facebook-pixel A Close Look At Betrayal Trauma Symptoms (Am I Crazy?)
Partners often present with a set of symptoms including psycho-biological alterations, re-experiencing of the trauma, social and emotional constriction, constant triggering and reactivity, significant anxiety, emotional arousal and hyper-vigilance.
A Close Look At Betrayal Trauma Symptoms (Am I Crazy?)

Are you trying to figure out whether or not you're suffering from betrayal trauma? Dive into our article for a candid chat about its symptoms and how to heal.

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Partners often present with a set of symptoms including psycho-biological alterations, re-experiencing of the trauma, social and emotional constriction, constant triggering and reactivity, significant anxiety, emotional arousal and hyper-vigilance.

Betrayal trauma is a deeply distressing experience that can profoundly affect individuals, particularly those in intimate relationships where trust is shattered. This trauma often arises from various forms of betrayal, including infidelity, secret pornography use, and deception. It leaves survivors with emotional scars that can be challenging to overcome. Here at BTR.ORG, we believe that you CAN overcome these challenges.

Anne shares her own experiences with betrayal trauma symptoms like nightmares, self-doubt, and unexplained autoimmune diseases and chronic pain. Listen to this episode for more.

Overwhelming Emotions & Sleep Difficulties

One of the hallmark symptoms of betrayal trauma is the overwhelming surge of emotions. Victims often find themselves engulfed in a whirlwind of feelings, ranging from intense anger, sadness, confusion, and fear. These emotions can be all-consuming, making it challenging to concentrate on daily tasks or maintain emotional stability.

Many betrayal trauma victims experience sleep disturbances, including insomnia or frequent nightmares. Survivors may find it difficult to fall asleep, wake up in the middle of the night, or experience distressing dreams related to the betrayal. As Anne recounted, she frequently had nightmares about her partner’s lack of empathy, which is not uncommon among those who have experienced similar trauma.

Cognitive Challenges & Changes in Eating Habits

The cognitive impact of betrayal trauma often includes brain fog and difficulty concentrating. Survivors may experience persistent intrusive thoughts, obsessive rumination, and racing thoughts that make it hard to focus on their daily responsibilities.

The emotional turmoil of betrayal trauma can lead to changes in eating habits. Some individuals may overeat as a coping mechanism, while others may lose their appetite and struggle to maintain a healthy diet. Emotional eating can become a common response to the overwhelming stress.

Anxiety & Depression, Obsessive Thoughts & Behaviors

Anxiety and depression frequently co-occur with betrayal trauma. Individuals may become anxious about the future of their relationships, their self-worth, and their ability to trust again. These feelings can escalate into full-blown depression, leading to a profound sense of hopelessness and despair.

Survivors often find themselves trapped in a cycle of obsessive thoughts and behaviors. They may constantly check their partner’s activities, seek reassurance, or become preoccupied with details of the betrayal. This obsessive behavior can be mentally and emotionally exhausting.

Physical Symptoms

Betrayal trauma can also manifest in physical symptoms, such as tension headaches, muscle aches, and gastrointestinal distress. The constant stress and emotional turmoil can take a toll on the body, leading to a range of physical complaints.

Emotional Detachment and Borderline Symptoms

In some cases, survivors of betrayal trauma may experience emotional detachment as a defense mechanism. They might distance themselves emotionally from their partner to protect themselves from further hurt. This emotional withdrawal can affect the intimacy and connection in the relationship.

Some individuals who have experienced betrayal trauma may develop borderline-like symptoms, including unstable self-esteem, impulsivity, and difficulty regulating their emotions. These symptoms can be a response to the ongoing emotional turmoil and uncertainty in their lives.

BTR.ORG Is Here For You

Betrayal trauma symptoms can be deeply distressing and challenging to overcome. It is crucial for survivors to seek support. Consider attending a BTR.ORG Group Session today as you begin your journey to emotional safety and peace.

Full Transcript:

Overwhelming Emotions & Nightmares

Anne (00:00): Welcome to BTR.ORG. This is Anne. The overwhelming emotions, the sleep difficulties, brain fog, eating problems, anxiety, depression, obsessive thoughts, and obsessive checking. I want to talk about nightmares for a minute. My ex was supposedly in recovery, but I was still having nightmares. In the dreams, I was a single mom, and I knew I needed a husband, so I was like, there was that one guy. I remember him. He was kind of nice. Where is he now? Why isn’t he here? Then I would try and find him, and then I would find him, and he would be kind of mean to me and brush me off. That was the nightmare. I had it all the time, in different forms. I remember I would put my hand over on him and touch him and be like, oh, good. It was just a dream every night. Then I would tell him about it, and I would say, I’m having these nightmares.

