Healing My Self-Worth After Abuse

Healing My Self-Worth After Abuse

Healing My Self-Worth & Self-Image
2 Hour Class
Led by Coach Sarah
REGISTER – Saturday 1PM Eastern (USA)
The group will start as soon as it fills.
Limited to 12 participants (minimum 6)

This group is lovingly crafted to:

1) Help you see where childhood messages, our culture, and the betrayals we’ve faced have damaged our self-worth and self-image.
2) Find inspiration to see yourself in a new way.
3) Teach you tools to combat this on-going struggle.

“Perhaps, we should love ourselves so fiercely, that when others see us, they know exactly how it should be done.” – Rudy Francisco.

In our culture, our self-worth is often derived from our self-image.  This is the exact opposite of how we find freedom, confidence, and peace from the endless striving to be something or someone else.

Add to that the damage done by the unrealistic representations pornography puts out there, or the comparison to affair / acting out partners, and most women dealing with betrayal trauma have had their self-worth and self-image shattered.

This group aims to help you see yourself differently, and empower you to love yourself fiercely – connecting you to a place of truth that, with work, will not easily be taken away from you ever again.

In this group, we will:

  • Take a look at the negative messages we’ve come to believe about ourselves from childhood, our culture, our marriage/relationship, and the betrayal we’ve endured.
  • Identify the lies in these negative messages, and work to reframe them to reflect the truth about who we really are.
  • Work through a few tools to help us connect with our self-love, and craft mantras that will help us.
  • STAY connected to that self-love when the gremlins pop up and try to rob us of our peace and self-love.

For more details, email Coach Sarah at sarah@btr.org

Anne: Sarah, why is the topic of self-worth/self-image important to you?

Coach Sarah: I have met a lot of women as a coach in this area – brilliant, beautiful, caring, amazing women.  And almost without fail, they do NOT see themselves this way.  Because they are traumatized, they feel weak, broken… almost like “damaged goods”.  I deeply desire to help women see themselves differently… as forces to be reckoned with; loving, giving, funny, intelligent…  because once a woman really, truly connects with this – no one can take it away from her again!  She KNOWS her worth, and she won’t settle for less!  And I’m convinced that our self-image – the way we view ourselves, correlates directly with our self-worth.

Wives Of Pornography Users Have Lower Self-Worth / Self-Image

I think our culture has done a pretty “good” job of giving women inferiority complexes.  There are so many messages/images of how a woman should look, act, walk; what kind of job she should have, what interests she should carry, etc.  Where our women are impacted differently is, I think, the comparison isn’t as broad – it has become very specific and personal – because it’s not just “society at large” that is sending out these messages, our spouse has been fantasizing or actually been sexual with these images/people.

Society, at large, hasn’t made a commitment to “choose” us, but our spouse has… and yet, their betrayal makes it feel like they are not choosing us.  Many struggle with connecting that to not being desirable enough, and this is a huge hit to how we value and see ourselves.

How Can We Learn To Love Ourselves After Betrayal?

There are a few things, and I share them in my group, but one that really stands out is a blog I read by Glennon Doyle.  It was a paradigm shift for me… one that helped me see how beautiful this life is that I’m creating, and how our focus is so often on the wrong things.  That’s all I want to give away on that one right now!

The First Step To Loving Yourself

About a year into my coaching in Austin, I did a retreat for my ladies.  As I was putting it together, and thinking about each woman specifically, one thought kept playing over, and over and over: “She deserves to be pampered.  She deserves to know what it feels like to be loved well.”  Even if the “addict” is involved in a legitimate recovery, and is working hard, it’s a LONG road, and often, sobriety and personal recovery trumps the relational aspect of things, so the woman is still left feeling lonely, or not loved well.  It’s so difficult to not internalize this.  Women get “used to” it, and can often translate that to their worthiness.  When I connected these dots… well, that’s when I started focusing on building my clients up, discover their worth, and connect to the fact that they are worthy of such love.

The Key To Self Worth Is Knowing Your Worth Isn’t Based On Your Husband’s Perceptions Of View

Without a doubt, the key to self-worth is being able to silence every negative voice (including your own); every “should or shouldn’t”, and give yourself permission to like, and love whatever you like and love about yourself.  Doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks – what their opinions of you are, or what is likeable / lovely.  It only matters what you think/like/love!

