02 Jul
Overcoming Betrayal Trauma

Betrayal trauma is something most of us experience throughout our lives, however, it doesn’t really get the attention it deserves in popular media. 

The truth of the matter is, it is a prevalent yet highly underdiagnosed issue that can have lasting impacts on our psyche and relationships. The situation can be incredibly complex because often, the person who has been betrayed, had malicious lies spread about them or endured some form of misfortune due to a betrayal is not fully aware of what has occurred which leaves them helpless to effectively address the situation at hand.

While most people are mature enough not to believe everything they see or hear, the harsh reality of the world we live in is that some people thrive on harming, devaluing or degrading others. 

Though motivations are not always clear, common driving forces can include competitiveness, greed, jealously, money, corruption or in some instances, a need to protect one’s own reputation. 

As beautiful as people can be, it is undeniable that not everyone holds your best interests at heart. Here are some helpful insights that are worth reflecting on:

What is betrayal trauma? 

Betrayal trauma is a condition that describes the emotional effects a person may experience following the violation of their trust, either by institutions or people that hold due importance in their lives.

An American psychologist, Jennifer Freyd, first coined the concept in 1991. According to the initial theory, betrayal trauma is a type of trauma that refers to the pain and emotional distress that occurs when a trusted institution, loved one, or intimate partner violates your trust. 

The betrayal trauma theory also considers experiences, such as sadistic, or physical abuse in childhood by a caregiver or abuse from a person in a position of authority, as triggers of betrayal trauma. 

Common Betrayal Trauma Symptoms 

The following are the common mental and physical symptoms of betrayal trauma: 

  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Poor concentration
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Emotional dysregulation
  • Dissociation
  • Eating disorders
  • Physical pain
  • Issues with trust and relationships
  • Substance abuse
  • Gastrointestinal issues

How to Get Over Betrayal Trauma 

If you have experienced betrayal trauma, here are some helpful tips to overcome it so you can avoid suffering: 

Acknowledge the issue 

The first step to overcoming betrayal trauma is acknowledging how you were hurt and betrayed. Be completely honest with yourself and find out how this has impacted your life and relationships. 

Journal your feelings 

Many people find that writing down their emotions and feelings regarding the betrayal trauma can help them find relief. Journaling can also help them better identify their feelings and give them a space to reflect on them properly instead of suppressing them all the time. 

Process the emotions 

Confront the traumatic feelings you experienced and their associated emotions, such as fear, anger, grief, loss and anxiety. 

Seek support and treatment 

Seek support from trained professionals to help you work through the difficulties. Doing so can ease your burden and give you peace of mind. Consider joining professional treatment or look for local support groups. 

Set healthy boundaries

If the person who has betrayed you is still a part of your life in any capacity, establish firm boundaries with them so you don’t experience ongoing trauma from them. Though communication in relationships is important, sometimes it is acceptable to completely eradicate someone from your life on the basis of their conduct without offering any explanation. 

It is important to recognise that silence is often far better nonsense. At the end of the day, you have absolutely no obligation to hold space in your life for someone who has caused you significant harm. 

Recognize patterns

Evaluate if past trauma is affecting your current relationships or situation. Understand that you only deserve mutually beneficial relationships that give you happiness and confidence. 

Recovery From Betrayal Trauma 

It can be difficult to confront and manage trauma on your own, and seeking professional support can make a huge difference in terms of healing and recovery. In therapy, it is possible to acknowledge and work through traumatic issues before they enforce lingering distress your life.

Seeking help will also prevent the trauma from infiltrating future relationships and make your life easier in the long run. 

The most important thing to do is avoid contact with the perpetrator – deny, attack, and reverse victim & offender (DARVO) is a real thing, particular when it comes to people who have little to no conscience to begin with. Ongoing contact with the perpetrator is not likely to lead to a positive outcome for you. Space, boundaries and distance are all keys to your personal power and healing. 

All in all, seeking help to overcome betrayal trauma will help you to re-establish a healthy self-esteem, learn healthy ways to cope with difficult emotions and develop resilience and strategies for overcoming gossip or snide remarks from those who find your trauma to be a form of entertainment. 

If you need some assistance book in for a 1:1 strategy call today.

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