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When Will I Be Healed From My Husband's Emotional Abuse?
How Long Does It Take To Heal From Emotional Abuse?

Recovering from your husband's emotional abuse is a journey. There are strategies to speed healing. Here are 3 things to consider.

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When Will I Be Healed From My Husband's Emotional Abuse?
If you’re trying to heal from your husband’s emotional abuse, here are three important factor to consider. These factors will have a significant impact on how quickly you’ll be able to recover.

1. Has His Emotional Abuse Stopped?

The first factor that affects how long it will take to heal from emotional abuse is making sure the emotional abuse has stopped. Emotional abuse includes a variety of behaviors that come out of his exploitative privilege. If he thinks his “needs” and “rights” are more important than yours, chances are he’s emotionally abusive.

Is he currently doing any of the following?

  • Lying
  • Blaming you for things that aren’t your fault
  • Stonewalling
  • Criticizing 
  • Gaslighting
  • Using pornography / infidelity

If the emotional abuse is currently happening, whether you’re still married, separated, or divorced, if his emotional abuse hasn’t stopped or you haven’t put enough distance between you and his abuse, your healing from it can’t begin.

How Long Does it Take to Recover from Your Husband's Emotional Abuse?

2. Have You Learned How to Separate Yourself From His Emotional Abuse?

Healing from emotional abuse takes as long as it takes you to learn how to separate yourself from the abuse. If you have the right information, healing time can be reduced significantly.

The good news is, you’re strong and capable. The only thing holding you back has been having the correct framework for what’s been happening to you. It’s not your fault. No one teaches the general public about how to separate from emotional abuse. 

The other good news, you’ve come to the right place. Betrayal Trauma Recovery specializes in teaching women how to recognize emotional abuse and exactly what to do if you’re experiencing it. 

Does it Take A Long Time to Recover from Your Husband's Emotional Abuse?

3. Do You Have the Appropriate Support to Heal from His Emotional Abuse?

Healing from his emotional abuse takes time, but the duration of the healing process can be significantly reduced when you have appropriate support. 

Appropriate support comes from women who have experienced their husband’s emotional abuse and have developed emotional safety. It’s validating and empowering.

You’ll heal faster if the support doesn’t blame you for any of the abuse or suggest that you somehow caused it or enabled it.

Betrayal Trauma Support Group, a daily support for women who want to heal from emotional abuse is the safest place to both learn about and heal from emotional abuse. 

On the Betrayal Trauma Recovery Podcast, emotional abuse expert Anne Blythe shared her insights on how she developed specific strategies to heal from emotional abuse as quickly as possible. 

How Long Does it Take to Heal from Your Husband's Emotional Abuse?

In this episode, Anne covers these points about Emotional Abuse:

Personal Notes:

 

Anne: Many of you have listened to the podcast for a long time and you took the Living Free Workshop. When we used to run it live, there were several issues with the live version. One of them was in four parts, and so people missed a part and they got behind.

How to Recover from Emotional Abuse: The Evolution of Living Free

I decided that we were going to do it online. Let me give you some background on Living Free. I developed the strategies in Living Free and the Message Workshop as I was attempting to deliver myself and my children from my abusive ex.

I had been divorced and he was still being emotionally and psychologically abusive, like post-divorce for eight years. My life was very difficult. Every single day.

I lost a big court case to him. He got more custody. I mean, things were just hard. He was counter parenting. He was canceling my kids’ medical appointments.

Emotional Abuse Post-Divorce

(00:51): Many women still experience emotional abuse even after divorce. For example, my ex wasn’t paying half of what he was supposed to pay from the divorce decree. He justified it through constantly undermining me and our children.

So those of you who are married, when we were married, he was difficult the whole time, but I didn’t realize it. I thought back then that boundaries meant telling him very clearly how upset I was with his behavior. Also, maybe giving him an hour long lecture, which didn’t help me be any safer.

He never changed his behavior. We’d go to a lot of therapy. We’d do a lot of pornography, addiction recovery stuff, so that didn’t help. As I started BTR I started thinking, how do we really genuinely get to safety? What is the path?

Anytime any woman who is experiencing emotional and psychological abuse and sexual coercion, if her husband’s using pornography or if he’s having affairs. If you try to go the therapy route or the pornography addiction recovery route.

Ongoing Emotional Abuse Prolongs Healing

Why This Workshop Helps Heal Emotional Abuse

(01:48): Over the years dealing with thousands of women that come to BTR and just my experience helping people, that doesn’t tend to get us to safety.

In fact, we end up being more and more unsafe. Especially because we’ve been vulnerable with someone who’s just weaponizing our emotions against us. As I’ve been the executive director at BTR for eight years, I’ve been podcasting forever.

