The Painful Summer Struggle – 2 Ways To Get Peaceful Support

The Painful Summer Struggle – 2 Ways To Get Peaceful Support

Insights From Women Who Participate In Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group

Summer is really difficult. Many women are trying to push off the pain or white-knuckle through the abuse during the summer because they have awesome vacations planned, they have children at home, they have family coming.

We want to focus on providing the best support through the summer. Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group has sessions every single day that are available on your phone. In this podcast, some women want to share how they feel about BTR Group. They stayed after a group one day and recorded their feelings. So today we are going to listen to their experience.

Summer Help To Establish Safety Through Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group

Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group is a great way to get the support you need. We are also offering 20% off individual sessions if you schedule before July 15, 2018. Use the code summerwsarah. This code works with any coach. The reason why I called it summerwsarah is that Sarah specifically deals with gas lighting and setting boundaries around abusive behaviors. Gaelyn also does individual sessions around what abusive behaviors look like–the different types of abusive behaviors – which I recommend that everyone do these session with Coach Gaelyn.

Specifically for this summer where you may be looking at setting boundaries around your husband’s abusive behaviors during your vacations, say at Disneyland; or “how do I set a boundary around my husband’s abusive behaviors at a family picnic when all of my extended family is there?” Please don’t wait until the Fall to start thinking about this and making your way to safety. It takes a while to get to safety so I’m not saying that one session will solve all your problems, obviously, because boundary work takes time and it takes effort. Please start the process now because getting to safety takes time.

Now you’ll hear three real clients who are currently members of Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group, sharing their experiences:

Validation Through Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group

Client 1: I really appreciate how you validated everybody, first by listening to them and then by encouraging them in their own insights and in giving them permission to do and be whatever they needed to be in that moment. I have not experienced this in counseling, though I have been to a lot. It has been a trial and I recognize the uniqueness of it and it’s amazing.

Not Sure How to Get Started?

This video will help you get started with your Betrayal Trauma Recovery.

Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group Provides Guidance

Client 2: Betrayal Trauma Recovery has been life-changing for me. I started in November and it is now June. The support I have gotten in the women’s group, whether I’m on video or over the phone, has helped me to share my feelings, my story, and not only have the coaches helped guide me through my own path–because they don’t tell me how to choose to live or choose to recover or how to grow with my husband, it’s more of a guidance.

The fact that I have been able to hear other girls’ stories is amazing. I don’t feel alone. I feel like the knowledge about what other women have done and what their husbands have gone through has taught me to grow; it doesn’t have to be the same scenario. It’s just knowing what they have done that has helped me in the different chapters in my recovery; it has allowed me to make my decision.

I look forward to the group every time I am on here and find it very affordable. Actually, my counselor made me mad one day. He said that women’s groups like to tell each other what to do and that leads to divorce. I told him that’s not true. You guys definitely don’t lead us to make decisions that would cause anyone to choose divorce; that is a huge thing for me because I have heard other places or counselors do that. I definitely recommend BTR to everyone.

Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group Helps Me Know I’m Not Alone

Client 3: My husband was in recovery and having all these meetings each week and having all the help and counseling he needs and I felt like I was being left out in the dark. I was at the end of my rope and needed some counseling myself so I began searching for something to help me. I found BTR. Coach Gaelyn was telling me all the different options and that they were starting a new group.

This is when I decided what would be best. I began attending and I have found that having this group has been the best thing that has ever happened to me! It has taught me what self-care means; it’s taught me a lot of things about gas lighting and things I had never heard of before. It has helped me through a lot of really hard situations. The Group has been so supportive. The women are amazing. Everyone has their own story to tell and each person gets validation and the support and feedback from the coaches and each other. It is great to know that I am not alone in this, that there are other women who have struggled the same as I have and that I can be there to support them and they can support me.

I lean on this Group a lot when I am going through hard times and I don’t understand everything that is happening with my addict. They help clarify situations for me and give me options about how to handle it. They also give me a place to share. I feel like it is safe and I’m not being judged.

I just want others to know how wonderful the BTR Group has been for me and I recommend it to anyone going through betrayal trauma so they can learn and grow. I feel like I have learned and grown from the first time I began attending to this day. I’ve learned self-worth, self-care…things that I didn’t understand when I started this group. I want to thank all the coaches, every one of them. They are all wonderful ladies.

Anne: I’d like to thank these women for sharing their experience with us today. We are here for you. We are here for you 24/7 on the secret Facebook Group. If you are interested in being in that free peer-to-peer group, go to our website and enter your email to get our newsletter; the first two emails will have the instructions about how to join our free FB group which will give you 24/7 support from other women going through a similar situation. For our Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group which is facilitated by our professional coaches, and for individual sessions with a professional coach, go to our website and click under the Services tab.

Until next week, stay safe out there.

Intimate Deception – How To Heal The Trauma Of Sexual Betrayal

Intimate Deception – How To Heal The Trauma Of Sexual Betrayal

Dr. Sheri Keffer, has nearly 20 years of clinical experience, and out of her own personal story of recovery from betrayal trauma, she understands the impact of sexual deception. She is APSATS-certified, as a certified clinical partner specialist and a CSAT, which is Certified Sexual Addiction Therapist. She believes that betrayed women are looking for the two necessary pillars of:

  1. Safety
  2. Truth

Her passion in healing trauma has brought new tools and a fresh look at what betrayed women need, not only to heal but to heal well. Dr. Sheri commonly uses brain specked imaging, brainwave optimization and EMDR to treat depression, anxiety, loss, and self-image issues caused by post-traumatic stress. She is the author of her new book, Intimate Deception: Healing the Wounds of Sexual Betrayal, and enjoys being a regular co-host on the nationally syndicated talk show, New Life Live.

New Life Live is heard daily by over two million listeners. Her engaging warmth and ability to immediately connect puts callers at ease, so I’m very excited to have an expert radio host on the podcast today. In her personal life, she enjoys the beach, reading, mountain biking, hiking, camping, and big game sport fishing.

What Is Intimate Betrayal?

Anne: Your new book just came out, and I am in the process of reading it, and loving it so far. What did you mean by the title, Intimate Deception?

Sheri: Intimate deception is when we are not a consenting partner to some act that the person we are in love with, could be our husband or it could be our boyfriend, there is a non-consensual sexual act that they do behind our backs. It actually came out of my work looking at some ancient Hebrew. Hebrew is a cool language. It used to be done much like Chinese or Arabic or Egyptian, where it was more sounds and word pictures.

When I looked at what it meant to betray, there’s two ideas that came to mind. The first one was the word rema, which means “to betray,” and it—listen to this, Anne. It means what comes from a person of chaos. The other word is close, it’s to deceive, which is the word badad, and it means “to hide, to cover, to offend, to deal unfaithfully with, or to pillage.” Betrayal is a deliberate act of disloyalty where another person is left to feel duped or cheated by lying and someone who’s broken their trust. It hurts us.

Anne: I’ve been talking about it as abuse, in and of itself, what is your feeling about that? That the lies and the deception and the infidelity are abusive in and of themselves?

Sheri: When you think about it, if you ask somebody, “How did you feel when you found out?” I know for me, when I first found out, I felt sucker-punched. Sucker-punch, it’s one of those words that seems to fit. That’s a violent word. When I did my research, out of 100 women 100 of them said they felt sexually violated.

Why Does Intimate Deception Feel So Bad?

When you look at lying and how it harms us, the phrase “addicts lie, they lie a lot,” we throw that phrase around, but you know what, for every addict that lies, and every act of deception, it hurts a woman on the other side. Lying causes harm.

When I think about it as abuse, if somebody wants to sexually act out, I often, when I’m working with men and women, husbands and wives, I will tell the man, “If you want to do something like look at porn, all you need to do is just ask your wife. Just say, ‘Hey, I really want to look at porn today. I’m going to do it after I get off of work, but I just wanted to let you know.’” You know what, I haven’t had one of them take me up on it.

Let me tell you what I think is behind the pain that’s involved in lying. I don’t want you to know what I’m doing. I feel bad about what I’m doing. That sounds crazy to us, because they don’t act like they feel bad, but they feel bad about the reputation, losing that.

I’ve had them tell me, “I feel bad that I’m hurting wife. I feel bad that my son found it on my computer.” In order to cover up their bad feelings, they hide, they lie, the deceive. That goes all the way from lying and blaming all the way over to gaslighting, which we know can, in many cases, be psychological abuse.

Intimate Deception Is Abuse

Anne: I think it’s abusive in and of itself because it’s a control issue. They are trying to control your perception of them, and your perception of reality by not telling you the truth about who they are.

Sheri: I get the idea of control, so yes, you’re right. They use that to control the situation. There’s a spectrum. I have worked with men who, when I talk to them about the idea of gaslighting, the most severest form of a lie, gaslighting happens when someone strategically twists the truth to make us believe we’re crazy or something is wrong with us. They do that in order to cover up their own sexually deceptive acts. They’re trying to hide their tracks.

Now, I have educated some of the guys I’ve worked with on gaslighting. Because I said, “Wait a second, you just made her out to be crazy. You told her she was crazy.” I said, “Do you know that’s psychological abuse?” They look at me like, “What?” That is psychological abuse. When you make it about your wife, and you make her wrong and bad while you’re covering up your lie, you’re harming her.

Anne: But the lie in and of itself is harming her.

Sheri: It is. For those guys that I confront, and I tell them, and they are able to own it, and they are able to go back and, with remorse, say, “You know what, I am very sorry. Dr. Sheri just told me today that what I’ve been doing is abusive. It’s harmful to you, because I’m making you bad and I covered up a lie.” They then begin to change the trajectory. They don’t make it about their wife anymore. I’ve had guys that have been able to do that.

