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If you’ve read my post on what betrayal trauma is and how it affects you you may be wondering “well what now?” If you haven’t, go read it, don’t worry, I’ll wait….. OK now that you know the symptoms you’re probably wondering what to do for recovery.
Quite frequently all these symptoms are lumped into one little diagnosis of anxiety and/or depression. You may even be told you have some sort of personality disorder. Here pop a pill and be on your merry way! While I’m all for medication if and when you need it really healing trauma requires far more than that. Here are 4 simple steps you can follow to help you begin your healing journey.
1. Get out of Isolation
First you need to get out of your isolation! That is why I have ripped the curtain off my life and decided to start sharing here, thankfully with my husband’s full support and even cheerleading. You need to know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
As I said in my previous post about my trauma 64% of Christian men admit to at least monthly viewing of pornography. I don’t think there is a single woman in this world who has not been affected by sex addiction in some way. Whether it’s harassment from schoolmates or coworkers or a deep betrayal of a spouse we’ve all been touched. It is not your fault. You don’t deserve it. You are worthy of love and respect.
There are a few different groups out there that you can meet with in person. S-Anon is the partner program to Sexaholics Anonymous. They provide pretty good support, but they follow a codependency model which I believe is very unhealthy, so I do not personally recommend them.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints offers a Spouse and Family Support Group. These meetings are based on some beautiful principles. The leaders, however, are missionaries called by the church. They may or may not have any actual education or experience with trauma. Some meetings are wonderful and others can be further re-traumatizing. If your local meeting is not a supportive safe place for you there are many phone meetings to choose from as well.
Lifestar and Healing Through Christ are two other groups I am aware of. They both lean towards codependency though, so once again not my highest recommendations.
BTR.org has online groups and coaching that are all fully trauma model focused.
I am also a member of a few different groups on Facebook. Due to the sensitive nature of the topics discussed these groups are secret. If you are interested in learning more about these groups please feel free to contact me.
2. Meet With a Qualified Therapist/Coach
Second, and equally important, is counseling with a qualified therapist. Finding the right therapist can be very difficult. While there are all sorts of certifications you can look for ultimately it all comes down to do they know and understand betrayal trauma. It is also really helpful if they are trained in EMDR and/or neural feedback therapy (more on those in a future post). Both of these help to integrate the mind/body connection and speed up the healing process.
Betrayal Trauma Recovery is an excellent resource for finding a good counselor. I personally have met and LOVE coaches Joi and Peggy and highly recommend their programs. Joi is a certified therapist, and the rest of the coaches are certified as coaches as well as by APSATS.
In addition I am a certified Life and Therapeutic Art Coach. I offer a phases of healing group coaching program as well as individual coaching. You can see more details on my coaching page.
One last note on therapy. NEVER EVER EVER do couples therapy with a man who is still in active addiction. It usually does far more harm than good as it provides a platform for the addict to further abuse you through manipulating and gaslighting both you and the therapist. I would recommend that an addict is working a solid recovery program and attending weekly counseling sessions on their own for at least 3-6 months before you even consider couples therapy.
3. Become a Learn It All
Third, become a learn it all. No one is ever going to care as much about your healing as you do. Knowledge is power and you need all the power you can get to escape the pit that you find yourself in while dealing with these issues. Betrayal Trauma is a relatively new field of study and the knowledge we have about healing is changed and added to frequently.
For dealing with your own insecurities and regaining your individuality and muchness anything by Brene Brown is pure gold. I’m currently working through “The Gifts of Imperfection” book via the art journaling class.
While not specifically about Betrayal Trauma “Brave Love” by Lisa Leonard is also an amazing book about loving yourself despite imperfections and making your own needs and wants important. For more resources check out my Ultimate Betrayal Trauma Resource Guide.
4. Take Time for Self-Care and Develop Self-Love
Fourth is some solid self-care and self-love work. Self-Care is NOT selfish! You matter. You are important. You can not give to others what you don’t have for yourself. Your capacity to love others, including and even especially your own family, is limited by your ability to love yourself.
If you struggle with this I would encourage you to find ten minutes every day where you can just do something you love. Take a walk, do some art, sing in the shower, just do whatever makes you happy. Then look in the mirror and say to yourself “I am a beloved child of God with infinite potential. I am worthy of love. I love you Emily!” Please put your own name in there though. While I do enjoy having adoring fans this is about you.
Now that you’ve got these four simple steps to healing it’s time to get going! They don’t work if you don’t take action. Get out of isolation by calling a friend or joining a group NOW. Schedule an appointment with a therapist today. Order one new book or check out one new website before you walk away from this post. Most importantly take some time for yourself today and every day because you are worth it.