How to Heal from sexual betrayal with kylene terhune
In this episode, I'm talking with Kylene Terhune, the CEO and founder of the Phoenix Transformation Project, on what it really takes to heal from betrayal.
Kylene is both a functional diagnostic nutrition practitioner and NLP life coach supporting women who’ve experienced sexual betrayal trauma, and in this episode, Kylene shares her personal story of betrayal, and what has supported her healing.
Thru her experience, she wove together the BEST information that she received over the past few years including her experiences with trauma therapy, sexual betrayal podcasts, books, betrayal and addiction resources, various certification programs and practitioner trainings to help you avoid the fluff and get right into the meat of recovery so you can support yourself holistically as you move through the healing process from Day 1.
Listen in as she shares the steps to recovery, and how you can support yourself or a loved one who is dealing with betrayal.
Complete transcript below.
In this episode you'll discover
JOIN IN THE DISCUSSION ON THIS EPISODE AND MORE IN MY FREE FACEBOOK GROUP, FIND YOUR FEMININE FIRE HERE.
Kylene Terhune is the CEO & Founder of the Phoenix Transformation Project where she works as a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner supporting women who have experienced sexual betrayal trauma.
She helps her clients with a unique, whole body approach that involves the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspect of the individual. This work includes functional lab work, nutrition, lifestyle, emotional work, nervous system support and more to assist women in feeling more complete, grounded, safe, independent and confident in their health and in their bodies.
As a successful functional health coach for 6 years Kylene has received additional education in trauma and it’s impact on the body through the Trauma Healing Accelerated courses: Biology of trauma: energy, overwhelm and freeze, Biology of trauma: brain health and Biology of Trauma : Immune system. She is also a member of the Biology of Trauma Health practitioners directory.
She has additional experience with somatic work and nervous system support, emotional work and habit change, and has completed a 12 month abuse-informed provider certification training from the Give Her Wings Academy.
She also has certifications in NLP, NLP life coaching, QTT and hypnosis.
If you are interested in working together please email KyleneT@MyBalancedBiome.life.
You can follow Kylene On TikTok @kyleneterhune or on Instagram @kyleneterhune or via her Facebook page Recover U.
Want more support? Schedule a confidential 1-1 call with Amanda here.
Have a topic or question you'd like Amanda to address on a future episode? Submit it on this anonymous form.
EPISODE 242: with Kylene Terhune
[Fun, Empowering Music]
Amanda Testa: Hello, and welcome to the Find Your Feminine Fire podcast. I am your host, Amanda Testa. I am a sex, love, and relationship coach, and in this podcast, my guests and I talk sex, love, and relationships, and everything that lights you up from the inside out. Welcome!
Hello, and welcome to the Find Your Feminine Fire podcast. I’m your host, Amanda Testa, and I’m very excited today because I am going to be talking with a dear friend and amazing coach, Kylene Terhune, and she actually has such a breadth of wisdom and knowledge, and I really love how she is just so authentic in living her truth and sharing from a place to wholeness and just realness. So, thank you, first of all, for all you are and all you do, as well as on a professional level, she’s the CEO and founder of the Phoenix Transformation Project where she works as both a functional diagnostic nutrition practitioner and NLP life coach supporting women who’ve experienced sexual betrayal trauma. So, thank you, first of all, so much for being here today.
Kylene Terhune: Thank you for having me, Amanda! Just so everybody knows, you were a part of my recovery process, too. So, thank you for everything that you did for me through that process. I really appreciate you so much.
Amanda Testa: You’re very welcome. Well, obviously, the topic we’ll be talking today around is around sexual betrayal trauma, and so, I just want to invite you too, as we dive into this, to maybe just take a breath or two, and if there’s anything that you need to feel a little more comfortable as we talk about this because it actually is a very common thing. And I don't think I’ve talked about this on the podcast in a while, and I just really want to make sure to share resources of ways to support yourself if you find yourself in this situation.
Kylene, I’d love if you wouldn't mind sharing a little bit of your story and kind of what led you to be so passionate about this work.
Kylene Terhune: Yeah, absolutely. So, as is often the case, I ended up here because of personal experiences in my life. So, in January of 2021, I was living my best life, or so I thought.
I had a thriving coaching practice. I was doing really well with my business partner, and we had just done this huge launch. I mean, this was like the top, at this point, of my career, and it was going well. Right after that launch, (literally, it was about a week after or so) I was sitting down to do a budget with my husband, and I woke up that morning, and I was so excited about doing this budget. I was like, “This is gonna be good for us,” right? We’re gonna make it fun, we’re gonna hang out on a Saturday morning, and he had printed out all of these charges so that I didn't have to go into the accounts, right? Like, that’s so nice. [Laughs] And I thought, “Oh, this is really cool.”
