Many times, when a pornography/sex addict discloses his addiction, his wife is set aside as friends, family, clergy, and even therapists, rush to his aide. After all, he needs help and support to overcome his addiction.
His wife is being told to “be supportive” or to “help him” with his recovery.
How can a woman, who is so lost, find herself again?
Anne Blythe, founder of Betrayal Trauma Recovery, is joined by Ralynne Riggs, professional singer and Shero, who shares her story and how it led up to making a music video for a song that captures what betrayed and abused women go through.
The Agonizing Pain Of Betrayal
When Ralynne Riggs started getting serious with a man, he confessed that he’d struggled with pornography as a teenager. She thought he was brave for being so open about his past.
He said that he had cleaned up his act before serving a mission for their church and had been clean ever since.
Little did she know, there was more to this pornography “struggle” than she realized.
“I was naive to the problem and how serious a porn addiction could be and what that all entailed, and I didn’t know the right questions to ask.” -Ralynne Riggs, professional singer and Shero
Of course, even if she’d known the “right” questions, she may not have found out the whole truth because addicts lie. They lie a lot, as Anne points out.
A few months into their marriage, her husband called her, extremely upset and crying. He asked her to come home because he needed her.
Worried, but having no idea what was about to happen, she headed home.
When she arrived home, he disclosed to her that he had viewed porn and acted out to it.
Believing that he hadn’t done so for at least four years, she was stunned.
“As a new bride, I, of course, was sitting there in utter shock and immediately feeling like it had something to do with me. ‘Was I not enough? Why would he go back to this now?’” -Ralynne Riggs, professional singer and Shero
He seemed sorry for what he’d done and she believed him.
The Agonizing Pain Of His “Recovery”
As a go-getter, Ralynne immediately thanked him for being honest about it and suggested they meet with their clergy and see a therapist so they could work through it together.
She even told him to tell her when he was tempted, when he’d done it, etc. She wanted him to be open and honest about it all.
Like other women in her situation, not knowing that she was being abused, Ralynne went forward with trying to “fix” his problem.
She did check-ins with him, set up therapy appointments, and started going to addiction recovery meetings.
She had taken everything upon herself. She was doing all the work.
“There was no real desire or effort coming from him to want to go. It was like I was dragging him along, which made things worse because I felt like I was fighting harder for something that really wasn’t even my issue, to begin with. It was becoming my issue and it was consuming my days.” -Ralynne Riggs, professional singer and Shero
With all the work Ralynne was doing to save their marriage, she was getting worn out.
The Agonizing Pain Of Losing Yourself
Eventually, the work, this addiction of her husband’s, began taking its toll on her.
“I became this introverted ball of depression and tears and anxiety. I began to have panic attacks, which I had never experienced before in my life. It just seemed like I could not succeed anywhere.” -Ralynne Riggs, professional singer and Shero
Ralynne, formerly a happy, bubbly person, no longer recognized herself. People around her didn’t recognize her anymore and she even lost her job because of it.
“Everything was just so dark and hopeless during that time. I really lost myself completely. I was just trying to survive each day. I became very numb through that whole process.” -Ralynne Riggs, professional singer and Shero
Having lost her job, Ralynne realized that something needed to change.
At that time, her husband had told their clergy that he was acting out because she was depressed. Ralynne told the clergy what was really going on, and she was referred to a therapist who specialized in this sort of thing.
The Agonizing Pain Of Recognizing The Abuse
It wasn’t until that first meeting with the therapist that she heard the words “betrayal trauma.” The therapist told her she had signs of PTSD.
Stunned, Ralynne asked what betrayal trauma was.
Gratefully, this therapist explained it to her and included the different types of abuse that were going on in her marriage.
Disbelief and recognition hit at the same time. As she listened to what was being said, she recognized it and could identify with it.
It made sense of everything, explained it, but… HER HUSBAND?!?
“Like most people, when I think of abuse, I don’t think of all of the emotional types of abuse that are out there. I especially wouldn’t associate that with my spouse. I would never think he would be someone who would be emotionally, spiritually, mentally abusing me. Unfortunately, that was the reality. It wasn’t until I spoke with her that all of those lightbulbs went on and I realized how bad the situation was.” -Ralynne Riggs, professional singer and Shero
With this revelation, Ralynne decided that she had to work on her own healing.
