Healing Without Closure | BTR.ORG

Healing Without Closure

by | Abuse Literacy, Self-Care

how to heal from abuse without a disclosure

If you don’t know, then you know.

Anne Blythe, founder of Betrayal Trauma Recovery

Many victims of betrayal and emotional abuse never get the closure they deserve. They never get an “I’m sorry, I hurt you. I abused you. I lied to you.”

They want to know: is healing possible with closure?

Healing is possible, even when your abusive partner doesn’t give you the closure you deserve.

Find Healing Through Safety, Whether or Not You Have The Truth

The sad reality is that many abusers are not willing to tell the truth, let alone own it and make restitution.

Naturally, women will experience grief, anger, frustration, sorrow, and rage.

Allow yourself to work through these emotions, but remember to focus on your own healing and safety, rather than spending your time thinking or working toward getting an apology from your abuser.


Healing When You Don’t Know The Full Extent Of The Betrayal

Abusers notoriously only confess bits and pieces of the truth, leaving victims in a vortex of confusion.

Ultimately, women must decide to move forward without the whole truth. Women can proactively work toward their own health and safety by getting tested for STDs, speaking with victims’ advocates, and finding a safe support network to help them through the painful journey of healing.

When You Deserve An Apology, But Don’t Get One

The lack of closure and validation an apology could offer, can be frustrating, heartbreaking, and maddening. However, as victims seek safe support networks and rely on them, they can begin to find healing.

A “safe” support person is someone who is abuse and trauma-informed and has healthy boundaries against abuse.

When women take all of the anger, pain, loss, grief, and rage, and express it in healthy ways with people who truly love and care for them, it can be tremendously healing.

Our BTR.ORG Group Sessions are where you can find the support that you need as you navigate this devastating path.

Full Transcript:

Anne: Welcome to Betrayal Trauma Recovery. This is Anne.

I am so excited for you to get to know Coach Joi. Joi is one of our Betrayal Trauma Recovery coaches.

Joi has had 25 years of combined betrayal trauma recovery and coaching experience. She’s been trained by APSATS and the American Association for Sex Addiction Therapy. She got her coaching certification at BYU. So, in addition to her coaching certification she has a bachelor’s degree in Marriage and Family studies and is a therapeutic counselor candidate. Here at Betrayal Trauma Recovery she specializes in helping women recognize and establish safety around their husband’s abusive behaviors and she helps women navigate relationships where the abuse seems to have stopped, but to make sure that the women stay safe in those situations.

Coach Joi Can Help You With Your Recovery

She also really helps women who’ve experienced secondary trauma from other therapists or clergy. Helping women opt out of the abuse and set boundaries with not only the abuser but also maybe family, friends, clergy, congregations members, other people around who might not understand what’s going on. She empowers women to opt out of that abuse while holding strong to their faith. Helping women from any and all faith backgrounds to make decisions based on their values and supporting them in that way.

Recovery Is Different For Everyone

So welcome, Joi. You spell Joi J-O-I, so if any of you during this time want to email Joi and ask her some questions, it’s joi@btr.org.

So, let’s start Joi. Tell me about the work that you do at Betrayal Trauma Recovery.

Joi: Yeah. So when women come to BTR they are often just desperate for peace. They feel devastated. Many of the women have been to clergy or to several therapists for help. But those they’ve gone to for help just keep harming them.

At Betrayal Trauma Recovery they can feel validated immediately. Not only do we get it, but we can help women understand what is happening and how to find peace. Betrayal Trauma Recovery saves women from years of chaos and pain.

Anne: Yeah. I think since both of us went through it, we have developed Betrayal Trauma Recovery based on our own experience, right? Based on what we wish we would have had at the time because we both went through years of confusion and chaos and pain.

How Can Recovery Help Me Find Hope?

How did you decide to become a Betrayal Trauma Recovery coach?

Joi: So, my journey to healing has taken years. I’ve been married now almost 30 years. I caught my husband having an affair during our 1st year of marriage. Back then we didn’t have language for betrayal trauma. I didn’t even know what to call it. So, back then I blamed myself. I kept looking for ways to fix me and trying to figure out what was wrong with me.

So, my husband, he’s been in recovery off and on during these 30 years and it’s only been over the last 3 years that we’ve really finally discovered what the real issue is, and that it really is abuse. So, I still have to sit down and set boundaries  around his behaviors, and while divorce isn’t my final decision for my family, safety is my number 1 priority. So I have become really good at setting boundaries around abusive behavior.