We started canceling all these recurring charges and, really, long story short, this led to me discovering some things when I went into his phone and tried to find where an app charge was coming from. It was, like, a fitness app, and I was trying to figure out how to cancel it, I saw all these deleted apps that I was like, “Whoa, what are those?” They just did not look appropriate.
And so, he immediately denied that he had anything to do with them or didn't know what they were, didn't know how they got on his phone. You know, makes no sense, right? How does something end up on your phone that you're not aware of, right?
But, at the time -- and you have to understand, we had been together almost ten years, we had been married almost eight, and, up to this point, I had absolutely no reason not to trust anything that he said to me. There was, in my mind, with my understanding at the time, no red flags. I would never think that this person would lie to me, so, of course, I give him the benefit of the doubt because after that long together, what are you gonna do, right?
So, this was the very tip of the iceberg of kind of discovering over the next few days and weeks that he began to confess after all of this started to come out. I pushed a little bit. I asked a lot of questions. I was like, “This doesn't make sense. Why were you downloading these?” Because that eventually came out that, no, it was a choice that he was making. Oh, they were being advertised a certain way. “Well, wait, you're telling me they were advertised as dating apps? Why are you downloading dating apps? Okay, well, you downloaded them but you didn't message people? Wait, that’s not true.”
So, you know, that was like the beginning of the unraveling, or what I call -- I relate it to The Truman Show where the light fell out of the sky and you begin to realize that that’s not the reality that you were living in. Actually, I watched that movie as I was going through this process, and I was so emotional watching it because I think it’s such a brilliant description or depiction of how you feel during betrayal trauma and how the pieces start to come together. It’s really an incredible demonstration of that.
And so, long story short, he began to confess what had been going on which I was absolutely shocked and devastated to find out was over ten years of a cybersex addiction that had progressively gotten worse over time. And so, then, I was, all of a sudden, going from this relationship that I thought was totally healthy and we were on the same page into this, oh, my gosh, my husband is an addict. And he’s freaking out, he’s confessing, he’s crying, and he’s overwhelmed, and so, I have to go into caretaker mode immediately all while I’m trying to figure out what the heck just happened to my marriage.
And so, that was a huge process of learning about addiction, understanding that what I was experiencing was a tremendous trauma and a shock to me, and then, thankfully, my husband, before I found out, wanted to recover and had tried multiple different ways to do so on his own. And once it came out into the light, we were able to get him the support and the healing resources that he needed, and he jumped into those immediately. And so, I’m really thankful that he had that perspective and mindset because he really did all the things to recover.
Now, we are coming up on two years in recovery, and he’s done really, really well, and it was a very (I will not understate it) painful process for both of us, but we’re doing really well now, and now I work with women, and he runs support groups for men, and, yeah, so, that’s a very condensed version but that’s kind of how it all came out and what happened in a few short minutes.
Amanda Testa: Yeah, well, first of all, I appreciate you sharing that, and I know that’s one of the things that can be really hard is to be vulnerable about the truths that -- I think sex addiction and porn use and all of those things can kind of have such a taboo around them that people won't talk about it, right? And so, they aren't necessarily aware of what may be causing it, what they can do about it. And so, I just really appreciate you for being so brave and courageous and sharing your story and creating this work because it’s important.
Kylene Terhune: Thank you, and, I mean, that is part of the healing journey, right? Because a few days into it or even quite a while into it, it was still hard for me to share my story. When I initially went to support groups and then you go around the room and it came to the all eyes on me, my whole body would flush, and I would get so nervous, and that’s the thing. Women feel this shame about this process that they find themselves in even though we didn't have anything to do with those decisions, right?
But it’s so embarrassing to say, “Oh, my husband’s a sex addict.” Like, wait, what? I didn't even know much about this world until I discovered that it betrayed me.
So, part of the healing process is dealing with all of those beliefs and those insecurities and those fears and everything that was so triggering through this process and talking more and more about it because, with addiction and betrayal, I think healing comes when you step into the light. And so, when you step into the light, the more you talk about it, the freer you become, and I realized a couple weeks ago when someone asked me how I got into this work, and I immediately said, “Well, it’s my personal story,” and I had no reaction whatsoever, I was like, “Oh, my gosh! That’s so amazing!”
Amanda Testa: That’s amazing! Yeah! It’s so true, and like you're saying it’s like, you know, shame, too, thrives in the shadows, in the darkness, and bringing it to the light and talking about it is so healing, and it can give you, then, the opportunity to look at it and see, “Okay, what’s happening, and what do I do?”
And so, I’m curious for you, too, when you are supporting people that have had this experience, what are some of the steps they can take? What would you say are some of the most important things?
Kylene Terhune: From the side of the addict or the side of the betrayed partner or both?
Amanda Testa: I would love if you would be okay to share a little of both. That would be amazing.
