The Causes Of Betrayal Trauma
Wanting to hold the relationship together, women attempt to put a puzzle together that's missing more than half the pieces. The confusion surrounding what it happening is overwhelming.
Betrayal Trauma Is Caused By Emotional & Physical Infidelity, As Well As Abuse
Betrayal takes many different forms. The most common form of betrayal is lying. Other forms are emotional abuse, pornography use, infidelity, and being emotionally unavailable. Betrayal definition is breaking or violating of a promise or trust that creates emotional and mental conflict.
Even without understanding the extent of the lies, I knew something was wrong.
I felt my husband's hatred for me oozing out of him. He tried to hide it, but he couldn't. As I tried to figure out what was happening, his distain for me grew. I have found that when my husband lied to me and cheated on me, he had to hate me more and more to justify his actions. Choosing to view someone in that light, as a way to avoid accountability is a betrayal in and of itself.
Lying Is The Common Denominator In Betrayal
Lying is the most common form of betrayal and abuse. Lying enables someone to control a situation, essentially exploiting the person or people they’re lying to. It enables someone to control your perception of the situation and remain active in his compulsive sexual behaviors while maintaining his relationship with you.
He has “reasons” to betray which are actually lies. Sex addicts love to portray themselves as unable to control their hormonal urges, which is untrue. Without lying, an active abuser and an addict’s whole world falls apart.
When someone lies to you, they take away your dignity. The philosopher Kant said that a person's intrinsic worth (human dignity) allows them to act as rational as possible and make their own decisions. But when you're being lied to, it harms your dignity by purposefully withholding key information you need to make key decisions.
Lies are traumatizing. When I realized I wasn’t living the life I thought I was, I began suffering intense trauma episodes of uncontrollable crying and panic.
I learned from sad experience that there is no way to force someone to tell the truth.
However, with God’s help, you can discover what you need to know to keep yourself emotionally safe.
Confusion As A Result Of The Lies - Betrayal Trauma Can Be A Result Of Being Consistently Lied To
After my husband’s arrest for domestic violence, I was so confused. I didn’t know the truth. My husband lied and blamed me. His explanation for what was happening was so drastically different than mine. It seemed like I was losing my grasp on reality.
I began to pray for eyes to see and ears to hear the truth. Every morning, I would kneel and genuinely ask God to help me see the truth of the situation.
Through this time, as I worked the steps, God taught me what behaviors to look for to know if I was truly safe. God also showed me how to improve my relationship with Him by truly relying on Him to help me grow through the experience.
As I attend SA Lifeline 12 Step group, my relationship with God has improved to the point that I confidently know the reality of my situation, and I’ve held appropriate boundaries and been blessed with an abiding sense of peace.
Emotional Abuse Is A Form Of Betrayal
When a man uses pornography, or otherwise is unfaithful to his wife, it is common for him to be emotionally abusive in an effort to hide or to deflect suspicion. Here are some common examples:
When you bring up that he’s been distant, he becomes irritable and rants about how much he does for the family, how he’s never appreciated, how you don’t respect him, etc.
When you bring up concerns, he dismisses the concerns and focus on issues he has with you - why the house isn’t clean, why the dishes aren’t done, why you don’t have sex more often, etc.
When you tell him you’re afraid of his anger, he can't figure out why you are afraid - while becoming more angry or distant, rather than being able to take accountability and connect in a real way. He asks you how you could accuse him of such things - even though he's done them in the past while accusing you of things you've never done.
Emotionally abusive men may also create the impression that their anger or infidelity is a product of how passionate they are - but in reality, passion, kindness, and faithfulness are entirely compatible. Being dishonest, abusive, and unfaithful has nothing to do with passion.
I experienced my husband’s hate, rage and physical intimidation. During the time we were together, I didn't realize I was in a verbally abusive relationship, but I did know that I couldn't handle the physical intimidation.
I have learned since that the fear I felt when he punched walls, kicked things, broke things, etc, was very real because physical intimidation in and of itself is domestic violence. The physical and emotional abuse I suffered while trying to help my husband overcome his pornography addiction led me to the point of despair.
