Victim Blaming. We hear it everywhere right now in the climate of “Me Too.” Women are blamed for unwanted harassment. Women are blamed for being assaulted. Women are blamed for being victims. When it comes to betrayal trauma, victim blaming is no different. Women who have been lied to, manipulated, and abused in their relationship, are too often blamed for these things.

How can we recognize victim blaming? Coach Jean from the Betrayal Trauma Recovery team joins Anne on the free BTR podcast to help victims identify victim blaming. Read the full transcript below and tune in to the BTR podcast for more.

Victim Blaming Is Harmful To Women

“We see time and time again women thinking: If I would have done something differently, if I looked different this wouldn’t have happened to me.”

Anne Blythe, founder of Betrayal Trauma Recovery

When women are blamed by abusive partners, family, friends, and professionals for their partner’s abusive and compulsive behaviors, there can be deeply harmful effects.

Because victims are conditioned to be compliant, many internalize the false and harmful claims and begin to blame themselves. Further, those close to the victim have the unique opportunity to help and support her. When they choose to blame her, overtly or covertly, they are enabling the abuser and putting the victim into harm’s way.

What Does Victim Blaming Look Like?

Wonder if you have experienced victim blaming? Here are some common statements that indicate that you are being blamed for the abuse and betrayal:

  1. “How have you contributed to your husbands infidelity?”
  2. “If you make yourself more available, he wouldn’t need to act out.”
  3. “If you take care of yourself a little more, he would be more interested.”
  4. “You need to be a safe person so he won’t lie to you.”
  5. “You should just forgive him and move on.”
  6. “How can you ever stay with him after this?”

How Can I Respond When I Experience Victim Blaming?

Victim blaming is deeply hurtful to women who have been betrayed and abused. Here are some phrases that may help you respond when you experience victim blaming:

  1. “I don’t have to prove my point, my feelings, or myself and I’m done talking about this for now.”
  2. “That’s not how I see it, I’m walking away.”
  3. “I’m feeling defensive right now so it’s best if we end this conversation.”
  4.  “That’s not who I am, this conversation is over.”
  5. “I’m not feeling heard, so I am done with this conversation.”

Betrayal Trauma Recovery Supports Victims of Betrayal and Abuse

At BTR, we place the blame where it belongs: with the abuser. Women who join the Betrayal Trauma Recovery community are never blamed for their partner’s abusive choices.

The Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group meets daily in every time zone and offers women the unique opportunity to process trauma, share their stories, ask important questions, and express hard feelings in a safe place. Join today and find the validation and support that you deserve.

Full Transcript:

Anne: Welcome to Betrayal Trauma Recovery this is Anne.

Coach Jean is back on the podcast this week. Last week she talked about body image and shared some really interesting and helpful insights so if you haven’t heard that please go back to last weeks (episode) and listen to her talk about body image. This week we’re going to talk about victim blaming and some examples that Jean has seen both from her own life and from her clients.

For those of you who don’t know, Coach Jean is one of our Betrayal Trauma Coaches here at Betrayal Trauma Recovery.

Why do you think victim blaming seems to go hand-in-hand with betrayal more so than other addictions, like say alcoholism or cocaine or something?

Jean: Well, that’s such an interesting question isn’t it because women whose husbands are alcoholics or drug addicts or compulsive gamblers, they don’t seem to get the same level of blame as women who go through sexual betrayal. So, why is that? And I just have my own opinion here. You can take this with a grain of salt, but I really think that it goes back to the mystery of oneness because I believe that God created sexuality as a way for a husband and wife to become one. It’s really a metaphor of the intimacy that He wants to share with us. It mixes a husband and wife together like no other relationship on the planet. It’s a union of our body, our soul, and our spirit. So, when that covenant is broken by one spouse, I just believe sin and evil just twists that oneness making it easy to place the blame on the wife or both. But you know the wife has no blame, as we know, but so often she gets some of the blame or in some cases, all of the blame and that oneness that was supposed to unite us together now becomes one against the other.

What Is Victim Blaming?