Safety And Security Is Lost With Intimate Betrayal

Now, there are other men that they are doing it systematically because they’re really trying to keep their affair hidden. They are trying to keep their sexual acting out hidden, and they want to keep you there. They want to keep their world intact, their reputation intact, their kids out of the know. They want to just have everything be the same. If they can make you feel crazy, it takes the focus off of them. They’re not softened to the confrontations. That’s psychological abuse, clearly.

Anne: That’s what we’re seeing at Betrayal Trauma Recovery a lot. When you confront the lie, there’s no remorse, there’s no restitution, there’s no acknowledgement. It’s just continual gaslighting. I’m not saying every woman who listens to this podcast has that experience, but, generally speaking, those are the types of clients that we get, because they’re able to manipulate the therapist that they’re going to, or the clergy that they’re going to, and the women are just left devastated, because there’s nowhere else to go, because of the level of emotional abuse that’s happening through the lying.

Sheri: I know. I have this thing in my book that’s called the Empowerment Wheel. The reason I created this Empowerment Wheel is because I got sick and tired of being sick and tired of seeing exactly what you’re talking about, Anne. Women that felt really powerless and helpless and didn’t know where to go with the crazy-making that was happening around them.

Empowerment Is Essential In Healing Intimate Deception

Oftentimes, what happens, Anne, is we get into this powerless, helpless place and we don’t know what the next step is in the moment. We lose our way. My Empowerment Wheel is a way of helping that woman take her choice back, find her voice, press into what’s happening in the here and now. In my book, I also have a section that is the eight steps to taking your truth back. Because when somebody is lying at that level, Anne, which it’s not uncommon, what happens is we get foggy-brained ourselves.

It’s incredibly important that we get in front of wise counsel. When someone has been gaslit for a while, and they come into me, and they almost seem a little numbed out, like foggy in the head, they even say, “I’m sorry,” they just feel more collapsed on the inside, unsure of themselves. These are like nurses, who’ve been in a surgery room. These are women who’ve been teaching. These are moms that have had five kids that have had to manage busy households.

I’m talking about women who, at one point, were doing well. But, the lying and deceit, when its made to be about them, or it happens on a regular basis, it causes us harm. We can’t isolate. We’ve got to stay connected. That’s point number two. We’ve got to find a group that we feel validated in, that we can tell people what’s going on and somebody else is smelling the gas in the room. “Tell me that again, I want to hear your story again, because it sounds to me like there might be something that’s being hidden.” That’s validation.

Safe Support Is Key In Handling Intimate Betrayal

Then we have to learn to stand in our story. There’s these common phrases, and I’ll give them to you, because these are three phrases that can help people hold onto their power when they’re being gaslit or being lied to. You can say something like this, “Hmm, that’s interesting. That’s not how I remember it.” Okay, now look at that.

Anne: The scenario you’re giving right now is that someone is lying to me and I’m responding to the liar?

Sheri: Yes.

Anne: Okay, so I say to him, “Hmm, that’s interesting. That’s not how I remember it.”

Sheri: Yeah, that’s what you say. You can hold onto your perspective. Now, they’re not going to like that, but what can they do to take it away. “That’s interesting, but that’s not how I remember it.” It is actually more empowering to hold our truth. The next one is, “I don’t remember saying it that way.” “Okay, I don’t remember saying it that way.”

Again, that’s an empowering phrase that allows you to hold onto your mind and your memory. You don’t have to take the bait. One more that I often use, I’ve used myself or have other used, is, “You know, we may have to agree to disagree on this one.” We don’t have to agree with what they’re bringing us.

Rebuilding Trust After Intimate Deception

Anne: That’s so important because it just gets so foggy and confusing in those times.

Sheri: It does.

Anne: You’ve wrote of women being shell-shocked and experiencing betrayal trauma. What does that mean, that shell-shocked phrase that you used and how does someone recognize that they’re experiencing that shell-shock?

Sheri: In my book, I wrote 20 reasons to stop the crazy train. In the research, what I found is that 79% of them had clinical symptoms of PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder. There’s something called a TIPSA, which is a trauma inventory for partners of sex addicts, and I paired it with something called a PCL-5, which is a tool well-known out there for PTSD. I gave them some other assessments. When I did that, 79% of them had symptoms of PTSD. That’s the shell-shock.

Situations like this, you feel shocked or in disbelief. You might have anxiety or panic around that discovery. You might be more reactive, more edgy. All of a sudden you don’t feel as trusting. You end up feeling powerless and helpless. You have a hard time concentrating. Our brains go to mush. We feel numbed out. We might be crying more and confused more when we experience post-traumatic stress.

Symptoms Of Experiencing Intimate Betrayal

I had a series of discoveries in my marriage with Connor. A big discovery came which meant that we had to leave our profession. He was a pastor, so we were asked to step down and go into treatment. Not only was the lying and the deceit and the porn and all that difficult at that time, but losing my home, losing our community.

My brain, in that season, just basically went to mush. I’m in the store and I’m in the frozen foods section. This very nice woman walked up to me and touched me on the arm. I looked at her, and she said, “Hey, Sheri, it’s so good to see you. How are you?” I was frozen, because I thought, “I don’t know who she is and how I know her.”

I decided to fall on my sword, so I said, “I’m so sorry, can you tell me your name? I’m trying to connect how I know you.” She looked at me and she said, “Sheri? You had dinner at my house last Sunday.” That’s how off my brain was. That’s how off my world was. I was shell-shocked.

Anne: I’m still having things like that happen. I was at the store a month ago, and I saw a woman and I had a conversation with her, thinking that she was someone else. Then I left the store and I went home and I thought, “That conversation was so weird. What was weird about it?” I realized that is not the person I thought it was.

How To Heal From Intimate Deception

When I got home, I called her, and I said, “I am so sorry, I thought you were this other person.” She said, “You know, that was really interesting because I could tell something was wrong with you, but I didn’t know what it was.” I’ve never done that before, so that was super alarming to me. In fact, in your book, the part that I am at right now is about the brain. I’m like, “Holy cow, this is happening to me right now.”

I thought I was doing better than I was. I’m feeling better in many ways. I’m more stabilized. Then, when I read about the brain issues and took that test that you have in the book by Dr. Amen, I was like, “Oh, my brain’s in trouble.” I’m doing the things that are suggested, but I’m just thinking, “Okay, maybe I need to do EMDR.” I’m not exactly sure what next step to take, because I’ve done all of the setting boundaries and all these basic things that are super important to get me to safety.

Sheri: Yeah, I totally hear you. First off, let me hug your brain for you.

Anne: Thank you, it needs a hug.

Sheri: Because, truly, that makes me happy that you’re thinking that way. Let me tell you why I put this section in the book. Dr. Amen, I had the real privilege of working with him for five years. I was boots on the ground, at his office, I treated trauma. I got a chance to see the spec scans, and I got a chance to see the brain before and after treatment, like of EMDR.

Intimate Betrayal Is Emotionally Traumatizing

Let me give you a little backstory. When we experience emotional trauma, whether it’s emotion or physical, or even chemotherapy, right, can do things to our brain. Our brain lights up like a Christmas tree. The brain doesn’t know that it’s supposed to switch down again.

It knows how to kindle up, because it’s trying to keep you in your most alert state, but it doesn’t have an on-off switch. It doesn’t know it’s supposed to get you back into a place of rest and digest. It keeps us in fight/flight, because those are safer ways of living, as far as your brain is concerned.

If we are in fight or flight for too long, we go into freeze, and then we also can even go into fold, which is kind of a brain collapse. My goal is to help women love their brains. I love the fact, Anne, that you said things are more stable, the boundaries and all that. You felt some stable platform, but many women come to me, and I’ll have them go and do something called brainwave optimization.

The company I have worked with for years is called Many women that he’s seen are either stuck in fight, like they’re still in the battle, because this is a long battle that we’re in. As Patrick Carnes says it can take three to five years for a husband to work through his sobriety, to get to a point that he’s more stable.

Trauma Must Be Addressed With Intimate Betrayal

For us, we’ve been on a minefield trying to avoid bombs going off. Many times, these women, that they’ve been stuck in fight or they’ve been stuck in flight or some of them are in freeze, he helps to reset their brain, kind of bring it back down to more of a place of rest, like it was before all this happened.

Anne: For somebody like me who is out of the daily trauma, because I don’t live with my ex anymore, but I still have frequent traumatizing events, because he has minimum custody, he’s still acting out, he’s still abusive, and he’s still in my life. There’s no way for me to completely cut all ties with him.

On a day-to-day basis, I have peace, but I just don’t know how to heal when I can’t stop the traumatizing events. I have no-contact and I go through a third-party and all of that stuff. I’ve done everything that I can. When you say someone who’s in recovery who takes three to five years, great.

Sheri: Right.

Anne: But, for those of us who’s ex-husbands or husbands are not in recovery and not going to get in recovery, how do we get to a place where we can stabilize our brain, when the trauma is still occurring?

Trust Is Lost And Broken In Intimate Deception

Sheri: In the brainwave optimization, it’s taking a brain that’s in a heightened, aroused state and its putting it more in a calm, Zen place, like a more relaxed place. As relaxed as your brain can be. They use something called brain maroneurons, it’s basically an acoustical mirror. Your brain looks in it—like when you wake up in the morning and you have bedhead and you don’t want to leave your house without doing something to your hair or face, it, basically, shows that mirror to your unique brain and then it corrects itself to take it back down to a place of rest.

