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Betrayal Trauma Therapy
Bellevue, WA

Betrayal Trauma

What is Betrayal Trauma?

Betrayal trauma refers to the emotional distress experienced when someone close to us with whom we rely upon significantly violates our trust, often through infidelity, deception, or other intimate betrayals. You may have discovered an affair, secret online sexual behavior, or payments for sexual gratification. The nature of betrayal trauma is very personal and unique to each individual. Betrayal trauma can deeply impact an individual's sense of safety, security, and self-worth, as it breaks the foundation of trust upon which the relationship was built. It can shatter our previously held beliefs about relationships. Someone with betrayal trauma can experience symptoms similar to posttraumatic stress and will have difficulty trusting others and feeling safe in close relationships.


How do you recognize the signs of Betrayal Trauma?

It can be very difficult to know when someone is deceiving you, especially when it is someone with whom you are close to and trust. Many partners who have been betrayed can look back after the discovery of betrayal and recall incidents in which they believe their gut instincts were trying to warn them. Maybe something didn’t add up or seemed off, but when you’d ask for clarification, you may have been told that “you were crazy.” This type of gaslighting can be nearly impossible to detect when you are the one who is experiencing it. You may also be second guessing yourself a lot. When you look back, however, it can be easier to see when someone was purposefully hiding and distorting the truth. If you feel like something is off in your relationship, listen to your gut and request what you need to feel safe.


What are the symptoms of Betrayal Trauma?

The symptoms of betrayal trauma vary across each person. It can be incredibly validating to know that the symptoms you are experiencing are a natural response to intimate betrayal. It is also helpful to think about betrayal trauma symptoms within four categories of emotional, cognitive, physical, and behavioral, symptoms. Below are some betrayal trauma symptoms that are commonly reported.


Emotional symptoms of Betrayal Trauma

Difficulty regulating emotions

Anxiety & panic



Anger & rage

Numbness & detachment


Cognitive symptoms of Betrayal Trauma

Obsessive & anxious thoughts

Difficulty concentrating

Negative thoughts


Intrusive thoughts & memories



Physical symptoms of Betrayal Trauma

Fatigue & exhaustion

Tension & arousal

Irregular Sleep


Somatic symptoms (e.g., body aches, headaches)

Behavioral symptoms of Betrayal Trauma

Avoidance of people & places

Loss of interest

Isolation & withdrawal

Reassurance seeking

Difficulty working or parenting

Sexual aversion

How can you heal from Betrayal Trauma?

The aftermath of betrayal trauma can be crippling and leave you feeling hopeless with no clear path forward. This is a natural response to the intense pain of betrayal, but know that there is hope in recovery and deep healing. We have helped countless women work through betrayal trauma and regain their lives. Healing from betrayal trauma can be a transformative experience. Our goal is to help you to thrive beyond betrayal, learn to connect with yourself on a deeper level, and live a beautiful life that supports your dreams, desires and happiness. Betrayal trauma therapy, can be invaluable in helping individuals navigate the complex emotions and challenges associated with betrayal trauma. The recovery process for betrayal trauma involves acknowledging and processing the pain, rebuilding trust in oneself (and others), and healing your posttraumatic stress symptoms.

Betrayal Trauma Therapy and Mental Health

Symptoms of betrayal trauma often arise immediately after discovery of sexual betrayal.  However, some symptoms may have a delayed onset and come about later. For example, in the initial phase of betrayal you may experience a trauma state of hyperarousal and feel anxious, overwhelmed and have difficulty regulating your emotions. Whereas delayed reactions to betrayal trauma can start months after the initial discovery and result from a trauma state of hypoarousal and include depression, grief, feelings of shame and feeling numb. Delayed reactions to betrayal trauma can be difficult for individuals to understand and can add another layer of complexity to healing.

How can Betrayal Trauma Therapy help me?