Anne: So many women mention: I’m not the enemy. Why does he think I’m the enemy, I don’t understand? Like, the things I’m telling him, I’m trying to, like be on the same page or on the same team and I just feel like it gets met with defensiveness and anger, and you know, all of those abusive things that pit us against each other.

Jean: Right. You see, I believe that comes back to that oneness thing because we are united as one and then whenever they step outside the marriage and betray us they are so angry at their own sin that they then transfer it to us.

Anne: Uh huh. Or they just want to justify their own actions, so they transfer it to us and they don’t want to take accountability, right. So, who tends to blame the victim?

Jean: Blaming comes from three different areas I believe. One of them is from the husband, or you know it could be the wife if they stepped outside of the marriage, but for the sake of our audience we’re going to stick with the husband. Whoever has the problematic sexual behaviors. So, there are so many reasons for that. The shame shifting, they have so much shame that they feel for their choices and they’re just loaded down with it, so they want to take that shame off their shoulders and put it on ours. Exactly like you said a second ago about justify. In order to justify their acting out behavior, they have to begin to see us as bad. They can take a grain of truth and just blow it up into a mountain of how horrible we are. I believe that many begin to attack their wives’ strengths and exploit her weaknesses.

Where Does Victim Blaming Come From?

Anne: Absolutely.

Jean: Attack her strengths and exploit her weaknesses.

Anne: Yes, that is exactly what happens. The is a very powerful image, thank you for sharing that.

Jean: So what happens is he begins to believe his own lies. Just an acronym that I heard for denial the other day, which I just loved, was denial: Don’t even know I’m lying to myself. They begin to believe their own lies in so many ways. So, that’s the first place that victim blaming can come from.

The other area that victim blaming can come from is others and this can be friends, family, clergy, even therapists. A real big reason for this is they’re uneducated in betrayal trauma. Maybe they still take the old co-dependency model and they’re trying to place that on you or they think that betrayal is really about sex when it’s really not about sex. It’s just really a lack of understanding and one of the things that I want to say about that is that used to be me, unfortunately. Years ago, that was me. I didn’t understand what betrayal trauma was and at the time I was being betrayed through pornography, I didn’t know it.

Why Do People Victim Blame?

I remember friends of ours, a husband left the wife for another woman, and his reason was she won’t have sex with me. I remember saying to one of my friends: Well, you know, as women we do need to be having sex with our husband’s. I mean, that was me. So, when I hear this victim blaming coming, first of all, it does make me angry, but I also realize they’re not educated yet. So, I can have a little bit of sympathy for them but it’s still very maddening especially when they’re on the receiving end of that.

Anne: Yeah, we have lots of examples from our clients and members of our community of women sharing time after time clergy who is blaming them for not being loving enough or not being spiritual enough or not praying enough or whatever. Maybe family members or a lot of times the abuser’s family, like his mom or his dad or his sisters or whatever. It just gets really complex and very, very tough for victims in this situation.

So, you’d said three types of blamers. I can’t wait to hear what the third type is.

Jean: Well, this one might be surprising because it’s actually ourselves. This is one that sometimes we’re not even always aware of. When a woman is in an abusive or emotionally abusive relationship for a long time, she actually can begin to see herself through the twisted and distorted lens of her abuser, her accuser, her husband; and that’s actually stage 3 of gaslighting where she begins to take on her abuser’s identity of her. She begins to wear that and then she begins to believe what others say, what therapists are telling her, and so that is a huge piece right there. It’s understanding that we blame ourselves and a huge part of healing is realizing that and then really stepping into our truth and realizing we are not to blame. I would just shout that from the rooftops. There is absolutely no blame whatsoever on a woman when your husband is unfaithful.

What Can We Do To Stop Victim Blaming?

Anne: I’m glad you brought that up.We see that time and time again and that is so heartbreaking when women think: If I would have done something differently, if I looked different (and we talked about that last week on the podcast about body image) that this wouldn’t have happened to me. None of those things are true. I have seen so many women of all different sizes and faiths and personalities and every different type of women you can imagine who have been betrayed. So many women tell me: If I just would have spoken my mind more.  If I would have said more than it wouldn’t have happened to me, and I’m like no because I did all the time and it still happened to me, ya know. here is nothing we can do to control it and I’m really glad that you brought that up.

