Autoimmune diseases, fatigue, chronic headaches, aches and pains, digestive issues, sleep issues – the list goes on.
Unprocessed trauma from domestic abuse, including emotional, psychological, physical, sexual, and spiritual abuse, can wreck havoc in our bodies. Coach Denalee joins Anne on the free BTR podcast to share a message of hope – while victims may suffer from unexplainable maladies for years as a result of trauma, they can begin the journey to healing with small, doable steps. Read the full transcript below and listen to the BTR podcast for more.
Heal The Trauma In Your Body: Give It A Name
“Stop being afraid of the word abuse and go ahead and let your mind and your heart embrace that you are being injured. You have been injured and you’re being injured, and it’s not your fault. But there is help out there that will get you on a road to healing and peace, and where you can even feel joy and anticipation and excitement in your life again. It’s a journey, and it takes a lot of effort, but as hard as the journey is it can be joyful too. And we’re here to help you. We get it and we want to help you on that journey.”Coach Denalee, Betrayal Trauma Recovery Team
Victims can find the right resources for education, healing, and support when they find the courage to call the abuse by its name.
It’s a difficult step, and for some victims it takes support to begin to use the word “abuse”. Why?
- Abusers condition victims to minimize the abusive behaviors
- Abusers condition victims to “forgive and forget”, thus causing victims to develop “abuse amnesia” wherein victims truly do forget details or entire abusive incidences
- Victims are fearful of legal and social ramifications of using the word “abuse”
- Victims are fearful of the abuser’s reaction if they use the word “abuse”
- Victims know that they may have to take serious action if they use the word “abuse”, including separating themselves and/or their children from their abusive partner
Care For Your Body To Begin Healing The Trauma
Coach Denalee shares her powerful story of physical healing in this week’s podcast.
One empowering step victims can take today to begin healing the trauma stored in their own bodies, is to begin cherishing the body that has been so badly traumatized.
Victims can practice:
- Daily stretching
- Taking small steps toward adequate nutrition
- Taking short walks during lunch breaks
- Trying meditation
- Taking deep breaths
Heal The Trauma In Your Body By Setting Boundaries Today
Your healing journey begins the moment that you start setting boundaries.
Don’t worry if your boundaries are not all-encompassing and life-changing. Start as small as you need to. But start.
Set safety boundaries that create distance between yourself and abusive behaviors.
Betrayal Trauma Recovery Is Here For You
At BTR, we know how devastating it is to realize that your physical health is suffering because of the abuse you have lived through.
But your life isn’t over.
You have years of joy ahead of you.
And you don’t have to do this alone.
Join the Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group today and find the community you need to validate and support you as you begin your journey to healing.
Anne: Welcome to Betrayal Trauma Recovery, this is Anne.
Our Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group, called BTRG for short, is a daily online support group.
We have over 21 sessions per week for you to choose from. You don’t have to wait for an appointment, you don’t have to leave your home, you can join from your closet or your parked car in your garage. We are here for you. Check out the session schedule; we’d love to see you in a session today.
For everyone who has given this podcast a five-star rating on Apple podcasts or other podcasting apps, thank you so much. If this podcast has helped you when you rate it, you help other women find it, so your ratings and reviews make a big difference for victims desperately trying to figure out what is happening to them. Here is a five-star review we received on Apple podcasts: Amazing resource for both partners. This podcast has been one of the best things for my wife on this journey, by far the best resource out there, and is only getting better. Not only has it been beneficial for my wife, but it has been beneficial for me. It has given me great insight into what my wife is experiencing and how my actions and abuse affect her. For anyone looking to learn more about sex and porn addiction, how it affects the family, the spouse, and the addict, this podcast is for you.
Thank you so much for this review. I’m so grateful for your support, and I’m also grateful that every review helps isolated women find us.
Coach Denalee on the BTR Podcast
We have Coach Denalee back on today’s episode. If you did not hear last week’s please go there first, have a listen, and then join us here. We’re just going to jump right into the conversation.