If you could say something to the women listening, regarding self-worth, what would that be?

Sarah: Your worthiness is NOT based on someone else’s ability or INABILITY to accept, appreciate, or value you.  You are worthy of being cherished, and loved well. Start by loving yourself well!


5 Chaotic Gaslighting Tactics Of Pornography Users

5 Chaotic Gaslighting Tactics Of Pornography Users

Coach Sarah will be educating us about gaslighting tactics today! Welcome, Coach Sarah!

Our APSATS coaches will help you discover your husband’s gaslighting and how to deal with it. Coach Sarah is APSATS trained and an expert in helping women find safety in when faced with gaslighting in their relationships. Click here to register for her group Detecting & Confronting Gaslighting.

Coach Sarah: Thank you, Anne! I’m glad to be here with you today!

Anne: Coach Sarah, has everyone gaslighted at one time or another in their life? Why do “we” as humans gaslight sometimes?

Why Do People Use Gaslighting?

Coach Sarah: Yes, I believe everyone has gaslighted someone at one time or another in their life. Those of us who gaslight unknowingly usually do so for a few reasons (or a combination): out of an unawareness of how we’re really feeling; a shame response; a defensive response (like self-protection); or a lack of good communication. 

For example, the mom who tells her son that he likes salad, when he clearly does not, is not aware/in touch with the feeling of being weary of her son complaining about the food that she makes. She doesn’t want to hear another complaint, so she desperately says, “C’mon, you like salad.” The mom is trying to get her son to feel a certain way about the salad.

A non-gaslighting exchange would be something like: “Son, I know salad isn’t your favorite, but it really hurts my feelings when I work hard to make you healthy food and you complain. Even if you’re not excited about eating the salad, could you please not complain? Thank you.”

Why Are Addicts Prone To Gaslighting?

Well, when we look at basic components of what is involved in addiction, we look at a few key things:

  1. People numbing feelings with their “drug of choice”
  2. People who act outside of their beliefs and morals, which reinforces their shame center
  3. People who are in active addiction have a need to keep their behaviors secret/hidden, so that they can continue to feed their addiction

So, if someone comes to me and asks if I’m angry, and I’ve numbed out my feelings, I am very likely to tell them they’re wrong (even though they are correct); add in the shame center, and I’d likely turn it back around on them and tell them that they’re the one that is angry. If I’m in active addiction, and someone comes to me saying they feel like I’m distant (and I am, because I’m acting out), I’ll likely tell them they’re imagining things, so that they doubt their reality, and stop looking into my behaviors. 

What Are The Gaslighting Tactics That Pornography / Sexual Addicts Use?

I don’t think they use different tactics than other people who gaslight, but I do think the way the tactics sound/are used can be specific to their pornography use/sexual acting out. To start, there are four main tactics people use to gaslight:

  1. Redirecting responsibility
  2. Discrediting your reality
  3. Saying you need or dismissing your psychiatric/coaching/12-step help
  4. Highlighting and criticizing your character flaws

These tactics often overlap.

For example, let’s say you’re out to dinner with your husband, and he’s flirting and staring inappropriately at the attractive woman that is your server. You make a comment about how you feel like he’s behaving inappropriately with this woman, and it hurts you and makes you feel like you are not important to him. His response:

  • “I am not doing anything inappropriate” (discrediting your reality).
  • “If you weren’t so insecure, you’d be able to see that you’re completely over-reacting” (highlighting and criticizing your character flaws).
  • “Besides, if I did flirt with her, it’s because you’re over there complaining and being cold towards me” (redirecting responsibility). 
  • “This is just something your therapist made up – did she tell you I’m not allowed to talk to anyone but you?” (dismissing your therapist).

To our listeners, what types of gaslighting have you experienced? Please comment on this post at the way bottom. How has gaslighting affected you?

What Is The First Step To Recognizing Gaslighting When It Happens?

Coach Sarah: I think the first step is being able to realize when one of three things is happening:

  • You’re confused – things don’t make sense
  • Things get flip-flopped and the other person plays the victim in the situation – you are getting blamed for things that aren’t your responsibility
  • Any time you are told your feelings aren’t “right” or “okay”, etc. 

