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Introducing a Resource for Betrayed Catholic Women

Last Updated: July 20, 2018

Amanda Zurface
Amanda Zurface

Amanda Zurface holds a license and MA in Cannon Law and a BA in Catholic Theology and Social Justice. She has served in various roles within the Catholic Church, both in the United States and internationally. She the co-author of Equipped: Smart Catholic Parenting in a Sexualized Culture and Transformed by Beauty, and works to equip Catholics with Covenant Eyes educational resources. She resides in Lexington, Ohio, where she also manages her own website that provides online spiritual direction and canon law consultation.

Have you ever felt alone? I mean, really alone? Like there’s no one in the world who can help you with the grief or trauma you’re facing?

There are thousands of women who experience this on a daily basis. They are the forgotten half of the pornography epidemic. These are the wives of those men who have sought to overcome pornography, but haven’t been able. They’re also the girlfriends of those who don’t see pornography as an issue and refuse to do something about their habitual struggle or addiction.

The harm done to women through the use of pornography is more than you might think.

bloom for catholic women resource for betrayed wives

Betrayal Causes Trauma

When a woman discovers her man has been consuming pornography, or going as far as acting out and having an affair, she often experiences deep loneliness and other strong emotions of anger, betrayal, and mistrust. But, the women can experience something even more grave.

It’s estimated that around 70% of wives dealing with a husband’s betrayal fit the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder. And, symptoms are life changing, even crippling. Symptoms of betrayal trauma can include:

  • Hyper-vigilance, such as actively looking for things that might be sexual triggers for him (lingerie ads, attractive women, etc.)
  • Nightmares
  • Obsessive thinking
  • Fear
  • Replaying the initial discovery
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

Fortunately, recovery is possible for these spouses and girlfriends. But, women need the necessary accompaniment and resources to heal and move forward.

Bloom for Catholic Women

Thankfully, there are organizations doing just this; one such organization is Bloom for Women.

Founded in 2015, Bloom for Women is a resource for women who want to heal from the trauma of infidelity, betrayal, harassment, or assault. It offers therapeutic online courses and a supportive community designed by clinical experts. The online curriculum covers the topics of trauma, self-worth, shame, acceptance, and love. The courses are guided and include weekly assignments, web-based group discussions, and the opportunity for Q&A sessions with the Bloom for Women clinical team.

Bloom for Women is open to women of all backgrounds and religious faith traditions. However, this past year, Bloom for Women partnered with the Catholic organization Integrity Restored to create BloomforCatholicWomen.com, a site specifically for Catholic women to receive support if there’s been sexual betrayal in marriage.

Jim O’Day, the Executive Director of Integrity Restored, explained that “[t]hrough the partnership between Bloom for Women and Integrity Restored, we’re dedicated to helping women gain understanding of their husband’s addiction, the resulting trauma, and provide tools and education that will guide them to a path of healing and recovery from a truly Catholic perspective. We are true partners in this effort and are so pleased to be working with the team at Bloom. Through our continuing development of new resources, courses, and free educational information as well as solidly Catholic coaching in the near future, we stand by to assist the Church in providing a place of hope and healing from women suffering from Betrayal Trauma.”

The non-Catholic offering provides a secular approach to recovery and healing with no faith-based components and includes a focus on meditation and yoga. Based upon Catholic Church teaching, these elements have been removed for the Catholic audience. Further, additional courses on Catholic spirituality, including topics of forgiveness and healing have been added to the materials. Lastly, Catholic experts on therapy, sexual addiction, psychology, “Theology of the Body,” who include Dr. Peter Kleponis, Fr. Sean Kilcawley and others will provide resources to Catholic Bloom members as well.

Father Sean Kilcawley, the Theological Advisor for Integrity Restored, stated, “I am very excited about the partnership between Integrity Restored and Bloom. I have come to believe that betrayed wives are among the loneliest people in the Church. She doesn’t want to tell her family because she doesn’t want to ruin her husband’s reputation. She is afraid of judgment from her friends if she tells them. Some even don’t want to tell their priest because they don’t feel the right to disclose her husband’s sin. However, she does have the right to share her suffering. She has a right to be heard and understood, to have her feelings validated, and to be taken care of in her pain. Bloom for Catholic Women is a first step toward healing and support for any wife who has experienced sexual betrayal.”

