btr.org - btr.org has daily, online group and individual coaching sessions for victims of emotional & psychological abuse and sexual coercion. 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. We recognize that 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. We care about your mental health. Every woman on our team has experienced abuse and betrayal trauma first hand. To learn more about Betrayal Trauma Recovery, visit btr.org
5 Red Flags You Need To Know
"Don't ignore the red flags."
That's the main piece of advice that Ayla, from the BTR.ORG community, would give to her younger self.
But what are the red flags that would later reveal that the man she married was a violent, controlling abuser?
Read on to learn the 5 Red Flags You Need To Know to protect yourself from abusive men - and listen to the BTR.ORG podcast (full transcript included below) for more.
Coming On Strong Early On
Like most red flags, abusers will often come on very strong early on. In Ayla's case, her abuser immediately began to love-bomb her with attention, a job offer, flattery, and affection.
* Tell you they love you* Ask you to be in a committed relationship* Initiate sex* Propose* Ask you to meet their family* Give you money or ask you for money* Divulge "secrets"
Early on in order to "bond" with you.
Isolating You (It'll Seem Romantic At First)
The red flag of isolation may be hard to spot because it can be camouflaged romantically.
Abusers may isolate victims by usurping their time. They may want to spend every waking moment with the victim, which can feel romantic. They may condition the victim to feel dependent on them OR tell the victim that they (the abuser) are emotionally dependent on the victim.
Abusers often take up so much emotional and physical space in the victim's life that the isolation feels impossible to avoid. Victims may not see their friends or family as often as before and may feel guilty when they aren't with the abuser.
Isolation often extends to a physical move to a rural area or a state or country where the abuser doesn't have any friends or family.
Pushing You To Have a Child With Them
Interestingly, abusers often request and then push for the victim to bear their child.
I think a lot of abusers want their victims to get pregnant because it's a way for them to be able to basically control you the rest of your life.Anne Blythe, Founder of BTR.ORG
If he is talking about having a child with you early on, or after you have expressed hesitation, consider that this is a red flag.
Having a child with someone ties you to them, legally, until the child is eighteen. This is a sure-fire way for the abuser to have contact with you and a degree of control in your life and the child's life.
"You're Saving Me" (Also Romantic At First)
The abuser may use phrases like:
* I didn't know what I needed until you came along.* I felt this void until you were here, now I feel whole.* When I'm not with you I feel empty.* I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life until I met you.* I need you. I'm not okay without you.* Now that I have you, I'll be able to be a better man.
Ayla's abuser coupled this "You are my savior" red flag with isolation when he moved their small family to the mountains:
I was exactly what he was needing in his life to become a better person. Of course I believed it. I believed all of that, but then I understood that I kept having to call the police to help me out.Ayla, Member of the BTR.ORG Community
Spending Time Studying Resources About How To Abuse Women (Calling You Out, Robert Greene)
One red flag that is rarely discussed is the insidious and calculated effort that abusers take to lea...
Am I Being Spiritually Abused?
If your husband uses scripture to coerce you and control you -
If he accuses you of sin, saying that God revealed this information to him -
If he makes unilateral decisions for you and the family -
You may wonder, "Am I being spiritually abused?"
And the answer is yes.
Abby is on the podcast to take a deep dive with Anne into what spiritual abuse looks like and how she sought and found deliverance. Tune in to the BTR.ORG podcast and read the full transcript below for more.
Spiritual Abuse Boils Down To Control & Coercion
Abusers use spiritual abuse to coerce and control victims. This can look like:
* Coercing the victim into sexual activity using scripture or the misogynistic logic that it is her "wifely duty" to be submissive* Refusing to help with household duties* Convincing the victim that she does not have access to God's direction and must submit to his revelation or intuition * Making unilateral decisions * Controlling the finances* Refusing to let the victim work * Accusing the victim of "sin"* Controlling whom the victim can associate with* Controlling the victim's hobbies
This list isn't exhaustive, but may help victims identify specific areas that the abuser is using spirituality and religious texts to control and coerce her.
