First, Take a deep breath. Sexual betrayal is overwhelming. You can feel as if you are going crazy. I want to let you know you are not crazy. Sexual betrayal can cause a deep emotional wound, similar to post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. You are not crazy, and therapy for sexual betrayal can help.
You may have recently discovered that your partner has been unfaithful. You may have found text messages or porn on your partner’s phone. You may have discovered inappropriate text messages or realized that your partner is compulsive using porn or visiting prostitutes. Your whole body is in shock.
Facing sexual betrayal can be overwhelming. You can feel numb or paralyzed, not knowing what steps to take next. Here is a summary of what many victims of sexual betrayal report.
It shattered the idea of my life in an instant. I saw the texts and pictures on the phone. I just put the phone down. I wanted to pretend I didn’t see it. I know most people would rage, but I didn’t. I didn’t say anything for a few days and then I finally I confronted my partner. My partner cried. He said he was sorry and thought he might have a sex addiction problem and needed sex addiction treatment. My life, as I knew it, gone in a flash. He is not the person I married. I spent my life building a life with them. I wanted to scream, but I just got up and left the house. I did not know what to do. For the next few days, I just did what I needed to do to survive. I was numb.
- Sexual Betrayal Survivor
Our close relationships are what help us feel safe in the world. We depend on the people close to us to create a feeling of belonging and comfort. Individuals that are close to us help us know our place in the world and create a general sense of safety and belonging. Our sexual relationships are often supposed to be the safest place in our lives. Sometimes this is an unspoken truth that we assume is present.
We often experience a traumatic reaction when the idea of our life is turned upside down. Sexual betrayal causes us to have intense emotional responses. With these powerful betrayal trauma triggers, we often experience PTSD like symptoms.
- Here is a list of some of them.
- Generally feeling unsafe.
- Intense fear or anxiety
- Reliving the events over and over
- Retracing your past
- Obsessionally thinking
Left Feeling Shattered
For many who have been impacted by the sexual betrayal trauma, they can feel ing their life has shattered. Often a person will retrace the history of their relationship trying to figure it all out. Hoping to find some answer that can bring it all back together, but often come up empty-handed. It can create a feeling of hopelessness and despair. Our experience is trauma, and it is essential to know that trauma left untreated can lead to other issues like anxiety and depression.
I encourage you to reach out, and therapy for sexual betrayal can help. Our therapists are trained in understanding the impact sexual betrayal trauma has had on your life.
Betrayal Trauma Recovery
The very first thing you can do is to slow down and breath. Just do your best to relax your nervous system and remind yourself that there are help and support. We know more about the impact of sexual betrayal then ever before, and there are help and healing.
Some first steps you can take if you have been traumatized by betrayal.
- Educate yourself.
- Here are some resources you can check out that may be helpful
- Facing Heartbreak
- After the Affair
- Intimate Treason
- Mending a Shattered Heart
- Talk with trusted friends or family
Close support can be critical, but it is essential to think about who the person is going to be. Are they safe and can they be understanding and supportive in the ways that you need? Will you be okay that they know about this in the future if you choose to stay in this relationship.
Find outside support or peer support.
- 12-step groups
- Online groups
- Get professional help
Contact Novus. We provide therapy for sexual betrayal in Long Beach California. Many of our therapists are also certified sex addiction therapists. (CSAT)
If you are located outside the LA and Orange County area trying finding a therapist on the IITAP website.
International Insitute for trauma and addiction professionals
But no matter what you do, please reach out for help.
Photo by ORNELLA BINNI on Unsplash