Recovery Can Bring Healing

Anne: So, as I have worked through this and you’ve worked through this and all of our coaches, our goal is to help save women the years of pain and chaos and confusion that we went through. So, tell me how Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group works.

Joi: So, you know because women experience emotional abuse episodes at various times during the day, the night, the week, we created BTR recovery group (we call it BTR Group for short) to make sure that women can always get to a support group meeting within 24 hours of an event. So, we have multiple sessions. Women can get to the support that they need within hours of that triggering event or that issue that they need to work through. No woman should have to process an abuse issue or infidelity discovery with someone who isn’t safe.

BTRG Can Help You On Your Recovery Journey

BTR is the only daily live support group specifically for betrayal trauma and it’s the safest place for women who are starting their healing journey.

Anne: That is something I’m especially proud of. That we have created a safe place for someone to process that immediately when it happens. They don’t have to wait 2 weeks for a therapist. They don’t have to call their mom who doesn’t quite get it. They can come here and have a safe place to process it immediately, and then work their way out.

What Does Recovery Look Like?

You know, maybe dip their tow in the water a little bit so to speak with a family member or a friend or even clergy to see: Are these people safe? Is this someone who I can add to my support network, knowing that BTR is a safe place.

So, who should join BTR Group?

Joi: Everyone going through betrayal trauma should join BTR Group. Most of the time women join and meet women who totally understand what they’re going through and it’s a relief to know that they are not alone and that they can be around women who totally get it and who are very supportive.

Can BTRG Help Me In My Recovery?

Sometimes, not often, a woman will join and feel triggered by the other stories, and if that happens we will transition these individuals to private sessions, individual sessions, until they find that their trauma is manageable again and then they can rejoin the BTR Group groups and feel that strength and that support of receiving and giving back to that community of loving women.

Anne: Yeah. I think it just depends on the individual. Some individuals they heal better when they start with a group and some individuals heal better when they start with individual sessions. It depends on the individual, and you don’t really know until you try. Some women enjoy both things, so they simultaneously attend as many group sessions as they want while also meeting with an individual coach.

Recovery Takes Time

That’s why those two services are available at Betrayal Trauma Recovery. To make sure that all those bases are covered and that women can get the support that is best for them during this time.

From your perspective, how does a gaily group support victims?

Joi: You know, it’s really amazing. In BTR Group we can all feel the power of collective grief, collective empathy, collective strength. It’s an amazing experience. Many women have healed from abuse and infidelity through this support group, and it’s imperative that women who are starting their journey get support from strong women who have walked the path. It’s a really hard journey, but in BTR Group they don’t travel it alone.

Anne: They’re on this journey with both a professional coach who has been through it and is farther down the path then they are, and also other women who are at various stages of their journey. So, some women who are just starting, some women who have been doing it for years, some women who have been doing it for way more years.

Daily Support Groups Can Help In Recovery

It is really cool to have that collective experience and to feel the strength because a lot of times when we’re first starting out we feel like it will never get better, and just seeing women who have light and hope is very calming for women who are in trauma and who just think everything has been destroyed. To let them know that there are better times ahead.

From your perspective, what is the most challenging thing you see in your daily interactions with victims?

Joi: So, it’s difficult to see women blame themselves for abuse and infidelity that they are experiencing. It’s heart wrenching to hear their stories of seeking clergy or therapists for help and then only to realize afterwards that the clergy blamed them and made them feel worse.

Helping victims understand the abuse is scary. No one wants to acknowledge abuse. Sometimes people don’t even like to say that word. Many people think that even if you use the word abuse that divorce is going to be the only option, but at Betrayal Trauma Recovery, safety is our concern.

Support Groups Are Essential To Recovery

How we help women establish emotional safety in their homes using their values is part of the work that we do. If they value marriage and they don’t want to file for divorce, we help them establish that safety within that context. If they know they want to get divorced but don’t feel supported by clergy or friends or family, we help them establish safety within that context.

Women have so many options. Often, they can’t see it in the trauma, in the hurt and pain. But we help them on that healing journey.

Anne: That was one of things that kept me, I think, from acknowledging the abuse at first. It was that I didn’t want to get divorced and so when I was first confronted with that word I was like: No, no, no! Like, I don’t want to get divorced.

My second thought was: Okay. Well, because I don’t want to get divorced I guess I’ll just keep getting abused to save my family. I was trying to figure out how can I remain safe while not filing for divorce. That is where my paradigm was coming from. That’s where Joi’s paradigm is coming from.

