What it Takes to Recover from a Trauma

There following are essential for recovering from a trauma, and this includes recovering from betrayal trauma.

  1. Recognizing that you are in a state of crisis. Admitting to yourself that you’ve been traumatized. This is a prerequisite for seeking help.
  2. Recognizing that recovery lies in your hands. Others may sympathise, or even empathise. But at the end of the day, it is up to you to get the kind of help that will enable you to cope, and will help you to recover, and rebuild your life.
  3. “Building a fence”. By that, we mean being able to distinguish between what is working in your life, and the things which need attention – and which need it urgently. (For example, figuring out the extent of your partner’s addiction, how long he’s been deceiving you, whether he’s serious about getting proper help, and what you need to feel safe in the relationship again.)
  4. Getting appropriate help and support. This might include: finding your own counsellor or therapist; finding out as much as you can about betrayal trauma; taking the steps which will assist with your recovery (such as joining a support group, or simply sharing your story with some who will empathise, and be there for you). This can help you feel less isolated and alone.
  5. Finding others who can act as a role model for recovery. For most women who are dealing with betrayal trauma, it is lonely, isolating, and an unknown road. Finding others who have walked this path can bring a sense of hope, and can provide you with examples of what could help you cope.
  6. Having a strong ego. Ego strength refers to that core essence which knows who you are; that part of you know that you will cope, and you will survive! It includes having an inner sense of meaning and purpose; having the ability to accept, tolerate and manage intense and overwhelming emotions; being able to weigh and judge reality correctly; and being able to make informed and wise decisions.          
  7. Being able to identify how you successfully coped with other crises you experienced in the past. This reminds you that you do have what it takes to cope, overcome devastation, and survive. It helps you deal with feelings of despair and hopelessness.
  8. Having the ability to/ being willing to tolerate uncertainty and ambiguity. A crisis or a trauma turns your whole world upside down. There are no guarantees; you don’t know what the future holds.
  9. Working on being flexible rather than rigid. One of the reasons we feel so devastated is we know this in not the way things ought to be. It is normal to have certain expectation related to how our partner ought to treat us. But once we’ve learned the truth, our recovery is aided by accepting ‘facts are facts’, even if they’re painful facts.
  10. Having firmly established core values. This means knowing what you will, and what you won’t, put up with. This is part of self-respect, and is central to self-care.       

When people say ‘recovery’, we tend to think of returning to how things were before the crisis occurred. But there is no going back. You do not recover. You reinvent yourself. You become someone completely different to who you were before.”   

11 thoughts on “What it Takes to Recover from a Trauma

  1. This is really helpful, Ann. You make some excellent points. I’m not sure how I saw recovery. I think after trauma, especially an ongoing one, we can never be the same person we were before. Even in addiction recovery, we are not the same people as before and during these habits. Although I haven’t experienced betrayal trauma, I can identify with the ten points you shared. Thank you for this wisdom.


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