You have gone through unimaginable pain upon discovering the lies, the infidelity, and the betrayal. He says he wants to work on things. He commits to attending counseling on his own. But what about the therapist? What kind of therapist can help a relationship where there is addiction and betrayal trauma? What kind of role should you take in interviewing your husband’s therapist? 

Ana Marques, a marriage and family therapist, states that,

“A betrayed spouse must feel empowered to interview any therapist who is going to be working with the porn user.”

Your Husband’s Therapist Should Understand That Sex Addiction Is Abusive

Marquez, who is trained in the evidence based therapeutic modality of EMDR, which stands for Eye Movement and Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy and emotional focusing therapy (EFT), actively helps individuals, couples, and families overcome anxiety, depression, addiction, eating disorders and betrayal trauma. Her unique multi-cultural background helps her relate, accept, and communicate with people of diverse backgrounds. Marquez states,

“A women in this situation will want to look for a therapist that is trained in modalities that understand trauma and abuse. Not just trauma but you want someone that also has that abuse background.” 

The American Psychiatric Association defines addiction as a brain disease. There’s still a debate between the illness model, but it is a brain disease currently. The American Psychiatric Association states that brain imaging studies show changes in the area of the brain that relates to judgement, decision making, learning, memory, and behavior control. Essentially acknowledging these things does not do so to shame but to properly treat. Acknowledging that addiction comes with abusive behaviors is not a mechanism of shaming but rather to properly treat. Trauma, unlike addiction, is an injury. It’s not an illness. It’s not a brain disease. It’s an injury. Having a therapist that understands that the behaviors of a partner of a sex addict or porn user are most likely from trauma is important.

Why You Should Ask Your Husband’s Therapist About Trauma And Abuse

Anne, founder of Betrayal Trauma Recovery, describes the trauma of betrayal, in saying,

“It is on-going trauma, right. Not just the discovery. Not just finding the porn on the phone. Not just finding out about the affair. But, the relationship itself and all the interactions of lies and manipulation and the way that the relationship is functioning is an abusive relationship, and that has caused the trauma.”

Marquez agrees, making it known that abusers can indeed be helped,

“Again I want to reiterate that saying that something is abusive is not an attempt to shame it. It’s an attempt to properly train it. We love these people who are struggling with addictions. We love these men, and women in some cases, that are coming with these addictive behaviors, but it is important to recognize what they are in order to treat them properly.”  

What Can I Do To Protect Myself While My Partner Or Family Member Is Getting Help?

The therapist that is treating a person that is struggling with addiction should also understand that a betrayed spouse needs protection and care. Any therapist should be willing to encourage the betrayed spouse to treat the trauma and set boundaries. Here are the top 5 things you should hear from your husband’s therapist:

  1. Your husband’s therapist should know how betrayal trauma impacts you.
  2. Your husband’s therapist should recognize porn use and sex addiction as abusive.
  3. Your husband’s therapist should encourage you to set boundaries and maintain safety.
  4. Your husband’s therapist should demonstrate an understanding of true restitution.
  5. Your husband’s therapist should have specialized trainings and certifications for domestic abuse.

The bottom line is that women can interview their husband’s therapist and gain insight from doing so. This can be an essential part in their own healing, as the assurance to feel that your spouse is working with someone who is ethical and understands the situation is vital.

A Therapist Will Encourage Your Own Healing And Boundaries

Here at BTR, we have added three new sessions to our Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group; check out our new session schedule.

Due to requests from clients we’ve also added three groups that have a specific demographic. We have one for new members. We have one for members who are divorcing or separated or thinking about divorce. We also have one for women who have husbands who seem like they’re in recovery and seem like they’re making progress. Although, any member of Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group is always welcome to attend any session, so keep that in mind.

If you don’t know where to start and you’re wondering what you need to know to heal,click on the individual sessions page. You can scroll down and see all the different topics that we suggest women learn about and get educated about. We also have a books page that really helps women.

Your Husband’s Therapist Should Know You Need Care And Safety

If this podcast is helpful to you, please make a recurring donation. Thank you to those of you who donated during our Share the Love Campaign. We received over $600 in donations and I just want to give a shout out to those of you who donate regularly to BTR and then those of you who donated during this campaign. Your donations help keep us on the air and they also help us give services to women who are in financial need.

