Is It That My Husband Is Holding Me Back
Is My Husband Holding Me Back? – Sarah’s Story

Sarah kept asking herself, "Is my husband holding me back?? Sarah shares how she overcame obstacles to reach her goals.

Many women married to emotionally abusive men wonder, “Is my husband holding me back?” Understanding the signs that your husband may be sabotaging your personal progress is crucial in taking steps toward a healthier, more empowered life.

Sarah, a member of the BTR Community used the The BTR.ORG Meditation Workshop to make progress. In this episode Anne talks to Sarah about overcoming the ways her husband held her back to reach her goals.

Using Meditation To Overcome What’s Holding You Back

Anne: Sarah recently enrolled in The BTR.ORG Meditation Workshop and she’s been doing one meditation per week. What meditation are you on now?

Sarah: I just finished the I AM LOVED Meditation.

Writing Can Help Make Us Make Progress

Anne: I wrote these meditations because at a certain point, talking was not helping me as much as meditation or yoga because I talk all the time. I never am not talking about it. If I hit a healing roadblock talking, it wasn’t actually getting the trauma out of my body or helping me that much. 

I started doing meditations on YouTube and several different other places. They were never specific to this situation, they weren’t gender specific. They weren’t exactly what I wanted, and so I wrote them. How everything has gone with BTR, it’s been, why not create the thing that doesn’t exist that I need.

Sarah: And is actually going to be helpful.

The Benefits Of The BTR.ORG Meditation Workshop

Sarah: I’ve loved them. I have absolutely loved them, I love that you can do them multiple times. They only take about a half hour. I love that they are specific to me. I feel like I’ve done a lot more healing with the meditations than I have in years of therapy or groups because it’s more individualized. 

It’s specific to me, and it’s what I think my pain is, and it allows me to get rid of that and be more open to the future and healing the wounds. I’ve really loved them.

Anne: In terms of Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group Sessions or Betrayal Trauma Recovery Individual Sessions, do you consider yourself an introvert? Just out of curiosity?

Sarah: Very much an introvert, very much. I need to clarify, I didn’t do Betrayal Trauma Group Sessions with BTR. I did it with another organization. If I could go back in time, I would’ve just done BTR from the get go. I think I would’ve just sped up my recovery a lot faster and I would’ve gotten to safety a lot faster if I had done BTR.

Anne (02:48): Yeah, BTR Group Sessions or BTR Individual Sessions.

Totally. BTR Group Sessions are awesome. It’s safety oriented, it’s the right group to go to if you want group support. It’s also really good to hear other women share their experiences.

There are some women who love BTR Group Sessions and they want to do it in perpetuity, and I think that’s awesome. For me, there was a certain point where talking wasn’t going to help me anymore. 

Is Your Husband Holding You Back From Healing?

My Husband’s Betrayal Is Holding Me Back

Do you feel like you were kind of in that boat where when you’re thinking I still need to heal after betrayal and this seems like a better choice for me than therapy. Can you talk about how you thought about the difference between meditation and maybe another option? 

Sarah (03:35): With group, I think it was good. I was just drowning, I had no idea what I was doing, so I needed tools to figure out how to survive, how to do life, and how to move forward.

Now that I’ve had some time, it’s been five years since my divorce and I have a lot more safety now, thanks to you. I mean, I still feel like I have a little bit of a wounded heart. It was a lot of pain and it’s a lot to go through and when you’re in the thick of it, my husbands betrayal was holding me back. For me personally, I was just ignoring the pain because I just have to survive. 

Now that I’m safe, I can address the pain and everything like that, but it’s a lot to go through. Before I found BTR, I was doing other therapy and groups that weren’t as helpful.

Stopping My Ex-Husband From Holding Me Back

(04:31): Once I found BTR, it streamlined my healing and it went a lot faster with the meditations. I saw it and I was like, oh, I got to do this, I got to try it. Once I did the first one and I was just bawling because I just felt so seen by my maker as a whole person. I just felt like I’m valuable.

