range of sizes. That’s why it’s harder for women.

It’s really stressful, and if you’re already burdened emotionally, going through trauma, that’s the last thing you want to work out is having to do research, because you’re not guaranteed to get somebody to help you that knows what they’re doing.

I’ve recommended some other places to go get fitted, and they went, and they were like, “That was an awful experience.” The reason why is because I feel like a lot of these places, those high turnover, there’s just not the experience that you’d need in a fitter, that can really help people and understand how the different styles of bras are going to fit different women. Bra shopping is overwhelming because there’s so many different components to it.

Anne: I felt like I was being pampered by you.

Courtney: Well, thank you.

Anne: I’ve never felt like that when I went bra shopping. The size that you fitted me in is completely different than any other size I’ve ever thought about. I never would’ve imagined that was my size.

Courtney: Can we talk about your size?

Anne: There’s no way—

Courtney: Do you want to tell them what size you were in, and then what size you are now?

Anne: Yeah. I don’t know what size I was in. What size was I in?

Courtney: You were wearing a 36C.

Anne: Okay, let’s just talk about my bra issues my whole life. I’ve always considered myself very small-chested, which I liked. I’ve never felt like I wanted to be any bigger, or anything, but I don’t fill the cup right, and my straps always fall of, and just the thought of a bra stressed me out.

I have cursed the man who invented corsets way back in the day like, “Why? Why have you done this to us?” Anyway, the bra that Courtney fitted me with—and I don’t even want to say it, because I don’t want to make anyone feel bad, but I feel like it’s the perfect size.

Like if you asked, “What is the most beautiful, perfect size?” You would be this. That’s the one I’m wearing. It was a 32DD. That is amazing. Who has that perfect size? Now I’m like, “Aah!” I wrote in my gratitude journal today, “I am grateful that I have the perfect boobs.”

Courtney: You do. I was telling Anne that, “I wish I was your size, like the perfect size really,” but that’s just me.

Don’t Worry, You Don’t Need The Perfect Bra Size To Deserve To Be Treated Well

Anne: I’m here to tell you that here’s a woman who was abused, and whose husband refused to tell her that she was beautiful, literally. I was like, “I want you to tell me I’m beautiful,” and he said, “No.”

Just awful things that were done to me, and I have the perfect boobs. Don’t think that if you had the perfect size whatever, or if you looked a certain way, that the abuse would stop, or that your husband would stop looking at porn. That is not true.

Courtney: It’s true.

Anne: Everyone should love where they’re at.

Courtney: Of course.

Anne: Also, to accept ourselves where we are, and to know that we’re enough. Having this experience, and going from being emotionally abused, and having trauma for seven years, to the point where I wasn’t wearing bras, where I wasn’t putting makeup on hardly ever, where I just slumped around with my shoulders really slumped forward, because I wasn’t wearing a bra.

Even when I went to the store, or even when I went out of the house, so I didn’t really want to be indecent, so I slumped forward, so I wasn’t scaring everyone with my braless boobs, to being like, “Oh, my word, I am wearing a bra and it is this perfect size for me,” and I am feeling so—I don’t know, empowered almost.

It’s so different for me after seven years—well, almost nine years. I don’t know, I always say my years wrong, depending on when I was in the relationship, and then after the relationship, slumping around feeling like I wanted to take up less space.

“You’re Too Much” Or “You’re Not Enough” Are Common Messages From Abusers

A lot of women, who are abused, they get messages like, “You’re not enough.” The messages I always got were, “You’re too much.” I always just wanted to try and make myself smaller, like I didn’t want to have as many—

Courtney: Or hide yourself. I feel like that’s why you were slumping over, to hide what you—to be invisible. You didn’t want to cause attention, or anything.

Anne: Yeah, totally. This place where I can hold my shoulders back, and hold my head up high, and know that I’m not indecent, because I actually have a bra on, so I’m not scaring anybody. It fit, was just so cool. I’m really excited to be at this point in my healing process.

Now, for our listeners, wherever you are in your healing process, please don’t let this podcast turn you off to the podcast, because I, myself, was in this place of, “I don’t really want to talk about the way I look. I don’t want to talk about the way I eat. I don’t want to talk about exercise. I don’t want to talk about anything right now. The only thing I can do right now is survive,” and so many women are in that stage.

We recommend Covenant Eyes Internet Filtering & Accountability On Every Device

When you want to, and when you feel like coming out of that—and it may take years, it took me years—then a bra-fitting might be a really cool celebration activity for you to throw off the old, and bring in the new. Courtney, why is the bra the most important thing women wear?

Courtney: It does a really hard job. It holds up your bosoms all day long. That’s why they’re so important, because you’re more put-together, your clothes will look better, you can feel more confident, and comfortable doing the things you want to do.

I have a lot of women, who come into my shop, that want to be active. They want to exercise, they want to work on their fitness and their health, but they don’t feel comfortable doing so, because their breast size makes it so that they feel really uncomfortable exercising. They feel like their boobs are flapping in the air, or they’re in the way.

Getting a sports bra that fits them, that can make it so that they can feel comfortable exercising, is life-changing. It really can change women’s lives. That’s why my slogan, on my website, is “I am changing lives on bra-fitting at a time,” because it gives you both the courage, the freedom, and the confidence to do what they want to do in their life.

If You Try To Compete With Porn, You’ll Always Lose

Anne: I think our audience probably has, depending on the woman, depending on the situation, has a lot of issues with bras too, because their husbands are sex addicts, and pornography users, right. When you compare yourself to porn, you’re always going to lose. There’s no way to win.

Porn is women who are staged, who are likely on drugs, who are being exploited. Having these parts of our body be something that our husband wants to use is such a difficult thing. This bra-fitting for me was a way to take my body back, to give it back to myself, and to take care of myself, rather than this is part of my body that is for someone else, or for some other use.

I feel like this is part of me, and I can integrate it back into myself, and use it as part of my healing, rather than disown it, almost, as a thing that’s for someone else’s use. Which, I think it feels like a lot of times when you’re married to someone who’s an addict, who’s not in recovery, who’s using you as a drug, rather than seeing you as a person to be cherished and loved and cared for.

Donate Your Used Bras To Help Others

Another awesome thing that Courtney does is she’s the Northern Director of I Support the Girls, which is a non-profit, where she coordinates a statewide bra and feminine hygiene drive throughout the state of Utah, so all the donations are donated to local women’s shelters to help homeless women, and refugee women, and victims of domestic violence.

When I went to a domestic violence shelter, to get my victim advocate, I, thank goodness, didn’t need to stay at the domestic violence shelter, but, if I had, and if I had had to go there suddenly, without any clothes, then I would, perhaps, be a recipient of one of these donated bras. In 2016, her drive collected over 1,300 bras and 30,000 hygiene products. Those are things like sanitary napkins, tampons. The only requirement, Courtney, is?

Courtney: The only requirement is that they have to be individually sealed. Then, you can drop these off, and then at the end of this month, of December, all those items will be collected, and then we’ll donate them to nine different women’s shelters throughout the state of Utah.

If you don’t live in Utah, and you want to participate, there’s really good news. Because there’s over 50 chapters throughout the world, the majority of them are in the United States, if you don’t see a location by you, they’re looking for women who want to help volunteer, and start up a chapter.

It’s really easy, all you have to do is just contact your local women’s shelter, and start collecting bras and donate them, and you can start a chapter in your area. It’s really awesome. It’s blessed my life to be able to help these women, and help facilitate this. I feel really lucky to be a part of it.

Women Supporting Other Women On Their Journey To Healing

Anne: I’m really grateful that women are working together to improve women’s health, and women’s wellbeing across the world. Again, if you are not in Utah, and you want to donate, click here.

Courtney: One of the reasons I got into I Support the Girls non-profit is because, obviously, I love bras. I love helping women feel more confident and beautiful. The sad thing is that, being a part of this organization, I learned—and working with the different women’s shelters in Utah, is that bras and hygiene products are one of the least donated items when it comes to women’s shelters.

People need food, and they need blankets, and everything, but a lot of bras and hygiene products are not donated. The problem with these things, for normal women, they’re necessities, everybody needs hygiene products, and everybody needs bras.

A lot of these homeless women, or refugees, or victims of domestic violence, if they don’t have these items then their chances of recovery—it sounds crazy, but their chances for recovery and making a better life for themselves is harder, because they can’t hold down jobs, they don’t feel like they have their dignity. These items takes a huge weight off these women’s shoulders.

I just can’t imagine what it would be like to have to make a decision of whether I should spend my money feeding my family, or buying a hygiene product. By providing these items to women, it’s going to help them make their life better. If they can help make their life better than that can help their children, that can help generations to come get out of the depths of poverty or break the cycle of violence.

I strongly believe that no matter what a woman’s circumstance is, you know, if she’s homeless, a refugee, she’s fleeing abusive relationship, I feel like every single woman in this world has the right to have these items.

Anne: Totally agreed. I think another reason why bra shopping is so triggering for women, in at least my audience here listening, is the advertising, or seeing other women in their bras, or whatever. It’s been interesting to go to your Instagram, and see women in their bras.

Owning Your Self Care Can Be Scary – But It Can Also Be Empowering

That is part of what is super-triggery for many women in this situation. I just want to, first of all do a trigger warning with, also, a notice that I think the more healed we get, the more we can realize that this is for me, rather than worry about what our husband’s thinking, or doing, or how it’s affecting someone else.

Courtney: On my website, the message that I try to convey for my business, and on my Instagram (@brafittingsbycourt) is that our society thinks of bras as sexual. On my Instagram, I really try to show that they’re not just sexual. I really try to embrace that bras are more of a necessity, and that they’re not just, primarily, for other people’s gratification. I really try to convey that, showing how bras can really help us to feel more confident.

Anne: That’s what I really appreciated. Rather than having it be for someone else’s gratification.

Courtney: Thank you.