Anne: As a Coach, how to you help women establish emotional safety in their home, so they don’t experience this type of manipulation and abuse anymore?

Coach Sarah: Honestly, Anne, this is a long process. The absolute first thing I do with my clients is help them to get reconnected to their reality and truth by validating their experiences and feelings. Often, they don’t get this at all in their marriage.

As they begin to get reconnected to themselves, I begin to teach them how to identify the different aspects of gaslighting, so that they can put boundaries in place to protect themselves, as well as help them brainstorm around ways they can respond/engage when they realize their spouse is trying to gaslight them. Finally, I give them a space to practice using their voice, so that it grows strong and they are empowered to use it with their gaslighter(s). 

To schedule a call with Coach Sarah or any one of our amazing APSATS coaches, click here.

So see our Support Group schedule, click here

Again, we need your donations. Your donations go to helping women who are isolated find us and give them hope. We appreciate all our amazing donors, and ask that you too will donate to enable us to continue to provide this podcast and other helpful resources.

We’re here for you. Until next week, stay safe out there!

Gaslighting: Manipulated Love Isn’t Love

Gaslighting: Manipulated Love Isn’t Love

Gaslighting In Relationships

Our APSATS coaches will help you discover your husband’s gaslighting and how to deal with it. Coach Sarah is APSATS trained and an expert in helping women find safety in when faced with gaslighting in their relationships. Click here to register for her group Detecting & Confronting Gaslighting.

I’m realizing how early I am in my recovery, and how much I don’t understand about betrayal trauma and all the complexities of recovery. I’m grateful that you have been with me as I’ve shared my recovery process with you in real time. Sometimes I feel peace and have hope, and other times I’m upset and hopeless. Good days are beginning to outnumber the bad days.

Luckily, I get to associate with the Betrayal Trauma Recovery APSATS coaches regularly, and I learn so much from them!

If you are struggling with gaslighting in your relationship, you can schedule a free consultation with one of our coaches.

What Is Gaslighting?

I interviewed Coach Sarah about examples of gaslighting in the podcast. 

Coach Sarah: Gaslighting definition: anytime someone attempts to manipulate your perception of reality, your beliefs, your thoughts, your feelings. Someone who is gaslighting is going to try and convince you that your feelings and thoughts are invalid. To truly understand what gaslighting is, we need to look past what is happening to us and focus on how we feel. Gaslighting is what we experience, so the experience of gaslighting is being confused, the inability to understand the truth, a lack of clarity.

Examples Of Gaslighting

Confusion is a big red flag of gaslighting. One example of gaslighting is that when we try to describe our reality, a gaslighter will redirect – so if you accuse your gaslighter of something, the gaslighter will turn around and accuse you of the exact same thing. There’s two reasons why:

1. If someone isn’t in active recovery, they turn things around to hide their compulsive sexual behaviors or they want to get your attention off of themselves so they don’t have to be accountable for their actions.
2. If someone is in active recovery, they might gaslight when their shame is triggered.

If someone is still exhibiting gaslighting behaviors after a year or two of recovery – something is wrong. They may have a personality disorder, like narcissism, or they may be lying about their recovery.

What Does Gaslighting Mean?

Anne: I’ve started to realize that being focused on the reason WHY the gaslighting was happening, isn’t as important as learning to recognize the gaslighting and establish boundaries to keep myself safe. But in a nutshell, if you are experiencing gaslighting tactics in your marriage, you are not safe – and that means that you need to get help to know what boundaries to set to keep yourself safe.

To schedule an appointment to talk to Coach Sarah or any of our other APSATS coaches about the gaslighting in your relationship, click here.

What To Expect From Betrayal Trauma Recovery Services

What To Expect From Betrayal Trauma Recovery Services

How Do The Coaching Sessions Work?

Betrayal Trauma coaching sessions are live, one-on-one calls with a trained APSATS coach.

All of the calls take place on Zoom – it’s an app you can download onto your phone. When you schedule, you’ll be emailed a link. At the appointed time, just click on that link. 

