Today's subject is a little different than other features on Livlyhood given the seriousness of the topic, but I think it's an important topic to share. Anne is the Founder & CEO of an amazing organization, Betrayal Trauma Recovery that helps women dealing with abuse. I met Anne through her podcast because she had my cousin Courtney on (remember her?) and then interviewed me about women getting back into the workforce after a hiatus.
I'm so thankful Anne was willing to share her story!
Tell us a little about yourself and your career
I'm passionate about stopping the harms of pornography, including the abusive behaviors many porn users exhibit. The podcast and services we provide at Betrayal Trauma Recovery help women who are victimized by their husband's pornography use and related abusive behaviors. Although the anti-pornography movement has always been a personal interest, I started fighting porn professionally (if you want to call it that:) in 2013, and I'm so grateful for the many brave women who I meet everyday who become their own hero as they gain the confidence and skills to face their husband's abuse and porn use.
How does your community of women you surround yourself with support you?
Betrayal Trauma Recovery wouldn't be effective without all the women from all over the world who daily share their heartache, experience, and hope. I employ six incredible, strong, skilled coaches, a social media employee, and six volunteers who work around the clock to make Betrayal Trauma Recovery happen. Every single woman that contributes to Betrayal Trauma Recovery has been in or is currently in a relationship with a pornography user - some of their husband's are still active users and exhibit abusive behaviors, others are in recovery and exhibit healthy behaviors. As women establish emotional and physical safety in our lives, we find true joy and peace.
Why did you start Betrayal Trauma Recovery?
I started Betrayal Trauma Recovery after going to therapists and other professionals for seven years trying to get help for my husband's porn use and "anger" problem. At the time, I didn't realize that I was experiencing abuse. When it comes to narcissistic abuse and emotional abuse, many women don't get the help they need from typical therapy. Much of the time, the therapist chalks up the problems to "communication issues". Abuse and porn use are not a couples issue. They are not a communication issue. And if I couldn't find it, neither could they!
The domestic violence shelter won't help unless you have bruises. Therapists aren't always super helpful, and can often traumatized abused women further by implying that she has some level of responsibility for the abusers actions. It's like I was screaming and yelling for help, looking for it anywhere and everywhere I could, and no one could articulate that I was in an emotionally abusive relationship. Abuse checklists never fit. The chaos created by my husband's lying, porn use and abuse were simply more than I could handle. The more I learned about how to establish emotional safety in my life, the more I realized I needed to start an organization that could address all these issues for women, so they didn't need to go through the trauma alone. Betrayal Trauma Recovery knows what is happening immediately, with no lag time, and can help immediately. Abused women don't need to train their therapists or church leaders - that's not fair. They need help. And BTR is the place that provides real help for women who desperately want to figure out how to create peace in their homes.
What do you wish you could go back and tell your younger self re: your career aspirations?
I was a jr. high teacher for nine years. I didn't really have career aspirations, I just wanted to live my life and travel. I was obsessed with working out and organizing my condo. I wanted to be a trophy wife! But then I married a man who repeatedly lied to me, used porn, and abused me emotionally for seven years. And after seven years of desperate attempts to establish safety and peace in my life failed, I became an expert on what TO DO and WHAT NOT TO DO when it comes to how to face your husband's porn use and abuse. So if I could go back in time, I'd tell myself - you're going to have to go through hell to get your dream job, but it will all be worth it. I absolutely love my job, and I'm so grateful for everything I've been through that enables me to effectively teach women how to establish emotional safety in their lives.
I am on the front lines of a traumatizing, bloody war zone everyday. Many women, including myself, have been made widows and their children orphans because of their husband's porn use. Women have emotional, financial, and medical problems to deal with that they didn't create. Being forced to clean up someone else's mess continually is exhausting and heartbreaking. But then I see so many women heal. They find happiness and hope! I believe people can change. When women establish safety in their lives, sometimes their husband chooses to truly change, it's beautiful! And sometimes he chooses to remain unsafe. But either way, women can heal and find peace.
What is your career-related mantra?
Almost everyday, after a long days work seeing the heartache, the pain, the chaos, and the corresponding hope, beauty and strength of so many women, I tell myself, "I WILL die eventually. All this will end, and we'll all be at peace with God who loves us." That's my mantra that keeps me going everyday. I work as hard as I can, doing what I can to keep women safe while I'm alive, and I'm so excited to be able to rest with everyone in safety on the other side.