Self Care Is For YOU

Anne: If anyone is doing it right, Courtney is. I immediately came home and told my mom, “You have got to go do this.” Cool thing about it is knowing that I am enough, and that whatever size I am is enough, and that I don’t have to be anything else to be lovable, to be cherished, and that I can find a bra that fits me where I’m at.

I don’t have to be different in order to fit in the perfect bra, rather than the other way around. Like going bra shopping, and thinking, “Ugh, because I am damaged, and I am not perfect, I’m never going to be able to find the bra that fits, because bras only fit perfect women.”

Courtney: Many of my clients live outside of Utah, so if you need help, or if you want my help, I offer online bra consultations. You can do it from the comfort of your home, especially if you’re going through a traumatic experiences in your life, and you’re like, “I don’t have the time and energy to go and drive, and go somewhere.” This is a good way to get help.

I also have a bra-fitting guide. I’ve printed these beautiful pdf sheets that walk you through the steps on how to find your size, how to identify your breast shape, the bras I recommend for each breast shape, and then I have a trouble-shooting guide.

Then I actually have visuals of how bras should and shouldn’t fit. If you need help, and you want to do a more DIY approach, I would do the bra-fitting guide. There are some other options if you want help, but don’t live in Utah.

Anne: We’re taking our bodies back, women. As I progress my recovery, I’m just excited. I’m excited that I can do these things that are fun, and not be so triggered by them, where I was before. If you are still in that triggered stage, we love you, and just don’t do this right now.

Courtney: Yep, and I’ll be there.

When Your Trauma Gets In The Way Of Self Care

Anne: I’m no longer going to let my stance against pornography get in the way of my own self-care.

Courtney: I feel like a lot of women just get to the point and they’re like, “Enough. I’ve had enough of wearing bras that don’t fit. I’ve had enough of feeling this way. I want a change.” That’s when you know you’re ready, is when you’ve had enough.

Anne: Yeah, it is. Courtney, you’re awesome. Again, you can find information about where to donate your used bras, whether you live in Utah, or elsewhere, on Find this post, and you’ll find all of the links that you need.

Courtney: I’m also on Facebook too. I have a private Facebook page that’s just for women, so if you feel safer joining me there, my Facebook group is Bosom Friends by Bra Fittings by Court. You can go there, and you can post questions about bras, and, like I said, it’s a safe environment where all women can come together, and share their love for bras, or hate of bras that don’t fit.

Anne: I love that. A Merry Christmas Season to all of you. Thanks, Court, for being on the podcast today. If you want to join our support groups, please go to Right now, Betrayal Trauma Recovery Club has six sessions per week, one every weekday with two on Tuesdays. It’s the best support for these crazy holiday times where you don’t know when an abuse episode’s going to happen, or you don’t know when, maybe another disclosure will happen.

The holidays are very difficult for a lot of women in trauma. Make sure that you have the support that you need during this holiday season by going to, and click on Schedule and Join to join the Betrayal Trauma Recovery Club. As always, if this podcast is helpful to you, please comment below. Each of your comments helps women who are isolated find us, and helps women understand that they’re not alone.

Until next week, stay safe out there.

How To Rebuild Our Intuition After Infidelity & Abuse

Today I have Dr. Piper Grant. She’s a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Sex Therapist, Certified Sex Addiction Therapist. She’s also the founder of Numi Psychology. She specializes in working with individuals and couples on issues related to sex, intimacy, and trauma.

As a CSAT and Sex Therapist, Dr. Grant has extensive experience working with individuals throughout their healing process from sexual betrayal. Although based in Los Angeles, California, Dr. Grant seeks to reach individuals and couples internationally in recovery from sex addiction and healing from sexual betrayal by hosting retreats in Bali for women who have experienced sexual betrayal trauma and couples in recovery from sex addiction. These are the only retreats hosted in Bali that are tailored to help couples and partners on issues related to sexual betrayal and facilitated by a Psychologist and CSAT.

Welcome Piper! We are so happy to have you!

Piper: Thank you! I’m so excited to be here today!

Intuition and Gut Instinct Are Warning Signs, Both Negative And Positive

Anne: We are going to talk today about women’s intuition, getting in touch with ourselves and reconnecting to ourselves after betrayal or even in the midst of it in order to figure out what we need to do. I’m not going to call you Dr. Grant today, I’m going  to call you Piper because I love the name Piper. What is gut instinct and why is it so important for women?

Piper: It’s such a gift as women that we have this gut instinct and innate ability to have these signals throughout our life. It is the first warning signals about something, both negative and positive. I say both negative and positive because you can have somebody say something along the lines of, ‘I just knew that’s what I needed to do!’ Especially when we’re talking about partner recovery. We often will say something along the lines of, ‘I just felt like something was off.’, or that something was wrong or not right. So it helps us judge. It’s a warning signal.

Intuition Is Felt in Body and Mind

The thing that is interesting about our gut instinct and the way it works is that it works as an unconscious process. It’s something that we aren’t even always aware is going on. What happens is our conscious brain is looking at things and we’re making sense of them but our unconscious brain is working almost like a jigsaw puzzle. It’s putting pieces together. When pieces don’t fit together it’s like, ‘Something is wrong.  Something is different here.’  It sends a warning signal.

Studies have shown that when this happens and something doesn’t fit, there’s actually a surge of dopamine in the brain. You know when we say, ‘In my body it just didn’t feel right?’ That’s actually true. There’s not only a psychological process happening but there’s actually a physiological process as well.  Your brain and your body are saying, ‘Something is different here’.  Let’s be aware of this. Whether it’s good or bad, let’s be aware of this. A few years back in my work I would be like, ‘There’s this unique gift that women have.’ and then I would kind of say, ‘Well men have it too.’  But women have it so much stronger.

Intuition Is A Gift In Betrayal Trauma

I intrinsically feel that women have this gift given to us.  I started looking into it because I thought, ‘Is it true or do I just feel that women have it stronger than men do?’  

There’s this belief that through evolution women actually have a stronger ability to make intuitive decisions or have intuitive guides within them. What is believed is that over time our female ancestors had to quickly evaluate a situation because they had to protect themselves and their children. They had to tune into their environment, make sense of their environment, see if things were off or on. Therefore, our brains as women evolved to have a larger ability to organize chunks of information much quicker. Giving us this edge of ability to read people and situations, quickly making decisions if something is good or bad for us.

Anne: That ‘quickly make decisions’ part is where I got tripped up in my betrayal trauma journey. I remember the sense of intense dread, like someone’s going to die. Something really, really bad is going to happen. I just thought, ‘I must be crazy!” I even remember telling my husband at the time, and he didn’t say anything but if I could go back in time and read his mind he might be like, ‘just lay very still and she won’t know what I’m doing right now’, right?

Betrayal Trauma Can Hinder Your Intuition

Piper: I think that is how betrayal trauma can rob us women of our gut instinct. Not rob us but negatively impact and sometimes hinder it for a while. I have partners I work with that are like, ‘I had no idea. There was nothing that was off to me’. I just want to put that out there because I want all women to know that it’s not to say there’s always a red flag.

Yes, in our work together when we start going back and unpacking things they might say, ‘Ohhh  that was a red flag and I chose to ignore it.’ Or, ‘There was that time that my body was like umm something is off and I chose to ignore it.’

So betrayal trauma can really impact our relationship with our gut instinct. It breaks our relationship with the gut instinct.

When I am looking at betrayal trauma and the impact of sex addiction, there’s not only a betrayal of trust by the addict but actually a betrayal of trust with self. This is where it can become really complex  sometimes for partner recovery.

The betrayal of trust with self is betrayal  with their gut instincts. If we ignore it, ignore it and ignore it,  we’re betraying trust with ourself! We’re saying this isn’t true, this isn’t happening.

That’s the impact of gas-lighting. When we’re a victim of gaslighting that’s what happens.

Anne: Right. Had he told me the truth in that moment. If I had I said, ‘something really bad is going to happen’, and he said, ‘yea because I’m having an affair’. Or whatever it was. I still don’t know to this day what it was about but had he told me the truth in that moment I would have thought, “oh, I’m not crazy!”

Piper:  So you and your body are kind of in war, you and your gut instinct. That’s the crazy thing. Because there is this betrayal of self or gut instinct then there’s a distrust in your reality.

Sit Back And Watch, Wait For The Red Flags To Fly

This can be difficult in partner recovery,  trying to re-establish your relationship with gut instinct and experiencing a trigger, and your gut instinct is sending off these red flares that something is going on, the question then is, ‘Is there ongoing trauma that you’re having this gut instinct reaction to, or is it a trigger from the past?’

That’s where it can be hard sometimes in recovery and re-establishing your relationship with gut instinct.

Anne: Absolutely! Especially when you’ve been lied to, right? A million times!

So now the red flags are going off and your husband is saying again, ‘Oh everything is fine!’ and you’re thinking, ‘Well, do I believe him now or not?’ Like, ‘Where am I in this process?’ Here at Betrayal Trauma Recovery we try to help women understand the related behaviors so that you can watch what he’s doing and not necessarily have to trust his words.

Piper: You guys do practice what you preach. Just from listening to your podcasts, as well as from knowing from clients who have worked with you. It’s not just about the words. It’s the actions as well.

An Addict’s Actions Speak Much Louder Than His Words

Also, just how does it feel in your body as a partner as well. Does it feel right or wrong? I give this example sometimes. I live in L.A. We have bad traffic So the spouse can come home and he’s 5-10 minutes late and the partner can be like, ‘okay, he’s late, it feels off.’ The schedule is off pattern and it can be hard. Am I being triggered by something that is happening in this present moment or is this a reminder of something that has happened in the past?  And it’s really difficult.

Anne: Yes, it is very complex. This recovery thing is no fun. And then it’s also fun. There’s these two parts of it. It’s hard!

Piper: And it’s on going and it’s one of these things that I think changes with the environment and people around you. Forever modifying and changing.

Anne: In thinking about my recovery and talking with a colleague yesterday I said, ‘I haven’t been angry at all! Just so sad.’ I’m finally becoming angry and it’s weird! Because it’s way late. This anger has been welling up inside of me and I’m not really a yeller. Well lately I have been a yeller but it’s not something that’s natural to me.

