btr.org - Betrayal Trauma Recovery is an online, daily support group for victims of emotional & psychological abuse and sexual coercion. Join a live session today. For women experiencing pain, chaos, and isolation due to their husband’s abuse: lying, gaslighting, manipulation, porn use, cheating, infidelity, emotional abuse, and narcissistic abuse. Codependency or labeling a woman as codependent is a form of victim blaming. Pornography addiction / sex addiction are a domestic abuse issue. Narcissistic abuse is not a communication issue. We help women who are in a relationship, separated, or divorced navigate to recover and heal by establishing safety through boundaries. If you suspect your husband is a narcissist, a pornography addict, or emotionally abusive, this podcast is for you. Every woman on our team has experienced abuse and betrayal trauma first hand. For past podcasts visit our website: btr.org
Human Trafficking & Abusive Men
Whether it's objectifying one human being through domestic abuse or many through human trafficking, dehumanizing women is a despicable act that BTR continues to speak out against.
Ann Basham, human rights activist, joins Anne on the free BTR podcast to take a deep dive into the correlations between pornography use, domestic abuse, and human trafficking. Read the full transcript below and listen to the BTR podcast for more.
Grooming: A Tool Used By Human Traffickers and Abusive Men
"Grooming really is conditioning someone to do something that is not within their nature. Basically, it's conditioning them to accept abuse, and this can obviously happen in a marriage, as well as in trafficking."Ann Basham, Human Rights Activist
In an abusive marriage, grooming may look like:
* An abuser pushing your sexual boundaries* An abuser agreeing to perform certain safety benchmarks without actually changing his abusive mindset* An abuser slowly introducing increasing levels of emotional and verbal abuse over time* An abuser gradually introducing physical violence into the relationship* An abuser using blaming, shaming, and deflection* Gaslighting
Grooming is a universal tool of abusive, manipulative people. It is used both on the large scale, as with human trafficking, and in personal, one-on-one abusive relationships.
Exploitation: The Motivation Of Human Traffickers & Abusive Men
"When I was at the Department of Justice, I had a meeting with a man who spent his life working on reforms in the criminal justice system. He's written books, he's a leader in a college, and he said to me point-blank on the phone that the connection between an abuser in a domestic violence relationship, and a human trafficker are the same. It's just in one case they do it with one person and in the other, they do it with many people and for money."Ann Basham, Human Rights Activist
Power, control, exploitation, greed.
Abusive men do not abuse because they:
* "were raised that way"* have mental health issues* have addictions* have anger problems* are immature
They abuse because they want power and control, and because they have an exploitative, entitled mindset.
Just like human traffickers.
Sexual Coercion: How Human Traffickers & Abusive Men Manipulate Victims
Both human traffickers and abusive men are able to manipulate sexual abuse victims into believing that they, the victims, are at fault. They do this by gaining "consent" through manipulation.
"There's nothing more consensual than saying yes to getting married or people assume that, right, and so they don't realize that just because a woman is married to a man, they assume that she yes. That she was able to give her consent. People don't realize that she gets manipulated and coerced and all of these things, says yes, but then continues to be lied to, manipulated, coerced throughout the marriage for not just sex but other things. So, I think that that's really important to think about too. People think that if you give your consent, it's not abuse. They don't realize that people are being abused into giving their 'consent' when they're actually not giving consent at all."Anne Blythe, founder of Betrayal Trauma Recovery
When He Uses The Kids To Hurt You
At BTR, we know that there is no fear or pain equivalent to the trauma that comes from an ex-partner using your children to harm you.
Whether it's through the family court system, co-parenting, or simply creating chaos out of every-day situations, abusers know that one of the most effective ways to harm a woman is through her children.
When he uses the children to hurt you, you can still seek deliverance and peace. Anne shares her thoughts on the free BTR podcast and in the full transcript below.
When He Uses The Kids To Hurt You In The Courtroom
Abusive men use the courtroom as an opportunity to not only torment victims, but to manipulate court professionals and seek validation. They don't want parenting time, they want to win. They don't want a peaceful resolution. They want chaos. They enjoy the fight.
When he uses the kids to hurt you in the courtroom, it is essential that you seek support, practice radical self-compassion and self-care, and live by boundaries.
Family court systems all over the world are broken. Outcomes are completely unpredictable. However, you can determine now to love and accept yourself no matter what happens. You can determine now to surround yourself with people who love you and build you up. You will need support and community as you face your abuser in the courtroom.
