What is an impact letter for betrayal trauma?
This is when the partner who has been betrayed gets an opportunity to tell their spouse how they have been impacted by his or her actions. Typically, this step happens after the partner who has betrayed you has written their own disclosure letter discussing the reality of their own actions.
What are the important aspects to include in this letter?
How the following areas in your life have been impacted due to their actions:
A. Inventory of Impact
- Martial connection/bond/communication
- Emotional and mental health
- Body and safety
- Work and career life
- Life story/narrative
- Witness and testimony
B. Examining the damage
After choosing which areas from the list above have been most impacted, you will explain how each of the areas has been affected.
C.Giving Your Emotions a Voice
This step can be very difficult, yet identifying specific emotions and how they are impacting you physically, emotionally, and mentally can help start the healing process within yourself. Emotions indicate the physiological responses occurring within us and can help us identify why we feel so strongly about how action against us is impacting us in the way it is.
D. Own Your Needs
After doing the extremely hard work of writing the impact letter, you can reflect and start to help from the brokenness that has occurred in your relationship. You may share that you fear expressing your feelings to them because you may not be heard, or the blame may be put back onto you. Fully sharing your doubts and concerns so that you can continue to heal is necessary.
E. Be Heard
After going through the above steps, you will combine all these different pieces within one letter. This letter is read in session with the therapist and the spouse. Writing this letter is a difficult and courageous step toward healing. Be proud of yourself for how far you’ve come in this process. Is an impact letter helpful?
Impact letters can bring much healing to the process of recovery after betrayal trauma. Depending on their circumstances, some individuals may not find impact letters helpful in their own personal healing process.
What is in this letter?
The letter typically consists of the hurt, pain, and detrimental consequences one partner caused another through betrayal. This may be expressed through a narrative and emotional context.
Are there risks to writing this letter?
There is a risk of you, as the one who has been betrayed, having those same feelings of betrayal all over again. The betrayer may feel ashamed, guilty, and even angry. Both parties will most likely feel intense emotions as the letter is shared with one another.
What are forms of betrayal?
- Porn addiction
- Sexual addiction
- Drug addiction
- Alcohol addiction
- Substance addiction
- Financial secrecy
What is betrayal recovery?
Betrayal recovery comes after the betrayal has been stated and is in the open between you and your partner. The recovery process may be able to occur in light of when you are willing and want to start healing. Some couples may end up not staying together after a betrayal, although this doesn’t mean that either of the partners can’t heal from the traumatic experience. If the couple decides to stay together, they may seek out betrayal counseling; if not, they may seek out individual counseling.
What is the impact of betrayal trauma?
Betrayal trauma can cause various post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, such as flashbacks, nightmares, depression, anxiety, distrust, and dissociation. It can also have lasting mental health effects on how a person lives their life in day-to-day tasks.
How long is the recovery process?
The recovery process for some individuals may take a few months up to a few years, or even longer. Exuberating patience, compassion, self-care, and introspection are all important qualities to have while healing from betrayal.
How do you move forward in this process?
Communicating your needs within the relationship is key in helping the couple move towards healthiness and growth together. Determining and writing out your hopes for your future together is an important aspect of envisioning a healthy partnership.
How long will I need to go to therapy sessions for betrayal trauma?
Everyone is different, but some people need months or years to recover from betrayal trauma.