Betrayal
Trauma
Recovery

“Emotional abuse is a domestic abuse issue. It falls under the umbrella of domestic violence.”

Anne Blythe, founder of Betrayal Trauma Recovery

The long-held and damaging societal belief that it’s “just emotional abuse” has caused harm to women all over the world for decades.

Stevie Croisant, founder of the survivor support network, We are Her, sheds light on the truths about emotional abuse as a domestic abuse issue and shares how victims can begin the journey to healing through sharing their stories, finding community, and becoming educated about abuse.

Emotional Abuse is Just As Damaging As Physical Abuse

Because victims of emotional and psychological abuse rarely have visible bruises, the abuse they endure is minimized or often entirely dismissed by family, friends, clergy, and therapists. The secondary trauma that arises from being discredited by those they reach out to for support is devastating.

While the bruises are not visible, the effects that emotional abuse has on the brain, body, and spirit of a woman are, indeed, tragic and real.

“My message to domestic abuse victims is to try and help them identify (the emotional and psychological abuse) long before the physical violence starts. To start identifying the the emotional and psychological abuse because that is just as dangerous to your heart and your soul as any physical thing that could happen to you.”

– Anne Blythe, founder of Betrayal Trauma Recovery

At Betrayal Trauma Recovery, emotional abuse is regarded as the serious and degrading abuse that it is. Speak to a professional now.

Physical Abuse is Always Accompanied By Emotional And Psychological Abuse

“You can’t separate them out. You’re never ever going to get physical violence without emotional and psychological violence.”

– Anne Blythe, founder of Betrayal Trauma Recovery

Tragically, victims of physical abuse also endure emotional and/or psychological abuse at the hands of their abuser. Physical abuse is never a stand-alone issue.

Physical abuse has been a long-misunderstood concept: while physical battering absolutely qualifies as physical abuse, it is not the only act that falls under definition. Any act that causes bodily harm or that causes fear in the victim of the threat of bodily harm is physical abuse.

Some examples of physical abuse are:

  • Destroying physical property (punching walls, kicking structures or items within or outside of the home, breaking something that belongs to the victim or her children)
  • Threatening (or offering a subtle threat) to harm a woman or her children, or property
  • Yelling and/or screaming at a victim
  • Sexual abuse of any kind
  • Physical battering
  • Any bodily harm
  • Any attempt to control the body of the victim or her children, even if it is not painful

When Victim-Survivors of Abuse Share Their Stories, Healing Can Begin

Abusers maintain power and control over their victims by taking away their right to speak the truth. Women find that it is difficult to even articulate what has happened to them because the abuser has so subtly and sometimes threateningly taken that right away.

When victims are ready, they often find that sharing their stories, even a little bit at a time, can help them begin their journeys to healing.

“When I first left my abuser, sharing my story was one of the first things I did…When I was with him, he took my voice away in more ways than one…When I left that relationship, I turned to writing and sharing my story as a way to start healing and to get my power and my voice back. It was really important for me to have my story written out in journal form, just so I could really validate what happened to me and remember these are the details, this is actually what happened, and not be persuaded or manipulated by the after-effects of gaslighting.

Also, I joined a survivor speaker’s bureau, and that was so life-changing for me. I think along with sharing my story I was able to do it in a speaker’s bureau with other survivors, so I instantly felt validated and supported and felt very empowered. I think doing that was one of the very first times in my life I remembered feeling empowered.”

-Stevie Croisant, founder of We Are Her

Education Empowers Victims of Emotional Abuse

Victims of abuse often feel that the fog of the abuse seems to lift as they find support, set boundaries, and gain knowledge about what has happened to them. Education about abuse and betrayal trauma are empowering to women who have been gaslit, manipulated, and further abused by men who have willfully led them into a vortex of confusion.

“We learned about domestic violence and the education that goes around it. Things like the cycle of abuse, and what emotional abuse looks like, and we were able to speak to that to the audiences and be able to not only share our story but incorporate different educational aspects into our story.”

