What Is Partner Betrayal Trauma®?

Partner Betrayal Trauma ™ is a unique form of trauma that occurs within relationships and which is caused by your partner or significant other. You trusted in them. They broke that trust and created the trauma as a result. There are six major components which make up the trauma. They include emotional, spiritual, social, physical, sexual, and financial betrayal.

Areas of Betrayal

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You have most likely experienced partner betrayal trauma if you have dealt with sex addiction, infidelity, intimacy anorexia, abuse, betrayal, or other sources of problems in your relationships.

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Emotional Betrayal

Your relationship is deeply rooted in emotion. You share your memories, accomplishments, goals, hopes, and dreams with your significant other or partner. These things help us connect and establish commonalities. Each one of these shared things have your thoughts, feelings, and emotions tied to them. They are things which are important to you and things you care about.

The emotional component of Partner Betrayal Trauma® comes from the way your significant other or partner took all of your shared emotions and ideas and completely disregarded them. They abandoned who you are, what you are about, and the things you think are important. They abandoned your sacred gift to them.

Long before starting this relationship, you gave him a sacred gift. You gave him your heart. You might not remember the exact moment when this happened, but you know this gift was fully given when you said to yourself, "I am one-hundred percent committed to this relationship."

You shared your past goals, accomplishments, struggles, and scars with him. You shared your dreams and aspirations. You shared your hopes and dreams for your children and the future. You showed up when he needed encouragement and support. You overlooked his flaws and showed him great love.

You were fully committed to this relationship with your heart, mind, and emotions. He chose to betray you with his sex addiction, porn, or infidelity. He told you, "Your heart has little or no value to me, so I will put myself first." He chose to abandon your heart.

They Abandoned Your Heart

Spiritual Betrayal

Whether or not you consider yourself religious or spiritual, your relationship with your significant other or partner is defined by your spirituality. We all have beliefs and forms of spirituality in our lives. Our spirits and these beliefs make up who we are deep within ourselves, define our morals, and be outside of ourselves.

Partner Betrayal Trauma® is not restricted to one religion or practice. Partners affected by this trauma come from every spiritual perspective you can imagine. I have worked with Christians of all denominations, Buddhists, Hindus, Native Americans, Muslims, Agnostics, and women with no spiritual background or interest.

All of these partners have a spirit regardless of their backgrounds. This spirit is that very real inner part of you that connects to “the bigger” “God” and has a real influence on your relationships. Actually, it’s often your spirit that first perceives something is amiss in your marriage or relationship. You know that something just doesn't feel right.

The spiritual betrayal of Partner Betrayal Trauma® comes from the fact that they disregarded your spiritual beliefs and spirit. This fact can sometimes be much more painful than anything we could experience physically because our spirituality goes so deep into our souls. It also is hard to accept since we base so much of our lives and relationships around our beliefs.

They Disregarded Your Spirit

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Social Betrayal

Your relationship with your significant other or partner is a social unit. You might go out in public together as a couple, go on vacations together, and enjoy the same activities and events. The social betrayal part of partner betrayal trauma comes from that fact that you start to question how people see both of you because of the betrayal.

The social betrayal happens on external and internal levels. From an internal perspective, many partners often have this lingering feeling of asking themselves if other people know about what is actually going on. You will see people out in public and ask yourself, "Do they know?", "Did they know then?", "What do they think about what happened?", "How do they see me?"

Thinking these questions can apply to your significant other's or partner's friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, and acquaintances. If affairs were part of the betrayal issue, these thoughts may increase because of the other women or people involved. Factors like the duration of the relationship and knowing the people personally all play part in your thinking.

From an external perspective, the social betrayal is similar to avoidance behaviors. It is not wanting to do certain things, go certain places, or see certain people because it reminds you of what happened. You inject your internal feelings into your external environment and avoid places because you might run into someone who knows about the betrayal.

The betrayal broke apart your social unit, and your significant other or partner made you vulnerable to question everything in your social environment. They failed to love you, left you to fend for yourself, and failed to protect you. You had to fend for yourself socially.

They Left You To Fend For Yourself

Physical Betrayal

Everything we do and experience affects our physical bodies. This includes what is happening emotionally and relationally in your relationship. The physical aspect of partner betrayal trauma affects your body because of everything you are dealing with. When you experience this trauma, your body goes through the trauma with you.

How the betrayal occurred and how you responded to it affects each person's body differently. For example, if a woman is dealing with intimacy anorexia in her relationship or marriage, her body has been impacted from dealing with the lack of intimacy. If things like sex addiction, porn addiction, or infidelity play a part in the betrayal, the impact can be much greater.

How you deal with the trauma is important. If you try to eat your way out of the pain, you might gain weight. If you are hypervigilant, you may increase your watchfulness to the point of exhaustion. If you try to control things, you can end up obsessing over everything in a compulsive manner. The end result is the betrayal damages your self-image.

They Damaged Your Self-Image

Sexual Betrayal

Sex is supposed to be the most intimate experience between two people. It is the act of you giving all of yourself to your significant other or partner and being completely vulnerable. The sexual betrayal component of Partner Betrayal Trauma® can be one of the deepest and impactful.

Sex is perceived by most women as sacred. The sexual betrayal part of Partner Betrayal Trauma® occurs when this sacred area is violated. Lines are crossed, boundaries are broken, and trauma is created. This betrayal can happen with pornography, infidelity, or other sexual behaviors. It causes women to react because of it. They also sometimes try to "fix" it.

Their response to betrayal (especially with others or pornography) is varied. Some women enter into a hypersexual state. In this state, they want more sex, experiment creatively sexually, and are more engaged verbally during sex. Some women feel empty inside. They become "numb" and have no desire to have sex or are disgusted thinking about sex with him.

These responses show the internal conflict betrayed women go through. This occurs because of the loss of trust in your source of sexuality in your relationship. It is the result of your significant other or partner trading your sexual beauty for something outside of your relationship.

They Rejected Your Sexual Beauty

Financial Betrayal

Money and finances are important in relationships. Many couples merge their finances and jointly share bank accounts, spending money, and vacation funds. Partners and significant others can also share things like trusts, businesses, and retirement accounts. The financial betrayal area of partner betrayal trauma is related to your jointly shared resources.

There is usually a cost associated with the betrayal. This cost may come in the form of money, time, resources, or other valuable commodities. Your partner or significant other might have spent money on acting out. They might have spent hours and hours betraying you behind your back when you thought they were working.

Their choice to betray you financially impacted your life. This aspect of betrayal might also include loosing a job, career, retirement, licensure, or other professional certifications. The economic impact on your life and your children's lives can stretch on for years or even decades after the event.

They Chose Not To Support You

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