Relationship Betrayal

What is Relationship Betrayal and Trauma?

Relationship betrayal is one of the most painful human experiences. The resulting trauma refers to the damage that is caused when someone experiences a betrayal in their primary relationship that damages the trust, safety and security of the bond they have with their partner. Discovering that someone we trusted has deeply hurt us pulls the reality rug out from under us. A damaging aspect of betrayal is that our sense of reality is undermined. What felt like solid trust suddenly crumbles. Our innocence is shattered. We’re left wondering: What happened? How could this happen? Who is this person? The way that we bond to our spouses is a profound puzzle. It is a process of intertwining our lives, having children together and creating memories, we become more and more interdependent with one another. This is not codependency. This is healthy, normal, mutual dependency. It is what makes relationships function, providing safety and security. However, when that attachment is breached or damaged it can affect our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health in deeply painful ways. Instead of grounding us, it puts us in free fall. Instead of security we experience fear. Because our spouse is the source of our pain, they now feel like a threat to our well-being; a danger rather than a safe haven or a source of comfort and rest. Betrayal puts us in a situation where we need to discern what’s best for us. It’s complicated. Perhaps love is still alive and our partner admits his or her mistake and expresses remorse. Would it be a courageous risk to give our partner another chance or a foolish mistake to trust again? Rather than act impulsively, we may serve ourselves by taking time to sort out our feelings and find some clarity about what’s best for us, our relationship and our family.

Understanding the Chaos.

The shocking discovery of betrayal in marriage induces feelings of chaos, confusion, and debilitating despair. Betrayal creates such intense emotions for the afflicted spouse that the memories and trauma may remain for months, even years. Betrayal trauma is a condition that parallels the symptoms of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and is caused when someone experiences betrayal and deception within their primary relationship; this betrayal damages the trust and safety of the relationship and calls into question the bond they have with their partner. You may experience tremendous anxiety, high stress, fatigue, depression, despair, grief, fear, and other serious symptoms.

First Steps

The first steps to responding to the chaos that has consumed your life is to understand the nature of addiction and to find support. Dealing with a partner’s sexual addiction can feel different than other addiction. It can feel like all the winds and storms are coming directly at you; it feels like it is a personal attack.

Your Feelings are Completely Normal

While the trauma from betrayal is real, it’s possible to heal. With helpful support, you can take steps to reveal vulnerable feelings that lie beneath the initial anger and outrage. Your heart can be made whole, your life can be made brighter, and you can ultimately be released from the sting of betrayal and its accompanied trauma. Counseling offers a safe place to reveal feelings, work through grief and anger, uncover longstanding issues and provide helpful support and guidance.

Are you ready to get help?

Yes, sexual addiction can be difficult to talk about, which can make it tough to seek treatment but rest assured, at Crossed Hearts Counseling; you are understood. This means that we can also walk you through your discomfort.​ Admitting you need help does not diminish all the good things about you. Sex addiction is a bad disease that happens to good people.