– Stevie Croisant, founder of We Are Her

Betrayal Trauma Recovery affirms the right of every abuse victim to find answers to her questions.

Betrayal Trauma Recovery Offers Support and Safety to Victims of Emotional Abuse

Victims of domestic abuse often deserve to find others who can relate in a genuine way to what they are going through. The Betrayal Trauma Support Group meets daily to bring love, compassion, and support to women who are all on different levels of their journeys to healing.

BTR coaches are trained in helping women set boundaries, find safety, and feel true support.

Remember, you are not alone.

Full Transcript:

Welcome to Betrayal Trauma Recovery, this is Anne.

We have a domestic abuse survivor sharing her story today. Before we get to that, many of you have gone to Amazon and purchased my new book Trauma Mama, Husband Drama. It takes women through every single scenario that I could think of when dealing with this type of abuse, where you have emotional abuse, psychological abuse, and sexual coercion. The sexual coercion piece is the pornography piece. You are having sex with someone who has not allowed you to give your full consent because they haven’t given you all the information that you need. You think you’re in a relationship with someone who is faithful to you, and they’re not. So, you’re not able to give your full consent, which is the sexual coercion piece. That is explained in the book as well.

In the back of the book, there are a lot of infographics that are super helpful as well. So, if you’re trying to teach clergy or therapists or other people about this type of abuse and it’s just not going well and they’re not going to read the big Why Does He Do That? By Lundy Bancroft or The Verbally Abusive Relationship by Patricia Evans, which are two books that they should have everybody read in high school as required reading. If you have not read either of those books, please make sure you read those ASAP. They’re really important, but most of the time when you go to clergy and hand them a big giant book, they’re going to be like oh I’m not going to read this. Trauma Mama, Husband Drama is a picture book for adults. It’s an extremely quick read and the infographics at the back are visual so they explain really complex concepts very simply and quickly.

The book also is super helpful for women who you find out are going through it. They need support right away. That book will validate them and help them know what steps to take. Of course, the checklist, which has been around forever, you can get at BTR.org/checklist. That’s also an excellent way to go. There is a small synopsis of that in the book, but the best one to get is our PDF that you can download when you join our community, located at the bottom of our website. So, if you go to our website BTR.org, scroll down to the bottom to join our community, and you will get a PDF copy in your email, which is always helpful, but back to Trauma Mama, it’s an amazing book. You can get it on Kindle, but of course, the paperback version is better for a gift or to give away.

When you want to purchase your copy, you can either do it through the books page at BTR, that’s BTR.org/books or Trauma Mama, Husband Drama on Amazon. When you purchase the book, after you receive it and you’re so inclined, please give it a 5-star review on Amazon. Every single one of your reviews helps isolated women find us. We want this to be one of the books that people find right away rather than The 5 Love Languages or other books that lead them down the wrong path for a while and they don’t help them get to safety as soon as possible. So, your reviews help a ton. I appreciate all the reviews you give on this podcast and those on the book will help too. So, thank you.

I just want to give a shout out to all of you Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group members who have joined. We are so grateful to you. Our coaches meet with you every day, or they can meet with you every day. We’re so glad that you are part of BTR. There are multiple sessions per day in your time zone. Because there are so many sessions, whenever you’re feeling a little triggered or whenever some abuse episode happens or you find out that gaslighting has been happening, you can get on a session very soon, usually within a few hours. You can talk to our professional coaches, talk to women who understand it because they get it immediately. You don’t have to explain or go through does this person get it? IS this going to be safe?

We have set it up that way so that it can be safe from the get-go because every victim of this type of abuse needs immediate safe space and Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group is that place. So, please go to BTR.org, join our support group, and we hope to see you in a session today.

Okay, now to today’s guest.

Anne: I have a woman on today’s episode named Stevie Croisant. She is the founder of We Are Her. At We Are Her she helps trauma survivors share their stories. We Are Her is a non-profit that helps cultivate a community of survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault by inspiring every survivor to become healed, empowered, and restored.

