The worst kind of hurt is betrayal, because it means someone was willing to hurt you just to make themself feel better. The innocent party is left holding the destruction from the broken marriage — the baggage. Often times this includes all of the negative feelings and emotions that the children are dealing with, as well. It feels like death. It is the complete death of the trust and security you had — or thought you had.
All is left, as you look at the destruction all around you, is despaira complete absence of hope and extreme sadness. Adultery is emotional and psychological abuse. Not skinny enough. The shame that we have. Who we are… Worthless. Not good enough. With no value. You would never do this to your marriage… but here you are dealing with the pain.
You start to wonder if you ever even knew this person.
You start to question everything about your life, your marriage, and your personhood. How did I not know??? The third time, the third affair partnerthat was the worst. I now know differently. Trust was completely gone because I just could never trust him again.
How could I trust someone who had never been trustworthy? How could I have missed all the red flags? Why did I even trust him in the first place?Carl is a counselor and coach in an overflowing private practice where he works with men and marriages devastated by pornography and sexual addiction.
He has advanced training and supervision in Emotionally Focused Therapy—the most empirically validated marital therapy which is uniquely suited to restoring marriages affected by sexual betrayal. Doug looks up from his phone like a deer caught in the headlights.
Panicked, he tries to reassure his wife that he really was just checking email. Lisa grabs the phone to look for herself, bracing for what she is about to find.
The pain from discovering porn so many times in the past comes rushing to the surface with searing intensity. Even though her husband was actually checking email this time, she feels wounded all over again. Tossing the phone back to her husband, Lisa squeezes her forehead with both palms as if to make her brain stop.
Doug is reeling from the emotional explosion. Deep rooted pain and fear overwhelm both of them. They both feel hopeless and as if this will never end. What happens next will determine how the next day, week, or month will go.
A trigger happens when the past invades the present. This can be the result of doing something similar enough to past behaviors that have wounded your wife.
If your phone has been the source of porn in the past, she will assume it is a source of porn in the present. If you stayed up late to watch a movie or sports and ended up watching porn, then she will believe that any time you want to stay up to watch something you are looking at porn.
Triggers can also be environmental. Movies and TV shows are the biggest culprits here. You can be having a great evening with your wife and suddenly the story line throws in something about porn. Your nice evening just took a hit. Recalling going to the dentist is uncomfortable. Revisiting the scene of a violent car wreck you were in will involve re-experiencing a lot of the same feelings as the original event. For her, this is a car wreck. Remember, her hair is on fire as she re-experiences the shock and pain from catching Doug looking at porn on his iPhone.
Doug feels ambushed since he was really checking email this time. He feels indignant that his wife would accuse him unjustly and fears this pattern will never stop. I was checking email like I said I was! Just put the past out of your mind like a mature adult. Doug just poured water on a grease fire. It makes the fire spread out and intensify.
No one will be sleeping well in this house tonight. Doug pauses and takes a breath as the initial shock wave passes over him. Lisa is stunned and confused. I can never trust you again. Again, Doug pauses before responding to her last comment at face value.
Instead of yelling, Lisa softened.I was never one of those uptight, prudish type of women. I have a good sense of humor, sometimes not a very politically correct sense of humor, but a sense of humor none-the-less.
Reading the stories hidden inside the pages of their subscriptions of Playboys that conveniently lived in the restroom; hidden, buried deep inside of the magazine rack. Out of sight. Keeping the secret. The emotional instability and true deception that I felt after the discovery of his pornography use totally caught me off guard.
I was closing in on my 9th month of pregnancy with our son. My first glimpse into the addiction of pornography was getting ready to smack me straight in the face.
Picture how stunned I found myself. I wake up after barely getting in bed for the evening. I walk upstairs and down the hall towards the restroom. It was late. Probably close to midnight. Typical, exhausted, pregnant mom; working a full time job. I was notorious for going to bed before him while he stayed up supposedly playing video games on his phone.
I heard the water in the shower running as I approached the bathroom door. Being a pregnant female and hearing the sound of the running water it hit me right in the bladder. I needed to get in that restroom and I needed to get in there quick. Without even knocking, as that is how open our relationship has always been, I open the door.
