Betrayal Trauma – How to Heal
When you hear the word trauma, you may associate it with a natural disaster, a car accident or having psychological trauma, or PTSD. However, there is another poignant one, which is betrayal trauma. If someone close to you has ever broken your trust, you probably felt the sharp sting of betrayal, and this pain can leave deep wounds that need healing. It may have been through a relationship, betrayed by parents having affairs or divorcing? From a bad relationship, romantic or platonic.
Any betrayal can cause emotional distress and pain, this pain sometimes lasting months or even years. However, you do not have to live with the pain that comes from these events. First, you must understand how to identify, face and heal betrayal trauma.
Examples of Betrayal Trauma:
Before learning about the symptoms, it is best to understand some common examples of betrayal trauma, such as sudden discovery. Using a romantic relationship as an example, say you find out your partner has been hiding something from you. Thus discovery may put you in shock, and you may feel confused about what to do in this situation.
Gaslighting means manipulation and deceit from your partner to clear his/her/their role in the betrayal incident might confuse you deeply.
Approximately 60% of people who have betrayal trauma have nightmares that can damage their sleep quality and cause problems with depression and focus—steamrolling for more issues.
People need people, and while social batteries can deplete and need charging, avoiding friends and family can be a symptom of betrayal trauma. People who have experienced it are often afraid to talk about what happened and how bad they feel. They tend to isolate themselves and are unable to reach out, which worsens the trauma.
This is another common symptom of betrayal trauma. Hyper-vigilance is a constant scanning of the environment for more trauma. Hyper-vigilance can make you suspect that others will hurt you the way the betrayer did. It becomes difficult to trust people. Thus, making it challenging to create and manufacturer-new relationships.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Some people with betrayal trauma meet the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This symptom of betrayal trauma is debilitating, causing problems with functioning at home, school or work. In addition, it can be damaging to relationships and can cause depression and overwhelming anxiety.
There are other symptoms of betrayal trauma – being easily startled, flashbacks, reliving the trauma repeatedly. There are also physical symptoms – a racing heart or sweating. In addition, you may have trouble remembering key features of the traumatic event or loss of interest in enjoyable activities.
As you can see, the symptoms of betrayal trauma are severe and may even be life-threatening. Ignoring them can be devastating to you and others close to you.
So how can you begin to deal with this?
Ways to Heal from Betrayal Trauma
Acknowledge instead of Avoid
Beginning the healing process often means coming to terms with what happened. However, if you brush past the betrayal, then your turmoil can spill over to other areas of your life, so it is essential to address and explore the reasons behind it.
Turn to Others for Support
Opening up about betrayal is not easy. You may not want to talk about childhood trauma, and you may have difficulty trusting anyone at all. But people need emotional support, and while your loved ones may not know the full extent, they can still be your companion while you try to heal.
Counseling is beneficial, whether it be relationship counselling or just for an individual. Counseling provides an opportunity for individuals to work through hurt and trust issues to recover intimacy and goodwill. Speaking with a qualified counsellor can help you process your emotions and make a positive step towards the next stage of your life. They’ll encourage you to take a new, objective view of your personal history, allowing you to reflect clearly on your present situation without feeling blamed.
You may need specialized trauma therapy; there are specialized forms of psychotherapy for trauma. Both EMDR and Brain Spotting are very effective. EEG biofeedback has also been found to be very effective in healing trauma symptoms.
You Are Not Your Trauma
Your betrayal is an unhealed emotional memory. It does not define who you are. Nor does it have anything to do with how loveable you are, so don’t define yourself by what has happened. Just be proud of yourself for trying to heal yourself and feel free to contact me for help!