Betrayal Trauma

What is betrayal trauma?

I think the following description sums it up pretty well[1]:

You certainly know it when you experience it. It is a gut-wrenching experience, a searing knife into your heart. You feel it before you even think about it. Then, when you start thinking about it, it plagues you day and night.

Betrayal is treachery, deception, and violated trust. It can appear as a broken promise, duplicity, lies, sexual affairs, and even affairs of the heart. The injury is so great that some people seem to never recover.” 

Betrayal is a trauma like no other trauma because it occurs in relationship.

It takes time to trust a person.

To weigh up who they are.

To take them at face value when they tell us that they care.

We watch the way they treat us.

We look for all the signs that indicate they’re safe.

That they’re consistent.


And when you trust a person you slowly drop your guard.

You let them see the part of you that’s hidden from the world.

This is a very sacred trust.

It is isn’t given easily.

You don’t give it to someone who is going to break your heart.

“Betrayal represents a traumatic death—not of a person, but of a relationship.”  

Betrayal marks the end of this ‘naïve’ relationship.

It shouldn’t be this way. We’re meant to form attachment bonds.

But once that trust is broken, life can never be the same.

You can’t turn back the clock.

Pretend that everything’s the same.

It’s true. We can rebuild. And over time we may forgive.

But always there’s the memory, and the truth of what they did.

Our brain has stored the trauma.

And the faded scars remain.

I wish that it was different

But betrayal changes things.


22 thoughts on “Betrayal Trauma

  1. Very profound, thank-you.

    Betrayal is always wounding, especially when it comes from a member of the clergy.

    Loss of innocent trust is painful, but Jesus warns that there are wolves disguised as sheep.
    So, as a survivor, my desire is to protect other sheep fro the wolves. 🌷

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, that is one of the most wounding forms of betrayal trauma. Truly, spiritual betrayal can have extremely profound and long-lasting effects. I’m so glad you are actively protecting others. Loss of innocence, especially in relation to faith, is heartbreaking. Thanks for bringing that up here Sally.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The worst betrayal is from people you love and consider family. You can forgive so many times until there’s nothing left but anger, hurt, brokenness . Haven’t talk to those you traumatized me for a year. I’m praying for courage and strength forgive and reconnect cause life is too short not do so.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are absolutely right. This is the worst kind of betrayal. Those are the people who are meant to love and protect you. They are meant to have your back. To be your refuge. Home is meant to feel safe and comfortable. The place where you can go to feel nurtured, wanted, valued and good about yourself again. It is heartbreaking and traumatic when we experience the opposite from those people. I’m so sorry.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Your posts are very intriguing. Insightful. Challenge Buddism Teaching. I am listening to new human thoughts. BetrayalTrauma feelings don’t infiltrate our ways. Thank 🙇you for sharing the outside 🌎 Enlightenment shalom,😔

    Liked by 1 person

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