Finding inner peace after trauma is important. Betrayed women deserve hope. They deserve peace. They deserve to find themselves again. Healing is possible. Difficult feelings like grief, anger, and sorrow are natural pieces of the healing process.
Anne shares her thoughts on finding inner peace after trauma. She dives into her own grief, her spiritual beliefs, and her progress toward healing. Read the full transcript below and listen to the free BTR podcast for more.
Difficult situations DO NOT cause abuse! Negative feelings do not cause porn use. Choices do. The type of man who is safe will feel sadness and shame and stress and then he will choose kindness. If he is religious, he will choose to obey the commandments. He will choose to protect his family. This is what you and I deserve.Anne Blythe, founder of Betrayal Trauma Recovery
Find Inner Peace: Allow Yourself To Grieve
Grief is a natural response to betrayal.
Many victims feel immense grief. They grieve for:
- The marriage they thought they had
- The person they were before they knew about the betrayal
- Their self-esteem
- The man they thought their partner was
- When separated or divorced, their ex-partner
- The life they had planned
- Their family
- Their children
- Their dreams
- The future
Allowing yourself the emotional space to truly grieve. Be patient with yourself. Grief may come and go. Give yourself grace through this process. Understand that grieving takes time.
And remember, it’s okay to miss and grieve your abuser.
On the BTR podcast, Anne describes the grief she experienced for the good things about her ex-husband:
I’m missing the really good things about [my ex-husband]. I’m also missing the times we worked together to accomplish things. We really got along on all major decisions, but because he was abusive we constantly had trouble with the little things. That’s what made life difficult on a day-to-day basis.Anne Blythe, founder of Betrayal Trauma Recovery
How Can I Process Grief?
It’s important for betrayed women to process their grief. Here are some ways you can process grief:
- Allow yourself to cry
- Scream into a pillow
- Give yourself time to do nothing
- Write a letter to your past and future selves
- Write an obituary about your marriage
- Write a letter to God or your Higher Power
- Draw or paint your grief
- Draw or paint a self-portrait
- Meet with a BTR coach
- Join the Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group
- Write poetry
- Write a song
For Religious Women: How Does God Lead Me to Inner Peace?
God wants you to be safe. He wants you to have a peaceful home. You cannot have a peaceful home with a ravenous wolf within the walls.Anne Blythe, founder of Betrayal Trauma Recovery
For women who believe in God, betrayal and emotional abuse are devastating on an additional level. Some wonder how God could allow it to happen, or wonder why God didn’t change their abusive partner.
These understandable and painful feelings and questions can add a layer of grief, confusion, and anger to the already-excruciating emotions.
It is important for women of faith to know that God does not sanction abuse. In fact, he commands his children to flee from abusive situations. Victims can find solace in knowing that God hates abuse and comforts victims with the kind of peace and love that “passes all understanding”.
Abuse Causes Chaos, Safety Brings Inner Peace
Women who set and maintain effective boundaries will courageously separate themselves from abuse. Identifying the abuse is a difficult step in this process, both cognitively and emotionally.
Anne shares that at a certain point, she couldn’t blame circumstances for her ex-husband’s abusiveness anymore. She was able to identify his abusiveness for what it was:
There wasn’t anything else I could blame [for his abusiveness]. I couldn’t blame his job. I couldn’t blame our living situation. I couldn’t blame stress because we had the “perfect” life at that time.Anne Blythe, founder of Betrayal Trauma Recovery
It is incredibly difficult for victims of betrayal and abuse to recognize that they are being harmed. This is the nature of covert abuse and infidelity. However, victims can trust their instincts and the voices of the safe people who may be in their lives.
Boundaries: The Key To Inner Peace
When victims are ready to begin the path to safety and healing, boundaries are an essential action that they take to separate themselves from abuse. While it is all-too common for men to become more abusive after a divorce, women can take pride and comfort in knowing that they can use boundaries to limit abusive interactions with their partner/ex-partner.
The most compassionate thing you can do for your husband it set a boundary.Anne Blythe, founder of Betrayal Trauma Recovery
Betrayal Trauma Recovery Helps Victims Achieve Inner Peace
At BTR, we believe that every woman deserves to be safe in every facet of her life. We dearly hope that every woman experiences inner peace.
Inner peace is possible. Even after betrayal. You can heal. You can find safety. You can feel joy again. You don’t have to do it alone.
Finding safe people who can validate your experiences and help you process your trauma is essential on the journey to inner peace. Join the Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group today and find a loving community of supportive women who understand what you are going through.
Remember, you are not alone.
Welcome to Betrayal Trauma Recovery. This is Anne.
My children are with my ex for right now, and I’ve been alone and working a lot. I’ve been really busy. I actually think I might go shop for new clothes today which I haven’t done in years–which is making me a bit nervous! At the same time, I’m thinking, “My goodness! I might get a new shirt today!” This is exciting!!
