Betrayal Trauma Glossary

Betrayal Trauma Glossary

Addictive Behaviors

Addictive behaviors are unhealthy coping skills used to mask underlying issues. These behaviors often develop in youth and are used to numb, avoid, cope with or cover fear, pain, shame, trauma, attachment, rejection or other issues. As addictive behaviors cause an immediate chemical reward in the brain, when they are used, neural pathways are created and reinforced. Because the brain needs new/novel information to stimulate chemical rewards, addictive behaviors are often progressive and drive the user deeper into their addictive behaviors. As a result, regardless of one's intent or will to stop, the individual often falls back into the addictive behaviors.
Addictive behaviors may be punctuated by a pulling away or withdrawal from connection with a spouse or others. Self isolation, a single minded vision, or sole focus on the needs and wants of the addict may also be seen. Empathy and compassion are often replaced with frustration, irritability, coupled with an increased focus on "self" and needs, rather than reaching out, serving, and connecting with others. These behaviors may also include secretiveness, large or undisclosed impulse purchases, non-logical reasoning, and a spouse may often note that something is "off" or not quite right.

Addict Brain

Addict brain refers to a biological/behavioral state when an individual has addictive chemicals accumulating to an unhealthy level in their brain. This may affect rational reasoning and judgement, rather than processing from a clear and logical state. This term is often used with or in lieu of addict fog. Sometimes in this state, the addict may be solely focused on "chasing the next hit" or working feverishly to figure out where/when they can act out again to create another rush of dopamines and chemicals in their brain.
After acting out, residual heightened brain chemicals remain in the brain for 90 days. Behaviors and interactions may be affected by these residual heightened chemicals.

Addict Fog

Addict Fog refers to the mental state of a spouse when they are experiencing the effects of addiction. In this state, they may not be thinking clearly and rationally and their judgement may be clouded by the chemicals swirling around in their brain. They may engage in crazy making or gas lighting behaviors. See addict brain.

Barnacle Self Care Analogy

Adapted by MaryAnn Michaelis from Thomas S. Monson's "You Make A Difference" May 1988
“To some it may seem strange to see ships of many nations loading and unloading cargo along the docks at Portland, Oregon. That city is 100 miles from the ocean. Getting there involves a difficult, often turbulent passage over the bar guarding the Columbia River and a long trip up the Columbia and Willamette Rivers. “But ship captains like to tie up at Portland. They know that as their ships travel the seas, a curious salt water shellfish called a barnacle fastens itself to the hull and stays there for the rest of its life, surrounding itself with a rock-like shell. As more and more barnacles attach themselves, they increase the ship’s drag, slow its progress, decrease its efficiency. “Periodically, the ship must go into dry dock, where with great effort the barnacles are chiseled or scraped off. It’s a difficult, expensive process that ties up the ship for days. But not if the captain can get his ship to Portland. Barnacles can’t live in fresh water. There, in the sweet, fresh waters of the Willamette or Columbia, the barnacles loosen and fall away, and the ship returns to its task lightened and renewed. “Sins are like those barnacles. Hardly anyone goes through life without picking up some. They increase the drag, slow our progress, decrease our efficiency. Unrepented, building up one on another, they can eventually sink us. “In His infinite love and mercy, our Lord has provided a harbor where, through repentance, our barnacles fall away and are forgotten. With our souls lightened and renewed, we can go efficiently about our work and His” (“Harbor of Forgiveness,” 30 Jan. 1988, p. 16).

In applying this analogy to betrayal trauma and self care, the pains and burdens that we carry are like these barnacles. They weigh us down - especially if we try to carry them all on our own. When we feel like we aren't able to talk about and share our stories with others (who have earned the right to hear them), it weighs us down. We are filled with lots of negative emotions, energy and unexpressed pain. Life becomes more heavy, confusing and more difficult.

Self care can be compared to the fresh waters in this analogy. Self-care requires, and allows us to take time to allow ourselves to heal. We sit quietly, we meditate, spend time in the temple, exercise, and focus on our emotional, spiritual, physical and mental needs. We slow down and we move our focus from the things that we can't control (other's behaviors) to those things which we can control - our own behaviors.

As we focus on our own behaviors, allowing ourselves to take personal self care time, our barnacles can begin to fall from our hulls. We are able to release our burdens. As we take this time spiritually, our relationship with God is strengthened. As our relationship with God is strengthened, the weight of the barnacles lessens. They don't drag us down as much anymore as we are able to give our burdens to the Lord.

As we do physical self care, our minds and bodies receive stretching, fresh oxygen, and lots of feel good natural chemicals that naturally lift our moods and spirits. We move from a state of fight or flight and darkness begins to lift as more barnacles drop off.

As we focus on emotional self care, we are able to honor our emotions. We journal and move our thoughts that are inside our heads to paper, where we can look at them objectively. We can recognize Satan's lies. We also find outlets to release the negative emotions and energy - in positive ways that align with our value systems. And more barnacles drop off.

Our mental self care includes education, information and learning. We learn who we are. What we like. We start to learn, see, and tap into our own divinity and power. We learn about tools and resources for our own healing journey and as we begin to utilize them, we are lifted and lightened as more barnacles fall away and we are less weighed down.