When He Uses The Kids To Hurt You, Accept & Embrace Your Own Anger
"You have one choice, one path, and the path is to get to real true emotional and psychological safety. That is your goal, and if on that path to safety you’re angry, great. If on that path to safety you seem crazy to some people because you move out, and they're like, "Your husband's so great, why are you moving out, you seem crazy," fine. The goal, the one possible option for you is to get to safety. And my belief is that the safer and safer you feel and the actual distance you put between yourself and the harm, the less angry you will feel over time, and that's because your anger is a gift from God that will help you take action. And the reason why everybody is afraid of an angry woman is that an angry woman takes action and people do not want women to take action."Anne Blythe, founder of Betrayal Trauma Recovery
When He Uses The Kids To Hurt You: Abuse By Proxy
When an abuser harms or manipulates the children in order to harm you, it's called "abuse by proxy." This is a severe form of post-separation abuse.
Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group is here for you with daily, live sessions. Join today and find the community, validation, and support that you need. Talking through the post-separation abuse that you are enduring is a powerful way to seek healing from trauma. We are here for you.
Anne: Welcome to Betrayal Trauma Recovery, this is Anne.
Before we get to today’s episode, BTRG is our daily online support group. We have 21 plus sessions per week for you to choose from. You don't have to wait for an appointment, you don't have to leave your home. We are here for you. We'd love to see you in a session today.
For everyone who has given this podcast a five-star rating on Apple podcasts...
The Manufactured Relational Tether
That indescribably feeling of being stuck - pulled - attached to a situation that makes you sick, sad, and broken. What is it?
It's the abuser's manufactured relational tether, and it's time to learn how to break it.
Dee, a member of the Betrayal Trauma Recovery community rejoins Anne on the free BTR podcast to share how she courageously left her abusive therapist's care and broke the manufactured relational tether that kept her in an abusive situation that was destroying her self-esteem.
Learn more by reading the full transcript below and listening to the BTR podcast.
What Is The Manufactured Relational Tether?
The manufactured relational tether is the result of the abuser creating chaos and stress that only he can solve. By keeping his victim close, battering her emotionally and/or physically, and offering relief intermittently, he keeps her emotionally tethered to his own emotional state.
The way that I like to think of it is more like a tether ball. So, you have been attached on this string to this abuser, and he hits the ball and you're flying through space, and you feel very insecure, and you feel worried, and you feel concerned, and then the ball wraps around the pole and for a brief moment, it's like okay, relief. I feel good, this makes sense, I like how this feels, and then it starts to unravel, and it feels very uncomfortable and then he hits it again and it's like, whoa. And in order to take yourself out of that manufactured relational tether, it's going to be painful. You actually have to detach yourself from that cord and be like, okay I'm going to be away from this.Anne Blythe, founder of Betrayal Trauma Recovery
What Does a Manufactured Relational Tether Feel Like?
When your abusive partner has manipulated you into believing that your wellbeing and security is dependent on their intermittent "kindness", it may be difficult to identify that you are, indeed, experiencing the effects of a manufactured emotional tether.
You may feel:
* Dependent on the abuser* Simultaneously disgusted by and drawn to the abuser* Frustrated with yourself for not leaving or maintaining firmer boundaries* Confused by the abuser's words and behavior* Unworthy, unimportant, and unloved* Like you're walking on eggshells* Ashamed, guilty, and complicit in the abuse - especially if it's sexual in nature*
How Can I Break The Manufactured Relational Tether?
If you feel attached, loyal, or subject to or protective of your abuser, you may have a manufactured relational tether. If you're afraid to leave or feel unable to leave, you may have a manufactured relational tether.
So how do you break free? You may want to take these steps:
* Open up about what's going on and talk to a safe person or safe group, like BTRG* Courageously step away from the relationship so that you can get your bearings* Become educated about abuse and betrayal trauma; the BTR books page provides excellent recommendations for * Practice radical self-care daily
Betrayal Trauma Recovery is Here For You
At BTR, we know how difficult it is to both identify and sever a manufactured relational tether.
3 Signs of An Abusive Therapist
Confusion, hurt, betrayal, and rejection.
When Dee went to her therapist for intense anxiety, she expected to feel better. Instead, she was gaslighted, groomed, devalued, and discarded. Victims of unethical and abusive therapists often experience debilitating shame and guilt - and may have difficulty identifying the fact that they are victims rather than complicit in an inappropriate relationship.
Dee, a member of the Betrayal Trauma Recovery community, joins Anne on the free BTR podcast to help educate victims about the five signs of an abusive therapist. Read the full transcript below and listen to the free BTR podcas to learn more.
An Abusive Therapist May Cross Physical Boundaries
One way to identify an abusive and unethical therapist is to understand that they may cross physical boundaries with clients.
Dee's therapist laid on the couch beside her, held her hand (calling it a "hand hug"), touched her hair, commenting that it was soft (and later denied it), and more.
Any physical contact with a therapist is cause for worry. If your therapist has:
* Touched you and then later denied it* Had any degree of sexual contact with you* Initiated any physical contact that made you uncomfortable* Justified physical contact with you* Asked you to keep physical contact private
You may be the victim of an abusive therapist.
