When women experience betrayal and emotional abuse, self-care is an essential step in beginning the journey to healing.
However, victims of abuse and betrayal are conditioned to ignore their personal needs and desires. Tyler Whittingham joins Anne on the free BTR podcast to offer helpful self-care tips to women in betrayal trauma. Read the full transcript below and listen to the BTR podcast for more.
Victims of Betrayal and Emotional Abuse Can Establish a Simple Self-Care Routine
It is important to have a routine, but more than that, to have essential practices of well-being that you can rely on everyday to help you get through whatever you are getting through.
In the aftermath of discovery and abuse, victims may feel like their lives are chaotic, overwhelming, and depressing. This is understandable and common. It is important that victims set some kind of self-care routine, however simple, to help them get through traumatic time periods.
Here are some simple routines that women can implement in their lives:
- Hygiene: brushing teeth and showering every morning
- Nutrition: Eating at least one balanced meal per day, if possible.
- Hydration: Setting a certain time each day to drink a couple glasses of water.
- Exercise: Choosing a set amount of time each day to take a walk, do yoga, meditate, or work out.
- Spiritual/Emotional: Daily prayer, meditation, journaling, or study from scriptures or other books that provide solace.
Affirmations and Personal Mottos Help Victims of Betrayal and Emotional Abuse
Choosing a simple affirmation or personal motto may seem daunting to women whose lives have just been completely crushed by the choices of their partner. There are many types of affirmations and many ways to use them. Some women repeat them daily, others write them on notecards and put them in prominent places or under their pillows. Some personal mottos and affirmations that may help women in trauma are:
- I am worthy of love and respect
- This pain will not last forever
- I love myself
- I am beautiful
- I can do hard things
Powerful Self-Care For Victims of Betrayal and Emotional Abuse
There was a time when my future seemed extremely bleak, but I do remember talking to a friend and she said: Do you have a roof over your head? And I said: Yes. She said: Have you eaten today? And I said: Yes. She said: Okay, walk outside and feel the grass on your feet and take a deep breath and sit down and look at the clouds for a minute. I actually went out and did that, and in that moment, things were beautiful. In that moment, and if I could focus on that moment of feeling the grass under my feet, of looking up at the sky, of feeling the wind on my face, and realizing right this very second everything is just as it would be if my life were perfect. It wouldn’t be any different. I still might be standing out here on the grass, right. I still might be looking up at the sky. I still might be feeling the wind on my face. This moment would be the same despite all of my trials.
Anne Blythe, founder of Betrayal Trauma Recovery
In the aftermath of traumatic crises, women may benefit from practices small moments of mindfulness, as Anne describes above.
The symptoms of betrayal trauma and abuse can be severe, and victims can find at least a small degree of peace and solace in taking a moment to ground themselves.
Betrayal Trauma Recovery Supports Victims of Betrayal and Emotional Abuse
At BTR, we understand that the smallest of tasks seem insurmountable in the aftermath of betrayal. Daily emotional (and other relational forms of) abuse can wear you down until it feels like there’s no reason to get up in the morning. But you are worth it. Your life is worth living and you will get through this.
The Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group meets daily in every time zone and offers victims the opportunity to process trauma, share their stories, express hard feelings, and ask important questions. Join today and find a community of supportive women waiting to validate you in your trauma.
Anne: Welcome to Betrayal Trauma Recovery this is Anne.
I’m really excited to have my personal friend on the show today, his name is Tyler Whittingham. Before I read his bio, I met him because I reached out to him to get help with my YouTube channel. He is a really successful Youtuber. He’s most well known as the creator of the NachoCam, which is a family-focused YouTube channel featuring his Chihuahua Nacho, and as I reached out to Tyler we became friends.
The other day we were working on my YouTube channel and he was philosophizing about what is happiness and how is it quantifiable or how do we measure it, and I thought: You should come on my podcast and talk about this. So, he’s here today. Tyler’s motto is: Never settle for less than your dreams, and after graduating from Brighton High School he fulfilled his dream of playing college football for his Father, Kyle, at the University of Utah. Since then, he met his wife at a Halloween party on campus while he was dressed as Gilligan, from Gilligan’s Island, which is very Tyler. (Laughing) So I love that. They’re now raising their 1-1/2-year-old son, Cooper, together. Welcome, Ty.