“The most difficult thing that I realized, throughout this experience, was the fact that I could not save my husband. No matter how many times I went to therapy or how many times I prayed or how many times I took him to a recovery class. I had to learn that his actions were separate from mine, that they did not have anything to do with me.” -Ralynne Riggs, professional singer and Shero
His recovery had to be his own.
In the beginning, Ralynne thought she had to save him, but now she realized that, no matter what she did, she couldn’t do that.
Anne says that Ralynne is not alone.
“When women find out that they’re being abused they have two options. One of them is the abuse stops and the second one is that they set boundaries. But so many women, in the beginning, they think they have more options than that. They think one of their options is to help him stop being abusive, and that is never an option because it never works. He either stops on his own, somehow, and then you’re safe, or you have to start setting boundaries.” -Anne Blythe, founder of Betrayal Trauma Recovery
Ralynne tried to set boundaries, but it just made things worse.
Anne points out that abusers don’t like it when their victims set boundaries.
“Boundaries are always going to work for you, they might not work for your abuser, but great. If someone is abusive and you set a boundary, their abuse will escalate. They’ll manipulate you more, they’ll get angrier. If they’re not abusive and you set a boundary, things will slowly get better over time or if they’re not really far into the abuse. Setting a boundary is always going to help victims know their baseline safety situation, which is good.” -Anne Blythe, founder of Betrayal Trauma Recovery
Realizing that she needed a safer space to heal in, Ralynne left her abuser.
Turning The Agonizing Pain Into Beauty
Ralynne had lost herself.
“The way I was raised, and what I’ve been taught in my faith, is that everything happens for a reason. Through all of this, I’ve often struggled because I’ve sat there and gone, ‘What have I done to deserve this? I’ve been a loyal, faithful wife. I stayed true. I’ve tried to love unconditionally and endlessly and this is what I get for it? How is this fair?’” -Ralynne Riggs, professional singer and Shero
The agonizing pain of the betrayal and abuse had ripped her to shreds until she was no longer recognizable, so she started building herself back up again. She had to change her perspective.
“I’ve tried to have the outlook of, “How is this making me stronger and what’s the purpose?” That’s something that I’ve been so grateful for with making this video.” -Ralynne Riggs, professional singer and Shero
To help herself in her healing, Ralynne, like many other women, turned to the thing she’d been most passionate about, the thing that she had enjoyed the most.
For Ralynne, it was music.
In the midst of her trauma, in the midst of her pain, she turned to music.
It was vital for her healing.
“This song became very important to me as part of my survival and healing, when I was in the middle of all of this experience. It was just on my mind for a while. It gave words to my pain and exactly what I was feeling so poignantly that it was such a strength to me. Music has done that for me throughout my whole life.” -Ralynne Riggs, professional singer and Shero
After having this song run through her mind for a year and a half, she finally decided to do something with it.
“I just thought, ‘I wonder if I should make a music video. To do this and just spread awareness about what happens to the spouse or partner in this situation.’ Because there is so much help and support out there for the addict or the abuser and I feel like we are often the ones who are pushed aside while we are asked to just hold on a little longer while our husband gets help. We are left with all of these emotions and this trauma and we don’t know what to do with it.” -Ralynne Riggs, professional singer and Shero
With this crazy notion in mind, Ralynne contacted Anne.
Voicing The Agonizing Pain Of Abuse Victims
Why would a singer who has performed onstage at Disney World make a music video about the pain that abuse victims go through?
It took a while for Ralynne to get the help she needed because the help was so focused on her husband, “the addict.”
She’d also heard so many stories of women who had been neglected so their husbands could get the help they needed to recover from their addiction.
“What about you, in the meantime? How do you remain safe? None of that was ever addressed with me. I remember asking the third time I was asked to hold on and keep waiting. I remember my reply was, ‘Why, would I keep fighting and holding on for something that makes me so miserable and is so abusive?’ There was no answer for me from that person.” -Ralynne Riggs, professional singer and Shero
She knows there are so many women who don’t realize that they aren’t alone.
“I know there are thousands of women out there going through this and I don’t want them to suffer or feel hopeless any longer than they need to. My simple hope in doing this is that, even if one woman out there, going through what I went through, watches this and then finds a community of love and support to help her heal it will have been worth it. I wanted to make this for them, because the faster they can know about it, the sooner they can find the help and resources for healing, the better.” -Ralynne Riggs, professional singer and Shero
Ralynne was impressed to make this music video and she’s been able to recognize God’s hand in it every step of the way.