An Abusive Therapist May Use Gaslighting To Confuse You
Dee's therapist used gaslighting as a means to keep her unsteady and confused.
When he touched her hair in a session and commented on how it was soft, Dee was uncomfortable. She brought it up with him in the next session. This is how he gaslighted her:
He said, "I didn't touch your hair, I said it looked soft." And I said, "No, you were touching my hair, and you said it felt soft.""No, I didn't touch your hair. I just said it looked soft." I had no question in my mind of what had happened. I knew what had happened. I was very confused as to why he would try to tell me it didn't happen. Dee, member of the Betrayal Trauma Recovery community
If your therapist denies or twists reality, he or she is gaslighting you. Gaslighting is a method used by abusive people to avoid accountability. You can be sure that if your therapist is gaslighting you, that you are a victim of abuse.
Shame, Isolation, Rejection, Confusion
If you are feeling shame, rejection, confusion, and a desire to isolate yourself from others after seeing your therapist, consider that you may be a victim of therapist-abuse.
Dee's therapist used tactics like gaslighting, devaluing her, intermittent kindness, and boundary-crossing to abuse Dee and silence her.
When victims experience emotions like shame, it's a clear indicator that something is wrong. However, women who are seeking therapy are often in a vulnerable position and are understandably willing to place trust in the therapist - even if what the therapist says or does violates the victim's code of ethics.
It's important for victims to understand that even therapists can be abusive.
BTR Is Here For You
At BTR, we understand the embarrassment and shame that can accompany abuse - especially when it is perpetrated by a trusted therapist.
BTRG is a safe place for women to share their stories, ask questions, make strong connections with other victims, and process trauma.
What Is Brain Defense?
Victims of pornography users often feel powerless and overwhelmed when faced with the task of arming their children against the harm of internet pornography and teaching digital safety.
Kristen Jenson, author of the Good Pictures Bad Pictures series, and founder of Defend Young Minds, joins Anne on the free BTR podcast to expound on the new Brain Defense: Digital Safety Curriculum.
This curriculum helps traumatized, exhausted victims of betrayal and abuse teach their children necessary and life-saving principles about internet safety in clear, concise, and entertaining ways. Learn more by reading the full transcript below and listening to the BTR podcast.
What is Brain Defense?
We take a stance that, because children are faced with an onslaught of technology that can actually rewire their brain, that they need help and training. They have one precious brain and they deserve to know how to defend it from the digital dangers that they grow up with so that they can grow healthy and happy and safe.Kristen Jenson, Defend Young Minds
Brain Defense is a digital safety curriculum that is designed for kids ages 8-12.
The curriculum covers all of the toxic content that kids and teens may encounter on the internet from bullying to predators to pornography and more.
Why Do Kids & Teens Need Brain Defense?
With what kids are being given and the onslaught of digital material is coming at them, they need every possible defense. Kristen Jenson, Defend Young Minds
No one knows better than the victim of a pornography user, the insidious nature of pornography. Children and teens are exposed to pornography at home and at school and need to know how to defend and protect themselves.
I Think My Child Has Been Exposed To Pornography
If you are concerned that your child has been exposed to pornography, understand that you are not alone. Mothers all over the world are experiencing the same feelings of fear, sadness, grief, and pain when they realize that their children have also been abused by the pornography industry.
Here are some steps that you can take if your child has been exposed to pornography:
* Invite your child to talk about it with you* Understand that when a child has been exposed to pornography, whether they searched for it themselves or not, they are a victim of sexual abuse and are traumatized* Seek out a professional trauma counselor* Add filters to your computers and devices* Use a curriculum like Brain Defense to help your child understand appropriate internet safety practices
BTR Is Here For You
At BTR, we understand how daunting it can feel to try to teach your children internet safety when you are in the thick of your own trauma.
Betrayal Trauma can make even the lightest of tasks feel overwhelming - and teaching children how to protect themselves from pornography isn't a light task.
That's why the Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group meets daily - so that women can have a safe space to process their trauma, share their difficult feelings, ask questions, and make connections with other victims.
How To Find Safety From Abuse
Have you been betrayed, gaslighted, and lied to? You are a victim of abuse. And you deserve safety.
Leslie Vernick, author and expert on healing from intimate betrayal, joins Anne on the free BTR podcast to empower women to begin their journeys to healing today. Learn the three steps that you can begin taking today to find safety from abuse.
Find Safety From Abuse: Begin Identifying Patterns
Abusers create a reality where victims are focused on the honeymoon phase of the abuse vortex, or are so fixated on seeing the good, or the abuser's potential, that the established patterns of abuse in the marriage go unnoticed.