What is this? Here he was, not even an hour after we finished making love, and I find him watching pornography on his phone while pleasuring himself. My jaw dropped and I instantly shut the door and went to the dining room, sitting and replaying in my mind what I just encountered.
I was shook! We had a very healthy sexual relationship. I mean I looked in the mirror everyday and I realized how different my body looked so maybe, maybe it really was my fault… I was just overreacting. You can ask anyone and they will tell you that it is completely natural. Physically or virtually, it wounded me deeply.
At that time I did nothing but try to move past this. It was such a happy time in our lives. We were getting close to having our baby and would be bringing him home to our newly remodeled home after suffering a house fire.Trauma triggers are anything that serve as a reminder of painful events in your life.
They can be people, places, things, or situations. Thoughts, feelings, and sensations may also be connected to trauma memories. It is important to begin to understand your trigger patterns because they will often be the source of your emotional rollercoaster taking off.
Sometimes the triggers are obvious for betrayal survivors, like sex scenes in movies. Your confusion in that type of situation is compounded by an inability to figure out if this is your intuition telling you that something is wrong, or if it is merely your fear about something that happened in the past that your are feeling in the now. In either case, you are left with the urge to either do something right away to make the discomfort go away, or the sense that there is nothing you can do, that you are paralyzed by shock, trapped by not knowing what to do, or folding into a sense of helplessness and despair.
Your triggers elicit an instantaneous response because they are controlled by the part of the brain that regulates survival responses, the type of split second responses that occur before the logical part of the brain can analyze the situation.
Some women, in some situations, may respond with fight urges, others with flight urges. Trigger responses can be huge even for what we think of as minor events.
Triggers are kind of like a molecule. Different events from different points in time can connect together to form giant trauma molecules.
Trauma triggers are complicated because they may literally be attached to hundreds of memories. Betrayal triggers are particularly difficult because at its core betrayal is always a breach of trust. We all have millions of experiences with trust and mistrust across our lifetimes. Trust is built upon or destroyed with every interaction, both big and small, that we have with others, and with ourselves.Infidelity - Part 1: Understanding Triggers
When trust issues are triggered you feel the full weight of all the trust breaches of your life. And any person you happen to be with at that moment has no idea how much you are experiencing on the inside. Beginning to identify your triggers is an important early step towards preventing or decreasing avoidable triggers and will give you a greater sense of predictability in the chaos of betrayal trauma recovery.
You can eventually use this knowledge to build in trauma-savvy self-care that will help soothe your mind, body and spirit. I encourage you to design your own trauma molecule to help you identify your triggers. Fill in as many of the triggers on your trauma molecule as you can today. Add additional triggers as you become aware of them, especially ones that you might initially have recognized as a trigger. Logging your triggers over time will likely make it clear to you that although many of your triggers do create an instantaneous reaction, others are actually cumulative and build up over time until you hit your threshold.
Threshold triggers can often be neutralized or greatly diminished by self-soothing early in the build up. Janice Caudill — Licensed Psychologist.
Skip to content. Janice Caudill. All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition, does not create a client-therapist relationship, and is not a substitute for care by a trained professional. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site.
The owner will not be liable for any errors, omissions, losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.We expect relationships to be built on trust, love, and mutual respect. Which is why the shocking discovery of betrayal in a marriage causes feelings of chaos and confusion. Few experiences create more pain and hurt than sexual infidelity whether virtual or physical. For the victimized spouse, sexual infidelity can create such intense emotions that the memories and trauma may remain for months or even years later.
Unfortunately, there is no quick fix for healing Betrayal Trauma. However, healing is possible. We are honored that more than women have shared their sacred personal stories with us. From these stories and many years of clinical work, we have learned the symptoms and characteristics of Betrayal Trauma and the best methods for healing. As you take the courageous step to begin your recovery, we want you to understand Betrayal Trauma, how it's affecting you, and how you can respond.
This beginning is crucial to set the framework for your healthy recovery. When I see my husband, I want to hurt him one moment and the next I want him to hold me.
My emotions are all over the place. Is there something wrong with me? When faced with extreme, terrifying, or life threatening circumstances, we may suffer from trauma. Trauma happens to people who go to war, who live in neighborhoods with gang violence, and, as we've found, people who are betrayed by a parent or spouse.