For you to have the best brain when you’re trying to dodge bullets, we need to have self-care, because self-care isn’t selfish. Self-care is fidelity to self. It’s saying, “I matter this much to myself. I’ve been through a lot. My brain doesn’t know how to quiet itself down again. I need the best brain I can have for my kids. I’m going to invest in me.”

Anne: The question I’m asking is, if the trauma is still occurring, will the brainwave optimization stuff work, or does it just help until the next trauma time? I think a lot of women are thinking, “I can’t start doing something like this until I get the trauma stopped, because then it’ll just come back.”

Sheri: I know we all think that. The truth is, there’s things that we can do to help us walk through the trauma better. After trauma happens, we have to look at ourselves and say, “What can I do to get through this?” I liken it to being in Al-Qaeda territory. I need to take care of myself. I’m fighting this battle, because I have seen women that didn’t do anything to relax their body, to help their brain along the way.

Betrayal In Intimacy Is Emotionally Abusive

Then, guess what we get tagged with. We have irritable bowel syndrome. Women had to have heart pacers put in. There’s chronic fatigue syndrome. There’s all kind of immune disorders that come out of not taking care of ourselves. I thought, “You know what, Anne, I’m going to tell this story,” because I need women to know that they do need to take care of themselves.

We’re worth it. There are some preventative measures we can take while we’re going through the traumas to help us take care of our brains and bodies along the way.

Anne: What are the two must-haves that a woman is looking for in the midst of intimate deception?

Sheri: I love Barbara Steffens. You probably love her too. She wrote the book, in 2009, called, Your Sexually Addicted Spouse. Then started this organization called APSATS. We are so grateful for her. She brought in this idea that we really need to have safety.

Staying Safe Is First In Dealing With Betrayal

Safety is critical, and asking ourselves, “What do we need?” working with thousands of women, at this point, as I sat with them, and heard their story, I discovered that safety is a critical pillar. But the other critical pillar is the truth. We’re looking for two things, safety and the truth.

Until I can help a partner get to that place that they have those two things more established, like having a therapeutic full disclosure, sometimes doing it with a polygraph, if they want that. There are some things that need to be done to turn the deception around. If we don’t have those things, how can we rest in our world?

Anne: Which is exactly what I was just talking about, because I cannot get that safety or that truth from my ex-husband who is still in my life, who I cannot avoid because I have kids with him. That’s the situation that so many of our listeners are in. They cannot have those must-haves.

Sheri: Let me ask you a question. Do you, for the most part, feel safe in your home?

Anne: Yes.

Sheri: Do you govern your home with the value of truth?

Anne: Yes.

Healing From Intimate Deception Takes Feeling Free Of Harm

Sheri: Guess what, you’ve got it girl. You may only have it in 1500 square feet of your life but let me tell you something. That is priceless. You are governing your world. You have made it possible for you to have those two things. That’s what you’re going for, because that is our reality. Maybe how you redeem the truth is you redeem it with your kiddos, and you become the mom they can trust. You become the mom that is above reproach and lives with integrity.

Anne: The way that I look at it is, “Okay, I have to make my life as safe as possible, and I have to be completely absorbed and covered in truth myself in the way that I live. That’s all I can control.” Now that I’m like, “Okay, my brain is obviously messed up, I can see that.” Now I can work toward that.

Hopefully, I guess in the process of this conversation I’m thinking so that when further harm happens, which it will happen to either my children or to me, through his choices that he continues to make, that at least my brain will get better at coming down. There’s never going to be a time where I’m like, “Oh, that didn’t hurt,” but where I can be like, “Wow, okay, there he is being harmful again, but at least I’m safe and I can get my brain back on line in a more efficient fashion.”

Because you often talk about cheap I’m sorry’s, which I’ve received with absolutely no change in behavior whatsoever. If someone stays together—not even if they stay married, for me, I can’t even have a relationship with my ex. That’s not even a possibility. Even if someone is divorced, if they’re going to have a relationship with that someone, what does the one who betrayed them need to do in order to be able to have a relationship with her?

Accountability Is Necessary In Working Through Deception

Sheri: This is probably one of my pet peeves. I’m just going to tell you. I am really over the cheap sorry’s. I hear so many. There’s been these huge violations, right, affairs, long-term chronic porn, deception, cybersex.

When our husband or partner comes to us and says, “I’m sorry. I told you I was sorry. I don’t know why you can’t let it go. Why you can’t forgive me.” I want to choke on my vomit a little bit, because I just go, “That is a cheap sorry. It’s not okay.”

A principle that is in Judaism, it’s called a teshuva. The word teshuva is a word that means “repentance, or to turn things around.” It’s got some basic steps. When I’m sitting with a couple in the midst of hearing a cheap sorry, or I have a wife and she’s beyond herself. She goes, “He doesn’t really get it.” I talk about a concept of owning and atoning. Owning the wrongs that were done, and then doing whatever it takes to make that relationship right.

The teshuva has some basic steps. They all start with “R.” Recognize what you did and how it wronged the other person. Then, you’ve got to reveal. Reveal takes time to listen to how they have offended you. That’s done through confession, through listening, through closing their mouths for a moment, opening their ears to what it cost you.

Steps To Healing From Intimate Deception

The next one is regret. You have to regret what you did wholeheartedly. That comes out of a deeper place than just a quick “Sorry” or “Get over it.” There’s got to be remorse over what you did by making amends. That’s why I do like the guys to be in a 12-step process, because they have to do a fearless moral inventory.

A lot of them come in to the program before they go, they’re like, “I’m not that bad. I’m going to group. There’s a lot of guys who do stuff and I don’t really belong.” The truth of it is humility happens over time as they sit week by week by week and hear others have to confess what they’ve done to hurt others.

Resolve by making every effort to avoid doing it again. Refrain from doing that thing the next time. To refrain, you’ve got to have accountability, there’s got to be recovery, there’s got to be sobriety. Then there’s restitution. Sometimes it means paying for the wife to get her brain cared for.

I had a guy just this week call me, he’d read my book, and he said, “Dr. Sheri, I just need to talk to you. I actually caused my wife’s PTSD. Can you point us in a direction to what I need to do to help her heal?” That guy made my heart happy for that moment, because he’s being responsible. That’s restitution. He wants to pay to help her get better.

Then, the last one is repair. You’ve got to repair it with truth. That takes time. Trust, which takes time. Then, ultimately, it’s forgiveness, but forgiveness is a process. When somebody’s engaging in these steps of the teshuva, it’s doing the work that’s necessary to repair our hearts.

Repairing The Relationship After Intimate Betrayal

Anne: Some people get cheap I’m sorry’s and some don’t get any at all. Keeping our hearts safe from this type of abuse is so important, so we don’t continually get hurt.

Sheri: I didn’t get a sorry from Connor. In fact, it was years of him sexually acting out with pornography, multiple affairs, prostitutes. The second time we were separated he ended up calling me at my office, where I was working, and he was bawling on the phone. I actually thought somebody had died, because he couldn’t even get the words out of his mouth.

I said, “Connor, what’s happened?” His words were, “I just came from being with a prostitute.” I went blank. I couldn’t even tell you what I said in that moment or did right after it that got me to a point that I just said, “What’s happened to you? I’m not safe with you. I can’t be with you. I’m not going to put up with this anymore. It’s not changing.”

He and I didn’t go through any kind of repair. We separated and then, ultimately, divorced. It wasn’t until five years later that I had a chance to tell him some of my process on how I had worked through some steps of forgiveness. I wasn’t completely through my forgiveness process, I was through a stage of it.

Healing Is Possible After Intimate Deception

It’s taken me years to let go of all the impact, because I didn’t have a child. Not having a baby was a permanent effect of the betrayal. But, over the years, Anne, I’ve had to learn to release this, because it would eat me alive if I didn’t. It’s been a long journey. A challenging journey, but one that I can say I love who I’ve become. I don’t ever want to go through it again, but I know that I’ve grown, and I like who I am now.

Anne: That’s so interesting that you would say that, because I do not regret having my children. I love them, I’m so grateful. They are the best blessing that came out of my situation. Because I have children with him, there’s no way to stop being harmed by him. I can’t completely get him out of my life.

Sheri: We sat on the front porch on a Sunday afternoon and we looked at each other and we made a decision to not have kids, because of all the sexual infidelity. We couldn’t imagine bringing them in at that point. Then we just never came out of it. Deal and ache.

Anne: I guess I should count my blessings, three. I have three blessings.

Growing After Intimate Betrayal And Deception

Sheri: I love your attitude, because we can always look around and see what there is to be grateful for. After a long, long, long, long time, way over a decade and a half have remarried, and that’s how I figured out how to help people heal, because I didn’t have anybody telling me.

I went, “Okay, I’m going to put it in a book so that, hopefully, it can direct women, and they can do this quicker than it took me.” I did marry a man of integrity. Man, I sifted him a lot before we actually got married. I asked him a ton of questions, he had to meet a ton of people. I didn’t want to go through it again.

Kyle and I look at each other, and I say, “Honey, you and I have a target as big as Texas on our back.” There are unseen forces that I’m sure would love to take us out, but we just take one day at a time, and we just do the right thing and stay connected and worked on staying intimate. If I am triggered, which I am from time to time, I bring it to him. I don’t keep that stuff from him, and we work it through.

Anne: I am grateful for your book, and also a little bummed that now I know I have so much more work to do, but that’s okay. I guess I’ll keep trying. I will keep working at it.