If you or someone you love has been harmed by a spouse’s or boyfriend’s use of pornography, we invite you to learn more about Bloom for Women today! Healing can feel overwhelming, but the right community and resources are available to you when you choose to begin the process of healing.

  • Comments on: Introducing a Resource for Betrayed Catholic Women
    1. Hildegarde Estanislao on

      My husband is more on enjoying paying women for sexual pleasure.I have no proof that he’s on pornography, but I know that he enjoys that too.We are still married but physical connection ,we don’ have for almost fifteen years.I live out my faith , I still pray for him,but the hurt of the betrayal still consumed me.I need help in trying to focus on my self rather than on him.I’m always praying to GOD to enlighten me and to help me accept the cross given to me.

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        I am so sorry for the pain you’re going through. In considering how to focus on yourself (and I think you are 100% right to do so–you can’t control your husband, you can only be responsible for yourself), have you checked out the online resources at Bloom for Women? Easy to access and reasonably priced. Peace, Kay

    2. K on

      So sad to hear about your husband. However, I see one amazing woman who has taken up her cross for our Lord, Jesus Christ.

      I too am still married and dealing with a husband that has been looking at porn for the whole time of our 22 years of marriage and several years before I had even met him.

      He NEVER gave me even the slightest inclination that he would have ever done anything like that!

      D-day for me was in February 13, 2019. I am still in shock! How could he lie to me and I not know?

      There are days that go by when all I can do is blame myself for being so dumb and naïve! I have even gone as far as hating myself!

      I know that this is horrible and unhealthy thinking. I am trying my best to persevere through this disgusting tragedy.

      You must know that my husband didn’t look at female porn, no, he is addicted to young male gay porn!

      Through all of this, I have just learned that he was sexually abused by teenage males since the age of 5 until high school. He was also sexually abused by two Catholic priests for several years. This alone would have caused me to end my life.

      He however, chose to bury this disgusting poison and was going to take it to his grave.

      He has fought same sex attraction his whole young adulthood. He never once told anyone!

      He claims that he loves me and I am his soul mate.

      What do I do with this information?

      For years I have felt empty and starving for the attention, empathy, and affection a woman desires in her marriage. Now it all makes sense.

      He has so many other issues that we are dealing with. Such as, he was adopted from an orphanage in Canada at the age of 3, by an older couple who only wanted a baby. He had a baby brother 2 years younger that they wanted. They were forced to take him.

      My heart goes out to the baby boy that was left in an orphanage from birth until he was adopted. I can’t fathom the amount of pain, suffering, and confusion he endured his whole childhood and young adult years.

      He claims he is not gay and has never acted upon any of his impulses with anyone, especially another male.

      Do I really trust him? No! Then again, I don’t know what to believe anymore. . .

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        It sounds like your husband really need therapy for the terrible history of trauma and abuse he’s carrying with him. I would suggest that he find a therapist who is experienced in treating childhood trauma, probably someone who has EMDR certification. Here’s a link to search for licensed therapists in your area, and you can filter for EMDR certification, childhood abuse, and trauma-informed approach. Whatever is going on with him and his porn use, this is a person in need of real help, and I hope he will get it.

        Of course you need support as well, and you might really appreciate the online resources at Bloom for Women.

        I hope you both find the support and care you need in this complex and painful situation.
        Kay

    3. Lisa on

      Great Resource, I’m hoping that our Catholic Church will come up with more support programs for this, I’ve been attending a Christian support group for the last 20 months, it’s good, and has opened the door to a lot of healing of my own past trauma and to allow me to work on my relationship with God and become healthy letting go of my codependent behaviors and being open to God working in my spouse and turning things around. I love that they challenge us to consider the boundaries we put in place for our spouses and litmus test is it for our safety and security within the marriage or for control? I’m interested in going through the Bloom materials and seeing how we can get a small group ministry started for women as iron sharpens iron, and it’s healing to go through these things together.

      Reply

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