Recovery From My Husbands Betrayal - When?
How To Recover From Betrayal Trauma – Lynea’s Story

Learn how Lynea recognized she was facing betrayal trauma. As her husband's behavior worsened, she sought help to recover from his betrayal.

In the early days of her marriage, Lynea attributed problems with her husband to normal relationship challenges or her husband’s culture. Lynea finally realized she was experiencing betrayal trauma.

If you’re wondering how to recover from betrayal trauma, you’re not alone. Recovery from betrayal trauma is possible. If you need support, we’d love to see you in a BTR.ORG Group Session TODAY.

Transcript:

Anne: Welcome Lynea. Let’s start at the beginning of your story. How would you define your husband’s behavior at first? Did you give any reasons for his behavior?

Lynea: We met at university and we we’re both quite young. It was my first real relationship after high school. I just was excited about going to university, we met through a mutual friend and at first I didn’t really see any behavior that was really off. 

I didn’t really recognize anything that was different. He was very kind. He acted very thoughtful, made it a point to keep in communication with me regularly, so I didn’t really see anything that was off. I was young too. I was 18 or 19 years old. So

Anne: Even if you could go back in time, you might see something, it’s not anything that you could remember from your perspective now? 

Is Recovery From The Trauma of My Husbands Betrayal Possible?

What’s Causing The Betrayal Trauma?

Lynea: As the relationship went on, I just wasn’t happy. No matter what I had told him, I felt like even though his behavior might change for some time, and sometimes for long periods of time. It didn’t really matter. 

I would tell him something, Hey, this is how you’re hurting me. This isn’t how I’d like you showing up. He would still continue to do the behavior.

Anne: You didn’t recognize it right when you were dating, but when you did start seeing it, what things were you like, Hey, that’s not okay with me. What reasons did you give for those behaviors before you knew more?

Lynea: Just talking about normal things of running a household, keeping things tidy. It always ended up in an argument. I felt that a lot of the load would always be on me to make things happen with groceries, cooking, finances, you name it. 

I was always the one to do those types of things and no matter how many conversations I had with him. It seemed like it would always go back to that same thing where he would just forget about the conversation that we had and continue doing his old behavior.

Anne: I want to say “forget about the conversation.” Right. They conveniently forget about it when it suits their purposes. It was mainly about domestic labor then?

Financial Betrayal Causes Trauma

Lynea: Then going out to spending money. He liked to go out and party with his friends and that type of thing. I just was trying to be more conservative when it came to finances. That would always cause an argument too,

Anne: A lot of arguing that you couldn’t quite get a handle on it sounds like.

Lynea: Yeah, it just left me very confused. I just didn’t understand the dynamics of their relationship and I thought for the longest time that was me. Quite honestly, I thought I was the problem.

Anne: So at this time, are you kind of chalking it up to maybe miscommunication? What are you thinking is the Cause

Lynea: He is from another country and I thought that originally maybe it was just very hard for him to assimilate into rural Midwest small university. I thought he was having difficulties with that.

He didn’t seem like he was very happy most of the time and I felt like a lot of the times it was maybe me.

Anne: When you say I thought it was maybe me, was it because he was telling you it was you? A lot of the times we’d have the conversations in order to try to solve something and then he would start telling me that I just complained too much.

When He Blames You For Problems

Lynea: I’m not happy. It escalated over the years too. He called me names and I wondered am I the crazy one?

Anne: Did you recognize at the time the pattern of his exploitation that the reason he was doing this was so that you would do most of the domestic labor?

Lynea: I had no clue. After 24 years together I had no idea.

Anne: Me saying that right now. Are you like, oh, or did you recognize that at some point?

Lynea: I recognized at some point that he just didn’t want to take accountability or responsibility for things. If he did, it was when it was convenient or when things got so bad where he could recognize that I’ve hit my limit, then he would change for a while and there would be better behavior for sometimes several months.

Anne: He was capable of doing it, he just didn’t want to. I think that’s really interesting to bring up because they are capable of doing it. I think they’re just not genuinely that type of a person. So they’re play-acting kindness or they’re playacting equality or they’re play acting genuine empathy and compassion. 

If you’re not actually like that, if you’re putting on a show, it would get really exhausting after a while because you’re basically acting all the time and even though you know how to do it, it’s not who you are. I think that’s why they can do it for a while, but then they just get tired. 

Betrayal Trauma: Recognizing Exploitative Patterns

It’s also why the mask comes off when they are tired or on a trip for example, when it’s a little more stressful or they don’t have their regular coping mechanisms around.