Finally I thought, ‘okay, wow like this has got to be the trauma coming out.’ So I told my kids, There’s this thing inside of me and I’m trying to work through it and I’m really sorry.’ I said, ‘When I’m feeling it I think I’m going to raise my hands high above my head and I’m going to clinch my fists and I’m going to say, ‘Agnes, Amos, Jehoshaphat!’ They were like, ‘okay, that’s funny!’.

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And so I’ve been doing that when I feel it well up they just look at me and then they start laughing! I think wow, here’s a new phase for me! I don’t really know where I am and how to explore it. I think it’s the same with our gut instinct. It’s like, here I am I’m working through it and I don’t really know how to do this! I hope I can learn! Making an effort to explore it I think is the key.

Piper: Yes, I love what you say! They’re owning it and just being in the moment and not necessarily understanding what’s going on or what it is. You’re just like, ‘I’m going to feel it and embrace it in a safe and effective way.’ That’s what this is about, like you said. Just working through it and just being with it moment to moment. And maybe not always making sense of it.

Anne: Yea, because I think about the women who feel in their gut that everything is fine, for example. By the way, I don’t want this podcast to freak everybody out. This has happened where women have said to me after I give a speech and they say, ‘That was so impactful and I’m so grateful that I don’t deal with this issue! I just trust my husband and I just love my family!’, or whatever they say.

And then I get a letter like 6 months later saying, ‘I didn’t know!’ And their gut was telling them at the time that things were good! That’s what makes us go crazy. At least with me. I thought well, ‘I can’t trust my gut because I thought things were fine and then they weren’t.’

So how can a partner re-establish trust within herself?

Gaslighting Makes It Difficult To See The Red Flags 

Piper: What you’re saying is actually a really classic thing. That’s why I was saying in the beginning that some women will say, ‘I had no idea! I didn’t have those red flags and flares go off!’

So after there’s discovery it really starts with love and kindness with self. Because I do think about this break down with gut instinct as a betrayal. Or as a breakdown with trust itself. It just starts first with loving kindness towards self. Sometimes as women we want to be hard on ourselves. We are like, ‘Why didn’t I see that? ” Or, ‘Why didn’t I know?”‘, Or ‘ Why did I ignore that red flag?” Or whatever the list is that can be read to ourselves.

When you think about actually being in a relationship with somebody else, if there’s been a break in trust, you have to rebuild that trust. There’s a process of rebuilding that trust. I think about that same thing in a relationship with ourself . We need to rebuild that relationship of trust with ourself. Especially if a women is one that says, ‘I had no idea! I didn’t have any red flags and this just came completely out of left field!’

There’s probably been some gaslighting going on. And especially then you’re just like, ‘Woah where is my radar? What just happened?’

So starting with love and kindness towards self and rebuilding a relationship with the voice within you. I start with little exercises.

While your showering, bathing or standing in the grocery line for instance, just integrate it into your schedule. Just check in with yourself.

Check in with the voice of your body. So what is your heart saying to you in that moment? What is your body saying to you in that moment? What is your mind saying?

What’s your experience of where you are in your environment? While you’re bathing are you noticing the soap on your body?

Hello Anxiety, I See You!

Or while you’re standing in line do you notice yourself wanting to get out and get on with your errands? Or are you dreading something that’s coming up at the end of the day? So what ever it is, start in conversation with your body.

Why I say conversation is because specifically I’m looking at bringing that voice of your gut instinct of what your body is telling you and bringing that to the surface.

There’s a woman, Anne Cornell, who teaches in her practice with mindfulness to welcome the feeling, whatever it is. Like, saying hello to that feeling. So if you’re feeling anxious you say ‘oh, I’m feeling anxious!’ and I say hello to that.

Anne: Hello anxiety!

Piper: Yea! Hello anxiety! I think this is so important because, especially when we’re talking about gaslighting or breakdown in gut instinct.

What’s happened is that your reality has been denied. So if you’re feeling anxious and you’re like, ‘I’m not anxious, I’m not anxious!’ Or ‘Nope, get past that!

I was thinking, ‘Piper, you’re not anxious! Get over it!’ I’m actually denying that I’m feeling anxiety at that time.

So instead if I’m like, ‘Okay I’m feeling anxious. Hello anxiety!’  Even if you don’t know the feeling, ‘I’m feeling some feelings. Hello feelings!’

Accepting Our Own Reality Provides Validation For Ourselves

I’m actually validating my body and my mind, spirit, whole being and what you’re experiencing in that  moment. And that actually is little moments of re-establishing trust with your mind and your body and gut instinct.

Then start to test yourself with just little things like taking a walk to the right rather than going left today. And if you walk right instead of left, notice. Does it work out okay for you? Does everything work out fine?

And if it does say, ‘Okay I’m listening to my inner voice and guide.’ And those are little things.

Then when we get to the big things where you’re like, ‘Nope, something is off here’ you’re able to to say okay, ‘I’ve already established trust with my inner voice and I know that my inner voice has guided me with little things. I can trust it now. I can follow it.

It’s starting with loving kindness towards self, rebuilding a relationship with that voice, welcoming what ever feelings that you’re having so You’re not denying your own reality within yourself. And then moving forward with little tests of that gut instinct.

Rebuild Confidence By Trusting YOU Again

Anne: I like that. Why is it so important to acknowledge this and work towards it? Why do women need to re-establish trust with themselves rather than just, ‘okay, now I’m going to just pick the most logical thing or I’m just going to ask my best friend!’ Or I’ve got to make a therapy appointment every ten minutes!

Piper: Sometimes doesn’t that seem easier though?

Anne: To just say, ‘Someone else tell me, what’s the right thing to do?”, right?

Piper: The truth is that it’s a guide! It’s this innate gift that we have. If we’re talking about whole recovery, that is a piece of us.

As a partner, whether or not you are staying in a relationship with the addict, you’re going to have other intimate relationships in your life. That should be part of recovery. I mean intimate in that it doesn’t  have to be sexual. I’m talking about friends, family, whatever that might be.

In order to trust in others we need to have a trust in ourself. That we’re actually choosing good relationships for ourself and making good decisions. So that’s what this gut instinct is about.

It’s re-establishing trust with self so that we know that we’re moving forward with decisions that are in alignment with ourself. So even if things go awry again we can say, ‘But you know what, I know that I made the best decision for myself in that moment.’

It also helps with rebuilding feelings of self worth. So often after discovery what we can see is that feeling of the ramifications of gaslighting.

With a victim of gaslighting there can be low feelings of self worth, confidence or trust of self. And what it does is rebuild feelings of self worth and confidence in self. This allows you to be free maybe of needing to call your therapist every ten minutes or always relying on your friend!

I Thought He Was Great And That We Would Be Happy…

Anne: So true. Thinking of the question, ‘Is it really possible to trust yourself again after sexual betrayal and trauma?”

For me, personally the jury is still out on this one. I’m still working through this. It’s almost like I have to see if the things that I choose end up being good for me and that takes time.

My life before when I met my husband I thought he was amazing and fantastic. I told everyone how great he was and how happy I was. And then we got married and things weren’t like that.

Now I think if I met someone I would be like, ‘I’m getting married. I’m not sure how it’s going to go.’ I think I would like hedge all my bets! I think I’d be like, ‘He seems really great and all of these things seem to be working but I don’t know if I can trust myself.’

The jury is still out on me. I don’t know how I would know, ‘Okay I really can trust myself again!’ Literally until maybe I got married and like sixty years later! I’d be like, ‘Yes, that was the right thing to do.’  It feels like I can only trust myself in hindsight now instead of trusting myself in the future.

Piper:  I love what you’re saying! I’m literally jumping out of my chair because this is what always makes it difficult!

Recognize The Little Things, The Good Decisions You Make Every Day

And I say look at the small decisions every single day! You’re probably making decisions whether it be with your children, with yourself,  your work or whatever. It starts with the little things. Because then as you said, what is the limit? If you were to get remarried, is it after ten years that you say, ‘It’s okay! Thirty years! That was a good decision!’

You could hit thirty years and be like, ‘Umm nope still, I don’t know!’ I think this is where it becomes so complex! What is the end goal? I always say let’s come down and look at the present. That’s why I mentioned the example of walking. I know it sounds so little but it starts with those little things.

Just every single day you make a decision, give yourself a pat on the back and be like, ‘You know what? That was a good decision! I followed myself on that decision. I should have gotten those Oreos for myself.’ That’s a funny example!

Anne: Yes, you should have! I agree!

Maybe You Made The Right Decision But It Was Hijacked By Another’s Choices

Piper: I hear what you’re saying and that’s the difficult thing. How do I define when I have re-established trust with myself? I think we need to be kinder to ourselves and look at the little successes. And know that yea, we’re not ever going to know the future but we also need to give ourself the little successes.

Anne: I think there’s one other issue. It could be that you are making the right decision. You are doing the right thing for you and maybe something else happened. Someone else makes a different choice. Someone else does something here or there and then it doesn’t go the way that you wanted or the way that you planned.  

That doesn’t necessarily mean that you didn’t do the right thing for you just because someone else chose something else. Those things are part of why I think I struggle a little bit. Because I thought this was supposed to turn out well for me and it didn’t. But the reason why it didn’t turn out well wasn’t necessarily because of my decision. It was maybe because of someone else’s choice.

Give The Gift Of Trusting Yourself And Reconnect With Your Intuition

Piper: Right! And so you made the best decision for yourself. And that is a gift you can give to yourself and help remind yourself of. That is where it starts! Trusting and knowing that you made the best decision. Not just you, but any of us that we made the best decision for ourself in that moment with what we had.

Anne: Piper, you are delightful! Thank you so much for coming on the podcast today!

Piper: Thank you! It was a pleasure! I’m so happy to!

Anne: We’ll have to have you on again talking about some other fun topic, like masturbation or something!    

