How do you recover from betrayal trauma?

  • Practicing mindfulness, meditation, prayer, or journaling.
  • Take care of your body by improving sleep, diet, and exercise habits.
  • Get a physical exam, especially in cases involving sexual betrayal.
  • Pamper yourself through getting a massage, seeing a chiropractor, getting hair or nails done.
  • Try calming activities like hiking, drawing, painting, or coloring.
  • Build healthy relationships.
  • Set firm boundaries.
  • Tell your story or testimony and listen to the stories or testimonies of others. You need to know by experience, not just head knowledge, that you are not alone.
  • Seek help from a therapist. The best outcomes for couples overcoming betrayal is to have three separate therapists involved (two individual therapists and a couples therapist), and to allow them to coordinate treatment.

Is Betrayal Trauma a form of PTSD?

People who have experienced partner Betrayal Trauma (BT) often exhibit symptoms of PTSD. The only difference between “traditional” PTSD and BT is the inciting event.

What does Betrayal Trauma feel like? 

Symptoms of Betrayal Trauma may include: 

  • Flashbacks – a sense of reliving a past event in the present. Flashbacks may be severe enough that one completely loses awareness of the present.
  • Nightmares – especially about the event(s) of discovery, disclosure, or what one imagines his or her partner doing in secret.
  • Impaired sleep – not being able to sleep due to anxiety and “not being able shut off.”
  • Depression – a general sense of sadness, irritability, loss of motivation, or loss of joy.
  • Anxiety – a general sense of worry or overwhelm, even it situations that one used to handle well.
  • Brain fog – inability to think clearly or quickly or to make decisions.
  • Dissociation – losing one’s sense of connection to the present.
  • Trouble recognizing, expressing, or managing emotions.
  • Panic attacks – a physical experience of extreme anxiety that can feel like a heart attack (heart racing, hyperventilating, chest pain, headache, etc.).
  • Difficulty trusting others – especially intimate or close friendships or family members, and especially anyone thought to have colluded with the betraying partner.
  • Thoughts of suicide.

Can you have PTSD from being cheated on?

  • Yes, infidelity can have the lingering effects of PTSD. Some of the symptoms may include: 
  • Repeated intrusive thoughts
  • Unstable emotional regulation
  • Out of body experiences
  • Alternating between feeling numb and striking out 
  • Inability to stop scanning for any new data that might cause more distress
  • Feeling overwhelming powerlessness and broken
  • Need to regain self-worth by assigning blame
  • Confusion and disorientation

How serious is Betrayal Trauma?

Betrayal Trauma is very serious. The betrayed person is very likely to experience PTSD symptoms. Children of couples where betrayal occurs may also experience trauma, ADHD, anxiety, or depression.

What is the ultimate betrayal?

The ultimate betrayal in a relationship is lies. Lies undermine authentic communication and create distrust between both parties that takes a long time to repair. Almost universally, people who experience betrayal trauma report that the lies hurt them worse than the betrayal itself.

Can you have Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from a toxic relationship?

You can develop symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder from a toxic relationship involving physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual abuse. Not all of these categories necessarily lead to PTSD. But PTSD could develop from any of the categories listed above. 

How do I heal my partner from Betrayal Trauma (if I am the Betrayer)?

  • Acknowledge the betrayal instead of avoiding it.
  • Have full disclosure, (preferably therapist facilitated). Do not include details of sexual acts.
  • Practice accepting difficult emotions.
  • Turn to others, like mentors or family members for support.
  • Focus on what you need and then on what your partner needs from you in the healing process
  • Understand that BOTH individual and couple therapy may be needed

Is being cheated on a trauma?

Yes. Being cheated on is a type of trauma. 

What is post-traumatic relationship syndrome?

Post-traumatic relationship syndrome is an anxiety disorder that occurs subsequent to the experience of physical, sexual, or severe emotional abuse in the context of an emotionally intimate relationship. 

What are Betrayal Trauma triggers?

Anything that can trigger trauma responses in PTSD can also cause trauma responses in betrayal trauma. Some triggers for PTSD include: 

  • People – the individual themselves or others who inhibit similar features to that individual may trigger PTSD. 
  • Thoughts and emotions – Emotions that occurred during the traumatic event may cause symptoms. 
  • Things – Seeing or viewing an object that was similar to or reminds you of something within the traumatic memory may be a trigger. 
  • Scents – Memories can be tied to scents. Smelling a specific lotion, food or any other scent may be a trigger.
  • Places: Returning to, passing by, or being somewhere that resembles a scene of trauma may be triggering. 
  • TV shows, news reports, movies: Viewing, hearing, or seeing a trauma taking place socially may trigger PTSD. 
  • Feelings: Different sensations such as pain or pleasure may lead to flashbacks. 
  • Sounds: Hearing different sounds, noises, songs, or voices potentially can bring back memories. 
  • Tastes: The taste of a strong flavor like alcohol could bring back memories of the traumatic event. 
  • Situations: You may be triggered if a situation you are in is similar to the traumatic event itself (being trapped in an elevator reminds you of when you were trapped in a closet growing up). 
  • Anniversaries: Many marked dates that are triggering for people include the death or loss of a loved one, like when a family member has passed or nationally when 9/11 happened. 
  • Words: Specific words or phrases may trigger a trauma-related memory. 

What are the 17 PTSD symptoms?

  • Intrusive thoughts
  • Nightmares
  • Avoiding reminders of the event
  • Memory loss 
  • Negative thoughts about self and world
  • Self-isolation/feeling distant
  • Anger and irritability 
  • Reduced interest in favorite activities 
  • Hyper – Vigilance  
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Insomnia
  • Vivid flashbacks 
  • Avoiding people, places, and things related to the event 
  • Casting blame 
  • Difficulty feeling positive emotions
  • Exaggerated startle response
  • Risky behaviors 
  • Physical symptoms like Increased blood pressure

What are the stages of grief after betrayal? 

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance 

Why is betrayal so painful?

One of the many reasons why betrayal is so painful is that it destroys your self-esteem. Whether through a friendship or a romantic relationship and even familial ties, betrayal hits us at the core of who we are and forces us to ask the question of “what did I personally do to deserve this?”.

How do you let go of betrayal in a relationship?

  • Consider why you (if you’re the one engaging in the betrayal actions) did it. 
  • Apologize sincerely
  • Give your partner time
  • Let their needs guide you
  • Commit to clear communication 

What are forms of betrayal trauma?  

  • Abusive relationship
  • Sexual abuse 
  • Childhood trauma 
  • Physical abuse 

How does trauma impact your physical health? 

Trauma may put you at risk for the following diseases: 

  • Chronic lung disease 
  • Heart disease 
  • Liver cancer 
  • Depression 
  • Viral hepatitis 
  • Sexually transmitted diseases

What classifies someone as a trauma survivor? 

A person who endures adversity moves through it and perseveres or someone who is resilient despite the setbacks they have endured.