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In one of the Facebook groups I’m in a woman recently asked if anyone had any success stories because she was feeling hopeless.
I started thinking, what exactly is considered a success?
The tone of the post led me to believe she wanted ot hear stories of addicts/abusers who had successfully changed and healed the relationship.
That, however, is not how I define success.
Every woman who I consider a success in this arena has four things in common. Strong healthy boundaries, a stable sense of self respect, a deep connection to other women in the community, and a drive to help others find hope and healing.
Notice that “saved her marriage” isn’t on the list. I know women who are divorced, women who are still trying with husbands not in recovery, and women who are happily married to men working recovery who have found success in their own healing.
Strong Healthy Boundaries
Boundaries are the figurative fences or walls that you put around yourself to stay safe. Strong heathy boundaries require you to recognize your own needs, then take action to satisfy them.
Boundaries are NOT a list of rules and consequences for your partner. Boundaries are if you choose to do this then I will choose to respond by doing that.
For example “In order ot feel safe in this relationship I need ot install monitoring software on your phone. If you can not agree to this then I will need to detach from this relationship and initiate an in home separation”.
Another example: “I will not tolerate being spoken to with disrespect. If you choose to continue to speak to me in this way then I will not continue the conversation.”
Your partner has full freedom of choice to do as they will. You have full freedom of choice to respond in a way that will keep you safe.
Many addicts will try to convince you that your boundaries are controlling. They are. You are choosing to take control over your own life.
You are not, however, controlling them. They still have the choice to do as they will. They simply no longer have the choice to be free from the consequences of their actions.
Check out my post “Creating and Enforcing Healthy Boundaries in a Relationship” to learn more.
A Stable Sense of Self-Respect
When you know your own value you won’t settle for being treated less than you deserve.
Boundaries are impossible to hold if you don’t value and respect yourself enough to stick to them when your partner pushes against them.
In the early years of adulthood I was a total doormat. People pleaser to the core. I frequently placed the wants of others above my own needs.
Ladies SELF-CARE IS NOT SELFISH!! You have value. You are worthy of love, especially from yourself.
Deep Connection to Others
Human beings are designed for connection. When we have been betrayed by our intimate partner it can be extremely difficult to open ourselves back up to those connections.
It’s hard, but it is worth it. We all need support, love, and a listening ear to help us move through trauma to healing.
Remember you do not ever have to trust someone 100% in order to have a deep connection with them. It’s ok if you hav efear nibbling at the edges of your mind each time you open up. Fact is some people will break your trust.
It is impossible to make it through this life without getting hurt. Love anyway. Care anyway. Make friends anyway. Find those few close friends who you can truly rely on.
Most of my best friends in this world of trauma live in my computer. We use Facebook, Marco Polo, and text messaging ot keep in touch. These women are my tribe.
I also travel to spend a weekend with them as often as I can at the Determined to Rise retreats. It is amazing the power that comes form learning and connecting with women who truly understand trauma and healing.
Betrayal Trauma Recovery is another great resource for finding that tribe of women. They have amazing trained trauma coaches that are available for one on one sessions as well as group calls. Their coaching is done online, so you can join from anywhere!
Drive to Help Others
As with any other form of healing it’s easy to forget where we came from and then move backwards. Haling is never a linear journey. One of the best ways to keep that forward momentum going is to reachback to help others up.
I often find that the best advice I receive is the advice that I give to another Shero as she is sturggling. When they ask questions I am reminded of areas where I may need to put more effort into my own healing.
Frequently I give na answer then recall an incident where I didn’t follow my own advice. The next time I am in a similar situation I knwo what to do, becuase I just coached another woman through it.
Helping others is the best and simplest was to form those deep connections discussed earlier.
Healing is not Linear
Always remember to give yourself compassion for wherever you are on your journey. Healing is not a linear path. We go up and down, forward and back.
Wherever you are in your story you are a success if you keep on moving forward and commit to doing the work of healing. Success isn’t a destination, it’s a journey. Take it one step at a time and just keep climbing.
YOU GOT THIS!