Lynea: Yes, exactly. When he would get a little bit pressed when things weren’t comfortable for him, you could definitely see his reactions more quickly. He would be easily angered, just irritated and just not really a fun person to be around in the house. There’s always this vibe. It just didn’t feel good. It wasn’t pleasant.

Anne: What sort of things did you try in the relationship? Like therapy?

Lynea: He never was open to it. I wanted to go to couples therapy or marital counseling after we got married. He never would do it. He didn’t want to do it, so I was okay with that. I grew up in the church, so I think that this kind of had a big reason for why I was so loyal and so I stayed with him for so long to be honest with you. 

I also thought patterns of where he would change for some time. He was capable of it, so it just made sense to me, well, maybe I’m the one. I was a very shy girl. I didn’t have much confidence. I’m completely different now than who I was when I met him.

I was very shy, naive for sure, and I wasn’t very good at speaking to other people. I felt like I didn’t have a lot of relationship skills and so I thought really truly that it was me, I thought that I was having a hard time communicating.

How Do I Overcome My Husband's Betrayal?

Stressful Situations Reveal Psychological Abuse Causing Betrayal Trauma

I thought that he just didn’t understand and that it was this man woman dynamic that I just was clueless about. So I read a lot of books.  I eventually did get some therapy sessions. I was always in the pursuit of working on myself. What can I do to make things better?

Anne: Most likely it was because he’d led you to believe that you were the problem. I mean, part of it is that the abuse is the convincing of the victim, that it’s not him, but that it’s her. When did you start to recognize that this stuff wasn’t working like therapy and your self-help and stuff like that?

Lynea: Once we graduated college, we moved back into the area where I’m from. We didn’t stay there for very long. We were just really working hard on trying to find careers in our degrees and I got a job in a big city. He started a business and so we were just really working hard for several years on my career. 

His business, we actually did have a pretty good dynamic working together, oddly enough. We did that together for at least five or six years. We had a brick and mortar business.

Anne: So you were in business together.

Lynea: He always wants to be perceived differently from other people. So when he’s around other people, he’s great. There are no problems. Because I worked so closely with him, I saw how he interacted with other people, so I knew that he could be a certain way and I thought maybe this was truly who he was. There again, I am the common denominator here, so I must be the problem.

Recovering From Betrayal Trauma Is Hard When You Share A Life

Anne: When did you start to recognize that it wasn’t you, that maybe it was him? Were you aware of porn use or affairs or anything like that?

Lynea: I knew that when he would go visit his friends, they would go to strip clubs and stuff.  I knew that one of his friends was into some things even though he was married that I don’t approve of. I told him this, he knew how I felt with prostitution, but I never thought that he would do any of that. 

Because he was always very adamant against it and because he knows the problems that it causes in family relationships because he’s gone through some hard things. So I trusted him.

Anne: That’s what he would tell you. Did you ever find out that he had participated in prostitution?

Lynea: No, I’ve never found that out, no.

Anne: So he may have or he may not have. You just never got definitive information about

Lynea: That. Exactly. It wouldn’t surprise me knowing what I know now if he did participate.

Anne: Why wouldn’t it surprise you? Knowing what you know now? What do you know? That might be a clue.

When It Doesn’t Work To Decide To Make It Work

Lynea: In 2018, we decided to move back to his country in Europe to be closer to his family and for him to be also able to help his father with businesses. Our business wasn’t doing so well back in the states, so I invited him to think about doing that because he just seemed like he was very unhappy at the time. 

I think that it might’ve been a good change. He had been away from his family for many, many years and I thought just this might be something that he needs. Maybe a fresh start would help him. That’s what we did. We moved in June of 2018.

Anne: Did it help?

Lynea: No, it got worse.

Anne: Sorry, I think if it would’ve helped, you wouldn’t be here, right? 

Lynea: Well, in one way it helped because it stirred the hornet’s nest, if you will. Remember we were talking about under stress, somebody acts a certain way. Well, this really was out of his comfort zone, and I realized quite quickly the dynamics of the family wasn’t healthy. 

He was having a very difficult time working with his father, and so I chalked up a lot of his habits going out, partying. I had a conversation with him because I wasn’t getting any younger and I always wanted to have children.

How Can I Recover After Betrayal?

Temporary Behavioral Changes That Prolong Betrayal Trauma

He always kept delaying it, postponing it. “Now isn’t the right time.” I finally had a very good conversation with him about what I was envisioning for my future, what I wanted in a partner, what I wanted in a marriage. If this isn’t what he wanted, then no problem. We can split ways, but now’s the time. He said, no, that’s not what I want. His behavior changed for a while.

Anne: So he said, no, I don’t want to change things. I want to stay with you.