While the ships in this analogy just have to sit, waiting for the barnacles to fall off, self care requires action. Sometimes these actions may be small and quiet, yet they require some sort of action. As we are doing these things, seemingly without our notice, our barnacles of secrets, suffering and pain will slowly begin to lessen and eventually they will be removed and lifted.

Self care allows us to find hope, peace, lightness, so that we are able to move forward, more swiftly - healing, rather than requiring an entire overhaul because we ignored those things that were dragging us down.

Betrayal Trauma

Betrayal trauma occurs when women discover that their spouse is or has been engaging in sexual addiction(s) and/or sexual misbehaviors. It includes triggers and emotional recall of traumatic experiences, usually involving discovering their spouse's infidelity - virtual or otherwise. Betrayal trauma occurs not because of the sexual acting out itself, it occurs with the lies and manipulation that have been happening in a relationship that was built on trust and safety. When trust and safety have been broken, relationship/betrayal trauma occurs. Betrayal Trauma includes PTSD like symptoms, including flashes of intense emotions and triggers.


A boundary is an IF/Then statement that allows the individual to create safety for themselves. They recognize that they can't control another's actions or take away their agency. A boundary is then a tool that specifies what they will do or need to do to create safety for themselves in an unsafe environment. For example, "I recognize that you have your agency and can choose to look at pornography in our home. However, IF you choose to view pornography in our home, in order to keep myself and our children safe, THEN I will need to leave and take the children with me for our spiritual and emotional safety." A boundary is not a consequence, it is a safety tool, and it is most effective when carefully and prayerfully pre-determined and disclosed.

Celestial Orientation

Celestial orientation refers to a woman's innate drive or desire to improve things around her. This is not limited solely to her physical environment, but also refers to her desire to nurture, heal and do anything that she can to mend and fix her marriage and/or other relationships. This celestial orientation is often at the base of her hope.


Codependency is characterized by a person belonging to a dysfunctional, one-sided relationship where one person relies on the other for meeting nearly all of their emotional and self-esteem needs. It also describes a relationship that enables another person to maintain their irresponsible, addictive, or underachieving behavior. Co-dependents often feel compelled to solve other people's problems, and codependency is often tied to enabling behavior - they usually end up taking on the irresponsible addict’s responsibilities.

Their behavior starts as a well-intentioned desire to help, but in later stages of addiction, they act out of desperation. The family dynamics become skewed, so that the spouse increasingly over-functions and the addict increasingly under-functions.

This builds resentment on both sides, along with the addict’s expectation that the over-functioning partner will continue to make things right when the addict doesn’t meet his or her responsibilities.

Some examples of codependency are: not being okay because a spouse is not okay or making poor decisions, doing everything for or expending all of your energy on behalf of your spouse, feeling trapped in your relationship, being the one that is constantly making sacrifices in the relationship.

Cracked Foundation Analogy

Crazy Making

See Gas Lighting


D-Day refers to Discovery or Disclosure day. This is the moment when a grenade lands in the spouse's lap, and she discovers or it is disclosed to her that her spouse has a sexual addiction, or has been acting out in sexual misbehaviors. Her whole world, and the foundation of trust upon which her marriage and relationship was built is blown to bits. She is left dazed, in trauma - with PTSD triggers, wounded immeasurably, and in a maelstrom as she tries to distinguish truth from deceit.


Detaching doesn't mean that you stop caring. It means that one honestly stops taking responsibility for another's behavior. One still feels compassion, and hopes for the miracle of a changed heart, but doesn't beat themselves up when it doesn't happen. Part of detachment is recognizing the powerlessness in owning another's actions, and stepping into a space focusing on one's own actions. If a spouse is making unhealthy choices, it would be unwise to continue to try to correct, or cling to them. As one detaches emotionally, they continue to treat their spouse with respect and kindness - just as they would a roommate or neighbor, but they don't engage emotionally in unsafe relationships.