He's attentive, he's being honest, he's paying the bills, and you're thinking, okay, he's changed, he's got it. He's doing good and we're better. But you have to look at the whole cycle. And that's why the patterns are so important for you to pay attention to because, obviously, most women don't marry jerks. They know that they have a good side or they wouldn't marry this person, so they're on their good side of the cycle, but the cycle is still the cycle. The bad side of this cycle is where they start to get tense or they start to get a feeling of whatever it is a compulsive feeling to act out or watch porn or the shame or whatever is going on with them, anger, that they're going to abuse or act out again.Leslie Vernick
When victims courageously allow themselves to identify and document patterns of unhealthy and abusive behaviors, they are taking a monumental step toward safety. It is only when victims acknowledge and accept the full truth of their situation, that they are able to begin their journey to healing.
Accept That Divorce Doesn't "Break" Families: Betrayal & Abuse Break Families
In the Christian world anyway, we have kind of made an idol out of marriage. We so value the sanctity of marriage, and I value the sanctity of marriage, but not above the safety and the sanity of the people in the marriage. It's really true that the sins are passed down to the next generation to the next generation to the next generation. And when a woman begins to say, I don't want this happening to my kids, I don't want to grow up in this environment or have my kids grow up in the same environment I did. I'm going to take a stand and say, hey, I'm willing to work with you if you want to change and be a different person, but if you're going to continue this pattern, I'm not going to do life with you. That can seem very rebellious in a conservative Christian family. How dare you break up the family. She hasn't broken that family up; she's just exposed the truth about the family.Leslie Vernick
One of the major hurdles for many victims of abuse in finding safety is the fear of breaking their family by separating or divorcing their abuser.
Fleeing a person who repeatedly harms you is not breaking or ruining a marriage: his harmful behaviors already destroyed the relationship, harmed your children, and broke your marital vows. If you choose to separate yourself from your abuser, you are simply responding in a healthy way to a very unhealthy situation.
Accepting this truth is a powerful move toward healing and peace.
Find Safety From Abuse By Prioritizing It Above All Else
Children who grew up in an environment where there's a lot of turmoil and screaming and lack of safety, their growth channel of learning and maturing and all that is...
One of the best
This is one of the best podcasts if you are dealing with any kind of emotional or psychological abuse and coercive control. Although it focuses on the abuse of pornography use, even though that wasn’t my specific issue SO many episodes have helped me so much. Abuse is abuse and getting clarity of what is happening is critical. The focus on safety first is a key theme and so important.
I wrote this review a while ago, but felt I needed to edit it because today’s episode was so very powerful. To hear the truth spoken out loud that although we have done the work, set the boundaries, found safety in the ways we can, if you have children there isn’t really a path to be away from the abuse is so sad, but so true. Amazing perspective Ann.
Thank you for your vulnerability and saying ‘no’ to toxic positivity!
Yes to EVERYTHING you have shared and said on your podcast. I found you through searching for in-law abuse (plus abuse from my ex). I am not religious and I am thankful that I did not let that stand in my way when I first started listening to your podcast. In listening, I am grateful for what you have given in information, in support and in your vulnerability. I agree with you that abuse occurs beyond social, political, religious ideation. It can happen to anyone and it does happen more regularly than our society is able to understand, identify, or acknowledge.
I have a background in social work and training in marriage and family therapy. But, my ex along with his parents and sister also have Marriage and Family Therapy backgrounds, even built a business based in it, and are well-known in the community—so I know I have an uphill battle.
I spent my career (prior to being a SAHM) advocating for children and women. And if you were to tell me 10 years ago that I would be in a position to step into the biggest role yet—to be an advocate for myself and for my own children, I would have shook my head and thought you were joking. In this moment, I am fighting the biggest battle of my life and it has started with educating myself, my family and friends, my former social work colleagues and therapists, and my community on betrayal trauma & covert narcissistic abuse. Thank you for your wealth of information and I hope that you, Tina Swithin and the other women out there who are doing the work to educate and bring awareness will continue to do so. Your strength is encouraging and it is giving other women like me the courage to step out from underneath the trauma and fog of betrayal, releasing us from the shame and guilt that is unwarranted due to the abuse, and helping us to build our support networks of women around the U.S and world who would do anything to bring about justice for ourselves and our children. It may not be in the next 3 years, 5 years or even 10 years that we may truly see the changes to a corrupt court system but please know that you have made a difference for me. And please know that when you feel depleted and have your moments of feeling hopelessness, I want you to know that I am thinking of you and sending love your way. You are not alone Anne.
We are all justified in our pain, we are justified in our anger (righteous anger) and we are justified in wanting to protect our children!
What does God say about abuse?
This podcast is amazing and it really helps me to feel validated and strong when I have felt confused and weak in my marriage.The biblical references were really helpful for me to feel less guilt about setting firm boundaries with my husband who has been verbally and emotionally abusive and scary for years in my marriage with three children. Thank you!!