Jean: Anne, we also know that these men, they had sexual integrity issues long before they ever met us, in almost every case. So, it wouldn’t have mattered who they married, would have most likely acted out. For so many of these men it started in their teen years and they were wounded in areas where they saw pornography for the first time or whatever and it got a hold of them, so it’s not about us.

Anne: The abuse isn’t about us either. The ways they are going to defend or minimize or other things. It have nothing to do with us either, and nothing that you did caused the abuse either. Talk about emotional abuse in this context.

Jean: If you are around BTR very long at all you will hear one of us coaches or one of the women in the groups talk about the acronym DARVO, D-A-R-V-O, and that stands for: Deny, Attack, Reserve Victim Offender. So, it’s a tactic that our abusers can use against us and it is so strange Anne. I almost feel like these men go to DARVO school or something because it is so common. You just hear it over and over again. So first they deny that they have done anything wrong, then they attack you, and then they make themselves the victim because you have so offended them. It’s so easy to fall into that trap too because they are so good at it. But another one that I have just kind of made up because I think that the DARVO, it can be very sneaky and hard to see, but there is another one that I kind of changed the DARVO into MARVO, M-A-R-V-O. Because I think this one is much more subtle. It’s much more sneaky and it’s emotional abuse that can take time to really recognize and MARVO, it’s M-A-R-V-O and it stands for Minimize, Avert, Reverse Victim Offender.

DARVO Is A Form Of Victim Blaming

So now they are going to minimize. They might take a little bit of responsibility in this one: Well, I shouldn’t have done that, but. Then they avert it right on to you, but you dot, dot, dot, dot. Then you say: But you do this. Yes, I know. I told you I did that, I was wrong, but you dot, dot, dot, dot. They again still become the victim and you are the offender. So, DARVO and MARVO are just two of the tactics that get used and I don’t even think that they’re aware of it. But when we as women can become aware of when this is happening, WOW! That can be very empowering because then you can opt out of those conversations, get away, and get to safety.

Anne: Uh huh. Now, the process of getting to safety takes time. It’s kind of on a curve. So, when we start talking about emotional abuse most women think: Oh, I’m not in an abusive relationship. That’s not me, my husband’s not that bad, or whatever. And then when they’re educated about what it is and they start hearing examples, then generally speaking they’re trauma gets a little worse when they realize that he is abusive and they try to confront him about it and he won’t take accountability and he does a DARVO or a MARVO, right. Then they’re like: Whoa, this really is actually happening and there is nothing I can do about it. Like, he’s not listening to me, he’s dismissing my concerns, and so the trauma gets worse for a little while, right.

Then when women set boundaries, then they’re on their way to safety in whatever form that takes. Either in the form of their husband getting into actual real recovery or him leaving or making his way out of her life. Both of those things are really painful and they’re very difficult situations. So, the process of healing from emotional abuse takes time. It’s not just something that can happen right away. But, I want to warn women that as they learn about this you might think: Well, he’s getting worse and that’s actually not the case. It’s just that when you’re educated about it you’ll start seeing it more than you did before.

So, that being said, can you give us some examples of victim blaming?

What Does Victim Blaming Sound Like?

Jean: Yes, I have some examples here, but first I think we need to do a disclaimer. So, you know when you go to the theme park and you want to get on the roller coaster and there’s that sign that says if you’re at risk for a heart attack please do not get on this ride. (laughing) Well, I just want a disclaimer here because you’re blood pressure is going to rise when you hear these. They’re going to make our listeners angry.

This first one is an example of something that actually came from a therapist. He said to her: So, tell me,how did you contribute to his infidelity? There can be some co-dependency blaming in there and another one that’s really similar that goes along with that is to the husband: So, where’s your list of things she’s done wrong?

Anne: Right, I’m always plugging Lundy Bancroft’s book Why Does He Do That? In that book it says: If he’s going to recover from being abusive he can not in any way shape or form look at her weaknesses at all during this time. During the recovery time. Not even a little bit. So, for anyone who knows how to deal with an abusive man they would know not to say that, right, because it’s only going to make it worse. So, these types of therapists are just making things so much worse for the victims.