As a thank you we are doing a giveaway today on our social media. We’re on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest. Follow us on social media so you can be aware of giveaways like we’re doing today and other special events and workshops that we have.

Until next week, stay safe out there.   

Full Transcript:

Anne: Welcome to Betrayal Trauma Recovery, this is Anne.

Ana Marques is a marriage and family therapist at Momentum Counseling. She has trained in the evidence based therapeutic modality of EMDR, which stands for Eye Movement and Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy, and emotional focusing therapy (EFT). She actively helps individuals, couples, and families overcome anxiety, depression, addiction, eating disorders and betrayal trauma. She’s also a native Spanish speaker. Her multi-cultural background helps her relate, accept, and communicate with people of diverse backgrounds. To support her continuing education, she enjoys following professionals like Dr. Adam Moore, Dr. Omar Minwalla, Lundy Bancroft, Dr. Brene Brown, and psychiatrist Bessel Van der Kolk. In her free time, she volunteers at organizations like SA Lifeline, UCAP, and BTR.

We’re going to talk today about what questions to ask while you’re looking for a therapist for your husband. Many women are thinking: I need to get my husband a therapist, where do I go? Who would be good for this? So, Ana is here to specifically talk about that.

So, Ana let’s start. As our listeners are thinking about finding a therapist for their husband, what kind of therapist can help a relationship where there is addiction and betrayal trauma?

Ana: Well, you want to look for a therapist that is trained in modalities that understand trauma and abuse. So, not just trauma but you want someone that also has that abuse background. The American Psychiatrist Association defines addiction as a brain disease. There’s still a debate between the illness model, but it is a brain disease currently, right.

The American Psychiatric Association states that brain imaging studies show changes in the area of the brain that relates to judgement, decision making, learning, memory, and behavior control. So, acknowledging that is not to shame but to properly treat. So, acknowledging that addiction comes with abusive behaviors is not a shaming thing but it’s to properly treat it. Now, trauma, unlike addiction, it’s an injury. It’s not an illness. It’s not a brain disease. It’s an injury. You want a therapist that understands that the behaviors of a partner of a sex addict are most likely from trauma, and that it is not just some medical condition causing the behaviors.

We have so many women that we work with that were told: well, you’re bipolar. Well, you have this, you have that. We want someone who understands that it’s the relationship that is causing a lot of the behaviors that the women are exhibiting. You would like the therapist to have an actual understanding that the system where she is has caused trauma.

Anne: Right. And on-going trauma, right. Not just the discovery. Not just finding the porn on the phone. Not just finding out about the affair. But, the relationship itself and all the interactions of lies and manipulation and the way that the relationship is functioning is an abusive relationship, and that has caused the trauma.

Ana: Absolutely, and again I want to reiterate that saying that something is abusive is not an attempt to shame it. It’s an attempt to properly train it. We love these people who are struggling with addictions. We love these men, and women is some cases, that are coming with these addictive behaviors, but it is important to recognize what they are in order to treat them properly.   

What Modalities Are Best For A Therapist To Use For Betrayal Trauma?

Anne: Yes. So, from your perspective as a therapist, what modalities are best for treating betrayal trauma?

Ana: So, here I would like to highlight what the research is saying. According to research and quoting Theresa Burke, Ph.D, Traumatic memories stay stuck in the brain’s nether regions; so the nonverbal, nonconscious, subcortical regions; which is the amygdala, the thalamus, the hippocampus, the hypothalamus, and the brain stem where they are not accessible to the frontal lobes; the understanding, thinking, reasoning parts of the brain. So, we think with the part of the brain that is in the front of our brain and we have trauma in the back of our brain. Therefore, processing trauma cannot be done solely through talking but through imagery and emotional experiences.

Anne: Yeah.

Ana: Sue Johnson, for example, she’s the creator of emotionally focused therapy, she expresses that she believes that change happens when there are emotionally corrective experiences. So, you have to have emotional corrective experiences. So, a few modalities would be experiential therapy, narrative therapy, emotionally focused individual therapy, internal family assistance; because they do exactly that. They use imagery in order to process trauma. Additional to that, training such as EMDR, that’s a somatic therapy. Somatic therapy engages a connection between the brain, the mind, and the behavior and so it is a comprehensive therapy. Additional to that, training such as EMDR or lifespan integration. They are somatic interventions which is therapy that engages body awareness as an intervention in psychotherapy and addresses the connections between the brain, the mind, and the behavior.