Recovery Can Provide Hope And Healing

My ex eventually filed for divorce. We have a variety of situations within Betrayal Trauma Recovery to support all those situations. To make sure that whatever situation a woman is in and whatever route she wants to go that we can support her as she goes that direction and make sure that she’s safe.

Speaking of that, when women start their journey, they don’t know what’s going to happen, right. They don’t know if their husband is going to learn and grow and stop their abusive behaviors. So, when you start this journey knowing what the end game is going to be is overwhelming, because they might listen to me and they think: Well, Anne got divorced. Or they might listen to you and say: well, Joi is still dealing with some of these things 30 years later. Or they might talk with Laura, for example, and her marriage is relatively peaceful now. So, that hope portion is a little bit scary for women.

Keep Hope Alive As You Work Toward Your Recovery

So, within the context of Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group where does hope fit in there?

Joi: That’s a great question because hope feels so elusive in the beginning or even sometimes after some time in recovery. When women set their hope on the abuser then hope is impossible, it seems impossible, it feels impossible. At Betrayal Trauma Recovery we encourage women to set their hope in safety. You can have a life that’s peaceful.

Up until this point they’ve been subjected to the destructive consequences of someone else’s choices and they don’t have an ability to stop the damage, so hope feels like it’s not obtainable in that, but there is hope in their choices. There is hope in boundaries. There is hope that anyone can change and if they don’t there is hope that you can create a peaceful life with your own choices.

Support And Connection Can Foster Recovery

Your actions make a difference. Eventually, after walking through the fog and feeling hopeless and distraught women can be blessed when they choose to do the right thing. Even if the right thing is to separate or divorce or whatever. When women stand their sacred ground for their truth, for their safety, it may get worse for a little while, but in the long run it will get better.

Anne: Yeah, I remember months and months where I felt just devastated. I couldn’t feel hope, I couldn’t feel peace. The only thing I felt was despair, but I just kept taking 1 step in front of the other. I kept holding my boundary and I kept moving forward. Now, I’m 3 years out from when my ex was arrested and I’m feeling very peaceful and very hopeful and very happy.

Recovery For You Is Possible

So, there is always going to be that period; it could be months (it could be a year, you know, I don’t know how long it’s going to be) of complete and total pain and devastation, but if you have a support group and you keep holding your boundaries, and you keep moving forward, the sun WILL shine again.

People told me that back then during my period of complete despair and I hated it. (Laughing) I wanted to say: No, it won’t. It’s so bad. It’s never going to be good again! And now, I’m saying that to you and you can be like: ANNE, ugh! No don’t say that! Because I hated it too, so I understand.

Safety Is First In Recovery

Betrayal Trauma Recovery is a safe place to start and we hope that you will find safety, especially in this new year. That you will look to safety, commit to your own safety, and then figure out how to get there. Whether that be with Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group or individual sessions, that you can start your journey.

Joi: It’s hard to feel hope. Especially, like when people look at my situation, and think: oh! She’s been at this for almost 30 years and she’s still separated, you know, where is the hope in all of that? But the hope for me is like you said, it’s in sticking to your boundaries. It’s in learning to figure out what safety feels like for you, and then there’s peace in that.

That’s what you find at BTR Group. You find the tools that you need to learn what safety would be for you. Then you don’t put all of your energy and effort into looking for hope in the addict and in the abuser because you’ll never find it there, that’s where you find the chaos.

Recovery May Not Be Linear, But It Can Be Progressive

Anne: Totally. Yeah. We would love to see you all in a Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group session today. 

We hope that you join. We hope that you take a step towards safety this year.

Joi, I’m so privileged and honored to work with you. I’m so glad that you could come on today to introduce yourself to everybody.

Joi: Thanks Anne. I’m so grateful to be a part of BTR Group and I look forward to meeting all of the incredible women reading this article. 

Support Groups Can Help With Healing

Anne: I’m going to do a brief trigger warning for next week’s podcast. We will be talking about rape within marriage. So, basically when wives are raped and what rape is. The definitions of rape and also examples. So, if that’s something that you’re finding really triggering right now, just know that that’s coming up next week.

If this podcast is helpful to you, please set a recurring monthly donation of $10 each month to support this podcast and enable us to continue to take it to women throughout the world. 

Also, every single one of your ratings on iTunes or your other podcasting apps helps women who are isolated find us. We really appreciate all of those ratings and until next week, stay safe out there.           




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1 Comment

  1. Mrsjoseph

    Find Blessed closure in Jesus Holy Name amen


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