Double Burn Victim

It is not uncommon for me to work with a couple who is experiencing what I call the Double Burn Victim Scenario. Imagine two people who care about each other getting caught in a house fire. Both receive 3 degree burns over a high percentage of their bodies. After being rushed to the emergency room both find themselves in the same hospital room, wrapped tightly in bandages, awaiting the time it takes to heal.
Usually there are hospital staff members there to care for their needs, but in this short-handed hospital, there are times when each starts to experience needs. For instance, let’s pretend she starts experiencing significant thirst. She assesses her situation and concludes that she does not have what it takes to get a glass of water for herself. She does not see the extent of her husband’s burns, so she asks him to get a glass of water for her. He loves her and wants to do things for her, so he tries the best he can to get a glass of water for her. With bandaged hands, he fills a cup with water and takes it to her. As he gets close, he accidentally bumps her wounds and she screams out in pain, smacking his bandaged hands, and knocking the cup of water to the ground. He retreats back to his hospital bed and comes to the conclusion that she is ungrateful, “See if I ever help her again”. This pattern can go the other way as well.
I have never had three degree burns, but I hear that they are so painful it is hard to think about much of anything else. The psychological burns that people experience before coming into my office are equally painful. The pain is so deep in most cases that each comes to the “logical” conclusion that, “My pain must be worse than his or her pain, because it is impossible for someone to be in more pain than I am in.”
Then comes the “who-is-to-blame” element. In most cases, one person is letting natural gas leak into the room while the other lights a match. Each by itself is not destructive, but…. Then comes the, “If you hadn’t…, then I wouldn’t have…!” This goes back and forth for as long as each will let it, often escalating to another blow up that hurts both before it is over. It makes my stomach cringe as I think about all the times I have heard people say things to their loved one, “I was mean to you because you were mean to me first.” Kind of reminds you of an elementary school playground, doesn’t it?
So, in order to overcome the double burn victim scenario, it helps to look at the steps a doctor would take to help the two people in this story/analogy:
(1) Neither really knows how much pain or trauma the other is experiencing. To recover, each needs to acknowledge that the other person may have wounds that are deeper and wider than perceived.
(2) Each has to assume that the other person is doing the best they can. Nobody likes to stay in pain. Some couples I work with conclude that their partner likes to be in pain, just so they can rub it in or hold a grudge.
(3) Each has to do all they can to heal and recover without the help of the other. In a hospital you go to the doctor to help you recover from burns, not to the spouse. With psychological and emotional trauma, go to a professional, books and/or God. Don’t ask for help from your partner until they offer it (see #4). Assume that if they are not offering help it is because they are still too traumatized.
(4) If you start feeling better/stronger, offer assistance to the other. Proceed with caution; you don’t want to re-injure your loved one on accident. You don’t want to get hurt when you are trying to be helpful. Before proceeding, remember you could accidentally “bump” an old wound and if you do, they will probably react (scream). If you can’t handle the reaction without getting upset yourself, then it may be best not to reach out and offer help yet.
(5) Avoid coming to the conclusion that “there is no good reason for you to be in pain.” Even today I heard, “I have done everything humanly possible to meet your needs (eliminate your pain) and I still get my efforts slammed in my face. What is the point in trying?” Another part of this is, “Why don’t you explain to me what I am doing that is hurting you?” The unspoken statement is, “If you can’t explain it, then it is not real.” Another common question is, “What do you need?” These last two questions usually require a medical degree to answer accurately. Your spouse is only guessing why they are still hurting and what they need. Don’t get frustrated when they cannot answer your questions intelligently or if they change their mind often.
(6) Be patient. Because we have a tendency to underestimate the healing process other people go through, we can become impatient. Besides, it is inconvenient for us when they are incapacitated. “If you would get over this faster, my life would be easier.” Don’t worry. Humans hate being in pain. They are more dedicated to healing and recovery than you are.

Drowning Woman Syndrome

Elevated Chemicals

See Brain Chemicals


Enabling removes the natural consequences to an addict of their behavior, and allows them to maintain or continue irresponsible, addictive, or underachieving behaviors which are damaging and unhealthy. Professionals warn against enabling because evidence has shown that an addict experiencing the damaging consequences of his addiction on his life has the most powerful incentive to change. Enablers, rather than addicts, suffer the effects of the addict’s behavior, when rather than refusing to accept their behaviors, they allow them to continue.
When dealing with sexual addiction, if a spouse chooses not to utilize boundaries, and steps around the issues rather than addressing them, she enables continued addiction and misbehavior.

Gas Lighting

Gas Lighting and Crazy Making are interchangeable terms for this phenomenon. Perhaps you find yourself feeling secure in your opinion or feeling regarding something your partner has done. Yet, once you begin to discuss this perception with the other you second guess and doubt what had been firmly in mind. This type of pattern leaves the recipient with "makes-me-crazy" spinning and they are never able to be sure if what they think or are feeling is valid. As a result, they are left hesitant regarding their decisions and ashamed of their emotions. Typically, the culprit who makes you feel crazy in these situations is actually projecting their own insecurities and self-hatred onto you.

God Triangle

This analogy illustrates the importance of reliance upon God, rather than relying on the arm of flesh.

Imagine a triangle, with equal sides, with Heavenly Father at the top, the husband in the bottom left corner, and the woman in the bottom right corner.

In dealing with a spouse's sexual addiction, there's a lot of pain. The wife just wants things to go back to how they were before, or to return to the dream that was promised when she married her husband. And so, many times, the wife will put all of her focus on her husband, trying to help him in his recovery or to find answers and tools that he can use to stop the addiction. As she does this, she often finds that she feels lonely, confused, consumed, dark, heavy, hopeless, exhausted, helpless, despair, and fear. As she does this, she is relying on the arm of flesh - she is trying to rely on her husband to take care of things, and take her back to what was promised, or the life they previously had.

When he says (or indicates) "...I can't do that," she may feel that he is being disconnected, mean, unreliable, irritable, frustrating etc. As she realizes that she can't rely on him and his recovery for her to be okay, she retreats back to her corner of the triangle and says "fine, I'll do it on my own - I don't need you." Although she thought this would be better or easier, she usually feels overwhelmed, confused, rejected, hurt, abandoned, and experiences dark heavy feelings. She is surprised to realize that she doesn't feel any better than she did before.

If she relies on her husband to fix everything so she can feel better, it won't work. Similarly, if she just relies on herself to fix everything, she finds she feels overwhelmed and also doesn't feel any better.

If she can turn to Heavenly Father, there she can find peace, calm, clarity, guidance, direction, light, freedom, and happiness.

She may realize, "I feel lonely, disconnected, overwhelmed, etc. I'm having a hard time and trying to do it on my own. I feel lonely confused, hopeless etc. when my husband is having a hard time. The emotions I want to feel though are the calm, peaceful, clarity, light, guidance so how do I get there?"

