This pain can leave deep wounds. When you rely on someone for basic needs as well as love and protection, you might accept a betrayal in order to ensure your own safety. You might also find yourself accepting the possibility of future betrayals — something that can begin to degrade self-esteem, emotional well-beingand the ability to form attachments with others. Betrayal trauma was first introduced as a concept by psychologist Jennifer Freyd in She described it as a specific trauma that happens in key social relationships where the betrayed person needs to maintain a relationship with the betrayer for support or protection.
Betrayal trauma theory suggests harm within attachment relationships, like relationships between a parent and child or between romantic partners, can cause lasting trauma. People often respond to betrayal by pulling away from the person who betrayed them. But when you depend on someone to meet certain needs, this response might not be feasible. Children, for example, depend on parents to meet emotional needs along with food, shelter, and safety needs.
Similarly, someone who lacks financial or social resources outside of their relationship may fear that acknowledging the betrayal and leaving the relationship could put their safety at risk. This fear of the potential consequences of acknowledging the betrayal might prompt the betrayed person to bury the trauma. As a result, they may not fully process the betrayal or remember it correctly, especially if it happens in childhood. Though experts originally applied the concept of betrayal trauma to children betrayed by caregivers, it became clear that this type of trauma could also happen in other relationships.
Your earliest childhood relationships are so ificant because they lay the groundwork for later relationships. When these bonds are strong and secure, they pave the way toward secure attachments in adulthood. Insecure bondson the other hand, often lead to shaky or troubled relationships.
Best betrayal quotes
A parent bringing Betrayed by lover the world has a responsibility to protect and care for that. This responsibility forms an unspoken agreement between parent and. The child looks to the parent to prioritize their well-being, and they typically trust their parents entirely — until the parent lets them down. In a romantic relationship, you might not need your partner to survive, but you probably depend on them for loveemotional supportand companionship. These relationships also rest on agreements — the boundaries defining the relationship. Partners in a monogamous relationship, for example, generally have some shared understanding of what defines cheating and agree to trust each other not to cheat.
The trauma of betrayal can affect physical and emotional health, but the specific effects can vary depending on the type of trauma. Keep in mind that not everyone experiences trauma in the same way, either. Children who experience betrayal may also end up dissociatingor detaching from reality to avoid memories of the abuse. If your parent fails to protect you, this betrayal can so deeply contradict what you expect that you end up blocking it in order to maintain the attachment. Yet while dissociation might help you cope with the trauma, it can also affect your memory and sense of self.
Betrayal in a romantic relationship usually takes the form of infidelity, though other types of betrayal, such as financial betrayal, can also provoke a trauma response. Instead of staying alert to s of cheating, you might choose often unconsciously to ignore or overlook clues in order to safeguard your relationship and protect emotional health. After a betrayal in a romantic relationship, you might find yourself dealing with ongoing trust issues and self-doubt. Even if you choose to give your partner another Betrayed by lover, it might take months, even years, to successfully rebuild trust.
If you dealt with childhood trauma by dissociating or blocking out what happened, your memories will eventually resurfaceespecially if something similar happens to trigger their return.
Blocking them again may not be an option. The route to recovery may not look the same for everyone, but these strategies can help you take the first steps.
13 steps to recover from betrayal
Leaning into a trauma like infidelity might seem too painful to even consider. In reality, though, acknowledging it allows you to begin exploring the reasons behind it, which can help kick off the healing process. Instead of getting trapped in an unrelenting cycle of self-doubt and self-criticism, you can begin coming to terms with underlying relationship issues, such as lack of communication or intimacyand explore ways to resolve them.
Choosing to cheat is an unhealthy response to relationship problems. Plenty of unpleasant emotions can show up in the aftermath of betrayal. You might also Betrayed by lover furious, vengeful, sick, or grieved. Naturally, you might find yourself trying to avoid this distress by denying or trying to block what happened. Although hiding from painful or upsetting emotions might seem easy and safe, avoiding or masking your emotions can make it more difficult to regulate them. Putting a name to specific emotions — anger, regret, sadness, loss — can help you begin navigating them more effectively.
Greater emotional awareness, in turn, can help you begin identifying strategies to cope with those feelings more productively. Plus, once someone has betrayed your trust, you might have a hard time trusting anyone at all. Yet people need emotional support, especially during stressful times. Gossip can make a difficult situation even more painful, so you may want to save the in-depth details for your most trusted loved ones.
After a partner cheats, most people need some time to decide whether to end the relationship or try repairing the damage. A relationship therapist can offer support and guidance as you consider whether you believe rebuilding trust is possible. Trauma can be hard to confront on your own. Professional support can make a big difference in the healing process. In therapy, you can begin to acknowledge and work through a betrayal before Betrayed by lover causes lingering distress. Therapists trained to work with survivors of abuse and neglect can also help with unpacking long-lasting effects of childhood trauma.
If you have attachment issues, for example, a therapist might help you identify underlying causes of insecure attachment and explore strategies for building more secure relationships. Most mental health experts recommend some form of couples therapy when attempting to heal a relationship after infidelity.
When someone you love and trust does something to shatter the foundations of your relationship, the resulting trauma can be severe. You can heal, though, and you might even come back stronger as you rebuild your sense of self and gain tools for developing healthy relationships.
Ready to take the first steps? A therapist can offer guidance along the way. Crystal Raypole has ly worked as a writer and editor for GoodTherapy. Her fields of interest include Asian languages and literature, Japanese translation, cooking, natural sciences, sex positivity, and mental health.
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