How To Save Other Women Years Of Pain & Confusion
Welcome to Betrayal Trauma Recovery, this is Anne. I’m very excited to have my new friend, I’m going to call her Lisa, from Georgia, but that’s not her name, and that’s not where she’s from. We spent the weekend together at a retreat, and that’s what I accidentally introduced her as over and over to people, because I had trauma brain and did not remember her actual name or where she really was from. The handy part is now we can use the name, that I accidentally called her all weekend, on the podcast, to protect her anonymity.
Anne: Welcome, Lisa.
Lisa: Hello, Anne, thanks for having me.
Anne: We had a very long drive from Salt Lake City down to Zion to attend the retreat. There were about 80 other women with us and it was a really, really nice weekend where we could really connect with other women and experience the strength in numbers of knowing that we’re not alone.
How Connection Can Help In Healing Your Pain
One of the things that Lisa mentioned on our drive home was that a lot of women have the desire to spread the word about Betrayal Trauma Recovery because, before they found Betrayal Trauma Recovery, they didn’t realize that there were so many women experiencing similar things.
Maybe the details are a bit different, but similar emotions of not knowing what to do, of trying to figure out what to do next, of the pain and the confusion that come along with the abuse and the infidelity that we’ve all experienced. Lisa, why do you feel like women who find BTR really want to help spread the word about BTR?
Lisa: I wouldn’t have known anything about that if it hadn’t been for the BTR podcast because there’s not a lot of resources in my area. Even the counselor I’m seeing isn’t trained in this area. She doesn’t know about resources like books and things that you suggest on BTR. I just want to do my best to help other ladies find it quickly, more quickly than I did.
Why Trauma Is Painful and Confusing
Anne: I’ve had women write me and say, “Had I found BTR sooner, it would’ve saved me years and years of pain or years of confusion.” Is that how you feel?
Lisa: Initially, just friends and maybe counselors and books, I would read them and listen to it, and it just didn’t resonate with me. As I dug further, I started learning words like betrayal trauma. I didn’t even know that’s what I had. I didn’t know those are the words I needed to search for. I just started stumbling across things.
I had to weed through a lot of things that were not helpful before I could get to the things that were. Even with books and things like that, that are suggested, sometimes, you’re just not in a place where you can sit down and read and comprehend a book.
BTR, for me, was just something consistent, weekly, that I could turn on and listen to. It took time, but I learned to trust the advice you were giving, because what you were saying was resonating with me. I was able to take your advice. It was just good for me when I found BTR because it was a consistent voice of reason that I could turn to. Listening doesn’t take nearly as much brain power as sitting down and studying, or something like that.
Others Who Have Felt The Pain Can Help You Heal
Anne: As evidenced by my trauma brain over the weekend, right. Women who experience trauma have a difficult time processing written information.
Lisa: Yes, definitely.
Anne: We also have a very difficult time remembering things.
Lisa: Absolutely, yes. Writing things down is very important for me to make sense of things and to remember things. It’s great with the podcast, I can go back and re-listen. Before I got on with you, I was re-listening to a few things.
Anne: I am grateful for your patience as you listen to the podcast. It was nice to meet you in person. One of the things you mentioned in the car is that you really wanted other people to know about BTR. You said, “On the podcast you mention that giving the podcast a rating helps increase the views on search engines. Is there anything else that listeners can do to help spread BTR, so that other women can find it?”
Why Trauma Brings Confusion
Lisa: I’m not, probably, going to have my own podcast or website or blog or anything like that. It may be difficult to talk about these things with people in person. I want to do my best to promote BTR. I want to promote those in the best way that I can, to help other people.
You’ve mentioned giving the podcast a rating. I had done that. I just went back and listened to some other podcasts, and you mention posting on the BTR site. I’m not sure exactly what that means, and you also mentioned posting in our secret groups. If you could just explain that better to us?
Anne: I would love to. The first thing I want to do is talk about why it’s so important that women can find us online. Like you said, you were searching for things that you didn’t know to type betrayal trauma into Google, because you didn’t know what it was, right? That you didn’t know what you were searching for exactly.
Betrayal Trauma Is More Than Just Hurt
Anne: Then, finally, when you found the word “betrayal trauma” you found us. You found Betrayal Trauma Recovery. As women are searching around, they search for words like, “infidelity,” “cheating,” “pornography addiction.” Lots of women are searching for narcissism stuff, lying, “how do I help my marriage.” It’s very rare that a woman who’s having marriage troubles goes immediately to Google and types in “betrayal trauma.”
