Here’s the Info You Need About Betrayal Trauma | BTR.ORG

Here’s the Info You Need About Betrayal Trauma

by | Abuse Literacy

Here's the Info You Need About Betrayal Trauma

Emotionally abused and betrayed women usually experience betrayal trauma. 

Betrayal Trauma, like Rape Trauma Syndrome and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, is a serious condition that affects women’s physical, mental, and emotional health.

Betrayal Trauma is Caused By Abuse

Women are usually told that their diagnosis of betrayal trauma is a result of their partner’s sexual acting-out, or “sex addiction”. However, trauma is the result of abuse, not addiction. 

Infidelity (virtual, physical, and emotional), pornography use, masturbation, and all other sexual acting-out behaviors are abusive toward a partner. So, women who have been betrayed have been abused. 

Minimizing Betrayal Trauma Makes Victims Feel Crazy

When therapists, clergy, even family and friends, minimize the realities of betrayal trauma by calling it a result of “sexual addiction” rather than abuse, they inadvertently

a. enable the abuser to keep abusing


b. perpetuate abuse toward the victim themselves, by forcing her to accept a reality that simply isn’t true.

When a victim is force-fed a false reality, she will feel crazy. That is the nature of psychological abuse.

No, You’re Not Crazy: You’re In Betrayal Trauma

Betrayed women regularly ask the question, “Am I crazy?” These women are victims of chronic gaslighting, lying, manipulation, and reality-distortion.

Tragically, their abusive partners are often so good at hiding their abusiveness by lying and manipulating, that the victims are constantly grasping at straws trying to answer the questions:

  • What is happening to me?
  • Why do I feel so awful all the time?
  • Why am I always trying to be a better wife and mother, but always feeling like I fail?
  • Why does my body hurt every day?
  • Why do I think about suicide?
  • Am I crazy?

Betrayal Trauma Recovery Supports Victims of Abuse

At BTR, we understand the pain and grief of the process of accepting that you are in an abusive relationship. You need support. Join the Betrayal Trauma Recovery Support group today and receive the community, validation, and support you need as you begin your journey to healing.

Tune in to the free Betrayal Trauma Recovery podcast for support as you listen to fellow victims tell their stories of survival and triumph over abuse.

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  1. Annonymous

    This is such a helpful tool! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. Jessica

    I would like to schedule a call to ask additional questions, as I am considering taking the training this summer.

  3. Lyn

    Please help me before I kill myself.

    • Maribeth

      Lyn, Please let this blog know how you are doing – No one wants you to kill yourself! You are infinitely valuable! I am concerned about your situation!

  4. Scheree

    What steps do I need to take, to become a betrayal trauma recovery coach? I am not a therapist. I do have personal experience of betrayal trauma and it’s effects. I want to encourage others working through their recovery.

    • Anne Blythe

      All of our coaches are certified coaches through an organization accredited by ICF or BCC, have been trained by APSATS, and are either certified by APSATS or working toward full certification under an APSATS supervisor.

  5. Laura

    Thank you so much for all you do. Organizations like yours have been invaluable in my healing process so far. I hope that I will eventually be able to give back by becoming a coach. As my husband continues in his recovery, we have talked about using what we are learning through our process to help others as we see it everyday, all around us.

    • Anne Blythe

      I’m so glad you found it helpful!! Hugs!

  6. Lydia

    After 30 years I am still feeling anger, hurt and depression that is untreatable. I also became physically sick. I was not able to hold up a job. I feel the only way to be healed is to have a good person that loves me to replace the toxic person. If this does not occur the damage cannot be repaired. That is why we need to legalize euthanasia. It is another option. We should not live with pain.

  7. Kori

    I am currently married to an abusive man and I am reading everything I can to grow myself and to evaluate his growth progress from a grounded place instead of from an emotional state or from a manipulated state. Anyway, I have learned there is no progress on his side yet but he is in group therapy for sexual addiction and he is being held to the fire by Christian men, our chosen path and belief regarding wholeness. My husband acknowledges he is very broken and that he has done all of the narcissistic abuse by his own choices. We live in the same house but we are separated to a large degree. We have separate bedrooms, bathrooms, and offices. We share the kitchen and the living room. I am deeply hurting and yet still somewhat hopeful even in the reality of what he is doing – I am praying for his and my own healing.

    I have read the responses of many women on this site and my heart is deeply moved by the community of our pain. It feels saying thank you for this place is not adequate for the value it is in our world but it is all I know to say…thank you so much! Love and healing and blessings and protection over each person responsible for this community and to those growing in it…and to those that brought each of us here.

    I have a question about my own behavior. I am embarrassed to have to admit this but it is what it is. Regarding fight or flight, I am a fighter. My spirituality and the Peace of God are deeply important to me and I believe it is not right to intentionally bring harm to another person…yet I find myself having to ask for forgiveness for just that…in the three years of marriage to this man I have changed a lot. I find I live in a great deal of fear of the world. I dread going out even with friends and even to some degree my mom; who is my best friend. In reaction to some of my husband’s abusive behavior I have spit in his face…literally, not figuratively. I have shamed him and cussed him and even tried to make him cry by saying horrible things about his mother, who passed before I ever met him. I have thrown the remote at him and hit him on the hand with it. I have broken a TV and his cell phone…both in reaction to his acting out but I don’t want to act like that – any of it!!! I found this site several weeks ago and I am learning more and more but I still cannot figure out if my reactions are part of trauma response or if I am abusive myself?!!? I know the behavior would be considered abusive by any reasonable standard of behavior but it is in reaction to his abusiveness to me. And that’s my issue…here I am blaming my behavior on him – there is something wrong with that!! I am meditating on forgiving him in my heart…not so that he can continue but so that I don’t hold hate inside me which damages me. I guess I just need to know if I need to heal from trauma or if I need help for abusiveness myself.

    I am about to join the group because even if I have anger or abuse issues myself; I need this group for healing. Again, thank you so much for this community!

    • Anne Blythe

      Your question is so common! Yes, joining group will help. The short answer is, even in the face of trauma and abuse, our healing is best facilitated when we live according to our own values:). Boundaries and healing can help you chose to behave in ways that are consistent with your values, so you can feel peace – that’s the goal right! We’re so glad you found us. You are loved here:).

    • Deborah

      I have been listening to the podcasts and I am going to listen to everything. I’ve lived with a porn addict for 28 years. The porn and masturbation went on and on. I never saw this coming at all.

      I have severe PTSD. I’m not really religious, but highly spiritual and have a very strong faith with God. It’s just been so long with three discoveries and I am having trouble with my rage. I wanted my marriage to work, but not sure if it can. My husband started therapy again recently, but he’s a great liar so I never know if he will get any better. I’m not sure he can recover at 78. Knowing about the porn destroyed me. I don’t know who he is anymore and I was fine before I was with him. I feel empty and alone. Im glad someone referred me to this site.

  8. Lisa

    What free resources are available? I cannot afford therapy, I’ve lost my job and now I feel as if I will lose my mind.


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