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It's Okay to Numb Out (In Healthy Ways)
It’s Perfectly Okay to Numb Out (In Healthy Ways)

Are you numbing out the pain of betrayal and abuse? It's okay to take a mental break sometimes! Anne talks about healthy ways to "numb out".

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It's Okay to Numb Out (In Healthy Ways)

Have you found yourself zoning out, feeling numb, distracted and “out of it?”

It’s perfectly normal to try to escape the reality of pain and heartbreak from betrayal and abuse by numbing out mentally.

In this podcast episode, Anne talks about how she experiences periods of “zoning out” and how she uses healthy tactics to pull herself back into the present moment. Listen to the podcast and read the full transcript below for more.

Betrayal & Emotional Abuse are Mentally Exhausting

Gaslighting, betrayal, emotional abuse and sexual coercion can lead women to mental exhaustion. Trying to work out the crazy-making, wracking your brain for solutions, and trying to predict the abuser’s next move can fatigue your body and brain.

Many women find themselves lost in deep thought, to the point that they forget where they are or what they were just talking about.

Find Escape – In Healthy Ways

Rather than existing in a state where you have to numb out in order to exist at all, we encourage women to seek safety from abuse by setting healthy boundaries.

As you work toward safety, give yourself compassion and use healthy tactics to tend to your mental state. You can try:

  • Mindfulness and Meditation: becoming aware of the space you’re in – textures, colors, temperature, sounds.
  • Mental visualization: putting your worries and stresses in a box to be unpacked when you have mental energy and support

BTR.ORG is Here For You

At BTR.ORG, we know that support is absolutely essential to safety. Our BTR.ORG Group Sessions are here for you as a safe space as you process trauma and seek community.

Full Transcript:

(00:00):
Welcome to BTR.ORG. This is Anne. So the reason why I wanted to talk about this is ’cause I found myself not hearing my children when they were talking to me and I wasn’t doing anything else. They would say something and I realized that they had been saying something to me and that I did not hear them for like, I don’t know how many times they said, mom, mom, mom, you know? And then I was like, oh, yeah, what? What is it? So I was available and ready and willing to talk to them, but just didn’t hear them until they had said my name a few times. I would say that mine would be on the very minor level of kind of zoning out for a little while, but I found myself doing that frequently. So I have actually done hypnotherapy. I wanna talk about this briefly because I wonder if my training with hypnotherapy served me well through the pain.

Learn How to Numb Out in Healthy Ways

(04:11):
I’ve never thought about that before until now. But all of a sudden I’m like, Hey, maybe I have a cool skill that I was able to employ when things got really difficult. So the things people would need to be careful of if they choose to take a break from the pain, for example, that they choose something that is healthy and appropriate. I have actually been doing visualization with my son every night about his emotions and his anger and where he is gonna put it and how he’s gonna deal with it. One of the things we imagined was that he put all of his feelings about how he doesn’t wanna do his schoolwork. Like, I don’t wanna do my work. I hate doing schoolwork. You know, that sort of thing in a box. And then if he was holding that box, could he pick up his pencil to do his schoolwork?

Mindfulness Can Help You Be Present

(04:56):
He was like, no, I can’t. And so I said, well, where do you wanna put the box? He’s like, oh, I’m just gonna put it over here. And then he was like, oh, mom, I can do my assignment now. And he has improved significantly in his schoolwork, whereas before, these thoughts were going through his head like, I don’t wanna do this. This is boring. I hate this. Anyway, I’ve just never thought about it as a tool. This is really fascinating. Okay, so for me, using it as a tool is an option because I have used hypnotherapy before and, and visualization. I want to be present. I want to be able to connect with my children or other people around me, but I’m having a hard time concentrating. So I’m just thinking if I’m finding myself doing that, maybe think, oh, I feel the couch, maybe feel the couch fabric, maybe even touch my child’s arm or something and say, oh, this is my child’s arm. Or, you know something so that I can reconnect with the present moment. For our listeners, the basic tips would be those mindfulness things, and if it were a little more extreme or chronic, or they notice that it’s really causing problems, and those therapeutic options like EMDR.

2 Comments

  1. Kim

    Thank you SO MUCH for this. “…you could have become a drug addict, you could’ve become an alcoholic. You could have turned to all kinds of destructive coping mechanisms. If the worst thing that you did was dissociate a little bit and had a few memory lapses, in the grand scheme of things, I’d say you’re pretty normal and doing pretty good. I can think of far worse ways that betrayed wives could be coping than occasionally checking out.“ I’ve told myself this so many times thinking I may have been minimizing what was possibly unhealthy coping behavior. I think it was my way of keeping myself safe. It has been a few years of pure hell, and I think that dissociation (through movies, knitting, and zoning out) may have saved my sanity and life. This is so good to know. So good to know I’m not crazy! Thank you so much.

    Reply
    • Anne Blythe

      I’m so glad this is helpful to you! The journey to healing is long, but totally possible. Hang in there!

      Reply

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