Anne: Part of the reason I started BTR was that I would have made different decisions had I known different things, right. So, I wanted everyone to know what I had learned and wanted everyone to be able to know that this was abuse. Because had I known, I might have made different decisions earlier. I’m okay with the decisions that I’ve made because I just made the best decisions I could with what I knew, but it is awesome that when you get correct information, it can help you make better decisions, but I don’t think we have to regret our past.
“You Found Us At Just The Right Time”
Denalee: Yeah, and I actually really love that everything that we do is a building block to the next place where we’re going. And so, offering ourselves forgiveness and grace and non-judgment for anything in our past is one of the best things that we can do towards healing because we’re always doing the best that we can, right. We’re all seeking to heal the very best that we can, so why would we say, ah, I was such an idiot then? No, no, I was not such an idiot then. I had things going in my life that led me to act or think in this way, which has now gotten me eventually to where I am now, and I love where I’m at because I’m still progressing.
Anne: And I would encourage all women to do that because so many women either in a review on Apple podcasts or on our Facebook page or wherever they’re like oh, I wish I would have found you sooner. I always want to say, you found us at just the right time.
“BTR Is All About Healing”
Denalee: Yeah, I love that. BTR is all about healing.
Anne: It’s very evident to those of us going through it, that betrayal trauma (emotional and psychological abuse, sexual coercion, all those things cause betrayal trauma) really affects us physically. Can you talk about that?
Denalee: Yes. I am living evidence of how it affects us physically, and I think probably everybody listening to this podcast can look at their lives and say oh, that makes a lot of sense. I’ve always been kind of a health fanatic. I’ve always tried to take care of my body, but stuff still happens, right? And now, a lot of studies are showing that specific health issues, specifically autoimmune diseases, many of them come about because of trauma in life.
How Does Trauma Affect Our Bodies?
And years ago, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and I knew where it had come from. I knew that trauma had really affected my body, without really having the words for it at the time because this was like 15 years ago. I knew that my body had stored what my mind and heart couldn’t process and that it just was sick of storing it. It got sick; my body got sick. I was on a road of figuring out how to help my body and part of that really was helping my mind and relearning that I could say no to things and that I could take a little bit of charge of my life.
Now, this is pre-recognition of specific abuse in my life, but I still knew that my body was carrying the trauma. And I took a lot of care of my body and miracles come in all different ways, and sometimes the miracle is just recognition but sometimes the miracle is physical healing. Three years after my diagnosis I went in to see my neurologist because I knew something was wrong. The medication I was taking had serious side effects, but MS-wise, I felt great; I just didn’t think I had MS anymore.
Miracles Can Happen When We Process Trauma
And of course, he said it’s not curable, but I did another MRI, the umpteenth MRI, and he said something like, “I am honored to be your neurologist, but clearly, a higher power is in charge here because if I did not know your history, I would never take you on as a patient. There’s no sign of you ever even having had MS. I will not say cured because I’m a scientist, but I’ll say I never need to see you again.” And that is a little miracle, and not everybody will have that same miracle, but it’s just evidence that recognition of what my body has been doing and then trying to eliminate the things that are adding to the body carrying trauma really helped me physically.
Anne: I think you said that was a little miracle. Um, that was a very large one.
Actions Precede Miracles
Anne: Yeah. And so many of us are praying for a huge miracle, right. I don’t know any Shero who is currently being emotionally or psychologically abused or having to deal with the effects of sexual coercion, who is not praying for a huge miracle. I think I said this on another episode, I’m not sure if it’s an upcoming episode or a past episode, but my son and I were gardening and he said, “Mom, mom, our garden is beautiful. I love our garden. It’s beautiful. It’s a miracle how beautiful it is. And you know what makes the miracle happen?” And I said, “What?” And he said, “Weeding.”
Denalee: Oh, he’s so wise.
Anne: Yes, but I just thought wow, you know. We do these little actions, and we hope that they fruit something good, whatever actions that we take. And we take steps toward it, and then miracles occur.
What Steps Can You Take Toward Your Miracle Of Healing From Trauma?