Lynea: And then I don’t think it was too much longer after that than I conceived.

Anne: So you finally are able to get pregnant, which is something that you’ve wanted for a long time. And before you do that, he seems supportive and he seems like he’s on the same page as you. Then what happens?

Lynea: And then he goes back into his old pattern of behavior. He’s still going out partying, just generally not helping out with anything. I had made a commitment to myself after moving to this new country that it was a great opportunity for a fresh start. I’m going to work on being the person that I want to work on because so much of my life, I was just doing everything for him and I don’t know how I have the strength to do it. 

Become The Woman I Want To Become

Looking back, I really don’t, but I just decided I’m going to go and play full out and become the woman that I want to become no matter what. That’s what I did. I found my own circle of friends, a new church. I found the support that I needed, the friendships that I needed, and I just really focused on that.

Fast forward, my son was born at the end of December in 2019 and the behavior just got worse. It got a lot worse. I was happier when he didn’t come home. He was traveling a lot for business. I gave him my support so that he could travel and learn a new skill.

I actually had peace in the house for once. It just really got me thinking it’s much worse, much, much worse than I originally had thought.

Anne: Why do you think it took him being away, and we find this with most victims of emotional and psychological abuse that it’s very difficult to see how bad it is while you’re still in constant contact with them while they’re still living in the house. What are your thoughts on that? Do you think that being away from him helped you see it, and if so, why do you think that was?

Experience Peace And Clarity With Support

Lynea: Yeah, I totally think that being away from him helped me see it because thinking back to when we had moved to the big city and we were doing our business together. It was like the same kind of routine almost every day. 

We were working a lot and then we would come home and it’d be the same dynamic and I like to have people over at the house. He never wanted to do that. Looking back, I see that he really isolated me from my friends. He most certainly isolated me from my family on purpose, and that’s been very difficult. 

Now a relationship with my family is better than it’s ever been, and we are able to really discuss what has happened over the years and it makes complete sense now. It really does.

Anne: Here at Betrayal Trauma Recovery, our specialty is psychological and emotional abuse, which is horrific. Many women who’ve had physical violence say that definitely the emotional and psychological stuff was much more difficult to recover from, but just from your perspective, blocking doors or breaking things, did any of that happen?

Lynea: When we were younger, I remember some of those things happening and he was always into TaeKwonDo and I got into doing it as well. He was quite good. He got up to be a second degree black belt, and I remember that we would spar together and I just feel like he was overly aggressive on purpose. 

Betrayed By Physical Intimidation

So there was an excuse as to why, but it was just that kind of thing. There was an instance, here, after I had my son that he was aggressive and he scared me and I went to block him and he said that I hit his sunglasses and he busted his eyebrow. I don’t see how that’s possible.

Anne: Well, if you’re an awesome at TaeKwonDo, maybe! I’m kidding.

Lynea: Yeah, exactly

Anne: That. Oh, we’re just wrestling around, but they do really have the intent to hurt you or are they kind of bumping you all the time or stuff like that? That’s covert physical abuse where they are sort of pushing you around and throwing their weight around. To let you know, “Hey, I could hurt you.”

Lynea: I do remember that, and I thought it was always his way of when you’re teenagers or whatever, and it’s kind of like the childish boy way of getting the girl’s attention. I just thought he never grew up in that way. I always told him that I really don’t appreciate that. We’re adults. Touch me nicely. I didn’t really understand that.

Anne: In addition to you getting therapy and trying to talk him into it, which he didn’t want to do, was there anything else that he tried or you tried maybe 12 steps or addiction recovery or anything like that?

He Never Wanted To Work On His Issues

Lynea): No, he never wanted to work on his issues. He said it wasn’t a problem, but it was a problem because it was continually coming up in our conversations.

Anne: It’s interesting to me that he was like a health coach, but not healthy at all. Did that strike you at the time as maybe hypocritical or ironic or was he just so good at manipulation? 

Lynea: We had conversations about that. I’m like, physically, you’re in amazing shape. You play sports, go to the gym every day and you eat well. Why continue having some of these bad habits that just don’t line up? It doesn’t really make sense if the puzzle pieces don’t fit. He didn’t like to have those conversations.

Anne: Talk about how you recognized it was him and then maybe what led you to seek safety

Lynea: The last couple of years before we moved here to Europe. I think that’s when my journey really started of being aware that no matter what I do, no matter how well I behave or how I change things up or how I switch things around or whatever I do, it’s never enough. 

It’s never right. It never changes anything, and so I think that’s what gave me the courage just to live for myself. To do what I want to do and seek the things that I’m passionate about, create my circle of friends. Just moving here gave me that ability to do that and I’m so glad that I did because it really opened my eyes. I did have what I call the day of discovery. I was back home.