For years, I tried to manage it by demanding he go to therapy, lecturing him, diffusing essential oils throughout our home, organizing, cleaning, and speaking out about pornography addiction. I tried to control the situation by going public - thinking that if everyone knew about our situation, it wouldn’t happen anymore. With every abuse episode, I bounced back, doubled down, tried a new scheme to hold my family together, and fix my husband’s anger problems.
When he was arrested for domestic violence, it broke me. I knew then that my life and my husband's abuse, pornography use, and masturbation were totally and completely unmanageable.
Pornography Use & Masturbation Are A Form Of Betrayal
Many women are confused because they feel uneasy about their husband’s pornography use and masturbation, but are unsure if their feelings are valid.
A man who uses pornography and masturbates cannot be emotionally or sexually faithful to his wife. I am so grateful for the S Anon blue book that has helped me understand the toll that sexual addiction has taken on me. Living with a sex addict was too much for me, and I am only now coming out of the fog.
Emotional Distance Is A Form Of Betrayal
A lot of the women I talk to tell me that their husband isn’t emotionally abusive, but then they describe emotionally abusive behaviors such as . . .
1. Their husband watches football all weekend instead of participating in family activities. They attempt to explain to him that they don’t mind him watching sports, but would appreciate it if he spent some weekend time with the family. He responds by grunting a half-hearted okay, but the next thing they know he’s back to watching the game - completely disconnected from the family and the family’s needs.
2. Their husband does something that hurts their feelings, and their attempts to communicate their feelings about the situation are met with silence or changing the subject.
3. They want to discuss something and the conversation gets tense. Their husband stomps out of the house, refusing to participate in the conversation, rather than saying in a calm fashion that he needs some time to think and that he’ll reconvene the conversation after a 30 minute break.
Similarly, many women don't understand that stonewalling is a form of manipulation - and a form of emotional abuse.
Stonewalling enables a person to avoid what is good for the marriage / both spouses, and manipulate a situation to their advantage. There is no way to control stonewalling, except to connect with God in a way that helps me know what I need to do to keep myself emotionally safe.
If you're being emotionally abused, you may think thoughts like, "Why does my husband hate me?" Or "Why is my husband always angry and irritable." Or "My husband isn't attracted to me." Unfaithful husband's would like us to think that because it keeps us guessing - trying to figure out what's going on. Their stonewalling and other emotionally abusive behavior keeps us wondering what did we do, and deflects the attention from their completely inappropriate actions.
Emotional Abuse and Pornography Addiction Generally Go Together
Lies, emotional abuse, and pornography addiction go together. All are forms of betrayal, and all lead to a husband feeling hate toward his wife.
I started attending free betrayal trauma recovery meetings because I knew my situation was out of control, and that my own emotional health was steadily declining as a result of the lies and anger. Dealing with lies, abuse and pornography in my marriage with a positive attitude and sheer grit didn't get me anywhere. For me, I needed to focus on myself and work the Steps to build a relationship with God and have God lead and guide me on a daily basis about what to do.
Being in recovery for betrayal trauma has helped me change my behaviors so I could see the truth about myself and my situation. After years of trying to manage an unmanageable situation, I gave up and sought help. I received help from my SAL group, my sponsor, and women who had gone before me. I started Betrayal Trauma Recovery to help other women who feel isolated, confused and worried.
Many women aren’t aware of the lies, pornography use, and emotional abuse present in their marriages.
I hope the stories women share about their experiences being lied to by their husbands, being cheated on, and abused - I hope the stories you find on Betrayal Trauma Recovery will help you start your own journey to healing.
You Can Get Help To Deal With Betrayal Trauma
We have APSATS Coaching available on our site and a directory of APSATS therapists. APSATS is The Association of Partners of Sexual Addicts Trauma Specialists - a special training and certification for coaches and therapists to help women navigate their husband's lies and help them heal from betrayal trauma.
Healing takes place in three phases:
1. Establishing safety and stabilizing your situation.
2. Remembering and grieving.
Our APSATS coaches can help you navigate through your healing process to make sure you are safe, help you through the grieving process, and heal through connecting again with your life and loved ones.