Kylene Terhune: Yeah, well, what I found really fascinating through this process is discovering that the healing path for both people is very similar, and I find that really interesting because when it all came out (and I think this is a really common response for a lot of us) is sort of, like, “Screw you. This is your issue. You figure it out.” Now, to be fair, that’s true. [Laughs] Right? It is their responsibility. They have to take responsibility and they have to do the work. However, because this is a trauma for you, it does become really important, at a certain point, that you pursue healing because if one of you or the other (and it really, at this point, doesn't matter which one) is not pursuing healing and one is, then at some point in the relationship, there’s gonna become a real issue because you're not in the same place, and you're not gonna be able to communicate well, and you're not even gonna be able to move towards the same goals because trust isn't being built.
So, when I was learning about the healing processes, I was like, oh, wow, there’s a ton of overlap, and so, really, what that means for the addict is there’s a specific CSAT therapy (that’s Certified Sex Addiction Therapy) that we recommend, and the point of that is really to help the addict understand the emotional wounds, the triggers, the trauma, and the beliefs about themselves that they created out of these experiences that, then, led them to self-medicate by this compulsive behavior. And when they can do that and when they can actually address the root, the wounds, the emotions, the triggers, the trauma, the behaviors, then, can change as opposed to sometimes recovery models are more behavior-focused and they end up in this sobriety white-knuckling circle that is really struggling for eternity. They feel like they can't -- it’s the gerbil wheel, right? Or the hamster wheel.
Amanda Testa: Yes, yes, the hamster wheel.
Kylene Terhune: It’s really hard to get off of that because the actual trigger and the pain is not addressed. And so, I always recommend when people are looking for a CSAT that they also find one that does an external trauma modality outside of talking, whether that’s EMDR or brain-spotting, or some sort of trauma work because when you can work on the subconscious mind and the beliefs and the emotions that are -- that’s where they're stored, and so, if you're spending all this time talking in the conscious, and you're not crossing that barrier into the subconscious, you are really missing an opportunity to do the deeper work that helps you to feel the freedom and the release from that wound, from those experiences.
Amanda Testa: Yeah.
Kylene Terhune: So…
Amanda Testa: That’s huge.
Kylene Terhune: It’s huge, huge, huge, and I try to talk about that a lot because I think that it’s missed a lot. People willingly go into talk therapy or things like that to try to work on their patterns and their habits, but when it’s only pattern- or habit- focused, they feel stuck so often because of this underlying issue.
Amanda Testa: Right, I think that’s important to note, too, because people do -- I mean, I think there are so many benefits to talk therapy. It’s a great modality.
Kylene Terhune: Absolutely.
Amanda Testa: But also, there is so much under the surface that subconscious patterning needs to be addressed and also working with what’s in the body because, like you say, until you get to the root, things are gonna just kind of keep showing up in different ways. You're never gonna be able to fully integrate and move forward.
Kylene Terhune: Right, well, and you do want to be careful. You just mentioned something really important: showing up in different ways. So, does it actually turn into a co-addiction of some sort where they just shift the behavior but they're still self-medicating in a different way? That can also be a pattern or they can be stuck in the same pattern of trying to be sober but never actually getting into full recovery. So, it could be either one of those things, but the real issue is that they continue to struggle as opposed to becoming released from it.
So, the process, essentially, if you really want to simplify it, is it’s CSAT therapy with a trauma focus, processing those emotional wounds plus group support, and the reason that that is really important is because the opposite of addiction is community, and so, when you have the combination of the two -- and I will add a third piece, and that is a willing part. So, if somebody is not fully invested in the process, then it won't work. It doesn't matter how many therapy sessions you go to, they have to want it. Then, the piece we just talked about, they have to be willing to feel pain in order to reach the other side, and you have to understand, their whole habit pattern, their whole process is numbing that pain. They're not used to feeling anxiety. They're not used to feeling depression. They're not used to feeling a lot of these things because their addiction actually has preempted those emotions to some extent because they're self-medicating, and they're getting these dopamine hits, and they're getting this chemical cascade in their brain. The rough thing about process addictions as opposed to substance addictions is that your body is actually creating the drug.
So, that is really tough. So, having the trauma addressed, a heart that is willing, and having that community really is, ultimately, the process. When you have all of those things, I like to say recovery is almost inevitable when you have that, but if one piece of that is missing, then relapse is often inevitable. And so, really being willing to go through the difficulty and commit to the process and having the heart that’s fully invested and willing to respect boundaries and do all these things, you're gonna get into recovery when you do that.
Amanda Testa: I love, too, how you said a willing part because I know that’s a big piece is the willingness, right? Because if you -- for you, and even an example like what helps someone build towards forgiveness and reuniting versus ending things, right? I think, too, I personally believe relationships have cycles and seasons and they all serve purposes, but if there is the commitment to want to work things out, then that willingness is so key on both parts, like you said.