Even after all this bad stuff has happened, I’m worth it. It’s been really healing. You can wade through the family dysfunction and generational dysfunction and identify for me personally, what I want to do for the future. I want to help my children and to help stop carrying on all of this weight and heaviness and pain.

Anne (05:24): You’ve listened to my podcast for years and you’re very familiar with my voice.

Sarah (05:29): Yes.

Anne (05:30): I’m just thinking I’ve never asked this question before. After listening to my podcast for so long and hearing my voice so much, was it a natural extension to have me also be doing the meditation or was that weird?

Sarah (05:43): No, I think it was great because I already felt like I knew you so well. You’re like an old friend. An old friend is just walking me through this path releasing me from my husband holding me back. It was great. I loved it, I found it more comforting rather than some stranger. I know your voice.

Anne (05:59): Can we talk a little bit about your story? It’s been five years since your divorce, before you knew that your husband was using porn and having affairs and lying and stuff. What did you think was going on back then?

Is Your Husband Holding You Back in one of These Seven Ways?

Betrayed: My Husband’s Addiction Was Holding Me Back From Peace

Sarah (06:13): Knew there was porn. I just didn’t know the extent of it. He kept that hidden really, really well. I thought, he must be in it again and that’s his thing. I’m going to do my life and we’ll just carry on.

Then things progressively got worse and worse and worse. There were several instances where I knew something more was happening, so I actually prayed. I prayed, Heavenly Father, I know something is happening. I just don’t know for sure. Help me find out. 

That’s when I found out lots of bad things. He had a whole other email account and was meeting up with other women. I found out 2016, I stayed with him for almost a year and a half because he said he wanted to change. Then he just couldn’t be honest. He was truly holding me back from having peace.

(07:07): During that time, he started programs and I started therapy. We even did a couple of marriage therapy things, which was pointless, so unhelpful. I just kept finding things. He was not willing to be honest. We separated in April and I spent the night at a good friend’s house and she helped me find BTR. 

She held my hand through the whole thing. Honestly, BTR has been my lifeline again. It’s the fastest healing, fastest way to safety also dealing with him after divorce because we have children together. I did The BTR Message Workshop and was a night and day difference. It reduced my stress, reduced my anxiety. 

Everything is much smoother now because I know how to communicate, but still stand my ground and still get what I need.

My Ex-Husband Is Still Holding Me Back After Divorce 

Anne (08:03): The Living Free Workshop and The Meditation Workshop make it very clear that communication is a trap.  All the things you’ve been told by the therapist or clergy or other people that you need to improve your communication in order to work things out is just not the case.

 It seems ironic, you can throw all that therapy and all this stuff out the window. Communication’s not going to solve it.  There are some communication strategies that will help you, but they’re still not solution based in terms of thinking that he’s going to be able to work with you. 

Am I making sense? It’s like recognizing, communication isn’t going to help. Then if communication is not going to help, then what do? I do if I have to message back and I know communication isn’t the thing to do, then what? 

You can’t just write back nonsense words! If you share kids, you have to communicate. It’s an interesting irony that I’m both saying. Communication isn’t going to solve anything, and also there are these specific communication strategies that will improve things simultaneously.

Sarah (09:11): I guess it’s learning what communication strategies actually work. 

Anne (09:22): Because it’s strategic. You’ve learned to be more strategic?

Sarah (09:28): Yes. He has definitely played a game for years and years and years and was really good at it. I’m in that same game, so I have to learn the rules. If I want to make a move to go a certain direction, I have to play the game.

Strategic Communication Can Help You Move Forward

Anne (09:45): It’s kind of like render into Caesar, what a Caesar’s or don’t cast your pearls before swine or agree with an adversary quickly. Turn the other cheek kind of things, and that’s where I got those strategies from studying that. 

What does this actually mean? Christ was saying that in relation to your enemy, so how does this actually deescalate the situation and help you be safe?