“As soon as I started taking action and making plans to have this made and reaching out to people and getting volunteers to be in it and just producing it, there were so many little miracles that immediately fell into place. I could not deny that God’s hand was in it.” -Ralynne Riggs, professional singer and Shero
Now that it’s done and out there for the world to see, Ralynne hopes it helps even just one woman find healing, like it did for her.
“I felt so happy and good knowing I was doing something that He was guiding me to do and would, hopefully, lead to helping a lot of women. I’m grateful that I followed the prompting and have made it. I only hope that it does what I’ve been hoping that it would do and help so many women. It has definitely helped me heal.” -Ralynne Riggs, professional singer and Shero
Ralynne stopped fighting for the thing that made her miserable and left her husband. Now, she is using her voice, her talents to teach others about the pain that abuse victims experience.
Anne, who has been so impressed by Ralynne’s drive and talent, feels this music video is a good representation of that agonizing pain.
“That’s one thing I love about this video, that it really hit home with the abuse that we experience during that time, and that all of the pleading and all of the ‘Please, stop’ or ‘Help’ or ‘What can I do?’ that type of thing, is part of that abuse cycle for women.” -Anne Blythe, founder of Betrayal Trauma Recovery
Betrayal Trauma Recovery wants all women to know that they are not alone, that there is hope and healing available to them.
BTR asks that you share this music video on all of your social media platforms so others can learn about the pain that abuse victims experience. Some women have found that just sharing the video, without saying anything about it can make a difference. Everyone knows someone who has been abused.
“Even if it doesn’t go viral, if some women find out about BTR, who have not found out about it before or if some women watch this video and realize, ‘Wait a minute, this is what has been happening to me,’ then it will have been a success.” -Anne Blythe, founder of Betrayal Trauma Recovery
If someone reaches out to you, looking for resources or support, Betrayal Trauma Recovery is an excellent resource and a great place to start. Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group offers many different times to accommodate multiple time zones.
Welcome to Betrayal Trauma Recovery, this is Anne.
I’m actually interviewing Ralynne Riggs, who created this music video for BTR and for victims of abuse. Please go to our YouTube channel, Betrayal Trauma Recovery, and subscribe there. This video was posted yesterday and so many women have already viewed it. We are so thrilled. It really captures the emotions that victims go through when they realize that they’ve been abused and betrayed.
Ralynne is the singer, producer and director, and we’re going to talk to her today. You may want to pause and go to our YouTube channel right now and watch this video first before you listen to the rest of this podcast. You can also find this video on Instagram and Facebook.
Once you see it, we really encourage you to share it, like it, subscribe to our channel. We really want to get this video out there. We have so many women that listen to this podcast and follow our social media platforms. Let’s see if we can get this video to go viral. Please, please, please help up out with this. Comment, subscribe, anything you can do to share this video would be really helpful.
I’m going to introduce Ralynne right now. Ralynne Riggs was born and raised in Chandler, Arizona. Her passions include singing, dancing, acting, horseback riding, baking, making movies—as you will see when you go to our YouTube channel to see this—and being the favorite aunt to her 14 beautiful nieces and nephews.
Since she was young, her greatest passion has been the stage. She received her bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from Brigham Young University and has performed as a leading soprano throughout the U.S., China, and Austria. After graduation, she became a lead singer for Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL.
She was then able to fulfill another dream and severed an 18-month mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in San Diego, CA at the Mormon Battalion Historic Site. For the past three years, Ralynne has been sharing her talents with families from all over the world as a lead singer on a Disney Cruise Line.
Ralynne has learned the importance of hard work, confidence, self-worth, and perseverance in bringing one’s dreams to life. Her mantra is: You can do anything, if you just do it.
Ralynne: Thank you so much, Anne.
Anne: I’m hoping by this time people have paused this podcast, they have gone to our YouTube channel, and they have seen this amazing music video that you made. I’m hoping they have shared it. I’m hoping they commented. I’m hoping that they are letting their friends and family know about this incredible video, and also that they’re understating that this can help their friends, family, and other people understand the pain that victims go through.
