What is Betrayal Trauma

You might ask, What is Betrayal Trauma?  It is real!   It involves injury that takes place during an event outside of yourself.  Physiological trauma damages our bodies and our psyches.  When we experience a traumatic event such as betrayal trauma the events may cause us to feel shocked and to no longer feel safe.  The effects of this trauma ripples into other areas of your life.  The symptoms are like those of Post Traumatic Stress and can include:  hyperarousal, headaches, helplessness, sleep difficulties, reliving the event, hypervigilance, anxiety, nightmares, intrusive thoughts and images, withdrawing from others, avoidance, mood swings, panic attacks, phobias, flashbacks, denial, "oversensitivity", dissociation, health problems, depression, change in eating habits, chronic fatigue, restlessness, confusion and/or rage.  

Betrayal trauma happens often as a result of a sexual betrayal, as with sex addiction.  These kind of betrayals are extremely traumatic.  When faced with discovering your significant other's behaviors, you are understandably very hurt, angry, and devastated.  You are not alone!  You must understand the full impact that this betrayal can have on your life.  More than your relationship may suffer:  your self-esteem, your children, your sexuality, your physical and emotional health and even your spirituality.

Events causing betrayal trauma in our lives need to be taken seriously.  When traumatized, we need support to heal and avoid long-term chronic trauma symptoms.  Living through a traumatic event can take on a chronic nature and develop into a serious, long-term condition known as post-traumatic stress disorder.  PTSD can last a lifetime.  

Relational trauma occurs when a person is betrayed, abandoned or is refused support from a person they have bonded or attached to.  This kind of trauma can overwhelm your coping capacities and you may see the relationship as a source of danger rather than a safe place.  Betrayal in a committed relationship can be experienced as an offense or violation of standards you consider to be the norm in your relationship.

In working with partners, I have found that nearly all partners experience symptoms of post traumatic stress.  You may be experiencing intense feelings of terror, anxiety, helplessness and hopelessness unable to cope with your painful situation.  Can you relate to any of the following words of partners in their time of discovery?

  • I felt horror, anger, rage, terror.
  • I totally lost my ability to concentrate.
  • I shook uncontrollably.
  • I felt stabbed in the back.
  • I'm feeling so many different emotions.
  • I have never been so betrayed in my life.
  • I thought he/she was my person.
  • I don't know who he/she is anymore.

With the proper support, you can recover and heal from the trauma you have experienced.  Let me help you!