Recovery Takes Work After Being Deceived Intimately

Sheri: You have to realize we only have one day at a time. It’s not about doing everything at the same time. It’s knowing the trajectory. It’s saying, “Okay, what can I do in this next three months? What can I work on in this next six months? What can I have as a goal in a year from now, to do?”

My hope was to give you all what happens to the body, the brain, the mind, the spirit, the soul, because if those things aren’t addressed, Anne, we heal crooked. Right, we heal with wounds. We don’t trust our judgment in the future. We get jacked up like I was, walking wounded for 17 years, because my beliefs were, “I can’t trust anyone, and I can’t even trust my own judgment.”

I call those the deadly duo. That kept me out of relationships. I don’t want them to have Epstein-Barre. I don’t want these things to happen to them, because they could get their brain quieted down again. They could learn how to tell themselves the truth and get back into truth-telling. I want them to heal better. That was the goal of my book.

Anne: I’m so grateful. At BTR, we provide the education and support for basic things like boundary setting, detecting gaslighting, knowing if you’re being emotionally abused, those basic things. I’m so grateful that I have the basics down. That’s awesome. I’ve nailed the basics, yay.

Taking It One Day At A Time Is Key After Intimate Betrayal

Sheri: Woo-hoo! I love it. That’s good. Those are hard enough.

Anne: They are, and they take years to master. The basics are not easy. That’s not what I mean to say. They take time, and they take work. Now that I’ve got the basics down, I think I’m going to start looking towards what exactly my brain really needs now, to overcome this, so that I can heal well. I really appreciate your book for bringing these things to my attention.

Just a shout out to all of our listeners to not be overwhelmed. Just taking one day at a time, like Sheri just said. We will be okay, and we will die, eventually, which is the really good news. Right. If I keep walking down this path and I don’t quite make it to my brain being completely healed, then I will die, and it will be healed after I die.

I just am going to keep trying while I’m alive and having the hope that the next life will be better. I think that’s where I’m at right now, which is an okay place to be. As long as I keep walking toward help.

Sheri: You know what, it’s just about dying well. I don’t want to die bitter. I don’t want to die because I haven’t taken care of my brain or body. I want to die with integrity. I don’t want to stoop low and get into deception myself. It’s just living well, and that’s the goal. I care about all y’all, and love, Anne, that you have this program and this place of support for so many women.

There Are Resources For Handling Intimate Deception

I’m thrilled. And there’s going to be more coming your way, because I’ve even had some contact me, and I’m pointing them towards you, because you have such a fortified and really informative group. If they want to get in touch with me, I’m going to be doing some workshops.

They can check out my website and they can sign up for my free self-care giveaway. That’ll put you on my mailing list. When I’m doing a two-day or three-day workshop, I’ll let you know, and y’all can come on out, I’d love to meet you.

Anne: If this podcast is helpful to you, please consider making a recurring monthly donation. Support this free podcast for women in need, and our free website. We have daily support groups through Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group, and individual sessions available for women with APSATS-certified coaches. APSATS is the only certification for wives of abusive men. Men who participate in lies, pornography use, infidelity and emotional abuse.

Check out our daily support group schedule. You can also check out all of the topics that our coaches are experts at. Things like gaslighting and boundaries and healing your self-worth, divorce, separation, triggers, all of the topics that you need to know about if you are healing from betrayal trauma.

Until next week, stay safe out there.

7 Dissociation Symptoms In Abuse Victims

7 Dissociation Symptoms In Abuse Victims

Dissociation Symptoms When Your Husband Lies, Cheats, & Abuses You

Richard Blankenship is the clinical and administrative director for the Capstone Center for Counseling, DBT and Relational Trauma at the Capstone Center for Sexual Recovery and Transformation. He founded of the International Association of Certified Sexual Addiction Specialists, where he served as president for 13 years, and a founding board member of the Association for Partners of Sex Addicts Trauma Specialists (APSATS). He developed the first graduate course to be taught on sexual addiction along with a colleague, and guest lectures in a variety of university-level courses.

He is married with two children and has worked with churches and counseling centers for over 25 years.

What Is Dissociation?

Richard: Dissociation is, basically, a splitting off of or a detachment. It’s a big word that can sound really scary, yet, it manifests itself in different degrees. It’s something that we all do. We dissociate from difficult experiences. Even daydreaming is a form of mild dissociation, when you’re just checking out of something.

Dissociation is a coping skill in some ways and, at times, it can be healthy. At other times it can be unhealthy.

How Does Dissociation Occur?

Anne: That’s good to hear, that it can sometimes be healthy, as I have experienced quite a bit of dissociation since my ex-husband’s arrest. What does it look like in terms of a wife who is in trauma? So a woman who is experiencing the emotional abuse or the trauma of finding out about her husband’s porn use or his infidelity?

Richard: Whenever women find out about problematic sexual behavior, or chronic porn use, anything on that continuum, they’ll develop a lot of the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. One of the things that comes when you’re in a traumatized state is a level of dissociation.

It can be as basic as just zoning out for a few minutes, some daydreaming, maybe even some fantasy of being in a better place, or it could go over to some very extreme levels where people lose touch with reality. More often than not, we see it early on when people are in a state of shock from the betrayal. They may just be staring straight ahead with a blank look. Dissociation
actually does have a continuum that it runs on from fairly minor to much more extreme.

Anne: The reason why I wanted to talk about this is because 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 would realize 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.” Then I was like, “Oh, yeah, what is it?”

What Are The Symptoms of Dissociation?

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 zoning out for a little while, but I found myself doing that frequently, so I thought, “Oh, I need to learn more about dissociation.”

I just wanted to see what does an expert have to say about, first of all, this level of dissociation—which I’m sure many of our listeners are experiencing—do you have any tips for that? Then, also, perhaps talk with our listeners about more extreme levels of dissociation and what that could mean for them and how to get help?

7 Symptoms Of Dissociation

  1. Memory Loss
  2. Forgetfulness
  3. Inability to concentrate
  4. Zoning Out
  5. Imagining the same scenario over and over and over
  6. Getting somewhere and not knowing how you got there
  7. Feeling disconnected from yourself

Richard: What you described, is very normal for any betrayed wife as they’re going through, especially, that initial shock and devastation when they discover the trauma. It can go to a variety of different presentations. When you get over to the extreme ones, you see people who are not grounded in reality, they check out to the point that they can actually be in
dangerous situations and not realize they’re in dangerous situations.

One extreme example I had was with a betrayed woman who was trying to cook for her children and she had started a fire on a gas stove. The thing ignited curtains and the kitchen was starting to burn and she was just sitting there, not realizing that there was actually a fire going on for quite a while. That would be an example of some pretty extreme dissociation.

How Does Dissociation Relate To Trauma?

It can vary across the recovery process for women. As they’re going through the healing process, it may be that they get much better over time and a lot of the dissociation goes away. There are many worse ways people could cope with something. Now, obviously, if you get to the extreme of dissociating when you’re driving a car, you get in a wreck, or the kitchen’s on fire and you don’t realize it. Obviously, those are very unhealthy extremes where someone is really checking out of reality.

Dissociation is healthy in situations like minor surgery, coping with physical pain. Sometimes a doctor or a nurse might even ask the patient to create a beach scene or a mountain scene and check out when they’re doing that. I’ve done that and seen that with people who, perhaps, were going for something as basic as a root canal and used dissociation into a fantasy as a way to get through a difficult time, a difficult procedure.

Anne: I have actually done hypnotherapy, and you’re a certified clinical hypnotherapist. I want to talk about this briefly, because I wonder if my training with hypnotherapy served me well and enabled me to disassociate appropriately through the pain. I’ve never thought about that before, until now, but all of the sudden, I’m like, “Hey, maybe I have a cool skill that I was able to
employ when things got really difficult.”

How Is Dissociation Treated?

Richard: A friend helped her daughter in the emergency room after an auto accident. As her daughter got stitches, she held her daughter’s hand and said, “Where do you want to go?” And helped her visualize a beach scene. That’s healthy dissociation.

Anne: Okay, I love this. I’ve actually been doing visualization with my son every night. I haven’t thought of it as dissociation, until now. I helped him put all his negative emotions about school into a box: “I don’t want to do my work. I hate doing schoolwork.” I asked him if he could pick up a pencil to do his schoolwork while holding the box full of negative statements.

“No, I can’t,” he said.

I said, “Well, where do you want to put the box?”

“I’m going to dump it out in a river with fish that think that stuff is delicious. They ate it all up.”

I said, “Can you pick your pencil up now?”

“Oh, Mom, I can do my assignment now,” he said.

He has improved significantly in his schoolwork. Whereas before, his intrusive thoughts like, “I don’t want to do this. This is boring. I hate this.” were getting in his way. Now he’s able to get his work done even if he occasionally thinks negative thoughts.

Techniques For Dealing With Dissociation

Do you have any tips for me without that low-level dissociation? I want to be present. I want to be able to connect with my children, but I’m having a hard time concentrating?

Richard: If it’s chronic, I recommend EMDR treatment, Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing. That that often helps women who have a lot of pain to process, process it quickly and reconnect with the present moment.

How Mindfulness Can Help With Dissociation

Basic grounding is another technique. Take a moment, breathe, feel the floor beneath your feet, some things that you know can bring you into the present moment. A lot of even the relaxation techniques can help out there.

Anne: Mindfulness. If I’m unable to concentrate, perhaps touch the couch, feel the couch fabric, touch my child’s arm. Bring myself into the moment by stating his is a couch, this is my child.

Richard: Exactly, overwhelming emotional pain takes women out of the present. Some women stop trusting their emotions. She might not realize when she’s panicking, or angry, or perhaps depressed, even health issues may go undetected.