Kylene Terhune: Yeah, I mean, I see a lot, like I said, that dichotomy of -- or what, what’s the word I’m looking for -- they're going against each other, where one person is trying to recover, and the other person is not (for whatever reason, they're staying stuck, right?). And sometimes that happens on the betrayed spouse's side where they just don't, for whatever reason, know that it’s available, which that’s okay, but once you know it’s available, you’ve got to pursue the healing work. You have to because whether or not you choose to stay with your current spouse or you separate, I care more about your mental, emotional, and physical health than I do about your marriage, but it doesn't matter if your marriage survives, you still have to do the recovery work because if you don't, you take it into the rest of your life, and that, then, becomes the filter that you view every experience from. You’re gonna view men differently. You're gonna view relationships differently. You're gonna hold onto self-worth issues and body image issues and all these triggers and traumas that were created because of this experience if you're not committed to your healing.
Now, if you choose to stay with your partner, that is non-negotiable. You’ve got to do the healing work [Laughs] because it’s just not gonna work, right? The trust is destroyed when this happens. It’s absolutely destroyed. It’s shattered. You don't know who this person is. You have no idea who you're in a relationship with, that you were the most vulnerable with. You’ve shared your emotions. You’ve shared your body. You’ve shared your life, right? Here is this person, and that’s why betrayal is such a different trauma is because it comes from the person that you are sharing life with, that you trust the absolute most to protect you and to love you and to do life with you, and coming from that person, it creates a different trauma in your body that’s just really, really tough.
So, back to what it takes to heal (which was your original question), it’s the same type of process. So, you go into trauma work, as the betrayed partner, to deal with what?
To deal with the emotions and the wounds and the trauma that was created through this experience, and what happens when we have trauma experiences is we create beliefs, we create limiting beliefs or decisions about who we are. Now, some really common ones that come out of this one is that it’s somehow my fault or that I’m not good enough or I’m not pretty enough or if I had just done this more or XYZ, fill in the blank of your biggest insecurity. And you're gonna have emotional triggers, visual triggers, audio triggers, whatever, as you're going through life experiencing this if you're not addressing it, and that won't go away unless it’s intentionally worked on. Unfortunately, this isn't something that time heals all wounds; this is something that takes more intention.
So, for the betrayed spouse, it’s a very similar -- oh, did you…
Amanda Testa: I was just gonna say I appreciate you naming that. We, so often, want this immediate fix, but it doesn't happen that way, right? Healing doesn't happen that way, yeah.
Kylene Terhune: I wish! [Laughs]
Amanda Testa: Wouldn't it be amazing? We’re like that’s why people want a pill but there is no pill!
Kylene Terhune: You know, I wish I could have supplemented my way out of this. I mean, that’s a thing, right? I was doing all the things. As a functional medicine practitioner, I knew. I had maybe a little too much awareness of what the level of stress I was under would do to my body, and I was super worried about it. [Laughs] I don't think that helped.
But no, I mean, I was doing all those things. I was trying to help my physical health. I was trying to set boundaries. I was trying, but I didn't really understand the world I was living in, and I needed that help. So, working with someone that’s very familiar with betrayal trauma specifically and, again, I always encourage that they have an external trauma modality because when we create these beliefs of I’m not enough, I’m not worthy, my body is not good enough, or I don't love myself, or I’m unlovable or unwantable or whatever it is for you, if we’re just gonna talk about it, unfortunately, that can have this effect of deepening that neurological pathway where you actually believe it more and it becomes more painful, the exact opposite of what you're trying to do.
But if you have an external trauma modality where you can work on the subconscious level and you can actually process the pain and file it in a healthy way, then you can begin to, then, move forward and release it and view it in an appropriate way.
So, I was talking to someone earlier about triggers, for example, and here’s a really good example of what healing looks like. Triggers, for me, when you go through the healing process, they become fewer and further between, first of all, but then there’s a really big difference in how they affect your body when you are in recovery. So, when you're not in recovery, it really impacts your entire body, and it activates your nervous system. You're gonna feel flush, you're gonna get that fight or flight, right? Everybody listening probably understands what a trigger feels like. So, you have that reaction. In recovery, when that part of you is healed or mostly healed or really worked on significantly, now my quote-unquote “triggers” are more like a thought will pop up into my head. It’s more like a thought process.
I’ll kind of think about it, but there’s no physiological response, and I think that’s because of so much of the healing work that I’ve done. And I think when you have triggers that still pop up, that’s just a reflection of something that’s unhealed at this point that still needs to be addressed and worked on.
So, doing that trauma work on that level, releasing the limiting beliefs and processing the emotions, identifying and understanding the triggers and what’s underneath those as they come up is really important. Then, for the women, too, it’s the same process. You get involved in support groups so that you can feel seen and heard and validated in your story and so that you can speak your voice and share your story over and over and over again so that it gets out of your body and you feel less and less shame about it, and that’s really hard. It’s really hard, and I do always want to caution people with support groups.