I thought, we need clear action steps and they need to work. We ran Living Free for a couple of years live. I found that live, it was really hard for people to understand the concepts.

When I decided to change living free into a video workshop, it was really nice to be able to film the scenarios so that you could see it in the New Living Free Workshop.

There are examples of men who will have this same facial expressions that your husband is giving you. So you’re actually able to see the concepts and process them a little bit better.

Transition to Online Video Workshops

(02:58): Those of you who have been waiting, thank you so much for waiting patiently. I wanted to get it right. The other thing I wanted to do was make sure that the concepts worked. So over the years as women have practiced these strategies, we’ve kept in touch with them.

I’ve made sure to talk to them in person. I’ve made sure to see, did it work? Did it help you get to safety ? All the reports back are that the concepts are amazing and that the strategies work. Same thing with the Message Workshop.

I worked with women over two years personally writing their messages, helping them so that we could see does this work? Yes, it does. I know it works. Any effort that we take to get to safety is awesome.

We could resist it in ways that are effective. We can resist it in ways that aren’t effective, but resistance in and of itself is great.

Testing and Proving How To Heal Emotional Abuse

(03:55): As we try to think, how can I resist abuse more effectively? That’s where Living Free and Message Workshop come into play.

In the upcoming months, I’m going to have the women who I helped write their messages on the podcast so that you can listen to their stories and listen to the experiences that they had. It was an incredible time to be with them on their journey to safety.

The messages they received were traumatizing. I sort of got secondary trauma from being like, wow, how are we really going to get you to safety? So it was through their help that we developed this and so many women are so brave to experiment to try new things.

It’s not really that hard for the women who I helped to be willing to be sort of test cases for the Message workshop and the Living Free workshop because they’d already tried everything else.

Effective Resistance Against Emotional Abuse

(04:52): They tried everything. The therapist had told them they had tried everything that Clergy had told them, and there wasn’t really anything else to try. This is that. It’s totally different than anything else, because it’s strategic.

I, along with my kids, achieved complete liberation from my ex outside of court, proving it works better than anything else. The other issue is that whenever any woman starts to make her way to safety, the abuser is not going to like it.

No matter what type of strategy you use to resist abuse, the abuse will escalate slightly. The only way it doesn’t escalate is if you’re not actually getting to safety. If he feels like, oh, this is the same thing, I’m still able to exploit her, then it’s not going to escalate that much because you’re not actually getting safe.

He’s still actually just exploiting you. So for a lot of women who think he’s not so bad, he’s really good, and then they keep having things happen over and over and then we start using the living free end message workshop strategies,

Abuser’s Reaction When You Start Healing From Emotional Abuse

Anne (05:57): They do see a bit of escalation like, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. I actually can’t exploit her anymore. The women feel better because they’re actually getting to safety.

It is kind of a delicate dance at that point to continue to use those safety strategies through that phase until he finally is just like, oh, I’m never going to be able to exploit her again. These strategies are effective while you’re in a marriage.

They are effective after divorce. They are effective if you are separated, and the good news is they’re all in line with just general good person principles. So they’re kind, I want to put kind in quotes. They don’t involve violence.

They don’t involve behavior that society in general would frown upon. It’s all upstanding behavior. If you have in writing or if they recorded it or if they somehow documented it, you would look great in court.

Applying the Strategies Across Different Situations

(06:57): So that’s also really cool. I so appreciate your patience. So many of you have been waiting for this. I just wanted to get it right and so that’s why it took so long. It matters to me that they are tested, that they are proven.

It mattered to me that they would actually work. I know the principles are correct and true principles. My job is to educate you in a way that makes sense. And then there’s the second part, which is application.

The application is where it always gets tricky because it might be different for everyone in their own situation. Application with any principle is an experiment. As you enroll in the Living Free Workshop, as you enroll in the message workshops, just so you can have a base understanding of these safety strategies, keep in mind that the way you apply it is going to make a difference.

If you’re having trouble applying it in a way that’s working, then please schedule a session with one of our coaches.

Educating and Applying Workshop Principles

(07:57): Coach Maddie and Coach Brianna are specifically trained to help people with their messages, and then any of the coaches can help with the strategies and living free in BTR.ORG Individual Sessions.

If you have enrolled in the Living Free workshop and you’d like to come on the podcast to share your experience, or if you enroll and you have questions and you want to talk to me about it.

I would love to talk to you about it on the podcast so that we can kind of keep an open discussion about how to apply it and learn as a group as you guys start applying this stuff.

So please email my assistant at podcast@btr.org if you’d like to talk about it on air with other people, and I can answer your questions. We can talk about your specific situation, enroll and then email her at podcast at Betrayal Trauma Recovery and then we can talk on air and that will help everybody.

Does it Take A While to Heal from Your Husband's Emotional Abuse?