Spiritual Abuse Isolates Victims
By nature, spiritual abuse is generally very isolating. Victims may not be allowed to associate with others outside of the faith community. Abusers may refuse to allow victims to have contact with their families and friends.
In Abby's case, she was denied medical care, access to education, and contact with her family:
I was even, and my children, likewise, were also prevented from getting medical care because of this same issue. He would say, "God's going to heal you. You don't need a doctor." So that conditioning and fear was there for a long, long time. And so it was a big risk for me [to seek support].Abby, Member of the BTR.ORG Community
It Is Possible to Seek Safety From Spiritual Abuse
Many victims of spiritual abuse feel trapped in a situation that may feel impossible to escape from.
Often, not only is it the abusive spouse keeping the victim isolated, but family members, friends, and clergy enable the abuse and isolation.
Even though it may feel daunting, it is absolutely possible to seek safety from spiritual abuse.
Abby's deliverance came in stages. She began learning about abuse, worked toward separation, and ultimately divorced her abuser and began building a beautiful new life for herself.
BTR.ORG Is Here For You
We are here for you as you begin your own journey toward safety.
The BTR.ORG Group Sessions are here for you to process trauma, ask questions, and find the community you deserve. Join today.
Anne (00:00):Welcome to BTR.ORG. This is Anne.
I have Abby on today's episode, she was orphaned at the age of 12 and adopted into ...
Is Marriage Meant To Be This Hard?
Is crying yourself to sleep normal?
Is everyone else getting the cold shoulder unless they apologize for an argument they didn't start?
Do other women have to submit sexually, no matter how much they don't want to, to keep their husbands happy and faithful?
On the BTR.ORG podcast, Anne asks Elizabeth, who has been in an abusive marriage and is now in a healthy marriage, to answer the question many of us spend hours pondering and researching: is marriage meant to be this hard?
Tune in to the BTR.ORG podcast and read the full transcript below for more.
"Marriage Is Hard" Enables Abuse
The old "Marriage is hard" trope enables abusers. When clergy, family, therapists, and others tell women who are struggling to survive an abuse situation that all marriages are difficult, all men demand sex, and all women are enduring some level of misery, victims may feel that they aren't justified to seek safety.
The truth? Healthy marriages are a safe space from the pain, fatigue, and trauma of life. Healthy marriages do not cause pain, fatigue, and trauma.
"When you said marriage doesn't have to be hard work, you were speaking from experience, right? Because your current marriage doesn't feel like hard work."Anne Blythe, Founder of BTR.ORG
So What's "Normal"?
Many women in the BTR.ORG community fear that their experiences with abuse have altered their perception of "normal" and "healthy", making it so that they won't be able to recognize a healthy relationship and will be attracted to abuse.
None of this was your fault. We're never so broken that we deserve to be abused. Anne Blythe, Founder of BTR.ORG
This list may help you if you are having trouble identifying abusive behaviors in your relationships:
* Gaslighting is abuse* Yelling is abuse* Punching walls, hitting objects, and slamming doors is abuse* Hurting or threatening pets is abuse* Coercing you into sex is abuse* Having sex with you when you're sleeping, using painkillers, or feeling sick is abuse* Giving you an STD is abuse* Humiliating you is abuse* Having sex with you without your informed consent (including about his pornography use or other sexual behaviors) is abuse* Shaming you, using scriptures, Conference talks, or other religious materials is abuse* Lying to other people about you is abuse
This list is not exhaustive, but may help you to identify covert abuse in your relatinship.
Are You In An Abusive Marriage?
At BTR.ORG, we know the feeling of the floor falling under your feet when it slowly dawns on you that you are in an abusive marriage.
We know that the first instinct women usually experience is a desire to point it out to the abuser, and try to elicit him to change.
We also know that this doesn't work and puts the victim in more danger - emotionally, sexually, and physically.
We are here for you. The BTR.ORG Group Sessions were specifically created for women who need a safe space to process trauma, ask questions,
3 Attacks to Anticipate When Leaving Abuse
When those light bulbs of reality start to go off, and you begin taking steps to move toward safety, every ounce of wisdom is helpful on your journey toward peace.