While certifications do not necessarily ensure that a therapist would be the best fit, there are also specific trainings for betrayal trauma like APSATS and domestic violence certifications. As a disclaimer, I am not a paid sponsor for any of these modalities, nor do I associate or represent any of them.

Anne: Yeah, I like how you say some of these are therapeutic, like EMDR needs to be done by a licensed therapist for example, but some are not. For example, I have done hypnotherapy, what some people call just meditation, and that has helped me so much. Same thing with Yoga. Attending Yoga and really meditating and getting into my body and feeling the emotions that way has helped a ton too. So, there are so many different types of modalities. I agree, I think talking about it is super important. Naming it. Being able to identify it and then after a while (at least with me) I’m to the point where I’ve talked about it so much, I’ve been to so much therapy, that the next step for me is really getting into my body and my subconscious so that I can heal the trauma from that end because talking about it, I’m past that point right now in my own personal journey.  

What Type Of Trainings Should My Husband’s Therapist Have?

Ana: Absolutely. So, what happens is, like you said, it’s so important to name it, to talk about it, to vent. Even venting has a place in trauma. The research is saying that that stays in the frontal lobe, right. That is the logical part of our brain. It does not process any of the things that are in the nonverbal, nonconscious, subcortical regions. That is where the trauma gets stuck. So, yeah, we’re done talking about it, we’re done venting, we create safety. We get all these tools that are more logical and then that is when we have a safe place to do all this processing in the best proper way. Then, yeah, absolutely, mindfulness is a big tool for that.

Anne: Yes. Ok, so now Ana and I are going to go over questions that women should ask when looking for a therapist for their addicted husband. So, this is not for a therapist for you. So, these are some questions that might be helpful to ask someone who you’re considering becoming your husband’s therapist.

Ana: Before we say that, as a therapist we like our clients to come and see if we’re a good fit. So, don’t feel like your therapist is going to get put off by you asking. You need to find what is a good fit for you and that is something that a good therapist will encourage. That said, the first question would be what training or certification do you have that is specific to abuse, sex addiction, or personality disorders? Another question is how do you view the wife of a porn user?

It Is Important To Ask About How The Therapist Views The Wife Of A Porn User

The answers you’re looking for are domestic violence victim, an abuse victim, an injured person, or traumatized. Back in the day they used to teach the codependency model and so if you hear: well, she’s trapped in a codependent, then no go. That is old and we’re understanding more. The research is showing more, so now we know better. So, yeah, the codependent model is probably not something that will be very helpful right now.

Anne: I think that’s a really good question to ask because if you say: how do you view the wife of a porn user and if they don’t know the answer to that, if they don’t know victim, right, she’s a victim of abuse. If they’re like: well, you know she can support his recovery. I mean bad answers would be she is part of that dance, she’s part of that family system that has caused the addiction or she’s a codependent, or something like that, then you can be like: this person is not going to work for me.  

Ana: Right, and I would even go further. So, yeah, there is a family system where this women in this relationship is getting affected by the addiction. So, yeah, there is a family system but sometimes it gets twisted into like: well, it takes two to tango. Yeah, in abuse it’s a different situation.

Couples Therapy Should Not Be Suggested By A Therapist When Dealing With Abuse

Anne: Yeah, it’s a family system where you have a perpetrator and a victim. Not a family system that it’s a two to tango family system.

Ana: The next one is one that I live by, it’s: do you suggest we do couples therapy while there is abuse or active addiction? Here you want to look for the therapist to discourage that. In the ethics code of most mental health professions the therapist in the end has to, and I quote “respect the rights of clients to make decisions”, but also in standard 1.8 of the marriage and family therapy ethics code (I am a marriage and family therapist) it says that the therapist has to help the client understand the potential consequences of the choices they make. Because of the nature of abuse and narcissistic traits, therapists might have an initial couple session in order to see the client in the context of this relationship or because the clients are pushing for that.