When she’s not building her survivor support network, she’s usually spending time with her frisbee-catching border collie Quinn. Welcome, Stevie.

Stevie: Thank you so much for having me.

When Victims Share Their Stories, Healing Can Begin

Anne: So, let’s start by talking about you sharing your own story. How has sharing your story helped you to heal?

Stevie: When I first left my abuser, sharing my story was one of the first things I did. I have always been a writer; that’s kind of been my profession as well and so when I was with him, he took my voice away in more ways than one. One of those was he would constantly criticize my writing and wouldn’t let me keep journals so writing for me was super important. When I left that relationship, I turned to writing and sharing my story as a way to start healing and to get my power and my voice back. It was really important for me to have my story written out in journal form, just so I could really validate what happened to me and remember these are the details, this is actually what happened, and not be persuaded or manipulated by the after-effects of gaslighting.

Also, I joined a survivor speaker’s bureau, and that was so life-changing for me. I think along with sharing my story I was able to do it in a speaker’s bureau with other survivors, so I instantly felt validated and supported and felt very empowered. I think doing that was one of the very first times in my life I remembered feeling empowered.

Emotional Abuse is a Domestic Abuse Issue

Anne: It’s really interesting when you start talking about domestic violence, a lot of people assume that it has to involve a physically violent act, and that’s not actually the case. Domestic abuse and domestic violence can be used interchangeably, and someone can be an emotionally violent abuser without ever laying a finger on their victim. So, I frequently say domestic abuse rather than domestic violence just so that people who haven’t been hit or punched don’t think this isn’t for me because I haven’t been physically harmed. Also, a lot of people don’t realize that emotional abuse is a domestic abuse issue. It falls under the umbrella of domestic violence.

In your specific case, not to say it wasn’t all abusive, were there actual violent acts? What was the nature of the abuse?

Stevie: Yeah, it pretty much covered across the board all the different types of abuse. It was pretty traditional in the fact that it started off with emotional abuse and psychological abuse and then eventually escalated to sexual abuse and then physical violence as well.

Anne: And that’s very typical. It’s also very typical for it never to escalate to physical abuse. That’s when women also get very confused because they’re trying to figure out what’s wrong. At least for me, and so many other victims that I know, they went through years of emotional and psychological abuse. They couldn’t quite figure it out and then once a violent act happened it really helped them solidify what was happening. So, my message to domestic abuse victims is to try and help them identify it long before the physical violence starts. To start identifying the emotional and psychological abuse because that is just as dangerous to your heart and your soul as any physical thing that could happen to you.

Emotional and Psychological Abuse Are Just As Damaging As Physical Abuse

Do you feel like a lot of the emotional abuse and the psychological abuse left more damage in its wake than the physical abuse?

Stevie: Definitely. I think it’s taken me; I’ve been out of my relationship 4 years in April, and I think things like stonewalling and gaslighting have definitely left a toll on me. It’s still something that I’m trying to heal from every day and it’s one of those things where some days I’ll be great and I will have the negative self-talk out of my head and some days it just kind of comes back full force. Whereas the physical abuse for me, again was definitely the indicator, that oh yeah, my gut was right. This is not okay. I’ve healed from that I think for sure.

Anne: That’s how I am too. Quite a bit of physical intimidation, one where I was actually injured, but the psychological and emotional abuse is defiantly the most lasting for me. For women who have not experienced any physical violence, I just want to reiterate you’re still experiencing domestic abuse and that psychological and emotional abuse are domestic violence issues. You can’t separate them out. You’re never ever going to get physical violence without emotional and psychological violence.

Many Outlets Are Available For Victims To Share Their Stories

In what ways have you shared your story?

Stevie: I share my story on the We Are Her blog and was able to kind of share the stories that I had written out that way. I’ve done the survivor’s speaker bureau, again that was with 5 other survivors. At first, it was very much to just to be the non-profit that was hosting it to kind of their annual fundraiser, and so I was in front of a very supportive audience. Then that kind of grew into talking to community members about education, prevention, and awareness. So, I’ve become quite comfortable doing that. So, that’s been a really interesting way to share my story because I’ve been able to shape it and tailor it depending on who the audience is.