Sarah (10:14): Yes, yes. It’s strategic.

Anne (10:16): You can see what they’re doing and then you have specific tools to be able to be on his level. Because otherwise when we’re just straight up with them, they just weaponize everything against us.

Sarah (10:32): For me, I think the biggest thing that I learned from the message workshop is to identify what he’s actually doing. Previously I was getting a whirlwind of messages and I never know what’s happening. But now I know what it’s, and it’s easier for me to deal with it. Strategically.

Self-Discovery As A Path Forward

Anne (10:56): Knowing you a little bit, I know that you’re extremely logical. I’m going to describe you as stoic. Tell me if I’m wrong. I can imagine that if you’re in therapy or something and they say, how do you feel? You would be like, well, it’s difficult.

Sarah (11:12): Yes.

Anne (11:12): Yes. Not that you haven’t cried, I’m sure you’ve cried, but you have more of a practical approach to life and your emotions. Regarding The Meditation Workshop, has that been a different way to access parts of yourself that you haven’t been able to access in a different way?

Sarah (11:37): Yes, I’m just right. That one for me was especially healing because you imagine your 6-year-old self and what she’s going through. The pure joy and pure love of a 6-year-old and accessing that 6-year-old and holding her, and that to me was really healing. 

The very first one, I am resolute. That’s the one that was the most healing for me. I don’t even know if I have the words for it. I was bawling. It was just so healing to be heard and seen. I don’t know how else to describe it.

Anne (12:26): I think one of the reasons the first one sticks with people isn’t necessarily that it’s better than the other ones. It’s the first time that anyone does it. The meditations are set up so that the beginning goes through the same process every time for all 13 of them. 

He Was Holding Me Back: Expressing The Emotional Impact Of Betrayal

Then there’s a visualization that is topic specific. I did that at the beginning of every single one. The words are a little bit different, processing something else. Even though you’re going through the same process, it’s getting to the heart of that topic or that characteristic that you want to feel. 

You want to feel resolute or you want to feel protected. It’s a powerful experience of things actually leaving your body that you didn’t know were stuck inside of you. 

Then when you do it again the second time, you get another layer of pain out. I don’t know if it’s ever as intense as the first time because it’s just so different from anything else you’ve experienced. What are your thoughts on that? 

Sarah (13:38): I do like that they follow the same format because I know what to expect. The workbook was helpful to identify certain areas of my body that I was feeling certain things. Then refer back to the workbook after the meditation is almost finished. 

Sometimes Repetition Helps Heal

That’s helpful to see, I might need to do this one again.  Or, I’m feeling good on this one. At first, I didn’t know they all followed the same format, I was like, okay, Anne, what you doing now? That they all follow the format. There’s a purpose in it, and now I understand the purpose of it.

Anne (14:15): My thought was to get all the negative emotions out in the beginning. Get them all out and then fill you up with the positive thing that you wanted to become. Getting rid of the fear, getting rid of the trauma, getting rid of the insecurities, and also just the scripting from society. The places that says that you’re not good enough or that you’re not loved. 

Then the second part, which is that topic specific visualization is about that thing. It’s about the truth that you’re going for or to feel protection or to feel like you are just right. I like the just right one. At first I was going to do I am enough, but my problem has never been feeling like I wasn’t enough. 

My problem has been that I am too much. Instead of being like, you’re not good enough. It was always like, you are too much, calm down. There’s an element of you’re not good enough in that being too much. 

Finding A Healing Structure That Works

That’s why I wanted to be just right in between being too much and not enough is just right. No matter what you’re like, you’re already just right. You are the person that you were supposed to be. It feels like that with your 6-year-old self because she’s so cute. She’s so messy and energetic and, adorable.

Anne (15:42): Yeah, I mean, she’s a little bit too much and she’s a little bit not enough at the same time, and it makes her just right. She’s just delightful. The voiceover was actually done by my daughter, which if you hear it, you’ll hear her. She was very excited to be a part of it.