Can Trauma Cause Symptoms Of Dissociation?

Anne: Readers, how are your symptoms? Please scroll down and comment to let us know how this effects you. Do you see women just naturally improving as they heal, and they go through the recovery process, maybe as time goes on a little bit?

Richard: Absolutely. One of the reasons I love working with women is that I do see them get well. It’s a very difficult journey, especially in those first few months, but most of the women make it. I actually see women return, not only to their previous level of functioning, but often a higher level of functioning.

As things improve, dissociation from trauma typically improves, attention span improves, you’ll find less memory lapses. At first, women will misplace the car keys or even forget how to drive home from work. But as women heal, they become more connected, more present, more able to be emotionally present in their relationships.

Anne: That is exciting news. I’m feeling pretty normal and I’m doing quite well in this dissociation thing. I’m feeling more validated.

Dissociation As A Coping Mechanism

Richard: If you think about it, 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.

It’s also important to remember that there is a lot of hope. It is temporary. It’s not something that has to last forever. It is something that may help you get through some very difficult moments. You just don’t want it to become chronic.

Anne: Right. What would you say the difference is between a healthy use of dissociation to take a break from the pain and numbing? When I first started recovery, many people said, “Don’t numb your emotions.” But in Barb Steffens book, Your Sexually Addicted Spouse, she recommends taking a break from the pain, sometimes. Watching a movie to take a break from the pain wasn’t a bad thing. So I had some compassion with myself and gave myself permission to take breaks from the pain.

Richard: If it’s healthy use, it’s going to be very temporary. If you go to the dentist, they’re going to numb your mouth, but it’s temporary. It’s something to help get through a specific situation or period. If you find yourself numbing your mouth all the time and you can’t talk and you can’t eat, obviously it’s a problem. So if you start dissociating as a way to cope with everyday stress, you know it’s not healthy.

Can Dissociation Be Cured?

However, when dealing with betrayal, women are going to feel numb, at times. Other times, they’re going to be feeling things so intensely that they express in some extreme ways.

Anne: I think viewing it within the framework of the APSATS multi-dimensional partner trauma model is helpful, right? The first phase of safety and stabilization, you’re starting to establish safety for yourself and your family. Then grieving and processing, where there might be a lot of pain during that first and second phase, and those might be the appropriate times to utilize a break from the pain.

Then, the third phase of connecting, if we find ourselves continuing to try and numb out or continuing to disassociate, that might be where we need to look at that and say, “Wait a minute, this is not a healthy way to live. I am safe now. I don’t need to use these coping mechanisms anymore.” Is that kind of what you’re suggesting?

The Varying Degrees Of Dissociation

Richard: Yes, that’s correct. I don’t ever want pathologize a woman who’s been through betrayal because they happen to be numbing out or having trouble focusing early on in that journey, when they’re trying so hard to stabilize and just get a sense of safety and stability back. During those times, it’s normal to have those times of checking out. It’s just that, as a long-term coping skill, that’s probably not one you want to be using.

It’ll take time and it’ll take some practice, but you’ll get there.

One of the things that was pointed out to me in some research on dissociation was that Christians are often taught to dissociate at a certain level. Think about it, even as a kid, “Put on your Sunday best.” You could’ve had a horrible family fight and, yet, you’re still supposed to go to church and look like nothing’s wrong. Well, in a sense, there’s some dissociation. It can be somewhat like the dissociation you might feel, if you are dealing with a supervisor at work and you’ve been traumatized on the job. Perhaps you dissociate some to get your job done. I’ll give you another example of healthy dissociation.

Let’s say that you’re about to have brain surgery and the neurosurgeon had a fight with her husband. I sure hope she can dissociate from the fight and be present while they’re in that operating room. Things like that are examples where dissociation can actually be very functional.

Healing From Trauma-Based Dissociation

Anne: Wow. I didn’t anticipate that it would be a discussion of the healthy uses of dissociation. I thought that it would be that it’s always bad. This is fascinating to me and so exciting that I’m not as terrible as I thought. That’s so cool.

Richard: I don’t think you’re anywhere near terrible, Anne. I tell betrayed wives this all the time, you’re not crazy. I think that’s what’s happened with so many because of their husband’s gaslighting. You get to where you think you’re crazy. Whenever I tell women they’re not crazy, they often break down with tears and say, “I really thought that I was.”

Anne: Yeah. Well, now I’m seeing dissociation as a natural progression to my trauma. Also, I’m seeing where I have used it in healthy ways, both in terms of my own visualization and then helping my son visualize. To my listeners, Yay! You’re not crazy! I’m not crazy!

Anne: The first step to healing is making sure that you are safe. To know if you are safe takes some time and some education. We’ve set things up so that you can know what your level of safety is, starting with “How to Heal: Stages of Betrayal Trauma Recovery,” with Coach Cat. Then, “Am I Being Emotionally Abused,” with Coach Gaelyn, “Detecting and Confronting Gaslighting,” with Coach Sarah, and then “Setting and Holding Healthy Boundaries,” with Coach Sarah.

How Dissociation Protects Against Trauma

You need to know what types of behaviors will hurt you. If you’re constantly being harmed and in pain, you’re either going to confront it continually (constant fighting) or avoid it (no connection).

Next week, we’re going to talk about how people get into patterns of fantasy or dissociating as a way to just deal with everyday stresses in life. That is what addicts do. That’s dangerous and we don’t want to go down that road.

Please let us know what you think and how you feel about dissociation symptoms by commenting below.

How Does 40 Years Of Painful Abuse & Betrayal Affect A Woman?

How Does 40 Years Of Painful Abuse & Betrayal Affect A Woman?

Welcome to Betrayal Trauma Recovery, this is Anne. I am honored to have a client on the podcast today. Her name is Florence. Florence is 75-years-old, and she has experienced a lot of trauma throughout her life, multiple, multiple times.

Florence: Thank you, Anne, it’s nice to be here. Thank you for having this organization, it’s something I wish I’d had 45 years ago.

Anne: Florence, I wanted to ask you, over the years, how has it change? How did you relate to it, say in your 30s or 40s or 50s? Did you try different things?

Florence: I have engaged several processes in trying to figure what was going on. I think this is, probably, one of the most challenging issues that a spouse can be called upon to deal with. I tell my husband, and everybody I know, that I’m everything I am today because of him, because I had to survive.

How Trauma Effects Functioning

Anne: How old were you, when you and your husband married?

Florence: I’ve been married forty-four years. I was introduced to his illness, but I didn’t know it was an illness, three days after we were married.

Anne: You were about 30 at the time?

Florence: Yes, in my early 30s. My first reaction was devastation and fear. Back in those days, women didn’t have the same options that they do today. I had just moved my two daughters and myself to a new location, where I had no friends and no associates and very little opportunity to find gainful employment to support myself. In doing so, I had cut off any support systems that I might’ve had, and I was really on my own.

Anne: Were you married before this?

Florence: I was.

Anne: You had children?

Florence: I was, I had two—

Anne: Okay, so you had two daughters coming into this marriage.

Betrayal Is A Form Of Abuse

Florence: They were five and eight. I went very deep into a place of trying to comprehend. I didn’t call myself a spiritual person at that time in my life. I did not have a religious persuasion, and I found myself searching. In order to do that, I did what I think a lot of people do, from what I’ve read, is that they explore with their spouse, trying to figure out what it is that their spouse is looking for and needing. Of course, that leads one into, probably, the darkest places on earth, because it’s a world of debauchery.

It didn’t take me long to figure out that that was not for me. I had to make a heartfelt decision and tell my husband that I could not live that kind of life with freedom of sex with other people and going to nudist camps and pornographic exhibitions. It was just not the right thing for me at all. It hurt my heart, it didn’t help my heart. He apologized and swore that he would never make those bad choices again, and we started over. Until the next time.

By the next time, I became aware of his activities, I knew enough to go for help. We both went through a lot of counseling. He was identified as a sex addict. That being said, there were not the organizations that there are today, like the SLAA, 12-Step programs. He went through a lot of one-on-one counseling, but it came trailing back in.

What Is The Abusive Cycle?

The problem was, I didn’t realize that he had regressed back to those activities. I only was experiencing the negative behavior and the abuse, which, after 20, 25, 30 years of marriage, you get to the point where you do your own thing, you make the best of it, and if somebody wants to be a damn fool and act like a child, let them be a damn fool and act like a damn child. You just can’t let your life be run by that, you know.

Anne: Did you know you were being abused, or did you just think of it as, “Oh, my husband’s—”

Florence: I knew I was being abused and I knew he was sick. I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting, because the last year has been a year of repeated difficulties and such a challenge. I remember back when my youngest daughter was 15-years-old, and she and I took a trip out west, when we visited a childhood friend of mine. He asked me face-to-face, “What’s wrong? You’re not right.” I said, “Well, my husband isn’t right, he’s sick.” I didn’t elaborate on it. How could I? I didn’t have the words for it.

How Does Abuse Stay Hidden?

I remember thinking many years later, the only people that I could tell that to were people that I’d known for a long time, who actually had some confidence in me, because I became aware of the fact that nobody would believe me. People will say, “Oh, he’s so charming,” “Oh, he’s such a sweet man.” He is, and he’s a beguiling, needful child.

What do you do, go out on the street and bang a drum, and say, “I’m being emotionally abused by a man who can’t show me love, or who can’t relate to me?” You can’t do that. Nobody will believe you, so you try to create wellness within a challenging situation. That’s what I did for years, until it all broke open. For the last ten years, I thought he had frontal temporal lobe disorder.

