Symptoms Of Betrayal Trauma

betrayal Aug 15, 2023


In his book The Body Keeps the Score, Bessel van der Kolk explains how psychological trauma can have physiological impacts throughout the body.  While the mind seeks to compartmentalize pain, including betrayal and abuse, the nervous system throughout your body subconsciously carries the impacts indefinitely.  In other words, "the body remembers." Learn more here.

This post will explore the many symptoms that can occur as a result of betrayal trauma.  The list is not exhaustive, but covers some of the most common effects of betrayal.  It is important to work with a trained professional who understands betrayal trauma who can rightly assess the source of these symptoms.


Common Symptoms

  1. Brain fog – inability to think clearly, memory loss, getting lost easily
  2. Dissociation – feeling like you're “in a fog” or “zoned out," vaguely aware of your emotional reality
  3. Emotional disturbance  uncharacteristically intense anger, numbness, depression, sorry, guilt, shame, anxiety, low self-esteem
  4. Sleep disturbance  difficulty getting to sleep, nightmares, excessive sleep
  5. Thought disturbance rumination, intrusive thoughts, obsessive tendencies, distrust of others
  6. Physical ailments – headaches, stomach aches, chronic fatigue, weight gain, gastrointestinal issues, weakened immune system
  7. Isolation avoiding connection with other for fear of condemnation and additional pain
  8. Depression difficulty recognizing and expressing your emotions, general suppression of all emotions
  9. Hypervigilance Compulsive checking of internet history, GPS, email, texts, etc. for signs of deception
  10. Changes in eating patterns - overeating or avoiding food
  11. General anxiety and/or acute panic attacks
  12. Difficulty caring for self or others
  13. Atypical behaviors


Betrayal trauma can affect all aspects of person's being, so it is essential to use a holistic approach to heal, one that integrates the body, mind, heart and soul.  Complete recovery is said to last 3-5 years... longer if the hard work is avoided, minimal effort is given or couples make any of the five common mistakes after betrayal comes to light.

Symptoms may linger even after the marriage has been repaired, but the intensity and frequency of occurrence can diminish based on the quality of recovery work you do and the degree to which you feel supported by your spouse in the process.

While trauma may have long-lasting effects, they can be minimized by implementing proven techniques to heal individually and by working with a professional to guide collaborative healing with your spouse. 

If you'd like a processional assessment of your symptoms, a recommended treatment plan and direct advice to navigate your situation, then enroll in our Recovery Basics Coaching Program.







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