Self care and authenticity are tools which bring her closer to, and allow her to be able to rely upon Heavenly Father and find those feelings she seeks. Self care means that she takes personal action in her healing, and it is a ladder that brings her closer to God. This ladder leads her out of chaos. The rungs of the ladder include spiritual, physical, emotional and mental self care. Examples of these may be prayer, exercise, scriptures/conference talks, studying and gaining knowledge of addiction and betrayal trauma, mindfulness and meditation etc. If she is able to take care of herself, then she'll be more peaceful and calm and not as affected by these things. Self care is action oriented, and she must have continuous action to move her from her state of pain.

There is a misconception however, that if she's moving towards God, then it feels like she's moving away from her husband. In reality, the beauty of this triangle is that where ever she is on the ladder - she is never any further away from her husband from any point in the triangle. She can know what to do and have her direction, moving towards God as she seeks peace when her husband cycles or acts out, instead of being stuck. She can still do all of the things on her ladder and still love her husband. As she finds the peace and calm, the clarity and guidance that Heavenly Father provides, she will have help to know what to do if her husband is acting out, and she will know what to do to find her own peace.


Grieving is an important part of healing from betrayal trauma. As an individual experiences D-Day, she discovers that portions of her history with her spouse included lying and cheating, and she realizes that she was living with deception. As she begins to process the betrayal, she will mentally sift through experiences and interactions with her spouse, re-examining and filling in information that was previously surrounded with doubt, holes or gaps, and uncertainty. She will fill in holes and pieces as she re-constructs her shared history with her spouse, as well as her frame of reference with him - as everything she previously believed has been pulled out from under her. As such, she will process through the grief cycle as she works through her healing from this betrayal.

The Grief Cycle

The Grief cycle was identified by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross as emotions and a process which individuals go through as they experience grief. There are 5 stages of this cycle including 1. Denial and isolation; 2. Anger; 3. Bargaining; 4. Depression; 5. Acceptance. People who are grieving do not necessarily go through the stages in the same order or experience all of them. The emotions involved with this grief cycle can often feel like a pin-ball machine, the emotions pinging back and forth without rhyme or reason - often many are experienced simultaneously.

Hit By A Truck

We use an analogy of being hit by a truck to illustrate what a woman experiences & her healing process, upon discovering of, or a spouse’s disclosing of his sexual addiction and/or misbehaviors.

In this analogy, the husband is driving a big truck down the road, but the windows are foggy, and he isn’t able to see out of them clearly. Because of this, as he drives, he careens down the street. As his wife sees his erratic driving, she runs alongside trying to help him, shouting out, “honey, a little more to the left, you’ve just gone over the curb!” and “oh, no -watch out for the neighbor’s flower bed!” and “oops, watch out! You are going to hit the kids who are playing on the lawn!” As she runs along shouting instructions, she tries to help him, to keep him safe, and protect others in his path and around him.
And then, in the process, he swerves and doesn’t see her there – because his windows are foggy (addict fog or addict brain) and she gets run over by this truck. For the wife, this is usually D-Day – when she discovers or he discloses his addiction/misbehaviors. Unknowingly, she had been running along, trying to help him – knowing something was off or not quite right, but not knowing exactly what. She may have shared articles, and books or information with him, that could be helpful to whatever he was dealing with, and oftentimes, throughout the journey, she would think it had something to do with her – if only she were thinner, prettier, smarter, more accomplished etc… then he would be interested in her, or wouldn’t act that way. And so she has spent a lot of time questioning herself and her worth …but in the end Disclosure/Discovery day hits, and she is hit by this big truck that her husband is driving.
After D-Day, as her husband gets out of the cab, he wipes his forehead and says, “Phew! I am SO glad to be out of that truck -that was crazy. I can’t believe it…I couldn’t see anything… it was so foggy. I’m so glad I can see clearly now!” Everything is finally out in the open – now he doesn’t have to hide it anymore…what a relief! And so, as he jumps out of the cab to the ground, he looks around for his wife. He may be relieved that everything is out in the open now and be ready to start working with the Bishop and with his support group - working on his recovery and repentance. As he looks for his wife, he and others may show some frustration. Where in the dickens is his wife? Why isn’t she here helping him? At a time like this, she should be there by his side helping him! Others may also ask why she isn’t there by his side, helping him - she’s his wife, can’t see understand how much help and support he needs? He needs to talk to the Bishop and it’s going to be hard, and he needs her to hold his hand and help him while he goes to this meeting - he needs her help and support while he works on his recovery, because it is going to be really hard, and he isn’t sure if he can do it without her help.
When he finally finds her, he discovers that she is on the ground, lying in a heap, with every single bone in her body crushed and broken. Even though he has an important meeting to go to, he and others may not realize that she needs surgery – and she can’t help him. She has to focus on her own healing. It will take a long time, and she will be in the hospital, in a full body cast for the next several months. She’s in no place to be able to help him, because she has been so painfully crushed, and she will need to use all of her strength, energy and focus to work on her own healing. She may not be able to function, or even get dinner for her kids for a while. She has a very separate journey of healing that she will need to take, and while she would love to help support her husband in his recovery, she is incapable of helping him.
Part of her recovery will be learning to deal with the Betrayal Trauma and the accompanying PTSD type triggers and symptoms caused by his disclosure and actions. She may experience anxiety, intense emotions, self-questioning and doubt, depression, triggering, and she will go through a grieving process.
As she heals, she will need to be able to share her story with other trusted individuals, so that she can process through her pain and emotions, rather than having to bury and hide her emotions in secrecy and shame. This is often most effective in a therapeutic group setting, where she can find validation, express her pain, and learn to set and use appropriate boundaries, through which she can create safety for herself and her children; honor her emotions with dignity, and the importance of self-care – connecting to Heavenly Father every day, and taking care of herself physically, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally each day.

