“Why do we feel that you’re pushing us out of your life?” someone said to me the other day.
I sat stunned for a minute and thought about this deeply. November 2018, I lost everything. My home, my stability, my love, my self confidence, and my ability to cope with any given issue. Maybe I’m just afraid everyone will abandon me, so I try to act blasé faire and unwavering in my thoughts and feelings? Maybe I’m starting to choose people who make me feel safe and when I feel unsafe I go into defense mode? Maybe, just maybe, I’m taking my power back?
This is just one of the psychological effects of Betrayal Trauma. The term “betrayal trauma” refers to the damage that is caused when you experience a betrayal in your relationship that damages the trust, safety, and security of the bond you have with a significant person in your life. While I still question the safety of many, I am also shedding that caregiving personality I had in my previous life. The life that ended on November 14, 2018.
Why am I wearing a wedding dress in this photo shoot? Well, at first I was going to do a rendition of Truth Hurts and showing that I’m “100% that bitch.” But, I’m not. I’m a wonderful woman with so much love and compassion. Yes, I have a story is tragic, but no more tragic than anyone else suffering from betrayal trauma. For myself, a wedding dress is symbolic to family, innocence and new beginnings. Innocence doesn’t end on your wedding night. If you trust, love and have faith in yourself and your family, your innocence continues….until it doesn’t.
Loss of Stability
Whether you’re a family of two or a family of eight, a wedding is the beginning of a new adventure in creating your own family.
Prior to August 2018, I had everything a woman could ever want. A husband I adored. Two grown children that I was so proud of. A successful to me business. Great friends who I loved dearly. My life was complete and what was to follow was a fulfilled dream of a new “empty nester” adventure.
I sold my home and moved to Ottawa Ontario for a new adventure because of a new business opportunity. I closed my business (not hard, just phoned the gov’t), packed the truck and kissed my kids and friends goodbye. It was a bittersweet moment.
From September to November 2018, I had one fantastic weekend filled with happiness and many memories. The rest of my time in Ottawa, life as I knew it was completely destroyed. I can’t get into the details. Unfortunately, had someone stole my car, my money, or my life, it would be public knowledge and I could speak freely. No, someone stole my heart, soul, and erased thirty years of my life and, for that, I’m silenced. This is part and parcel why society doesn’t understand the mental health component of betrayal trauma. We’re silenced….I don’t understand why because, to this day, I’d much rather someone steal my car then experience the heart wrenching pain and mental suffering that I experienced.
Loss of Innocence
November 14, 2018 was the day that the old Trina died. In fact, I’ve had numerous sessions with my psychiatrist about the sequence of events leading me to pick up that Leveno tablet that day. I tumbled down as quickly as the World Trade Towers on September 11th.
It took 3 emergency trips to the hospital, one failed attempt of counselling, having all my belongings in my car and stolen, and the realization that I gave up my whole life for me to decide that it was time to leave Ottawa. I left with the invitation that they could follow me to work on things, but I had enough of what this city delivered to me. My parent’s 57 wedding anniversary was the day I left. I really wanted it to work, in fact I thought it would be the gobsmack that would put humpty dumpty back together again. Unfortunately, I wasn’t enough and that hurt a lot. In fact, it tore me apart after giving away thirty years of my life.
So here I was, a 46-year-old woman who was lost in life. I should have taken stocks in Canadian Club whiskey in 2019 because I did a ton of drinking. Until I woke up.
I then asked myself a serious question. “Trina, how long has it been that you’ve undervalued your worth?” Not only to the person who hurt me, but to those who viewed me, used me in the past, and those who I aspired to work for? By allowing anyone and everyone an open door into my heart and constantly having it slammed it in my face timeless times, I was undervaluing my existence, my greatness and my future. So many women do this and become paralyzed, insecure and needy. Not only was I suffering from betrayal trauma, I was suffering far worse than that. It was then, I started taking my power back. I was no longer going to ask for what I needed, dreamed of or wanted from this broken relationship. That had to stop that nonsense. I was going to demand what I deserved.
It’s been almost a year since I left. I have transformed my mindset from victim to survivor. A survivor who wanted to share my experience to help others. I’ve blogged about my whole experience on my site. The blood, sweat and tears of betrayal trauma. I wanted to write about it real-time because I couldn’t find the real-time version of it when I was at my worse. I didn’t want to hear that things would get better in time. I wanted to know that I wasn’t bat shit crazy. I am very proud of my transparency and extremely proud of my blog’s effect. It gives me a great sense of value to help and console others during one of their most life altering experiences. Now, I don’t know where it’s going to go because of the silence. Quite frankly, I’m OK with that as I will find a new form of expression into my newly created life.
I’m trying to figure out this new dynamic, which is very difficult for me. I have been assured that there will be bumps in the road, but I have to balance out my old personality, rituals, and routines with the new exciting changes within me.
I have grouped with friends who also have been betrayed. It gives me perspective on how to heal, grow and define my life. We ask each other a lot of questions; feeling questions. We cry on each other’s shoulders. We laugh, we share and we do coffee.
We have been told to “get over it” numerous times, however, we know that it’s not as cut and dry as it may seem. Hell, a few years ago I was one of those, and here I am now, crying and apologizing to my friend because I didn’t understand the severe mental and physical effects of betrayal trauma.
I am finally at my point of healing where I’m taking my power back. No one will control my future and my thoughts.
Something in Red
I decided that I was being bullied by so many people while I was healing to settle on my future. I was told that it was expected of me to find a job that didn’t inspire or make me feel, at the very least, human. I was expected to take what I could get and shut up. I met this amazing employment counselor that helped me with retaining a little of myself and dispute that expectation.
What many don’t understand is this. I’m not the norm. I never conform. I’m alone on this new life journey where I’ve decided that I want to be as artistic and creative as I can possibly be. I want to help people. I want to laugh and be just as free and carefree as I was in my past life. I’m a half assed writer. I like photography. I’m a dreamer, who has to recreate a new beginning for myself.
I realized over this past year that my family was my dream, until my views of family and innocence was murdered and destroyed. So what did I do? I called the shots in my life.
I’m also thankful for this betrayal. Yes, I can finally say that because I would have never found my voice, my power, and my magnificence.
As of January 2020, I am a full time student studying photography. I have created goals that focuses on ME! That’s one thing I haven’t done in over a year and it feels great!
I want to open a marketing firm in the future because I have great business savvy and I communicate well with the younger generation. I am a leader who has had so much trouble competing for a job because of the younger generation, so why not bring their world into mine?
I get out nightly. I sit at a local coffee shop and people watch. I spend time with friends. I am really digging deep into my heart and figuring out what I want, what I need and what I deserve. None of this was my fault and I intend on creating an amazing ending to this story of my life.
I’m fearless. I’m getting there. At times I still cry and wonder what could have been. However, I’m taking my power back so no one can judge or hurt me again. I am red and I survived it.
Please head over to Trina's blog and read some of her other fantastic, inspiring and empowering stories!
You can find them here: lifesablog.ca