Sarah (16:08): I like the format because I really do feel like you get rid of the pain.  You get rid of the trauma, and then you build me up so much and I can go conquer the world.

Anne (16:20): You’ve been able to do some amazing things, things you never thought that you’d be able to do. You remodeled your kitchen, that is huge. You broke down a wall. You’ve done just some incredible things in terms of BTR empowering you to do things that you never thought you’d be able to do. 

Meditation Can Help Me Move Forward When He’s Been Holding Me Back

Can you talk about how BTR and either the podcast or the meditation helped you accomplish some things that you never thought possible?

Sarah (16:53): Honestly, it comes down to being married for 13 years to an abusive man. It was always, oh, we got to do what’s best for the family and whatever. My desires or needs were always put underneath everyone else’s, mostly his. He was always holding me back.

Then I got divorced and listened to the podcast I realized I can do whatever I want. It doesn’t matter what that is. It’s whatever I want to do. That’s what I’m going to do. I think I always had the desire. I just didn’t know how to do the things I wanted to do.

Anne (17:25): Do you think also you had that scripting in your head that you couldn’t? 

Sarah (17:29): For sure. I had wanted to remodel my kitchen for years and years when I was married. But we never had the money. Well, guess what, even after a divorce, I really didn’t have the money either, but I figured out how to get the money.  

Achieving Personal Goals To Overcome What’s Been Holding Me Back

Whereas if I was still married to him, I guarantee it would’ve been shut down. No, we don’t have the money for this. It’s never going to happen. It was definitely a script, a cultural script, spiritual script, I have to listen to him and do what he wants. 

BTR definitely helped me realize my desires and my wants, and then I just had to figure out how to do it. I have on my wall, my miracle board, I have pictures on there that I want to achieve.I have switched them out because I have actually done them.

 I’ve gone to Hawaii, I’ve gone to Disneyland, I’ve redone my kitchen. I am currently redoing my yard. These are things that I wanted to do for so long and I just didn’t know how to do them. First, realizing that I can do them, I just have to figure out how to do it. I can do it if I want. I just have to figure it out. That was the biggest hurdle for me.

Anne (18:44): I want to let people know. You’re not like Miss Moneybags or anything. You’re a high school teacher. 

Sarah (18:50): I do not have thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars rolling in every month. It does not happen.

Taking Initiative To Make Progress

Anne (18:58): One of the things that impressed me is your belief in yourself that you could do it because there were parts of that kitchen remodel that you did yourself.

Sarah (19:07): It was Father’s Day, and I didn’t have my kids, and I was like, I hate this wood paneling. I hate it, I just channeled Anne. I was like, what would Anne do? I’m like, change it. So I ripped it off. I ripped all the paneling off in one day downstairs in the basement, and then I had the studs showing and I’m like, oh, no, I’ve just created this huge mess. 

What am I going to do? I called my brother-in-Law who has done drywall, and he came with his brother and they knocked it out in two days. Obviously I didn’t pay as much if I had some contractor come in and do it.

Okay, what else do I not like? I don’t like my kitchen. I’m going to redo that. I had to refinance some stuff to get the money to do that. I’m so glad I did because it was done. Then I had breast cancer, and I want to show my daughters that if you want something, you figure out a way to do it. 

The Joy Of Achieving: How Confidence Aids Healing

Anne (20:15): I was telling somebody the other day, I get what I want in general. I mean, sometimes I don’t clearly, but it’s easy for me to obey the commandments or to do the right thing, so to speak. Because I want to do it. There’s this instance where the thing I really wanted to do was the wrong thing, and that hasn’t happened to me in a really long time. 

I went over to this couple who mentored me in my neighborhood, and I was like, I know this is the wrong thing, but I still really want to do it. I hadn’t done just saying it out loud and getting their help, and they prayed with me. It was so helpful being able to be like, okay, I really don’t want to do that thing. That would not be good for me. 