Piper: Or you can visit me in Bali and we can do a podcast in Bali!

Anne: Oh, that would be awesome! Piper’s site is

As always if this podcast was helpful to you please rate it on iTunes. Each rating improves our visibility on search engines and helps women who are isolated find us. As always, we love to hear from you, so please comment below about how you feel about intuition.

Also if you’re interested in scheduling a support call or joining one of our support groups go to You can look at our services page which has all of our different support groups and services. Or to schedule a support call or join a support group go to schedule and join. And until next week, stay safe out there!

Healing My Self-Worth After Abuse

Healing My Self-Worth & Self-Image
2 Hour Class
Led by Coach Sarah
REGISTER – Saturday 1PM Eastern (USA)
The group will start as soon as it fills.
Limited to 12 participants (minimum 6)

This group is lovingly crafted to:

1) Help you see where childhood messages, our culture, and the betrayals we’ve faced have damaged our self-worth and self-image.
2) Find inspiration to see yourself in a new way.
3) Teach you tools to combat this on-going struggle.

“Perhaps, we should love ourselves so fiercely, that when others see us, they know exactly how it should be done.” – Rudy Francisco.   

In our culture, our self-worth is often derived from our self-image.  This is the exact opposite of how we find freedom, confidence, and peace from the endless striving to be something or someone else.

Add to that the damage done by the unrealistic representations pornography puts out there, or the comparison to affair / acting out partners, and most women dealing with betrayal trauma have had their self-worth and self-image shattered.

This group aims to help you see yourself differently, and empower you to love yourself fiercely – connecting you to a place of truth that, with work, will not easily be taken away from you ever again.   

In this group, we will:

  • Take a look at the negative messages we’ve come to believe about ourselves from childhood, our culture, our marriage/relationship, and the betrayal we’ve endured.
  • Identify the lies in these negative messages, and work to reframe them to reflect the truth about who we really are.
  • Work through a few tools to help us connect with our self-love, and craft mantras that will help us.
  • STAY connected to that self-love when the gremlins pop up and try to rob us of our peace and self-love.

For more details, email Coach Sarah at

Anne: Sarah, why is the topic of self-worth/self-image important to you?

Coach Sarah: I have met a lot of women as a coach in this area – brilliant, beautiful, caring, amazing women.  And almost without fail, they do NOT see themselves this way.  Because they are traumatized, they feel weak, broken… almost like “damaged goods”.  I deeply desire to help women see themselves differently… as forces to be reckoned with; loving, giving, funny, intelligent…  because once a woman really, truly connects with this – no one can take it away from her again!  She KNOWS her worth, and she won’t settle for less!  And I’m convinced that our self-image – the way we view ourselves, correlates directly with our self-worth.  

Wives Of Pornography Users Have Lower Self-Worth / Self-Image

I think our culture has done a pretty “good” job of giving women inferiority complexes.  There are so many messages/images of how a woman should look, act, walk; what kind of job she should have, what interests she should carry, etc.  Where our women are impacted differently is, I think, the comparison isn’t as broad – it has become very specific and personal – because it’s not just “society at large” that is sending out these messages, our spouse has been fantasizing or actually been sexual with these images/people.

Society, at large, hasn’t made a commitment to “choose” us, but our spouse has… and yet, their betrayal makes it feel like they are not choosing us.  Many struggle with connecting that to not being desirable enough, and this is a huge hit to how we value and see ourselves.  

How Can We Learn To Love Ourselves After Betrayal?

There are a few things, and I share them in my group, but one that really stands out is a blog I read by Glennon Doyle.  It was a paradigm shift for me… one that helped me see how beautiful this life is that I’m creating, and how our focus is so often on the wrong things.  That’s all I want to give away on that one right now!

The First Step To Loving Yourself

About a year into my coaching in Austin, I did a retreat for my ladies.  As I was putting it together, and thinking about each woman specifically, one thought kept playing over, and over and over: “She deserves to be pampered.  She deserves to know what it feels like to be loved well.”  Even if the “addict” is involved in a legitimate recovery, and is working hard, it’s a LONG road, and often, sobriety and personal recovery trumps the relational aspect of things, so the woman is still left feeling lonely, or not loved well.  It’s so difficult to not internalize this.  Women get “used to” it, and can often translate that to their worthiness.  When I connected these dots… well, that’s when I started focusing on building my clients up, discover their worth, and connect to the fact that they are worthy of such love.

The Key To Self Worth Is Knowing Your Worth Isn’t Based On Your Husband’s Perceptions Of View

Without a doubt, the key to self-worth is being able to silence every negative voice (including your own); every “should or shouldn’t”, and give yourself permission to like, and love whatever you like and love about yourself.  Doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks – what their opinions of you are, or what is likeable / lovely.  It only matters what you think/like/love!

If you could say something to the women listening, regarding self-worth, what would that be?

Sarah: Your worthiness is NOT based on someone else’s ability or INABILITY to accept, appreciate, or value you.  You are worthy of being cherished, and loved well. Start by loving yourself well!


Betrayal Trauma Recovery Club Is The First Empowering Step To Safety

Coach Sarah and Coach Rae are with me today to introduce the Betrayal Trauma Recovery Club – a subscription coaching option for betrayal trauma survivors who need quick, convenient and frequent access to our BTR coaches. 

Betrayal Trauma Recovery Club Helps Women With The Trauma Of Their Husband’s Pornography Use, Affairs, and Emotional Abuse

It’s so fun to all be on the same call at the same time. BTR Club is an ongoing subscription that gives you access to drop in coaching when you need it. Get professional support from a different BTR coach every two to three days with no need to schedule or wait for an appointment. All BTR Support Club sessions happen online from the convenience of your home phone, smart phone, tablet or computer. As recovering women, we understand. Sometimes we need help asap without the stress of scheduling an appointment. So you can join any and all sessions per week – all sessions are 90 minutes long. 

After you register, you’ll be given phone and online access to all three of the groups. You can drop in for coaching support when you need it, and you can stay for the whole session, or pop out. At this price, you can benefit from qualified APSATS coaching for as little as $6 an hour. We do this because we care about you and because we’ve been in your situation. We understand that women like us don’t have a lot of resources, but we need a lot of support.

There’s a $100 initial set up fee, with a three month minimum commitment. For about the same price as one therapy appointment, you can get have three sessions per week in perpetuity. And there’s a bonus, as more subscribers join the BTR Club, we’ll add more sessions at no extra cost to you. You can register anytime. BTR Club will launch as soon as we have 10 subscribers.

While reading this, if you have questions, email You can also comment below. Coach Sarah, tell us about why you thought of this drop-on, subscription model for support services for women?

Why Use a Subscription Model For Support For Betrayed Women?

Sarah: I’ve been conducting groups for betrayal trauma survivors for years and I’m constantly looking for ways to make the experience better. One thing I look at is: how can I remove the obstacles to the support that women need. To me, two of the biggest obstacles are cost and commitment. Regarding the commitment part of it, if a woman feels like she must commit to being the same place at the same time every week, it seems overwhelming.

So I started brainstorming about how do we solve that. What can we do to eliminate the anxiety that comes with overwhelming feelings of being stuck. The idea of membership came to me – like a gym membership, and BTR Club sprang from there.

Anne: Coach Sarah, you’ll be coaching the drop-in support groups on Thursdays, what are your strengths as a coach?

How Can An APSATS Coach Help You Deal With Your Husband’s Narcissistic Traits?

Sarah: One of my clients recently told me that she always feels really grounded at the end of a session with me. That my ability to know exactly what she needs to hear and have the tools to meet her needs and help her feel stronger and more stable. My curiosity and deep empathy enables me to really see my clients. What they’re currently going through, and then connect that with the tools they will need and empower them to effect change in their situation. Even if that’s only how they feel in the middle of what they’re going through.

Anne: Coach Sarah and Coach Rae know each other very well, even though they live in different parts of the country. I think it’s really cool that you have different personalities and different strengths, but you feel confident enough in each other’s abilities that this works. The coolest thing about having a team is that every person has a different perspective on things and can give you different insights about your situation.

That’s what I love about Betrayal Trauma Recovery. I’m here. We have eight amazing coaches. We’re all working together on the same page for the same goal, with the same heart of helping other people. Coach Rae, what’s it like for you coaching on the same team as Coach Sarah?

Coach Rae: Even though I’m actually a pretty extreme introvert, when it comes to doing this kind of soul work in support of other women, I’ve realized that I’m a much better coach when I stay very well networked to other coaches doing the same type of work I’m doing, but usually with a different focus. One of the things that’s the most fantastic about working with different coaches in this field of betrayal trauma recovery is that we get to know each other’s strengths and personalities, and even our personal and professional experience which flow into our coaching work.

I get a very good sense just from knowing each of these women and the other coaches here at BTR about which coaches can help our clients in their particular situations. If I encounter a client with a particular situation with her sex addict husband, which coach would be best poised to help her. We do a lot of referring back and forth. We do a lot of brainstorming together, not more than a day or two tends to by when I’m not connecting with one of my fellow coaching colleagues in a confidential way – protecting my clients true names – about some way to make our work better.

Anne: Working with all of you is amazing because I get so many different insights, and yet we’re all on the same page. And we all view the situation through the lens of trauma – making sure women are not only healing from the betrayal, but also from the lies, gaslighting, emotional abuse, and narcissistic behaviors, and all of the other related behaviors that come along with sexual addiction. So Coach Rae, you’ll be coaching the Tuesday sessions. What do you bring to your coaching that helps bring women to safety.

Have A Team Of Professionals Guide You When You Find Out About Your Husband’s Sex Addiction

Coach Rae: Finding out about your husband’s pornography use or his affairs is chaotic and scary. When women first find out about their husband’s double life, it’s a very confusing time. One of the best things women can do is reach out and start talking with professionals who understand the nuances of the situation.