Honoring Emotions

Honoring emotions refers to recognizing and identifying what the emotion is, naming and allowing oneself to feel and allow the energy of the emotion wash over them, and then standing in and stating one’s truth. Difficult emotions are easily and quickly pushed down as one tries to avoid pain and fear. Pushing emotions down instead of acknowledging and processing through them creates a hindrance to healing. Emotions should be honored in manners that correlate to one's behavior systems and with integrity, so that a backlash of shame and emotions doesn't arise due to reactive behaviors outside of one's honor system.
Journaling is an effective method of honoring emotions as it moves the emotions and thoughts from the head - where they were swirling around, to paper where they can be viewed objectively.

Lava/Volcano Analogy – Jennifer Johnson, CMHC

Within the base of a volcano, lava swirls, sometimes bubbling and popping, but generally remaining at the same level. This swirling lava is used to represent some of our underlying emotions such as shame, fear, pain, hopelessness, helplessness, heavy and dark feelings, abandonment, despair, confusion and loneliness. Sometimes things happen triggering our emotions. When triggered, they rise, and we blow our top and lose control. We may finally reach that point where we say, "this is awful, and I am sick and tired of it, and it needs to stop!" and then our anger comes out to protect us. When this happens, our lava - or anger, bursts out and burns everyone around us; it can look like yelling, screaming, hitting, jabbing, criticizing and fault finding, blaming, irritation, and passive aggression. This burning lava doesn't always explode into the sky and land on anyone around you, instead it may quietly trickle and burble down the side of the volcano. While not explosive, it still burns and hurts the ones we love as it trickles down the side, still indicating, "I need to protect myself". This may be expressed through passive aggression, isolation, ignoring and stonewalling.

It is important to understand that anger is a valid secondary emotion, and it is protective in purpose. Not only does it protect it also gives a burst of energy to propel you forward in decision making. Pain, fear and shame are main emotions at the base of our anger with many other underlying emotions. We will always experience emotions, and as we do so, it is important to learn to process and express them while maintaining our integrity and dignity. When we let our lava fly all over those around us we are choosing reactive behaviors, we walk away feeling bad, regretful, and guilty for the things we've said and done because they are hurtful and ultimately outside of our value system of who we truly are. Because reactive behaviors are not what we would typically speak or ways we would act we can feel even worse after the energy from the anger has dissipated.

If we can identify the triggering emotions at our base, (the lava - shame, fear, pain etc.) then we can honor and process through these emotions so that the anger and protective or reactive behaviors don't spew out. If we can identify, "I feel like yelling and screaming.." this red flag can help us recognize that we need to figure out what is going on underneath. As we identify (name) and honor these emotions, allowing ourselves to acknowledge, examine, feel, and experience them, then less lava will spew out to explode and burn those around us, including ourselves.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
Lost Battle

As we recognize that Satan's primary focus and goal is to destroy us, our marriages, and our relationships, the term lost battle refers to the daily battles which occur between ourselves and Satan. Some of our battles occur in our minds as we experience thoughts, which we choose to listen to or ignore - including negative self talk. Other battles are fought and lost/won through our daily choices and interactions. A battle is "lost" when we choose to engage in, or act with behaviors that exist outside of our value systems.
Love Vs. Lust Vs. Sexual Addiction

Love is an intense feeling of affection and care towards another person, with a deep concern for their well-being. It is a profound and caring attraction.

On the other hand, lust is a strong desire of a sexual nature. Pure lust is based solely on physical attraction and fantasy--it often dissipates when the "real person" surfaces. It's the stage of wearing rose colored glasses when he or she "can do no wrong." Being in love doesn't exclude lust. In fact, lust can lead to love. However, real love, not based on idealization or projection, requires time to get to know each other.

Signs of Lust: Focus on a person's looks and body, interest in having sex, but not in having conversations, keeping the relationship on a fantasy level, not discussing real feelings.

Signs of Love: A desire to spend quality time together in various activities (other than sex.) One gets lost in conversation and forgets about the passing hours. A desire to honestly listen to and understand each other's feelings, serve, and help to create comfort and happiness for the other individual. Their influence creates a desire to strive to be a better person.

Lust/Sexual Addiction

Lust Addiction Tree Analogy

Imagine a tree with deep roots running into the ground.

The Roots: The base of the tree and it's roots represent fear, pain, shame, trauma, neglect etc. In order to not experience or feel these difficult emotions, at some point the individual discovers that they can mask, numb, hide or cope with them by using sexually addictive behaviors.

The Trunk: The trunk of the tree represents "lust addiction," as it supports the disconnecting, numbing and isolating behaviors which have been adopted to deal with the difficult issues at found at the root of the tree.

