Jackie interviews Michelle Mays about healing from betrayal trauma. Michelle founded the Center for Relational Recovery, a counseling and training center focused on providing leading-edge treatment to sex addicts, partners of sex addicts, trauma survivors, and those struggling with relationship issues. Michelle’s work is grounded in the idea that all change happens in relationships and that our attachment to others is both the most meaningful and, at times, the most challenging parts of our lives.
TRANSCRIPT: Healing from Betrayal Trauma
Jackie Pack: Hi everyone, welcome to Thanks for Sharing. I’m your host, Jackie Pack. Today on the podcast I’m really excited to have a guest with me today, and it’s been a while since I’ve had a guest on the podcast, and this is one that I have been thinking about and wanting to have for a while, and I just didn’t let her know that I was wanting to have her on the show, so when I reached out to her, she was gracious and accepted, and I’m really excited to have Michelle Mays on the show today. Welcome, Michelle.
Michelle Mays: Thank you. I’m really glad to be here.
Jackie Pack: Thanks. So Michelle… really I’m going to let her introduce herself because she can tell you a little bit more about how amazing she is and the work that she’s doing, but her focus really is on partner healing from betrayal trauma, so talk a little bit, Michelle, about what you do and who you are.
Michelle Mays: Okay. Alright well I’ve been in the field for about 20 years, and I am the founder and clinical director of the Center for Relational Recovery, and that is a counseling center located in Northern Virginia outside of D.C., and at the Center, we provide treatment to betrayed partners, people dealing with childhood trauma, sex addiction, and relationship issues, and we’re really known for treating the whole system at the same time. So we treat the addict, the partner, and the couple simultaneously. I’m also the founder of Partner Hope, and that is an online resource for betrayed partners, and we offer a coaching program called Braving Hope: Becoming the Hero of Your Betrayal Story through there, and that’s where a lot of my work with betrayed partners happens.
Jackie Pack: Awesome.
Michelle Mays: So that’s a little bit about me, yeah.
Jackie Pack: Yeah, so one of the reasons I wanted to have you on is because I think you do a phenomenal job just about the impact of betrayal trauma, and I think therapists and people in general can understand that that’s going to leave a mark so to speak, but I want to have listeners understand a little bit more about the impact of betrayal trauma.
Michelle Mays: Yeah, so when I think about betrayal trauma, I draw a lot on Jennifer Freyd’s work. She’s actually the founder of betrayal trauma theory, and when she started working in that arena, she was working with children, and she was really working with childhood trauma that had betrayal at its center. I think her work is absolutely applicable to adults who also have experiences with betrayal at the center of the experience, and so when we’re talking about betrayal trauma, we’re talking about a relational rupture that happens in a relationship with somebody that you are depended upon, and they betray your trust in a very significant way, and that is experienced by the body and by the mind and by the heart as a terribly disruptive and distressing trauma.
Jackie Pack: And you were mentioning before we hit record just about how for you, you don’t necessarily see the nervous system as separate from the attachment of an individual, so talk a little bit about that as well.
Michelle Mays: Well so the way that I sort of conceptualize betrayal trauma is I think that at the very heart of it is the relational rupture that occurs when betrayal happens. So when we are in our primary relationship with somebody, our partner is our primary attachment figure in the world, so adult attachment actually mirrors childhood attachment, looks the same as it did when we attach to our caregivers, but now we’re attached to our partner, and I have a lot of betrayed partners say to me, well I’m not really attached because he’s been in an addiction or he’s been unavailable or she’s been not really showing up for the relationship, so I don’t think I’m really attached or they’re not attached to me, and the reality is your primary partner is your primary attachment, even if the attachment doesn’t feel good. You have to think about attachment as it’s happening at the level of your body. Our partner actually regulates our heart rate, our blood pressure, our hormone levels, our breathing, so we are attached. If you’re in a relationship, a long-term, romantic relationship, you are attached to your partner even if it doesn’t feel like the attachment is functioning very well. So when betrayal happens, it ruptures that attachment, and it eliminates safety in the relationship. It creates an enormous sense of threat to your relational connection with your partner, and when that happens, that rupture, that relational disconnection that happened so abruptly is what actually creates the distress in the nervous system.
