Betrayal
Trauma
Recovery

The Truth About Emotional Abuse

by | Abuse Literacy

There are wounds that never show up on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds.

Many betrayal victims are only told a sliver of the truth when they try to understand their betrayal trauma. They are told that their betrayal trauma is solely a result of their partner’s pornography use. 

Pornography Use Is Abuse

What women aren’t told, is that a partner’s secret use of pornography, is abusive. Lying is emotionally abusive. Using the family’s money to fund a secret sexual life, is financial abuse. And the list goes on.

Many women are devastated and confused when their partner goes through a spell of “sobriety” (when he stops using pornography for a period of time) because she is told that she should feel better. And yet, the bad feeling in the home and her partner is still harmful.

Why?

Betrayal Trauma is a Symptom of Abuse, Not Just Addiction

Betrayal Trauma is serious: so serious that it has symptoms just as severe and strikingly similar to PTSD and Rape Trauma Syndrome. When women are only told half of the truth, that they feel so awful because their partner is using pornography, but not that pornography use is abusive, they are being abused. Not only by their partner, but by therapists, clergy, and other misguided “helpers” who have led them to believe that they ought to “feel better” once the pornography has stopped.

The simple truth is that abuse doesn’t stop because pornography stops.

You Suffer From Betrayal Trauma Because You Are An Abuse Victim

It is a difficult concept to accept when women have been fed the sugar-coated half-truths about sex addiction for decades, but it’s the truth: you suffer from betrayal trauma because you are an abuse victim.

You deserve safety, support, self-care, and knowledge as you navigate this journey to understanding what has been happening to you.

Betrayal Trauma Recovery Supports Victims

The free BTR podcast is a helpful resource for betrayal victims. Tune in and hear powerful stories from other women who understand what you’re going through.

The Betrayal Trauma Recovery Support Group offers validation, community, and support to women all over the world. BTRG holds multiple, live sessions every singe day in every time zone. Now you can receive the support you need when you need it.

Remember, you are not alone.

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6 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    I can relate to this in so many ways. Trauma is so real and painful. Keep fighting!

    Reply
  2. Anonymous

    Thank you for sharing your story! It was very brave of you, and inspires me.

    Reply
  3. Anonymous in Canada

    Thank you for writing this out. I have been married for over 17 years to a "man" that fit many of the traits you described. In hindsight, I really wished I would never have married him and called it off from our very first date actually. The only positive in my mind is that I do have beautiful daughter that I love and cherish. I would be devastated if anything should happen to her because of his ways.

    In the last few years, the situation has escalated tremendously, especially with is horrible temper. The worse are the slough of so-called models and girls he keeps bringing into our home, even in off-limits areas like our bedroom, despite me making it very clear I am against it. I am not sure how to stop him from bringing all sorts of questionable people into our home to take mostly nude or what he calls "implied" pictures, which are basically nude but maybe covered with sheer materials or twisted to hide the body parts. We both work full-time, but he usually schedules full-on nudity shots while we are out of the house, depending on the shots he is trying to achieve. Other times, he doesn’t care (day, afternoon, evenings) whether we are in the house or not, if he is using the basement.

    He continues to lie to people in his photography circle, and probably others. He portrays himself as a family man, making up stories about coaching his daughter’s team or participating in family life, and even shows phony support for those in or who have been in abusive situations. I called him out on his lifestyle recently after he extended his physical intimidation to our teenage daughter, continually smashing her laptop to ensure it was completely broken with no chance of recovery. He claims it was because she did not respect him and it was fine that she was very scared by his actions. Then he wiped out our cell phones so we could not use them and called me stupid. He seems quite adamant that he is not abusive, as how you described physical intimidation is exactly what he does. It is not enough that he screams or insults me/us, but he needs to slam doors, break or throw things in order to show you just how angry he is, especially if I try not to react to it – it’s like he expects me to act with fear or become distraught when he show his anger. In his opinion, it is not violence and abuse unless he physically beats us or somehow injure us physically and directly.

    He now takes time off work to schedule these people into our home for photography … given the opportunity and agreement from some of these "models," I am sure he would take the plunge and screw with them. He is so blatant about doing this now and I just don’t know how it can stop. I know he does his full on nudity all over our house – in the basement which he calls his studio, in our living room more and more – which he also litters with his photography equipment that are now easily over $100,000 which continues to add to (he is just a hobby photographer), and now also bringing them to take shots in our bedroom. He knows I am totally against it but continues to feed this habit, and I know it will NEVER stop. These women all want glamour shots or otherwise nudity of themselves as their agreement is they will model for free and then he gives them free photos and prints. He also takes many hours to edit any flaws out of their photos so basically they are receiving free services.

    Sorry for continuing on, I was actually trying to be brief. The above are only recent events within the last couple of months. Last week, he had someone in for photos which I assumed was running late and they were using our living room. My poor daughter came home from school and was basically told to go to her room so they could finish. He actually dead bolted our door, which I assume was done to give them notice if she or I tried to enter the house while they were in their compromising positions. Then they moved to the basement which was where they were when I got home from work. In the past, he tried to hide some of his actions but now it’s like he’s openly and freqquently/regularly bringing people in the house to do nude pictures.

    How can I make this stop?? I do want a divorce, but I am just not sure what is the best way to start these proceedings. My daughter knows about the situation and what her dad is like for the most part. She is very supportive of a divorce as life is not normal, fun and is not comfortable right now. No friends can even come over as we never know what his mood will be and it just makes it so awkward to have people around him.

    Thanks all for reading.

    Reply
    • Anon

      I’m so sorry. You can’t make it stop, but you can find emotional safety for yourself. The first step is to attend an SALifeline meeting online or in-person and get a sponsor who has been through the process to help you start your recovery. Sending you love! Know you’re not alone.

      xoxo

      Anon

      Reply
    • c

      I think he may have narcissistic tendencies. Look up narcissist abuse.

      Reply
      • Anne Blythe

        Absolutely. Whether the pornography addiction, sex addiction, or narcissism came first who knows. All the matters is that women set boundaries around the harmful behaviors.

        Reply

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