It makes the second time I’ve misdiagnosed him in my life. Obviously, I’m not much of a psychotherapist. Because of his anger, I felt that his actions were typical of frontotemporal lobe dementia. In fact, I actually got him to go to a neurologist. It was really embarrassing and a waste of time, “It’s not Alzheimer’s, I’m right, it’s frontal temporal lobe.” Well, I wasn’t right. Yeah, it’s very hard when you get older.

What Is Betrayal Trauma?

Things don’t work the way they used to, when sex isn’t what it was when you were kids. Every now and then, you get an opportunity to enjoy one another to some extent, and he gave me an STD. That was a rude awakening. He had been back to his old tricks. It took me four months to get him to come clean. He’s been in one-on-one therapy, and three SLAA meetings a week since then, of his own volition. He’s reading everything, voraciously, that he can on the subject. It’s better late than never, I guess.

Anne: Wow. For our listeners, I just want to talk about SLAA for a minute. What she’s referring to is called Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous. There are multiple different types of 12-step for sexaholism. There’s SLAA, there’s SA, there’s SAA, there’s SALifeline. I personally do SALifeline. Now that we’ve had this overview, it sounds like, in the beginning, the way that you dealt with it was you tried to meet his needs, and then, as you got older and it just kept happening and happening, you started detaching. How would you say your reactions to him are now? Right now, at 75 and him 80?

Florence: It’s been like a fast forward of an earlier movie of everything that ever occurred. I go in a circle. Some days I’m distraught and I’m in pain, and I feel sorry for myself. Then I go through days where I am so angry. Those are not bad days, because I let him have it. I tell him that he cannot sit there and put on the TV and not answer my questions that, after all, I’ve had all these years of going without. The least he can do is respond to me and pay attention.

How To Deal With Trauma And Abuse

I’m more demanding, and I don’t accept his disassociation. Some days, I feel like nothing’s ever happened, we’re the best friends that we’ve always been. It’s like a circular thing that goes around. I’ve been able to grapple with this, because now I can be honest with our friends and our family and everybody knows. The freedom to be honest and forthright makes it possible to handle and work with.

Anne: Absolutely. Without it, it’s impossible. Now that we’re in this different age, I’m 40, the first place we go, when we have something happen is we start searching for things online. We go to social media, “Let’s see, is there a group like this on Facebook?” What thoughts do you have about women who are starting to search for this and think about this five years after marriage, or ten years after marriage? If you could go back and talk to yourself?

Florence: You can’t help them. You can’t fix them. I made a very concerted decision many, many years ago. Considering the pain and the grief and the disappointment and the challenges, probably 10 years into the marriage, that marriage wasn’t just for me to feel comfortable and happy, it was a family. I was going to build a family out of the dregs of this mess, if it killed me. I think I did it.

Trauma Is Not Easy To Live With

Our children are very bonded, they laugh a lot. They say, “We don’t care what happens to the two of you, we’re bonded, and that’s it.” They spend holidays together and we had all the children and grandchildren with us for his 80th birthday last year. I feel very successful for that. It was in a different age. Today, there are avenues for healing, and that I think anybody who’s identified with this kind of illness needs to get to the best possible resources.

Anne: I agree with you. At the beginning of recovery, especially now that there’s so many resources, women are very excited, and their husbands are very excited like, “Oh, recovery is going to be awesome, it’s going to be amazing.” Then 5, 10 years down the road, it’s a lot harder than they thought, and not the easy way.

Florence: It never goes away, and you end up being the caregiver. This has been my counterargument to my husband and all of his attempts to heal himself, as it was really convenient now that you’re 80 and impotent, you made these choices to have a responsibility. That responsibility is to their partner and their families. As somebody who’s suffered from it my whole life, you can’t give me back the past 20 years.

How Connection Can Help With Trauma

I didn’t know you were doing this. I knew you were being a jerk, but if I had known he had gone back to illicit deviant sexual practices, I wouldn’t have stayed. I might’ve had the chance to build a life with someone who might’ve genuinely been able to care and show real regard. I miss that, and nobody can give that back to me. That’s where the anger comes from.

I was told by a lot of professionals, “Oh, you need counseling.” I tried that. I’m sure this isn’t true across all mental health professionals, but what I found was that most therapists are not equipped to deal with this kind of addiction. They tend to try to use their behavior modification, which they’ve learned in graduate school somewhere, “If you do this, then he’ll do that. If you do that.” It doesn’t work.

I went to four sessions with one therapist, and I just walked out. I said, “This isn’t good for me. I’m getting angry about this.” I quit going. I’ve also challenged my husband on the fact that the SLAA thing is very self-absorbing. They’re all involved with taking care of themselves and getting better and praise God. You know, it’s like, “Wait a minute, you’re still just thinking about yourself. First, it was sex, and now it’s your healing process. Where does that leave me?” It still leaves me on my own. It still leaves me wanting and wanting.

Why Abuse Is So Misunderstood

Anne: Florence joined the Betrayal Trauma Recovery Club. When you found us, how did you feel?

Florence: It was good to know that I wasn’t alone. Most people just don’t get it. They think your husband’s a philanderer, of course they are, but there’s so much more to it than that. The best thing that’s happened to me in the last year is the ability to be honest, to speak my truth. I am still sad about the loss that I’ve had in my life.

There are people that have worse lives, and I’m not going to bemoan all the good things, but I think that people need to re-evaluate who they are and what they want. I do think that a lot of women, myself included, were raised with low expectations and low sense of self. We didn’t really know when we weren’t being treated well. We may have known it, but we didn’t think we had any right to do anything about it.

Anne: I appreciate you sharing your story. I’m so grateful that you found Betrayal Trauma Recovery.

What To Do For Betrayal Trauma

We have a checklist that I’ve been developing for a year, for women to know exactly what they need to do when they find out about porn. If they find porn on the computer, if they have an inkling of, “Maybe my husband is looking at porn, or maybe he’s having an affair,” or have an inkling of abuse, this checklist is intended to save women years and years of their life, to save women of going through that cycle of trying to figure out what’s going on, and put safety as their first priority, so they can get to safety immediately.

My life goal is to save women from years and years of pain and confusion. I want to get this checklist in the hands of every single woman all over the world, so that right when she suspects it, she knows exactly what to do.

Please plaster this all over the internet, put it on all your secret Facebook groups, let women know. At the end of January, we had almost 20,000 RSS subscribers. You are making BTR happen, thank you. It is changing lives. I’m so grateful for all of you who are part of this movement to create more peace and more happiness in this world. Until next week, stay safe out there.

How BTR Services Will Help You Recover From Betrayal Trauma

How BTR Services Will Help You Recover From Betrayal Trauma

Online, Professional Support For Abused Women

Having a daily support system is crucial when attempting to establish safety in your life. Betrayal Trauma Recovery Club is affordable–less expensive than many in-person groups and a lot less expensive than one-on-one coaching. The amount of privacy that is provided is ideal. You can get up at any time of night or morning and talk about the things on your mind.

The nice thing is someone is going to get back to you right away. 

My initial training is in the area of the sex addiction itself. I did the training through the American Association of Sex Addiction Therapy. I did actually follow up with that to get certification to work with those sex addicts and the partner, although today I am more interested in working just with the partners and occasionally couples. There was a very strong intimacy anorexia component to this training so I am very comfortable working with women who are struggling with this particular issue in their marriage.

While I am a partner myself, I am very familiar with betrayal trauma from a personal experience standpoint. After finishing training with AASA, I really wanted to be trained by APSATS – the Association of Partners of Sex Addiction Trauma Specialists. I knew I really wanted the in-depth knowledge and up-to-date information on how to address partner trauma. I had experienced it myself but it was wonderful to get the training by Barb Stephens and get all of the up-to-date information on it.

Professional Support Services For Wives Of Sex Addicts

I have also completed the coursework to be certified in therapeutic separation in order to assist couples who are interested in exploring how various forms of separation can help them explore the future of their relationship. I want to say a little about this because I don’t ever want anyone to think that I am encouraging separation. What I have found in this training is that probably 99% of us are in a form of separation from our partners anyway because it includes a psychological separation. What this training has given me is a 10-step process or framework to help them go this period in a structured way and really look and see what they need to make the relationship work.

Lastly, I have training as a Stephen’s Minister which means I can offer Christian-led coaching. I am very well versed in client’s processing grief and spiritual questions. Not that I have the answers to all of those questions necessarily but I am definitely comfortable sitting with people in their grief and processing those questions with them.

Anne: Those are good things to know, Coach Laura. This is what I love about our coaches–they are experts in these topics, helping women in Betrayal Trauma Recovery Club and in topic sessions.

Coach Laura, what principles stand out most as you coach women through this process?

How Do I Heal From My Husband’s Cheating?

Coach Laura: All of the APSATS coaches on BTR follow the APSATS model of having the three phases of trauma healing: safety and stabilization, grieving and processing, and reconnection. Of course this isn’t necessarily a linear process but among those stages, there are key principles that I work with my clients on.

In the safety and stabilization stage, I really stress the importance of values, living and setting boundaries to protect the values, and picking out the obvious safety boundaries—physical and emotional…I work with women on how to manage triggers and generally finally rest from this process because this healing and recovery process, especially if we stay with our spouses, can take a really long time. I really stress living out our values and making decisions based on them and protecting them. Self care is another area that is extremely important. All of these phases begin with the safety and stabilization phase.