Jackie Pack: Okay.
Michelle Mays: Actually what causes your threat center to fire, everything to start going into distress in your body and all of the trauma symptoms that we talk about when we’re talking about betrayal trauma, they start at the point of relational disconnection. So they start in your attachment system and then they fire out into your nervous system and affect all of your bodily-based systems by putting you in distress.
Jackie Pack: So kind of it starts and then spreads out into the body in terms of like fight / flight, like what would happen when there’s any type of danger to the nervous system?
Michelle Mays: Uh huh. Yeah. So I think one of the things that I think we’ve got a pretty good handle on this in the field is that it does activate normal trauma responses, so when we experience threat, we either go into hyperarousal or hypoarousal, so we’re either getting very stressed, anxious, hypervigilant, revved up, sleepless, etc. or we’re getting depressed, numbed out, frozen, those kinds of things. We’re usually going in one of those two directions, or we’re back and forth between the two of them.
Jackie Pack: Right.
Michelle Mays: I think we’ve got that. We understand that it’s trauma symptoms that are happening. I think the focus of my work right now is really on looking at attachment and how attachment theory informs what’s happening for partners, so the piece that I am really looking at is when all of that goes on in the body, what’s actually happening to us? So what actually happens to us is that we have two motivational systems in our body. We have our threat response system, and we have our attachment system. They both operate on instinct inside of us. They’re motivational, and usually they sync up really well because typically like if you go to work and you have a bad day at the office, you have a conflict with your boss or something happens, you want to text your partner. You’re at your desk, you pick up your phone, you text your partner, right? You want to talk about it with them at the end of the day. That is how our attachment system operates. When we go into distress, our attachment system fires and says move closer to your primary attachment figure. So when we experience betrayal at the hands of our partner, now we’ve got an attachment system that is firing and saying move toward your partner, they’re the person you turn to when you’re distressed, but we’ve also got a threat response system firing that says fight or run away or freeze, like get away from the danger in some way.
Jackie Pack: Right.
Michelle Mays: Now these two systems that usually work well together, are actually now opposing one another, and this is like this enormous dilemma, I call this attachment ambivalence that partners get caught up in with their partner because they are in this dilemma of the very person that I normally turn to for support, comfort, reassurance, they’re my person in the world, is now the person who is also dangerous to me and a threat to me and has caused my pain, and I now don’t know whether I should move toward them or away from them. My attachment system is saying move toward and my threat response system is saying move away.
Jackie Pack: Right.
Michelle Mays: And now I am caught in this bind and I’m in enormous distress, and everything is firing in my body in both directions, and I don’t really know what to do with myself.
Jackie Pack: A couple of questions as I was listening to you. Number one, do you find that they’re attachment story prior to this adult relationship informs that response at all, or magnifies it, or how does that work?
Michelle Mays: You know, I think with everybody your attachment style informs how you respond to things. So it definitely has an impact on it. However, what I would say just over many, many years of observing partners is that when you experience betrayal, regardless of whether you are securely attached, insecurely attached, whatever, you are usually thrown into this kind of chaos and this kind of moving toward, moving away, moving toward, moving away, moving toward, moving away dynamic that that’s attachment ambivalence, regardless of what your attachment system looked like beforehand.
Jackie Pack: Okay.