I love to think about the Israelites. They were set free. They’re walking out and then the Red Sea is parted. If they had not walked across the Red Sea, right? They actually had to pick their feet up and start walking in spite of the fact that there was this big miracle. They could have literally just sat there and observed the parting of the Red Sea and been like wow, that’s beautiful and amazing. But they actually had to walk through it, and so part of it is praying for miracles, and then the second part is recognizing the miracles and picking our feet up and weeding or doing whatever thing is that we need to do. And in your case, the things that you were led or guided to do for your health, that enabled you to be healed. And so, we know God healed you, period, but you also took steps to make that happen.
“Healing Is Intentional Effort Plus Time”
Denalee: Yeah, and that’s a really good point. I am strong in my spirituality and in my faith, and I give all glory to God for that. But I just don’t think that God reaches in and fixes things. I think He works by natural laws, and He inspires us, and we need to make the effort. Effort is required. That’s why what I said earlier in this podcast, healing is intentional effort plus time, and surrender is such a beautiful truth. It’s not just a maybe if I surrender this it will all turn out the way I want. Surrender is actually letting go so that whatever happens really becomes what you want. And so, if I effort towards an outcome that I think will bring me peace, and I get a different outcome, chances are it’s going to bring me peace anyway. It just might not be the exact outcome I wanted. I just believe that God works that way. He is all-knowing and all-powerful, and in His all-knowingness, He allows us to effort because that’s really the only way that we can become more of what we want to be.
Trauma Mama Husband Drama
Anne: I am going to take a break here for just a second to talk about my book, Trauma Mama Husband Drama. You can find it on our books page which has a curated list of all of the books that we recommend. My book, Trauma Mama Husband Drama, is a picture book for adults. So, it is the easiest way for you to explain what’s going on to someone who might not understand it, it’s also just a good reference for yourself because it shows what’s happening with very telling and emotional illustrations, as well as infographics at the back.
And now back to my conversation with Denalee.
“Know What You Want To Feel & Know The Type Of Life You Want”
Anne: In this particular situation it’s good to effort toward peace and toward safety. If you’re working toward peace, then you’ll have different things come up along the way. If your goal is safety, rather than a specific outcome, then God can lead you and guide you to that safety. And I think that’s a good place to be, is to know what you want to feel and know the type of life that you want, and then work toward that and then let God guide you into what is right for you.
Denalee: I love the way you said that because too often in my life I have had very specific things I wanted. I want to be pregnant by this date, you know, or whatever it is, like specific things. Whereas if I am putting my effort instead towards a state of being, that is what I’m going to be granted no matter what that looks like. I will feel that peace, that joy, that resolve, or courage. I mean it can be anything. This year, my New Year’s resolution was one word, it was courage. I decided to study the life of Christ in a way I hadn’t before. I wanted to stop looking at all of his “feminine traits,” you know, mercy and grace and forgiveness and kindness. I wanted to see those more, what we consider in our world masculine traits, boldness and courage and all of that.
Choosing Courage & Faith Rather Than Fear
And I studied and I saw courage everywhere and I thought, I don’t want to just set up boundaries. I want to be boundaried. I want to be courageous. I want to be bold. And I’ve worked towards it, and I will tell you, the miracles that have happened in my life this year compared to the miracle of eradicating MS for my life oh, they’re neck and neck. They’re right up there together. And you pointed out that if we put our work towards and our effort towards a state of being rather than a specific outcome, God’s going to grant that for us as we work towards it.
Anne: Yeah, I’ve been working for a miracle in my life or at least trying and failing miserably. It is not happening, at least not yet. And as part of me, as I’m working with a coach, is like do I just give up? Or can I like change my mindset a little bit so that I can really grapple with my heart and figure out what is the thing that I’m trying to go for? And I think it’s peace rather than a specific outcome. So now I have to figure out okay, how can I feel peace in this very difficult situation that is ongoing, rather than how can I get rid of this situation, right?