I get a lot of women that come with their spouse. They’re like: well, we have problems in our relationship and we want to communicate better. I get that a lot, right. But once there is a recognition of an active addiction or abuse; verbal, emotional, and look for a therapist that suggests having individual therapy until the addiction or abuse subsides. As Anne said, I am trained in the modality of emotionally focused therapy and we are trained that couples therapy is not effective when there is an active addiction or active abuse.

Professionals like Lundy Bancroft and Dr. Minwalla also strongly discourage couples therapy when there is abuse in the relationship.

It Is Important That The Therapist View Porn Use As Abusive

Anne: Yes, I could not agree more. I went to an EFT therapist and did 20 sessions of EFT with my ex-husband as his abuse escalated. There was absolutely no type of screening for the abuse or question of whether of not the abuse was a factor. I think one of the concerns is that so many women in the situation don’t know the abuse they’re experiencing, so if you ask them: are you being abused? They’ll say no. So, therapists need to be able to say: well, are these things present? Are there lies? Is there manipulation? Is there this, this, and this? You know, maybe confirm them with a polygraph. Somehow tell the wife: ok, these are the things you need to look for to know whether or not you’re being abused. Their initial gut reaction is usually going to be: no, I’m not a victim of abuse, right?

Ana: Absolutely. Absolutely. Most women are not very comfortable with the word abuse when they’re in relationships that they’re trying to save. So, yeah, usually I don’t tell the women: oh, so there’s abuse, like, right in front of them. So, I first separate them and then I start teaching what the real problem that’s happening. I haven’t had a hard time really pinpointing when there is abuse or when there’s an addiction. If you’re familiar and if you’re trained with abuse and sex addiction and trauma you can identify that rather quickly. So that’s why we have to ask that first question that we were talking about.

Anne: Well, so many women it seems like when they go into the therapist that doesn’t understand it, they spend multiple sessions trying to explain it to their therapist rather then having their therapist help them understand it. That is sad and it’s also unethical. Basically, you’re paying a therapist to train them rather than paying the therapist to actually help you. That’s what we want to avoid at Betrayal Trauma Recovery. So, referring to therapists like you who understand it or at least teaching the people who listen to this podcast and come to our website what to ask for, so they don’t get stuck in that situation of “training their therapist” during their sessions.

Ask The Therapist To Explain The Effects Of Using Pornography

Ana: Right, right. Okay, the next question that kind of ties into what we were talking about, is asking your therapist: what are the effects of viewing pornography? If they don’t answer that it’s abuse or objectification of others is an effect of viewing pornography, you probably want to move on, and here’s why. Even in the beginning stages of viewing pornography where the abuse is probably not noticeable because it’s minimal, there is some sort of abuse into the relationship once this is happening.

Anne: Yeah, it could be just lying and manipulation. It might not necessarily be blame at that point yet. It might just be kind of lying to avoid it, but as it escalates he will start blaming her for it, right. He will start blame shifting or starting to accuse her of things. So, as it escalates the abuse gets worse. Hopefully, people can catch it early when the abuse is small, and then it makes it easier also for the addict to stop those abusive behaviors.

Ana: Absolutely and I want to give you an example of a couple in which he never lied about his pornography use, none of that. However, when he would disclose: hey, I use pornography. He would just expect her to get over it. That is a form of abuse.

Anne: Yeah, and also knowing that it hurt her every time and continuing to do it, is a form of abuse.

Ask About The Steps To Recover From Abusive Behaviors

Ana: Yeah, just expecting someone to process a relational trauma on their own and not having any sort of accountability, and when I say accountability I don’t say honesty. Honesty is not the same as accountability. Not because someone is not lying doesn’t mean that they’re not being abusive.

Okay, so the next question is probably not like a must, but it would be really nice to ask if they are familiar with Lundy Bancroft’s book “Why Does He Do That?”, and here’s why. One of the things that I’ve experienced in my colleagues and my supervisors, my professors is people that struggle with addictions have found a very good way to avoid their subconscious, so that part of the brain that’s first trauma. So, most of the time they become very good at talking. They’re very eloquent verbally.

