Relationship Betrayal Recovery From Addiction-Induced Betrayal Trauma

Healing from Betrayal Trauma: A Comprehensive Guide

Betrayal trauma is one of the most challenging experiences to navigate, especially when you’ve chosen to stay in the relationship. This complex issue requires a deep dive into the myriad steps necessary to get back on track after a major deception or betrayal has occurred.

Understanding Betrayal Trauma

Typically, when we think of betrayal trauma, an affair often comes to mind. However, betrayal can also stem from having a spouse or partner with an addiction. If you find yourself in either of these situations and have decided to work through it, you’re facing significant challenges—not just self-doubt but also doubts from those around you and possibly even your partner.

The Road to Healing

Healing from betrayal trauma is a murky and long journey, but it is possible. The first step is understanding what you’re dealing with. This blog explores the perspectives of both the betrayed and the betrayer, recognizing that there is trauma on both sides.

The Betrayed Partner

When your partner deceives you, it creates a significant injury—emotionally, physically, relationally, and environmentally. Your body undergoes physiological changes similar to other forms of trauma, such as natural disasters or assaults. Neurochemicals like cortisol, norepinephrine, and glutamate flood your system, putting you on high alert.

Your emotions will be all over the place. You might experience sleeplessness, an insatiable need for truth, and fluctuating appetites. The constant need to dig for details can become overwhelming, creating new triggers daily. It’s crucial to balance this need for truth with the understanding that knowing every detail might hinder your healing process.

The Betrayer

The person who betrayed also faces a significant struggle. Even after being caught, defense mechanisms and justifications don’t disappear overnight. This can cause re-injury to the betrayed partner. The betrayer might not stop their harmful behavior immediately, exacerbating the betrayed person’s trauma. They might be defensive, hide the truth, or lie, driven by their fight-or-flight response.

Moving Forward Together

Despite the chaos, it is possible to emerge stronger both individually and as a couple. This process requires understanding, empathy, and a willingness to endure difficult emotions and conversations. The betrayed partner needs to feel safe and heard, while the betrayer needs to understand their actions and the underlying causes.

Finding Support

Support is crucial, but it must be the right kind. Friends and family might naturally want to protect you, often suggesting you leave the relationship. However, if you’ve decided to stay, this advice can make you feel worse. Seek out support from people who understand betrayal trauma and are wise in their guidance.

A Non-Linear Path to Healing

Healing is not a straight line. Expect setbacks and understand that it’s a process with stages. Both partners must make conscious choices on how to react and respond, even when their internal alarms are screaming.

For a deeper understanding, watch my interview with a counselor specializing in betrayal trauma. Click the link above to continue your journey to recovery.


Amber Hollingsworth

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