Shocking Discovery Of Infidelity, The Pain Of Betrayal Trauma

Anne: When you say back home, do you mean in the States?

Lynea: Yes. We were traveling, my son and I went back home to visit my family for Thanksgiving. We had been there for a while and it was early November. I remember getting up and I was checking my email and I got two emails from somebody that I still to this day don’t know. 

They were just letting me know that my husband’s been cheating on me nearly the entire time that we had moved to Europe. I was trying to hide it from my parents because there wasn’t a very good relationship there with them because of everything that’s happened. 

I was just kind of in shock really. So I called him up and of course he denied it at first and then about an hour later he actually called me back and he confessed to it, but he said that it wasn’t anybody in particular. They’re not important. He wants to work on our marriage. He’s so sorry.

Anne: It wasn’t anyone in particular, meaning he was having affairs with multiple people or just the one person he was having an affair with for a long time was just no one special.

Lynea: I said, it’s just one person. He is like, no, not just one person. He just was very general about it.

Anne: When I said earlier, did you know of any affairs or anything? Was it just because at that point in the story you didn’t know?

Understanding The Full Extent Of Betrayal Trauma

Lynea: Exactly that point in the story? I didn’t know. No, I had no idea. This was my big eyeopener and then things just started clicking into place

Anne: And What do you mean by clicking into place?

Lynea: The blindfold had been removed from my eyes and I saw him for what he was. I just understood this is the reality of it, and I knew that I was going to really need some help navigating this because I had a one-year-old son living in a foreign country, zero family here.

That’s when I found Betrayal Trauma Recovery. Oh my goodness, that was a game changer for me. I know that I wouldn’t be the person I am sitting here today feeling the way I’m feeling, being able to share without the support of BTR. The first time, I was just searching online.

I remember I got a therapist from somewhere else online. I did a couple of sessions and I’m just like, Nope, she’s not getting it.

I needed somebody that understood betrayal trauma because it’s complicated, it’s complex. When I found Betrayal Trauma Recovery and I remember reading through the landing page. I just was like, this is it. 

Finding Support & Validation Through Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group Sessions

I attended a Betrayal Trauma Group Session for the first time and I was early. I’m always early to everything. When I joined the group session, I was thinking to myself, okay, there’s only going to be five or six other women joining this session at most. 

More and more women just kept joining the session and I was seeing all of these faces pop up and these windows. Well over 20 women, with every woman, I had some understanding and it was resonating with me in some way. I just remember feeling so grateful that I’m not crazy.

For years, I felt crazy. For years I thoughtI had mental illness, depression, that I was the problem, and so I couldn’t get enough. I read a lot of the books that you guys offered on your website, I downloaded your book from Amazon as well. Everything was just making so much sense and I had never heard of anything like this. 

I did one or two Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group Sessions then I realized I really need to get some one-on-one coaching. So I tried BTR.ORG Individual Sessions. Then I paired up with one of your amazing coaches and that was just such a wonderful experience. It just really helped me so much with what I was navigating.

Necessity Of Betrayal Trauma Recovery Individual Sessions

Going through divorce, trying to co-parent and also child custody. It was so valuable, so valuable because I didn’t have to sit there and try to explain to somebody that has never experienced any of this before. She knew exactly what I was talking about. She just had really good advice about how to navigate a really difficult time in my life.

Anne: I’m so happy to hear that. That is our goal here is to really help women. Because I experienced it and everyone who works at Betrayal Trauma Recovery experienced going to a therapist and then kind of educating the therapist, so we don’t get help. 

We’re trying to help them help us, and that doesn’t actually make sense. So many people just don’t see this from an abuse perspective. When you got that information that he was abusive, how did you feel about that at first? Did it hit like, oh, this is what it is, or did it take a minute? Were you like, I don’t know about that. Can you talk about your journey to realizing that he’s abusive?

Lynea: I went back and forth for a long time and I’m just going to be completely honest with you. There’s even days that I have recently that I questioned that maybe it was still me, as crazy as that sounds. It is a long journey to recover from betrayal trauma. 

Accepting Reality Of What Caused Betrayal Trauma

Anne: Doesn’t sound crazy. All of us have been through that.

Lynea: All the truth is there. Everything’s out there on his behavior, everything over the years and it’s like I always have to go back, no, this is what you did. This is what you tried. This is your thought process behind the things. Remember the feelings. It takes a long time to get out of that cycle of thought or the abuse pattern. It’s been a journey.