In Lundy Bancroft’s book it teaches you how to figure when someone is being abusive despite of how nice they look to most people because they’re very eloquent. A lot of the colleagues that I have that work with men and teenagers with addictions, they always express their admiration for their logic and how well they communicate verbally. You know, a lot of the times they’re “good guys” and so an untrained professional might just say: wow, this guy is really trying and they’re not picking up on the other behaviors. This book is really, really helpful to see the other behaviors that are not being talked about in therapy when you’re sitting with a person struggling with addictions. If that makes sense.

It Is Good To Ask How A Therapist Measures Success In Treating Abusers

Anne: Yeah, I have found that therapists who are familiar with Lundy Bancroft’s book, who have read it, and actually understand what it takes to deal with someone who is exhibiting these types of abusive behaviors, really starts to get it. Also, the cool thing about Lundy Bancroft’s book “Why Does He Do That?” is it offers hope for abusers. It’s not like they can’t change. It’s not like they don’t have options. It’s not like divorce has to be on the table, but it’s very clear what they do need to do in order to stop the abusive behaviors and in order to be safe. So, I really appreciate that about it too.

Ana: Yeah, I really like that about the book and again, naming things as they are; I just keep repeating this because I really want the message to come across, this is not to shame people that struggle with addictions. This is really to properly treat them because they don’t want to have this addiction if they’re coming to therapy, and so we want to give them proper treatment. We don’t want to just continue this cycle that they are already in and been just driving to that again. Does that make sense?

Anne: Uh huh. Yeah.

A Good Therapist Will Know And Understand True Restitution

Ana: Okay, so my next question would be what are the steps to recover from sexual addiction and abusive behaviors? Here it’s a little more complex for sure, but you want a therapist to be clear about the difference between honesty and accountability. And I’ll just mentioned this right now. It is not enough to be honest about it but make proper restitutions. The steps required for sexual addiction and abusive behavior are different. There is a term in therapy that explains that there are many directions to get to the same goal, but you want, as a principle, that the therapist is including vulnerability, accountability, and sobriety. Those are three basics that are needed in any manner that the therapist is choosing to present it, but it’s something that is important to have there.

A lot of the: well, just be honest with your spouse. That’s not accountability. That’s not vulnerability. That is not saying: I’m going to be sober, right. So, honesty is a good trait to have. It’s not enough for recovery. When I do full disclosures, the women get prepared. They have to have someone besides me, so we do the disclosure with me and then they stay with me for a little longer after the therapy session but then I encourage them to find their group. Someone that will help them even beyond therapy.

Then the next question would be: how do you define recovery and measure the success in treating abusers? This is going to be more like a personal opinion. I don’t know that there’s much research in how to measure that. I’m open to hear it if anybody out there knows it, but for me what I’ve seen is a recovered person from abuse, they do restitutions. Restitutions are made, sobriety is maintained, and accountability is consistent.

Ask The Therapist What They Tell Women In This Situation

Anne: Talk about restitution. What would that look like?

Ana: Well that’s a very, very good question. So, restitution is not: hey, sorry, get over it. That’s not restitution. Restitution is: I stole $1000, I will give a $1000 back and ask this person how can I make it better? I do this with my toddlers. This is just how restitutions are made in relationships in general. This is how you repair an attachment injury. You ask the person that you hurt how can I make it better for you individually? See, I stole your $1000, sure I’ll pay you back. But I’m sure that this is beyond a $1000, this is like: well, you also broke my trust. So, this is what I’m going to need to see from you.

Allow the person that you just hurt to say: this is what I need from you. That is a restitution. It’s not what you think it is.

Anne: Right. I remember talking to my ex about something like this and he said: well, what do you need in order to feel safe? And I told him, and he said: “No, I’m not willing to do that.” So that was it, right, and it was some basic stuff like I need the truth, I need this, I need this. It was basic stuff and he said: “No, I’m not doing that. I can’t do that.” So, that was my answer. Like: okay, you’re not willing to do that in order to help me feel safe then I need to maintain this boundary. There is no other option for me.