You don't want to stay in a support group that’s just, like, man-bashing because that’s a tendency, too, right? Like, let’s just sit here and hamster wheel our stories and talk about how bad they are and how much pain. It’s important to talk about, and it’s important to share with people that understand because a lot of times what is very unfortunate is family members or friends may not fully understand what you're going through and may not offer safe support for you or anything that feels really helpful, and some may not understand at all but be really empathetic. So, it’s kind of finding those people, but when you're in a support group of women that have similar shared experience, it’s just a different world, and it’s very validating. So, it’s a very similar process. And then as you go through, you become more and more self-aware, and, again, that crosses between the addict and the betrayed. Become more and more self-aware of what your emotions are and also what’s underneath them and also communicating them and getting them out so you can process them and work on that.
That’s a real short summary of, kind of, what it looks like, and it’s very similar for both parties.
Amanda Testa: And I think, too, like you're saying, and just, too, when you're looking for support, that’s the thing with finding non-judgmental people sometimes, right? Because your friends love you, your family loves you, but they may not have that deeper understanding, and they probably are doing the best they can with the tools they have but it might not always be what you need.
Kylene Terhune: Right, well, and when someone hasn’t experienced it, they may not understand it. They may not understand how traumatic it is for you.
Amanda Testa: Yeah.
Kylene Terhune: Even if you're using words that are very dramatic, they may not understand it, and so, people have very, and I mean, opposite-ends-of-the-spectrum responses to you sharing your story, and I actually talk about this in my course, What’s Next, which is for the women who just discovered this in their lives because it is important to kind of figure out who do you find that is a safe person to talk to because it’s very unfortunate that not everyone is a safe person, and the reason is just what you said: they don't all express empathy.
When you're going through a trauma, it can be incredibly painful to have someone accidentally say something that drives the hurt deeper because they don't understand.
Amanda Testa: Yeah. Yeah.
Kylene Terhune: You can test out your relationships a little bit, but as you kind of work through them you’ll find out who those people are.
Amanda Testa: And I remember hearing you share once, too, just about the unkind things people say even to the betrayed person, right? It’s horrible. The things you shared, I’m like, “Oh, my goodness!”
Kylene Terhune: I know, sometimes people will say, “Well, you should have just had more sex with your husband,” or, I mean, even little things like if it’s particular to your story and they don't understand the impact that that has on you, right? Like, I was really upset when I found out that when Patrick would act out he would sometimes take off his wedding ring. That was really hurtful to me, and when I shared that with someone, their reply was, “Well, that’s because he loved you.” And I was like how is that a helpful comment, first of all? Because, to me, that sounds like you're defending his behavior, not empathizing with me, and what I’m trying to share is that my heart is breaking and that my husband was taking off a symbol of our commitment to each other when he was cheating on me. I don't understand how that’s not coming across. [Laughs] You know?
Amanda Testa: Yeah.
Kylene Terhune: So, things like that can be incredibly hurtful.
Amanda Testa: Yeah.
Kylene Terhune: The reality is someone doesn't even have to understand. There are other people that are just empathetic.
Amanda Testa: Right.
Kylene Terhune: And those people will say, “What do you need? How can I support you?” Or they’ll just listen, and sometimes that’s all you need.
Amanda Testa: Yeah, and I think that’s good just to reiterate. What if a friend or loved one or someone in your family comes to you with something like this? What would be the best way to respond, right?
Kylene Terhune: Yeah, honestly, I think it’s just asking, “How can I support you? What do you need?” because everyone’s gonna be in a little bit of a different situation, and a lot of it would be -- I think one of the nicest, kindest, most supportive things you can possibly do is to reach out to someone consistently when you find out that this has happened. So, if you put an alarm in your phone or something like that, that every two days or every week or something like that, periodically, you send a text, and you go, “Thinking of you. How are you doing?”
That would be so nice and really just, for the person that receives that, would make them feel so thought of and loved in a time when they are questioning everything about their life and feeling, in a lot of ways, unloved.
Amanda Testa: I love that, and I think, too, I’m curious when it comes to -- so you’ve kind of created this program, What’s Next, for those that are just kind of like, “What the fuck just happened?” Excuse my language. “What happened? What happened?” Then going, from there, like, okay, so, here’s how you can start to wrap your head around what’s going on and start to get the support for yourself and your partner.
Kylene Terhune: Yeah, so, What’s Next is really the take-at-your-own-pace course that’s really designed for women who just discovered that their husband is a sex or porn addict, and it really provides trauma education so that they can understand what’s happening in your body and so that you can learn how to set healthy boundaries and establish safety. I didn't really talk about that in the healing process, but, for the betrayed partner, establishing safety is really the foundation of recovery. It’s really, really important.
