[00:00] – Introduction
[0:54] – Bethany continues with her reaction to her grandmother’s accusations
[01:42] – The family members respond to Bethany reporting her father for sexual abuse
[02:41] – Family members accuse Bethany of reporting her dad for financial gain
[03:19] – More family members turn against Bethany
[05:26] – My dad offers Bethany a bribe to not testify
[07:10] – My dad attacks Bethany for reporting her dad
[09:18] – We discover there was a recorded phone call from jail discussing the bribery amount
[10:07] – Bethany struggles as the case drags on and takes an emotional toll
[11:07] – The prosecutor offers a plea deal
[12:02] – Bethany’s response to the plea deal and her decision to move on with her life
[13:12] – With the case behind us, we focus on healing and I discover I wasn’t as healed as I thought
[14:19] – We find tools that propel us forward in our healing journey
[16:37] – The results of healing Bethany has experienced
Free Resource: Free Trigger Journal to Download
You can have the support of friends and from professionals, but they can’t do the work for you, in the same way that you can’t hire a personal trainer and have them get in shape for you.
Bethany is the cofounder of Overcoming Sexual Abuse and is a successful business owner. She’s a wife and mother of two. She’s passionate about holistic health, gardening and beauty.
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Welcome to the Overcoming Sexual Abuse podcast where you get the tools and inspiration to help you overcome childhood sexual abuse. I’m your host, Christina Enevoldsen, certified coach, author and incest survivor, and I’m here to help you heal and live your very best life!
I’m joined again by my daughter Bethany, who’s also the co-founder of Overcoming Sexual Abuse. We continue to share how we stood up to our incest family together, and both the painful and yet empowering effects of that. Then we share how that helped us as we started on the healing journey. In the previous episode, Bethany and I shared the experience of reporting her dad for sexual abuse and his arrest. We left off with Bethany getting a painful rejection from her grandmother.
I spoke to my grandmother on the phone. The first thing she said to me is, you wicked, wicked girl. And to me know, it’s just, it’s burned in my mind forever. But she told you you destroyed the family. Yeah. We can laugh about that. We can laugh about that now. But it was not laughing matter then. No. There was so much pain initially, and the breaking up of the family. We always had this. Um, and, and also remember my idea of being a good, healthy person was not having a dysfunctional family. Yes. And now we’re just, you know, we’re just, we were so isolated. We were definitely the black sheep, and there was just so much pain.
And there was one hearing that I went to where, um, the family members on the other side of the aisle just stared me down the entire time. And it was just as much as I was sitting there, like trying to keep it together, and I wanted to have this look, this look on my face, like it didn’t affect me. This did not, this doesn’t bother me. I’m fine. And you have no effect on me. It hurt terribly. Yeah. Um, you know, these are people that used to tell me that they loved me. Yeah. And now they’re looking at me like I’m disgusting. Yeah. And the majority of them turn their back on me. And it was really painful.
It was this huge accusation that I was doing this for, um, that I just wanted to get back at my dad for not, um, one of the things they accused me of was for not financially supporting me. Yeah. Oh, so ridiculous.
Um, there was many other things. And then they started accusing me of shoes only in this for the money, which it was a, um, a criminal case. Not a civil case. You weren’t gonna get any money. No, I wasn’t gonna get any money.So your, and it was my dad also. Your grandpa turned against you and supported your dad Yeah. And your brother. Right. And his wife. They tried, they look helped look for a lawyer. Yeah. Yeah. So it was really hard knowing that even people on your side of the family Yeah. Were colluding against me. Yeah. And there was only, there was two people on my dad’s side that, um, that spoke up mm-hmm. And supported me. And that meant a lot. Yeah. But, you know, it was still so lonely. And we went from having holidays with a lot of people and having this feeling of, um, big familyto nothing. Um, And not only that, it wasn’t just, they weren’t there anymore. They were against you. Right.
And I think the most hurtful one though was my grandma. Mm-hmm. Because I just, I knew other people were gonna turn against me. Mm-hmm. Of course. Um, but I just never expected her. Mm-hmm. Like, in a million years, I would’ve said, of course she would support me. And she just, yeah. It was, that was a, uh, it was shocking. Yeah. So I really didn’t know what to do with that for a really long time. And, uh, I think we were both mourning that relationship together for a long time. Yeah. ’cause I, she had kicked me outta the family a year before. Mm-hmm. And so I was grieving that, and then it was all afresh when she did the same to you. Yeah.