Tyler: Well, thank you, Anne, my pleasure.
Anne: I’m so grateful for all the help you’ve given me over the past year with the BTR YouTube channel that we’re still working on. Can you tell us about what happened when you discovered the term gaslighting?
Well-Being Is An Overall Healthy State Of Existing
Tyler: Absolutely. Before I do, I think it’s important to just give a little bit of background. Pretty much everybody who’s listening to this I would assume found you while searching on the internet for help with this type of stuff. Looking at the analytics behind YouTube channels I’m able to see many of the things that you guys were searching and gaslighting was one of the most common search terms. I started thinking to myself: Gaslighting, what the heck? I’ve been in a relationship for about 7 years now and married for about 4 of that and I gaslight.
Anne: How did you feel when you recognized you were gaslighting?
Tyler: First of all, was just captivated by the negative effects that not only research performed on BTR.org’s content library led me to believe, but just other 3rd party sources as well about the negative feelings that gaslighting causes for the other party. The insecurities, and just the things I’d never want my wife to have to experience. Through learning what gaslighting is I was able to recognize that I am doing it and I don’t want to do it. It’s not like I do it and I’m happy about it. I do it and realize it and I feel horrible about it and I’m able to stop and divert many times. If I gaslight and don’t stop myself I know exactly what to apologize to my wife about. But, yeah, I gaslight.
Anne: Since trying to make these adjustments in your life of recognizing the gaslighting and making changes, have you noticed improvements?
Tyler: I heard a phrase many moons ago called: Treat people how you would like them to become or how you envision them being and then they will become that. If you’re always telling somebody that they’re crappy or they’re not doing something right or twisting your words and making them lose their confidence, then it makes them not feel good about themselves and hard for them to put their best foot forward and look at you the way that you want them to look at you. I can definitely see that when I avoid tactics, I wouldn’t even call it a tactic, it’s just something that happens naturally, unfortunately. To where I avoid that type of stuff my wife is just so much happier in the relationship. No insecurities, no self-consciousness. We feel like we’re much more of a team when that doesn’t happen.
Healthy Well-Being Involves Self-Care and Compassion
Anne: That’s awesome, and you’ll get better and better at it as you practice. First of all, it takes recognizing it and then it takes practicing it. When I learned about gaslighting I noticed that I was gaslighting my children: No, you love broccoli, right. Eat your broccoli. You love it. What are you talking about? And now I’m like: Oh, I know he doesn’t like broccoli. I’m going to believe him and if I’m going to talk to him I might say something like: I know you don’t like broccoli, but it does have some vitamins that you need. Will you please eat it even though you think it’s disgusting? It’s just a little bit of a change that helps things be more peaceful and then he’s not fighting me about how he feels. He’s saying: Oh yeah, she knows how I feel and maybe I will eat it because maybe it does have some vitamins in it that I need.
Tyler: Yeah, it’s kind of like Chinese Water Torture, gaslighting is. Where if somebody does it to you just once you just brush it off. It doesn’t even matter. But when it happens again and again and again and all of a sudden, you’re questioning your own thoughts and what you ever even said and agreed to in the past. Then it becomes overwhelming.
Anne: So, I mentioned at the beginning of the podcast that Ty and I were talking about his pursuit of happiness. Tell me about when you recognized that you wanted to actively pursue happiness and how you’re applying that in your life right now?
Tyler: Well, Anne, I come from a fairly successful family. Fortunately for me, my Dad and Grandpas both had tremendous work ethics and they were also fairly in the limelight in the professions that they chose and as I was growing up I just remembered that my parents would never bring work home. If they had a bad day in the office I didn’t even know. I didn’t even know if they went to the office that day or not. Just whenever we were interacting, or I was interacting with them it was so genuine and so focused on me.