Elizabeth is back on the BTR podcast, sharing 3 attacks to anticipate from the abuser and their flying monkeys as you begin to separate yourself from abuse.
Remember, you don't have to make the journey to safety alone. BTR is here for you.
Anticipate The Abuser Refusing to Respect Proximity Boundaries
Overwhelmingly, Sheroes in the BTR.ORG community, including Elizabeth, experienced the terror and frustration of the abuser refusing to respect proximity boundaries. This may look like:
* The abuser refusing to move out.* The abuser refusing to "allow" the victim and/or children to move out.* The abuser stalking the victim once she has moved out.* The abuser contacting the victim using other phone numbers after she has blocked his phone number.* The abuser using flying monkeys to contact the victim using various modes of contact. * The abuser violating court orders to make contact with the victim and/or children in person or over the phone.
These violations are abusive and often dangerous. At BTR.ORG, your safety is our priority. If your safety is threatened, please contact law enforcement and seek legal help.
Don't Forget the Abuser's Mommy (And Other Flying Monkeys)
In-law abuse is all-too common for victims of psychological and emotional abuse.
Abusers' mommies sure do love to turn on victims the moment that victims start standing up for themselves, as was the case with Elizabeth:
[The abuser] called his mom crying and she came over and was basically like, 'You know, you've gotta do... what he wants you to do. You need to stop this silliness [of standing up for yourself].Elizabeth, BTR.ORG Community Member
Victims experience intense betrayal when in-laws and mutual friends, whom they experienced close personal relationships with, turn on them and side with the abuser. Especially when they witnessed the abuse and know that the victim could be in danger.
Anticipate The Infamous "Smear Campaign"
These family members and mutual friends, also known as "Flying Monkeys" are often involved in the abuser's infamous "Smear Campaign".
Victims can anticipate that the abuser will do everything in his power to make the victim look really bad. To everyone.
This is a manipulative, power-over move to discredit the victim and paint the abuser in the best light possible (often, the "victim" light).
Smear Campaigns can be humiliating and devastating.
Please seek support if you are experiencing the effects of an abuser's Smear Campaign.
BTR.ORG is Here For You
BTR.ORG Group Sessions are a safe place to process the trauma of leaving an abusive relationship. Join our Group Sessions to share your experiences, ask questions, and find a community of women who get it. You deserve validation and support as you begin your courageous journey toward safety.
What Consent Actually Looks Like
Have you said yes to a sexual experience because you were afraid of what would happen if you said no?
Have you initially said no, but eventually given in because of his behavior? Whether it was sulking, violence, or spiritual abuse?
These situations, including many more, are not examples of consent.
They're examples of victims experiencing sexual coercion.
It's time to talk about what consent actually looks like.
Elizabeth is on the BTR Podcast sharing her story publicly for the very first time. A victim of every form of abuse, Elizabeth's voice is powerful as she shares her story of recognizing and freeing herself from sexual coercion. Read the full transcript below and listen to the BTR podcast for more.
What Consent is NOT
Many victims of sexual coercion are conditioned to believe that if they aren't screaming and fighting, they are giving their consent to a sexual experience.
It's essential that women (and men) understand what consent is not.
Consent is not:
* Saying yes out of fear of negative repercussions, including violence, sulking, neglect, blackmail, etc.* Saying yes now because you know that if you say no, you will just have to say yes tomorrow or another time.* Saying yes because it is your duty.* Saying yes because you already "began" and he has made it clear that it would be unfair to stop before he is finished.* Saying yes because clergy, therapists, or others have counseled you to be more sexual.* Saying yes to protect your children, pets, belongings, or others.* Simply allowing the sexual experience to occur, when you do not want it.* Saying yes (or allowing it to happen) after saying no repeatedly.* Saying yes after being spiritually abused.* Saying yes to avoid financial punishment.
This list is not extensive, but may help victims identify situations where they have been or are being sexually coerced.
