When a woman has been emotionally and psychologically abused, she can feel powerless.
Any semblance of power she thought she’d had, comes crumbling down in a tower of lies.
This loss of power can leave her feeling frozen, trapped, stuck in a relationship she’s not sure she wants to be in anymore, stuck in a limbo that resembles a dark hole that she can’t seem to climb out of.
Will she ever get out of this hole?
Will she ever feel like she can move again?
Can guided meditation empower victims of emotional and psychological abuse?
Anne Blythe, founder of Betrayal Trauma Recovery, and Peggy, Shero and BTR coach, continue their conversation about the benefits of guided meditation. Previously, Peggy shared How Meditation Can Restore Your Creativity And Help You Heal From Emotional Abuse.
Guided Meditation Can Empower Victims To Quiet The Voices
Everyone has them.
Those voices in their head that tell them things about themselves.
Things like, “You’re not good enough,” “You’re not pretty enough,” “You’re too fat,” “You’re too skinny,” You’re a bad housekeeper,” the list could go on.
Sometimes, if they’re lucky, the voices will say things like, “You did a great job on that project!” or “You’re a great mom because your kids are so happy!” things like that.
Mostly, the voices tend to be negative and, as Coach Peggy says, they usually come from something we heard about ourselves a long time ago.
“Almost every guided meditation I do, there’s usually some negative belief that was laid down years ago, sometimes when we were really little, beliefs that are running our lives today. Like, ‘I’m not good enough,’ which is very common. Most people have that belief that comes up at some point.”-Peggy, BTR coach
When a woman is being emotionally and psychologically abused, that voice can constantly scream in her head that she isn’t “good enough.”
Anne says meditation has helped her identify those voices and when they’re speaking to her.
“One of the things that meditation really helps me, and so many other women, recognize is the voices in our heads, what they’re saying, what they mean, how they affect us.”-Anne Blythe, founder of Betrayal Trauma Recovery
Once she’s learned to identify the voices and what they’re saying, a woman can use guided meditation to learn how to quiet them.
Coach Peggy says once she has the tools to quiet them, a woman starts to regain her strength.
“The beliefs and the voices, and even the emotions that we feel, these are not the truth of who we are. I give [my clients] tools to learn how to recognize some of those voices and emotions and process through them and get to a place where they’re more peaceful about who they are and what’s really happening at the deeper level, and that the voices and the emotions aren’t where they have to stay.”-Peggy, BTR coach
The critical voices may not be the only things holding a woman back and keeping her feeling powerless, her own fear may be stopping her.
Guided Meditation Can Empower Victims To Overcome Fear
Often, women who aren’t safe in their relationship with their husband, don’t feel safe in other relationships or other settings.
As Anne points out, that unsafe feeling can keep her from seeing what she really has.
“A victim’s relationship might not be safe, so she feels unsafe about everything. For good reason, her primary relationship is unsafe. But knowing that the universe, or God, or this army of healthy women out there, who have her back, even though she’s unsafe in this particular relationship, she really is safe in the world, it’s very empowering and helps women set boundaries.”-Anne Blythe, founder of Betrayal Trauma Recovery
Coach Peggy says that unsafe feeling creates fear. That fear can keep women from getting to where they want to be: safety.
“It’s like there’s a wall between her and where she wants to be. I open that wall, so she can see around it.”-Peggy, BTR coach
Since emotional and psychological abuse don’t leave physical injuries the victims tend to create walls around themselves to keep themselves safe.
Unfortunately, sometimes those walls are so thick and tall that they can’t see through, around, or over them, so they end up stuck.
Coach Peggy helps women begin to take that wall down, one piece at a time, and set healthy boundaries.
The best way to do this, says Peggy, is by working on what has been the most damaged from the abuse: her self-worth and self-trust.
“We strengthen her from the inside out, and she can tap into that strength inside of her and that surety and that calm. What I work on, both at this unconscious level and as a coach, is to help her recognize that, as she does her, and takes care of herself, she has the strength, she can do this, there is hope, and she owns herself. As she starts to regain her own power, she can start to trust herself.”-Peggy, BTR coach
Once a woman can begin to trust herself and finds value in herself, she regains her sense of power.
She’s had the power all along, she just didn’t know remember how to access it, guided meditation helps her find it again.
Once she has that powerful feeling again, she makes better decisions and starts moving again, no matter what direction it takes her.