I just spoke at a symposium for medical professionals, and so I was able to talk a little bit about my experience in regards to my stay at the hospital and how I was treated by the staff and kind of the signs to look for when it comes to abuse and survivors. It’s been really interesting sharing my story that way. I also share my story with other survivors who are looking for someone to just say, “Hey, me too,” because there is so much power in knowing that you’re not going through something alone and knowing that you’re able to kind of heal and grow alongside people.

Victims Can Inspire Others By Sharing Their Stories

Anne: Why did you decide after sharing your own story to start helping survivors share their stories? And how does that help them, do you think?

Stevie: I think I was incredibly lucky after I left my abuser. I really kind of sprung right into healing mode. I was fortunate enough to be able to find a therapist that I clicked with and again was able to write my story out and join the speaker bureau. There were three things that I really appreciated about joining that speaker’s bureau. One of them was the power to share my story and get my voice back and be able to share my truth and not feel suppressed.

Community And Education Are Imperative To Healing

The second one was connecting with all the other survivors. I think community was huge. It really kind of validated my experience and helped me know that I wasn’t alone. It’s so easy when you get out of these situations and abusive relationships to think, “wow this doesn’t happen to anyone else”. So, knowing that there were 5 other women and, for me that they were older than me, and I was kind of the youngest one going through it at the time. I had a really great relationship with all of these women who were kind of like mothers or older sisters to me.

Then the third thing I got out of being in that speaker’s bureau was the education aspect. We learned about domestic violence and the education that goes around it. Things like the cycle of abuse, and what emotional abuse looks like, and we were able to speak to that to the audiences and be able to not only share our story but incorporate different educational aspects into our story.

I’m originally from a very small time in Illinois, and I’m currently living in Montana. So, I was able to kind of do the speaker’s bureau here in Montana, but I knew that had my story happened back in my small hometown that I might not have had that same opportunity. So, I really wanted to be able to give survivors, no matter where they were as long as they have internet access, the same opportunities that I did. So, We Are Her started back in October of 2016 as just a blog so that survivors could share their stories. We did a lot of different online ways to connect survivors together and tried to do our best to do educational resources.

Since then, those three components have really fueled We Are Her forward and so I really think that those three pieces are huge stepping blocks for any survivor.

Victims, Survivors, Thrivers

Anne: Absolutely. Now, I can tell from the way that you’re talking that you like the word survivor, which is awesome. I prefer the word victim, and I’ll tell you why, but I’m not saying this to convince you or anyone else. The reason why I like the word victim is that survivor to me feels like you survived the Titanic or something. You got off the Titanic and the Titanic sunk, and you made it to the shore and survived. So, the harm is over, but because I share children with the man who is emotionally and psychologically abusive to me, I’m actually literally constantly a victim. Literally, I’m being victimized. So, not that I allow him to victimize me anymore because I set boundaries, but I’m still technically being victimized. I’m still being lied about, I’m still being harmed through the things he says, etc.

When I say victims, what I want to say is that women can get to safety even though the harm might still be occurring or even if they’re having a hard time getting away from the person who is emotionally abusing them because they share children or whatever circumstance. So, the reason I don’t like to call myself a survivor is that I’m like I haven’t really survived anything. I’m still currently struggling through this as safe as I can be with the boundaries that I have. What are your thoughts about that as you’ve talked with other survivors?

Stevie: Yeah, I think labels are very important for people, and you kind of just have to meet people wherever they are comfortable. A lot of people want to go by thriver too. I think that’s a popular word that’s kind of surfacing in the survivor community. Labels are very personal for people, so I think whatever you want to identify as there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. It’s your story and however, you want to be identified that is okay.

