Trauma of Betrayal

You Cheated On Me!

  1. trauma-of-betrayal-300Discovering that your partner has been unfaithful in your relationship, even in just an emotional sense, can cause you to feel devastated.
  2. When the discovery is made, or your partner confesses to having been unfaithful, you feel shocked and devastated.  Even if you had some suspicion, when you are finally told you experience a trauma reaction.
  3. Typically, you enter a phase of shock and disbelief, and emotional pain that is so intense you wonder if you can ever recover from it.
  4. It takes at least six weeks for the trauma feelings to subside—possibly 10 to 12 weeks.
  5. If you experience infidelity and have made a decision to trust again, slowly you will rebuild your sandcastle of trust, one spade at a time.

Discovering that your partner has been unfaithful in your relationship, even in just an emotional sense, can cause you to feel devastated.  Often there have been signs and observations of things not being quite right, but you usually push the suspicions away, refusing to believe that your partner would stray.

Even if there have been some suspicions, it is common to tell yourself that you are being silly, or overreacting.  You berate yourself for being so insecure that you would even THINK such things.  You tell yourself that your partner is an honest person and would not cheat on you.  And you have a really good relationship.  Well, pretty good anyway.

When the discovery is made, or your partner confesses to having been unfaithful, you feel shocked and devastated.  Even if you had some suspicion, when you are finally told you experience a trauma reaction.

It is similar to knowing that the volcano may erupt, that the signs have been there, there has been talk of possibly having to evacuate your home—but when it really happens it is still traumatic and you still must deal with your emotional response after the event.

Typically, you enter a phase of shock and disbelief, and emotional pain that is so intense you wonder if you can ever recover from it.  The pain is physical, as with the discovery comes a realization of a very real threat—you and your life as you know it is threatened.

By the incidence of betrayal, and in response to the threat, your body produces vast amounts of the stress chemical adrenalin.  Your brain reacts to the fear by having you alternate between wanting to discover more information and wanting to run away and never think of this again—this is the fight or flight response.

Initially, intense waves of feeling course through your system several times a day as you alternate between, “I love him” and “I hate him”.

During the initial days following discovery, it is common to experience the full range of trauma reactions.  You may tremble and quiver and be totally unable to think straight.  You cannot eat.  You cannot rest.  The only thing on your mind is the infidelity.

You may be uncharacteristically angry and pummel your partner.  You may wail and sob, or both.  The emotions come in waves, and fluctuate in intensity.  Sometimes the brain seems to switch off the thought of the threat and allows you a few minutes of respite, and then it surges back again.

You check bank accounts and phone records and his wallet for any incriminating evidence.  You search clothing and his toiletries bag, things you have never done before.  You ask questions—you want to know everything and drive your partner to frustration with the intricacy of the questions you ask.

As a person experiencing the pain of betrayal, you are trying to make sense of what has happened.  The picture doesn’t make sense, and more information is needed to make the pieces of the puzzle fit together to make a clearer picture.  So even though the information may be painful to hear, and the betrayer certainly feels uncomfortable to answer so many awkward questions, it is still better for him to do so rather than you having to guess or imagine bits of information, to complete the picture.

It takes at least six weeks for the trauma feelings to subside—possibly 10 to 12 weeks. During the trauma phase, your thinking is impaired and it is really not possible, and certainly not wise, to make life altering decisions during this phase, especially if other people (like your children) will be affected by that decision.

If you make a decision today to leave, you will change your mind again tomorrow and you will feel foolish and fickle for always changing your mind.  Hence it is better to say, I will NOT MAKE a decision at all for the next 10 weeks and then I can have these fluctuations many times during the 10 weeks and still feel normal.

It is also normal to have fluctuations of feeling that you are coping okay—that life is returning to normal—and feeling devastated.  You will often experience intense pain as you flash back to the trauma of the initial discovery.  Believe that these feelings in time will pass as your brain becomes aware that life goes on even if you have to adjust to a new situation.

If you experience infidelity and have made a decision to trust again, slowly you will rebuild your sandcastle of trust, one spade at a time.  Click the links below to watch a complete set of videos to help you survive unfaithfulness.

Watch the Member Training Video: Infidelity – The Discovery

Watch the Member Training Video: Infidelity – Trauma Reaction

Watch the Member Training Video: Infidelity – Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Watch the Member Training Video: Infidelity – Delay The Decision

Watch the Member Training Video: Suspicion – The Sandcastle

Watch the Member Training Video: Suspicion – Decision To Trust

Watch the Member Training Video: Suspicion – His Perspective

Watch the Member Training Video: Suspicion – The Recovery

Read and Download Fact Sheet: Infidelity – The Discovery

Read and Download Fact Sheet: Infidelity – To Tell or Not To Tell

Read and Download Fact Sheet: Infidelity – Learning To Trust

Read and Download Fact Sheet: Infidelity – His Perspective

Read and Download Fact Sheet: Infidelity – Her Affair

Read and Download Fact Sheet: Forgiveness and The Healing of Emotional Wounds

Read and Download Fact Sheet: Law of Attraction

Review Ask The Goslings Q&A: To Tell or Not To Tell My Husband?

Review Ask The Goslings Q&A: Betrayal of Trust

Review Ask The Goslings Q&A: Rebuilding Trust

Review Ask The Goslings Q&A: How Can I Trust My Cheating Husband?

Review Ask The Goslings Q&A: Forgiveness

Review Ask The Goslings Q&A: How Can I Find My UK Birth Mother?

Read Counseling Case Study: Traumatic Event 

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