Update From Anne - Where I Am In My Betrayal Trauma Recovery
Just want to give you an update about how my recovery is going.
Most of you know that my divorce was finalized in February. So February was rough. I went through a frantic trauma mode, realizing that this is real, this is happening, and now I need a concrete plan to move forward. It's very interesting because God is telling me the opposite thing: to relax, to trust Him, and to just take one step at a time. I'm trying to take a step back and not try so hard and to trust that I am a lily of the field and He will take care of me. I'm struggling with living in the present. I'm disassociating frequently--where I get lost in my thoughts and zone out. Self-care is also a struggle. I don't get out of the house much. I take care of my kids and don't put makeup on or do my hair; exercising has also been rough. I really need to start focusing on self care because I think it would help my agoraphobia. I have a serious issue and that is I cannot stand to wear a bra! I can't stand it! I don't know if this is a part of the trauma. I avoid leaving the house so I don't have to put one on or I wear a big coat!
In the book, Your Sexually Addicted Spouse Barbara Steffens writes, "A messy exterior does not equal co-dependency." She also says, "We believe it can be extremely difficult for any professional to clearly assess a partner's personal empowerment because her post traumatic can trigger such extreme responses that the person may appear to exhibit co-dependency and erratic mental health. Such a person may look panicked, unkempt, hysterical, angry, depressed, impatient, and even abrasive as she sees her marriage, dreams, and life crumble, lost to a spouse's sexual addiction. Yet we have found that if we look under the surface presentation of a sex addicts partner and seek to understand the motivation beneath her behavior, we can begin to more clearly understand where the person is coming from. Only then can we help her to determine what she needs to feel safe again. Empower her to act in her own best interest and help her to begin to heal. Once this early ER treatment and beginning steps of healing takes place, we find most partners are able to look at personal issues on which they need to work."
I think I'm at this point. I have some personal issues I need to work on - especially with self care.
Coming Soon The Details Of Anne's Story - How She Done Got Betrayal Trauma And Her Healing Process
I've been working on my book which will come out soon. It's in the revision stage right now. As I work on it, my trauma really flares up. I feel my heart clenching up, my stomach in knots, and not being able to really express my true feelings. In looking back at some of my past behaviors and the way I reacted to my husband's infidelity and abuse, I wasn't really ever able to clearly communicate what I needed and how I felt. Most of the time I was stuck in a constant loop of trying to defend myself and trying to gain safety in my home through having my husband change his behaviors. I've learned that any time I've come at communication from this place of trying to defend myself or trying to prove something, rather than coming to it from a place of sharing my feelings, I don't come at it the right way. I still don't really know how to do that. It's just something that I am now seeing that I need to work on.
Flying Monkey's, Narcissistic Husband's And Betrayal Trauma
The trauma has caused me to be so defensive that I became detached from my own feelings. Since I don't really have co-dependent tendencies, in the past I don't believe that I was seeking control. What I was seeking was truth and safety. I think this is how many women are. We are looking for the truth and for safety. These desires may present themselves in different ways. I still have a no-contact boundary with him and his "flying monkeys." A "flying monkey" is someone who enables an abuser. Here is a segment from an article called, How Narcissist's get Away With It from pairedLife.com.
"Anyone in a relationship with a narcissist knows how much discord one person can sow. A fog of confusion descends and the environment seems to become more toxic by the minute. That's because people with disorder personalities thrive on drama and division which they create by spreading false rumors with a little bit of truth mixed in to make their story more plausible. They also recruit "flying monkeys" whom they artfully manipulate to carry out their agenda. Meanwhile, because the air has become poison, no one is happy. However, it is very difficult to figure out what is going on. That's because an adult who suffers from a character flaw serious enough to bully another knows their number will be up if they do not use a lot of smoke and mirrors to deflect attention away from their own misdeeds. One tried and true trick is to blame everything on the innocent person who happens to be their target. Then they need to convince everyone else that things would improve if this person changed."