Anne: Yeah, I agree. I feel like you can thrive, you can survive. I’m not sure if I will forever. I don’t know if I’ll say oh, I’m technically a victim and I still am one even though my life is pretty good. Even though I’m doing pretty good and actually I’m pretty happy and grateful to have the boundaries that I have. I’m not sure if when I feel like the abuse has stopped, or if it will ever stop, if I’ll want to change how I think about that. But I do want to give people options if survivor doesn’t really speak to them or if victim doesn’t speak to them or if thriver doesn’t speak to them or shero. That’s another word I really like, I like the word shero. So, it just depends on you and what your personal situation is and how you see it. I think if I didn’t have to have any interaction anymore with the man who emotionally abuses me, I think I would like the word survivor, but since I still have that court-ordered and mandated interaction.

Women Can Stay Safe As They Share Their Stories

So, what are some safety tips for sharing your story? For women who are interested in sharing their story but they’re not sure how to go about it or they’re worried about safety? And before you share those tips, I just want all of our listeners to know, as you know you listen to this podcast, that sharing stories is what this podcast is all about. So, if you’re interested in sharing your story, one option for you is to share it here on the Betrayal Trauma Recovery podcast. If you are interested in sharing your story, please contact my assistant Kari at kari@btr.org. Just give a little synopsis of your story and she can email you back and forth to determine if you are a good fit for us. We love having survivors, victims, sheroes, thrivers, or whatever you identify with on the podcast to share your stories.

So, as women are thinking about sharing, Stevie, what are some safety tips that you would recommend?

Stevie: I think it’s really important to listen to your intuition and really figure out what is a safe audience for you. Sometimes that just goes with testing back and forth. You know maybe you tell a best friend, and if that goes well then you tell a family member, and if that goes well maybe you tell your circle of friends. I think it’s really important to note that we don’t always get the response that we are hoping for. I think personally I told some family members and I was thinking I was going to get support and love and that didn’t happen.

It’s okay to go at your own pace. If you tell someone and you don’t get a reaction that you should, that’s not on you. That’s on them. If you want to take a break from sharing your story, then take a break, but if you really want to keep sharing your story, keep looking for safe outlets to do so. Tell other survivors. I think that’s really important. Those can be really great ways to share your story because you’re sharing it with someone and people who do understand because they’ve been through something similar and they’re going to know how to support you and love you.

So, I think those baby steps are really important, and if you want to get your story out there to a bigger audience there are podcasts. You guys do a great job. We Are Her has a podcast. There are blogs. There are so many different ways. I’m sure that most local communities do have speaker bureaus now that you can join as well. It’s really just listening to your gut and figuring out what do I need from sharing my story? I know for me personally it was I need to get my voice back and so that was why it was so important for me to kind of have that audience where I shared my story on a blog at first. Especially to, there are different ways that you can share your story anonymously. I think that that is really important as well because you don’t have to connect your name with your story. There are so many different ways that you can share your story anonymously and still feel like you’re getting your voice out there. You’re sharing your truth, but you are protected as well.

Anne: We recommend that for almost every survivor that comes on this podcast. We recommend that they use a pseudonym just for their own protection. Before I started this podcast I actually was public speaking about what was happening with my abuser, thinking he was in recovery from pornography addiction, and so we used our name and spoke publicly at anti-pornography conferences and some pornography addiction recovery things, and when I found out that all of those things were lies and that I had accidentally promoted someone as a great guy when really he was a wolf in sheep’s clothing, I was devastated. It was really hard for me to deal with. So, now having had the experience of using my real name and now doing this, I definitely chose to use a pseudonym so that I don’t have to go through that again because that was awful. So, that is one thing that I definitely recommend for victims is to use a pseudonym. It’s helpful to keep you safe.

Stevie: Yes, absolutely.

Awareness Is Key To A Healthier Society

Anne: I don’t think very many non-survivors listen to this podcast. If they do, thank you. I really appreciate your listening, and I’m honored by your listening. Mostly the people that listen here are current victims or emotional and psychological abuse and sexual coercion. Why do you think it’s important for non-survivors to hear these stories of abuse?