Giving these women an opportunity to reach out and discuss and talk and move forward with an APSATS coach with other women who are also facing their husband’s pornography addiction. Our BTR Support Club gives women an opportunity to drop-in, stop, reflect, and heal – because healing takes time and support. It allows women to flourish in a space where your husband can’t gaslight you and your friends don’t know. Not that friends are awesome, but sometimes they just don’t understand and they’re not safe to talk to about your husband’s sex addiction.

BTR Club is a place where you’re fully accepted where you’re at for who you are and how you’re feeling. I bring an understanding heart. I’ve been where all these courageous, brave women have been and are now. And we’ll work through it together.

Coach Sarah: One of my favorite things about Coach Rae is her ability to speak in a way that is clear and to the point. She doesn’t beat around the bush like some people can. She speaks with simplicity and power in truth.

Coach Rae: There are times along this journey where all of us need some tenderness and some sensitivity, and there are also times when we need someone to be really direct and talk straight with us about what healing from betrayal trauma really looks like.

When Faced With Your Husband’s Pornography Addiction, Sometimes You Need Straight Talk

And Coach Sarah has the ability to do both of those things, sometimes within the same conversation. She possesses the strength and the skills to do both of those things. I’ve personally had Coach Sarah work me through certain issues of my own, and I’ve been blessed to be able to experience her ability to be sweet and sensitive and empathetic, and also very direct and clear.

Coach Sarah: Yes, she has a humor in the way that she says things that puts you at ease.

Anne: We’re just gonna talk about Coach Rae because she’s awesome.

Coach Rae: I was afraid of this because I will hold your hand and comfort you and validate you, but when it’s time to get going, I will kick you in the tushy. Like really get you moving because I don’t want you to be stuck.

Anne: And we love you for it. For our readers, what are you looking for in a support group? Comment below about your support group experience. What’s worked for you? What hasn’t worked? Let us know. Your comments provide support for women going through similar things. If you’re interested in being in a our free secret Facebook peer-to-peer support group, join our community by entering your email and the bottom of the page, and you’ll receive an email with instructions about how to join.

Coach Rae, why are these types of continual and drop-in sessions so important for women?

Coach Rae: You know how often you hear us coaches talk about things like self-care? I’ve yet to meet a woman healing from betrayal trauma who doesn’t need, on a very deep level, two different kinds of self-care interventions. First we have the preventative big, picture self care. The type of self care we do on a routine basis like taking our vitamins and getting enough sleep.

Then you have the in the moment, emergency self care. The stuff we do because if we don’t, we’ll explode – like going to the doctor when you have an acute injury. So this model, for having this ongoing, easy access Betrayal Trauma Recovery Club sessions format, women can really take advantage of the best of both of these types of self care in one multi-purpose subscription package.

Anne: Yes, all of us have an experience where we have this crisis over the weekend. On Monday morning, we try to get into our therapist, but she doesn’t have an appointment for three weeks. Or we call our friend, only to realize she’s out of town – and she’s the only friend that knows about our husband’s abusive behaviors. With BTR Support Club we can know that we’ll have the support we need when we need it.

To register for Betrayal Trauma Recovery Club, click here.

Anne’s Journey To Trust Herself & Heal From Betrayal Trauma

Grateful For My Betrayal Trauma Journey

On this 4th of July, I want to give my thanks for all of you, for being on this recovery journey with me. I feel more free, more happy even though my problems are the same. I still have serious financial problems. My ex is still abusive, so I have to maintain the no contact boundary with him.
I’m grateful for myself that I’ve been continuing my own work to recovery from the narcissistic abuse that I suffered as a result of my husband’s pornography addiction. I continued to do the right things, even when it was hard, and even when I didn’t feel like it. And now the peace and hope I feel is breathtaking. Doing this one step at a time, things get better.

APSATS Coaches Help Women Heal From The Pain Of Infidelity & Abuse

I’m also grateful for the APSATS coaches that work for Betrayal Trauma Recovery. I interact with them everyday, and because of them and God, I’m feeling healed. I need to take a moment to celebrate that.

Rebuilding Trust In Yourself

Coach Sarah is known in the APSATS community as an expert in boundaries. She’s starting a Betrayal & Boundaries group, specifically about how to set and hold healthy boundaries when you’re involved with a man who is a sex addict / pornography addict, and exhibits narcissistic traits like gaslighting and lying.
These spots go fast, so if you’re interested join right away.
Next week Coach Sarah, Coach Rae, and Coach Kim will be on the podcast to talk about Betrayal Trauma Recovery Club.

Why APSATS Coaching Is Your Best Option For Dealing With Your Husband’s Pornography Addiction, Gaslighting, & Abuse

I was recently APSATS trained, and I came away realizing that therapy is for pathological issues. Coaching is for women who don’t have anything wrong with them, like you. You are in a situation that is very difficult, with a man who has serious pathological issues, but you are reacting in normal ways to betrayal and abuse. But there is nothing wrong with you. You are just fine the way you are.
Your problems are situational, and our APSATS coaches can help you establish emotional, physical, and sexual safety in your life.
That’s why we use coaches – to help you deal with the situation that you’re in. Schedule a support call today or join a group and start to feel the support and peace you deserve.

Join The Boundaries Support Group

Betrayal Trauma Symptoms – Am I Crazy?

If you haven’t yet, please read What Is Betrayal Trauma? before reading this post. 

Note: Since Coach Cat is from the UK, you will find British spellings throughout:).

Betrayal Trauma Symptoms

So, what are the trauma responses most often seen in female partners of sexually addicted men?

  • Overwhelming emotions
  • Unusual/uncharacteristic behaviours
  • Sleep difficulties – too much/too little
  • ‘Brain fog’ – inability to think clearly, memory loss, getting lost easily
  • Eating problems – inability to eat/overeating
  • Anxiety/panic attacks
  • Depression
  • Rumination/obsessive thoughts and intrusive images/flashbacks
  • Difficulty caring for self or others
  • Isolation
  • Obsessive need to check the internet history, GPS, email accounts, text message history etc for signs that the danger is still present

There will be many more trauma responses to those listed here, this is an attempt to outline the more common responses post discovery/disclosure. 

Omar Minwalla writes the following in a blog for

Partners often present with a set of symptoms that match symptoms similar to rape trauma syndrome (RTS) and complex post-traumatic-stress disorder (C-PTSD), including psycho-biological alterations, re-experiencing of the trauma, social and emotional constriction, constant triggering and reactivity, significant anxiety, emotional arousal and hyper-vigilance. Sex addiction-induced trauma is a highly specific type of trauma that involves nuanced symptoms that can include fear and panic of potential disease and contamination, fear of child safety and potential of child molestation, social isolation, embarrassment and shame and intense relational rupture and attachment injuries.

Betrayal Trauma & Abuse

The work of Minwalla, Steffens et al, reveals some added dimensions to the trauma suffered by partners of sex addicts in the vulnerability they experience to behavioural abuse, treatment induced trauma and spiritual crisis. Many sex addicts accompany their secretive sexual behaviour with a number of mind bending tactics to conceal their secret lives. Many are experts at gaslighting and demonstrate an impressive array of narcissistic traits, all designed to confuse the partner and render her incapable of trusting her reality and thus incapable of challenging the addict’s behaviour.

Many women report aggressive and violent behaviours from the addicted person after their secret world is discovered.

Many experience spiritual abuse with their religious beliefs exploited as a means of control or minimisation. Sadly some women experience this outside of their relationship, by other members of their religious communities. Many are thrown into a spiritual and existential crisis as they grapple to understand what has just happened to their life, who they actually committed to and the knock on effects of who that makes them in this relationship, nay, ALL relationships. They are prone to question God’s presence in all this and can feel as betrayed by God as by their partner. Add to that some of the well meaning but misguided advice of some professionals and ‘lay-helpers’ and you have a recipe for compounded trauma, confusion and terror for the partner.

There is also the issue of the circumstances surrounding the discovery/disclosure of the issue. Most often this happens by discovery, the addicted partner is ‘found out’ by some means or another. In the most dramatic of cases this can be after an arrest for illegal behaviour which of course creates a significant crisis. Looks messy, doesn’t it! Tell me again how I’m supposed to tell this broken woman that she created this?! 

So, clearly this is a very complex issue with a whole load of possible nuances, symptoms and responses. When written out like this, it is not hard to see why this condition is often misunderstood and misdiagnosed. A single, ‘cookie cutter’ approach to healing will never work for this diverse group of women, each bringing their unique selves to this experience. That is why you should expect an approach uniquely tailored to you. That said, when we come back to conclude this series next week, we will take a look at the proven approach to trauma that has been adapted for those nuances we have discussed by APSATS in their Multi Dimensional Partner Trauma Model.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, we recommend scheduling a support call with one of our trained Betrayal Trauma Recovery coaches.

We also recommend starting by joining Betrayal Trauma Recovery Club.

In healing and support,

Coach Cat

Update From Anne – My Awkward, Public Betrayal Trauma Mess

Just want to give you an update about how my recovery is going. 

Most of you know that my divorce was finalized in February. So February was rough. I went through a frantic trauma mode, realizing that this is real, this is happening, and now I need a concrete plan to move forward. It’s very interesting because God is telling me the opposite thing: to relax, to trust Him, and to just take one step at a time. I’m trying to take a step back and not try so hard and to trust that I am a lily of the field and He will take care of me.

I’m struggling with living in the present. I’m disassociating frequently–where I get lost in my thoughts and zone out. Self-care is also a struggle. I don’t get out of the house much. I take care of my kids and don’t put makeup on or do my hair; exercising has also been rough. I really need to start focusing on self care because I think it would help my agoraphobia. I have a serious issue and that is I cannot stand to wear a bra! I can’t stand it! I don’t know if this is a part of the trauma. I avoid leaving the house so I don’t have to put one on or I wear a big coat! 

In the book, Your Sexually Addicted Spouse Barbara Steffens writes, “A messy exterior does not equal co-dependency.” She also says, “We believe it can be extremely difficult for any professional to clearly assess a partner’s personal empowerment because her post traumatic can trigger such extreme responses that the person may appear to exhibit co-dependency and erratic mental health. Such a person may look panicked, unkempt, hysterical, angry, depressed, impatient, and even abrasive as she sees her marriage, dreams, and life crumble, lost to a spouse’s sexual addiction.