Jean: So, here’s the next one. This could just come from anybody: So, I’m wondering, how did you respond when you found out? Because you know you can’t change him or he’ll act out again.

Victim Blaming Can Be Subtle

Anne: Uh huh, yeah that shame thing is a serious blaming tactic used by abusers right now to silence their victims.

Jean: Yes, it is and there’s that threat that you better not do that, so you’re actually silenced. You’re silenced from sharing your pain because out of fear that they’ll act out again, and if they act out again, then they come back and say: Well, it’s because you shamed me.

Anne: You’re right, it is a subtle threat that if you do say something it will be your fault.

Jean: So, the next one can come from clergy and it would be to the woman: So, let me just ask you. How often are you having sex? Because you know if a woman would just loosen up in the bedroom, make themselves available, be more adventurous, meet his needs, this kind of things just won’t happen.

Anne: I’ve heard that from clergy quite a bit and from women in our community who say that they’re clergy said that. Why do you think we hear that from clergy? What a strange place to hear that from. Why is that?

Jean: I think that they base it on scripture about sexuality. I know there’s some scripture in there that talks about not withholding from one another and I think they skew that maybe, somehow. I really don’t know the answer to that, but it’s twisted, and I do know it’s wrong.

Victim Blaming Can Be Damaging

Anne: Yeah, that’s what I think. I’m like: What!? Of all the people who should know that’s ridiculous it should be clergy.

Jean: Yes, and one pastor even said to the wife that if you don’t meet his needs every day it’s like sending him to work with a loaded gun.

Anne: WHAT?!!

Jean: Yes!!

Anne: You know what that’s like saying then. The pastor is basically like saying: He is an animal. It’s basically like saying you’re in charge of making sure that he doesn’t harm people with like sexual assault or something. That he can’t control himself. Like, if people really want to treat men like animals then fine, but we hold them to a higher standard here at Betrayal Trauma Recovery. I don’t know, we treat men like humans.

Jean: Okay, so this one came from a therapist: So, I think I figured out the problem here. We need to make you a safe person. If we can make you safe he won’t lie.

Can I Stop Being Blamed For Being A Victim?

Anne: This particular blaming example was on a podcast episode with Laurie Hall, I think it’s called What To Do When Your Husband Lies to You. If you want to look it up on one of our podcasts here at BTR, it’s a really good one about how she dealt with this type of victim blaming because she had a therapist who said this. Like, you need to be safe, and we have a lot of clients and a lot of people in our BTR community who had this same thing happen to them. That one is very, very hard, right, because you are the safe person. He is not safe and there is nothing you can do to make him tell the truth.

Jean: Yes, and you can’t justify wrong behavior by someone else’s perceived wrong behavior. Or even if they do have wrong behavior that never justifies a lie.

So, here’s one that might come from a faith community: Have you been praying for him? His sexual integrity is your responsibility because you haven’t prayed for him.

This could come from anyone: Okay, so I really need to be honest with you here. This might be difficult to hear, but if you would just take better care of yourself then he wouldn’t feel a need to look at that stuff.

Anne: Because some of the most beautiful, amazing, attractive women I have ever met, their husbands are into porn.

Jean: As we said in the body image podcast, it’s not about us.

Why Is Victim Blaming So Harmful?

Okay, here’s the next one. This would come from a husband: I could not tell you the truth because you’re so full of fear and worry that you would go off the deep end, you know, like you did last time.

Another common one of that is: I can’t tell you because I didn’t want to hurt you. Who are they really protecting is themselves. Because if they were all about protecting you they wouldn’t have acted out in the first place.

Okay, this next one could also come from a husband: I am working so hard on myself and you haven’t _________ (fill in the blank: forgiven me or trust me or respect me or appreciate me). I’ll just never be good enough for you.

Anne: Poor abusers, we just expect them not to be abusive. It’s so, so mean of us.

Jean: The bar is really low when you want to think about it, you know, the bar is so low.

Anne: Just be honest and don’t scream and yell at me and don’t have sex with other people and don’t look at porn.

