Surviving and coping with betrayal trauma may leave you feeling like you are in a fog. You may go through the motions of daily life, but intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, and hurtful feelings plague you.
Understanding what betrayal trauma is and how you can heal from it is critical in your recovery.
What is Betrayal Trauma?
Betrayal trauma happens when a trusted person or organization betrays your trust, leaving you emotionally wounded and often questioning your judgment. The more integrated the person is in your life, usually the more profound the trauma.
Types of Betrayal Trauma
There are many types of trauma and betrayal trauma.
Types of betrayal trauma include:
- Intimate Partner. When your intimate partner or spouse has an emotional or physical affair.
- Parental. Your parent or primary caregiver, someone your life and welfare depends on, fails to protect you from harm or harms you themselves.
- Interpersonal. A close friend, co-worker, peer, or individual betrays your trust, and you begin to question your relationship.
- Organizational/Institutional. When you’re dependent on an organization for community and guidance, but it acts against what you think it stands for.
Symptoms of Betrayal Trauma
Everyone experiences trauma differently. The symptoms of trauma also vary from person to person. But there are some commonalities. Knowing what signs to look for can help you recognize when you need help to heal.
Symptoms of betrayal trauma:
- Inability or difficulty identifying or describing your emotions
- Feeling “out of it,” like you’re in a fog
- Depression or feelings of hopelessness
- Intrusive thoughts or memories of when you discovered the betrayal
- Physical symptoms like headaches, chronic fatigue, gastrointestinal issues, or a weakened immune system
- Insomnia, difficulty falling asleep, or problems staying asleep
- Experiencing panic or anxiety attacks
- Developing a substance use disorder or a reliance on substances such as drugs or alcohol
- Eating too much or not enough sometimes resulting in disordered eating
- Difficulty trusting others
Healing from Betrayal Trauma
It may be challenging to see a path to healing when you’re in a fog caused by betrayal trauma. However, when you’re ready to start your journey, there are many ways you can recover. Help is available if you find you cannot manage the symptoms of your betrayal trauma.
Methods of healing from betrayal trauma include:
- Acknowledging, Not Avoiding. To fully heal, you need to acknowledge the cause of your betrayal trauma. Ignoring what happened can create an adverse ripple effect on other aspects of your life. Acknowledging the source of your trauma allows you to explore why it was so devastating. This exploration helps you start your healing process.
- Focus and Prioritize Your Needs. Suppose your betrayal trauma is the result of infidelity. In that case, you might need time to decide whether you wish to repair the damage to your relationship or not. However, you don’t need to make any decisions immediately. Instead, you can prioritize your needs. Eating regular nutritious meals, getting exercise, and sleeping are all critical for recovery. By prioritizing your needs, you allow yourself the space to heal.
- Meditation. Mindfulness meditation is a powerful tool for improving your overall sense of calm and quality of life. It allows you to sit quietly with your thoughts and observe them. You learn how to create emotional and mental space for the trauma, acknowledging your feelings and letting them go.
- Turn to Others for Support. Spending time with trusted friends and loved ones can provide a feeling of community and support. Knowing who you can reach for and asking for help is a sign of strength.
- Write an Impact Statement. Impact statements are often a powerful tool for those surviving intimate partner betrayal trauma. They give you permission to tell your side of the story and ask specifically for what you need. Impact statements provide you with time to explore your feelings and speak your truths without interruption. They can also help re-bond you to your partner.
Help Healing from Betrayal Trauma
At Begin Again Institute, we know that the partners of sex or porn addicts also need healing. We offer a unique 10-hour Partner Support Program in our 14-Day Men’s Intensive. As the partner of someone with sex addiction, your healing is a priority for us. We are here to help guide you on your journey to recovery. If you’re ready to get your life back, contact us today.