The Agonizing Pain Of Lies
You were prompted to create this video to help educate people about betrayal trauma, but before we get to that and what happened with that, let’s start with your own personal story. Did you know about your husband’s pornography addiction before you were married?
Ralynne: I did know a little bit about his addiction before we were married. There was one night when, after things had gotten more serious in our dating, that he approached me and said there were some things in his past that he wanted to make me aware of so that I really knew everything about him. He shared with me that he struggled with pornography throughout his teenage years.
But I was naive to the problem and to how serious a porn addiction could be and what that all entailed, and I didn’t know the right questions to ask. I was just thinking, “Well, no one is perfect,” and I asked him if he had struggled with it since?
He said he had cleaned up and was able to serve a two-year mission and didn’t struggle with it at all and hadn’t struggled since he’d been home. To me, I thought, “Well, that was brave of him to bring that up with me and share it with me,” and I believed him. I didn’t know what else to ask about it.
Anne: Because we know that pornography users often lie about their porn use or abusive men often lie and manipulate, even if you had known the right questions to ask that likely would not have actually helped you. What we find helps women more, and you know this now, is what behaviors to look for. You also didn’t know that at the time, right?
What was your reaction to his disclosure about viewing and acting out with porn, after you were married? What action steps were taken after you discovered that he was still using porn?
Ralynne: Well, it was about five months into our marriage that he called me very distraught and crying and telling me that I needed to come home because he needed me. I didn’t know what was going on. Then, when I got home, he shared with me that he had viewed and acted out to porn.
In my mind I was thinking, “Okay, so all of a sudden after four or five years of not viewing porn you’ve gone back to it, why?” As a new bride, I, of course, was sitting there in utter shock and immediately feeling like it had something to do with me. “Was I not enough? Why would he go back to this now?”
Mostly, I was just in shock and didn’t believe it, but he also seemed so sorry when he told me that my immediate reaction was, “Well, I love you. Thank you for being honest with me and telling me about it. Let’s go meet with our bishop and get a therapist and start working through this together.”
I literally told him, “Use me when you need to use me. Let’s be open and get through this together. Use me as far as, if you’re feeling tempted, talk to me. Tell me when you’ve done it. Let’s be open and honest.”
I think a part of me was like, “Hey, if you’re feeling the urge, hello, we are married, let me know. Like, why would you turn to that instead of turning to me, your wife?” I know now, down the road, that those were a lot of the wrong things to do.
Anne: Yeah, I’m guessing you didn’t understand the emotional abuse that you had been subjected to?
Ralynne: Not at all.
The Agonizing Pain Of Trying To “Fix” Him But Losing Her
Anne: You also didn’t understand, I’m guessing, boundaries or keeping yourself safe?
Ralynne: I knew nothing about that because it did not register in my mind that anything had been done to me, at that point.
Anne: Yeah, you’re just thinking, “Oh, this is too bad for him, but I can help him through it.” Kind of like he got a broken finger or something.
Describe what happened in your personal life during this time? What were your days like as you tried to “help” your husband work through his addiction?
Ralynne: They were pretty awful. For me, long story short, I took on the problem. I’m a go-getter in everything I do in life, so it’s not surprising to me that I took everything on my shoulders.
I became very worried about doing check-ins with him. I was even worried when I talked to him, whether he was telling me the truth or not, setting up appointments for therapy. We went together and we went separately. Then I was told about addiction recovery programs and started going to those.
But, as we went, there was no real desire or effort coming from him to want to go. It was like I was dragging him along, which made things worse because then I felt like I was fighting harder for something that really wasn’t even my issue, to begin with. It was becoming my issue and it was consuming my days and I was actually fired from my job.
I was let go from my job at a meeting with my boss and my office manager. My boss said, ultimately, he was very sorry, but I was just so sad all the time and he had to let me go. That was a huge wakeup call for me because that is not a way I’ve ever been described in my life.
Usually, people associate me with words like “You’re so bubbly and so happy and so outgoing.” To see that I had become this sad person that couldn’t even hide my sadness. Everything was spiraling the other way and affecting my life in a very negative way was a huge wakeup call for me.
I became this introverted ball of depression and tears and anxiety. I began to have panic attacks, which I had never experienced before in my life. It just seemed like I could not succeed anywhere.