Anne’s Journey from Emotional Abuse Crisis to Expertise

(08:44): You can go to btr.org/workshops to get more information, and I cannot wait for you guys to enroll. You’ll love it. I also want to talk about social media. When I started BTR, I was crying in my basement. I just felt so much pain and I was so scared and so worried.

In the process of the last eight years, I’ve become an expert on emotional abuse through reading and studying, but also experimenting and applying the principles to my own life, delivering myself and my kids from the abuse.

It’s been so fun to help the other women with their messages. I decided, okay, I’m going to be the one that does the social media videos and I’m going to start posting. It’s hard. I don’t want to post about what I ate for breakfast.

The Mission to Reach Women Who Need Help Healing From Emotional Abuse

(09:44): That just doesn’t interest me. I don’t want to share stuff I’m doing personally in my life, apparently besides the most personal parts, haha.

This is serious stuff, I want to reach women who need help. That’s what I’ve always wanted to do for the last eight years.

It is my personal mission to make sure that every single woman who cannot figure out what’s going on, who is praying, who is concerned, who is thinking, what therapist do I go to or what program can I get for my husband.

How can I heal my marriage, so that they get correct information about what’s actually going on. My heart is heavy. Thinking about all the incorrect information floating around about emotional and psychological abuse. Especially sexual coercion, especially when it comes to the pornography addiction recovery community and couple therapy community, and how they approach this in a way that they just do not recognize the abuse.

Challenges in Addressing Emotional Abuse

(10:52): So I’m on social media doing these videos. If you’re on social media and you wouldn’t mind following and sharing the stuff, I would appreciate it. If not, that totally makes sense. Social media stresses me out.

It’s a little bit scary, but it has been an awesome opportunity to interact with women all over the world and hear their stories. It’s very humbling to know that there are just so many women who need help. I’m grateful that you found BTR.

I’m grateful when any woman shares the message of truth about abuse, about how abusive pornography, addiction or pornography use in a marriage is so that we collectively can reduce the amount of suffering to women throughout the world.

I would love to save marriages, and make families whole. I used to refer to some men’s programs for abusers. In seeing the aftermath of it, they weren’t solving that root cause of his abuse, and in so many cases, the men were weaponizing the stuff they learned in these programs.

Anne’s Reflection on How Men’s Programs Don’t Stop The Emotional Abuse

(12:00): You’ll see that if a man wants to change, this is what he’ll do and you can see it in living free really, really clearly. He will of his own free will take action after eight years of witnessing women and talking to them about how did it go in this men’s program?

How did it go in this type of therapy? How did it go? Usually at first, they think it’s great. Usually at first they’re like, oh, it worked really, really well. And then I talked to him a year later and they’re like, oh, my word. I didn’t know he was still lying to me.

The therapist said that I could trust him and I couldn’t, or in some cases he did a polygraph and he passed the polygraph, but they still felt uncomfortable. Then later found out that he lied really well because he passed the polygraph, but he was still lying. Women’s emotional and psychological safety is my absolute top priority.

Disillusionment with Men’s Recovery Programs

(12:56): I just don’t recommend men’s programs anymore. It’s just not something that I think a victim of abuse should ever even have to consider. Rather than think about how can I help my husband be a better person, really need to focus on their emotional and psychological and sexual safety.

Hopefully, as a result of her getting to safety, she can observe from a safe distance and he will realize as he wants to change. That is the best case scenario, and as described in Lundy Bancroft’s book and the verbally abusive relationship and basically all really solid abuse books.

That’s the only route, I wish there was another one. I tried to figure it out for a few years, I did., I thought, can a program do this? I tested it out. It didn’t, and I feel bad about that, but probably all of you were curious too, right?

Marriage vs. Pre-Marriage Counseling Discrepancies

(13:52): All of us were. If I could go back in time, I was hoping so much for a program to save my family, and now I don’t think that ever would’ve existed. The hope is, I hope that he figures it out because when it comes to these behaviors like, don’t lie to your wife, is pretty low bar.

It drives me crazy when people are like, oh, well, you’ve just set the bar too high. All men use porn, and if you want to be in a marriage then you kind of have to deal with abuse. I don’t think that’s the case. I don’t think all men are abusive.

It’s not too high of a bar to expect that your husband doesn’t lie to your face. I don’t think it’s too high of a bar that you expect your husband genuinely cares about you and that he’s not just manipulating you to exploit you.

Programs for Emotional Abusers Don’t Work

(14:39): I mean, that’s the very lowest bar to think that these men haven’t heard it somewhere before, like church or therapy or their work, sexual harassment training. Really, do we think these men are that ignorant and if they are, you see the concern there?