Jean: Okay, this is a very wounding one because this one can come from a friend who you’ve shared your story with. They could say: Well, I’ll tell you one thing I would never put up with that if he was my husband. Because on one hand they’re validating your pain and in the next hand they’re calling you a fool.

Anne: Uh huh, and do you think it’s also a form of victim blaming because they’re saying: It’s kind of your fault because you put up with it?

Why Does Victim Blaming Happen?

Jean: Yeah, I think it can be. Or you know, you’ve put up with this for so long and I’ve heard several women say this. That they’ve shared with their friends and they’re just like: Well, I’d never put up with that, how could you? You need to leave him. Instead of sitting with the women and really helping them figure out what the next step is because some women do need to get out of marriages and some of them can stay and fight and actually get to safety and get to a healthy marriage.

So, the last one is you’ve finally gained the courage to tell your story to somebody and you poured your heart and you’re sitting there waiting to see what’s going to happen and they look at you and they go: Hmm, well it sounds to me like maybe you haven’t forgiven him. Because we know that forgiveness is a process, right. It’s a process and you have to grieve, and you have to walk through this anger, this righteous anger. It’s a process and hopefully, you can get to that, but boy when somebody throws it at you, oh it’s so hurtful.

Anne: That, and also it kind of doesn’t leave room for safety in that moment, right. So, in that moment there’s no: Are you safe now? How are things now? Instead of saying: It sounds like you haven’t forgiven him you could say: Wow, it sounds like he is really abusive. How can I help you get to safety? Is there anything that you need? What type of support are you going to need?

Many of these things probably our listeners didn’t think of as victim blaming before now and you’ve given them a lot of food for thought. I have heard many women who’ve listened to certain podcasts repeatedly, you know, as they processed this information, and this might be one of those podcasts that you listen to more than once.

So, yes, I want to hear your ideas about how we can respond to victim blaming.

Jean: Okay, so let’s start with the first one that we talked about earlier is how to respond to our husbands. More often than not it is a losing battle to get into an argument with them or try to defend ourselves because there’s really two pitfalls woman can fall into, I believe. One is becoming defensive and one is becoming apologetic. So, the defense mode is you just want them to believe and see you so badly. You want them to see who you truly are and so we keep trying. Well maybe if I say it this way or maybe if I say it that way and you defend, and you keep trying and trying and trying and it just doesn’t work. It ends up in an argument.

Victim Blaming Harms Those Who Have Been Hurt

The other side of that is the apology mode and that can be an example of the husband who says: You know, I’m working so hard and you don’t appreciate me. The apology mode is: Oh honey, I’m so sorry. You’re right. You are working hard and yeah maybe I do expect too much, and I really do appreciate you and thank you for doing all this hard work. So, the conversation started with you going to them with a concern and it ends up with you being the one apologizing.

So, when there is victim blaming, one of the things that we really want to do is speak our truth and walk away with dignity. So, what we teach women is to have some one-liner opt-out statements where you get out of the conversation. You speak your truth and so I’ve come up with just a couple of those that if I could share.

So, something you might say when your husband starts blaming you, you start feeling yourself getting sucked into defensive or apology mode, you catch yourself and you say: I don’t have to prove my point, my feelings, or myself and I’m done talking about this for now. And then you walk away.

Or: That’s not how I see it, I’m walking away.

I’m feeling defensive right now so it’s best if we end this conversation.

Or here’s a little bit stronger one: That’s not who I am, this conversation is over.

Or: I’m okay with being misunderstood. But when you say that you really do have to be okay with being misunderstood in that moment to get out of the conversation.

Another one is: I’m not feeling heard, so I’m done talking or: I don’t have to win this conversation, so I refuse to argue.

Sometimes what I tell women is that if you’re doing to do this, when you walk out, if you have to literally bite your tongue do it. Because often what will happen is that they’ll throw that verbal barb to try and get you back into the battle as you’re walking away. Well, I’m not being heard too. They’ll turn it right back and you bite your tongue and you walk away. That’s why I say: We speak our truth and walk away with dignity. Because often when we get into the apology mode, we get into the defensive mode, we’re just kind of falling into their trap. When we begin to respond to our husband’s this way, boy they notice there’s a new woman in town and where did my wife go? They really begin to see: Wow, who has she been talking to? And when we walk away with that dignity it really truly does empower us and it gives us courage then to do it the next time.