Yet we have found that if we look under the surface presentation of a sex addicts partner and seek to understand the motivation beneath her behavior, we can begin to more clearly understand where the person is coming from. Only then can we help her to determine what she needs to feel safe again. Empower her to act in her own best interest and help her to begin to heal. Once this early ER treatment and beginning steps of healing takes place, we find most partners are able to look at personal issues on which they need to work.”

I think I’m at this point. I have some personal issues I need to work on – especially with self care.

Coming Soon The Details Of Anne’s Story – How She Done Got Betrayal Trauma And Her Healing Process

I’ve been working on my book which will come out soon. It’s in the revision stage right now. As I work on it, my trauma really flares up. I feel my heart clenching up, my stomach in knots, and not being able to really express my true feelings. In looking back at some of my past behaviors and the way I reacted to my husband’s infidelity and abuse, I wasn’t really ever able to clearly communicate what I needed and how I felt.

Most of the time I was stuck in a constant loop of trying to defend myself and trying to gain safety in my home through having my husband change his behaviors. I’ve learned that any time I’ve come at communication from this place of trying to defend myself or trying to prove something, rather than coming to it from a place of sharing my feelings, I don’t come at it the right way. I still don’t really know how to do that. It’s just something that I am now seeing that I need to work on.

Flying Monkey’s, Narcissistic Husband’s And Betrayal Trauma

The trauma has caused me to be so defensive that I became detached from my own feelings. Since I don’t really have co-dependent tendencies, in the past I don’t believe that I was seeking control. What I was seeking was truth and safety. I think this is how many women are. We are looking for the truth and for safety. These desires may present themselves in different ways. I still have a no-contact boundary with him and his “flying monkeys.” A “flying monkey” is someone who enables an abuser. Here is a segment from an article called, How Narcissist’s get Away With It from

“Anyone in a relationship with a narcissist knows how much discord one person can sow. A fog of confusion descends and the environment seems to become more toxic by the minute. That’s because people with disorder personalities thrive on drama and division which they create by spreading false rumors with a little bit of truth mixed in to make their story more plausible. They also recruit “flying monkeys” whom they artfully manipulate to carry out their agenda. Meanwhile, because the air has become poison, no one is happy.

However, it is very difficult to figure out what is going on. That’s because an adult who suffers from a character flaw serious enough to bully another knows their number will be up if they do not use a lot of smoke and mirrors to deflect attention away from their own misdeeds. One tried and true trick is to blame everything on the innocent person who happens to be their target. Then they need to convince everyone else that things would improve if this person changed.”

My ex-husband’s mother sent me a note that said, in a nutshell, “We know Christ can heal people and we know he can heal you, so you can do what’s best for the kids.” I assume from this that they think that if I were accessing the atonement, I’d want to talk to them? Actually, it’s the opposite. Christ is healing me and teaching me to set boundaries. I’m feeling the healing process work, mainly because I’m no longer being abused by my ex or abused by proxy by his family. 

The reason why I cannot have contact is because they are too unhealthy. I’ve thought about all of the things I could write back, such as, “I hope that you can use the Atonement to heal you so you can be a safe person to talk to.”

I wrote a couple different versions and then I prayed and told God that I can’t control the way she perceives me. I don’t know what she wants. I don’t know why she’s writing. If I were to write back at this point, it would be from a place of trying to defend myself (yes, I am accessing the atonement, thanks) or trying to explain it to her (this is how I access the atonement, you should try it). But I still haven’t figured out how to communicate this in a clear way that does not include defending or explaining. I surrendered it and put the letter in my surrender drawer.

I think my ex thought the divorce would be the answer to his problems. I think he’s realizing that he has the exact same problems. I still have a no-contact boundary. He’s having financial problems (and they’re not nearly as bad as mine, so I’m not sympathetic at all – especially since he caused it himself).

Divorcing didn’t solve his problems. I wonder if he thinks talking to me would solve his problems – which is obviously ridiculous. I talked to him for seven years and that didn’t solve anything. The only solution to his problems is genuine, honest recovery. 

Someone commented on Instagram exactly what I would need to feel safe: “The worst part about toxic people is how they feel the right to walk into your life at any moment, interrupting the healing process. It’s always so casual and self serving, feigning ignorance of the absolute havoc they have wrought on your life.”

This is how it feels when my ex attempts any contact without taking full and total accountability for his perceptions and behaviors over the last eight years. He’s not humble, honest, nor willing to surrender to God’s will. I can see clearly that he has not changed and he is using his same tactics over and over again. I’m done playing this game. He casually tries to come in here or there and I’m not interested in having a relationship in any way, shape, or form unless he is healthy – which would likely take years of active recovery and therapy.

Betrayal Trauma Recovery Is A Process

Recovery is a process. It’s not linear – you don’t learn one concept and the next day you totally understand it and know how to apply it. It’s circular and you’re able to apply a part of a principle and then you learn more about it and apply more.

You have ah-ha moments – things you’ve heard about for years and finally it makes sense. This happened with boundaries for me. I didn’t understand what this meant for years and I’m still understanding more about them. But I incorporated boundaries when it finally made sense to me.

I’m grateful for you and your listening to this process. I receive emails from you, saying you’ve cried with me and that you have felt some of the same things I have felt. I want you to know that I am so sorry for your pain. I’m sorry that you have been abandoned by the person who promised to love you. I’m sorry that at times it seems like there is no one there to help.

I know that God can see us. Whether our path is the path of yoga (I think if we all did yoga the world’s problems would be solved), or getting an APSATS coach who will provide an immediate supporting environment. A therapist you choose, a recovery group, whatever you choose, know that God is there and He will lead and guide you. 

One thing I have noticed with recovery is that it is important to choose something and give it a try for a little while. For example I tried meditation and it felt good in the moment and then an hour later I felt terrible. But if I made a goal to meditate everyday for twenty minutes, and I actually did it, I started feeling consistently better. Similarly, if I did yoga every day, I would feel better. If I followed up with a coach every other week for three months, I’d likely see consistent progress.

We recommend people start with our safety and stabilization package with our APSATS coaching. It’s three session that are individual where a person can begin the process and find out where they are and what they need. Group sessions will soon be available. Look for this on our website. It’s a less-expensive option. Groups cap at 5 people so there can be individual attention along with the support of a group.

I’m in this just like you. My trauma is still intense when it gets triggered – which is thankfully less and less these days. I’m working through my insecurities and worries and fears. I’m still numbing through compulsive work projects and cleaning.

We’re all in this together sisters, and don’t worry – we will die eventually:)!

Until next time, stay safe out there!

An Exercise To Quiet Your Self-Defeating Inner Dialogue

I’m Coach Rae, one of the APSATS certified partner coaches here at Betrayal Trauma Recovery. I’m also a certified professional life coach, couples relationship coach, and divorce recovery coach. I want to share with you one of my favorite tools for helping women who are just too hard on themselves. I don’t know about you, but I don’t meet too many women who do not struggle with this to one degree or perhaps in a specific area of their lives. The belief is that they aren’t good enough; my best isn’t good enough; I’m screwing everything up; I can’t hack this; I must be a failure.

Self Care When Triggered By Betrayal Trauma

As a coach, nothing makes me want to cry more than watching these amazing, brave, beautiful, smart women reeling from betrayal trauma, trying to heal while holding all the rest of their lives together, beating themselves up for not doing better, for not doing as well as they think they should, for not being perfect, for having a learning curve when it comes to all of this.  Whenever I speak to women on this topic I have to add a little bit of a clarification that this sense of self-condemnation is not one more thing you are doing right.  It is actually a sign that you are able to observe what is happening and it gives you some leverage and momentum in terms of being able to turn the tables or shift and re-frame things in a way that instead of being self critical you can actually be self compassionate and self supportive.

Here is the exercise.  I recommend listening through as I describe it here first, before actually sitting down to do the exercise for yourself in real time.  This will increase you chances of making this a meaningful and genuine distraction-free exercise at your own pace and in your comfort zone.  

The first thing to do is to get as calm as possible.  This usually means taking a few deep breaths and shaking off some of the voices or gremlins we have been talking about here.  From this place of calm, picture as clearing as possible in your mind a woman whom you love dearly.  This can be a friend, a sister, a mother, a daughter or maybe someone who has helped you through your experience of betrayal trauma.  From this place of clarity, picture this woman carrying on her body`–on her shoulders or arms or back–all of the collective weight, the cumulative stress that you have been carrying in your own life.  For some women it is easy to think about what has been stressing them out today or what they have been carrying this week.  

For other women, it is helpful to telescope it out further – what has happened in the past month or year – and envision the bulk of this weighing on the shoulders or back or crowding the arms of your dear friend.  Imagine what it would feel like for her to go through everything you yourself is going through.  Imagine that you catch her out of the corner of your eye and you turn to face her as you think about the things that you would and would not say to this woman.  Chances are if this is someone you love you would not say things to her like, “You’re a failure,” or “You just can’t cut it,” or “You’re pathetic,” or “You did it again.  Look where you got yourself.  This is all your fault.”

How To Quiet Self Defeating Thoughts

Instead, think about–and some women find it helpful to write down the things you would say to her instead of those things.  Maybe you would say to her, “I see you and I see your burdens and I see your hurts.”  Maybe you tell her, “I care about you.  I’m on your side.  I have your back and you don’t have to do any of this alone.”  Maybe you would tell her, “Let me share some of this burden for awhile so you can catch your breath.  When you are ready, you can take it back and deal with it then.”  Maybe you tell her, “I believe in you.  I won’t give up on you.  You are so strong.”  Maybe it’s, “You don’t have to be strong forever.  You don’t need to be perfect.  I’m going to love you no matter how this whole things shakes out.”  Maybe you say, “Let’s not talk about this stuff for a little while.  Let’s take a minute to set it aside and give ourselves a self-care break and laugh about something completely meaningless or silly.”  