Just voicing it so that I could have God remove it from my heart was nice, but just in general, it’s nice to know that the things that we want are good. Why can’t we do it? Going to Disneyland is not a bad thing. It’s awesome. Why would someone not want to go or fix your yard or your kitchen? How does it feel to be in your house now?

Sarah (21:16): I love it. I didn’t love it before. It’s a great house. It’s a great neighborhood. I’ve definitely made it my own. Nothing’s exactly perfect, but it’s so much better. I’m a big baker. I love to bake and I can knock a lot of stuff out of my kitchen really easily.

Gaining Energy & Momentum To Heal

Do you want to know what I’ve made in the last 24 hours? I’ve made a lot, I’ve made sourdough bread. I’ve made an almond cake. I made lemon bars. I made lemon blueberry scones. 

My neighbors love me because there’s no way I can eat all of that. I love my kitchen. I have a huge island now and I can work and I have a double oven. It’s what I need now. I don’t know if it’s necessarily, I need, but it’s so much easier than my previous kitchen. 

My previous kitchen was from the 1960s and I’d clean it and it still looked dirty. What’s the point of cleaning if it’s still dirty now I clean it and you can see a difference, and so I keep a clean kitchen more because I can see the difference. 

Anne (22:18): You feel like with these miracles or cleaning out the trauma from inside of you, I was able to accomplish my goal. I was able to get what I wanted. It feels really good, and it kind of compounds. Then you just believe in yourself more and more, and you just have more and more confidence.

Sarah (22:39): You definitely have more confidence because you’ve done it. You already know you’ve done it. I feel like it’s the Harry Potter moment when he conjured the patronus. Do you know what I’m talking about?

Conquering What’s Holding Me Back – The Power Of Healing In Achieving Goals  

Sarah (22:50): I already did it, so I knew I could do it. I knew it was me, so I just did it. So that’s how I felt. I can do things. It’s also healing. The trauma and all of the pain gives me the energy to do it and the creative drive to do what I want to do.  When you’re just in the drudges of everything. If you don’t heal after betrayal, if you don’t take the time to address it.

Sarah: Healing the trauma and all of the pain gives me the energy to do it and the creative drive to do what I want to do.

Anne: Well, and I think that’s the thing that so many women describe, especially before they know what’s going on, is they describe feeling stuck in a healthy relationship. I don’t really know because I’ve never been married to a healthy man, but I assume it’s that you have these goals and that you progress toward them and you’re able to accomplish them and it feels good.

Together in this partnership, you’re making progress throughout your life and you’ve got ups and downs, but together you’re on the same path. When you’re with a pornography user, someone who’s emotionally and psychologically abusing you, you’re a victim of sexual coercion. You feel stuck all the time.

Emotional Abusers Holding Victims Back 

You can’t make the progress that you wanted to. I know that you bought that house with your ex and then you got it in the divorce. Even with that house, there was stuff that you wanted to do and you couldn’t figure out how to do it. It kind of just feels like they’re this big anchor that’s chained to us and we’re just getting dragged backward instead of being able to progress forward.

It’s not a partnership. It’s sort of a counter-ship where you’re making progress and they’re kind of holding me back.

Sarah : Yeah, because everything’s about them. It’s not about us, it’s not about our relationship and our goals. It’s his goals, his desires, his wants, so there is no progression really for me. He’s constantly holding me back.

Anne: They’re not going to care that much about whether or not the kitchen’s clean if they’re just looking at porn all the time. If they’re never home to be in the kitchen. Have you noticed since starting the meditations that things have changed? Were surprised because the meditations are a relatively low amount of effort.

The Surprises Of Starting Meditations  

You just listen and then go about your day. Have you noticed any changes that have surprised you? Like things in real life that you did differently that you were not expecting?

Sarah: My thought process is different. I’m more gentle with myself. The thing that’s coming up in my mind is the just right meditation with the 6-year-old.  I’s okay if I made a mistake, that’s okay. I got to it, but guess what? That’s okay. I got to figure out how to fix it and then not do it again rather than beating myself up.