Victim Blaming Is Never OK

Anne: Absolutely. So, this is where I always got myself into trouble because I’m a really good debator. So, I would just debate and debate, and actually I would always win because I’m really logical and I’m really good on my feet. I always was thinking that I was standing up for myself but really what I was doing was getting sucked into the emotional abuse. What really helped me was, I think I talked about this on the podcast before, but I’ll share it one time here, is the three temptations of Christ. Always, the one where Satan tempts him with throwing himself off a building, always just bugged me. I was like that is the stupidest temptation I’ve ever heard. Who tempts someone with throwing themselves off a building? That is so dumb.

Then I realized that Satan was never tempting Christ with throwing himself off a building. He was tempting him with an argument. A mere mortal like me would be like: Satan you are so stupid. Of course, I’m not going to throw myself off a building, like what are you talking about? Why do you keep acting like that? Ahhhh! You know, I would probably just go off and start headlong into an argument with Satan, but you can not have an argument with Satan. He’s never going to be like: Oh, that’s a good point I shouldn’t have tempted you to do that. I think I’m going to repent and change. Like, no, that’s never going to happen.

Same thing in this situation with an abusive man. The argument is part of the abuse. It’s not to, like, actually resolve an issue. Once I realized that and took a step back and thought: Okay, what is the ultimate way to respond to victim blaming? And Christ teaches us it’s: Get the hints.

So, you’ve just done a bunch of excellent examples that we can use, but in essence it’s a form of boundary setting for ourselves to keep ourselves safe so that we don’t have to be sucked into that abuse cycle.

Jean: Yeah, and if you noticed they were I-statements. They weren’t attacks. They weren’t like: You’re always blaming me, and I can’t believe you said that. None of that because that’s just getting sucked in. They’re I-statements. I am not being heard. That’s not who I am. I’m choosing to walk away. So, that’s why we speak our truth and then we walk away with dignity and bite our tongues if we have to.

Victim Blaming Does Not Make Sense

Anne: Knowing that it’s not about them silencing us. Because that’s what I thought. I thought: I don’t want to be silenced, I need to tell him how I feel. I need to tell him this and that. But realizing there is a difference between keeping myself in the abuse cycle and setting boundaries and having my voice be heard. No matter how much I tried to communicate it was not going to be received. That wasn’t the point of the conversation. The point of the conversation was to get me into that abuse cycle.

Jean: One other thing I want to add before we go on too is when this happens is to really think about what is some good self-care you can do for yourself? You know, call a friend and share what happened. Share your victory of walking out. Go for a walk. It does hurt so much to get blamed by your husband. So, follow up with good self-care.

Anne: That’s also a reason why we recommend women join Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group. We now have multiple sessions per day in multiple time zones and we really understand this. So, it’s not like maybe calling your mom and getting a less than helpful response or a friend who doesn’t really get it and they end up blaming you on top of you trying to explain the victim blaming situation, right. Or someone else that you could go to that continues to wound you. In Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group, you’ll have a trained betrayal trauma professional who can help facilitate that and help you know what steps to take next so that you can make your way to safety.

So, yeah, let’s talk about how to respond to other people that are doing the victim blaming.

Victim Blaming Prevents Healing

Jean: Yes, this is a little bit different than our husbands. This is where you might want to think about taking a risk of educating someone if you think they might be receptive. But, this where you have to be careful because this can turn into a slippery slope where you end up getting more blame. So, I kind of came up with an act out/speak your truth statement that you can use.

So, let’s just say that you go to your pastor and you’re trying to explain what happened to you and they start the victim blaming. You can try to educate them about betrayal trauma, what it is. If they’re still not receptive that’s when you kind of stop the conversation and you can say something like: You know, betrayal trauma is documented and it’s a real thing. My story is so personal and so deeply wounding it’s difficult to understand unless you’ve experienced it yourself. So, I’m wondering, would you be willing to listening to a podcast or read an article if I sent it to you.