Guided Meditation Can Empower Victims To Be Prepared For The Worst
Coach Peggy’s marriage had problems and, like most women, she did everything she could to “repair” the relationship, therapy and all.
While working on her marriage relationship, she decided that she would work on herself also.
“Through my own process of trying to heal in the marriage, for the sake of the marriage, to keep the marriage, because I thought that’s what we were all about. I was working on my stuff to become the best I could be. Honestly, I became a person that I really like, in that marriage. After this all came down and it all came out, I was really clear because I owned myself because I’d been through all this process work. I knew who I was.”-Peggy, BTR coach
When her marriage ended, unexpectedly, she had worked on herself so much that she knew who she was and knew what power she had.
All the work Coach Peggy had done during her marriage, helped her heal so much quicker.
“The years that I was doing this, while I was married, really helped me to have a strong self-knowledge, to be really clear about who I was, and be able to land on my feet when this happened. It’s all a journey. I’m still working through stuff, but this is so powerful and gets to the core. For me, it just brought me so much joy. Honestly, it’s just brought me so much joy.”-Peggy, BTR coach
Coach Peggy was able to bounce back quickly after the big betrayal and recognizes what a blessing it was for her.
She loves empowering other women to be able to move forward in whatever direction their life is taking them after betrayal and abuse.
Coach Peggy reminds women that becoming empowered benefits more than just herself.
“It is not selfish. I just want to reiterate that this empowerment, this is part of how you take care of yourself so you can go out and be the mother that you want to be, or the wife, or the friend, or whatever. This is how you invest in a way that will bring back huge dividends.”-Peggy, BTR coach
Anne and Coach Peggy, along with the rest of us at Betrayal Trauma Recovery want all women to feel empowered and find safety. One way we can help is through Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group.
Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group provides a safe place to share with other women facing similar circumstances. With UNLIMITED access to more than 15 live sessions a week, it’s easier than ever to find a BTR Group session that fits your schedule without having to leave your home. Each session is led by a Certified Betrayal Trauma Specialist.
Welcome to Betrayal Trauma Recovery, this is Anne.
We’re back with Coach Peggy this week, talking about her meditation sessions. If you didn’t listen to last week’s episode, please listen to that first, then join us here today.
Before we get to Coach Peggy, Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group is an amazing resource. We actually created it long before the current COVID-19 situation. We created it for women who have a hard time getting childcare, who have financial difficulties, who have difficulty leaving their homes maybe because they’re agoraphobic, or they’ve tried therapists before, and it hasn’t gone very well because they haven’t felt safe.
We created this for women in this type of abusive relationship long before COVID-19 hit. The cool thing about it is, it’s perfect in a time where you can’t leave your house and you need a lot of support.
There are multiple sessions a day in every time zone. When you join, you get unlimited support from live, amazing women who are in a similar situation to your own. To join, go to btr.org. As soon as you join, there’s usually a session, within a matter of hours, so you can talk to women who understand.
Now, back to my conversation with Peggy. We’re starting with me talking about how I love the meditation sessions and I like to schedule two at a time.
Anne: One of the things I do, when I do sessions with Peggy, is that I schedule two sessions back-to-back, so two 50-minute sessions. That gives me plenty of time to be able to talk through what’s going on and then do a mediation about it that can last as long as it needs to. I really appreciate that, because I’ve found that a 50-minute session, sometimes, is a little short.
Peggy: Yeah. I can do a process in 50-minutes. We can do something in the 50-minute session, and I’ll start with that, with a lot of people, but then I do want to go into the double sessions to get to more of the deeper issues.
Guided Meditation Can Empower Victims Of Emotional Abuse To Know The Truth About Themselves
Anne: One of the things that mediation really helps me, and so many other women, recognize is the voices in their heads, what they’re saying, what they mean, how they affect us. Can you talk about that a little bit, in relation to meditation, but also just in general?
Peggy: Yes. The Tub O’Lard, about the voice in my head that calls me fat and all of that. We all know that voice, and maybe there are multiple voices. Part of what I’ve done with this poem is to acknowledge that I have that voice and to love myself in spite of that voice and to know that those voices in our head or those beliefs are not who I really am.
