Partners who’ve experienced betrayal trauma can sometimes suffer from panic attacks. These are both unpleasant and frightening. So, what can you do to help you cope with these attacks, and to regain some control when you feel out of control?
Here are some steps that might help you with this:
1. Remind yourself that these feelings of panic are simply exaggerated stress responses. They are also very normal in your situation.
2. Although they feel dramatic and worrying, the sensations aren’t likely to be dangerous. Usually they will pass, and nothing worse is going to happen.
3. Interrupt the tendency to add to the panic by starting to worry about the feelings, and how they might affect you – both now and in the future.
4. Keep the present as your focus. Don’t let your mind run wild. Instead, assume the persona of a detached observer. Simply ‘notice’ what is happening inside you right now. And try to be more curious and analytical.
5. Focus on your breathing. Try to slow it down. Take deep, steady breaths from your diaphragm. Notice how this helps – emotionally, and physically.
6. Put a blanket round your shoulders if you’re cold or shivery. You want to feel safe, warm and comfortable … and also comforted.
7. Try to ground yourself in your environment. Notice how the carpet feels beneath your feet, or slowly run your hand over the fabric of the chair. This will help to bring you back into this time and place.
8. Be patient, wait it out, and let the feelings run their course. Eventually they’ll fade and you’ll return to feeling normal.
9. Take it easy, and relax, when you feel the symptoms end. Give yourself time to recover, and invest in some self-care.
10. When you feel more like yourself, reflect on how far you have come. Think of how well you have coped – despite tremendous challenges. You are going to survive, and you can cope with these attacks.
If you feel you can’t go on, and you can’t face another day, with everything within you please cling onto this truth: A few weeks ago, or a few months ago, or maybe even a year or two ago, you felt just the same as you do right now.
Your resources had run out, and you had nothing else to give. You felt it was too hard. You’d reached the end of your rope.
And, yet, a few weeks ago, or a few months ago, or maybe even a year or two ago, you struggled through the darkness, and you did make it through.
You managed to keep going.
You managed to survive.
You got up in the morning, and you pushed through all the pain.
It’s true: you were a mess. You don’t know how on earth you coped.
And, yet, somehow you did.
Somehow you found a way to cope.
With everything within you, you held fast to that hope. You fought to find the courage to somehow save yourself.
So if today is truly awful, and the clouds are dark and thick, remember you found courage when you felt like this before.
You have the strength to make it.
There’s reason still to hope.
The future will be better.
Please hold on to that hope.
“Defy that voice within you that tells you it won’t get better.” – Unknown
“Nobody wants to remember trauma. In that regard, society is no different from the victims themselves. We want to live in a world that is safe, manageable, and predictable – and victims remind us that this is not always the case.” – Bessel Vander Kolk
This is the reason people close their ears, turn their faces away, and choose to close their hearts to those who want, and need, to talk about traumatic things.
And this is the main reason why these people judge and shame you – when you find the strength and courage to speak the awful truth … and say were betrayed, or victimized in other ways.
They don’t want to hear it, and they don’t want to know.
For if it happened to you, then it could happen to them, too.
And that is something they can’t bear to contemplate.
So when they’re cold and judgmental, unempathic, or they’re hostile, know this is the reason: They can’t bear to hear the truth.
But know, too, that you also must protect yourself – for these are not safe people to open up and share with.
Because these individuals will never understand. They’ll always turn their backs, and they will always close their ears.
But know that there are also some safe people out there, too.
These are people who are telling the same story as you.
And these are individuals who will truly understand.
And these will be the people who will slowly help you heal.
And you need to find these people – for your story must be heard.
For you deserve to have it witnessed by those who truly care.
By those who’ll journey with you; who will lead you back to shore.
“Tell your secrets. Before we can heal, hope, and love again, we must find a way to give voice to our brokenness, sorrow and pain.” Online Counselling College
We need to be able to share what happened – in great detail – with someone. Without a witness we stay stuck in our pain. It will always be there, shaping and influencing almost every part of our life. The unbearable needs to be spoken, and heard.
The following will help you to live your best life …
1. Be yourself. Do you know who you are? Have you lost touch with parts of yourself? You were created to be someone who is individual and unique. Don’t let life or relationships change who you were meant to be.
2. Make time for those you love. We only have so much time, but often our use of that time is scattered. Too often, the urgent takes priority. Relationships matter more than anything else. Don’t forget the people who mean something to you.
3. Treat other people as you’d like them to treat you. It’s very tempting to treat like with like, and to get back at people who are unkind to you. But that isn’t really who we really want to be. You want to be a person of integrity.
4. If it hurts, let it go. Easy to say and difficult to do. And the deeper the wound, the more challenging this is. When it comes to most slights, hurts and injuries, letting go is a process that continues for years. But being willing to let go is the first step on the road.
5. Change your thoughts to change your feelings. I wonder how many old lies we believe – about whether we’re worth loving … or deserved to be loved … or we should feel ashamed of what we’ve done, or who we are. But whatever has happened, today is a new day. It’s a clean page in the book. Life can start again.
6. Don’t put it off. If it’s important, do it today. Don’t live with regret. Don’t wait till it’s too late.
7. Enjoy the journey – it’s not just about goals. Goals are good; they can bring us alive. They develop new skills. They allow us to achieve. But being on the journey is rewarding too. We enjoy seeing progress. It adds meaning to our days.
8. You only have one life – so make it meaningful. Think long and hard about who you want to be, how you want to live your life, and what you want to achieve. When you look back in a decade … or four … or even five, what would give a sense of peace, and contentment, and pride?
9. Be kind to others. Whether they you think they deserve it or not. We neve really know what’s going on in others’ lives. And a word, or act, of kindness can go a long, long way.
10. Always find a reason to laugh and smile. These will lighten our load and add joy to our life. They make the journey worth it. You’ll be happier as well …
“Create a life that feels good on the inside. Not just one that looks good on the outside.”
“The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It’s the lon
Being part of a group of betrayed partners and spouses was nothing I envisioned in a million years. For who of us expects to be betrayed by their spouse, or expects to be married to a sex addict?
It’s not the kind of thing you ever think, or dream, about. And it’s not the kind of thing you really want to talk about.
In fact, you think you must be starring in some other person’s life for you simply can’t believe that this is happening to you. It’s scary, and it’s crazy, and it cuts you to the heart. And that’s why it’s so important to encounter wives like you.
A community of women who are walking this road, too. A group of shell-shocked women who can get what you’re going through. It soon becomes a life-line for these women understand. There’s no need to explain things: it is obvious to them.
You can feel the deep compassion … for you know they’ve struggled, too. They’ve also asked those questions, and they know PTSD.
For we’re all disorientated. We all wish that it would end. We all fight with intense feelings. We all hate what we’ve been through.
But there’s also strength and hope from those who’re further down the road. They’re real about the trauma. They don’t hide what it’s been like. You know they’ve had their lows, and they’ve been desperate just like you. But they’ve survived; they’ve made it.
Does that mean there’s hope for you?
So, thank you to each woman who has opened up and shared.