What is it?
In an emotionally intimate relationship, powerful attachments and bonds are shaped. Not only does the bond let us know that we are understood, unconditionally accepted, and appreciated, it tells us we are safe. Betrayal by an intimate partner shatters these core human needs and desires. It pulls apart the core assumptions upon which all enduring relationships must rest.
Why does it hurt so much?
Betrayal by people you care about hurts because it destroys your self-esteem. If you are to get over this pain, which may be extremely difficult, it may require readjusting your values.
It might be necessary to begin to reassess who you thought their life partner was and what you thought "was unique" about your life and your marriage/relationship. The betrayed partner will look at how they learned to trust and then interpret what this betrayal means about them and their attractiveness and worthiness. Finally, they can start to imagine what their life might be like in the future considering the dramatic and traumatic events that have occurred.
Can you heal from betrayal from an intimate partner? For healing to take place, the betrayed partner needs, from the person who has broken their trust, to feel heard, understand, and reassured. It requires tangible evidence that you are faithful and working on recovery. You are accessible, open, and actively engaged in the relationship. If you struggle to show empathy to your partner and their needs, then reach out to your therapist for help. Find a clinician who specializes in Partner Betrayal Trauma to help educate you.
Symptoms of Intimate Partner Betrayal Trauma
· Feeling overwhelmed.
· Withdrawal & isolation.
· Difficulty concentrating.
· Difficulty regulating intense emotions.
6 Ways to Heal Betrayal Trauma
1. Do not blindly blame yourself.
2. It's okay to look back on the relationship to find things you would have done differently.
3. Avoid rebound relationships.
4. Seek out success.
5. Take care of your physical health.
6. Think about keeping a daily journal.
When clients come into my office struggling with anxiety symptoms, including panic attacks, I ask them what they do to manage them. Many say they don't know what they do; they simply suffer through the discomfort of the physical and emotional symptoms. Before we begin to explore the reasons behind anxiety, I want to teach clients to use available resources and coping skills, even while we are discovering the roots of these symptoms.
These include breathing exercises for calming, grounding techniques, exercise, and mindfulness techniques. Here's a grounding exercise you can do to distract yourself from the unpleasant feelings of anxiety quickly: How to do it using your five senses?
Look: look around the room and see five things and say them out loud. You might say, "I see a TV, a plant, a bowl, a photo, and a lamp. Feel: Pay attention to your body, then think of four things to feel and say them out loud. For example, you might say, I feel a rug under my feet, I feel the wall's texture, I feel the smoothness of a table, I feel the softness of a pillow. Listen: Listen for three sounds. Maybe you hear a fan blowing, a car horn outside, a bird chirping in a tree. Smell: Say out loud two things you smell. You might move around the room, and notice coffee brewing, or grass being mowed outside a window. If you can't move around, just say two of your favorite smells. Taste: Find one thing that you can taste. Maybe it's the orange juice you poured for breakfast. If you can't taste something, say your favorite thing to taste.
I get asked all the time why I chose to name my counseling company after a car. I think Scion is a strange word but it means “a grafted plant”, so in my view, Scion means something new growing from something old. This is a metaphor for counseling because so many people come into counseling for help making real changes in their lives. However, sometimes people want to throw out many of the qualities that I believe are their strengths. Research shows that 30% of success in counseling comes from the relationship you have with your counselor. 40% of the success in counseling comes from the strengths you brought with you and only 15% of your success in counseling comes from the theories and techniques used by your counselor. So, you may not know it but you bring your future success in treatment with you as your strengths.