And so then what happened? So maybe two months or so, maybe a month and a half after, um, after my dad was arrested, my grandma and grandpa were trying to reach out to me. And it sounded like my grandma wanted to make an apology, but I just was not willing to talk to her after that. I was so, I was in so much pain and I needed her to be at a distance. So I didn’t call her back, but my grandpa kept trying to reach out to me. We were all, because at that point you had moved in with us and we were, it was Don, me and you, we were all basically in the same room. And my dad called you first. Then he called my phone when he couldn’t, when you didn’t answer. And then he called Don, and Don answered. But Don was recording the conversation. It was epic. Yes.
He was basically calling to find out how much it would take, how much money it would take for you not to testify. Right. They, you know, they seemed to think at that time. ’cause I remember them like the, like how much, how, what would it take for Bethany to drop charges? And that’s not how it works. Right. Um, once the charges in a criminal case are brought, that’s it. Like I said, it’s the state’s business now.
And so in that conversation, Don can confronted my dad and asked him if he believed what happened, and he dismissed the question and instead attacked you and said, oh, Bethany, she was shacking up with that guy and tried to make you, um, sound like I’m not perfect. She said he, he said, um, oh, well, Bethany’s not perfect. Right, Right. She’s, I was living with a boyfriend at the time, like, oh, that is the same as, uh, molesting your daughter for years on end. They’re equal. Right. So Bethany has no right to throw stones. No, no. She is not, she’s not perfect.
So, um, he asked what it would take for me not to testify. And, uh, Don kept pushing like, what do you mean? And he is like, you know what I mean?And it was, um, uh, and Don’s like, he really wanted them to say it. Right. Like, well, why don’t you, why don’t you just say it? They fell into the trap again. Yeah, yeah. Um, After all this time, you’d think that they would learn their lesson, but they fell into the trap again and he offered money. How much money would it take to make all this go away? Yeah.
So that was really, that was really painful. And I was really glad that Don set them straight because he said, no amount of money can fix this, can make any of what he did. Go away. Right. Little did we know that that conversation, that phone call from my dad came because of a conversation that my dad and your dad had. Yeah. They, uh, had a conversation in the jail, and they record all of those conversations in the jail. So when we turned in that, um, recording that Don had made of grandpa, the prosecutor then went and looked at the recordings of, uh, of the jail. And that was one of the things was talking about what the bribe amount would be. And the prosecutor indicated that that was enough to convict. Right. An admission of, of guilt. Yeah.
It really felt like a victory then because it was just like, wow, we have so much. It was just we were swimming in evidence. Yes. And, but the court case went on and went on and it was just hearing after hearing that just, I didn’t even know what any of them were about. Yeah. And the, the case went on for, how long was it two years? Yeah. It was, I think just shy of two years. The fact that it dragged on so long and it was, it took such an emotional toll. It was a sense of a big part of your life being in limbo. And like you said, you did this as a way to take back control of your life, but it was a sense of it being in somebody else’s hands.
And then finally the prosecutor offered him a plea deal for 15 years. It took a while. Yes. That sat for a long time. Yeah. And then he finally accepted that, And it was 15 with no chance of parole. Right. It was definitely bittersweet. Yes.
Now I am so happy and I’m so proud that I did that. Yeah. I think it’s so amazing and I think it’s a good reminder every once in a while when I’m feeling kind of crappy. Oh yeah. I remember that awesome thing. Like when I tell other people the response is like, oh my gosh. Yeah. Like what a powerful Yeah. Amazing thing that is to do. Um, you must be so strong. Yeah. And it’s a good reminder of who I am. Yes. Wow.After he accepted the plea deal, at that point, I knew that I needed to move on with my life, but it brought up all these issues and I think it brought up a lot of issues that we were both able to deal with together. Yeah. So we were able to talk it out, and that was, I mean, that was so much of the initial part of the healing. It was together. Yeah. And, um, us working on these family issues, which are all intertwined. Yes. When you’re in a incest family, it’s all the same. Yeah. It’s all, it’s all intertwined because, um, these dynamics are all around the abuse. Yeah. So we were really able to work on that together, and I think that that helped so much to be able to have a common, uh, experience Yes. And to come to these realizations together. Yes. Um, so I think of that time as like this, um, incubator for healing. Right.
When you were decided you were ready to heal, we went to Barnes and Noble to see what we could find, what we, what information we could find to heal and collected anything that looked like it might be helpful. And we brought the stacks to the table in the cafe with a couple of chai lattes, and that was when I opened one of the books and I read two lines and felt myself being sucked backward through a tunnel and I burst out crying. And that was my first aha moment that, oh, I guess I have something to heal from too.
