An Interview: Healing from Betrayal Trauma

The following is an interview with a client, Natalie. When Natalie was pregnant with her third child, she learned her husband had been using hookup apps. That was four years ago. The couple have subsequently divorced. Natalie shares some of her experience of recovery from betrayal trauma here.

1. Can you share some of the lessons you learned about grief? The most important thing is to give yourself permission to grieve. That is absolutely crucial. The feelings are going to find a way to come out anyway. So, it’s better to express them, and to go ahead and rant and cry when you feel you need to. That is so much better than repressing your emotions, and having them wreck your physical health. 

Don’t go it alone either. Find someone to share your feelings with. I know not everyone is going to be a safe person. But it really helps if you can find at least one other person you can be totally honest with.

And finally, accept that the grief journey is going to take time. A lot of time. It’s also going to follow its own course. You can’t predict when you are suddenly going to find yourself in a pit again. But that’s OK. You just go with it. Your subconscious minds understands your healing journey, even if feels like a mystery to you.

2. What else helped with the recovery process? Being alert to potential triggers, especially at times when I felt very vulnerable. It helped me maintain some control of my emotions. Also, there are potential triggers I can deal with now that I couldn’t have dealt with early on.

3. What about forgiveness? What are your thoughts on that topic? Forgiving him wasn’t really something I wanted to think about, at least not initially. I put it on the back burner and just ignored it completely while I was working through the grieving process. Maybe I’ll come back to it later. Maybe I won’t.

The most important issue for me has actually been forgiving myself for getting into a relationship with someone who treated me so badly. I think it’s instinctive to beat ourselves up when something like that happens … and we know that other people are going to throw bricks, too.

But you don’t know the person you are committing is going to treat you like that. Honestly, who of us would choose to hook up with someone who was going to damage us so deeply?

Also, my ex was very careful at covering his tracks. I had to forgive myself for trusting him so deeply (but aren’t we meant to trust those closest to us???), for thinking the best of him, and for believing him when he told me his flights into online sex were in the past.

And I do forgive myself.

Yes, I am wiser today … but there is something beautiful in being soft and trusting, too. I don’t regret being that kind of person, either.  

4. How has the betrayal affected your self-worth and self-esteem? At first it devasted my self-esteem. I thought there was something wrong with me. That I was inadequate in some way. Not beautiful enough. Not sexy enough Not …. whatever … fill in the blanks. But I’ve moved beyond that now.

Today, I don’t take any of the blame.  I can see it was his problem. Not mine. Commitment is a choice. Infidelity is a choice. Choosing to use hookups is a choice. Perhaps it took a while to get to this place but I can now honestly say that I treated him well, was probably as good at sex as the next woman. I am also comfortable with myself as person. I like who I am. And perhaps that is the most important thing of all.

“At your absolute best, you still won’t be good enough for the wrong person. At your worst, you’ll still be worth it to the right person.” – Unknown

5. Any final thoughts or comments? Although the pain is intense at the start, it really does lessen over time. The scars begin to heal, and you find yourself again. There comes a day when you can look back and say, you’re in a place when you can start to live once more. And that is a very good day!

28 thoughts on “An Interview: Healing from Betrayal Trauma

  1. Natalie is a brave soul. Having worked through the pain of betrayal, she is willing to tell her story for the benefit of others. Hats 🎩 off to a wounded healer!

    The quote at the end—you’ll never be good enough for the wrong person—is a gem. People who victimize others often blame THEM for the trauma. But like Natalie said, it’s really THEIR problem. No, it does not ALWAYS take two to tango.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Yes, “brave” is a good word to use here! And, no, it doesn’t always take two to tango. Some people truly are victims of the poor decisions and choices of others.
      I also thought the quote at the end was an important quote as well. Thanks for highlighting that. Have a great week, David 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That was gut reaching and tears ran down my face. Spoken with charm and dignity. Written By the Master of the Pen ✒️ I pray many read this interview. Hope 🙏 compassion will aid myriad of folks to regain their hope and dignity. Please allow us permission to post on https://mydaz.bog shalom 😔😔

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “But you don’t know the person you are committing is going to treat you like that. Honestly, who of us would choose to hook up with someone who was going to damage us so deeply?”

    Yet we do and it horrifies us. There’s a lesson here. A difficult one. I hope for the best for both she and her ex husband. 🙏🏻

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, NZain. It’s definitely true that there are few things more horrifying than being lied to and seriously mistreated by the person we trusted the most. It’s so shocking and painful. Thank you for your compassion, too 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Natalie is very brave to share her story ❤️. I’ve been through something similar. I have had to forgive both myself and my ex. And learn from it. Forgiving the other person isn’t for them it’s for me. Otherwise, I will continue being his victim, I will remain in bondage. And I fought too hard for my freedom. I am also learning also the importance of taking it easy on myself, self compassion, loving and caring for myself. Thanks to Natalie for sharing her story❤️ Inspirational and encouraging ❤️

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I am new here but it didn’t take me long to some something relevant and it was this !! I am going thur both partner and family betrayal & was left all along to deal with, it has consumed every living breath I take, my heart, and my spirit have been broken. How does one cope when they have no one to turn to ???? Natalie is a much stronger woman than I , I just want find MY happiness!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so sorry to hear you are going through something similar to Natalie. I’m also sorry you feel so alone right now, and don’t really seem to have someone to turn to. It is very difficult to function normally when you receive news like this, and it is even harder to cope with life when you are forced to keep it to yourself. Is here one safe person you could confide in? If not, maybe start by writing out part of your story on Word Press. It is very important to have it witnessed … and you deserve to be heard and supported.

      Like

  6. I love the quote: “At your absolute best, you still won’t be good enough for the wrong person. At your worst, you’ll still be worth it to the right person.” – Unknown
    This idea was a real eye-opener for me. Thanks! Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

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