Then it continues into phase two, the grieving and processing phase. In this stage I especially like the Journey to Healing and Joy materials because it’s really helps people process through their grief and their strong emotions. The principles I focus on the most in this stage are expressing emotions and accepting them. Another area we work on with all three stages is trigger management. As most women are aware, we can be triggered by just about anything. We need some really good tools to help with these moments. This is an ongoing principle I work on.

Reconnecting After An Affair

Lastly, the third phase of reconnection is to me like the icing on a not-very-good cake! Reconnection is what we all want and what we all need. We need a community and a loving circle around us; everyone needs this but especially when we are going through a trial like this. This is the reason why sex addiction is so devastating to women–it breaks the bond with the person who should be most connected to us.

If our husbands are on a healthy path, maybe that bond can be reconnected; maybe it can’t but I really strive to make that a goal when the women are ready to pursue that connection with friends and family with safe people, I often strive to make it something that can be found in Betrayal Trauma Recovery Club.

Anne: Like members connecting with other members of the group so they feel that support and safety within the group itself.

Coach Laura: Barb Steffens is the founder of APSATS. It is her research in the book that has been instrumental in getting the word out about betrayal trauma. It is changing treatment options for women. After reading this book, women will have an excellent understanding of the trauma they have experienced and how to heal from it–they will be well on their way to that healing; they will also understand more about their partner’s addiction but not in a way that says, “Look. There are good reasons for this.”

There are reasons for how addiction is developed, but it’s not meant to defend the addict’s behavior. It’s about helping women understand that this is not anything they caused nor can they fix it. It’s a real thing and he is responsible for it. This is good news for a lot of women who are just in this process.

From Betrayal Trauma Recovery Club, women will gain a clearer picture of their reality, learn to cope with their strong emotions, learn personal empowerment principles with tools like I mentioned before like having boundaries, learning to process detachment, self-care and soothing techniques, and the like. They will have a safe place to process and grieve their losses; most of all, they will begin to do what the workbook calls in chapter 8: Finding Way Your Way Back To You. This is what I want so much for the women I work with. We are all strong, normal, healthy women stuck in a really hard place. We have values and roles that are important to us; many women get thrown by this. This is what trauma and addiction does. I am really hoping for this FB format and this particular workbook to provide this safe place to get back on track and find their way back to themselves.

Anne: Some of the principles you mentioned, for example detachment, are impossible to learn without the support of a professional and a support group. Let me give you an example: I would talk to my mom and sister who are wonderful and extremely supportive. I love them and they are amazing and they wanted my relationship to work out; they would talk to me but they did not have a concept of how unsafe I was or how I needed to detach.

And then I would talk to the professionals in my life, APSATS coaches, my therapist, and their description of detachment really helped me to understand what I needed to do to gain safety. It wasn’t that my mom and sister weren’t so supportive and amazing; when I explained to them what I needed to do from the assistance I received from professionals, my mom and sister said that they had never thought of that before…because they aren’t professionals in the field; they were just supportive people. For me to learn these important principles…no contact, detachment, boundaries…I really needed professional APSATS help.

Tools For Dealing With A Narcissistic Man

Coach Laura: I think that detachment is one of those things that is often misunderstood anyway because it sounds like you’re totally disconnected. That’s not what it is at all. It’s putting an emotional buffer between you and the chaos. It’s not checking out–in fact, checking out can be a red flag, a signal of being in an unhealthy place. this detachment says, “I’m going to be ok whether or not you’re okay….I’m going to practice my values and set my boundaries and your reaction isn’t going to slow me down. Honestly, it is hard to learn but definitely with a coach’s help there are tools that can make it easier to understand what it looks like.

Anne: Yes. The coaches are really well trained with how to explain this so it makes sense and helps women to actually apply it in their lives. So speaking of how, how do you describe your coaching style?

Coach Laura: I think of myself as a “gentle coach.” I don’t know if there is a style terminology for that. Like any good coach, I ask questions that challenge the women I’m working with to think about their situation anew in different ways if the current way isn’t working for them. In general, this is what coaching is. when you asked me this it made me think of an email I got from a male, which didn’t apply to me anyway, but he asked for a script disciplinarian type person. I kind of had to laugh because I know this isn’t me.

I’m going to challenge the women that I work with. There is a lot of faulty thinking that we put ourselves through–the “I’m not good enough…because we’ve been blamed for this or we’ve gotten bad advice somewhere along the line.” I feel like I’m pretty direct. I’m willing to challenge people. I’m willing to ask them to come out of their box. I think this is why they are here. But I’m a really gentle person. This is hard and I know what it feels like. People who are coming to these groups looking for help are coming from all sorts of backgrounds and situations and the one thing they all have in common is they need compassion and gentle understanding. That is largely where I come from.

I’ll never forget as I was going through this and in early recovery, my husband and I were going to his counselor (although he was to be ‘our’ counselor). We were seeing someone who did not have any understanding of partner trauma. I’ll never forget sitting in his office and saying to him how much I wish I could read my husband’s book he was working in. The counselor said, in a very strong, harsh way that I had a lot of problems with boundaries. I thought I was going to flip out! I thought, “I have problems with boundaries?!”

Getting The Right Support For Your Husband’s Porn Addiction

I knew there was something wrong with this at the time. I realize now that what he should have said was that of course I wanted to look in there. My life had been destroyed by secrets and this was another place where secrets were being encouraged to be kept. If he had any idea what my process was, he would have validated my desire…and maybe he would have gone on to say that it wasn’t a good idea if I really wanted him to have a place where he could be honest with himself. I understand this now but there was nothing wrong with me wanting to know what was in that book. I did not have an issue with boundaries! I remember this experience and I want partners that I work with to understand that those things they wonder about and feel are all normal and understandable.

Anne: And they have had enough abuse–from their husband and from counselors, therapists, church leaders, other people–telling them they shouldn’t feel like this or that; that they need to forgive or stop thinking this or that…when the things they are thinking and doing are totally valid and normal and appropriate for the situation. I love BTR for this because it validates that we are normal for being angry, for not trusting him…that it would be weird to trust him…that some things wives are asked to do, those things are weird! We don’t feel comfortable with it and this is why BTR works for us.

Coach Laura: Yes. What is written in that book, from my standpoint, was a matter of my personal safety. There are people out there who don’t get it. I’m really looking forward to having this group as a place for women to come together with someone who does get it.

Anne: Yes! We all get it here! Sometimes we may not say the right thing; sometimes I may say something that doesn’t jive with someone or they aren’t sure what I mean…but in terms of understanding what it feels like to be lied to, cheated, and then blamed for it, you’ve come to the right place! We all understand even if we might express it differently.


Betrayal Trauma Healing Stages – A Proven Path

Betrayal Trauma Healing Stages – A Proven Path

How Do We Heal From Betrayal Trauma?

The good news is that there is hope for recovery and healing from any kind of trauma including Betrayal Trauma. The approach to your healing follows a path well worn by trauma survivors and is adapted for use with this particular demographic. It approached trauma recovery from a three stage approach. What follows is an overview of what you might expect to be covered in each stage:

Betrayal Trauma Recovery Stage 1 – Safety and Stabilization

In this stage we will be most concerned with finding some safety and stability amongst the post discovery mess! In the first stage of trauma healing you can expect to feel supported and validated throughout. You should expect to find space to express yourself in response to the turmoil that your life has just been thrown into and be helped to identify your immediate needs in this situation.

You will be supported to manage any crisis that has developed with the discovery. Here we will address issues relating to all aspects of safety; emotional, physical, spiritual, sexual and financial. You will likely be encouraged to undertake a health screen to rule out the possibility of Sexually Transmitted Infections and, where your physical health is impacted, for example by lack of sleep, weight loss or significant distress that becomes unmanageable on a day to day basis, assessment by a medical doctor may be encouraged.

There will be conversation about the reactions of the addict to discovery and whether there are any threats to your safety or the safety of others, most notably any children, in the home. If such a threat is discerned you will be supported to make a plan to address that. Your emotional safety will also be addressed, with an emphasis on avoiding further trauma by seeking details that you may find traumatic in the longer term and assessing your vulnerability to emotional abuse through gaslighting and verbal abuse.

Not Sure How to Get Started?

This video gives you the basics we recommend to get started with your Betrayal Trauma Recovery.

There will likely be some conversation about immediate boundary needs whilst you stabilize yourself as well as longer term boundaries beyond the crisis stage. Your financial stability may be discussed as it relates to your ability to care for yourself. You will be supported in implementing coping skills for emotional regulation and identifying safe people to lean on.

You will be provided with resources and education on both trauma and sex addiction and may use this information to plan for all eventualities moving forward with a focus on creating safety, no matter what happens.

This stage will also cover the possibility of a therapeutic disclosure and polygraph as a means of avoiding the traumatic experience of staggered disclosure, where information is drip fed over a period of time, after many assertions of the fact that the full truth is now known.

Whilst there is no specific timeline for each phase of healing, it is important to recognize that this is a long term healing process. It is also not a linear or ‘end to end’ process and  there are likely to be a number of bumps in the road, setbacks and occasions where you find yourself circling back on some items.

Of course, the behavior of the addict has much to do with the ease with which you pass through each stage. The aim, at every stage, will be for you to feel empowered to heal, with or without the support and assistance of your addicted partner.

During this stage, we recommend the following group and topic sessions:

Betrayal Trauma Recovery Stage 2 – Remembering and Mourning

In Stage 2 you will be digging deeper into the traumatic after effects and learning to process the trauma, loss and grief experienced as a result of the betrayal. This season is about facing the reality in which you now reside.