Unspoken Concerns

(04:03): I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Everything seems to be fine with us. And I remember one night when I was lying in bed right next to him, and I said, I’ve been having these nightmares. I really feel like something bad’s going to happen, and I didn’t pause to let him speak. After saying that, I kind of went, yeah, but it’s just crazy. It must just be me. I’m still mentally messed up. I just kind of justified it and went around it. Well, he never said anything about it, but now that I look back, he not only didn’t say anything, and I talked myself out of it, but he also didn’t try and comfort me. There was a woman in my group. She said, I’m having nightmares almost every night, but I wake up, and I look at him, and everything’s fine. And I said, when you tell him about your nightmares, how far away is he?

Lack of Comfort & Support

(04:51): I gave her an example. I said, “Is he standing more than four feet away from you, looking at you, but kind of not really responding and saying things like, ‘Oh, and that’s about it’?” She started crying. She said, “That’s exactly what’s happening.” I said, “I’m not sure what’s going on, but an empathetic, caring, connected person would not be four or five feet away from you in that situation. They would be giving you a hug. They’d be saying, ‘Oh, I’m so sorry that you’re having these nightmares.’ They would try to reassure you, ‘I love you. I care about you. Is there anything I can do?’—some kind of connecting, interacting thing. But this standing four or five feet away with this blank stare on your face is like a deer in the headlights.” And more and more as I hear these stories of women who have these nightmares, and then months later, they find out that something really was going on, even though in their waking hours it seemed like everything was fine.

Nightmares as Warning Signs

(05:46): Not to say that everyone who has a nightmare, their husband is acting out. I’m not saying that. I wonder if there’s more to it. I don’t know. Because the really interesting thing is now that I’m disconnected from him, I rarely have those nightmares anymore. Rarely because thinking that my husband was in recovery when he was not, he was lying to me and manipulating me and having those dreams. Now I see an indicator of a warning to me, which I just kind of dismissed. I have a friend whose husband has labeled her borderline and kept taking her in to get help. Her husband had been lying to her and gaslighting her, and he had a double life sexual addiction going on, and this was a way for him to avoid anyone looking at him and keep her sort of crazy. But the problem is, there’s no way to actually recover if you’re still being abused like this. So she’s still in the abusive situation, and that’s why it’s so important to have the right help.

Safety as a Priority

Anne (06:42): This friend of mine, she has now separated herself from her abusive spouse, and her borderline symptoms are gone. So now she’s having trauma symptoms. But I think it’s so interesting that when you work on being safe from the trauma first, then you can maybe see the other things that were going on more clearly. I have an unnamed autoimmune disorder. It’s not lupus, it’s not arthritis. I’ve been trying to get a diagnosis for a long time. I get super, super sleepy, and all of my joints hurt really bad. So it has a lot of the same characteristics as these autoimmune diseases. So the doctors are like, “Yep, you have one. It’s just we don’t know. We don’t know what it is. It’s unnamed, and we should call it the Betrayal Trauma Autoimmune Disorder.” So women who are experiencing these symptoms, what can they do?

“A supportive community has made all the difference”

(07:34): I have spent so much time and money going to therapists to train them. I am paying them to sit there in their office and train them about betrayal trauma, rather than from the first second to have them actually help me—actually have them say, “Okay, this is what we need to do. Now I see where you’re at. Let me help you navigate this.” There was one therapist, it was like three months after my husband’s arrest, who I had to talk her into telling her that my husband was abusive. It was crazy, and I thought, “I’m not. Wait a minute. What am I doing? I’m not going to her anymore.” And I think she was confused because I didn’t want to divorce. So she was kind of like, “Wait a minute. You’re saying your husband’s abusive, but you don’t want to get a divorce. I don’t know how to help you.”

Anne (08:22): What am I supposed to do? And I’m like, “I need help. But yes, he is abusive, and yes, I don’t want to get a divorce. Can we just sit here in this for a minute? Can you accept me where I am?” So I have found in my recovery that is in process right now that a supportive community has made all the difference.

recovering from betrayal trauma
Have you been lied to? Manipulated?

Discovered porn or inappropriate texts on your husband's phone?
Are you baffled by illogical conversations with him?

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