My goal is to help women get this information as soon as possible. Making sure they can find us online is really important. The first thing I ask people to do is to have people rate the podcast on their podcasting service, either Google Play, or iTunes, or their Android app. That five-stars means that Google starts paying attention to it, or iTunes starts paying attention to it.
Podcasts with a lot of ratings, that rating just helps give it more visibility. That’s what we need if someone types in infidelity, for example, we might pop up because it’s one of our search term words, or another one of our key words is narcissism, and we might pop up. Then they might say, “Oh, I’ve never heard of this betrayal trauma thing,” and they might go from there.
Connecting With Others Can Ease Pain
The second thing you talked about is commenting on the site. The way that search engines work is the more interaction, the higher it ranks on Google. I want to stop for a minute and talk about our new website. Satan hates it.
My web developer is amazing. She’s done over 100 websites, she’s incredible. She’s telling me that she’s coding, and then crazy mal-code is just pouring in. She’s fending it off like an internet warrior. We have, I would say, other-worldly opposition to what we are doing. I’ve just run into road blocks over and over and over again with what we do, just in terms of the technology and stuff.
The more interaction a website gets, the higher it ranks on a search engine. If a lot of people comment on a post, for example. You would go to the article section of the new site, this might change, so everybody be flexible as the new site is being built and we’re optimizing it, but that’s where all the podcasts are in written form.
Why The Pain From Betrayal Trauma Is Unique
You can read the podcast if you are in a really good place, or you can just push play and you can hear it from that page. At the bottom, you can comment. You can just do little comments like, “Thanks so much for sharing,” or whatever. You can comment anonymously. Each comment dings Google, and Google says, “Oh, someone’s interacting with this site,” and it increases our search engine rankings. That’s another way to help Betrayal Trauma Recovery rank higher on search engines.
Then, the third thing you were talking about is sharing it in a secret group. Many of you are member of secret groups or private groups where you live. For example, The Georgia Mom Coalition, or LA Moms, or all different kinds of groups that you’re in on Facebook.
One way to do it by keeping some distance between you and BTR is saying something like, “Hey, a friend of mine is going through this, and she told me that BTR was really helpful to her, and she wished other people knew about it. I just wanted to get it out there that this is a resource for women in this situation.” That tends to work really well. If you feel like saying, “Hey, I’m going through this and these guys have really helped me,” then it just helps get the word out.
Shared Stories Of Trauma Can Help Shift Through Confusion
Lisa: That is very helpful. You did mention the BTR Facebook group, which I have not figured out how to join yet, can you give us some steps to joining that?
Anne: Yes. Okay, there’s two ways to do it. The first one is you can friend Anne Blythe, me. A-N-N-E B-L-Y-T-H-E on Facebook, and then send me a private message on Facebook and say, “Hey, I want to join your BTR secret Facebook group. I will get you in there. There are about 1,200 women in there right now, give or take a few women. I’m bad with numbers. I’m not giving you the exact numbers, but its around there.
Sometimes I miss messages, because so many people are messaging me on Facebook. If you’re not added right away, message again. Just be like, “Hey, you must have missed me. It’s me, Lisa from Georgia, let me in your group,” and we’ll let you in. In order to make sure it’s a safe space for women to share, we do have group guidelines and we set boundaries around those guidelines. We have volunteer admin that work in the group.
If your sharing does not meet the group guidelines, your post will be deleted, and you’ll be given a one-on-one warning and some mentoring. Then we have had to block some women from the group for not posting according to the group guidelines.
Our goal is to make sure the group is safe. One of the guidelines, for example, is that you don’t give advice. This is not the right place for advice. This isn’t where people are asking for advice.
How Comfort Is Found After The Pain
If you want to comfort someone or let them know that you are there, then you could say, “I’m so sorry for what you’re going through. This is very painful, and this is what I did in this situation and it helped me. Whatever you decide will be the right thing for you.” Those type of responses are safe and help women feel safe.
The types of responses that we moderate and usually end up deleting are when women say things like, “You need to get divorced right now,” or “You need to do this. You’re crazy if you don’t do this thing.” That is just not a safe space for any of us. Those are the types of comments that need to be reported. If you’re in there and you get some things like that, then just report those to the admin and they will be able to confront those people and resolve that safety issue.
