Any sudden life threatening event produces trauma:[arrow_list]
- A house fire
- A car accident
- An assault, burglary, or rape
Betrayal trauma is the result of any disclosure that puts at risk the life of a relationship. The life that is threatened is the shared life two people have built together.
A whole world shatters when you discover your partner is not who he appears to be. Here’s why.
Women tend to build their identity in relationship to others.
“I am a wife.”
“I am a mother.”
“I am a sister.”
“I am a friend.”
This is a profoundly healthy way to journey in the world. We are healthy when we are in healthy relationships.
But this way of being in the world also heightens the traumatic effect of betrayal. When you experience yourself as “someone-in-relationship-with”, trust contributes significantly to your sense of well-being. When that someone with whom your are in relationship with suddenly cannot be trusted, you feel at risk.
Women who have experienced betrayal often experience confusion. It is as if a dense fog suddenly descends upon their world. They may think:[arrow_list]
- “If my partner isn’t who I thought he was, then what does that say about the life we share?”
- “If he is no longer no true, what about me is no longer true?”
- “If I don’t know him anymore, I don’t know me anymore!”
Betrayal trauma comes with a number of symptoms similar to other traumatic experiences. These include an elevated heart rate, shallow breath, hyper-vigilance, depression, change in appetite, lack of motivation, intolerance, tears, quick temper, and other discomfitting emotions.
You may wonder if you will ever be able to trust again. You may question closely held beliefs. You may turn away from friends due to an overwhelming sense of shame. You may feel like the earth has fallen away beneath you.
Your recovery from betrayal trauma begins with finding your ground. Your ground is that unshakable confidence that carries the assurance the no matter what his journey may involve, you are going to be okay.
This basic recovery skill involves learning to create a safe space for yourself. This includes safe physical space. It also includes safe emotional and spiritual space as well.
Once you discover (or build for yourself) this safe space, you will begin to recover a sense of peace and security. There may be moments when your sense of peace and security feels under assault. But you will have the ability to return to your ground to have that sense of serenity restored again.
This takes time and it takes work. But you need not do this work alone. And you need not wander in your wilderness without a guide.
We are here to help you find your ground and establish the recovery you need to flourish in your life again.
Image by Evan Lovely.