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Betrayal Trauma – How To Overcome It

Written by: Brooke Kekos, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 
Executive Contributor Brooke Kekos

Betrayal trauma is like mourning the death of someone who is standing right in front of you.

Person hand holding a pork and a red heart

In our shared journey of healing, we encounter moments of profound vulnerability, where the trust we've placed in those closest to us feels shattered. This experience, known as "betrayal trauma", speaks to the heartache and turmoil that arises when our sense of safety and well-being is violated by the very people or institutions we hold dear.


At its core, betrayal trauma echoes the pain of broken trust and the deep-seated wounds inflicted by those we once relied upon for love and support. Often stemming from relationships with primary attachment figures like parents or caregivers, these wounds can linger into adulthood, manifesting in patterns of relational betrayal among romantic partners and other significant connections.


Betrayal trauma runs deep for me and has been a huge source of my own suffering. That photo above resonates for me personally because it literally can feel like you have been stabbed in the heart with betrayal. From being betrayed by a parent, friendships, and romantic partners. It causes low self-worth and deep negative beliefs about our own value and ability to gain love and keep love. Read on for the causes of this and then how to begin the healing, because betrayal trauma will affect ALL relationships, even if you think you are “over it”.


Causes Of Betrayal Trauma


Childhood trauma

Abuse experienced in childhood is one of the most common causes of betrayal trauma. It can include physical, sexual, verbal, or emotional abuse. 


Trauma in adulthood

In adulthood, betrayal trauma is usually experienced in relationships with intimate partners, especially if a person has experienced trauma in the past. However, people may also experience betrayal trauma at the hands of others such as a close friend, colleague, or other person in their life.


Someone can also experience institutional betrayal, which occurs when an institution that someone relies upon fails to prevent or appropriately respond to wrongdoings by individuals within the context of the institution (for instance, in cases of sexual assault at a workplace or school, and religious institutions)


Betrayal trauma in adulthood can look like:

  • Physical, emotional, sexual, or verbal abuse

  • Infidelity 

  • Revelations of financial problems or significant debt

  • Ulterior motives or other secretive behaviors


Yet, within the depths of this pain lies the seed of healing – a journey of reclaiming our innate capacity for love, resilience, and connection. It's a journey that begins with acknowledging the tender wounds of our hearts and extending compassion to ourselves as we navigate the complexities of betrayal trauma.


How to overcome betrayal trauma


Write your feelings in a journal

You may find relief through writing down your feelings in a journal. It can help you identify the emotions you’re experiencing and create space to reflect on them, instead of suppressing or avoiding them.


Process your emotions

Confronting the trauma you experienced in the past can bring up a lot of emotions, including grief, fear, anger, regret, loss, and anxiety. It’s important to process these emotions so you can start healing.


Seek support or treatment 

It is also helpful to seek support by talking with a friend or therapist. People who have experienced betrayal trauma often feel like they can only rely on themselves and tend to isolate themselves when they are betrayed. Instead, it is important to do the opposite and reach out for support or treatment


Set boundaries

If the person who betrayed you is still in your life in some capacity, set firm boundaries in your relationship with them to protect your physical, emotional, and mental well-being.


Recognize patterns

If you have experienced betrayal trauma in the past, it’s important to recognize whether it’s affecting your relationships in the present. Understand that you deserve to have relationships that are mutually supportive and beneficial. As we walk this path together, let us embrace the power of self-care and self-compassion as sacred rituals of healing. Let us cultivate spaces of safety and support, where our hearts can find solace and our spirits can soar. Through therapy, mindfulness practices, and nurturing relationships, we can gently tend to the wounds of our past and plant the seeds of renewal and growth.


Conclusion

As we walk this path together, let us embrace the power of self-care and self-compassion. Let us cultivate spaces of safety and support, where our hearts can find solace and our spirits can soar. Through therapy, mindfulness practices, and nurturing relationships, we can gently tend to the wounds of our past and plant the seeds of renewal and growth.


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Brooke Kekos Brainz Magazine
 

Brooke Kekos, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Brooke Kekos, is a Magnetic Mindset Coach, RTT Practitioner, and Clinical Hypnotherapist. A traumatic childhood raised in a controlling religious sect, and an abusive father led her to stay stuck in an abusive marriage for 17 years. Once she broke free she transformed her life and career to dedicate her life to helping others heal from their own trauma and suffering to raise their own states of higher consciousness. She is now CEO of Life Coaching Goddess, an international speaker, and soon to be an author of her own memoir.

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