So, I talk about that a lot in the course and something that you can do. So, if you have a partner that is participating, they play a part in that process. If they're not, you have to do some of this stuff on your own because getting your nervous system in a place where it feels safe is the only way that, long-term, you’re gonna be able to recover and heal. So, establishing that is really important.
Then, I also do addiction education as well in the course so that you understand the brain a little bit more, and this is important so that we have empathy and compassion while not excusing the behavior, you know? We don't lump all of that in. It’s still wrong, it’s still hurtful, and when we understand the addiction, it just brings a different layer of knowledge to the equation so that we can understand kind of what’s happening in the big picture.
Then, I also walk them through what does the therapeutic process look like and how can they get connected to safe people. How can you create a team that really works for you to help you through this process, to get on the path of recovery and kind of laying that foundation in a strong way moving forward.
Amanda Testa: Yeah, beautiful. And, you know, you mentioned earlier, too, how being a nutritional practitioner, you have all this experience on how to take care of yourself, too, while you go through it which I think is also probably important, to not neglect those things which is sometimes so hard when you're in the throes of trying to move forward after a really traumatic event. Even doing those small things to take care of yourself can feel impossible sometimes.
Kylene Terhune: Oh, my gosh, yes, because there are so many times, when you're dealing with the nervous system, you're either up in fight or flight, and that takes up so many nutrients and so much energy and so many reserves that your body has that, then, it’ll drop down into overwhelm, and in overwhelm, you're feeling tired, you're in freeze, and you're feeling like reaching over there for that glass of water is just too hard or getting out of bed today seems overwhelming to me. I was there during this recovery process. There were days where it was just really hard, and that is just a reality of the process as you go through it.
So, that’s one of the reasons I’m so passionate about educating, about the nervous system, and about what happens and how you can get connected to the right resources as quickly as possible so that you can shorten that as much as possible.
One of the things we can do is be conscientious about the amount of sleep that we’re getting, about creating safety so that we can create a little foundation for ourselves to have that space and that safety, to make sure that we are bringing nutrients in and feeding our bodies in a way that replenishes the nutrients that all this stress is literally gobbling up for us. I mean, magnesium is just one major example of it’s used in so many parts of the body that as soon as we’re stressed out, I mean, that is getting used up. [Laughs]
Amanda Testa: Yes.
Kylene Terhune: So, that happens across the board, and if we can make the effort, in whatever way we’re currently capable of, to bring that nourishment in on multiple different levels, it can really help our body through the process.
Amanda Testa: I think, too, that’s the beautiful thing about understanding the nervous system is that you can just have more of an awareness of what’s going on and then kind of learn how to work with it, right? Mm-hmm.
Kylene Terhune: Yeah, I mean, when we were working together, it’s amazing to me that so many different modalities can really help your brain and your nervous system at the same time, and the visualizations and things that we did I felt like were always getting me into parasympathetic so well, so well. And so, somatic work, meditation, visualization, all of those things can play a really, really important role, I think, in that part of the healing process.
Amanda Testa: I think, too, that it’s hard sometimes to get into that state, but, yeah, that’s when you can let your body do some repair and rest and nourish its sweet little self, right?
Kylene Terhune: Yeah, I mean, it is so important. When I talk about safety, I really emphasize that as the foundation of recovery because what’s happening in your nervous system when this all comes out is it interprets your partner and your current life situation as dangerous, and any danger that it receives is gonna throw you into fight or flight and this is gonna wear your body out over time.
So, any steps that we can take to begin nourishing and supporting and intentionally getting into that calm, safe space is going to help lay that foundation. Like I said, if your partner’s on board, great, because they play a huge role in establishing that safety. If they're not on board, it’s gonna be much more difficult, but there are still things that you can do to intentionally get yourself there and to help you through the process, for sure.
Amanda Testa: Right, and I think this just goes back to what you were saying earlier about the importance of doing the deeper work because, otherwise, you will kind of keep subconsciously triggering each other’s stress cycles when you're in each other’s presence if you don't do the deeper healing.
Kylene Terhune: Yeah, and so, with the work that I do one-on-one, what I primarily focus on is a lot of the underlying emotional roots to things. So, I think that you can do all of the legs-up-the-wall deep breathing that you want, [Laughs] but if you still have a core belief about yourself or an insecurity about yourself that is really raw and unhealed, the trigger will still come and the cycle will continue.
But if we can get to the underlying emotional core of what is activating that process, then we can heal it and if it’s an identity, we can choose a new identity; if it’s an emotion, we can release the emotion; if it is conflicting parts within you, we can help them integrate so that you can make clearer choices and feel more grounded and aligned with your beliefs and your values and who you are.
That is some of the most powerful stuff that I discovered through this process. I just thought it was amazing. It blew my mind because, when I got into that, I had already done a year of talk therapy and trauma therapy and EMDR trauma processing and all this, which I still actively promote.