Health Involves Mental Well-Being
I’ve been married about four years now and we have a 1-1/2-year-old son. I’m a business owner. I have a lot of different demands for my time, and I heard a quote from a professional golfer once that said: They only hit about 4 or 5 good shots in any given round, 4 or 5 shots that they’re truly pleased with. I’ve also heard that musicians never truly like their own performances. They can just hear imperfections in it, and that’s how I was treating my days. Where I would look at things that happened in my day or things that were happening over the course of time and they wouldn’t be just exactly how I wanted it and so I’d start to let it get me down. I let my mind spend extra time contemplating those particular issues, which drips over into home time. I’d be sitting at family dinner with just like a blank stare on my face because my mind was trapped in the office.
It was really affecting my happiness across the board and I don’t want my wife to have to deal with me coming home grouchy because of a bad day or overly excited because of a good day. I just wanted to be even keeled. So, it was at that point, really after my son was born, that I started to notice how much what happened at work would affect my outer life and that I didn’t want that to be correlated. I wanted my outside life to be happy all the time no matter what.
Anne: So, were you seeing that your happiness was directly related to your income more or less? Like, how successful your business was and then if it was kind of like a down month then you’d be sort of caught up in that and then it would affect your relationship at home? Is that what I’m hearing? Something like that?
Steps To A Happy And Healthy Way Of Life
Tyler: Kind of, but it’s not necessarily a direct correlation with the revenue itself or how much money I was bringing home because it’s always been enough. I’ve been fortunate in my life and business dealings that I’ve always had enough to not have to miss meals or anything like that. Just the fact that in business money is the scoreboard. Money is very frequently, unless you’re in a non-profit type industry, if you’re in most businesses than the amount of revenue that the business makes is directly associated with the success of the business, and if you’re a competitive person having that determine your overall happiness can be a risky thing.
Anne: Yeah. You decided that you were going to look at what happiness meant to you and then try to determine ways of measuring your happiness. Then we started into this existential conversation: What does happiness look like? What would it mean for you to be happy, right? (Laughing) I was like: Be do, be do, be do. I remember trying to explain it. Like, I’m at peace, my kids are okay, I’m not in the gutter, you know, and then it really caused me to think. So, as you’ve been thinking about it, what are some ways that you have determined that you can actually measure your happiness?
Tyler: I don’t necessarily know yet as far as making them hardline and tangible. I break up my days into three parts. The first part is the morning. It’s from the time that I wake up until I start working. Often, I will go to the gym, have a cup of coffee. Until I get into the office that is the first part of the day and I have a list of things that I need to accomplish during that time in order for me to consider it a win. Then the same thing with the second 2 parts. The second part is while I’m at the office, so usually between 7:30 am and about 6 pm, and I have a list of things that I know that I need to be accomplishing while I’m there. The final part of the day, being 6 pm and beyond until I fall asleep. If I’m able to come home and not have my mind trapped at the office or constantly milling about problems. If I’m able to just maintain a positive attitude and be happy, for as silly as it might sound. That is how I’ve been quantifying my happiness and whether or not I’m doing the things that I should be doing.
Having A Daily Routine Can Help In Well-Being
Anne: It looks like you feel like you have 3 distinct parts of your day. The first part of your day you may classify as self-care. Your working out, your drinking your coffee. Then your work time where you’re concentrating on your career and then your family time in the evening. I really like that you have purposely put in a self-care time. I’m just starting to do that where I’m starting to work out again and today I actually ate a bowl full of vegetables which were a miracle. (Laughing) I was like: Oh, my word, I ate a bowl full of vegetables. This is so exciting.
For women, it’s very difficult to juggle those things. What book did you read that kind of spurred this?
Tyler: I don’t necessarily know if it was a book. I’ve just been watching a lot of videos on YouTube about consciousness lately and reality. But the bottom line of consciousness and what it means to me is that every second that you’re existing, that you can have some type of tangible experience, we spend so much of our time thinking and longing for the future and not being in the present that it can make the present miserable. It can make the present not something that is enjoyable. It’s something that people even get to the point where they want to end their present existence because they just can’t fathom going on for one moment longer. I have tried to remove as much thought of the future from my present moment as possible because the future can cause a lot of anxiety. The future can cause you to not necessarily be as present and in the moment with the current people that you’re with or whatever it is that you are doing.
