Stronger Families Podcast
Episode: Heroes at Home – Betrayal, Trauma, and Rebuilding a Relationship (Part I)
Welcome to the Stronger Families Podcast, a space for candid conversations with real heroes that sheds light on the side of things not glorified in the media. In each episode, we learn about what goes on when these heroes go home, so that together we can build a stronger family. Today, Noel Meador, host and CEO of Stronger Families, joins co-host Keni Thomas for the first of two interviews with a couple that has done the hard work to restore a marriage marked by trauma, betrayal, and infidelity. This couple, Scott and Susan, share their respective sides of their story; for this first episode, Scott offers a profoundly vulnerable account of how he hit rock bottom, what he learned about himself when he did, and what it took to find healing and grace.
Scott is in his twenty-fifth year as a police officer, and as he explains, it’s a general rule that a trauma-based job will leave scars. Beneath these scars, though, Scott’s trauma is rooted even further in his history – in his childhood. But at the time when Scott saw his world falling apart, he didn’t realize that this longstanding trauma existed. He had spent his life fostering patterns of avoidance, compartmentalization, and pride, and for years had been trying to escape from reality by seeking affirmation through affairs. The moment came, though, when he was found out, and he fell flat on his face. The “trickle truth” of disclosure led to pain and separation in his marriage, and as difficult as it was, Scott realized that he needed to face reality and make a choice. Regardless of how things went in his marriage, he needed to do the work to be different.
As he began to work through his situation with a pastor/mentor, help from counseling and community groups, and a foundation of faith, Scott was finally able to see and grieve the trauma in his past. While he doesn’t remember much of his early childhood, those years have left a deep mark on him. Three-year-old Scott was living with his mother, who had custody of him, when his father kidnapped him and raised him in a dysfunctional home for the next six years. This experience, Scott learned, shaped his later fears of rejection and abandonment, as well as his impulse to simply take care of himself. His upbringing left him without a framework for healthy relationships, and urged behavior that worked against what he truly wanted. Scott wanted to be known and loved, but he acted out of line with his values because of his fear of being known.
With all this growing self-understanding, Scott was in a position to work with Susan on repairing their relationship. The restoration was a two-way street, of course, and Scott is quick to point out that Susan’s grace toward him as she tried to understand, help, and love was a game-changer. Scott went through something terrible, but Noel and Keni consider him a hero for the way in which he fought through to the other side, and now tries to use his experience to help others.
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0:42 – Welcome to this episode – Part I of a conversation with Scott and Susan.
4:00 – For his episode, Scott will share his side of the story.
6:43 – Scott had some trauma rooted in his family of origin – trauma he didn’t see.
8:58 – What was crucial about Scott falling on his face?
12:37 – Scott’s disclosure involved “trickle truth.”
17:38 – How did Scott begin navigating trauma and working toward restoration?
23:11 – Faith, counseling, and community groups were all helpful.
25:25 – Scott dives into the specifics of how he learned his childhood had shaped him.
31:11 – Understanding his root fears fed directly into the restoration process with Susan.
37:59 – On the next episode and Noel and Keni’s final thoughts on what Scott shared.
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Learn more about one of the resources Scott mentioned: Celebrate Recovery groups.