I couldn’t succeed at my jobs and I couldn’t succeed at home. Everything was just so dark and hopeless during that time. I really lost myself completely. I was just trying to survive each day. I became very numb through that whole process.
Anne: You did not realize at that time that you were in an abusive relationship. You didn’t realize that the reason this was happening was because you were a victim of abuse, but you did start to realize that you were suffering from betrayal trauma. How did you realize the betrayal trauma piece?
Ralynne: That became a realization as I finally sat down and spoke with someone one-on-one for myself. My ecclesiastical leader had been told by my husband that I was depressed because that’s what my husband was blaming things on. I was suffering from depression.
My ecclesiastical leader met with me and I said I’m not depressed, this is what is going on, and he referred me to meet with a mental health professional. As I sat down with her, she was the first person who mentioned the words betrayal trauma to me.
After I finished speaking to her about what was going on, she said, “Honey, you’re not depressed. You are suffering from betrayal trauma and you have signs of PTSD.” I looked at her and said what’s betrayal trauma? I had no idea what that was at the time.
She did expound further and mentioned the different types of abuse that were going on, being emotional, spiritual, mental, all of those things. I just sat and listened to her say that in disbelief but as she said it, it kind of dawned on me, “Of course, that makes complete sense,” but, like most people when I think of abuse, I don’t think of all of the emotional types of abuse that are out there.
I especially, wouldn’t associate that with my spouse. I would never think my spouse would be someone who would be emotionally, spiritually, mentally abusing me. Unfortunately, that was the reality. It wasn’t until I spoke with her that all of those lightbulbs went on and I realized how bad the situation was.
Anne: Yeah, it’s a lot worse than people imagine. I think it’s really interesting how victims don’t recognize how bad the situation is. Because everyone listening to this podcast has been through it, everyone can empathize with you and be like, “Yep, that’s exactly how it was for me.”
I think that’s one thing that we need to educate people about in regard to abuse. It’s that victims don’t always know what is happening to them. What is the most difficult thing you realized throughout this experience?
Ralynne: The most difficult thing that I realized, throughout this experience, was the fact that I could not save my husband. No matter how many times I went to therapy or how many times I prayed or how many times I took him to a recovery class. Just no matter how hard tooth and nail I clawed to try to save our marriage and help him, I was powerless.
I had to learn that his actions were separate from mine, that they did not have anything to do with me—even though that’s the hardest thing, I think, for a spouse to believe—that they didn’t have anything to do with me and that it was all his choices, his actions, and his consequences that he had to deal with, that he wasn’t, and that there was absolutely nothing I could do about it.
Anne: I think it’s interesting that when women find out they’re being abused that they only have two options. One of them is the abuse stops and the second option is that they set boundaries. But so many women, in the beginning, they think they have more options than that.
They think one of their options is to help him stop being abusive, and that is never an option because it never works. He either stops on his own somehow and then you’re safe or you have to start setting boundaries.
Speaking of boundaries, knowing what you know now, if you could go back in time and do it over again—which none of us can but we’ve all thought this—what would you have done differently? This question isn’t meant to think, “Oh, what should you have done,” but to educate women who are currently in this situation to help them know what to do now.
Ralynne: Yes. Well, first of all, I would have loved to know right away that it’s not my fault and I can’t blame myself or take it on my shoulders. Knowing that, I would definitely take that off of myself right away.
Secondly, I would have done a lot more research before finding the therapist that we met with because we just went with someone recommended to us by our ecclesiastical leader, who was not qualified in any way regarding abuse.
I also would be more vocal about it because the decision that we made, when it first happened, was that we didn’t want to share with our families what was going on because we didn’t want either person to be viewed in a bad light or gossiped about amongst our family. We decided we could get through it together on our own with each other and with our therapist.
I think that was also a huge mistake because it allowed him to continue to get away with not having to own up to his addiction and the problems that were happening within our marriage because of it. I think, if we would have involved our parents, at least, as a support group it maybe would have helped him to be more accountable right away rather than feeling like he could keep hiding it.
Anne: Maybe, let me put your heart at ease in that regard. I told everyone. My ex didn’t want me to, but then it ended up getting used against me by my in-laws. It can go either way. I’m not saying people should or should not tell other people, but just know that both of them have risks.