The Branches: Because the brain requires new information to create the chemicals which produce the numbing or coping sensations, sexual misbehaviors are often progressive, and varied. The branches which represent these misbehaviors may include: pornography, masturbation, strip clubs, topless bars, sexting, chatting with other women, massage parlors, voyeurism, inappropriate touching, prostitutes, affairs, raking a woman over as he looks at her, checking other women out, magazines, emotional affairs, dating websites, flirting, fantasizing, online or inappropriate relationships or media. These misbehaviors create chemical surges in the brain which feed the lust addiction - ultimately numbing pain, fear and shame which often lie at the root of the tree.

All of these sexual misbehaviors can cause betrayal trauma to the spouse.

Maurice Harker’s Number Scale

This concept comes from Maurice Harker's book, "Like Dragons Did They Fight" in which a number scale represents the state of the brain and how close it is to "losing a battle" or losing control and participating in addictive or harmful behaviors. The scale ranges between 1-10, but we mostly focus on the 1-5 stages, since this is where battles are won or lost.

1-2 represents the brain chemicals which are beginning to activate and swirl around. Irritability, unclear thinking, and frustration may become more noticeable.

3-4 represents the escalation where logic, reasoning and judgement are lost as the brain begins to engage the limbic (fight, flight or freeze) part of the brain, rather than the logical and judgement based pre-frontal cortex.

5 represents the moment when one loses control and gives into the addiction or misbehaviors which don't coincide with the individual's value system.

Packing Your Wagon

This term references the preparations an individual makes in case they may be forced out of their home. It refers to preparing one's self for a hard journey ahead, on one's own, without the help or support of a husband.

To be wise and prepared, one recognizes that there is a possibility that this may happen, and so both figurative and literal preparations are made. A suitcase (wagon) is prepared with everything that may be needed for her to survive and succeed in the future on her own, and it is available for her at any time of the day, at a moment's notice.

Mental and emotional preparations are made as well, as she prepares to move forward on her own if needed.
See Pioneer Woman Mode.

Pioneer Woman Mode

Pioneer Woman mode embodies the sacrifice that Mormon Utah Pioneer women made. These women were thrust from their homes, often with their children and little or no provisions. They were forced to walk, sometimes barefoot, pulling handcarts with their belongings, responsible for providing for their needs and those of their children.

Pioneer Woman Mode refers to assessing the situation, and creating a safety plan for oneself, including planning and creating financial resources, preparing emotionally/mentally, obtaining education, preparing for provisions and lodging should need arise, or if a husband is no longer able or willing to support his wife and children.

This may also include going back to school, getting life insurance, creating savings, and even packing bags with a plan in place, should it ever be necessary for an individual to move forward without her spouse.

See Packing Your Wagon

Satanic Spin

Satan's sole purpose and focus is to destroy God's children, including individuals, marriages and families. While Satan primarily distracts and attacks men through temptation, one of his most powerful tools of attack on women comes through mental torment.

A Satanic spin refers to the negative thought processes that begin with a thought, and then builds in ferocity.

Similar to a whirlpool, the individual becomes so stuck in the thought process that it becomes difficult to remove themselves from the cycle. When caught in this "spin" they aren't able to think clearly or logically, high emotions are involved, and one may act outside of or contrary to their value system, later asking themselves, "What was I thinking?"

Self – Care

Self-care is the principle of taking care of oneself everyday, based in the following four areas:

Physical - getting out of bed, exercising to move the brain from fight or flight mode and to capitalize on the healthy chemicals that come from exercise and relieve pain and stress.

Emotional - attending a support group, reaching out to others, connecting and building healthy relationships, learning to utilize boundaries, honoring emotions.

Spiritual - connecting with God each day through scripture, prayer, fasting, church meetings, temple, uplifting music, conference talks, church leaders, learning to rely on the arm of God rather than on the arm of flesh, and learning to surrender one's will to follow God's will with faith.

Mental - taking the time to gain education, reading books and articles, researching and learning about addiction, betrayal trauma, and healing.

Sex Fast

A sex fast is a tool used by couples to regroup and reset their intimate relationship. When a sexual addiction is present in a relationship and the addiction may have created a frequent drive toward intimacy - regardless of connection, this tool can be used to help focus on the non-intimate or physical parts of the relationship. Some experts recommend a 90 - day sex fast, which allows any residual addictive chemicals in the brain to disappear. The couple uses this time to learn to enjoy spending time together in non-physical interactions.

Sexual or Lust Addiction

Some addictions, such as drinking or smoking are socially accepted. Sexual, or lust addictions however, carry an inordinate amount of shame. Members of society and culture often begin to squirm and feel uncomfortable when someone mentions sexual addiction or pornography and masturbation. Lust addiction encompasses all sexual acting out and is not specific to just pornography.

Slip vs. Relapse

A slip is considered to be a less serious occurrence than a relapse. Both events are negative, but they differ in the degree of impact they will have on the life of the individual. Slips are when people pick up an addictive behavior or substance after a period of sobriety but stop again almost right away. They might have had one night where they returned to their former behavior but realized right away that it was a mistake. As soon as they sobered up they were able to return to life in recovery. A slip is often a spur of the moment event and not something that the individual has been planning.
A relapse is far more serious than a slip because it means that the individual has returned to their former addiction. The word relapse means to fall again. It often starts off as a slip, but then progresses from there. This relapse may last for days or it could be longer than this. It may mean that the current attempt to escape addiction has been completely abandoned. The individual might never have another opportunity to give up their addiction. The person who relapses can easily end up right back where they started if they don’t stop quickly. The fact that the individual has experienced life away from the addiction, may mean that addiction is more painful than ever.

