Betrayal Trauma Is An Abuse Issue
Many betrayal victims spend a significant amount of time wondering if they are crazy, controlling, or even abusive, before they learn the truth: they are victims of abuse and suffering from betrayal trauma.
Pornography use, infidelity (virtual, emotional, and/or physical), masturbation, and any other secret sexual acting-out behavior in a partnership is an abusive act that causes significant betrayal trauma.
Other forms of relational abuse will also cause betrayal trauma: any time an abusive man treats his partner in a way that significantly betrays her trust, he is causing devastating trauma to her brain and body.
Betrayal Trauma Manifests Itself in Women’s Bodies and Brains
Tragically, women take the brunt of their partners’ abusiveness both in their bodies and brains. Physical, mental, and emotional symptoms can range from mild to severe.
11 Most Common Betrayal Trauma Responses
- Overwhelming emotions
- Unusual/uncharacteristic behaviors
- Sleep difficulties– too much/too little
- ‘Brain fog’– inability to think clearly, memory loss, getting lost easily
- Eating problems– inability to eat/overeating
- Anxiety/panic attacks
- Rumination/obsessive thoughts and intrusive images/flashbacks
- Difficulty caring for self or others
- Obsessive need to check the internet history, GPS, email accounts, text message history, etc. for signs that the danger is still present
This is not a comprehensive list. There are many more trauma responses than those listed here.
Betrayal Trauma Symptoms
Common Physical Symptoms of Betrayal Trauma
- Lack of appetite/Constant hunger
- Difficulty sleeping
- Nerve pain
- Autoimmune disease-like symptoms
- Panic attacks
- Nausea, Vomiting, Diarrhea
- Tremors, Shaking, Shivering
- Unexplained Fever
- Unexplained joint pain
- Pelvic/sexual pain
- Constant infections
- Migraine and/or tension headaches
- Muscle pain/weakness
Common Emotional and Mental Symptoms of Betrayal Trauma
- Panic/Anxiety attacks
- Suicidal ideation
- Inability to focus
- Reliving traumatic experiences (flashbacks)
- Mood swings
- Intense emotional outbursts
“Partners often present with a set of symptoms that match symptoms similar to rape trauma syndrome (RTS) and complex post-traumatic-stress disorder (C-PTSD), including psycho-biological alterations, re-experiencing of the trauma, social and emotional constriction, constant triggering and reactivity, significant anxiety, emotional arousal and hyper-vigilance.
“Sex addiction-induced trauma is a highly specific type of trauma that involves nuanced symptoms that can include fear and panic of potential disease and contamination, fear of child safety and potential of child molestation, social isolation, embarrassment and shame and intense relational rupture and attachment injuries.”
– Dr. Omar Minwalla
BTR.ORG Supports Victims of Emotional Abuse
At BTR, we believe that every woman deserves safety, validation, and support as she navigates the difficult journey of healing from betrayal trauma. Tune in to The BTR.ORG Podcast to learn more about the realities of betrayal trauma.
Our BTR.ORG Group Sessions are available to you – attend a session today.
And remember, you are not alone.