While my children have been gone, my mom has come down and helped me. I have amazing parents. They are supportive emotionally and financially. I really need to put a shout out to them, especially my mom who is my biggest fan. There is no way I could do this without her support—emotionally and physically, for she tends my kids. She brings dinner. My mom is a carpenter. She can do electrical work. She fixes my toilets. She came down and helped me assemble a desk and helped put my new office together.
Inner Peace and Healing Comes With Time And Work
I got exhausted but my mom who is 65 came over and stood on stools to drill holes in the wall for my bookcases so they don’t fall over on my kids. I was getting exhausted and she powered through! My mom can do anything! I am so grateful for her and admire her so much. Where my ex-husband used to be my partner in projects, now I still have a partner and it’s my mom. And so I can still work on my projects and do the things I love and still have help. She is an angel and I am so grateful for her. My life is infinitely better because of her. I am also grateful for my dad and their financial assistance. I am really, really blessed to have amazing parents.
I want to talk about some of things I loved about my ex that I have been thinking about lately. I love projects. I love improving things. I have a really nice home in a nice area, in a suburb north of Salt Lake City, Utah. It’s very safe and convenient. My ex and I bought the home together. I love that he is educated. He’s a mechanical engineer and also a patent attorney. He’s really, really smart with numbers and with problem solving with mechanical situations. I really appreciated that about him. He built a chicken coop that could withstand the apocalypse! I remember watching him work in the yard and seeing how strong he was. He could pick up a railroad tie and drag it around. I was always attracted to him when he was out working in the yard and he had dirt all over his face.
Finding Positive Memories Can Help Towards Inner Peace
We bought a home together, before we got married (which I don’t recommend). There were tons of rocks. We gathered them up and put them in buckets. He would put them in the bottom of the garbage can since it could only handle being about 1/3 full so it wouldn’t break. The garbage truck would come and dump it and my ex would put more rocks in and take the can to the other side of the street. This was my idea but he did it willingly. When he was not being abusive he was so willing to help me. He worked from home the last three years of our marriage. I could come home from the grocery store and he would come and help me bring the groceries in.
He loved church which is difficult for me now because we attended together. We attended the temple and he is still attending. He hasn’t repented. There is a disconnect there. I like that he does love the Church. I just can’t figure out how come he can’t understand the commandments or obey them. He has the appearance of really, truly loving the Church which I appreciated about him.
Remembering Good Times Can Be An Important Step For Peace
He liked to cook which I also appreciated about him. He wasn’t a good cook but he did it and he liked it so that was cool. He was willing to do whatever I wanted to do. Whatever movie I wanted to watch, wherever I wanted to go, he was willing to go with me. He never really planned anything which now I wonder if he just wasn’t very interested. I did a lot of brain work planning things and he was willing to go. He didn’t play video games. He didn’t watch sports. I appreciated that about him. When he was here, he genuinely seemed to care about his family which is why it was so shocking that after his arrest he gave up. And also for the last three months when things got really bad there was no sign of him wanting to protect his family or keep us together.
He has this child-like naiveté to him. Like he didn’t know who the Rockettes were. He didn’t know a lot of cultural references. I found it kind of endearing. I really admired his physical strength and stamina. He was an extremely hard worker with yard projects and other projects. He had a lot of patience unless he was abusive and then he would get mad and scream and yell and swear.
Inner Peace Is Essential For Recovery
I’m missing the really good things about him. I’m also missing the times we worked together to accomplish things. We really got along on all major decisions–church things, where to move, what to do. Every major decision was easy for us. We never fought about that. Because he was abusive we constantly had trouble with the little things. That’s what made life difficult on a day-to-day basis.
We moved 6 times in 5 years. We started out in Spokane, Washington, and then he was laid off. We moved in with my parents. Then we moved to Washington D.C. where he was a patent examiner. We lived there for two years. During this time, his abuse I attributed to his job in 2008. We also had to sell our house. It was very stressful so I attributed his abuse to stress and thought that once we could sell our house and get him a new job, he would be better. Then we moved to Washington D.C. and he was in the patent office and I thought, “This is a temporary situation. We live in a small apartment in inner city Alexandria. Once he gets his career established and we can move into a home, it will get better.”
Developing Inner Peace After Betrayal
Then we moved back to Utah and moved in with my parents. This was difficult and I thought that once we got our own house, things will be better. We bought a home that I did not like the floorplan. We couldn’t fit a dining room table in the kitchen, for example. I thought that if we moved to a more permanent home where we could live forever and raise our family there, things would be better.
So then we bought the home that I am in now. Which is my dream home. I absolutely adore it and I never want to leave. We began remodeling and I thought that once it was remodeled and settled then he will be better. There would be less stress and he wouldn’t act badly. But he began to get worse. About a year after moving into our dream home. He wanted to move again. He talked about getting a new job and changing. I said no. This was our life now and it’s what it means to have a life together. He felt trapped and stuck and was angry.
How Can You Develop Inner Peace?
