Betrayal trauma is a deeply unsettling and disruptive experience, and its effects can be profound and long-lasting. However, whether and how quickly it “goes away” varies from person to person, depending on several factors, including the nature and duration of the betrayal, individual resilience, and the kind of support and therapy they receive. Here’s a deeper look into the healing journey after betrayal trauma:
Immediate Response to Betrayal:
Upon discovering the betrayal, many individuals experience a whirlwind of emotions, including shock, disbelief, anger, sadness, and confusion. This immediate response can be acute and all-consuming.
As time progresses, the acute feelings might subside, but other symptoms can take their place. These might include:
- Recurring intrusive thoughts about the betrayal
- Nightmares or trouble sleeping
- Avoidance behavior (e.g., avoiding places or people associated with the trauma)
- Emotional numbness or difficulty connecting with others
- Hypervigilance or increased anxiety
The Role of Therapy:
Professional counseling, especially trauma-focused therapy, can play a pivotal role in healing from betrayal trauma. Therapies like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), and group therapy can help individuals process the trauma, build coping skills, and move forward.
Time as a Healing Factor:
While it’s a common adage that “time heals all wounds,” it’s more accurate to say that time, combined with active coping and support, facilitates healing. Over time, with the right tools and therapeutic intervention, the intensity and frequency of trauma symptoms generally decrease.
Potential for Reoccurrence:
Certain triggers, such as anniversaries of the betrayal, encountering the betrayer, or facing similar situations, can evoke strong emotional responses, even years after the event. Being aware of these triggers and having strategies to manage them is crucial.
Resilience and Growth:
Many individuals, after navigating the stormy waters of betrayal trauma, find themselves emerging stronger and more resilient. The concept of “post-traumatic growth” refers to the positive psychological changes and personal development that can occur as a result of struggling with highly challenging life circumstances.
While betrayal trauma can leave deep scars, with the right support, resources, and therapeutic interventions, individuals can find healing and even growth. It might not “go away” in the sense of being entirely forgotten, but its grip on one’s daily life can significantly diminish.
If you or a loved one is navigating the aftermath of betrayal, remember you don’t have to face it alone. Karuna Healing Counselling Services offers specialized guidance to help individuals move from trauma to healing.