I should have done better. Changing my thought process of it’s okay, it’s all right. I can make mistakes. I’m going to do this differently next time so that I don’t make the same mistake. I don’t get as hard on myself as I used to. There’s still things that I want to change about my life as everyone does. It’s more of a gradual progression rather than a steep incline.

Anne: It’s also seems to be more gentle process when you hear someone say, don’t think bad thoughts about yourself, and then you’re like, okay, I’m not going to, and then you think something and then you’re like, I’m thinking that again. Oh, stop thinking that. 

It’s not necessarily violent, but it’s like you’re confronting yourself this way. You just naturally change your thoughts in sort of a gentle way, and even if you had a thought like, oh, I’m so dumb.

What’s Really Holding Me Back? Changing Thought Processes  

Then you think, oh, sweetie, you’re so cute. Instead of being like, oh, I wasn’t supposed to tell myself I was dumb. I’m so dumb for calling myself dumb.

Then you go through that process. The other thing that I tried to purposefully build into that specific meditation was just mistakes. She knocks something over and makes a mess. Mistakes that we make that we’re like, oh, I don’t want to do that again. I’m going to make a different choice.

Then there’s also just mistakes that you can’t avoid. There’s just stuff that happens that nothing that you did could have avoided it. I think there’s this feeling that I need to learn all of these things so that I can avoid doing this in the future. I hope the meditation helps people feel like there’s also stuff that is going to happen and it’s okay, and I couldn’t avoid it, and that’s fine too.

Sarah: I definitely agree. Sometimes life happens and you can’t really avoid it. You give the strength to to keep moving forward

Anne: And being gentle with yourself as you’re like, ah, that happens. Today I got a full glass of milk and for some reason I set it on the floor. I don’t know why I did this, and then I stood up because I was on the couch, which I could have just put it on the table next to the couch. That would’ve been a good idea, but no, I didn’t I stuck it on the floor and I stood up and of course knocked the whole thing over. 

My Abusers Lack Of Grace for Mistakes Is Holding Me Back 

I think the hard thing about that is there’s no grace for mistakes. With an abuser, you accidentally forget to deposit the check on time and a bill bounces or something. Instead of being like, oh, it’s okay, you intended to deposit it, how can I help?

 I remember I did that once and I’m actually really good with finances and stuff. I’m very responsible, and that happened this one time and he was so angry. Then said things like, do I need to take over now? So now I have to do everything?

It was just a mistake. I forgot to deposit the check and I thought I had, this isn’t something that I do every day, the way they talk and stuff, there’s just no grace.

Sarah: My abuser wouldn’t give me a lot of grace, but it required a lot of grace on his part. He’d asked for a lot of grace. It’s ironic,

Anne: And we give it,

Sarah: Yeah, totally give you a lots of chances,

Anne: But not so much to ourselves. No.

Anne: You enrolled in the BTR Meditation Workshop, what did you think before you used the workbook? Were you kind of like, wait a minute, I’m supposed to fill something out during a meditation? Did you think it was a little bit weird or were you like, cool, I’m all for it? Can you talk about your thought process with the workbook?

Expressing Trauma On Paper  

Sarah: The workbook is really helpful because it gets things out of your head and onto paper and you have to see what is really there, what is the pain or what is the trauma saying? What are the words that need to come out, and sometimes they’re vile, they’re evil. 

I’ve had an array of responses and it’s interesting for me to see it on paper like, oh, I really have harbored a lot of pain. Getting it out on paper gives it a voice and it’s easier to get rid of once you see it on paper. I am a big journal writer. Even when I first found out everything that he did, I was like, I got to get this out of my head. 

Otherwise I’m going to go crazy. and so I wrote in my journal a lot. For me, it’s very helpful to have things on paper. It gets out of my head and I can see it. That’s holding me back. It’s a coping mechanism. I think the workbook is really helpful, seeing where it is in my body and what it’s saying, what it looks like.

