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The ultimate goal of the trauma recovery process is to find peace and confidence in the present, without being overwhelmed by triggers from the past. Recovery will look different for every woman. Healing is about finding the processes and techniques that work for you.
Healing from betrayal trauma requires that you work through each of three phases of recovery. Safety and stabilization, recollection and grief, and reconnection and integration.
Safety and Stabilization
Regaining a sense of safety after traumatic events can take days, or weeks from a single event. If you have experienced ongoing trauma at the hands of an abusive or addicted partner it can take months or even years. Don’t set a time limit for yourself.
Establishing safety often requires strong boundaries, which can be very hard to set and enforce when dealing with abuse. That’s ok, take baby steps. Safety may require you to leave the relationship or situation. Safety can be established on both a physical and emotional level. If you can’t get physical separation form your abuser at this time you can create a mental safe room for yourself.
Stabilizing emotions helps us remain in a place of safety with ourselves and others. Meditation, yoga, tapping, grounding, and many other methods can help you stabilize your emotions and remain in control. Feeling in control of yourself will help you to stay in control of your life.
Recollection and Grief
Therapists go back and forth on whether recounting the traumatic events is actually helpful. This is a personal thing, but I believe that telling the story can be helpful for all of us. When the story telling is not helpful, it is usually because safety has not yet been established.
You may tell the story through talking, writing, or art, but you need to face the truth of your past before you can write the story of your future. Processing your traumatic events can be very difficult and is often best done with the help of a coach or therapist.
You also have to give yourself permission to grieve what was and what can never be while also giving yourself permission to recognize the positives you have gained from your experiences. Toxic Positivity is well….toxic! You have to feel to heal!
Reconnection and Integration
In this step a woman is ready to recognize the impact of their victimization then move past it into empowered and self determined living.
Abuse and trauma can color our relationships with everyone in our lives. Once someone has broken your trust in such an intimate relationship it becomes harder to trust others in your life. Fear of additional betrayals can keep us isolated.
It is important to be able to create meaningful connections with a supportive and safe community. Many women find that dedicating themselves to a life mission (helping homeless animals, mentoring teens, etc.) assists in this step.
Trauma Recovery is an Individual Process
There is no one right way to work recovery. What works for one person may cause setbacks for another. Don’t get caught up in shoulds or timelines. Work your recovery in a way that works for you. You drive the bus, not your therapist, your partner, or your coach.
Remember also that recovery and healing are not defined by a complete absence of thoughts about your trials or triggering moments. It is defined by your ability to confidently navigate through the choppy waters.
If you are interested in working through these steps of recovery I would love to assist as a mentor. My “Shero’s Journey” course will help you navigate through each step of this process on your own timetable through video lessons, written journaling prompts, affirmations, art journaling projects, and more.
If you are interested in one on one assistance check out my individual coaching call packages.