Michelle Mays: I see really secure partners get in that. I’ve seen insecure partners in that. I think this is sometimes why partners in the treatment field get overdiagnosed as borderline or overdiagnosed… they’re caught in this biologically based dilemma of moving toward, moving away, moving toward, moving away, that’s these two systems working at work in their body, and so I think what happens for partners is how their attachment system functions, their typical attachment style how it functions can change in the aftermath of betrayal, so you could take somebody who was securely attached beforehand and they would look very insecurely attached when they’re in this dynamic, or you could take somebody who is insecurely attached, and they could look like they are fearful avoidant, which is a high trauma… when you’re fearful avoidant is when you’re both, you’re using all the coping skills interchangeably, all the coping relationally interchangeably. I think post-betrayal, it can look different for a period of time than what your typical attachment style might look like.
Jackie Pack: Okay.
Michelle Mays: Does that make sense?
Jackie Pack: It does. It does make sense. This wasn’t my second part. I’ll get to that, but because I find sometimes in partner groups how their spouse acted out, there’s kind of a hierarchy that partners feel. Like if my partner only acted out with pornography vs. acted out with actual live people vs. acting out with males, partner’s female, partners seem to feel like that’s an issue. I find that. They don’t want to be the only partner where their spouse acted out with somebody in real life vs. everybody else was with pornography, but do you find a man… I’m guessing the answer, but do you find that really again there’s much difference? Because betrayal is betrayal.
Michelle Mays: Yeah, at the level of your body and how your body experiences betrayal, it really doesn’t matter which category of behavior you’re falling into. You’ve experienced that fundamental rupture in the attachment, and then I mean we haven’t even talked about the lying and what all the lying does on top of that, but it just decreases trust and safety so radically within the relationship, and it’s such a betrayal of trust, which is your fundamental thing that you need for safety in the relationship. So it really doesn’t matter what behavior category your partner is in. The body experiences it the same way each time.
Jackie Pack: So would that thought of like if only he had done this, or if only he hadn’t done that, is that just part of that hyperarousal, just kind of that bouncing around, trying to find something to land on or trying to find something that maybe starts to settle?
Michelle Mays: I think it’s bargaining with grief.
Jackie Pack: Okay, yeah, right.
I think that betrayed partners are trying to figure out a way to make what has happened to them manageable, and one of the ways to do that is to think about how it could be worse. Well at least it wasn’t X, which now makes this feel a little bit more manageable to me. But it’s just trying to manage your grief and your loss around what has happened to you, and I don’t actually think it’s a very helpful way to do it because I think the reality is what has happened has happened, and now there is the work of working through that period, and so the whole thing about well it could always be worse, anytime I hear anybody talk like that, whether it’s a betrayed partner or it’s somebody who I’m dealing with their family of origin trauma, it’s a way of sort of not coming into contact with what did happen to you.
Jackie Pack: Right.
Michelle Mays: You have to come into contact with it to begin to heal it, so I don’t think it’s actually very helpful, but it’s a normal thing that partners do.
Jackie Pack: Kind of this illusion of protection.
Michelle Mays: Yeah, it’s a coping mechanism.
Jackie Pack: Yeah. This was my other question. I know with addicts, we kind of have timelines with things, and again all timelines are subject to change and are based on the individual client, but what does that look like for partners moving through betrayal trauma?
Michelle Mays: So I think for a lot of partners in the immediate aftermath of discovery, that is when everything is just so extremely acute because your normal coping abilities have been blown out. Your normal coping abilities are not enough usually for what has happened, and so now you’re sort of scrambling around trying to figure out how to manage this thing that’s really just blown you outside of all your normal resources. At the exact same time, you’re often in a dynamic with your partner where your partner who has cheated, however they’ve cheated, in whatever form or fashion that looks like, they’ve often been caught. Usually that’s what happens, not always, but they’ve often been caught, and now they are also in this like I talk often about how the cheating partner gets caught and there are competing attachments. They’re attached to you, they’re attached to their addiction, and now they have to decide because now that everybody knows about it, most betrayed partners are saying, guess what? The gig is up.
Jackie Pack: Right.