Consider those connections for a few moments. It says something truly profound that your pains and fears are shared by people in extreme danger, and life-threatening situations. This is why you must not blame yourself for your feelings. Your story may feel quiet and small, but it is real. When you are betrayed by the person who is supposed to love, respect and support you the most, your world shatters.
It may feel as though the whole life of your relationship has been a lie. Many people naturally retrace their relationship's history adding in all the missing details of betrayal that they just learned.
This process is jarring, especially when the details from the spouse come in pieces. It can make you feel as though the rug is constantly being pulled from under you.
Emotional ups and downs are expected, and the paradoxical experience of anger coupled with a desire to connect is common. These feelings create confusion and pain, resulting in polarized emotions and possibly making you feel out of control at times.Get the 5-Step Boundary Solution Clarifier. Learn More. Survivors of betrayal trauma experience dire consequences from the devastating impact of serial infidelity.
You need the very best in self-care and self-protection as you navigate the difficult and painful process of discovery, disclosure, and beyond. In other words—you need boundaries. Moving Beyond Betrayal is the first book for partners affected by chronic sexual betrayal that guides you through a step-by-step process of identifying, creating, and maintaining boundaries as a vital component of self-care and an indispensable tool for your healing and growth.
Available in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook. Purchase Here. THE book to help partners of sex addicts reclaim the most powerful part of their life after suffering from intimate betrayal! The RTP is a journey of reclamation for women to discover and reclaim their unique, authentic feminine essence.
Over the past two weeks as most of us in the US have necessarily entered into various forms of shelter in place or stay at home conditions, life has become more simple, more immediate, and in many ways more intensely intimate.
Moving Beyond Betrayal: The 5-Step Boundary Solution for Partners of Sex Addicts Survivors of betrayal trauma experience dire consequences from the devastating impact of serial infidelity.
Purchase Here Finally. Latest posts from: Thriving After Betrayal Blog. Read More Blog Posts. Take action today for your healing and empowerment.
Click here to sign up!She is the wife of a minister-in-training and is passionate about providing resources and education for churches seeking to support betrayed women.
Having experienced her own life-saving encounter with Jesus Christ when seeking recovery from her own substance addiction, she understands the vital role of the church when ministering to those lost and broken by addiction and affected by the addictions of others.
I can literally feel my body start to tense with building energy that has nowhere to go. My head floods with questions, doubts, insecurities, and fears. Triggers are a universal experience of trauma survivors everywhere.
No matter what caused the trauma—a car accident, a serious assault, a sudden loss of a loved one, or a betrayal—reminders of that event, and the feelings and thoughts that came with it, can be overwhelming, unexpected, and extremely scary and hard to manage. Short of literally locking yourself in a padded room, the likelihood of never coming across a trauma trigger is zero.
The world, while it seems so different to us now, still turns the same way it was before the traumatic event and, as such, is full of possible reminders of our trauma.
We are all familiar with the concept of PTSD triggers in the context of war veterans. Every year we see firework warnings issued as people acknowledge the triggering effect of the loud noise that serves as a painful reminder of the gunshots and bombs experienced in war. Similarly, the backfire of a car can cause a trigger response in a combat veteran. We also acknowledge that a person who has been knocked down by a car might find walking close to a road to be triggering.
The disclosure of sexual secrets in a relationship can tarnish otherwise cherished moments, memories, and mementoes. That wedding photo that has been proudly displayed on the dresser, the ring he bought for me while he was away on business, the hotel we usually go to in our favourite spot—all smeared with a new reality, one in which all those things happened in the context of a lie, a false reality, where he or she was keeping secrets and acting out.
Often, the places we have been to are actual places he acted out, the things he bought are offerings made to appease a guilty conscience, and the people we know have us wondering if he uses them for objectification.
Nothing in the past is sacred and nothing in the future is safe. Even worse is the reality that for many women in the early days, their partner is a primary trigger.
When you consider the dynamic of trauma, it is worth noting that most people who are traumatized by the actions of another do not have to share a bed or a house with that person! At Betrayal Trauma RecoveryI work with clients to understand and manage their triggers. Understanding trauma triggers, and learning to manage them, is a big part of healing from betrayal trauma.
Taking back a sense of personal power amongst the flood of emotion we experience when triggered can be a lynchpin in the healing journey. Triggers can strike anywhere, at any time.