The beliefs and the voices, and even the emotions that we feel, these are not the truth of who we are. To learn some skills, which I do teach in my coaching sessions with my clients, I give them some tools to learn how to recognize some of those voices and emotions and process through them and get to a place where they’re more peaceful about who they are and what’s really happening at the deeper level, and that the voices and the emotions aren’t where they have to stay.
The guided meditation really helps with that. Almost every guided meditation I do, there’s usually some negative belief that was laid down years ago, sometimes when we were really little, beliefs that are running our lives today. Like, “I’m not good enough,” which is very common.
Most people have that belief that comes up at some point, “I’m not good enough.” “I’m not pretty enough.” “I’m not safe.” There are times when that’s true [they aren’t safe], but deep inside of us, in this moment, right now, I really am safe. We tap into that deeper part, the part that’s already healed and whole, and that becomes more of a guiding force in our life, when we start to do more of these guided meditations.
Would you say that that is kind of what’s happened for you?
Anne: Yes. I would say that a victim’s relationship might not be safe, so what happens, in that sense, is that she feels unsafe about everything. For good reason, because her primary relationship is unsafe. But knowing that the universe, or God, or this army of healthy women out there, who have her back, even though she’s unsafe in this particular relationship, she really is safe in the world, it’s very empowering and it helps women set boundaries.
Because they can think, “Okay, I know I’m unsafe in this relationship. If I set this boundary, then I can start working my way toward the peaceful happy life that I want,” and she starts making her way out. A lot of women don’t make their way because they think that life on the other side of that boundary is just as unsafe.
Guided Meditation Can Empower Victims Of Emotional And Psychological Abuse To Trust Themselves
Peggy: Correct. This is a really good point. What we do is we strengthen her from the inside out, and she can tap into that strength inside of her and that surety and that calm. What I work on, both at this unconscious level and as a coach, is to help her recognize that, as she does her, and takes care of herself, she has the strength, she can do this, there is hope, and she owns herself.
As she starts to regain her own power and go through this process, or maybe these multiple processes or this whole process, that she can start to trust herself. This is a big piece of the beauty of doing some of this guided meditation work, along with the conscious coaching work, which is that she gets there faster. She gets to her strength, to her core, to who she is. She gets back to her joy and to her clarity of what to do in her relationship that, at this point, may not be safe.
Anne: Exactly. I think that’s so important to realize that
For example, they’re like, “Well, if I set a boundary and then he abandons me and shuts down my bank account and files for divorce, then that feels really unsafe, because then, financially, I’m destitute, where am I going to get a job, how am I going to take care of my kids? All of that feels unsafe.”
I think that’s what keeps women from getting to safety and from setting boundaries is that they don’t realize that those things that they’re afraid of may be true. He might shut down your bank account, in fact, it’s kind of likely that he will or it’s likely that he might file for divorce, or whatever he’s going to do, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a world of support and safety out there for you after.
It always gets worse before it gets better on the abuse curve. We’re trying to flatten the abuse curve, I guess. It’s going to get worse before it gets better but, when it gets better, it’s so much better.
Peggy: Yes, and that’s so true. Again, part of what I try to do is help women discover and uncover their own power, and to also be able to see around that block where they don’t think the world is going to be safe after setting those boundaries.
I want to help her find her safety within herself. It’s like there’s a wall between her and where she wants to be. I open that wall, so she can see around it and go, “Oh, my gosh, there is a way through this. There is a way to the other side. There is going to be safety. I do have myself and I can start to trust myself.”
Anne: Do you think that all the meditation work that you had done prior to your abusive ex abandoning you, let’s just put it that way. [If you haven’t heard Coach Peggy’s personal story, I’m going to put links to her story in this episode, so go to this episode on our website at btr.org and you can find the links to her story. Her husband did not identify as gay, he identified as struggling with same-sex attraction and then one day woke up and said, “I’m gay,” but this was after years of betrayal and abuse and all sorts of things.]
Once he just abandoned you, do you think your years of meditation helped bring you strength during that time?
Peggy: Absolutely. I did this Journey Method processing twice a month for a whole year after my divorce, because I knew it was going to be my fast path to healing. It was going to be the fast track to healing for me.
Absolutely, the years that I was doing this, while I was married, really helped me to have a strong self-knowledge, to be really clear about who I was, and be able to land on my feet when this happened. I had three therapists who told me, “Wow, it was amazing.” They said, “You landed on your feet.” I healed fast.