Michelle Mays: You now must choose, and you better choose me, or else, we’re not going to be together, and often the cheating partner or the addicted partner is actually trying to keep their other attachment while managing their primary attachment, so there’s ongoing lying, there’s ongoing discoveries, so the betrayed partner is often in the most acute stage of things because the betrayals continue to unfold, even as their coping capacity is maxed out so severely. So that can go on for differing amounts of time for people, but that’s kind of the normal first stage of things. I think when we see things kind of shift on that and shift out of that is when either the betrayed partner gets real clarity about I’m not willing to continue in this if the lying keeps going on, if the betrayal keeps going on, then I’m not willing to do this, and they sort of rescue themselves out of that by either setting really crisp, clear boundaries, or they may exit the relationship.
Jackie Pack: Okay.
Michelle Mays: Or the other thing that I see shifted is the cheating partner comes to Jesus and figures out I have to give up my addiction, I have to give up the competing attachment, I have to get into recovery, and they start working on things, and then the couple typically will move into the phase where they start to actually deal with what’s happened.
Jackie Pack: Okay.
Michelle Mays: And this is where the partner starts to actually get help managing the trauma symptoms, get help knowing how to do relationship with this person as they’re trying to work on things, disclosure, full disclosure typically happens during this stage. There’s a lot of work that happens to help manage and support and build skills around what has happened, and then the next stage after that is usually post-disclosure, and that’s the stage where if you’re staying together as a couple and you’re both working on things, you’re often now really doing the deeper repair work around what actually happened during the cheating, so you’re really doing the deeper emotional work to rebuild the relationship. I think if you’re single, if you’re not staying in your relationship, those phases are the same, but I think there is this middle phase of doing the work to really understand the trauma, understand what happened, deal with your trauma symptoms, build skills, etc., and then I would say that last stage, instead of being a repair stage with your partner is really about repairing with yourself and learning how to do relationships differently and beginning to think about who do I want as a new partner, and how would I do that in a very different way?
Jackie Pack: Right.
Michelle Mays: So I think those… that’s kind of how I see the stages and phases of treatment.
Jackie Pack: I know I’m going to have people email me and say, but what about the timeline? It’s just really hard to put a time to those stages.
Michelle Mays: It’s so hard to put a time to the stages because I have seen people come in, have discovery, the partner gets really clear really fast, sets really crisp boundaries, the addict gets clear really fast, gets into recovery, things go much quicker.
Jackie Pack: Right.
Michelle Mays: Then I’ve seen other people who they stay in this initial acute trauma with the unfolding lying and betrayals, I’ve seen people do that for four years.
Jackie Pack: Right.
Michelle Mays: I mean I have literally seen people stay, and that’s like a hell realm, but I’ve seen people stay there for very long periods of time. So it really varies a lot, but I would say if you’re a betrayed partner, the key to it all is for you to get clear about where your power lies in the relationship and to begin to operate out of your power, your personal power and out of a place with empowerment to set boundaries, to use your voice effectively, to ask for what you need, to do all those things that are really scary to do, but are the things that actually bring change and move you out of that terribly acute phase where it feels so, so painful.
Jackie Pack: So I know we had briefly talked too just about male partners and what you see male partners in terms of the work that you do with betrayal trauma.
Michelle Mays: Yeah, so we do work with male partners. I don’t really see huge differences between male and female partners, and male partners out there, feel free to correct me on that, but I think we’ve been socialized differently, and so I think for women, women tend to very much see themselves as responsible for the partner’s cheating. I think our culture tells women that if you get cheated on, you did something wrong, you couldn’t hold onto your man kind of thing.
Jackie Pack: Or not doing enough.
Michelle Mays: Yeah, so in some way it’s your fault that this happened, so I think there’s a little bit of a heavier burden for women in that way, but I think for men, men are socialized so that I think affairs and cheating hit their sense of being a cuckhold like you’re not man enough kind of in some way, so I think it’s interesting, but where I see that it’s identical as the same thing whether is that you’re a man or a woman, it sort of hits you at the heart of your sense of femininity / masculinity, wherever you are with that. It hits that man or woman enough feeling in a similar way just experienced by different genders differently.
