Betrayal – Trauma in Relationships

Betrayal – Trauma in Relationships

The 12th wedding anniversary celebrations of Sarita and Pankaj ended on a sour note. All the lies, deceit, manipulations tumbled out of the closet for Sarita. Pankaj was no longer her Knight in shining armour who had taken a vow “till death do us part”. She could hear the deafening sound of trust shattering within her and was left grappling with what was real of all the years spent together as a couple.

Betrayal is an emotional assault on the betrayed spouse who goes through emotions of anger, shock, fear, guilt, sadness, shame and a sense of loss. The processing of any information coming in becomes blurred and the person betrayed is left numb in pain. The world of the betrayed person gets tipped upside down and is left emotionally dysregulated too. Initial signs of betrayal or infidelity in a relationship at times are seen in the form of emotional distancing, addiction (sex, substance or alcohol), abuse (physical or emotional) or lies and manipulations by the unfaithful partner. Any suspicion is denied and misled by the cheating partner making the victim partner feeling guilty and delusional.

Betrayal eventually leads to a breakup not by the events and behaviour the cheating partner has indulged in, but by the lies, excuses and manipulation tactics used to mislead the other partner. The revelation completely derails the betrayed partner leading them to an emotional breakdown and disconnected from the relationship.

Betrayal leads the person to feelings that are similar to the grief one would experience after the loss of a loved one. The cheated partner tends to lose…

..Confidence in their abilities and their self worth

..their ability to trust oneself and others around them

..the hope and will to move on ahead

..the ability to connect with the real world around

Emotions they are likely to go through are:

  • Anger – towards the partner, the other person in the partner’s life and, the world around
  • Fear about what lies ahead, away from their safe nest.
  • Sadness seeing others around happy in their lives
  • Guilty for missing out the signs of mistrust earlier
  • Shame for trusting someone unworthy

Taking a step towards overcoming the trauma and reaching a place where the one betrayed can function like they did earlier will be a difficult journey but not an impossible one. They can take a few steps towards coming out of the sense of loss by…

  • Acknowledging and accepting the feeling they are experiencing (I feel numb, I am Angry, I feel guilty) as normal given the circumstances.
  • Remove the word always…( I always end up failing in everything…) to (sometimes I make wrong judgements )
  • Stopping themselves from feeling hopeless by finding moments/people to cherish in their lives ahead
  • Reclaiming and establishing who they are outside of this relationship.
  • Start relooking the future , establish new goals and direction to move ahead recognizing the events of the past cannot be undone
  • Reaching out for help and guidance to a professional or a support group and work through the steps mentioned above.

We at LeanonMe are there to lend a compassionate listening ear whenever a need arises to reach out to someone trustworthy.

AUTHOR: Smitha, Lead Counsellor

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