The concept is: Stress over potential unknown things in the future is factiously created within our head where it could be construed as factiously created in our head. None of those things actually exists and the only thing the exists right now is your current being.
Well-Being Is A Practice That Can Be Learned
Anne: When I was in the throes of my trauma; so my Ex has been arrested, I am not knowing what’s going to happen next, I’m continuing to pray and my answers are be still so I have no idea what to do, and I’m confused, and my future seems extremely bleak and actually just horrific, but I do remember talking to a friend and she said: Do you have a roof over your head? And I said: Yes. She said: Have you eaten today? And I said: Yes. She said: Okay, walk outside and feel the grass on your feet and take a deep breath and sit down and look at the clouds for a minute. I actually went out and did that, and in that moment, things were beautiful. In that moment, and if I could focus on that moment of feeling the grass under my feet, of looking up at the sky, of feeling the wind on my face, and realizing right this very second everything is just as it would be if my life were perfect. It wouldn’t be any different. I still might be standing out here on the grass, right. I still might be looking up at the sky. I still might be feeling the wind on my face. Even if I have the best husband in the world and even if I didn’t have all of these financial problems and even if I wasn’t scared to death about my children, this moment would actually still be the same.
It helped me start taking time, what I would call taking a break, from the trauma to focus on how it was now. In fact, I am a skier and I love skiing, and just this past season some things happened with my Ex where I was really upset but I still got my kids in the car and I took them up. I have this ski card, I threw all 3 kids in the car and I’d haul them up to the lift and everything. We had a great day of skiing that day and I was able to really focus on that moment and I thought: If our life were perfect I would still be skiing today. This is what I’d be doing regardless, and it really helped give me hope that my future could be better.
Healthy Living Involves Being Mindful Of Our Surroundings
We were also talking about how you used to consider yourself sort of a social failure if you didn’t have plans on Friday and now you’re feeling like: Wait a minute, no. I don’t want that in my life. What I want is a peaceful night at home. Can you talk about the transition in what you considered to be a social win rather than a social failure?
Tyler: Yeah, and it’s really carried over from younger life to where one of my mottos, in addition to never settle for less than your dream, is to have no regrets. So, in college and in high school you think about the time of life that you’re in and how unique it is and how the purpose of it is to foster as many new relationships as possible. Meet as many new people. Go out and do and try as many new things as possible as you have that ability. So, I would always feel like I was missing out. Fell like I was not doing myself justice if I were to miss out on certain social situations for whatever reason. The carry-over is once I got married and I had my kid that really like is more than I feel like I even deserve.
There is nobody who I could go hang out within the entire world, outside of a few members of my close family, that would care about me as much and get as much enjoyment out of just being with me than my wife and son. So, just sitting there on a Friday night at home and feeling like this is what I want. There’s nowhere else that I would rather be than right here right now. That took a little bit of mental conditioning to get into that state (laughing).
Anne: Well, it’s funny because the way you describe it to me, that is what you wanted but then you thought I’m supposed to have plans for Friday night, right. It was more social scripting then it was what you actually wanted.
Tyler: Yeah, like, people who have any type of habit; they go home and open the fridge without even thinking, they’re not even hungry. It’s Friday night and all of a sudden you just get those thoughts going through your mind. For a while, I hung on to them. I was like: No, I’ve got to be social. I’ve got to keep this up. I’ve got to make sure that I’m taking advantage of the time in my life. Then how you really qualify is not all time is created equal in my opinion. An hour with your family is better than 5 or 10 hours of doing something else less meaningful.
Is There A Secret To A Happy Life?
Anne: Congratulations Ty. You’re growing up. You’re becoming a man. (laughing) I think that’s so key here because a lot of the narcissistic men that are the husbands of the women who listen to this podcast, they don’t want to make that shift. They don’t want to become more mature or grow up and so they get stuck in those really immature thought processes and also immature ways of thinking about things. So, they keep throwing their family under the bus for, in our case, going to a strip club, right, or whatever they choose to do, and that’s sad. It’s sad for everybody and it’s also sad for the men. Women are scared. They’re trying to establish safety. They’re trying to know what the truth is and it’s still the narcissists or the abusive man’s problem because he can’t establish safety because he’s not willing, to tell the truth. He’s not willing to stay within healthy boundaries and it is not a fun road obviously for the victims of the betrayal.