It’s all a journey. I’m still working through stuff, but this is so powerful and gets to the core. For me, it just brought me so much joy. Honestly, it’s just brought me so much joy.
Anne: In trying to support your abusive husband, for the years that you were with him, in his struggles with compulsive, abusive, and immoral behaviors, and all the things that he struggled with, and when you realized that all of your support of him was really just accidentally and unknowingly supporting your own abuser, that stage of realization is so shocking to so many women, and also the point at which they feel like they’re so stupid and, “How could I have done this for years?” when I met with you right when this happened you didn’t seem to have that sense of shame.
You didn’t seem to have that sense of “How could I not have known?” You were more like, “Wow! I didn’t know and now I know and now I can move forward.” Your mindset, at the time, was not one of self-blame or shame or embarrassment. You had such an empowered mindset.
Do you think that was also from the meditation?
Peggy: Absolutely. That was a big chunk of it. I had done other work besides that, my own healing work. Through my own process of trying to heal in the marriage, for the sake of the marriage, to keep the marriage, because I thought that’s what we were all about, because he’s a psychotherapist and he was going through his own process and we were in this together. I was all in.
I was working on my stuff to become the best I could be. Honestly, I became a person that I really like, in that marriage. When you saw me, after this all came down and it all came out, I was really clear because I owned myself because I’d been through all this process work. I knew who I was.
I really have to say and give credit where credit is due, and I’m a believer in God. He really prepared me for this. I feel like everything that I went through just came from my God and finding the Journey Method, years ago, was absolutely His thing. He gave it to me. He prepared me in having my power at the end of that relationship.
Anne: For our audience members who aren’t familiar, when Peggy says “The Journey Method” or she says “when we process,” she’s talking about her mediation sessions. She does one group meditation session. When you join Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group, you’ll have access to that and also all our other coach’s sessions, multiple sessions per day, unlimited live group sessions.
It’s an amazing resource and it’s the least expensive professional help that you can get out there, and we did that on purpose. You don’t have to leave your house, everything is online. Also, you can do those types of meditation sessions, which is called Journey Work, with Peggy in individual sessions.
I had met Peggy years before her husband abandoned her. When it all hit the fan, I knew Peggy needed to come be a coach at BTR, because you are one of the most amazing, compassionate, creative women, and having a resource for women, like me, who need to process but not in a way that they talk. We need to process in art or through movement.
Coach Peggy is the perfect coach to help you figure out the right way to process, if talking isn’t working for you or she’s a great coach to be with if talking does work for you because you’re awesome to talk to. Either way, Peggy, you’re a great coach.
Peggy: Thank you.
Guided Meditation And Self-Care Can Empower Victims Of Emotional And Psychological Abuse To Find Healing
Anne: Speaking of being the coach who’s great at creativity and self-care, and stuff like that, and women are stuck at home while experiencing emotional abuse, can you give a few tips or some pointers for women who are quarantined right now, who are kind of isolated and really do need to focus on self-care?
Peggy: Yeah, you know what there are some things that you could do. For sure, try and get outside, but what if you spent some time outdoors with your journal or a sketchbook or some craft supplies. Maybe take your camera and take some pictures as you went out for a walk.
You could design your own greeting cards and send them to friends. You could decide that you have a favorite actor and do a binge-watching of their movies. Wine and dine yourself. You can plan on making a special dinner for yourself, and maybe for others too, but maybe specifically for yourself.
You could choose a fantasy mentor and take time to read their books, watch their videos, learn about their life as an artist. Explore your favorite iTunes or Spotify for some new music. Maybe take time to draw. Maybe you’ve never done that. Put on some music and take time to draw.
You could make a list of things you want to do before a holiday or before Christmas. Maybe make a list of things you want to do before Christmas. Organize a closet. Create a piece of artwork entirely with things from your recycling bin. Read a children’s book, unless you’ve got children at home and that’s stressing you out.
Take an hour and have some tea. Use some nice dishes and make it special for yourself. Buy a box of crayons and a coloring book and start coloring. Just different things. Try and think outside the box of some things you could do to take some time out of your stressful life and just be with yourself.
Now, I’m going to tell on myself, this morning I had an emergency dance party because one of the things that I do for my own self-care is I actually joined a dance team and I have been taking dance lessons and that all is not happening right now.
