With the growing number of Me-Too stories in the media each day, there has been an influx of survivors coming forward to share their stories without shame. Undoubtedly, the time is right for victims of sexual assault, abuse, and harassment to be believed and upheld. But do we ever hear about the painful and difficult process these survivors have gone through that led up to their empowerment? Why is this an important part of their story?
Chaena Hollist, licensed social worker, minister, personal growth strategist, and public speaker, describes the phenomenon of the uptick in survivor empowerment due to the Me-Too Movement, by stating, “The expansion of the Me-Too Movement and survivors seeing so many women’s stories of men in power betraying them has led to a collective courageous bravery where women are owning their stories.”
The Me-Too Movement Brings Hope
As a survivor of sexual abuse as a child and acquaintance rape as an adult, Chaena knows first-hand how it feels to walk around wounded in the fog of betrayal. She states, “Women in their lives, whether it was within their family, within acquaintances and friendships, at school, at work, are dealing with being violated and betrayed within these relationships. A lot of women that are dealing with the pain of their wounds and for so long have kept it to themselves and are now feeling embolden and empowered to share their stories.”
Anne, founder of Betrayal Trauma Recovery, agrees that the Me-Too Movement is especially relevant and applicable to her focus, which is especially for women who are victims of their loved one’s abuse. She states, “It’s so important because these women are dealing with that type of abuse on a daily basis and many times they do not realize that this is abuse and furthermore, they are not believed even when they do come forward.”
Chaena describes observations that led her to consider exploring a different perspective when it came to Me-Too, “I was struck by what have these women have done with themselves and their wounds and their healing process, because the focus was always on the men a lot as the Me-Too Movement was growing and exposing these men in power, but not as much on the journey that survivors experience or how they turn their pain into their purpose.”
The Times-Up Movement Empowers Survivors
In her new book The Value of Violation, she explores this angle and many other things regarding the journey to healing for survivors. Chaena says, “I started realizing how much the word value often resonates within the mind and the heart of a survivor because that is many times what is attacked the most. Our sense of value of ourselves. Our sense of value of our worth, of our stories, of even our futures because of what we’ve gone through being wounded within relationships.”
Anne identifies with these wounds, but also with transforming her pain into power and peace, “My experience, my pain, was really what birthed Betrayal Trauma Recovery. It is beyond fulfilling to see how something so beautiful came out of something so dark and ugly.”
Women Can Find Healing In Me-Too
Chaena sums up her healing work by saying, “It’s a day by day thing and many times it does take years to truly heal from some of the devastating things that many people go through. Just that process of every day working towards your healing and being intentional about your recovery, that’s how you win. That’s how you redeem. That’s how you ensure that your pain turns into something purposeful in the future.”
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Anne: Welcome to Betrayal Trauma Recovery, this is Anne.
I have Chaena Hollist on the show today. She is a licensed masters social worker, minister, personal growth strategist, and speaker. She is committed to decreasing the number of people walking around wounded in the world, so we have very similar missions and I’m so excited to talk to her.
As a transformational teacher and mentor Chaena helps people heal intentionally after brokenness and betrayal so they can manifest the life and relationships they desire and deserve. Her clients appreciate her personable and practical approach to helping them extract wisdom from their wounds and passionately pursue their purpose.
Chaena is a graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington where she earned a Bachelors in social work as well as her Masters of Science in social work, and has many years of experience in the fields of mental health and trauma recovery.
Movements Like Me-Too Can Enable Reform
As a survivor of sexual abuse as a child and acquaintance rape as an adult, Chaena knows first-hand how it feels to walk around wounded in the fog of betrayal.
Today, as a transformed woman she has passion to help other people reclaim their significance and reach their highest potential. Chaena loves to sing and snuggle up to a good television show. She strives to live a lifestyle focused on creating impact and creating memories.
Her favorite memories to create are the ones that involve her husband and best friend, Prince Hollist and their two beautiful children. Welcome to Betrayal Trauma Recovery Chaena.
Chaena: Oh my gosh, thank you so much for having me. I’m really excited to be here.
Women Can Be Believed Within This Me-Too Climate
Anne: When I started reading your book I was so impressed and immediately interested in your story. You touch on some deeply painful and personal stories in your book and I know it took a lot of courage to write and publish it. What prompted you to write your book?
Chaena: It actually has been something that I’ve thought about off and on actually, throughout my life, but honestly what prompted me to go ahead and bite the bullet was the expansion of the Me-Too Movement I believe. Just seeing so many women’s stories of men in power betraying them.
Women in their lives, whether it was within the family, within acquaintances and friendships, at school at work, I’m seeing more and more often women that are dealing with being violated and betrayed within relationship. As I was hearing more and more women’s stories I started to really see that: Wow, there is a lot of women that are dealing with the pain and dealing with their wounds and for so long have kept it to themselves and are now feeling embolden and empowered to share their stories. But what have they done with themselves and their wounds and their healing process, because the focus was on the men a lot as the Me-Too Movement was growing and exposing these men in power.
The Times-Up Culture Can Help Victims Come Forward
It’s great for us to do that because it needs to be brought to the light, but my heart is for the survivors. So, I was wondering: All of these women walking around wounded. How can I help? Because I have that story and I also know the process that I went through and the work that I’ve done with others survivors to actually heal and be able to recover after dealing with that severe betrayal.
Anne: Yeah. I’m so grateful that you brought up the Me-Too Movement. It really applies in the scenario, especially for women who are victims of their loved one’s abuse. It’s so important because their dealing with that type of abuse on a daily basis.
So, in your book The Value of Violation, you talk about the need for survivors of betrayal to have a plan to heal and then you provide 8 steps to heal intentionally. Why is having a plan, even for healing, so important.