The second way to get into the secret group is joining our email list. If you go to the website, there’ll be a pop-up that pops up, or you can scroll down to the very bottom and you can put your email in. You’ll get an email once a week from BTR.
On some of those emails, there are direct instructions like, “Number one, friend Anne on Facebook.” You can click on that and it’ll take you directly to my Facebook page where you can friend me. If these instructions, you did not write them down, or they seemed overwhelming, then just go put your email into the website, and push Join and we’ll send you some emails.
Healing From Pain Begins With Feeling Safe From Abuse
Lisa: That’s perfect. Being technologically challenged as I am, if I join this private Facebook group, are my friends that I have on Facebook going to be able to see that I’ve joined it, or know that I’m a part of it in any way?
Anne: No. The secret group is different than a private group. A private group will show up maybe on your profile, or other places, that you’re a member of it, or people can see. With a secret group, there’s no indication that you’re a part of it. You could “Like” our public page, for example. We have many women who “Like” our public page and people can see that you’ve liked it. If you want to be anonymous, don’t “Like” our public page and you can just be in the secret group.
Lisa: Sometimes you’re comfortable sharing with someone or talking to someone about it, but, sometimes, unsafe people are on your friend list and it invites unwanted questions. That’s why I don’t want to share it with all of my friends on Facebook.
Why Pain And Trauma Feels Confusing
Anne: Interestingly enough, several women have found out, once they get inside the secret group, that there are people in there that they know. Especially here in Utah, where we have a large population of women from Utah in the group. When that happens, take a deep breath, and say, “Wow, we’re in this together,” rather than thinking, “Oh no, now she knows.” I’ve found that I’ve made some of my best friends finding out, “Oh, we’re both in this same situation,” and we’ve had a lot to connect about. Which has been really rewarding.
Lisa: Right, right. Yeah. Isn’t this fun.
Anne: It’s like you’re interviewing me.
Lisa: I have another question for you. We’ve talked a lot about the technical ways we can spread this. Have you heard of anyone or seen any success with maybe people printing the checklist and leaving it in places where a lot of women would be visiting? Like I go to a doctor’s office that’s mostly catered to women. Do you think they would be open to having the checklist laying there for women to see?
Trauma Causes Pain and Fog That Feels Hopeless
Anne: I think they might. I’ve been to a doctor’s office that had little cards in the bathroom that talked about physical abuse. I remember looking at it and thinking, “This doesn’t apply to me,” which was really interesting because it totally did.
I wonder if this type of information, especially the checklist, which is not at all the same as the domestic violence checklists that say like, “Does he control your money?” or “Does he control your transportation?” Because when we’re considering, “Are we abused or not?” and we go to those types of checklists, we’re usually only two out of ten on the list.
This checklist is not so much what to look for, but how to establish safety. “How do I know if I’m safe? How can I create safety in my life?” For women who are still in the trauma fog, having this on a desk somewhere where they could read it while they’re in the waiting room, would really be helpful. So yes, yes, yes, yes. That’s a good idea.
I have other women who have taken it to their church leaders. Printed it out and said, “Hey, if you have a woman come in, give this to them.” That has been very successful, and the church leaders have also found it very helpful to realize, “Whoa, okay. Wait a minute, so I’m not supposed to counsel with this couple.” Some church leaders are open to it and others are not, but just sliding it under their door might be an option, or maybe not.
Why Betrayal Trauma Can Hurt Immensely
Lisa: Okay, just wanted to double-check and be sure it was okay with you that we print those out and hand them out.
Anne: I am always improving things at BTR, so if you have a copy of it and it’s three months old, always go to the website and download a new one, because it’s most likely been updated since you printed it. You’ll see things evolving over time, with BTR, as I learn better ways to describe things, as I learn more words for this experience.
As all of us know, it’s an ever-evolving process to be able to describe what we’re feeling and what is happening to us. I try to update the website over time, and all the materials over time, when I have a new and better way to describe something.
Lisa: I’m sure I wasn’t supposed to be interviewing you. It’s probably not how this is supposed to go.
How Isolation Causes Fear and Pain
Anne: That’s the cool part about this podcast is it’s by trauma survivors for trauma survivors and we can make it whatever we want. Tell me about your experience being around so many women, having come from an isolated state of not talking to anyone who you felt really understood.
