Why Disclosures Are Harmful

by | Abuse Literacy, Boundaries, Self-Care

Things to know before a therapeutic full disclosure

Many women hope for a full and honest disclosure from their abusive partner. They want to know the extent of the betrayal so that they can determine how to move forward.

At BTR, we understand that disclosures can be trickled, manipulated, and ultimately used to further abuse a victim. Learn the 3 important facts about disclosures so that you can determine what you need to find safety.

Disclosures Can Be Traumatizing

If your partner has betrayed you by using pornography, it is important that you take immediate steps to protect your body, mind, and heart from further damage.

Disclosures do not help women find safety. They can be dangerous tools in the hands of an abuser.

  • Abusers often use the “trickle” method to only disclose small bits at a time, which causes emotional and mental havoc in victims’ lives.
  • Abusers may use the disclosure process to take on the victim role, which is emotionally and psychologically abusive to the victim
  • Abusers usually lie during the disclosure process, which means that victims undergo immense trauma for partial truths

What Should I Do Instead of Asking For A Disclosure?

When victims put their own safety first, they don’t put their health and safety in the hands of their abuser. They don’t rely on the disclosure process. Instead they:

  • Trust their own intuition
  • Set “worth” boundaries, for example: I don’t need to know all of the details of the betrayal to protect myself from further abuse: I am worth more than any degree of betrayal
  • They use safe resources to seek validation rather than their abuser

BTR Is Here To Help You

At BTR, we understand the complexities and trauma that can accompany disclosure.

Every victim of betrayal and abuse deserves a safe place to process trauma, ask questions, share stories, and create connections with other victims. The Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group meets daily in every time zone. Join today and receive the validation, compassion, and support that you need as you go through this process.

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  1. J

    Thank you for the great information. That’s where I am right now, waiting in silence and observing. I am not liking what I am seeing.
    I used to try to initiate conversation, but I don’t anymore. His answers were always just what I wanted to hear. They were not from his heart. Time proved that.

    • Anne Blythe

      So true. Time will always tell. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Tina Fucile

    Anne almost made it through an interview without talking about herself!

    • Anne Blythe

      Ah! I know! I wish I could stop! How embarrassing . . . 🙁

      • Amy

        Anne, I don’t think of it that way…You sound like an external processor. Sometimes to understand what the other person is saying in a conversation you have to be able to process what you’re hearing in a way that makes sense according to your own experience. It helps the listener to do the same thing. Of course it’s a balance. It’s a tricky situation because you’re sort of having a conversation with the person you’re interviewing but you’re also not. So it’s hard to sort of save some of the processing until later yet also be able to ask good follow up questions.

        • Anne Blythe

          Thank you for sharing this insight! It’s super helpful.

  3. Dana

    I LOVE this topic. This is what I need and want Full disclosure to heal. He wont give it to me and I really don’t know how to move forward in the relationship without it. I have already grieved and processed what I know. I want closure and no “what else’s” to linger in my mind. I feel very strongly that it will interfere greatly with my own healing.

    • Anne Blythe

      I’m so glad it’s helpful to you! Thanks for sharing!!

  4. Bev

    How do people afford all this support and therapy?

  5. Confused

    I can see the value of having the three different therapist working together. Do you have any recommendations for the sex/porn addict and also a couples therapist? My husband has finally agreed to seek help, but we are trying to find ones that would be a good match, affordable, and willing to work with us virtually as we move frequently yet need stability in counseling.

  6. L

    What is the value of disclosure if you have no intention of doing couples therapy or staying in the marriage? I don’t think I will ever know any truths around how I was betrayed and I have to find a way to heal from the lies that propped up our life together. My husband decided that he will see someone but I don’t want to be part of his recovery.

    • Anne Blythe

      That makes total sense. I agree with you. I also did not want a disclosure due to the same factors you bring up here. Since every situation is different, we wanted to bring this topic up for victims to consider.

  7. DAS

    Just came across this site.
    I have to ask all the time for the truth, no transparency or disclosure. I’ve given up, each time l ask it gets turned around back to myself, it’s a vicious cycle.
    Porn, live sex cams, escorts & god knows what else, complete denial even if l have proof.
    How can anyone have trust when they lie.

  8. Invisible

    My husband “abuser” met with a psychologist for the second time today. This was of course after he was caught with inappropriate videos on his phone. I knew before I found the evidence, I just needed pictures of solid proof because he is an amazing gaslighter.

    I told him to move into the basement, he did. He cries, he begs for more chances, he wants to change. He came home from the appointment and said the problem is he has anxiety and is introverted, he just needs Lexapro with Buspar. Lol.

    The psychologist doesn’t even think he needs to see him again. I have been married to this man for 30 years. He has never been truthful about his porn/lust addiction only caught. He lies straight to my face. He is a covert narcissist with serious control issues. I’m at my breaking point. I’ve had a spinal fusion, Hashimoto’s disease and now just found out my cervical spine is failing from degenerative disc disease.

    We did all the Christian counseling and forgive and forget 6 years ago, he is back at it. I am stuck. I am hopeless. Our children are grown and on their own and I have been a stay at home wife for 6 years, no career, physically and mentally drained. Our first grandson was born 2 weeks ago. I have fits of rage, uncontrollable tears, heart palpations and then let him sleep in my bed because I feel alone, then kick him out. I feel invisible to God. I need help I don’t know how to do this anymore.


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