I’ve been thinking a lot about how, at least in my faith, they would for sure be like, okay, if he doesn’t treat you well, if he lies to you, if he uses porn, do not date him anymore. Break up. But if you are in a marriage then they don’t give the same advice.

They’re like, well, he’s a good guy and he’s trying to get help, or he’s going to get better. I’m wondering why the difference in counsel between pre-marriage and after marriage, it’s mind boggling to me.

Before you’re married, if you said, does this guy know that lying is wrong? They’d be like, well, if he doesn’t know it’s wrong or if he knows it’s wrong and he does it anyway, you should not date him anymore.

Dealing with Abusive Behavior Without External Programs

(15:41): But after marriage, oh, he didn’t learn that anywhere. No one’s ever told him that lying is bad, so he needs to go to a program that’s just not true. He for sure knows, and he’s choosing to do it in order to be able to exploit you.

These issues are complex. They are long-term. I feel like the strategies in the BTR Living Free Workshop and the Message Workshop really accurately describe what’s happening and will give you actual action steps that work that don’t put you in danger, and that also leave space for him to change.

They leave space to just observe, to see does he want this? Is this the kind of lifestyle that he wants? That was one of the things that was, I think the hardest for me was when I was observing from a distance, and I mean at first I thought somebody needs to tell him he doesn’t know.

Healing From Emotional Abuse Can Be Accelerated with Appropriate Support

A Woman’s Safety From Emotional Abuse as the Central Focus

(16:42): After a while, I thought, of course he knows because he would act so awesome sometimes, so he knows what to do. He just doesn’t want to lose his exploitative privilege. It was heartbreaking to watch him continue to make those choices as I was waiting for him to make different choices, which he didn’t make.

I ended up divorced and then being abused for eight years after.  I have heard stories of people who use these strategies and then he realizes, which is cool. Neither of those scenarios involves trying to get him in a program or trying to help him change.

Center on a woman who is getting to safety from emotional abuse, emotional, and psychological safety, so those workshops give those action steps. Very clear step.

I also did the meditation workshop because there were so many times where I was so stressed out. I was crying and I couldn’t stop or I couldn’t really feel anything. The meditation workshop helps women feel peace and loved immediately when they need comfort and they can’t get comfort any other way.

Relief through Meditation Workshop

(17:56): That is also available through btr.org/meditation. Anyway, sorry. Just a lot of information today, but I’ve had so much going on. I’ve been so busy for the last three or four years developing these things, testing them, trying them out with women, and I’m really tired actually.

I’m really tired. If you’ve been listening for a while and you’re so inclined, I would appreciate your prayers. Especially as I embark on new things like social media and I’m almost done with my book. It’s been a hard road and I’m really tired, and as much as I want to rest this second.

I hear a woman in need or I get a message on social media or someone emails or I find out that someone that I know in real life is going through emotional abuse. Then my exhaustion sort of gets set aside and I think, how can I not help?

Appreciation for Support For Healing from Emotional Abuse 

(18:58): There’s no way. There’s no way I could see a woman in pain and in need who needs these strategies and not be there. Because I can’t help everybody personally, that’s why I developed the workshops, and that’s also why we have coaches here.

They’re so well trained, they’re incredible. I cannot be everywhere at once. I wish I could be though. I’m just of course exhausted. I think you’re probably exhausted too.

Emotional abuse has a way of doing that. As much as it’s very energizing to help emotional abuse victims is also just exhausting to be dealing with abuse all the time, so thank you so much for your prayers.

Thank you so much for your well wishes and your support. It has meant so much to me over the years. I am here, working hard. I will continue to work hard, so, so glad that living free and message workshops have finally launched.

Request for Prayers and Continuing the Mission

(19:55): I’m so glad to finally have the energy, I don’t know. I wouldn’t be here and I wouldn’t have learned these things and I wouldn’t have had the time or the ability to learn these strategies and then also experiment with them with women.

Had you not supported BTR by listening, so thank you. One of the main ways that you can help get the word out is just by following the podcast, just click follow on Spotify or Apple Podcast.

That helps a ton sharing social media if you feel like I do and you don’t want any other woman to suffer, those are really good ways to help out. I love your comments.

It’s not often that I fish for validation, I guess, but I could really use your prayers right now. I’ve been in really tough spots. It’s you, the listeners, the BTR community who have got me through it.

Gratitude for Listeners Who Are Likely Experiencing Emotional Abuse Themselves

(20:53): You tell me or you tell the coaches. It was BTR that helped me get through this hard time. You helped me get through the hard time of being on the front lines every day, interacting with women all over the world who are going through this.

It’s such an honor to be on these front lines and to hear your stories, to sit with you in the pain. It is an honor to know you. It is an honor that you listen, and I’m so grateful that we work together to make this world a better place. Thank you so much.

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