I guess whatever little attention that I had given it in the past, I just thought, yeah, I was fine until that moment. So that was my invitation to also go on the healing journey.
And one of the things that stands out to me is that we looked at triggers as something helpful to our healing process that we didn’t shy away. We didn’t organize our lives around avoiding triggers. We had them all over the place because of the family stuff that was going on. Because all the dynamics that were happening were a repeat of your childhood and my childhood.
We were writing a lot, we were doing a lot of journaling and everything. When we were dealing with something really heavy, sometimes new things would come up and it was just too much. So we would write it down and we’d come back to it. And I think that was really helpful. Like, oh, this is something, I can’t face this right now, but I’m going to address this later.
Having support is vital to the healing process. And I think that’s why we were able to move so quickly through it. Um, we had each other, plus we had support in in other people.
I did go to a counselor and it was such a terrible experience, and I just remember telling my story and the shock on her face, it just seemed like it was way too much for her at the time. So it really made me realize I need to take healing into my own hands. You have to put in the work yourself, and you have to really dive in yourself. It doesn’t mean that you can’t get help from people. And I think that there’s so much great help to be had. Um, you’re a really great help to people, but I think it’s so important to realize you are the one who needs to do the work. Yes.
You can have the support of friends and from professionals, but they can’t do the work for you, in the same way that you can’t hire a personal trainer and have them get in shape for you. It just doesn’t work like that.
How do you define healing? For me, the markers of healing were finally allowing myself to have success outside of my dad. Yeah. That I was gonna be, that I was, um, not relying on that relationship for success. Because you’re self-employed now. You have a very successful business. Yeah.
And I think I really needed to separate from that relationship with my dad and that family that, um, that I no longer identify with. Yeah. You forged your own identity. Yeah. Apart from that. Sure. Yeah. Your business exploded.
And the other thing I really see is how you care for yourself, like from a physical standpoint. Um, that when you’ve dealt with a lot of, uh, like physical issues, you’ve sought help, you’ve invested a lot of time, energy, and money and money into making yourself healthy. Mm-hmm. And you really treat yourself well now. Yeah. I think that, um, I see that as important now. Yeah. Because you’re important now. Yeah. You, you really believe that now. Yeah.
And the other thing that really stood out to me, the thing that I had always seen was you with boyfriends. Yeah. The relationship that I was in when I reported my dad was a terrible relationship. He was very close to my dad’s age. And, um, he was al also an alcoholic. Once I reported my dad, I, um, it was like I kind of also had permission to get out of that relationship, and that was really awesome. But after that, I still got into terrible relationships with men and it was part of how I saw myself. And once I started shifting how I saw myself and, um, my relationship to men, I started attracting different men. And when I met my husband, it was, um, yeah, it was such a mark of success. Like yes, I have, um, I’m finally with somebody that I deserve and who’s definitely not abusive, who is just so awesome in every way and Yes. So much respect for you. Yeah. And, um, so supportive. So, um, that was a major, that was a major, major thing. Yeah.
And you have such great boundaries now that, you know, abuse just, it demolishes our boundaries because we’re not allowed to say no. In abuse, we have our no is taken away from us, but I have seen how good your boundaries are. You speak up for yourself, you say what you want, you say what you mean, you are just such a strong, so much of your strength is coming out now, and it’s really wonderful to see.
Thank you. You know, with talking about this, I’ve never really related this together, but as thinking about the, um, birth process for, for women and, um, I recently had a child and with preparing for natural birth, one of the things that they talk about is this is something you were built for. This is something that is inside of you that you are like, like, like some people talk about it. Like you are calling on the women, like all the women that have come before you and, and, um, using this power inside of you to bring this baby forth. And I think that is how the healing process kind of works. It’s like this is inside of you. Mm-hmm. You have all the answers and you just need to bring this baby forth. Yeah. Bring forth the new you, the new you. Yes. The you that was there all along that just got covered up with all of the lies. Right. Yeah. That’s an awesome analogy. I like that.
Yeah. Well, thanks for joining me. I appreciate you, uh, sharing your perspective again, and I hope that you join me again on another topic that we find interesting. If you’re lucky, I’m a very busy woman.
Thanks for joining us today. One of the tools that Bethany and I mentioned we used in our healing is recording the things that triggered us. So they were in a small designated space instead of just free floating inside of us, and then we could access and process that when we felt ready.
This habit helped us to look at these triggers differently. Instead of resisting them, we said, great. Another clue for healing. And that was really powerful because it positioned us as explorers and overcomers. I’ve created a trigger journal for you. So to download that for free, go to the show notes page at overcomingsexualabuse.com/005
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