Anne: Has it been hard for you to just go with whatever came in your mind?

Sarah: At first, it was. At first I was like, okay, this is weird

Anne: For people, if they’ve never done the meditation before, do you have any tips for how to just sort of let go

Sarah: Do it a couple of times, do the same meditation a couple of times. Don’t be judgmental. Just let it happen. Don’t overthink it. Just let it come out the pen or the pencil.

Visualizing Physical Representations Of Feelings To Let Go Of What’s Holding Me Back

Anne : I encourage people literally, whatever you think, put it in there. It could be the craziest thing, like a giant hourglass full of marbles that is sitting in your living room. Whatever you think of, just go with it. If it doesn’t work out, it’s okay. Just do it over again in a minute. There’s no wrong answers. What’s the weirdest thing that it looked like? Like a blob or a color.

Sarah: Green, slimy, sticky gooey blob, and I don’t know if that’s the weirdest, “That’s holding me back?”

Anne: Is that the most common thing for you or is that just one time?

Sarah: I have had some sharp shards of glass, but mostly it’s sticky, goopy, slimy

Anne: Stuff. Mine’s usually black goop like tar. One time I had this chunk of cement come out that was the exact replica of the shape and size of my body. I was floating in the air and it just fell out, hit the ground, and when it hit, it shattered into a bunch of pieces.

The light came and just cleaned it up. That was weird. It was like my entire body was full of cement, that’s holding me back. I think that’s super interesting. 

Also, when I do the light part, I go into this mode where I picture sort of a subatomic physics sort of idea. Where all of my atoms separate from each other and there’s space in between all of my atoms, and then I kind of picture them shaking or vibrating. Then they open up a little bit and anything unhealthy just comes out of them and gets pulled in, and I always love that part.

Health Benefits Of Meditation & Emotional Release  

I feel so much better afterwards. I just feel like it healed my body too. How do you feel about the meditations in relation to your health?

Sarah: I wish you had done this years ago. I feel lighter. I’ve read,The Body Keeps the Score, and you can’t separate areas of your life. You are a whole person and everything blends into every other part of your life. It makes sense.

 If you’re in a relationship that’s abusive, it tears down your body physically. It just does. You can’t separate the stress from different areas. The trauma keeps holding me back. It just doesn’t work. Releasing the trauma and the pain and the memories has been helpful. I feel better physically than I did years ago. 

Anne: When you get to, I am healing the healing meditation that has a whole section about physical healing, healing your physical ailments. I’m thinking, “What’s holding me back?” You’re in this sort of mausoleum kind of place and this lady comes and you lay down on this stone that can heal your body.

You’re a woman of faith, you’re a Christian. For any women who are kind of nervous. That makes me nervous. It’s going to let something that I am not sure into my life. Can you talk about that you’re a Christian and how you felt about meditation in light of your faith?

Meditation & Christian Faith: Aligning Spiritual Practices  

Sarah: I visualize it as accessing the atonement. That’s how I see it. For me, the meditations help me access the atonement better. I believe Christ can heal all things. The meditation is a visual way to see that atonement, to see Christ healing me.

Anne: In terms of your faith, has everything been safe for you? Has everything felt safe? Has there been anything that felt uncomfortable that didn’t really mesh with your values?

Sarah: Well, the meditations have aligned with my values, my religion. People say it’s prayer and meditation. They kind of go together, so it’s just a different way of doing meditation. To me, it’s more effective to do meditation rather than prayer. Now, I’m not saying prayers are bad for this specific situation.

 I think these meditations are very helpful. There’s a purpose behind them, whereas my prayers are my wants and desires or gratitude or whatever my prayers are. They’re helpful as well. I’m not saying one or the other. I don’t feel uncomfortable doing the meditations even though I’m a religious person, that wasn’t holding me back.