Sobriety vs. Recovery

There is an important distinction between being "sober" and being in "recovery". The differences are clear to those who have experienced both phases in their healing process from addiction.

When an individual is "sober" from a lust addiction without attending a mutual-help program, therapy, medication, management, then they are in a sense "white knuckling" their sobriety (alcoholics in this state are referred to as being a "dry drunk"). These individuals may be staying away from their addiction, but they are not treating the underlying issues that either led to their indulging in the first place, or which developed as their addiction progressed.

Many "sober" addicts who are not in "recovery" will experience a transfer of addictions that could involve a new addiction to food, gaming, gambling, substances, shopping etc. because they have not found a healthy way to fill the void that the lust had satisfied. They may have stopped acting out, but their life may be exactly the same, leading them to struggle with emotional or mental health issues.

An individual who is in "recovery" is essentially in remission from their addiction. Their addiction is not cured, but is at bay in a way that allows them to be free of the cravings, mental obsession and they have treated their underlying issues (mental health, spiritual, physical) that led to or resulted from their indulgence. These individuals have found a way to fill the void once satisfied by lust through spiritual, emotional and/or behavioral solutions that they have learned through treatment, therapy, medication management and/or mutual help groups. They have made significant changes that have allowed them to find peace in removing lust from their life and to have emotional stability.

Recovery requires the brain and thought processes to be rewired - a process that usually takes at least 1 month, for each year that the addict engaged in mis-behaviors.

Social support, and accountability to an individual other than the spouse are key components for lasting, effective recovery.

Southern Belle Analogy


For a woman experiencing betrayal trauma, spinning may be caused by something that is said or done, or a trigger which throws her into a fight, flight or freeze mode (limbic brain).

Due to a trigger, intense emotions, or crazy making, a woman may struggle to think and process or reconnect logically. Her mind and emotions "spin" around as she feels stuck and unable to "come back down" or remove herself from the spin.
It is difficult to come down to the pain, fear, and shame, which underlie the spinning.

Minimalizing, rationalizing, and justifying are characteristics of spinning. Our mind uses these tools to lessen pain. These are part of denial.

When spinning occurs, an effective tool of reconnection includes writing - which can move the emotions from the head to paper. This can facilitate getting to, and digging down through the fight/flight/freeze state, providing access to the pain, fear, or shame. Additionally, speaking, saying it out loud, and going through the facts of "this is what was said, this is what he told me" allows one to remove the emotions and make it fact based. After writing down the facts, one can step back and say, “If a friend told me these facts, what would it look like? Is it as big as it feels?” They can also bounce it off of a trusted individual, in order to separate the fact from the emotion. This will provide a much better idea of the scope of what one is dealing with. If it can be removed from the head, the individual can step out of the spin.

Because Satan loves to use guilt, or tell us that it isn't that bad, writing everything down that has happened with a child, spouse, sibling, or care giver, along with the associated emotions can aid in isolating truth vs. myth.

Additionally, utilizing the brain chemicals which emerge when fighting to protect a loved one (warrior or mama bear chemicals) can also be an effective tool for removing oneself from the spin. As an individual recognizes who their enemy truly is, and taps into their fight chemicals, they can step out of the spin as they move back into the pre-frontal cortex and logical thinking.

Strengthening Her Tree Analogy

Imagine that there are two trees in a yard, each one representing a spouse. If the wife spends all of her time focused on what is happening with her husband's tree (is he growing? is there new outgrowth? a new weed? is he getting enough water?) then her own tree will be neglected. Because of her misplaced focus and neglect, her roots become brittle and shrink, leaves wilt, fruit doesn't produce, insects and disease invade and attack, and when gales come through, she may be broken and upended, or she may become choked by weeds and slowly wither, shrivel and die.

Similarly, if one is solely focused on the growth, weeding, watering, and tending of another's physical, spiritual, mental, or emotional needs (policing, babysitting, mothering or monitoring a spouse), then they neglect their own needs and their own progress and growth is halted.

If the wife recognizes that the only thing she can control is her own tree, as she connects and reaches up to the skies, she finds sunlight and growth. She finds the air and water that she needs, and with this support and energy, she's able to tend to the weeds of self - doubt and despair, her roots grow deep, her trunk thickens, and she is able to withstand the gales and forces of nature which attack her.

When one recognizes that they cannot control another's progress or growth, and they focus on what is within their realm of influence, (their own growth and progress), they become strong and self - sufficient, better able to interact and connect with God and others. Caring for your tree analogy

Each of us has an emotional tree. If we are focused on helping our spouse "water and take care" of his tree (managing his recovery), then our own tree is neglected. As such, our tree's branches and roots begin to wither and we lose our stability and we stop growing. If however, regardless of how our spouse's recovery is going, if we focus on watering and taking care of our own emotional tree and needs each day, we will be able to survive and reap the fruits of emotional health, regardless of where our spouse is in his recovery process.

Thrive Document

A "thrive document" is a list of conditions that a woman creates, delineating exactly what she needs, to create a safe environment in which she is able to blossom and grow.

