Today Brandon and Tonia talked through the three stages of recovery from betrayal trauma. These stages are not always linear, just as the stages of grief are not always linear, but almost every partner experiencing betrayal trauma will undergo them.
- Partners will try to understand why the betrayal occurred.
- Partners will experience trauma symptoms.
- They will behave in ways that don’t feel normal.
- They may need help establishing barriers and boundaries. (As we mentioned the other day, one of these boundaries could be Covenant Eyes accountability software. Prayerfully consider this for your life, for a free trial from Heroic Men and Covenant Eyes click here: https://rb.gy/gb9zkn)
- They may need help processing their emotions.
- Partners will begin to grieve the loss of life as they know it
- They may tell and retell their stories to make sense of them.
- They may still be triggered but will feel bolder and more willing to fight for their rights.
Moving On Phase
- Partners will begin moving forward with a new set of beliefs about the marriage.
- They will come to terms with what forgiveness means and whether it includes reconciliation.
- They may need help discerning the future of their marriage.
You can read more about these stages in our free ebook, Porn and Your Husband found here: https://bit.ly/3bmymvs. (You’ll see these phases under the names the Association of Partners of Sex Addicts Trauma Specialists gave them: Safety and Stabilization; Remembering and Mourning; and Reconnecting. The names may be different, but the essence is the same.)
These phases are neutral: they simply state what sorts of decisions partners will make without stating the outcomes. In the Moving On phase, for example, when Tonia saw Brandon take his healing and their relationship seriously, she moved from feeling like their marriage was hopeless and on the brink to believing that they could recover. Some wives may never see that hope. Others—hopefully you—may see it right away. The important thing for both of you to remember is that it will take as long as it takes to move through all three phases—and restoration requires both of you to pursue recovery.
1) Wives, where are you at emotionally right now? Where do you think you are in the three phases of recovery?
2) Brandon and Tonia mentioned how they both had to learn to rely on God and not each other for fulfillment. Read Psalm 142 together. Wives, how does David’s experience in this psalm match your own? How have you seen God act as your source of comfort? Husbands, how do you see your own needs for healing reflected in David’s experiences?
I cry aloud to the Lord;
I plead aloud to the Lord for mercy.
I pour out my complaint before him;
I reveal my trouble to him.
Although my spirit is weak within me,
you know my way.
Along this path I travel
they have hidden a trap for me.
Look to the right and see:
no one stands up for me;
there is no refuge for me;
no one cares about me.
I cry to you, Lord;
I say, “You are my shelter,
my portion in the land of the living.”
Listen to my cry,
for I am very weak.
Rescue me from those who pursue me,
for they are too strong for me.
Free me from prison
so that I can praise your name.
The righteous will gather around me
because you deal generously with me.