Chaena: It’s really just important because anytime we don’t have a plan, we plan to fail. That’s one of my favorite sayings and so that applies in almost every area of life whether it’s our exercise regimen or our diet or whatever goal that we’re trying to reach. If we have a plan we have a higher likelihood of succeeding in it. So, what I saw is that a lot of us, we don’t take it as serious as we ought to, the process of healing after experiencing a wound within relationships. The acute pain goes away because that’s something that we definitely can ignore. When it’s acute, when it’s something we’re dealing with and struggling with every day, it’s hard to ignore that.
Women Can Be Empowered By Me-Too
Sometimes the pain fades a little and we feel like we’re healed. We feel like: Oh, I’m good, you know, I can move on with my life. We don’t do through a process and we don’t commit to a plan to ensure we complete our healing process. So, I think it’s important, just like with anything, that if we want to truly be successful in our healing and in our recovery and see the value in the violation and extract what we need to in order to grow and manifest the life that we want, that we have to have a plan.
Anne: Creating a plan is harder than it looks. I think sometimes my plan was like, eat Cheetos. Like, I was in so much trauma that I couldn’t really think of a plan. It was like: Uh, watch Netflix and try to get my bed made maybe, you know. It was just so hard when you’re going through that. So, having a network of support, having someone walk you through that process is really important.
Can you share one of the steps from your Heal Intentionally Blueprint?
Chaena: Sure. So, the Healing Intentionally Blueprint is the name of my plan. Just working with survivors and seeing in my own life, I believe that any survivor of relationship wounds can process through in order to heal. One of my favorite steps would be reviewing.
The Me-Too Culture Can Help Women Find Peace
I think that I like it the most because my background in social work and mental health, because it deals with our mind. It comes right after that phase of our recovery where we start feeling better. Like I was mentioning earlier, we feel like our healing process is complete because we’re not dealing with the acute issues anymore, but I believe that that is when the true work gets started and that’s when reviewing happens.
Pretty much reviewing is where we actually, even if it’s uncomfortable, take a look back on what we’ve experienced. The reason I called it reviewing is because I thought about how when we are in grade school right, for instance, when the teacher would give us what we call a review after we learned quite a bit from a few chapters of studies. We always wanted a review because we didn’t want to have to learn everything that she’s gone over for the last month or two and we didn’t want to waste any time. So, she would give us a review to show us what’s important. What should we take away from this? What is important to commit to memory and what can we afford to forget or throw away?
So, I think that’s actually the same thing that we need to do with our wounds. We have to go and take a look at what do I need to extract from this experience in my life? What should I commit to memory so that I can use them for future tests I might encounter in my life? What disruptive behaviors? What negative thinking or what harmful emotions can I afford to release or let go as a result of my healing process? Just so that we can see if we have some stinking thinking or see if we have some things that our abusers or the people who wounded us might have told us over and over and we began to believe them.
Times-Up Has Taught Us All How Women Feel
Just kind of going through and extracting what we need to keep and what we can afford to throw away. That process is sometimes uncomfortable and so we might skip over it, but I think it’s really important to help us make sure we don’t re-cycle and go through the same toxic situations in the future.
Anne: Yes, absolutely. I was really interested when I received your book to hear about how you chose the title: The Value in Violation. Talk to me about why you chose that title and how we can discover value in violation.
Chaena: I had a total different title for the majority of the time that I was writing my book, but as I got closer to the end things got a little more focused and I started realizing how much the word value often resonates within the mind and the heart of a survivor because that is many times what is attacked the most. Our sense of value of ourselves. Our sense of value of our worth, of our stories, of even our futures because of what we’ve gone through being wounded within relationships.
Me-Too Has Helped Women Gain Equality
I realized that my value was what was most attacked or my sense of my value, and what I was seeing in my clients was it was the same. So, it was two-fold. I wanted to remind people that despite any violation that we experience in life that we still have our value. That what happens to us doesn’t dictate our worth.
The other part of it is that I started to realize that even though it’s painful, it’s the crushing moments in our lives that actually extract our value because it shows us our true worth. When we can recover from it and even become stronger and wiser and better as a result. Just like an olive for instance, when it’s crushed that’s the only way that the oil, which is more valuable, can be extracted, it has to be crushed. Sometimes that’s what happens when we are wounded, it’s we’re crushed, but in our healing process we can begin to see our true value as a result.
Anne: I have seen that with my own healing process and it’s a long-term deal. It’s not something that we can just think: Okay, I’m going to check these things off my list and in the next month or two I’m going to be better. I think the reason why it takes a long time to heal is because it’s the process of growth.
The Culture Of Not Believing Women Is Changing With Me-Too
Chaena: Absolutely. It’s a day by day thing and many times it does take years to truly heal from some of the devastating things that many people go through. Just that process of every day working towards your healing and being intentional about your recovery, that’s how you win. That’s how you redeem. That’s how you ensure that your pain turns into something purposeful in the future.
Anne: Chaena:, I’m so impressed with you and your book, and proud of any survivor that does anything, right. Any survivor that even gets out of bed is a shero. Let alone writes a book about their experience.
Chaena: Well, yeah. It’s been a long process. It’s been a journey. Even writing my book is part of my process because it’s about eventually getting to that place where you reclaim your voice. You shout, you know, within yourself for a while but eventually you can begin to shout to others, you know, I’m a survivor. Yes, I have been wounded and I have been hurt and I’ve been betrayed, but honestly that person or they don’t dictate my value.
Anne: Thank you so much for coming on the show today Chaena.
Chaena: Oh my gosh, thank you so much for having me.
The Me-Too Movement Can Embolden Women
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