Post Traumatic Stress Disorder From Infidelity And Betrayal

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PTSD from infidelity and betrayal



The trauma left behind by infidelity has many similarities with the experience of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Of all of the threats to a committed relationship I have treated in four decades of working with couples, the most difficult to heal is infidelity. When a trusted partner in a committed relationship betrays the sacred trust of the other, the relationship will undergo severe instability.

The partner who has been betrayed is emotionally tortured and humiliated when knowledge of the infidelity emerges. They are clearly in trauma and experience the same array of symptoms that professionals now describe as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Similar to any others who have suffered threats to their physical or emotional well-being and security, they are disoriented and confused by what has happened.

Relationship partners of both genders experience similar of the classical symptoms of PTSD:

  • Repeated intrusive thoughts.
  • Unstable emotional regulation.
  • Out of body experiences.
  • Alternating between feeling numb and striking out in retaliation.
  • Inability to stop scanning for any new data that might cause more distress.
  • Feeling overwhelmingly powerlessness and broken.
  • Needing to regain self-worth by assigning blame.
  • Confusion and disorientation.

“Ever since I found out about the affair, I can’t stop thinking about what happened. I have repeated nightmares. My faith in trust and love is demolished. The person I believed in most in the world betrayed me without seeming to care. If I’d known something was wrong, maybe I could have stopped it before it got going. I spin between being devastated and being enraged. I can’t seem to find any peace, knowing that there is probably more than I will ever be told. I feel like a goddamn fool, humiliated and broken. How could my partner do this to me?”

The trauma of betrayal can also trigger memories of buried or unresolved emotional and spiritual damage from the past. When those prior traumatic experiences are triggered and re-emerge, they significantly complicate the healing process.




For there to be any chance that the couple undergoing this situation can ever transcend the distress of broken trust, they must deal with two simultaneous challenges:

  • The first is to understand and work through the combination of both current and re-emerging trauma responses of the betrayed partner.
  • The second is for both partners to both commit to specific roles in the healing of their mutual distress.

The 5 Most Common Re-Emerging Issues:

1. History of Prior Trauma

When people experience a life-threatening event earlier in life, they create defenses that allow them to survive those traumas. Those defenses can be either barricades to future pain or unconscious seduction to recreate what is familiar.




If a relationship partner has been harmed by threats of loss or harm in the past, he or she will have a stronger and more persistent trauma response to a partner’s current betrayal. Dependent on how much they appear similar to what is happening in the present, they will mesh with the current pain and make recovery that much harder.

 

2. Emotional and Physical Resilience

Whether born into a person or learned throughout life, resilience is the conqueror of prolonged sorrow. Though grief must not be denied, those who are lucky enough to be more resilient can endure it without falling prey to extended emotional heartbreak.

Resilience after betrayal is also buoyed up by the kind of social support a person has access to. When infidelity is discovered, it is easy for traumatized partners to lose sight of their own worth. Authentic, caring, and responsive others are able to remind them of who they were before the trauma and help them to regain emotional stability.

Sadly, the most common excuse many unfaithful partners give when they stray is that they were unable to get their needs met in the relationship. Those accusations increase the anguish of the betrayed partner.




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In her 40-year-career as a clinical psychologist and marriage counselor, She Had Spent Over 100,000 face-to-face hours with singles and couples helping them to sort out their desires and conflicts about intimate relationships. She Had explored all the reasons why their relationships so often start out euphoric only to crumble and how they can turn those disappointments into future successes. She truly believe that the greatest obstacles standing between you and the love you want is often right before your eyes but you are unable to envision the journey. Her specialty is to help you look at yourself and your relationships with heroic honesty and the willingness to look deeply at yourself and what you bring to a relationship so that you can finally create the kind of transformation that will change you forever. You'll finally understand why you've struggled in love, and what skills you'll need to create the kind of relationship you've always wanted - one in which you fall deeper in love while simultaneously scaling the heights of your individual potential. It's how her husband and She have made their marriage their bedrock for over 60 years. Subscribe to her free advice newsletter at www.heroiclove.com where she'll tell you everything she has learned about finding and keeping a truly heroic relationship.