Never Surrender To Abuse: Get To Safety Now
Denalee: Yeah, that’s so hard because the situation’s caused chaos in our life and turmoil and hurt, a lot of hurts. And heartache not just for us, but for the people that we care about. So, we want the situations to be different, and sometimes they do become different. But I hear what you’re saying there, Anne. That what we seek, sometimes we have to surrender the actual specific thing we’re seeking, but still put our effort towards it. Does that make sense?
Anne: Yep. Well, and that’s what I was going to say. I do not want women listening to this to think that I am saying just don’t worry about the abuse, just continue to be injured and become at peace with it. That is not what I’m saying. I am not saying that. So, in my specific situation, I have boundaried myself, you know, to the gills. I am as boundaried as I can be, and I am still dealing with the problems because of my custody situation and because of the way that my ex acts, and I can’t completely stop interacting with him.
“I’ve Tried Everything, And I Don’t Know What To Do Now”
And many of you are in that same scenario. So now, I have done every single thing I can, and now I’m just having to leave it in God’s hands and start working toward peace. I don’t know what that’s going to look like, but I’m sort of out of other options because I’ve tried everything else, and I’m sure those of you who are listening have felt that way also. Where you are like man, I’ve tried everything. A lot of women when they try everything, especially when they go down the porn addiction recovery route, they try and try and try and then they end up here at BTR because they’re like I’ve tried everything, and I don’t know what to do now. And when they come here my hope is that as they make their goal safety, that they can start making their way to safety. Not knowing exactly what that will look like, but actually making progress, and I’m hoping to make progress in terms of peace in my situation.
“Talk To People Who Are Safe”
Denalee: I love that. I love that, and it is really hard because so much is out of our control and once we feel some control in our lives we really want to control. We want the reins because safety does mean our children not being around an abuser. There’s so much that it means, but we can’t control all of that. And that’s what’s really hard, is recognizing the agency of others is going to affect us and the people that we love. So, what can we do about that? And that’s where inspiration and study and prayer and talking with people who are safe; so it does damage to talk to people who are not safe, but you can figure that out, you know. Talk to people who are safe. There are just wonderful steps that we can take to where even though we can’t control the situation, we can control ourselves. It sounds kind of trite, but it does bring peace.
Modeling Safety For Your Children Is A Miracle
Do you know what I love though? It’s that those miracles really are sometimes just that your kids, they have you. That’s a huge miracle. They have solidarity, support, love, strength. I mean they have a model of somebody who when they leave the chaos of the crazy, they get to come to peace, and that’s the miracle. The kids should never have to go through this, but they have this comparison that other kids might not have, you know, and it gives them a leg up because we know what we’ve been taught the struggle it’s the opposite. You know the struggle against it makes us stronger. And I don’t think Heavenly Father really likes it that we have to do that, but he also knows that that’s where the growth is.
Anne: To wrap up, if there are any women who this is like the first episode that they’ve ever heard of on the podcast or they’re just new to this abuse concept, what would you like to share with them?
“Stop Being Afraid of the Word ‘Abuse'”
Denalee: I would say stop being afraid of the word abuse and go ahead and let your mind and your heart embrace that you are being injured. You have been injured and you’re being injured, and it’s not your fault. But there is help out there that will get you on a road to healing and peace, and where you can even feel joy and anticipation and excitement in your life again. It’s a journey, and it takes a lot of effort, but as hard as the journey is it can be joyful too. And we’re here to help you. We get it and we want to help you on that journey.
Anne: Yeah. All of our BTR coaches have been through this, they understand abuse really well, and they can help you make your way to safety in whatever way that looks like. So, thank you so much Coach Denalee for coming on today’s episode.
Schedule an Individual Session with Coach Denalee
Denalee: Thank you, Anne. It’s a pleasure to be with you, and I love BTR and what we’re doing here.
Anne: You can schedule an individual session with Denalee here.
Like all of our betrayal trauma recovery coaches, she facilitates several Betrayal Trauma Recovery Groups sessions. So go check out our session schedule, and we’d love to see you in a session today.
If this podcast is helpful to you, please support it. Until next week, stay safe out there.