Whatever messages you come up with for your friend, try to make them as meaningful, as personal, as substantive as possible.  Ultimately, these messages you are crafting for your friend typically reflect exactly the things you need to hear in your own soul, given that you are the one actually carrying all of this weight upon your own body and your own soul.  

When you are doing this exercise, take a few more deep breaths and just sit with the reality of this and how it impacts you to think about everything you are carrying and everything inside that you are deeply craving and wanting and needing to hear.  As the final step in this exercise, speak out loud (it may feel hokey; it does for me!) with your own voice what you need to hear with your own ears and absorb with your own soul.  See if you experience some kind of shift–a sense of well being that perhaps you are doing better than you are giving yourself credit for.  Maybe you have everything it takes to get through this experience in a far better and more successful way than you think you can.  

Even though I don’t have a lot of time to talk about it right now,  I would love to continue this conversation with you.  You can leave me a comment or email me at  Let me know if this works for you.  Are you facing any unexpected roadblocks with the process?  Or maybe you are being hard on yourself in ways that an exercise like this just does not conquer.  If you prefer a more personal dialogue on this topic, schedule a free 30-minute consultation with myself or any of the other BTR coaches.  We can get really specific and strategize some solutions for your specific kinds of self-condemnation and the things that might be sabotaging your attempts to heal from betrayal trauma.

As I wrap up, let me say thank you for giving me a voice in this forum and inviting me into this part of your life and your healing process.  I really do hope it has been helpful.  I feel like I have done my job today if you are taking away a little bit more hope than you had before, a little more self confidence that maybe you can start talking back to all of these voices and giving them a different tone and a different role and a different kind of input into your life and recovery.

I believe you can do it!  I hope you believe you can do it.  Most importantly, i hope you know that you do not have to do any of this by yourself.  That is what support is for.  This is why we all need support along this journey.  This is my desire for you as you continue healing from betrayal trauma.

For more assistance learning recovery tools, schedule a call with Coach Rae or any one of our APSATS coaches.

Will Finding Out If I’m Codependent Help Me?

Definition Of Codependent

Many women wonder, “What is codependency? What does it mean to be codependent? Am I codependent?”

They also wonder how codependency is different from betrayal trauma.

Coach Rae, what does it mean to be codependent and why is the term sometimes offensive to wives of sex addicts.

Coach Rae: Codependence started as a way to designate the struggles expressed by partners of addicts and also the behaviors and coping mechanisms exercised in order to survive that type of dynamic. Even when psychotherapists refer to the term codependent, they are referring to a combination of other behaviors or issues. Whether it’s a term we’re hearing someone else use about their own lives, or whether it’s a term we’re coming to on our own, it can be tense when our feelings about the term is different than someone else might interpret the term.

Anne: When I hear the term codependent, I think that I was codependent before my marriage, and that’s why I ended up marrying a pornography addict. But from your description, you’re saying that it’s a set of behaviors that develops as a coping mechanism after the marriage. Is that your understanding of it? That’s blowing my mind! Because the way I viewed it before felt like, since I’m codependent – all of the problems in my marriage are my fault. But what you’re saying is, that my abusive husband’s behaviors were so traumatizing that I developed a set of coping skills around in. 

Coach Rae: The way you describe it as the coping skills we develop is the one we relate to more. You’ll often hear about women who choose addict husband’s are carrying baggage from their past, but sometimes they’re not. I can’t tell you the number of times I hear a woman say, “I grew up in an extremely functional family, with parents who are loving, spiritual, and connected.” These women struggle more to understand how they ended up in the relationship with an addict, versus women who grow up in an abusive situation who marry someone similar to their father.

One thing I think you highlight, that’s important, is the ability to take something that once felt like a loaded indictment, like, you caused all this chaos in your life,  That feeling of being blamed or cornered or labeled, doesn’t mean that you need to be stuck there.

Anne: Just right now, I’m feeling a little more open to codependence, thinking, maybe I could look at this a little more. Maybe I don’t need to be so defensive about it. I felt a lot of anxiety about being labeled codependent. Already I’m feeling a little more open to the idea that maybe I did develop some coping mechanisms in relation to the abuse that are unhealthy that I need to work on.

How Do You Feel About The Term Codependent?

I’d like to know what our readers think about the label codependence. Does it help you? Does it trigger you? Will you please comment on this article at the bottom anonymously. I look forward to hearing what you think about it.

How Being Defined As Codependent May Be Hurting Women

Coach Rae: In addition to looking at all the different ways the word codependent can be valuable in terms of understanding our experiences, one of the things I know is critically important is that the term can be triggering, offensive, and re-traumatizing word to some of us. Through APSATS, one of the things that I’ve learned that I really didn’t get anywhere else, was increased sensitivity, as a coach.

For a lot of women, just that initial instance of being called a codependent, or even worse, being called a co-sex addict can be really terrifying. For example, a woman who just found out about their husband’s sex addiction after years of not knowing anything, and the word sex addiction feels like a huge, heavy, dangerous, dark weight that suddenly just dropped in your lap. And by calling her a co-sex addict, it links her to a term that has so much threat potential for her life and her family. Imagine being refereed to as a co-murderer? That little co prefix to some of us implies that we are cooperating or collaborating or connection to this thing that we don’t want anything to do with – it can really be damaging and overwhelming.

Wives who have the term codependency thrust upon them often feel likes it’s an indictment upon them for choosing their husband. And the way I address this with my clients is that there may be some reasons you chose your partner. That indictment of I chose him, and that’s a negative reflection of me or a condemnation, overlooks or minimizes the fact that they may have lied to us, manipulated us, or deceived us. Knowing that seems to diffuse the guilt associated with choosing an emotionally unhealthy husband.

Women also think that the term codependent implies some sense of self-denial or self delusion, like we’ve somehow put our head in the sand.

We put our head in the sand and blinded ourselves to this reality that’s right in front of us. Unlike other chemical dependencies like alcohol or drugs which happen in front of your eyes, sex addiction or porn addiction, almost always happens in darkness and secrecy. Unlike other addictions, where you would almost have to be physically blind in order to not see it happening, this is the exact opposite of that. It’s difficult for women when they feel that the term codependent suggests that they weren’t attuned to their relationship, that they didn’t have enough self awareness – that somehow they should have known. I hear that one a lot, “How did I not know!?” Or other people ask them that same question.

And the last one, and this is the one that hits closest to me, is often when we hear the word codependent, it results in feeling like we’re not being seen, heard, or validated. It sometimes translates into being told that we shouldn’t focus on the wreckage of our partners abuse. It’s like us screaming and yelling for help because our house is on fire, and others telling us, “Don’t worry about the flames, just go water your own flowers.”

So that’s one of those visceral ways that hearing the term codependent can trigger a lot of trauma and pile up hurt in wives of pornography addicts.

The Best Way To Safely Approach Codependency

Anne: That’s why it’s so important that women get qualified APSATS coaching because we can be re-traumatized or have secondary trauma from therapists who tell us, “I know you’re house is burning down, but don’t focus on that right now.” For me, when I went to therapy, the therapists never addressed the fact that I was being abused continually – they told me to focus on myself. But focusing on myself didn’t stop the abuse when I don’t know how to set boundaries around my husband’s unhealthy behaviors.

I have secondary trauma because of some harmful ways my church leader dealt with the situation, secondary trauma from several of the therapists that my husband worked with. Getting APSATS trained coaching for yourself is so important, so you can feel compassionate support, and to be able to have a clear plan to get yourself to a safe place is key.

Coach Rae: When we’re experiencing betrayal trauma – when we’re in that safety and stabilization phase, and that can happen any time during recovery, it doesn’t necessarily happen when you first find out. But when you’re in that safety and stabilization phase, you’re not processing information in a way that healing can happen. 

It’s important to be able to not expect ourselves to be doing work on codependency while we’re in the throws of the first stage. I’m glad you brought up treatment induced trauma. I’m really proud to be trained by an organization like APSATS. I’ve been in S-Anon 12 Step recovery for seven years before I started coaching. I’ve been through years of therapy and three different coaching trainings, and it wasn’t until APSATS that I even heard the term treatment induced trauma. With all my experience working with sex addiction and all my coaching training, it really shows the level of quality of training of APSATS in providing what partners of sex addicts need.

When you have a client whose husband is seeing a therapist and there is conflict there. I’ve heard women who are on the receiving end from treatment induced trauma issued by their husband’s therapist or pastor.  Those are the situations that APSATS trains us for.  

Secondary Trauma – An Extension Of Betrayal Trauma

Anne: Being a survivor of treatment induced trauma myself, and being a survivor of church leader induced trauma – being aware that it can happen and getting the most qualified help you can get is essential. Especially if you’re dealing with someone who exhibits narcissistic personality disorder behaviors, they can convince all the people around them of their alternate reality. You can feel so alone and scared. Having a community and a coach who can help you navigate you that from a safe space is so helpful.

Coach Rae: I like to present to women, if you’re having trouble recognizing what is  codependence versus what is a response to the trauma in your marriage or your relationship, look at it from a lense outside of pornography addiction or sex addiction and sometimes it becomes clearer.

Anne: I think that’s an interesting distinction. Look at yourself outside the context of your relationship with your husband, and look at yourself inside that context and see what types of behaviors are keeping you from safety.

Tell me about your training. What is APSATS and why is is so important to get a specially trained coach to deal with gaslighting or narcissism or other behaviors that active addicts exhibits.

Specialized Coaching To Navigate Issues Related To Betrayal Trauma & Codependency

Coach Rae: APSATS stands for Association of Partners of Sex Addicts Trauma Specialists. It was started by Barbara Steffens who wrote the flagship book, Your Sexually Addicted Spouse – which first posited the idea that what wives of sex addicts were demonstrating with the coping strategies and survival skills was actually symptoms of trauma, called betrayal trauma, not necessarily some sort of kind of broken relationship dysfunction they brought with them into the marriage.