But I do think victims need a safe support network and you don’t know if someone is safe if you don’t try. Even if you try and it doesn’t go so well with a particular person, like your mother-in-law, your father-in-law, even your own parents, at least, you tried to see if they were safe, which you won’t know if you don’t try. Try and then, if they are unsafe, then you can always set boundaries or pull back later, but building a really strong support network is really important.
Ralynne: Yes. With setting boundaries, again, that was a concept that I didn’t know about and was brought my knowledge way too far into this issue. If I knew about that, and went through something like this again or could do it again, I would have immediately started setting safe boundaries and sticking to them.
Because, trying to do that two years into problems already going on, just immediately turned into him feeling like, “What, you’re going to punish me now? As if I already don’t feel bad enough, you’re going to punish me now?”
He just reacted in a way that it was like he was being a child and he was being punished and how could I do that to him when he was already hurting so much. Boundaries never worked for us.
Anne: Well, they worked for you. They didn’t work for your abuser, and then he was trying to get around the abuse by saying that stuff but that was meant to manipulate you to drop your boundaries. That was a calculated way of trying to convince you, of gaslighting you, manipulate you, lie to you, so you would drop the boundaries. Did your boundaries work for you? Yes.
When people say, “Boundaries didn’t work for us,” I always want to tell women, “Oh, no, no, no. They are always going to work for you, they might not work for your abuser, but great. If they don’t work for your abuser, then yeah! If he’s mad because he can’t abuse you anymore, fantastic. You’ve done yourself a favor.”
If someone is abusive and you set a boundary, their abuse will escalate. They’ll manipulate you more, they’ll get angrier. If they’re not abusive and you set a boundary, things will slowly get better over time or if they’re not really far into the abuse. Setting a boundary is always going to help victims know their baseline safety situation, which is good.
Why Voice The Agonizing Pain Of Abuse Victims
Okay, so let’s talk about this music video. Again, I’m going to pause here one more time. If you haven’t yet, go to our YouTube channel Betrayal Trauma Recovery and watch this video. We just posted it yesterday. Please subscribe to our channel.
Share it with your friends and family. Share it on Facebook. Share it everywhere you can. We’ve also posted it on Instagram so if you’re on Instagram and you could tag us so that people could go to our Instagram account and watch it. On Facebook the same thing. Please help us get this video out so other people can understand the pain and suffering that women go through because Ralynne has done such a good job of illustrating this.
I got an email a while ago that said, “Hey, I’m Ralynne Riggs and I’m a singer and I want to create a music video.” We started talking and became friends. I was so inspired by you. That you had this prompting to create a music video and then you put your whole heart and soul into it and made this incredible illustration of pain and also hope. Please tell our audience, now that they’ve seen this amazing video, what inspired you to create it?
Ralynne: This song became a song that was very important to me as part of my survival and healing, when I was in the middle of all of this experience. It was just on my mind for a while, I’m not going to lie. It had been on my mind for about a year and a half.
I waited too long to make this, but the song gave words to my pain and exactly what I was feeling so poignantly that it was such a strength to me. Music has done that for me throughout my whole life and I just thought, “You know, I wonder if I should make a music video. To do this and just spread awareness about what happens to the spouse in this situation or to the partner in this situation.”
Because there is so much help out there and support for the addict or for the abuser and I feel like, and in my personal experience and in my experiences with other women that I met in support groups, we are often the ones who are pushed aside while we are asked to just hold on a little longer while our husband gets help and we are left with all of these emotions and this trauma and we don’t know what to do with it.
I wanted to make this video in hopes that, if there are other women out there on the other end of the computer screen going through what I was going through or who have been through it and they’re out there searching for support or help or to know what’s happening to them, I wanted to make this for them, because the faster they can know about it the sooner they can find the help and resources for healing the better.
I feel like it was way too far into my experience to find what I found. I’m grateful that I found things like btr.org—it was one that was referred to me and has been such a saving grace. I know there are thousands of women out there going through this and I don’t want them to suffer or feel hopeless any longer than they need to. That was my hope.
My simple hope in doing this is that, even if one woman out there, going through what I went through, watches this and then finds a community of love and support to help her heal it will have been worth it.
Anne: Yeah. You said something that is really interesting. You said that women are just asked to wait, just hold on a little bit longer. But what they’re not told is, you may not be safe while you are waiting. They’re not told, “During the ‘waiting process’ you may be still being abused along the way and so how can we help create a seriously safe environment for you, where you can wait from a safe distance?”