Ask The Therapist What Treatments They Use

Ana: Right. Right. So, the answer to Sue Johnson, for example, she’s the creator of emotionally focused therapy, she expresses that she believes that change happens when there are emotionally corrective experiences. So, you have to have emotional corrective experiences. So, a few modalities would be experiential therapy, narrative therapy, emotionally focused individual therapy, internal family assistance; because they do exactly that. They use imagery in order to process trauma. Additional to that, training such as EMDR, that’s a somatic therapy. Somatic therapy engages a connection between the brain, the mind, and the behavior and so it is a comprehensive therapy. Additional to that, training such as EMDR or lifespan integration. They are somatic interventions which is therapy that engages body awareness as an intervention in psychotherapy and addresses the connections between the brain, the mind, and the behavior.

The last questions that I have on my list is: what can I do to protect myself while my partner or family member is getting help? The therapist that is treating a person that is struggling with addiction would also understand that you need protection and that you need care. So, the answers that you would be looking for is treating trauma and setting boundaries. Pretty much just treat your trauma and set your boundaries, and they probably will be able to help you with that.

Anne: Yeah, they would not answer things like: okay, well you need to make sure his needs are met, and you need to make sure he feels understood, and you need to make sure that he feels loved and supported. Like, that would NOT be the answer because that would not keep you safe.

Ana: Oh, no. That is just further traumatizing to the person that is experiencing trauma already.

Anne: Yeah, exactly.

Ask How The Therapist Views Trauma

So, so many women, they just discovered their husband’s acting out and he seems sorry, right. So, instead of thinking: okay, this is a serious abuse situation. They’re thinking: oh, he’s been using porn. He’s sorry. So, maybe we don’t need that type of therapist. Maybe any therapist could help. What would you say to women who are in that situation?

Ana: Again, I’m not saying that people that abuse are not sorry. That is a behavior that doesn’t mean that they will not be sorry or that there is not a part of them that wants to change. This is why it’s important to find the right help. Especially if there is a desire to change. When there is abuse in a relationship people need to find a therapist that understands that the partners behavior or response is not codependency, lack of forgiveness, lack of communication, or that they see this as a marital problem. But that the partner is injured and requires help with the trauma and to help create safety so that there is no further re-traumatization. Again, trauma is not an illness, it’s an injury. So, even more, if the partner is sorry that is the best scenario. You want to go to the right therapist because then they will be able to help that person.

I have a very, very close relationship where that was the situation. That was the situation, so they went to any therapist. I mean I’m not taking accountability from the person struggling with addiction, but definitely he did not get the right help and it spiraled and spiraled and spiraled. Think of it this way. You wouldn’t go to a podiatrist to do the work that needs to be done by a cardiologist.

A Therapist Should Know How To Recognize Abuse

Anne: Yeah. I think people too, think when you say the word abuse that the only option is: okay, you’ve got to get divorced, there is nothing that can help this person. And that’s not true either. Many, many men who have exhibited abusive behaviors are sorry and they feel bad and they don’t want to be abusive anymore. That just means they need the right help to stop the abuse because first of all, a lot of the abusive behaviors they are exhibiting, they might not think it’s abusive in the first place. They need to be educated about it. You need to help them see. Especially because they’re an addict and their brain is viewing their wife a certain way and they are dismissing her concerns. Because she could try and say: hey, these things are abusive please stop and he dismisses it. Guess what, that’s part of the abuse. He doesn’t realize that him dismissing her valid concerns is part of the abuse and a therapist or someone else can help him see that.

That can help him change his perspective to realize: every time I dismiss my wife’s concerns that’s being emotionally abusive.

Ana: Right. Yeah, and as you’re saying Anne, the man or the women struggling with this addiction might not know that what they’re doing is further traumatizing the spouse. Even further, the spouse might not even know that that’s traumatizing them. They don’t know where this anxiety is coming from and it very likely is coming because they’re feelings are being dismissed. Because they’re being questioned when they have a question. Because they’re being gaslighted. I mean etc., etc. They might even know that that’s what is producing those feelings.

Anne: Exactly. Like, I think about my ex now, and I don’t know if he goes to therapy or not; but my guess is they don’t understand, and he doesn’t understand that his continued lying and his continued refusal to take accountability is still hurting us, right. They might think: oh, they’re divorced and so, you know, there is really nothing he can do. He could do so many things to make restitution, to stop the abuse, to help us feel safe, and has refused to do any of those things. But, I don’t even think he knows that those things are even an option because he hasn’t ever asked.