Most people would say: Well sure you can send me something. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend a book right off the bat because most people aren’t going to run to Amazon, order a book, and spend the next 3 weeks reading it, right. But if you send them a podcast or an article, their curiosity is probably going to get the best of them and maybe they will read it, listen to it, and it might plant the seed. Then if you do send them something you can always say: Hey, once you read that or listen to that will you continue this conversation with me? With others they don’t have quite the personal intimate connection like we do with our husbands, so they might be less defensive and more open to receiving some education.

Victim Blaming Hurts The Victim

Then the last one is how do we deal with within our brain and ourselves. I feel like here is really the most important place because this is when we need to get grounded in our own truth and there’s lots of ways we can do that. So, one of the ways that women can really get grounded in their truth is to join the Betrayal Trauma Recovery Groups. In any sessions it’s such an honor to get to spend time with these women. I really believe that betrayed women are some of the most beautiful, strong, persevering women on the face of the planet. It is amazing when they first come into the group, maybe you know they have just discovered something, and they come into the group and they are so traumatized, and rightly so, we’ve all been there. But to see the growth that they make within just a few short weeks is really amazing to me.   

I look at that and I look at my own personal story. It took me 10 years to discover what these women are learning in a matter of weeks. So, you can fast forward 2, 3, 4 weeks and you’ll have the same women back in the group and yes, she’s still traumatized. Yes, she still doesn’t know if her marriage is going to make it. She‘s still working on boundaries. She’s still learning the lingo, but she is getting grounded in her truth. She has her validation. She has support. She can get 1-on-1 sessions with coaches.

I literally see these women really become empowered and find their voice in a matter of weeks. I look at my journey and it was 10 years. It’s just such a privilege to see them make this growth. So, they go from being distraught and traumatized, confused, scared, accused, misunderstood and a few weeks later they are beginning their journey. They are getting grounded. They’re getting to a safer place emotionally and I’m not just saying that because I’m a BTR Coach, but it’s because I experience that each time I’m with these women and it’s just such a privilege.

Anne: Being educated about what’s really happening and having the support makes all the difference, and that’s what they can find in Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group and also in individual sessions.

Victim Blaming Happens In Betrayal And Abuse

Jean: A few weeks ago one of the women in my sessions, after over 20 years of marriage, had finally set some really strong boundaries with her husband and it wasn’t ending the way she wanted, but she was sticking to her truth and I asked her. I said: After 20 years what was it that helped you really have the courage to do this, to set this boundary. She just said: BTR. And several other women in the group, they’re like: Yes, BTR. BTR.

One woman even said: I don’t even know if I’d be alive if it wasn’t for BTR. What Betrayal Trauma Recovery offers to betrayed women is just such an amazing resource.

Anne: It is. That makes me feel so honored and humbled to hear that because when I started this it was just in an effort to make sense of what had happened to me when I couldn’t get help from other therapists. When I couldn’t get help from anywhere else, you know. So that is very, very humbling to hear and Coach Jean you’re one of the coaches that makes that happen. All of our coaches here, including you, make it a safe space for women to start making their way to safety in a way that they’ve never attempted to before, right.

Women have been trying to get to safety for years but because they were given the wrong information, they weren’t able to make any progress. They were just spinning their wheels.

Jean: Yep, and I tell you knowledge is power. I believe courage is contagious and when you get into another group with these other women, and maybe they’re a few steps ahead of you, and you see the courage, it’s like: Ah, I think I can do that too. It’s just so empowering.

Boundaries Can Help Prevent Effects of Victim Blaming

Anne: Absolutely. So, if you’re interested in being in Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group we have multiple sessions per day in multiple time zones. Coach Jean is one of our coaches. She’s incredible. All of our coaches are incredible here and I’m sure some of you after listening to these podcasts are interested in doing individual sessions with coach Jean. If you visit you can see individual sessions and schedule your appointment today.

Thank you so much for coming on the podcast today.

Jean: Thank you so much, it was an honor.

Anne: We are always adding new sessions to Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group. That’s the group that has multiple sessions a day in multiple time zones, we talked about that several times today. To check out the Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group schedule go to

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Until next week, stay safe out there.    

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