Ensuring Meditation Aligns With Personal Values  

Anne : I am too. I was hoping that Christians would, if they wanted to, envision that light as Christ. So many women have had spiritual abuse be a part of their story, and many women have decided that religion isn’t for them. Because they’ve had so much spiritual abuse. 

I support a woman getting to safety however she needs to get to safety. I wanted it to be very just open to interpretation. And make sure that all of the visualizations aligned with, I would say general Christian principles or the general principles of being a good person.

So that everyone would feel comfortable. Hopefully there isn’t any part of it that makes someone feel uncomfortable.

I can’t anticipate everyone’s experience and everyone’s situation, but for the most part, I tried to try to make sure that it was vague enough and general enough. Then also alternatively specific enough, in the I Am Brave meditation, it is interesting because you actually confront the abuser. 

Do you remember that one? Yes. In a safe place, and that one might make people a little bit nervous, but he’s contained so that you’re safe. How did you feel about that one?

Sarah: Wow. The things I wanted to say to him and to actually hear. I think there’s always things that we want to say and to actually be heard. We could say it all we want, but that’s not going to affect him at all. In this way it did. I felt validated for my feelings and for the way that he treated me. It was freeing.

Is He Still Holding Me Back? Visualizing Confronting Emotional Abuse Safely  

Anne: He doesn’t change his behavior due to that, but he’s sort of forced to listen to you. For women who maybe nervous about meditation and don’t know if it’s for them what would you tell them?

Sarah: Give it a chance. What’s holding me back? Maybe if this is your first time doing a meditation, do the first one just a couple of times. Be curious rather than shut it down right away. I have actually told the women that I know that I’ve been in abusive situations about the meditation workshop and how helpful it has been for me.

 I tell lots of women because this has helped my healing a lot, just give it a chance.

Anne: Which is awesome for you because there’s so not woo woo. Your room isn’t full of crystals and you’re not burning incense all over the place. You’re a high school teacher. Straightforward.

Sarah: I tell it like it is. Sometimes my bluntness gets people offended.

Anne: My mom, she is really cute. She was hesitant to try the meditations, she was like “What’s holding me back?” I’ll have to have her come on to talk about it. She took it and she was just crying the whole time, which is not like my mom at all. She called me and was like, oh my word. I didn’t know, it was so good. I was just crying and crying, and a lot of people have said that. It’s just like, let so much pain out, crying in a good way.

Has The Fear of Meditation Been Holding Me Back?  

Sarah: It’s a healing crying. It’s not a distressed crying.

Anne: The fact that my mom liked it, she’s not woo-woo either. I hope that there’s something for everyone no matter what their personality is, no matter what their experience. t was everything that I wanted, and then I was just trying to be mindful of maybe what everyone else would like. 

Anne: I think everything at BTR is because I needed it, I had to figure out, “What’s holding me back?” The Living free Workshop, it’s because I needed a strategy. I tried everything that everybody else said and it didn’t work. The Message Workshop, same thing there. No matter what I did, I could not figure out how to get myself out of his emotional and psychological abuse.

Even if you said it was abuse, there wasn’t anyone who was like, okay, now we know this. Living free is for women who don’t know what to do. It’s very practical. Let’s all let go of what’s holding me back.

Let Go Of What’s Holding Me Back

It’s cool to have all of those resources that I wish I had, but everything was based on all of the obstacles that we face, legal obstacles, obstacles with clergy, just one right after another. It seems like they never end, but I feel like now I’ve written my book, which will be coming out soon. It’s like all of the stuff that I learned right now, I just want to apply it and talk about it all the time. 

Now that it’s all built, because the good part is knowing that it works and seeing how it helps people.

Anne: I’m so glad. Well, thank you so much, Sarah, for taking the time to talk today.

Sarah: There’s just such a need, so many of us. I think you’re going to help a lot of women. You’ve already helped me.

Sarah: Yeah, my pleasure. Just keep going. One foot in front of the other. You’re doing great work for all the other women out there. Keep going. Try the workshops. They are very helpful.

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