Anne: Before we talk about this, I want to say that at Betrayal Trauma Recovery, we’re not pro divorce, so whatever any of our clients feels like is the right thing for them. We meet them where they’re at. Your emotional safety and your psychological safety is our top priority. This is why I created The Living Free Workshop.

You decided that divorce is the best option and let him know. I’m guessing he didn’t react to that. 

Lynea: I was open to giving it another chance. Remember I was visiting the United States and then I came back right before Christmas to Europe. Because of the conversations that we had that we would work on it and he needed to go see a psychologist or a therapist of his choice. My ultimatum, attending therapy, he only went to two sessions. 

He said, I really like the person that I’m seeing, but that doesn’t work for me. I said, okay, well, that’s where we are. Then I think divorce is the best option. He went on to say that, and also, I don’t believe in marriage anymore.

Betrayal Trauma: Understanding Their Exploitative Character

I said, well, there’s not much that we can debate with that. If you don’t believe in marriage anymore, then you don’t believe in marriage. I guess I don’t know really what to say to that. Then he proceeded to ask me, my jaw about hit the floor, if I would consider having an open marriage. 

I said, no, no, that’s definitely not for me. He knows my values. He knows how I feel about marriage, so I said, no. I know that I’d let him know two times, if not three times I’m going to file for divorce. When he actually got served the papers, was furious.

Anne: I find that to be so awful and scary, but also very interesting that generally speaking, they don’t want to get divorced. Which leads me to the conclusion that for them it’s about exploitation. They don’t necessarily want a marriage, but they enjoy the fruits of a partner, someone who will do things for them, childcare or meals. 

It’s more of an exploitative relationship where they realize you’re a powerful, awesome person. There’s things that being associated with you bring into their lives, and so they don’t want to lose that association. They don’t want to lose the access to all of your talents and your passion and all the good things about you. 

Can I Heal From Betrayal Trauma?

Dealing With Betrayal Trauma And Moving Forward

They just don’t want to participate in a relationship, but they want to be able to exploit you. That’s the only thing I’ve been able to figure out because if they don’t want to be married, why do they want to be married? It’s hard to wrap our heads around that.

Lynea: Yeah, it really truly is, and that’s really been one of the hardest things for me to realize that I really don’t think he ever loved me. It is a huge part of recovering from betrayal trauma. He discarded me after being with him for over two decades. That’s crazy, and I just had his son and through my pregnancy and delivery and all of that, that’s a whole other story that we could go into on the treatment. 

It’s ugly and it’s very, very painful, and that’s why I just, I want to share my story and let people know. Let women know that they’re not alone and it’s not them. They’re not crazy. There’s no shame in being deceived.

Anne: Well, exploiters use your strengths against you. You’re a compassionate, caring person and they use that to their own benefit. They’re not part of a team and it’s hard to realize like, oh, I’ve never been part of a team. It’s not because you’re not absolutely amazing and worthy of love. 

They’re incapable of that because their character is one of exploitation. They have an exploitative character and they also think that that’s sort of what a relationship is.

Reflecting On Recovery From Betrayal Trauma

Lynea: Exactly, yeah. Instead of like a partnership. I felt a lot of times that I was his competition, but I thought, well, his personality type is he’s always in it to win it. Whether it’s or just being good at school. That was his strength, so I would always kind of back off also as being his wife. 

Oddly enough, I was thinking about this the other day and I’m just thankful and grateful that I could laugh about this now, but guess who’s married already? Yeah, of course. The guy who’s not into marriage.

Anne: He feels uncomfortable when he is not able to exploit someone.

Lynea: Yeah. That’s a miserable way to live.

Anne: I want all women to know this. They have a really hard time being alone because their power does not come from personal responsibility. Their quote unquote, power comes from exploiting us. Then if you think about it, who is the powerful one? 

An abuser will always lead you to believe that you’re going to be nothing without him, but it’s the opposite. He is going to be nothing without us because he has nothing, because all the power that he has is stuff that he exploited from someone else. Is he going to actually clean the bathroom?

Gratitude For Growth On The Betrayal Trauma Recovery Journey

Lynea: Yeah, I doubt it because

Anne: He would be a powerful person if he had personal responsibility if he cleaned the bathroom, but he doesn’t. I want to always point out to women that makes him powerless.

Lynea: Just trying to co-parent with him, I laugh about co-parenting because it’s nothing of the sort, but he’s still trying to shame me. He brings up things of the past, hints around that I’m a bad mom trying to get me back into that crazy making cycle. 

Anne: You’ll get stronger and stronger. So Lynea, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us about how to recover from betrayal trauma, today and share your story. We really appreciate it.

Lynea: My pleasure. Thank you for all that you do.

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