When I first encountered APSATS, I was excited to find the first organization that existed specifically to train and certify professionals to support partners of sex addicts, not about sex addiction itself, not about general addiction family dynamics, not about marital counseling. It was specifically oriented toward supporting the traumatized partners of sex addicts. It’s a trauma informed approach and partner oriented approach to this situation. It supports the partner’s safety and well being, rather than putting the focus on the addict or abuser.  

Anne: At BTR we recommend that women  begin attending free SALifeline 12 Step meetings and work with a free sponsor, and that they also engage professional help from an APSATS coach.

If you want one-on-one help with exploring codependency or trauma with Coach Rae, or any of our other coaches, please schedule an appointment today. Our coaches are specifically trained to help you see determined if your behavior is a result of codependent traits you’ve developed throughout your life, or trauma you’ve experienced in relation to your husband addictive or abusive behaviors. 

To schedule an appointment with Coach Rae or any of our APSATS coaches, click here.

Thanksgiving Meditation To Heal From Betrayal Trauma

We’re going to do a gratitude meditation. So, right now, if you can, find a soft warm blanket and lay down on the floor flat on your back. Now cover yourself with said blanket. This meditation will only take a few minutes, but I promise, if you take this time to lay down and relax for a bit, you’ll feel better when we’re done:).

Instead of ruminating on thoughts like, why does my husband hate me or if I could learn how to check the cookies, give yourself a much needed break from the pain. You’ve been hurt enough, don’t let your thoughts hurt you more.

I’ll wait for a minute for you to do this. Feel free to pause the podcast until you get your blanket.

During this meditation, my words will become your words. I will speak in the first person, so that the words can sink into your subconscious. All you have to do is lay flat on the ground, with no pillow or anything–just a warm, soft blanket over you. This is my Thanksgiving present to you. I meditate often and it helps a lot with my Betrayal Trauma symptoms.

Okay, are you ready?

Meditation To Be Grateful Even When You’re In Trauma

As I lay here, a wave of relaxation comes over my body. The top of my head opens, and as the relaxation moves up all negative emotions and thoughts float out the top of my head. I am feeling calm and relaxed. 
My toes are like rubber bands dangling from the balls of my feet. From the balls of my feet all the way down through the heels, the muscles and nerves relax. The circulation flows through me, not only relaxing me, but bringing my muscles, nerves, and bones into perfect balance and health. All of my muscles are long, supple, strong, relaxed and flexible, my ligaments are strong and whole, and my organs work perfectly. 
This relaxation moves up through my ankles. The ankles relax and the muscles and bones are balanced. The relaxation moves up through the calf muscles and the calves relax and grow long. My calf muscles are like long cooked spaghetti dangling from the bone. Energy soothingly surges through my calves and up to my knees.

The relaxation continues up and my thigh muscles grow long and strong. My quads grow long and strong in gentle relaxation. The relaxation moves into the deepest part of my glute muscles. The muscles let go – relaxed, supple, and flexible as energy flows into my inner thighs and tightens them. My pelvic space relaxes and the energy heals all the muscles and joints.
Moving up through my hips and pelvis, I relax even more. Although the muscles in my pelvis are strong and pull my pelvis into place, the muscles, tendons, joints, and bones elongate and create more space for my organs. My organs are soft and whole. I see my intestines; they gently dangle over the side. The residue softly squeezes out of my intestines.

My intestines are relaxed, completely empty, whole, and clean. I slowly and gently place my intestines back into my lengthened pelvic cavity. As I let go, the new and vital and fresh flows through me. My pelvic cavity is healed, comfortable and relaxed. The energy surges up through my abdomen.  All my organs are healthy and strong. My liver and kidneys perform perfectly and are effective and clean.  

My torso elongates even more, and all the organs settle vertically. I can see all the digestive juices in my stomach, they look like a calm lake – perfectly normal, completely relaxed and calm. My stomach gently shrinks back to the size of an almond, relaxed and peaceful. Satisfied and unruffled both now and at all times.
All relaxed, all resting, all comfortable. From the deep muscles in my hips, I feel the relaxation and energy surging up my back. As it moves up my back, all the discs, the nerves, the vertebrae and muscles relax into perfect position. The energy flows up through my spine healing all the nerves and creating space between the disks. Everything elongates and I am tall and graceful. I grow a tiny bit taller everyday. 
As the relaxation moves up toward my chest, I see my heart and lungs performing normally, breathing easily just like a sleeper breaths as I go deeper and deeper in comfortable, restful relaxation.  I relax the fingers on my hands. They are like rubber bands just dangling from the palms of my hands. On up through wrist to my elbows all the way up through my shoulders, the healing energy follows. The heat and energy surround my shoulders relaxing and healing them.  They are strong, supple and flexible. They perform perfectly. 
The energy flows through the nerves rhythmically, as the nerves in turn heal the muscles, ligaments, and cells throughout my entire body. The energy elongates my muscles and creates more space vertically throughout my body. The healing energy surges up through my spine and concentrates at the top of the neck. My neck continues to move deeper and deeper into complete relaxation.

The muscles that attach my shoulders to my neck relax. The warm energy flows around and through the muscles, discs, nerves, and vertebrae. All the nerves open to heal ligaments in my neck. The energy surges through the nerves, discs and vertebrae to heal my entire body, mind, and spirit. Energy is flowing through my body evenly. Every part of my body is open and receptive to the healing energy progressing through.
My jaw separates as the chin and cheek muscles relax. The energy surges through my jaw, relaxing and healing the jaw muscles. Stress floats away. I am relaxed. 
I relax all the tiny muscles around my eyes. Energy flows through the cells in my face stimulating new perfect cell growth in the deepest layers of my skin. My skin is even, smooth, and glowing. The skin tone is the same color everywhere on my face. My eyebrows and my forehead rest. My forehead is smooth and even.

From my chin sweeping up my entire face and the old cells turn into gorgeous wavy hair out the top of my head. From my forehead all the way back, my entire scalp relaxes to the base of my neck. This energy flows over my entire body, stimulating new beautiful skin cell growth.

Taking The Time To Be In The Moment Calms The Trauma

I imagine a brilliant white light above me. It comes in through the top of my head and fills my whole body. My entire body glows with this bright light.
The top of my head closes leaving me perfectly peaceful and calm. And keeping my eyes closed, I am completely healed. And because I am so relaxed, I have complete emotional freedom. I am confident and sure of myself. I am happy – happy with life exactly as it is. 

Oh, how grateful I am for my body!
I am pleased with my body. It is perfect in every aspect. The space where my spirit resides is a perfect structure made up of strong, elongated, healthy, perfect cells, bones, organs, ligaments and muscles. There is now space inside my body for joy and gratitude!
Keeping my eyes closed, I find that each and everyday I have a fresh start. From deep inside, I am calm, relaxed, and satisfied. 

I am so grateful for the sunrise!
So today I am glad to be myself. I am so thankful to be me! 

It’s Possible To Be Grateful Even When Faced With Betrayal

I am rich in every sense of the word. I have a flush toilet. I have a roof over my head. I have food to eat. I have clothing to wear. I am so grateful that my basic physical needs are met.  

I am so grateful for water! As I drink the hydrating gift of water, it nourishes my body and soul, it assimilates into my system perfectly and releases when unnecessary. I welcome new ideas and new concepts and prepare them for digestion and assimilation.

I am so grateful for my past experiences because they have made me strong, wise, and compassionate – able to overcome any obstacle with kindness and forgiveness. As I release the past, the new and fresh and vital enters. I allow life to flow through me with ease. I willingly release with joy. I am free to be me and I allow others the freedom to be who they are. It is safe for all of us to grow up.  

Loving A Safe Person Can Help You Heal From Betrayal Trauma

And now, I picture the face of someone I love deeply, someone who I can love without any reservation. For me, it’s my two-year-old daughter. Picture this person’s face. My body opens feel the love I have for this person surge through me. And with that love comes an intense sense of gratitude that I can feel this love. I am so grateful for this person in my life. I am so grateful for the circumstances that brought this person into my life.

For a moment, I just rest here in this feeling of love and gratitude.

I’m so grateful that there is safety in the world and that God will lead me to a safe and peaceful life.

And so, I am free to go forward. I am in charge of my mind and body. At this moment, I focus on that quiet place within me.  In this quiet place, great spiritual ideas are revealed. I take this moment to take a deep breath, my soul fills with peace.  I begin each day knowing that positive, gentle thoughts will guide me.

My gratitude for life and my gratitude for the help and blessings the Lord has given me, spills over and affects the way I spend my time, enables me to be a better person, and a better friend to myself and others. My gratitude and closeness to the Lord enable me to receive motivation, insight, and capacity to know and accomplish the Lord’s will for me.
Now it’s time for me to return to consciousness. I feel wonderfully rested. I will count from one to five and at the count of five I’ll wake up slowly and awaken completely rested with all the relaxation, healing, length, and change fully integrated into every cell in my body and element of my spirit.

In fact, as I begin to count from one to five, I become excited to face my everyday life, with faith that I can rely on God and He will help me. I am relaxed and confident – confident that I will make good choices that strengthen my relationship with Heavenly Father and bring me closer the peaceful life I desire.
One: I am ready to live now, strong, satisfied, tall, and flexible. Completely peaceful in body and spirit. Two: more and more awake, the blood begins to circulate through my body down through my arms and legs healing everything as I rest. I am so grateful for the experiences that bring me closer to God.

Three: more and more awake, I am ready to know God’s will for me today. Four: more and more awake, grateful for the people in my life who are safe. I am confident that I will make excellent choices to keep myself safe.  Grateful for life and all my blessings. Five, eyes open, wide awake, looking forward to the rest of the day.  

So Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope this helps you get centered a little.

Thanks to those of you who have donated, commented and given us a review on iTunes! Every donation, comment, and review helps other women who are isolated and alone and don’t know where to turn find us on this amazing thing called the internet! I’m so grateful for the internet!

I love you all! Keep coming back, it works when I work it and I am worth it.