You could do this in your home, but I love to be outside and I actually put in my earbuds and walked down the sidewalk and danced. I found a sidewalk that wasn’t too close to too many houses or if you have a place that is sort of secluded. I love to be outside, so I had a dance party with myself outside and it was so much fun. Maybe you’re not that kind of person, but it’s just an idea.
Anne: Thank you for those tips, those are really good. Speaking of settling in with yourself, throwing yourself a dinner party, have a movie night with yourself where you get a bowl of popcorn and you make it special. Pull out the china.
Peggy: I want to tell you something else that I did. I actually called my daughter and I said, “Let’s watch Emma.” I really wanted to watch Emma, which is supposed to be out in the movie theaters right now, but you can rent it.
She was at her house and I was at mine. She put her kids down and she texted me when she was ready and we both watched it. We made popcorn, we had our blankets, and then I called, and we talked about it and what we loved about it. It was a great going-to-the-movie event and still keeping myself safe at home. That’s just an idea too.
Anne: Speaking of that, everyone is trying to figure out during COVID-19, “How do I live my life in a way that is safe for my health?” The whole world is trying to do that right now, which is cool. Everyone is learning how to do social distancing.
I want our listeners to think of living in their homes right now and also trying to figure out how to live your life in a way that is safe from emotional abuse. That’s what BTR is all about. COVID-19 is helping you learn to wash your hands. What kinds of things can you start doing so that you’re emotionally safe, as well as physically safe and that your health is safe because your mental and psychological, and spiritual wellbeing are just as important?
Peggy: Absolutely, and Anne, just another plug for BTRG, Betrayal Trauma Recovery Groups, these are online. These are women you can talk to. So many times, when the women first come on to the groups, they’re like, “I finally feel like I’m being heard.”
Sometimes, there’s another woman in the group and their story really resonates with them. They just feel this connection and this comradery, and this helps, and they feel like they’re being heard. This is a perfect time to join BTRG because you’re going to be home anyway. To have a place where you can connect with other women and have that support.
Anne: Yeah. I’ll conclude with one of my favorite poems by Derek Walcott.
Love After Love The time will come When, with elation you will greet yourself arriving at your own door, in your own mirror and each will smile at the other's welcome, and say, sit here. Eat. You will love again the stranger who was your self. Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart to itself, to the stranger who has loved you all your life, whom you ignored for another, who knows you by heart. Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, the photographs, the desperate notes, peel your own image from the mirror. Sit. Feast on your life.
That’s called Love After Love, by Derek Walcott.
That’s what you’re talking about. Go on a date with yourself. I have a friend who bought herself an engagement ring. She put it on her own finger and was like, “I am going to be married to myself. I am going to be my own partner. I am going to take myself on a date and I’m going to throw myself a dinner party and I’m going to clean up for myself. I’m going to clean my house for myself because I am coming to my house and I am important.”
I think thinking of it like that is really good, both in the time of COVID-19, while we’re all quarantined, but also in terms of are you important in your relationship? Are you showing up for yourself in an unsafe relationship?
Peggy: Yes, and it is not selfish. I just want to reiterate that this empowerment. This is part of how you take care of yourself so you can go out and be the mother that you want to be or the wife or the friend or whatever. This is how you invest in a way that will bring back with huge dividends. I love that poem. Wow, that’s an amazing poem and very true.
Anne: Yeah. To schedule an appointment with Coach Peggy, go to our website btr.org, click on Individual Sessions, and you can schedule one with her. I recommend that you schedule two individual sessions back-to-back with her if you’re interested in meditating or you could just schedule one and then schedule more from there.
Also, she is one of our amazing coaches. All of our coaches have at least one session at Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group. Coach Debra has a session for women who are thinking or considering divorce or divorcing. Peggy has a meditation session that she does on Thursday’s at 8:00 pm Mountain Daylight Time, which is 10:00 pm Eastern Daylight Time.
Our website has all of our sessions in your own time zones, so you don’t have to worry about calculating anything. Just go to the website, click on Services, Online Support Groups, and it will just appear in your time zone. We have sessions in every time zone.
Coach Peggy, thank you so much for coming on today.
Peggy: Thank you, Anne. It’s been great.
Anne: If this podcast has been helpful to you, go to our website btr.org, scroll down to the bottom, and click on Support the Podcast. Your support means the world to us. Thank you to all of you who currently support us. It makes a huge difference.
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Until next week, stay safe out there.