I think it’s very -- I just did it, right? I talked about that as part of the process. It laid a foundation, helped me tremendously, and then I was still hitting a wall, and I needed to find another way to work with my subconscious, and when I found the subconscious reprocessing work, I was like this is it! It just blew the wall apart and just helped me move forward in such a different way.
It really helps you self-identify the more you go through the process. So, then, you can really figure it out on your own faster. Like, what is underneath this, and I think this is something you do a lot in your work, too. It helps you really get more in touch with your body because what you're doing, ultimately, is communicating with it and listening to it when, so often, what we’re used to doing is suppressing which is why things get stuck in our body in the first place. But the more we do the subconscious reprogramming work, you're learning how to listen to your body and ask it, “Why is this emotion here?”
And then, in the exercises that I do with my clients, we, then, have your subconscious mind actually lead the process, and it’ll take you to the original event where this emotion or belief or whatever it is that we’re working on was created in your body. So, it’s interesting because it may not even be -- if it’s a belief that you’ve created that you're really struggling with, this betrayal may not be the first time that that was established in your body. So, your mind may not even take us back to something that just happened in the past six months or year or whatever when this happened; it may actually take us back to something that happened when you were, like, three, which I find fascinating, by the way. The brain is an amazing thing.
Amanda Testa: It is, right? [Laughs]
Kylene Terhune: Well, what’s really cool about it is if you can go back to the original event and your brain will do this so well when it’s ready to process this. What I love about the work that we do that’s very unique, I think, is that, then, we pull the positive learnings from it. So, whatever it is that happened, we’re gonna take away anything that still serves us and we’re gonna release and process anything that doesn't, and then we take all of the positive things that still serve us that we need, and we apply it to all the other events from then until now, and (talking about the parasympathetic) it’s such a grounding experience that you leave that process feeling lighter and more aligned and happier, and it’s really neat. Like, you can take a breath after those exercises.
Amanda Testa: And it’s so amazing, too, just the neuroplasticity our brains have because we can re-route the circuitry, right, so that when those things happen, we don't think the things we used to think. We don't have the manic reactions we used to have.
Kylene Terhune: Right.
Amanda Testa: It’s like we’re creating new associations, which is so powerful.
Kylene Terhune: Yeah, that is so powerful, and I think that’s what’s so cool about learning. I love the education piece, right?
Amanda Testa: Yes. Yes.
Kylene Terhune: I like to know the why underneath it. So, for me, learning about the nervous system and what part you're in when you're feeling what, really that education is motivating to me, and then learning about how the brain can change and what that looks like, and then learning about the subconscious and about how everything that we’re really dealing with is kind of stored there and how, if we’re addressing it on that level, it’s actually gonna change the habits and patterns versus what we’re typically taught is, “Well, if you force yourself to change this habit for 21 days in a row,” right, and you're just struggling the whole time because the underlying belief hasn't changed at all, that’s where it’s different.
So, when you work with the subconscious, then you're going all the way back to that root, and then it starts changing on a brain level, and then the outcome is basically inevitable and you're like, “Wow, this is amazing.” It’s really, really cool.
Amanda Testa: I think I saw a meme about this or a video once that just really struck me because this woman was saying things and doing affirmations, it’s kind of basically why affirmations don't really work, right, because you're not doing the deeper thing. But it was like, “I’m so beautiful. I’m smart. Everybody loves me,” and then there’s this other part of her that’s like, “No, you're not. That’s not true,” all the things. Just, like, that’s what happens in our brains, right? [Laughs] We’ve got to get to this part that’s saying all these things, and you're like, “Okay, what’s going on with you? What do you need?”
Kylene Terhune: You're so right!
Amanda Testa: “Where are you from? What’s going on here?” Right?
Kylene Terhune: Yeah, I mean, there are two things to that. I totally agree with you, and that’s why people resist affirmations so much. They're like, “That’s such garbage,” right? “I’m not gonna believe that.” Well, that’s the thing is when you learn about the brain, forcing yourself to say something that it actually does not, on a core level, believe isn’t going to work. So, there are two things that you need to do here, and I think you should probably do both. One is going to the root of that disbelief, like where is that coming from? At what point in your life did you decide that this is impossible for you? When was that belief established and why? What was the external situation, and then what have you gathered as proof throughout your life that that’s not possible for you? Then, you deal with that.
But, then, the second thing is, with affirmations, they can be really powerful if you do them in a right way which is to find something in the middle that you -- okay, so, I’m not worthy, and I really believe that because of all these experiences that I’ve had that have proven that. But I want to feel worthy because I know, consciously, I am, right? So, what the heck do I do about that? Well, we just said saying, “I’m worthy,” over and over isn't gonna go well for our brain, right?
Amanda Testa: Right, right.