Jackie Pack: So you find, though, that males working with female partners, male partners working with female partners, it’s successful, they can relate, they can support, they can identify with each other?
Michelle Mays: Yeah, so we have had mixed groups that we’ve run at the center with men and women both in partner groups together. I know we’ve got men in our coaching program with a bunch of women doing really well in there. I run a private Facebook group for betrayed partners. We’ve got a slew of men in there, a ton of men in there, and everybody is talking the same language and sharing the same stories and offering support in the same ways to one another.
Jackie Pack: Yeah, which is great. I’m going to have you at the end kind of go over again the resources you offer because particularly, I mean I think your resources are great for female partners, but particularly there just is a shortage for male partners, so I’ll have you go through that again too.
Michelle Mays: Yeah, sure, yeah.
Jackie Pack: So let’s talk for a minute about maybe some of the socialization. When I had reached out to you and we were emailing back and forth, I had said sometimes I find partners who… and I think this goes to some of the socialization and the messages that they received. They really find themselves somewhat helpless in this healing process and really feel that they are dependent on his healing for their healing to take place, but I noticed when you were talking you talked about that phase of partners rescuing themselves. So let’s talk a little bit more about that.
Michelle Mays: Yeah, so I think that probably does have a lot to do with socialization. I also think it has an enormous amount to do with fear. So one of the biggest things I see with betrayed partners is they’ve gone through the experience of betrayal, which means they’ve experienced massive loss. They’ve experienced loss of the relationship they thought they had. They’ve lost their memories often if the cheating goes back years and years. They’ve lost what they thought the future was going to be. They’ve lost their present. There’s so much loss, and all of it is relational, and then what I see happen is for betrayed partners to be able to do what you need to do to help yourself with your healing, you have to do things that are going to risk more loss. So for example, if you need to set a boundary around let’s say you’ve got a spouse who’s very, very sick. Their acting out has been extreme, it’s gone on for years, and you know they can’t get well in outpatient. They’ve got to go to residential treatment, and you’ve got to set a boundary where you ask them to go to residential treatment, and your boundary is that if they don’t, you’re going to need to formally separate from them. Well that’s an enormous risk because what if they say no, I’m not going, and then you have to separate from them?
Jackie Pack: Right, and it feels like the addict, the cheating partner would have all of the power.
Michelle Mays: Yes, and you then will experience more loss because now you have to… somebody’s got to move out of the house. It’s just more loss, and so I think what happens for partners a lot of times is that they have enormous fear about asking for what they need, setting boundaries, using their voice effectively, all the things they need to do because they are afraid they’re going to experience more loss, and instead because they don’t know how to push through that fear and do what they need to do, they will often instead remain in powerlessness and stay powerless and stay focused on what is my partner doing? What is my partner not doing? And they will use language as though they have no ability to influence what’s going on with their partner at all. They’re sort of at the mercy of what their partner is doing. They’ve sort of forgotten that oh I do have a choice here. I could do something about this for myself, but in order to do that, I would have to risk loss. I would have to put something on the line and risk my partner saying no, and that is so scary and so dysregulating that partners will stay in a helpless stance a lot of times instead and stay in disempowerment and powerlessness instead. And then I think you’ve got the socialization piece on top of that, sort of bent toward that.
Jackie Pack: Right.
