What is Betrayal Trauma?

by | Self-Care

Betrayal trauma feels like drowning. They way out is to relax and you'll feel yourself floating.

When a woman experiences relational betrayal by her partner, she will often suffer from Betrayal Trauma. Similar to Rape Trauma Syndrome and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Betrayal Trauma is serious and can be debilitating.

Betrayal Trauma is Caused By Abuse

Betrayal Trauma is caused by abuse. When a woman suffering from Betrayal Trauma is told that she her condition is caused by her partner’s “addiction”, her suffering is greatly minimized: she is a victim of abuse, and must be told the truth.

Often, women suffering from Betrayal Trauma have recently gone through the “discovery” phase of learning about their partner’s use of pornography, infidelity (virtual, physical, or emotional), masturbation, or other secret sexual acting-out. This behavior is abusive and causes Betrayal Trauma.

Betrayal Trauma Manifests in Physical Symptoms

Women suffering from Betrayal Trauma will experience it in many different ways, no two women will have the same experience. However, below is a list of some common symptoms of Betrayal Trauma.

Common Physical Symptoms of Betrayal Trauma

  • Fatigue
  • Lack of appetite/Constant hunger
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Nightmares
  • 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

Betrayal Trauma Manifests in Emotional and Mental Symptoms

Many women find that Betrayal Trauma shows in their emotional and mental states.

Common Emotional and Mental Symptoms of Betrayal Trauma

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Panic/Anxiety attacks
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Inability to focus
  • Hyper-alertness
  • Reliving traumatic experiences (flashbacks)
  • Terror
  • Mood swings
  • Rage
  • Apathy
  • Intense emotional outbursts

Betrayal Trauma Can Heal: Safety First

For victims of abuse to heal, they must first separate themselves from the abuse. This is a difficult reality, but absolutely necessary. Through appropriate boundaries, women can protect themselves from abuse and begin the process of finding healing. Safety first, support, and self-care are the necessary means for every victim to find peace and healing for herself and her children.

Betrayal Trauma Recovery Supports Victims of Abuse

Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group meets every day, in every time zone. Find community, validation, and empowerment, with courageous women all over the world. Join today.

And remember, you are not alone.

You May Also Like

BTRG Is Here For You

BTRG Is Here For You

Many women have a difficult time finding the right support for betrayal trauma and emotional & psychological abuse. Nikki shares how BTR Group supports her when there’s no support where she lives.


  1. Patty Huckstadt

    Thank-you for sharing this, Ann. It really resonates with me. I am a Christ Follower/Christian, and I have to keep reminding myself that I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13.

    I have actually experienced , in my own life, on more than one occasion,what your story teaches…….let go and let God! It’s true! Once I finally reach the point where I cry out, “God, I can’t take this anymore,” that peace that passes all understanding begins to wash over my soul.

    One of my favorite hymns is “Be Still my Soul.” It begins with these words; “Be Still my Soul, the Lord is on your side….” Perhaps you know this hymn. If not, I urge you to Google it; the lyrics are so amazingly comforting.

    A sister in Christ,

  2. Carolina

    Explains my week.. and it resonates it with being good shepherd week (Oh How He runs after us!)

    • Anne Blythe

      I’m so glad it was helpful to you!

  3. Ellen McElroy

    Thank you Anne for sharing this. It helped me to realize that I need to remember to relax and know that the healing will come. God is giving me everything I need, I love the part about floating and relaxing and not pushing God away with all my thrashing. Thank you so much for that. I’m learning how to relax again. I’ve gotten my guitar out and begun to play again. I’m remembering there were things I liked to do. I’m getting creative again. I’m remaking my life with the things that make me me! It’s a process and I’m Grateful for it. Some things you can see in no other way. I may not have realized how much of myself I lost over the years of dealing with his addiction had it not all come to a screeching halt. I’m Grateful for the lessons I have learned and the Truth I now see. It’s a difficult journey. He is 3 months sober today but still out of the house going on 6 months now. I’m not willing to go back to the life we had or anything resembling it. Recovery is possible and I’m holding out for a life of recovery that I’ll live with or without him.

    • Anne Blythe

      Ellen, I’m so glad you found us, and that the podcast was helpful. Hugs!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

9 Steps Checklist

The checklist we wish EVERY WOMAN experiencing betrayal trauma had

Subscribe to download the printable 9-step checklist with ACTIONABLE steps you can take TODAY.

Check your inbox for the checklist from Anne from Betrayal Trauma Recovery. We know this checklist can change your life, just like it's changed the lives of thousands of other women!