I thought, “Ok. All of these remodeling projects are pushing him over the edge, so no more remodeling projects for awhile.” And he actually got worse. I was still thinking about the projects and preparing for them, so it’s not like they had stopped completely in the discussion of them. Just the physical work stopped. In fact, my mom is a kitchen designer. She had just done the plans to remodel the kitchen and take down a wall when his arrest happened. It’s a good thing we didn’t start that project.
That summer when things escalated, I remember thinking: “Things will get better when the kids are in school.” The kids got in school and it didn’t get better. I’m not sure what I would have thought. We were in our dream home. I had said no more projects until he stopped acting the way he did. There wasn’t anything else I could blame. I couldn’t blame his job. I couldn’t blame our living situation. I couldn’t blame stress because we had the “perfect” life at that time.
Why Does Inner Peace Help In Healing?
There was always an excuse for abuse. There was always a reason. He’s stressed. He feels shame. There is always going to be some reason. But, Sisters, non-abusive men get stressed and they don’t scream and swear in your face! They get stressed and they don’t use porn. They feel shame and they kneel down and pray and turn to the scriptures and repent! Difficult situations DO NOT cause abuse! Negative feelings do not cause porn use. Choices do. The type of man who is safe will feel sadness and shame and stress and they will choose kindness. They will choose to obey the commandments. They will choose to protect their family. This is what you deserve and I deserve.
I want to share with you scriptures I read this morning. I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We are Christians and we study from the Bible and Book of Mormon. This passage is from the Book of Mormon. It’s from Alma 5:55-57. This is a prophet calling people to repentance and letting them know what will happen.
Inner Peace Can Be Found With Spirituality
Yea, and will you persist in turning your backs upon the poor, and the needy, and in withholding your substance from them? And finally, all ye that will persist in your wickedness, I say unto you that these are they who shall be hewn down and cast into the fire except they speedily repent.
And now I say unto you, all you that are desirous to follow the voice of the good shepherd, come ye out from the wicked, and be ye separate…
Here is Christ telling the people to separate themselves from the wickedness. I am going to read that again…(v 57-60)
…come ye out from the wicked, and be ye separate, and touch not their unclean things; and behold, their names shall be blotted out, that the names of the wicked shall not be numbered among the names of the righteous, that the word of God may be fulfilled, which saith: The names of the wicked shall not be mingled with the names of my people.
Holding Fast To Inner Peace In The Dark Times
For the names of the righteous shall be written in the book of life, and unto them will I grant an inheritance at my right hand. And now, my brethren, what have ye to say against this? I say unto you, if ye speak against it, it matters not, for the word of God must be fulfilled.
For what shepherd is there among you having many sheep doth not watch over them, that the wolves enter not and devour his flock? And behold, if a wolf enter his flock doth he not drive him out? Yea, and at the last, if he can, he will destroy him.
And now I say unto you that the good shepherd doth call after you; and if you will hearken unto his voice he will bring you into his fold, and ye are his sheep; and he commandeth you that ye suffer no ravenous wolf to enter among you, that ye may not be destroyed.
Here is a commandment straight from Jesus Christ: and he commandeth you that ye suffer no ravenous wolf to enter among you, that ye may not be destroyed. (v 60)
I’m going to read that again. And he commandeth you that ye suffer no ravenous wolf to enter among you, that ye may not be destroyed.
Hope And Healing Come With Inner Peace
Sisters, we love our husbands. I absolutely loved and adored my husband. For 7 years I sacrificed everything to try and help him and save my family. Here God is commanding me and commanding you: suffer no ravenous wolf to enter among you, that ye may not be destroyed.
I know a lot of you are wondering what God wants for you. God wants you to be safe. He wants you to have a peaceful home. You cannot have a peaceful home with a ravenous wolf within the walls. This is a time for all of us to stand for truth and righteousness in a way we never have before. The reason why it’s so scary is because there are men in our church who look at us like we’re crazy! There are people who say that our boundaries are not righteous or that we are not being loving or kind or forgiving. None of this is true.
Inner Peace Is Strengthened With Faith
The most compassionate thing you can do for your husband it set a boundary. God is commanding you to. I don’t know what that boundary is going to look like and also I don’t really know how Heavenly Father is going to help you. There were so many times where I felt so alone and so scared. And that was with amazing and supportive parents who were incredible. And so many of you don’t have supportive parents or friends and the isolation is so intense. I do know that you stepping toward faith and obeying the commandment to “…suffer no ravenous wolf to enter among you.” If you start making steps towards obeying this commandment, you will be blessed. I have no idea how.
And I’m pretty sure that before you’re blessed, things may get a lot worse. But I have to think that God keeps His promises. I also look at people like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mother Theresa and George Washington and our founding fathers and the suffragettes and what they sacrificed. They sacrificed their lives for truth. I’m making sacrifices and still get to stay in my beautiful home and I get to dig in my garden.
For many of you, what I am going to ask you to do is going to be hard. You might have to leave your home. You might have to be on food stamps. Some of you are facing homelessness. I just pray that you will let God lead you, that as we create an army of healthy women that will suffer “no ravenous wolf to come among us” that we can change the world.
Until next week, stay safe out there.