Consent Is Not 'We've Started, Now We Can't Stop'
At BTR, many women, including Elizabeth, have experienced a similar type of sexual coercion. Abusers use the "we already started having sex, now we can't stop" manipulative tactic when victims try to escape the sexual relationship:
I wanted to do what got asked of me, but I also was feeling like, well, it had happened so now I can't stop. That was the message I was getting from him, that we've started, we're basically married now, so we can't stop having sex.Elizabeth, member of the BTR.ORG Community
Add to that a dose of religious and spiritual abuse, and many victims feel locked in to daily sexual coercion and abuse.
So Then, What Does Consent Actually Look Like?
At BTR, we define consent as an enthusiastic, ongoing, "yes" based on the full extent of information they need in order to give their enthusiastic, ongoing "yes". They know that their "yes" can be taken back at any moment, for any reason, without fear of negative repercussions.
If you are in a relationship where you are experiencing sexual coercion, BTR.ORG is here for you.
Our daily, live Group Sessions are a safe place for you to process trauma,
The Truth About Divorce
Harmful divorce myths, under the guise of "family-focused morality" are aimed at keeping women stuck in abusive relationships.
It's time to crush those myths and embrace the truth about divorce.
Gretchen Baskerville is back on the BTR Podcast bringing her expertise, experience, and empowering voice. Tune in to the podcast and read the full transcript below.
The "Marriage At Any Cost" Myth
Organizations like Focus on the Family insist that divorce shatters a child's sense of safety, completely disregarding the fact that a home where abuse is present, is not safe at all.
What really shatters their basic safety is repeated abuse. Anne Blythe, founder of BTR.ORG
Life-Saving divorces aren't just going to save the mother and her own sense of safety - they save children too.
Does Divorce Destroy Children? Permanently?!
One tragically successful scare-tactic is the outdated and disproven myth that divorce absolutely ruins kids. Forever.
Much of this claim comes from the unabashed cherry-picking of Judith Wallerstein's book, "The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce" (which actually supports life-saving divorces).
Divorce does not destroy children. In fact, when children are delivered from two-parent homes where abuse was present, they finally have the opportunity to thrive in a way they never could have when living in an abusive home one-hundred percent of the time.
But I'm Scared To Remarry... Shouldn't I Just Stay Married?
"Better the devil you know than the devil you don't know."
Perhaps the most pervasive fear-mongering tactic to keep women in abusive marriages is the idea that if they divorce and remarry, they are almost certainly setting their children up to be abused by a future partner.
It does not happen as often as these organizations want you to believe. So, for example, it is about about four in 100 stepparent families (blended families that have reported an incident of child abuse of any kind). So it's four in 100. If that's what's holding you in your abusive marriage because your next relationship would have a four in 100 chance, I think you better rethink that.Gretchen Baskerville, Author
BTR.ORG Is Here To Help You
We know that making the decision to divorce can be extremely painful, confusing, and difficult.
You deserve support as you work toward discerning the truth and making choices that will guide you to safety and peace. Join the BTR.ORG Group Sessions today and begin your journey to healing.
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Take time to listen
I was first thrown off by the Christian basis of the show, I’m not overly religious. HOWEVER, I took time to listen to the whole channel and this channel has SO MANY gems and touching stories! Thank you for all you’ve done and helped me with. You ARE helping others.
Is it possible for one contact someone your group without providing an email? Is there any option for a live chat? In case one needs to anonymously (privately) ask questions?
Thank you for all you do.
BTR saved my soul
For a few years I had been searching the internet for answers to make my marriage better. Article after article placed the blame on women for not meeting the needs of her man. None of them were accurate depictions of what I was experiencing, so the advice offered was irrelevant.
Over a series of events I began to wonder if my relationship was actually toxic. And that question lead to the discovery of emotional abuse and stories I read started making sense. BTR podcasts was one such place where the stories made sense. I now listen and participate in the weekly group sessions. I am on a path to healing by retelling my story. BTR has helped me find a name for what I was experiencing and has empowered to take actionable steps toward rebuilding my healthy sense of self.