Ask A Therapist How They Ensure A Wife’s Safety

So, Ana, should a traumatized woman just wait for the therapist to help the husband heal in order for her to heal? Like, how can a victim of abuse get to safety while her abusive husband is working out his issues and he’s not quite safe yet? Should she just wait or what are her options during this time?

Ana: Don’t wait for your spouse to heal. A therapist with the proper training will encourage you to start healing and to create very, very good boundaries so that the retraumatizing does not continue. Now, let me be very clear. We’re not saying that abused people should not forgive. What we’re trying to say is that in order to truly love an abuser and ourselves we have to find the proper help. We cannot properly love someone if were not able to sleep, constant anxiety and depression, and reacting to the trauma that is caused living under this condition. So, don’t wait for the spouse to heal. Absolutely start your own path of healing. Don’t delay that.

Anne: And just because you set boundaries because you’re not safe yet, doesn’t mean you want to file for divorce. It doesn’t mean anything. All it means is: I’m a victim of abuse. I’m going to get myself to safety. I’m going to safely wait while I see if my husband in treatment is able to overcome his abusive behaviors, knowing that this process is going to take a long time. If you’ve setup proper boundaries and you have the proper help, you’ll be able to see whether or not they actually are making forward progress or if they’re just faking it.

It’s Important To Ask A Therapist How They Feel About Boundaries

Ana: Yeah, and like you said: it doesn’t mean that you’re shutting them away. It’s the opposite, you’re really professing your love for this person because you trust the process. You want to heal yourself. You want to heal your trauma. And if they choose to do so then they can join you in that healing. It’s important to understand that they can, it’s a possibility that they will not, but if they will then your relationship will be the wholesome relationship that you are looking for to have.

Anne: Yeah and your home can be the peaceful home that you desire and that you deserve. That’s awesome.

Well, Ana, it is so wonderful to talk with you today. I’m grateful for all of your research and your passion for helping victims of abuse and also helping men who are abusive to heal because they also deserve to have peaceful, calm, happy families, right. Everybody does and it’s a possibility for anyone if they’re willing to put in the work and the effort and the time to create that healthy, happy home.

I appreciate you coming on the podcast today.

Ana: Thank you so much for having me.

The Right Therapist Can Help Keep You Safe

Anne: We have added three new sessions to our Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group schedule. So, please go to BTR.org to check out our new session schedule.

Due to requests from clients we’ve also added three groups that have a specific demographic. We have one for new members. We have one for members who are divorcing or separated or thinking about divorce. We also have one for women who have husbands who seem like they’re in recovery and seem like they’re making progress. Although, any member of Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group is always welcome to attend any session, so keep that in mind.

If you don’t know where to start and you’re wondering what you need to know to heal,click on the individual sessions page. You can scroll down and see all the different topics that we suggest women learn about and get educated about. We also have a books page that really helps women.

Under our education tab there’s our podcast. I’m toying around with different things to call it. Like, is it a free audio program because it does come out every week? Right now, it’s called Podcast & Blog and the podcast and blog pages are the exact same thing because every single podcast is transcribed and turned into sort of an article. We also embed the podcast audio on that same page and so I want to combine them, but I also want women when they go to the website to know that that’s everything all in one in that section, and I don’t really know what to call it. Like, free audio program or ahhhh? If any of you are creative with words and you have some ideas, please comment on this post.   

Your Husband’s Therapist Should Understand You Too

If this podcast is helpful to you, please make a recurring donation. Go to BTR.org, scroll down to the bottom, and make your recurring monthly donation today.

Thank you to those of you who donated during our Share the Love Campaign. We received over $600 in donations and I just want to give a shout out to those of you who donate regularly to BTR and then those of you who donated during this campaign. Your donations help keep us on the air and they also help us give services to women who are in financial need.

As a thank you we are doing a giveaway today on our social media. We’re on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest. Follow us on social media so you can be aware of giveaways like we’re doing today and other special events and workshops that we have.

Until next week, stay safe out there.   

Translate »
Workbook Study

Download the Printable Checklist: 9 Steps to Heal from Betrayal Trauma

Join our mailing list to receive a printable recovery checklist and continued step by step support in your road to peace.

You have successfully subscribed! Check your inbox for your printable checklist.