What To Expect From Your Betrayal Trauma Recovery Coaching Experience

The process of healing is a process. Many of us took years to understand that the conventional therapeutic approaches were not helping us. Our trauma was often exacerbated by the harmful advice of professionals who didn’t understand our situation. That’s why we’re here. Because when we were at the end of our rope and had nowhere else to turn, we found a model that works for us.

All of the coaches at Betrayal Trauma Recovery utilize the APSATS’ Multidimensional Partner Trauma Model (M-PTM), equipping us to support women through three distinct phases of healing from betrayal trauma. With this unifying foundation, we collaborate to provide our BTR clients with a sense of safety, consistency and predictability. 

So, what CAN you anticipate when working with any one of our BTR coaches?

In EVERY single session, expect your coach to:

  • Provide a safe space to process your trauma, experience compassion, and receive validation for everything you’re feeling and facing.
  • Help you regain your own strength, clarity and sense of direction.
  • Support you with absolutely NO AGENDA of her own—offering instead only patience, empathy, and tools to help you uncover your own truth, for your own sake.

In sessions during your first phase, Safety & Stabilization, expect your coach to help you:

  • Identify your most urgent needs.
  • Assess your network of “safe people,” those upon whom you can lean for support.
  • Work toward stabilizing your relationships, specifically in terms of emotional, mental, physical and sexual safety.
  • Learn techniques to ground yourself, especially during moments when your trauma is triggered.
  • Recognize your most frequent or significant triggers, then create healthy boundaries to remove, reduce or respond to them.

In sessions during your second phase of your recovery – the Grieving & Processing phase – expect your coach to help you:

  • Accept yourself and where you’re at within the process of grief and recovery.
  • Articulate the specific things you’ve lost, in relation to sexual abandonment, addiction and/or abusive behavior.
  • Recognize the different ways grief manifests within survivors of betrayal trauma.
  • Experience and process the pain in healthy (versus harmful) ways.
  • Leverage the grief to move yourself through the trauma and toward long-term healing.

In sessions during your third phase of your recovery – the Rebuilding & Reconnection phase – expect your coach to help you:

  • Reclaim parts of yourself you’ve lost through your experience of betrayal trauma
  • Reorient yourself within a new, post-traumatic reality
  • Reconnect with others—often in new ways, supported by new boundaries and new priorities
  • Rebuild the kind of life you want to live moving forward, with new convictions, purpose and passions.

Bottom line? WE GET IT. As women recovering from betrayal trauma, we balance a strong need for predictability (no more surprises, please!) with a sense of cautious openness to whatever comes next. That’s one of the reasons you can email any of our coaches. 


Coach Sarah & Coach Rae

14 Signs Of Gaslighting – How To Spot Lies & Manipulation

14 Signs Of Gaslighting – How To Spot Lies & Manipulation

Gaslighting – Why is it so important To Know How To Spot It?

I am CONVINCED that until a person can identify how they are manipulated, what they lost because of it, and what made them vulnerable to it, they will not be able to stay connected to their truth and their voice (or their intuition); they will not be able to gain clarity in their marriage and will be susceptible to gaslighting in other relationships as well.

What is Gaslighting?

Gaslighting is the attempt to convince another that what they perceive, believe, think or feel is inaccurate or untrue.

Gaslighting is a VERY complex, nuanced issue, but that is basically it in a nutshell. ANY time someone tries to make you doubt your reality – your memory, your judgments of a situation, the validity or your feelings, etc – they are attempting to gaslight you.

Here’s a fairly “innocent” example – one that I realized I did to my daughter when I first started studying this. Here’s the gist: my beautiful, creative, DRAMATIC daughter would get upset about something, and inevitably start crying like the world was coming to an end. I would tell her, “It’s not that big of a deal. You’re acting like a TV fell on your foot, when really, all that happened was you stepped on a pebble.” Sigh. Was I trying to shame her, or invalidate her feelings? NO! I simply wanted my daughter to stop hurting (and maybe wanted small reprieve from the drama – maybe). But here’s what I (unknowingly) caused to happen within her sweet little head and heart: she had to question whether what she felt was okay; she now had to choose between honoring the very real pain she felt in that moment, or listening to her mother – someone she loved and trusted.  Do you see the effect of gaslighting at work here?