Michelle Mays: So I think there are reasons why this is happening, but I think it is… to me, it is the biggest thing that we’re focused on, like in the coaching program, the biggest thing we’re focused on is helping people move through this fear and face this fear and move through it because you can be a therapist working with a betrayed partner, and you’ve taught them how to set boundaries, you’ve taught them how to use their voice, you’ve taught them all this stuff and they’re not doing it. A lot of therapists I think get stuck there, and they think like I don’t know what else to do, and the reality is you’ve got to now walk into the heart of the fear because until you walk into the heart of the fear that’s keeping the person from being able to use the skills you’ve taught them, they’re going to stay stuck, and they’re going to stay in disempowerment and powerlessness and helplessness, and so I think our job as therapists is to be really aware of this fear dynamic that it’s relational, that it’s about our attachment systems, it’s about the fear of relational loss, and help partners move into and face the fear because ultimately as a betrayed partner, you need to be able to leave your relationship if you need to in order to choose to stay in your relationship. You don’t want to stay because you’re stuck. You want to stay because you have chosen to stay.
Jackie Pack: I say if no is not an option, you can’t really ever say yes.
Michelle Mays: You can’t say yes. Yeah. You can’t do it. So you’ve got to have the ego strength, you’ve got to grow your ego strength and your inner resources and resilience until you could say no, and I think that’s a big journey for a lot of partners because they don’t have that at the beginning. They don’t have that ability to say no, so that’s a lot of the work that’s happening in therapy and in recovery.
Jackie Pack: So let me give you an example. I see sometimes partners who they’re more in the advanced, they’ve done some boundary setting, gotten clear with themselves, explored options and have decided to stay, and their partner, their cheating partner is working on recovery and getting more honest and getting more transparent and relational, and I have them often just say to me like there’s just this… like I can trust 75%. I don’t know if I can go to 95%. Is that still going back into the fear? Like what do you do in those situations, or what would you talk to partners about then?
Michelle Mays: Yeah, I think that’s absolutely about the fear. It’s that fear of becoming vulnerable again. You know, I can do it up to a certain degree, but when I hit this one layer or level of vulnerability, I can’t go past that. I’m going to be too vulnerable to this person who could hurt me again, so I think that is a lot of work on the fear. It’s a lot of work on the vulnerability. Its’ a lot of work honestly with the couple because I think at that point it isn’t just up to the betrayed partner to push through that vulnerability. It’s really up to them as a couple to team together to be able to do that, and in some ways it’s like… let’s say it’s a she in this circumstance. She shouldn’t be asked to jump over the cliff by herself.
Jackie Pack: Right.
Michelle Mays: They’ve got to jump off together. They’ve got to hold hands and jump off together, and they’ve got to be there for one another as they do that, so I think there’s a lot of work with the couple for that last 30% or 25% of trust, of learning how to do that with one another, but then there is also a place where the betrayed partner does have to say I’m going to go into the fear. I’m going to go through the fear here. And I talk a lot with my partners about anticipatory fear, and a lot of it is like the anticipation of going off the cliff, and then you jump off the cliff and you find out oh it was only a one-foot drop. The ground was right there for me. I didn’t know. So I think there is a place where the partners do have to do that, and I think one of the things that helps partners is to help them think about what if the worst were to happen. What if you made yourself vulnerable again and your partner relapsed, etc.? I think partners hold in their mind the first discovery is such a blindsiding event, and they hold that in their mind. They don’t ever want to be blindsided like that again, and I think doing some processing around if this were to happen, it’s not going to feel the same way it did the first time. It’s not going… you have all these skills you’ve built, you’ve got all this internal strength that you didn’t have before, you’ve got a community around you. You know where to go for help and support. It’s not going to feel… even if the worst were to happen, it’s not going to feel like it did back here. I remember one of my partners that I worked with years ago, and when she came into therapy, early on in therapy she asked me some question. I don’t remember what it was, but I basically said to her, look, the goal is for you to be in a place where even if your spouse went off the rails again, you knew to the core of your being that you would still be okay, and she was like, well that is a pipe dream! She was like, that’s is a pipe dream! I do not believe you. I do not think I can do that. I was like, let’s just see.
Jackie Pack: Right.