I think that is one reason why the trauma is so bad. Even with professionals or church leaders or other people we weren’t cocooned in a safe place during the waiting period. In fact, the abuse escalates and escalates and escalates and we have been encouraged to “do our part or be supportive” when, really, we’ve just been abused that whole time and it hasn’t stopped the abuse cycle.
That’s one thing I loved about this video, that it really hit home with the abuse that we experience during that time and that all of the pleading and all of the “Please stop” or “Help” or “What can I do,” that type of thing, is part of that abuse cycle for women.
To get to safety, takes an actual step towards safety, which is really hard, but I love that end where she just takes another women’s hand and that network of support is waiting for women all over the world. It doesn’t necessarily have to be BTR, it could be a local support group that someone goes to. It could be friends at work. It could be anyone who can reach out and buoy you up and help you. Your video just showed that so well.
Ralynne: Thank you so much. I 100% agree with you, but what about you, in the meantime, how do you remain safe? None of that was ever addressed with me and I remember asking the third time I was asked to hold on and keep waiting. I remember my reply was, “Why, would I keep fighting and holding on for something that makes me so miserable and is so abusive?” There was no answer really for me from that person.
Anne: You ended up getting divorced?
How Voicing Her Pain Helped Her Heal From Abuse
Anne: Do you feel like creating this video has helped you heal?
Ralynne: I do. The way I was raised, and what I’ve been taught in my faith, is that everything happens for a reason, and through all of this I’ve often struggled because I’ve sat there and gone, “What have I done to deserve this? I’ve been a loyal, faithful wife. I stayed true. I’ve tried to love unconditionally and endlessly and this is what I get for it? How is this fair?” That’s been something I’ve really struggled with, but I’ve tried to have the outlook of, “How is this making me stronger and what’s the purpose?” That’s something that I’ve been so grateful for with making this video.
Because immediately, as soon as I started taking action and making plans to have this made and reaching out to people and getting volunteers to be in it and just producing it, there were so many little miracles that immediately fell into place. I could not deny that God’s hand was in it, and I felt so happy and good knowing I was doing something that He was guiding me to do and would hopefully lead to helping a lot of women.
As we finished making the video, I just thought, “You know, I’m so grateful. This is the first time I’ve been able to make beauty out of these ashes. Make a little bit of sense or have some good come from the worst years of my life ever, and I’m so grateful.”
I’m grateful that I followed the prompting and have made it. I only hope that it does what I’ve been hoping that it would do and help so many women. It has definitely helped me heal.
Anne: Our hope, Ralynne’s and mine, is that we can get this video to go viral. The reason we want it to do that is that so many women are in this situation and they don’t understand what is happening to them.
It’s very important that we help women get educated about abuse. What it looks like, what it sounds like, what to look for if your husband says he’s in “recovery” from pornography addiction, and how to tell the difference between someone who is just grooming you and saying they’re in recovery and going through the motions and someone who is genuinely a safe person. They are two completely different things.
Again, please go to our YouTube channel if you haven’t already. Watch it. Share it. I am so grateful for Ralynne for following these promptings to help women throughout the world find peace, to help them know that they are not alone.
Even if it doesn’t go viral, if some women find out about BTR, who have not found out about it before or if some women watch this video and realize, “Wait a minute, this is what has been happening to me,” then it will have been a success.
Thank you, Ralynne, for coming on today’s episode to talk about your experience.
Ralynne: Thank you so much for having me and allowing me to share my story. Thank you to everyone who has watched the video so far, and I hope it helps you.
Anne: Again, you can find this video on our YouTube channel, Betrayal Trauma Recovery. You can also follow us on Instagram at betrayaltraumarecovery, and on Facebook just search Betrayal Trauma Recovery to find our page. We’re also on Twitter @BetrayalTrauma.
This interview is also posted on our website: btr.org. If you click on Education and go to Recent Podcast Articles, you can find this episode. The YouTube video will be embedded there, so if you want to share this interview with the video that would be a good link to share from the website: btr.org.
Sharing it would help us so much. Also, your comments help the algorithm so that more people can see it. So please, please, please comment, share, everything you can do. Let’s see if we can make this go viral.
Until next week, stay safe out there.