By: Kirsten Lesch
I work with many individuals and couples who have experienced betrayal trauma, I understand how devastating and life-altering this trauma can be. Betrayal trauma occurs when someone you trust, such as a partner or friend, violates that trust significantly. Betrayal trauma can include infidelity lying, or keeping important information from you.
To aid in recovery, its essential to accept that betrayal trauma is a real and valid experience. It can cause various emotional and psychological symptoms, including anxiety, depression, anger, and difficulty trusting others. It can also lead to physical symptoms, such as headaches, digestive issues, and sleep problems.
First Steps To Healing
For many, the first response to betrayal trauma is denying or minimizing the experience. People may tell themselves that it’s not that big of a deal or that they should “get over it.” However, this can be harmful in the long run, as it can prevent people from fully processing their emotions and healing from the trauma.
The first step in healing from betrayal trauma is to acknowledge and validate the experience. This means allowing yourself to feel the pain and hurt of being betrayed by someone you trusted. It also means accepting that healing takes time and that it’s okay to feel a range of emotions during this process.
In my experience, finding a support system is one of the most important aspects of healing from betrayal trauma. This can include friends, family members, and a therapist or counselor. It’s essential to have people who can listen without judgment, validate your emotions, and offer support and guidance as you navigate the healing process.
In addition to finding support, it’s also important to take care of yourself during this time. This can include practicing self-care activities such as exercise, meditation, and spending time in nature. It may also mean setting boundaries with the person who betrayed you, such as limiting contact or taking a break from the relationship altogether.
Another critical aspect of healing from betrayal trauma is working on rebuilding trust. Rebuilding trust can be a difficult process, but it’s essential for moving forward in relationships. It involves both the person who was betrayed and the person who betrayed them, taking responsibility for their actions, being open and honest with each other, and making a commitment to rebuilding trust over time. Couples therapy can be helpful in this process.
For many people, healing from betrayal trauma also involves a process of forgiveness. This can be a challenging and deeply personal decision, and it should not be rushed or forced. However, forgiveness can be a powerful way to release anger and resentment and move forward in a relationship.
In my experience, healing from betrayal trauma is a unique and individual process. It may involve different steps and timelines for each person, depending on the nature and severity of the betrayal. However, with the right support, self-care, and commitment to healing, it is possible to move forward and build a stronger and more resilient relationship.
Betrayal trauma is a real and valid experience that can significantly impact a person’s emotional and psychological well-being. Healing from betrayal trauma involves:
- Acknowledging and validating the experience.
- Finding a support system.
- Taking care of yourself.
- Working on rebuilding trust.
- Possibly considering forgiveness.
While the healing process may be challenging and complicated, it is possible to come out on the other side with greater resilience and strength.