Michelle Mays: By the time she left therapy, she said to me, I absolutely know that if my husband were to relapse, if he were to go back into his addiction, I would be absolutely okay. She had done all the work and built those internal resources. So I think some of it is helping partners catch that vision for the change inside of them. That can happen so that even if… it’s not that it wouldn’t be painful. It’s not that it wouldn’t be disappointing, etc. But it’s not going to knock you down like that first thing did.
Jackie Pack: Right.
Michelle Mays: It’s not going to do that to you again.
Jackie Pack: We have where I work I think just in the population of Utah, we have a lot of partners coming in who are also there’s that layer because they’re financially dependent. They’re stay-at-home moms, they’ve not worked since they were 19, 20. They often don’t have skills to get a job to support what they would need, so they’re not… they know that. They’re saying like I’m not going to be financially independent. I’m not going to be financially able to give my kids and myself the lifestyle we’ve had, we’ve been used to, and so that can take some time getting them to that place where they know that they will be okay if the worst happens, if their partner goes off the rails and doesn’t get back on, they can jump themselves and rescue themselves.
Michelle Mays: Yeah, I think that is one of those dynamics where I think it can feel for a betrayed partner in that circumstance, the powerlessness can feel really, really big because of the lack of access to financial resources, and so it does take a lot of work over time on it, creativity, really being able to think about what would I do if this were to happen? What could happen? Really helping the partner start to think about how do I have a plan for if this were to happen? Because without that sense of there is some kind of plan and resources for me that I’ve identified and I’ve had to get creative and maybe my lifestyle wouldn’t be the same, but I know I would be okay, or whatever it is, if that isn’t there, then that feeling of powerlessness stays really high, and you will then act out of your powerlessness toward your partner. You act out of that powerlessness within the relationship because it feels so bad.
Jackie Pack: Right.
Michelle Mays: It does not feel good to be powerless and stuck in a relationship. So what we want with betrayed partners is for them to over time be able to do whatever it is in their circumstances. Everybody’s circumstances are so different, but that moves them out of that feeling of powerlessness and into choice and taking responsibility for themselves, coming to their own rescue, knowing what they’re going to do to help themselves in the “what if?” kind of situations.
Jackie Pack: I could talk to you for another hour, but I told you we had a timeframe, and I’m going to honor that for you, but any final words as we wrap up or things that you say to partners who are starting this journey or are in the journey and have been for a while?
Michelle Mays: You know, I think the biggest thing that I say to partners who are starting the journey is that there is a really clear path through. It isn’t mysterious. We know how to get you from point A to point B, and it is absolutely possible to come out the other side of this and be a whole, flourishing person. It doesn’t feel like that at the beginning. It’s so devastating at the beginning, but it is absolutely possible to come through it and come out the other end and come out the other end stronger and more resilient and with a new perspective and building a different life. So I think that’s the biggest thing I really want betrayed partners to be aware of is that is absolutely possible to do.
Jackie Pack: Right, yeah. I love that, and I love seeing partners get to that place.
Michelle Mays: Yes. It’s so rewarding. Yeah.
Jackie Pack: So again your website is the Center for Relational Recovery, right?
Michelle Mays: So it’s www.relationalrecovery.com for the counseling center, and it’s www.partnerhope.com. I blog there about betrayed partners, so there’s lots of resources there on that blog. You can subscribe to the blog. There’s a master class on that website that partners can watch that’s about an hour long. It’s free, and then there’s also the coaching program and all of that on the Partner Hope website.
Jackie Pack: And I can’t say enough to listeners just about how solid your resources are and the work that you guys are doing, offering resources to partners. I think it’s some of the best work out there for partners right now.
Michelle Mays: Well thank you. I really love doing it. I love the work that we’re doing. I love seeing people change their lives and what can happen. It’s really, really fun.
Jackie Pack: Yeah. Awesome. Well thank you so much, Michelle, for sharing your knowledge with us and what is available to partners.
Michelle Mays: Yeah, absolutely, You’re welcome. Thank you.