As I learned about what gaslighting is, and how NOT to do it, my response to my daughter changed to: “I’m so sorry you’re hurting right now. That must feel like a really big deal! Can I give you a hug?” The amazing thing – once I started validating her pain (even if I thought it was WAY over the top), she learned how to move through her pain and go on to the next thing.  Brilliant.

How Can I Tell If My Husband Is Gaslighting Me?

Ideally, you’ll have a therapist or APSATS coach and a group of safe women who you can talk these things over with. These people are crucial to help you identify the gaslighting that may be happening in your relationship. Identifying gaslighting in our relationships can be scary, but it’s OH so important! I encourage you to sit with the list below, and consider how strongly you connect with each bullet. This list is ten signs that indicate you may be experiencing gaslighting in your marriage. As you sit with each statement, try to rate how strongly you connect with it. On a scale of one to ten (One being you don’t connect at all, ten being, “This is totally me!”) do you find:

  • You make excuses for your partner’s behavior to yourself, friends, and family.
  • You constantly second-guess yourself.
  • You ask yourself, “Am I too sensitive?” many times every day.
  • You often feel confused or “crazy.”
  • You’re husband tells you what you are really thinking and feeling, but he is wrong. He doesn’t believe you when you tell him the truth about how you feel.
  • You can’t understand why, with so many apparently good things in your life, you feel a sense of doom.
  • You sometimes lie to avoid the put-downs and reality twists.
  • You think twice before bringing up certain seemingly innocent topics of conversation.
  • Before your partner comes home, you run through a checklist in your head to anticipate anything you might have done wrong that day, make sure everything is just right, or think of the “good” reasons you have for not having done everything perfectly.
  • You have the sense that you used to be a very different person – more confident, more fun-loving, and more relaxed.

Manipulation & The Tactics Used To Gaslight

If you are in a relationship where there is prevalent gaslighting, you are likely experiencing MANY things. Three of the most common experiences are being lied to (whether through concealment or falsification), the crazy-making that comes with the mind games, and feeling confused about reality.

Another way to tell if your husband is trying to gaslight you is by identifying whether one of the following common tactics is at work. There are four main tactics someone uses when attempting to gaslight:

  1. Redirecting responsibility by blaming you for the problems in the relationship.  The roles in the situation are reversed – he becomes the “victim”, and you become the “offender.”  “Well of course we’re having problems in the marriage!  You’re always so angry!”
  2. Discrediting your reality by saying the problems are your imagination or “faulty” thinking.  “I wasn’t staring at that woman! You’re just insecure!”
  3. Saying you need OR dismissing the help you’re getting (Therapy, coaching, support group, etc).  “You’re the one with the problems!  You’re the one who needs help!” OR “That’s not really what you want; your coach is the one telling you to say that.”
  4. Highlighting and criticizing your character flaws. “You are shrill, blaming, and controlling, so of course I’m going to watch porn!”

Okay, My Husband Is Gaslighting Me! Now What???

Now that you’re beginning to see and understand what has been happening, you can begin to stop “the dance” and start a new one. It takes a LOT of time, learning, understanding and practice – but you can stop the gaslighting and become more connected to your truth and your voice than you dreamed was possible! Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Pay special attention to the feeling of confusion.  If you start to feel confused, take a time out until you clear your mind.
  • Stay connected to your FEELINGS. Many times we get sucked into gaslighting when we get caught in the “who has the best defense of their thoughts” game. When that happens, stop and ask yourself, “How am I feeling in this moment”. If you feel disrespected, or like your thoughts, feelings, or opinions are not being considered, take a time out.
  • Sort out what you know is true and what is a distortion. If he says something that doesn’t make sense, or you feel you are being blamed for something you don’t feel you should own, take a break and when you’re safe, ask yourself what YOU know to be true.
  • Remember – no matter what is happening – you deserve to be treated with respect and loved well. If at any time you don’t feel these things are happening, give yourself permission to say, “That might be true, but I don’t like the way you’re speaking to me.” Or “I’d like to hear what you are saying, but I can’t hear you when you are raising your voice or calling me names.” Or “I’m not sure what to say right now, but I know I just feel like something is off. I need some time to clear my head.”  This is how you begin to regain your truth, voice, and power.

Gaslighting is a VERY complex, nuanced issue.

If you're in this situation, there is help.

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