Throwing Eggs

Throwing eggs is a technique utilized by women who are seeking an outlet for their anger in healthy and dignified manners. As such, a person can purchase a carton (or two or four) of eggs, and find a place where she can throw them. Sometimes she will label the eggs with the emotions that she is feeling or wants to express. As she throws the eggs, she can scream out the words that are on the eggs, giving voice to her emotions. If a country road isn't readily available, even a bathroom shower wall may suffice. 


Betrayal trauma can cause PTSD like symptoms. As such, an individual may hear, see, smell, taste, touch, something, or even have a thought which "triggers" a flashback or flood of memories. The ensuing emotions that can create a crippling effect both emotionally, and sometimes even physically. Symptoms often include time slowing down, tunnel vision, and an exact recall of minute details of a traumatic experience.

Turtle Analogy

Recovery can be compared to a turtle walking down the street.
A turtle’s shell provides instant safety so that anytime the turtle encounters a threat, it is able to pull its head, arms, legs and tail into its shell, and there it can survive while it awaits safety.

Similarly, when faced with a threat, a woman in recovery can pull into her protective shell where she surrounds herself with her tools and skills. She also has soft pillows, warm blankets, pretty flowers, uplifting music, wonderful smells, helpful books and yummy treats to snack on - things that bring her comfort and that will help her to feel and create safety. Here, inside her shell, surrounded by the things that bring her comfort and help her to feel safe, she will focus on her self - care until it is safe to re-emerge or re-connect.

Sometimes however, before recognizing her own need for, or engaging in her own recovery, she may not realize that as a turtle, she actually has her own shell. As such, she may have solely relied upon her husband’s shell for protection, rather than her own, not realizing how much comfort and peace she could find within her shell.

In relying upon her husband’s shell, she may not realize that his shell isn’t strong enough for both of them. His self-destructive behaviors threaten his shell, and both of their safety. Some of these behaviors serve as a hammer with a spike, and blow by blow, they rain down upon him, weakening and eventually destroying his shell, leaving them both without protection.

As she begins her journey of recovery, she recognizes that she has her own shell, and that its reliability is solely dependent upon her! She reinforces her shell with layers of Worth, built through the practice of daily rituals, boundaries, self - care, and reliance on God. As she adds these layers, she gains confidence through trusting herself, the spirit, and her new tools. And when faced with threats of danger, she finds that she is able to rely upon her own shell for protection. Once the threat of unsafety blows over, she can pop back outside her shell and continue her forward journey.

As she re-emerges from her shell, she may be surprised to find that her progress didn’t go backwards, or back to the beginning, but rather, her journey just temporarily halted. When she is ready, she will pick herself up, shell and all, and continue with her forward progression.

Ug and Thug Analogy

This analogy come from Maurice Harker's book, "I'm Not Okay, You're Not Okay, And That's Okay".

Ug the caveman wakes up and realizes that his wife and children will be cold and hungry if he doesn't get up and provide for them. So, he makes a fire, collects water for them, and then heads out the door. His wife wakes up and notices he is gone, and knows he is out providing for and protecting his family. She feels safe and she takes care of the children and the house. When he comes home, she cooks the family meal and has the energy to interact with him in the bedroom later that evening as she's had a peaceful day.

In contrast, Thug the caveman was taught that he should focus on his feelings and what he wants to do. As such, he wakes up and it is cold, and so he snuggles back into bed, waiting for it to get warm. His wife wakes up and finally goes and starts the fire and collects the water. Thug is stimulated watching his wife work, and invites her to back to the bed. He feels hurt and rejected and doesn't understand why she isn't interested. Thug feels frustrated by his wife's nagging and is relieved when she finally goes out to find some food for their family. He is glad when she comes home because the children were being irritating. As she walks in, he is once again stimulated - she's awesome! and so he invites her to spend some time in the bedroom with him. Thug is confused and unhappy. Why won't his wife meet his needs? Why is she so unpleasant to live with? He spent the day doing things he wanted to do...why is he not happy? Why can't she be like Ug's wife?

This analogy illustrates the principles taught in "The Family A Proclamation To The World," that a man's responsibility is to preside, provide, and protect his family.

A woman's purpose is to nurture. When a man is completing his responsibilities, his wife will feel safe and secure and she will then be free to nurture those around her. When a man neglects these duties and the wife has to pick up the slack, she has little energy or motivation left with which to nurture those around her.

Weather Check

Just as individuals step outside and survey conditions, check the local weather/road reports, watch and prepare for icy roads, dangerous areas, and even closures that will have to be navigated around, women also do this as they take note of their husband's "weather" and temperature.

A simple weather check can be done by laying a hand on a spouse's chest, and listening to his heart and his breathing. As a woman does this, she looks her husband straight in the face, in the eyes, and talks with him. She can tell by the dilation of his pupils, his breathing, the tenseness of his body, and from the light in his eyes whether he is in a good place and being forthright.

As she checks his weather, she listens to the spirit, as well as her own body (listening to your gut) to determine if he is in a 'safe place' for her to engage with him, and if he's there with her.

White Knuckling

In cases of sexual addiction, often times, behaviors are viewed as "a problem I have every now and then, but it isn't an addiction".

White knuckling refers to a length of time when an individual is not acting out on their addiction and so they are going through the motions of sobriety, however despite this, they are not in true recovery because they have not gone through the process and work of rewiring their brain and thinking processes to a point of real recovery.

Individuals may "white knuckle" for years - even decades without being in true recovery.

See sobriety vs. recovery