Kylene Terhune: But we can create something in between that says, “I choose to believe that I am X,” or we can say something that says, “I am currently working towards…” or, “I am --.” What you do is an action statement, and I learned this from my mentors because they went through the same stuff. It’s like you can't force your brain, right? But you can train it, and you can meet it where it’s at. What is believable that is further along than you are and moving you towards where you want to be, and you can create an affirmation out of that that works for you, and then once that feels really comfortable, you can move on and continue to build. But I even would say that probably won't work if you're not doing the other deeper stuff, but if you can do both, then you're totally winning.
Amanda Testa: Right, and even just in there, there’s so much to it, right? Because if you're dealing with the betrayal and maybe there’s a thought, and you come, like you said, consciously, you know this is not true. But, then, you notice, “Okay, what’s happening that I need to work with to get to a point where I can believe something along that road,” right? That gets you to where you want to believe until what you know is true matches what your subconscious thinks is true.
Kylene Terhune: Right?
Amanda Testa: [Laughs]
Kylene Terhune: [Laughs] Yeah, that’s the darn difference between your conscious and your self-conscious, right? It’s breaking that barrier and figuring out what’s the work here that actually makes sense, that you can believe and that, yeah. You're totally right.
Amanda Testa: And so, I’m wondering, too, when it comes to, I guess, if there is any other advice or support that you want to offer people who have dealt with betrayal -- maybe you can share some last words around that or anything you really want to leave them with.
Kylene Terhune: I think the biggest message that I like to share is that recovery is possible, and part of the reason I like to share that is because when you're in the midst of it, it feels so overwhelming like, “How am I ever gonna dig myself out of this?”
I mean, the depression is real. The overwhelm is real. The freeze is real. The shock can last a really long time depending on how long you've been in your relationship, what it’s looked like, and all these things. And so, I just want to encourage people that there is a recovery process. It is important to do the work. It’s the same thing as the addicts, right? It’s the same thing that if you are willing -- and it is uncomfortable, and I hate to say that because you're already in a lot of discomfort, but the healing process does bring some discomfort, but the reason you should choose that is because that discomfort is moving you towards the life that you want.
So, I always encourage people to have a very clear vision of what that is because I don't want you to feel stuck or to make decisions that don’t help you move towards that. If you can have a very clear vision and you know what the recovery process looks like, then somewhere in there you're gonna begin to move steps towards your vision and towards recovery, and whether that means that you're staying with your partner or whether that means that you're not, either one of those is okay, but you're gonna be moving towards that recovery, and that part is inevitable if you're willing to do the work. Yeah.
Amanda Testa: Beautiful. Thank you so much. I’m wondering if you would be open to sharing where people can connect with you and learn more about how you can support them if they are looking to deal with this betrayal.
Kylene Terhune: Yeah, absolutely. So, we talked about the What’s Next course for women that are just kind of finding out. That’s really for D-Day through six months. You're in shock, and there’s a lot you're trying to figure out there, and that’s where I’ll kind of support you in that course.
Then, I also work with clients one-on-one. They're a little further along, so the six plus months, right? You're kind of past the shock. And this is really my most immersive program for walking women who’ve experienced betrayal trauma through the deep emotional blocks and the trauma that we also mention sometimes shows up with physical symptoms as well.
And so, that’s a really immersive, intensive one-on-one, four-month program. It has online modules and then we also do a lot of the emotional processing and trauma work together so that we can do the work that helps you to release the negative emotions, you know? Because we don't want your anger and grief to become the filter that you live life through, and we want to begin, as we go through this process, to release anything that is keeping you stuck and hindering you from stepping into your authentic and most powerful and most vulnerable self.
And so, that’s kind of the work we do in that program. So, people can connect with me all over social media. On TikTok @kyleneterhune (it’s all my name) or on Instagram @kyleneterhune or I have a Facebook page Recover U, and that’s a Facebook page that can get connected. So, any of those platforms. You can DM me. You can reach out. I have links in my bios. If you're interested in working together, you can fill out an application there, too.
Amanda Testa: Yay! Well, thank you so much for coming on and just for sharing your wisdom. I am so grateful for you and all this amazing work that you're doing and all the people that you are helping. So, thank you.
Kylene Terhune: Thank you so much for letting me share my story and for having me on, Amanda. I love you so much, and I just appreciate the invitation, so thank you so much.
Amanda Testa: Yes, and for all listening, I’ll make sure to share where you can connect with Kylene in the show notes, again, and, yes, DM her or DM me if you have questions or want more information. We are here to support you, so please do that.
Maybe just even taking a moment, and what is something that was, perhaps, a gem that you're digesting from this episode, something that you might want to apply or take home or share with someone you know and love? And we’ll see you next week!
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Thank you so much for listening to the Find Your Feminine Fire podcast. This is your host, Amanda Testa, and if you have felt a calling while listening to this podcast to take this work to a deeper level, this is your golden invitation.
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