I want you to tell us what you’ve learned from Nacho that might help our listeners. So, you have a very successful YouTube channel, NachoCam, and a little Chihuahua. Tell us maybe something unexpected that you’ve learned from Nacho, your Chihuahua that may relate with our listeners.
Tyler: Okay, first of all, the volume of success is definitely relative. She has about 14,000 subscribers now, and for a Chihuahua that’s pretty good. It’s a side project just kind of for fun so by no means do I personally consider myself to be a YouTuber. One of the things that I’ve learned the most from my Chihuahua, before we had our son we thought: Man is she going to get jealous? Is she going to feel left out? We thought: No, we’re never going to forget about Nacho. And then we had the baby and all of a sudden, we start neglecting and it’s going from 4 hours of dedicated attention per day down to 10 minutes sometimes. What she’ll actually do is she will just demand your attention so much. Nuzzle against you, bring her toy over and want to play with you, and just say: Look, I am here. Play with me.
Healthy Well-Being Can Mean Setting Boundaries
Personal attention within interpersonal relationships is something that goes so far. Whenever I’m in a rough spot with my wife I look back on the past 36-48-72 hours and we haven’t had good communication. We’re either not talking at all or we’re mad at each other, but that separation, that lack of interpersonal relationship just is negative to the relationship as a whole. When my Chihuahua comes up and just starts pushing to play with us so hard and just wants that and craves that attention, people are no different. Your kids are no different. Everybody needs that attention from the person that they love or consider one of their primary most important people in their life. They need that attention in order to just feel normal and feel fulfilled.
Anne: I think that applies in that they feel neglected by their abusive husband. Either neglected in terms of he’s actively trying to harm them by screaming or yelling or lying or whatever they’re doing. Or neglecting them through ignoring them and pushing them out of their life. We see both of those things here at Betrayal Trauma Recovery and so letting women know that they are not weird for wanting attention from their husband, right. That’s not a weird thing. That’s totally expected and when you ask for attention from your husband and you either get gaslighting, right, or you get a verbal assault, or you get neglect, like: No, I can’t spend time with you because blah, blah, blah and they’re on their way and you really don’t know where they are or what they’re doing.
Then you feel bad. That’s a normal response. Even a Chihuahua would feel that way. Well, I’m really grateful for Ty. He has been helping me, just volunteering for Betrayal Trauma Recovery. Helping with our YouTube channel. Just giving me tips on how to run stuff because before I started BTR I had no idea how to do any of the backend stuff. He runs a business doing this and I am grateful and will continue to be grateful for his awesome volunteer time that he spends on your behalf, you listeners. I’m also grateful that I have a friend who is a healthy man in a normal relationship and just trying to be better every day like all of us are.
Happiness And Health Are Important
So, thanks for coming on the podcast today Ty.
Anne: Part of our mission here at Betrayal Trauma Recovery is to educate every single woman in the world about what abuse is and what it looks like and that pornography is abuse. If you’re in a relationship with an active pornography user, you’re in an abusive relationship, and then what to do to create boundaries for your own safety. We do this on YouTube. We just surpassed 10.4 thousand followers on Instagram, which was super exciting, so thank you if you follow us on Instagram. We educate women through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest. We do so much work to get free educational material out through social media.
In addition to social media we also educate women on this podcast obviously and then every single podcast episode goes through a process of transcription and then turning it into an article where we post it on our website BTR.org. You can find every single podcast episode with a transcription. Share those! Comment! Every time somebody shares one of our articles from our site, every single time someone comments on our site, it helps isolated women find us and that is how we educate people. All of the things that we do to provide this education for free costs money. So, if you would please make a recurring donation to help us take this message to women throughout the world. Your recurring monthly donations help so much. Go to BTR.org, scroll down to the bottom, click on make-a-donation.
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