Stevie: It’s so important, I think. Awareness is huge. The more people who know what it’s like to be a survivor and the intricacies of being a survivor the better because then we’re going to have healthier friends. We’re going to have healthier family members, and healthier bosses and co-workers. For me, it’s always been really important to share outside of survivor groups as well. Especially too, I’ve been public with my story for so long that I’m not too concerned about the backlash anymore. About whether people believe me or not. So, I’m not necessarily trying to persuade people who don’t want to believe me. I’m just trying to make sure that if there is one person out there hearing my story who needs to hear what I’m saying, that that’s who my audience is because whether or not they’re not a survivor or they are and they just don’t want to come to terms with that yet, I think it’s so important to make sure that we’re just spreading our truth.

Anne: Yeah, I think that is a very risky endeavor, right. To start sharing. The cool thing about when you start sharing is that you’ll know pretty quickly if it’s a safe situation or not. You can kind of dip you toe in the water a little bit and see if it’s safe to share with this person or with this group or these people. You’ll know pretty quickly if it’s safe or not and if it’s not safe you can just back away.

BTR Advocates Safe Sharing

Out checklist, you can find it at BTR.org/checklist, the first step is to open up to someone safe. Then it gives a list of all the non-safe responses people might give you. Of course, it’s not exhaustive. There are other non-safe responses, but those will give you a pretty good idea of someone who’s not going to be a real safe person for you to confide in. Then you can move on to someone who will be a little safer, and then the more you share and the more you assess your emotional safety, the more you’ll be able to identify a safe group.

I think probably in your case, but I’m not sure so don’t let me put words in your mouth if this is not the case, but now you feel like your support system, not just the other survivors that you’re around but also your friends and the people that you interact with feel very safe for you. Is that the case?

Stevie: Oh, absolutely.

Anne: Yeah, and you develop that over time. That’s awesome, and that’s what can come from reaching out and starting to share. Has anyone seemed safe at first and then proved to be not safe?

Stevie: Yeah, I think that was particularly true with my family. You know their family and so obviously they get a little bit deeper level of initial trust and love from you. So, I think that almost hurt the most for me because I had certain family members that were there for me when I needed to move out and make my escape plan, that’s kind of what I called it, and then later on kind of used my story against me and kind of made me the black sheep of the family. I think, as hard as that was, I’m in a good place now where I’m definitely setting healthier boundaries and able to kind of understand what an acceptable level of respect and love from people is. It’s never easy cutting toxic family members out of your life, I don’t think, but I think kind of that back and forth was super hard for me to get from family when sharing my story. Again, I think I’ve been public with my story for so long now too, that I’m able to take that a little bit better. Definitely.

Boundaries And Support Are Pivotal To Healing And Safety

Anne: Yep, the longer that you go with either no abuse happening in your life anymore and the more healing you get under your belt, or in my case the longer I go with setting pretty strict boundaries to keep me safe from the harm, the stronger we get. That is the awesome part about healing. It does take time and it does take effort, but I highly recommend that women join a network of support like Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group for example. It runs multiple times a day in every women’s time zone, which is awesome.

So, in addition to support and sharing, just knowing that you’re going to get stronger and stronger as time goes on. That’s what we want for every woman.

I was talking to someone the other day and he said oh, so BTR is just a women’s empowerment organization. I said yeah, you could call it that. It definitely is. We want every woman to know that she is important and that she is cared about and that she’s loved and that she doesn’t deserve to be harmed.

Grooming Is a Universal Tool of Abusers

So, before we conclude today, can you talk about the beginning of your relationship? Can you talk about maybe the grooming that took place or the red flags that maybe you dismissed because you didn’t understand abuse at the time? Can you share some of that part of the situation and then how later that felt looking back?

Stevie: Yeah, of course. As I said, I’m originally from a small town in Illinois, and so I met my abuser when I first moved to Montana. I always say that isolation is huge for survivors, but that was kind of the first big hurdle that he didn’t have to cross because I didn’t have any family or friends in this new state. So, I think already I was kind of vulnerable, just because I didn’t know anybody and so it’s so much harder when your gut is telling you one thing but you don’t have anyone else that your trust to kind of bounce those thoughts and feelings off of.