I sometimes think of this as the FEELING stage, where, in the midst of the new safety you have created (and continue to create and uphold) in stage 1, you are able to create time and space to feel the emotion produced by the trauma. This is a delicate balance of courage and pacing. To heal from the trauma and grief we must be prepared to feel it and allow the pain to ‘pass through’ but we must do so carefully and sensitively so as not to become overwhelmed.

This stage of healing is best conducted under the care of a well trained professional for those reasons.

This phase includes telling your story, often repeatedly, which can help you to come to terms with the traumatic memories by ‘making sense’ of what has happened. Telling your story also helps to name, explore and mourn the losses you have experienced and break down some of the dissociative effects of the trauma.

You  may also be encouraged to explore other therapeutic options, including some of the emerging treatments that are proving effective in trauma recovery such as EMDR and Somatic treatments. These modalities aim to approach trauma healing from the holistic ‘body, mind and soul’ perspective as understanding of the impact of trauma on the body, and its ability to be held and stored at a cellular level is increasingly understood and accepted.

This stage is likely to build on the trigger response and emotional regulation work begun in phase 1 as you gain a deeper understanding of how your trauma triggers impact you and begin to reclaim and reframe some of your experiences. Here you will be encouraged to see the progress you are making in dealing with triggers and unwanted emotion as ‘fuel for the fight’, proving that you have the tools, resources and resilience needed to remain on the road to healing and thrive.

Stage 2 may include additional work for those whose relationships end in long term separation or divorce. This is a traumatic event, in and of itself and will require some deeper processing during this period.

In this stage, we recommend the following topic sessions:

Betrayal Trauma Recovery Stage 3 – Reconnecting

Stage 3 invites you to reconnect with the world around you. This is about integrating your story into the bigger story of your life, where the traumatic experience is no longer the only experience that defines you, but part of a larger pool of ‘life experiences’ which have shaped who you are. Here you will begin to feel more acceptance than resistance as you continue to ‘come to terms’ with the life you now live, whatever that means for you as an individual.

This stage will look different for those who have made the decision to remain in relationship with the addicted partner, than for those for whom this has not been possible. Indeed, this may the point at which some of those decisions are made.

We have one topic session for stage 3: Who Am I Beyond Betrayal Trauma?

For those whose relationships have not survived the discovery of the addictive or problematic behaviour, this phase of healing will include working towards a new sense of self and identity. It will allow for vision casting, creating a vision for the future and examining all of the possibilities this offers. There will be questions around those possibilities to be confronted, such as the possibility of any future relationships and where you find meaning and purpose going forward. There will also be the practical aspects of co-parenting and healthy separation for those in that position.

For those who remain in relationships, this period will focus on reconnection. There are the challenging topics of trust, intimacy, sex and forgiveness in this stage which will need to be addressed sensitively and with patience and grace. Couples work may include assistance with communication and conflict management as well as emotional intimacy and sexual reintegration. There are also opportunities for couples to create a vision for their future relationship, built on an understanding that things will not be the same as they were before the discovery/disclosure.

Across the board, this phase encourages you to make meaning from what you have been through and to use that meaning to develop the identity of a ‘thriver’, no longer a victim but a VICTOR. This is also where many of us begin to feel a desire to use our experiences for the greater good and as a means of giving something back.

This is the stage at which you will try new things and learn more about who you are and what you could be. You will be encouraged to assess the skills that have brought you this far and capitalize them to take you even further, integrating them into your life and as part of your ability to care for yourself in the future.

What Can I Expect From Betrayal Trauma Recovery Sessions?

What Can I Expect From Betrayal Trauma Recovery Sessions?

Why Did You Become An APSATS Trained Betrayal Trauma Recovery Coach?

Coach Cat: If you have a read of my full bio on the BTR website, you’ll get the full info on the background that led me to what led me to work betrayed women professionally. But in a nutshell, I would say that it came about after I struggled to find a professional who truly understood what I was going through when I discovered my husband’s sexual issues.

I was actually terrified to find a professional to work with as I’d read so much about the hurtful, traumatic and unhelpful advice that others had received and I wasn’t prepared to spend large amounts of money on what felt like a huge risk. I knew that I had something to offer to others as I worked through my own healing and I felt deeply moved to support others through their healing to simply alleviate some of the absolute isolation I felt.


Not Sure How to Get Started?

This video gives you the basics we recommend to get started with your Betrayal Trauma Recovery.

As the wife of a pastor in training I knew what it felt like to feel unable to tell a soul and to carry this burden alone and I didn’t want that for anyone else. That was my motivation to work professionally with betrayed women, that and my unshakeable belief that we were built to OVERCOME. I have survived my own addiction and recovery and have found within me a previously untapped resource of wisdom and strength that I see in my clients over and over and it’s such a huge joy to me to walk beside a woman as she unlocks the strength she didn’t know she had!

What Resources Do You Use To Help Women Heal From Betrayal Trauma?

Coach Gaelyn: Here at BTR, you’re the How To Heal. Can you tell us a bit more?

Coach Cat: Of course. I love that it doesn’t feel accusatory in its approach to opening up new awareness of behaviors, but rather offers an invitation to take a peek at your own coping strategies and trauma responses, understand and educate yourself about what’s really going on there and ask yourself how well they serve you.

I also love the really tangible strategies it offers. There is some work to be done, work that will be challenging at times but that will get results. It’s not the same as reading a book and thinking that they sound like some great ideas, its working through a book and actually applying those good ideas to my life and turning them into something tangible and achievable for my life.

It does a really good job of helping you find voice for the losses and associated grief you’ve suffered and gives space to process that. It also covers boundaries, self-care, triggers, our own denial, coping strategies, self-worth, intimacy and the final chapter discusses the ever-tricky issues of spirituality and forgiveness in ways that are both realistic and empathetic.

The exercises are simple and I like that. Now when I say simple, I don’t mean easy, I mean simple. They are clearly laid out and easy to follow and understand. Some are super quick, like rate yourself against this measure and think about some simple things you can do to move yourself up that scale and some are much more detailed, requiring some real self-reflection and journaling on a topic. So, there’s a variety of exercises and approaches which means that you’ll get an opportunity to explore what really works for you as you process this betrayal.

How Did You Heal From Betrayal Trauma?

Coach Gaelyn: So, Cat, you and I obviously both work in this field as professional coaches—but as women who’ve confronted sex addiction within our own lives and relationships, we’re also each doing our own personal trauma recovery work, right? So, can you tell me how this book Intimate Treason has helped YOU heal your own betrayal trauma? In other words, is there one personal takeaway that YOU gained from reading this book?

Coach Cat: I think for me, it was much of what I’ve stated above. I found it so hard to live in the reality of the betrayal that breaking down some of that denial was hugely important. I wasn’t able to find my voice and speak for my needs until I could see and accept the reality of my situation. Coming to terms with the reality and making room for the grief that accompanied that was a game changer for me.

I’m a strong woman, like I mentioned earlier, I’m an overcomer, right, so really becoming vulnerable and FEELING those losses was hard for me to even find words for. So, the grief section was so important. The other thing that this helped to unlock was some of the hurt and loss I had that was associated with my own past. I was a drug addict myself for 10 years, I was no angel but after getting into recovery I had a new perspective on relationships and sex and really wanted this relationship, my marriage to be different from what we had both had before.

I wanted it to be pure, to be holy and now, even though my husband was a man of God, that was gone, a lie, another casualty of this thing. I was devastated by that and it took some time to come to terms with all the losses that represented for me. This book really helped me to expose some of that loss and begin the process of grief.

Coach Gaelyn: Some of our listeners may be new to this concept of a Facebook-based workbook study—but I know that YOU are a seasoned pro at them! You’ve been facilitating Facebook groups for quite some time now, and I’ve even had the personal privilege of joining one of your Facebook study groups as a coaching client. You’ve done a FANTASTIC little video clip that does a GREAT job of explaining the logistics of this new group that starts on April 3rd. But I’m wondering this: What’s the most important thing you think women can get from this group that they WOULDN’T get by reading Intimate Treason on their own?

How Can An APSATS Coach Facilitated Group Help Women Heal From Betrayal Trauma?

Coach Cat: Community – Safe space, not alone, understood, validated and supported

  • Motivation – seeing other gain momentum can inspire you to do the same
  • Alternative perspectives – enriches learning and insights
  • Coaching – maxizing the experience, keeping on track, overcoming barriers
  • Value – when you pay for something it immediately creates a sense of value and that alone can increase the likelihood of actually getting through the exercises. So often I speak to women ad they tell me “Oh I have that book, it’s been on my shelf for months!” as they haven’t been able to find the time, energy or motivation to open it up and start working or maybe they did and then didn’t finish.

What you don’t get for free is an APSATS trained coach – why is that worth having? Educated insights and suggestions coming from good quality training that really ‘gets’ what’s going on with you.

And how does this group differ from the FREE Facebook support groups that available for women?

Free Facebook peer support groups are GREAT, I participate in them and even host one for UK based women myself. They create some of the things I have mentioned above – community, validation, support, experience and alternate perspectives etc.

What they don’t offer (for the most part) is any professional insight from well trained and experienced professionals. Betrayal Trauma is a complex issue and managing a group through this type of workbook requires some skill. As an experienced group facilitator, I have the ability to keep everyone safe and manage the group experience in a way that benefits everyone and avoids unnecessary trigger and that kind of thing. It is also my role to keep an eye on the welfare of members and make sure we’re all doing OK. I take that seriously. I work really hard to make sure that anyone leaving a group of any kind with me feels like they have gained a lot and moved forward from where they were before.

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