The traumatic impact of betrayal and infidelity may leave you unsure of what to do next.  To move forward, it's essential for your pain to be heard, understood, and validated.  Having your questions answered and having transparency will help create emotional safety for you to heal.  You may be craving information to help you understand why this happened and how you were deceived, this is a completely natural response following betrayal, and knowing the truth can be essential to one’s healing.

Effective betrayal trauma therapy can help you regain emotional safety, stop the painful trauma memories, experience stability in your relationship, and reclaim your life through empowered choices.

When should I start Betrayal Trauma Therapy?

Discovering that your significant other had a secret sexual life is often one of the most devastating experiences a person can face. When your entire world is shattered overnight, it is destabilizing and traumatic. You may be questioning your entire relationship and not know what to do next. If this has happened to you, know that you are not alone and you deserve support. At Pacific Behavioral Healthcare, we understand the depths of this pain and have innovative and effective ways to help betrayed partners on a path towards betrayal trauma recovery. We recommend starting betrayal trauma therapy as soon as you can after the initial discovery so you can get the support and guidance you need to start feeling better sooner.  


How do I know if I need Betrayal Trauma Therapy?

After intimate betrayal, everything you believed about your relationship may now seem like a lie.  You may wonder who this person is?  Or why they would do this to you?  You are probably questioning everything. You realize that your significant other is not safe and has abused your trust.  You may feel violated and taken advantage of.  You may fear that others will not understand what you are going through or offer unsolicited advice to leave the relationship making you feel even more alone. You may begin to isolate yourself because it's just easier.  This is not the relationship you signed up for. Now you are left to pick up the pieces of your life and it's not fair.


We understand the pain and profound sense of loss that you are experiencing. The betrayal from your partner's sexual or emotional infidelities is traumatic.  You may now feel "less than," avoid intimacy, question your intuition, and be flooded with intense feelings of anger and grief.  One of the most noticeable and distressing symptoms is extreme vigilance or being overly watchful and anxious, and possibly engaging in checking behaviors to make sure you don’t get blindsided again. Although a natural response to trauma, this fear cycle can be difficult to stop on your own and will leave you feeling depleted. To ease the emotional suffering, you can receive support and guidance from a betrayal trauma therapist.

Betrayal Trauma Group Therapy

Joining a Betrayal Trauma Therapy Group can be a invaluable experience after intimate betrayal. If provides connection and support with other partners who have experienced betrayal trauma. It's healing to know that you are not alone that there are others who have experienced betrayal trauma and are working through the same therapeutic process. Betrayal Trauma Group Therapy can offer a safe space for you to share, process your feelings, and learn trauma informed strategies for healing alongside other partners who deeply understand. Group therapy for betrayal trauma can be an invaluable experience and a very supportive addition to individual therapy. We are not meant to heal from this type of pain alone. You deserve support from other partners who understand what you are going through. Betrayal Trauma Group Therapy provides effective strategies and tools to help calm the mind and body and foster deeper trauma healing. You will learn to nurture yourself again and feel empowered.

Learn More About Betrayal Trauma Group Therapy

Betrayal Trauma Therapy in Seattle & Bellevue, WA

At Pacific Behavioral Healthcare in Bellevue WA, we have betrayal trauma therapists who have received advanced training in trauma treatment and specialize in helping individuals heal after intimate betrayal. We will guide you through a therapeutic process to help you learn the truth so you can make sense of what happened and receive an answer to the most pressing question of why the betrayal occurred. Your betrayal trauma symptoms (hypervigilance, intrusive thoughts, intense waves of emotion) are a natural response to intimate betrayal and can subside with trauma-specific interventions. We will provide you with the best tools available that are empirically supported to help your betrayal trauma recovery.


We understand your pain and want to help you heal. We are ready to support you, reach out today to start your betrayal trauma therapy journey!


Betrayal Trauma Blog Posts

10 Ways to Begin Healing from Betrayal and Infidelity

What is Betrayal Trauma

Five Reasons Betrayal Hurts So Badly

How to find a betrayal trauma therapist

Unlocking Healing From Infidelity

The Critical First Step in Healing from Intimate Betrayal Trauma

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