Lisa: Here, in my town, I hadn’t found any groups that I felt comfortable going to, just because they didn’t focus on my specific need, and then just having such a hard time finding a counselor. I felt like they were listening, but maybe didn’t really get it.
I have friends and family that know that I’m separated, and they know that I’m hurting, but still, again, they don’t know the details or, maybe, how to listen with understanding. Being around all these women, even if their situations weren’t the same, or if they hadn’t experienced the same thing, it just felt like they knew how to react appropriately, and the right things to say.
What Can Help With The Overwhelming Pain?
It felt so good just to be able to talk and not worry about filtering what I was saying, or trying to remember what I had already told them, or “Is this person safe or not?” or “When am I going to run into them at the grocery store?” or “Do they know my husband?” All these things that are constantly going through your mind at home and trying to know how to talk to people.
None of that was there, and I was able just to talk and share my story and not feel judged or getting good advice or bad advice. Sometimes, you just want to talk and have somebody listen. It was a really great experience.
Anne: It was a good experience for me too. I really enjoyed the personal interaction. I enjoyed being able to give people hugs. I enjoyed crying with people. That sounds really awful that I would enjoy crying with people, but it was just nice to have that personal connection and feel things as a group. I really appreciated that.
But it’s very difficult for women to get out of their homes. It’s very difficult for them to drive down the street. They’re afraid, “Oh, what if someone sees me pulling up to this therapist,” all of the concerns that women have when they start to go for help. We’ve tried to figure out a way, at BTR, to work around those, so that women can feel the strength from other women online.
Others Who Have Felt Trauma Can Be Lifelines For Your Pain
Lisa: I want to throw out there that I’m sure donating helps continue how you all are already working on spreading the word. I don’t know, I just want to throw that out there, because I think everybody should donate. I want to help you guys any way I can.
Anne: Thank you. We do need your donations, and I appreciate you bringing that up, especially right now with this website rebuild and all the problems that we’ve been having. Like I said, Satan hates it. Your donations really help us cut through that, because when I started Betrayal Trauma Recovery, it was just me with, literally, no money, crying in my basement.
Because of your donations, I’ve been able to purchase a really nice microphone, so the sound has improved. I’ve been able to purchase really nice editing software so that I can edit the podcast better. I wanted to thank donors, and let you know that Betrayal Trauma Recovery was built by all of us.
There’s no way I could’ve started it without the emotional support of all the women that were listening, all the donations small and large, and knowing that there was someone on the other side of the microphone listening to me. Because, when I would feel just so dark and sad and just be speaking into a microphone in my basement, the support that I’ve received has been overwhelming, and there’s no way I could’ve done it without you and without the coaches.
Why Betrayal Pain Hurts So Much
I’m very, very grateful that this is a organization by trauma survivors, of trauma survivors. It feels like a community that I’m a part of that I’m proud of and I’m grateful for.
Lisa: If you can say Satan hates it, you’re probably doing something great.
Anne: Yeah, I think he hates women. I really do. I just think he hates women in general.
Lisa: That’s funny.
Anne: He hates us. Since many women can’t get to a retreat, I invite you to join Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group.
Like I mentioned, it has a session every single day. It’s a very safe space, especially because it is professionally facilitated by an APSATS coach. Right now, I really want everybody to take Emotional Abuse, is it Happening to Me, because a lot of women know that there’s something not quite right.
Then they find out about the porn, but when they also realize that the lies and the gaslighting and the manipulation are a form of abuse, it’s very intense for a little while to realize, “Holy cow, I’ve been abused for 20 years and I didn’t know,” or, “I’ve been abused for five years and I didn’t know.” I’m really hoping that women can turn their focus to that for a little while, to get really educated about emotional abuse.
Abuse Causes Confusion But Connection Can Help
The best way to get educated about it is to read Lundy Bancroft’s book called, “Why Does He do That?” It was life-changing for me. If I had the money, I would literally fly over everyone and dump this book out of planes. I think it would change everyone’s life.
Lisa, thank you so much for coming on today and thank you for your questions. I’m sure many other women have those same questions. Thanks for talking today.
If this podcast is helpful to you, please rate it on your podcasting app. It helps women who are isolated find us. Go to the website, find the Blog section—that’s what it’s called right this very second, but by the time this podcast airs, it might be called something else—find this particular podcast episode, scroll down to the bottom, and comment. That helps us a lot too.
Until next week, stay safe out there.