So, initially, I kind of had a lot of red flags. He was very jealous. That didn’t sit well with me. He also was very quick to say things like I love you. I remember when he said that I was like oh, I don’t feel that way yet. It’s been like a month or two, this is very fast. He reacted very negatively to the fact that I wouldn’t say it back, and I was like I just don’t want to lie to you. So, things like love-bombing were pretty frequent at the beginning. It made it that much harder when the love-bombing stopped because he kind of like yanked that away from me. All of sudden it went from wow, at the beginning of the relationship all you could do was shower me with compliments and say how much you love me but now I’m not getting any of that. Things like that were really big.

Arguing with him was very hard. He would very much make me feel like I overreacted to everything and that my reactions were not valid and that he didn’t say or do whatever was brought up. I also felt very intimidated. There were little things throughout our relationship where he would remind me about other women that he had dated and kind of the things that he had done to them as soon as they had left him. I remember being only a couple of months in and being like oh, he’s already letting me know kind of the ways that he’s hurt other women. If I leave, what is he going to do to me?

Pornography Use is a Both Abusive and a Symptom of Abusiveness

Anne: Were you aware of any pornography use?

Stevie: I don’t know if I was aware at first anyway, but as our relationship regressed, I think yeah, I definitely knew that that was a thing for him. Sure.

Anne: Did you find that to be a sign of abuse or was it like oh, everybody does this? How did you feel about it at the time?

Stevie: Yeah, you know I don’t know that that was ever a super issue for me. I don’t know that I cared one way or the other. Yeah, I don’t know that that was something that was at the forefront of my mind.

Anne: So, you weren’t super concerned about the porn use per se, that necessarily wasn’t a red flag for you.

Stevie: No.

Anne: Interesting. Yeah, it’s interesting to me because women who don’t like porn or that is an issue for them, they don’t recognize the emotional abuse maybe or the psychological abuse. When they find out about the porn use, they know something is seriously wrong. They know this is a person who has told me he’s not going to use porn, we’ve talked about this, you know that sort of thing. So, the level of lying there gets really intense. But he was lying to you about other things or no?

Stevie: Yeah, definitely. And it came out that he was definitely cheating on me, and I think I had always had that in the back of my mind. So, when that came out that was huge for me as well. Eventually, there was some financial abuse in our relationship. All of that definitely hurt. You know, I was always very proud of my career and the fact that I was the first person in my family to graduate and get a degree. So, when he put my career in jeopardy too, that was the biggest red flag for me. That was just something I couldn’t forgive.

Anne: You are doing amazing work. Thank you so much for sharing your story on our podcast today.

Stevie: Thank you so much for having me.

Safely Share Your Story On The Betrayal Trauma Recovery Podcast

Anne: We’re so grateful to all survivors, victims who share their story on this podcast. If you would like to share your story, please email my assistant Kari at kari@btr.org. I want to hear your story and everyone else wants to hear it. This is a great place for you to share.

If this podcast has been helpful to you, we really appreciate your monthly support. Go to our website BTR.org, scroll down to the bottom, and click on support the podcast. Similarly, your reviews help so much. So, please go to iTunes or your other podcasting apps, and give this podcast a rating and also an explanation of why you love it is helpful. Similarly, when you purchase Trauma Mama, Husband Drama, the book, on Amazon, leave an Amazon rating. Every single one of your interactions helps women who are isolated find us.

We also have some of you who are posting these articles from our website. You’re sharing them on Facebook or Twitter or other social media platforms. You might be sharing some of our infographics on Pinterest. We so appreciate you helping us get the word out. This is a new concept, that pornography use is an abuse issue, and that it needs to be talked about within this context. So, your help getting the word out will make a difference to a woman who needs to hear it. And until next week, stay safe out there.  

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