My ex-husband's mother sent me a note that said, in a nutshell, "We know Christ can heal people and we know he can heal you, so you can do what’s best for the kids." I assume from this that they think that if I were accessing the atonement, I’d want to talk to them? Actually, it’s the opposite. Christ is healing me and teaching me to set boundaries. I’m feeling the healing process work, mainly because I’m no longer being abused by my ex or abused by proxy by his family.
The reason why I cannot have contact is because they are too unhealthy. I've thought about all of the things I could write back, such as, "I hope that you can use the Atonement to heal you so you can be a safe person to talk to." I wrote a couple different versions and then I prayed and told God that I can't control the way she perceives me. I don't know what she wants. I don't know why she's writing. If I were to write back at this point, it would be from a place of trying to defend myself (yes, I am accessing the atonement, thanks) or trying to explain it to her (this is how I access the atonement, you should try it). But I still haven't figured out how to communicate this in a clear way that does not include defending or explaining. I surrendered it and put the letter in my surrender drawer.
I think my ex thought the divorce would be the answer to his problems. I think he’s realizing that he has the exact same problems. I still have a no-contact boundary. He’s having financial problems (and they’re not nearly as bad as mine, so I'm not sympathetic at all - especially since he caused it himself). Divorcing didn’t solve his problems. I wonder if he thinks talking to me would solve his problems - which is obviously ridiculous. I talked to him for seven years and that didn’t solve anything. The only solution to his problems is genuine, honest recovery.
Someone commented on Instagram exactly what I would need to feel safe: “The worst part about toxic people is how they feel the right to walk into your life at any moment, interrupting the healing process. It's always so casual and self serving, feigning ignorance of the absolute havoc they have wrought on your life.”
This is how it feels when my ex attempts any contact without taking full and total accountability for his perceptions and behaviors over the last eight years. He’s not humble, honest, nor willing to surrender to God's will. I can see clearly that he has not changed and he is using his same tactics over and over again. I'm done playing this game. He casually tries to come in here or there and I'm not interested in having a relationship in any way, shape, or form unless he is healthy - which would likely take years of active recovery and therapy.
Betrayal Trauma Recovery Is A Process
Recovery is a process. It's not linear - you don’t learn one concept and the next day you totally understand it and know how to apply it. It's circular and you're able to apply a part of a principle and then you learn more about it and apply more. You have ah-ha moments - things you've heard about for years and finally it makes sense. This happened with boundaries for me. I didn't understand what this meant for years and I'm still understanding more about them. But I incorporated boundaries when it finally made sense to me.
I'm grateful for you and your listening to this process. I receive emails from you, saying you've cried with me and that you have felt some of the same things I have felt. I want you to know that I am so sorry for your pain. I'm sorry that you have been abandoned by the person who promised to love you. I'm sorry that at times it seems like there is no one there to help. I know that God can see us. Whether our path is the path of yoga (I think if we all did yoga the world's problems would be solved), or getting an APSATS coach who will provide an immediate supporting environment. A therapist you choose, a recovery group, whatever you choose, know that God is there and He will lead and guide you.
One thing I have noticed with recovery is that it is important to choose something and give it a try for a little while. For example I tried meditation and it felt good in the moment and then an hour later I felt terrible. But if I made a goal to meditate everyday for twenty minutes, and I actually did it, I started feeling consistently better. Similarly, if I did yoga every day, I would feel better. If I followed up with a coach every other week for three months, I’d likely see consistent progress.
We recommend people start with our safety and stabilization package with our APSATS coaching. It's three session that are individual where a person can begin the process and find out where they are and what they need. Group sessions will soon be available. Look for this on our website. It's a less-expensive option. Groups cap at 5 people so there can be individual attention along with the support of a group.
I'm in this just like you. My trauma is still intense when it gets triggered - which is thankfully less and less these days. I'm working through my insecurities and worries and fears. I'm still numbing through compulsive work projects and cleaning.
We’re all in this together sisters, and don’t worry - we will die eventually:)!
Until next time, stay safe out there!