The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be still Exodus 14:14
Often relational or attachment trauma, no matter the age, accompanies manipulations, such as “gas lighting” and deceit. Relational trauma may also occur with emotional and verbal abuse, threatening feelings of safety and/or love. Relational or attachment trauma may be as a result of physical, emotional, financial, spiritual or sexual abuse; a loved one’s substance or chemical abuse; and or relational betrayal in the form of infidelity or pornography addiction and/or sex addiction. Deception and betrayal associated with addiction fractures a partner’s reality and threatens their safety at a very basic level. Key symptoms indicate a person is experiencing PTSD and/or complex multidimensional betrayal trauma. PTSD was once reserved for post military combat, or for those having experienced a natural disaster. Today, brain scans called SPECT imaging, developed by Dr. Daniel Amen, a leading brain health expert and psychiatrist, has provided brain images to document the effects of betrayal trauma on the brain. Evolving neuroscience, along with dedicated trauma and helping professionals, offer proof that relational betrayal trauma, like other major traumas, can wound one’s mind, body, spirit, and sexuality. The following is a compiled list of trauma symptoms obtained from sources such as the DSM-5, American Psychological Association, Dr. Barbara Steffens and APSATS Multidimensional Trauma Model Training, Marsha Means M.A., Dr. Judith Hermann, Dr. Stefanie Carnes, Dr. Omar Minwalla, Dr. Sheri Keffer and Dr. Bessel van der Kolk.
- Spontaneous, recurrent and intrusive disturbing thoughts of the traumatic events or discovery
- Recurrent distressing dreams, on-going sleep disturbances
- Flashbacks, triggers or other dissociative reactions in which it feels like the traumatic events are recurring
- Physiological reactions to reminders of the traumatic events
- Prolonged psychological distress. Depression, anxiety, fear and panic. Being irritable, aggressive, reckless, self-destructive, numb or shut down
- Persistent avoidance of distressing memories, thoughts, or feelings
- Inability to remember, forgetting or minimizing traumatic or betrayal events of the past. (a protective sub-conscious coping strategy for “it’s not safe enough to deal with this now”)
- Persistent and exaggerated negative beliefs or expectations (e.g., “I am not enough, It must be my fault, My world is completely unsafe”)
- Persistent fear, horror, anger, rage, sadness, guilt, or shame
- Difficulty participating in regular activities or duties such as work, childcare, and self-care
- Feelings of detachment or aloneness, feeling disconnected from self and isolated from others
- Persistent inability to experience joy
- Being in a state hypervigilance or hyper alert, having an exaggerated startle response
- Problems with concentration
- Lost ability to put words to feelings
- Physical health problems such as adrenal fatigue, thyroid problems, joint and or muscle pain, headaches, digestive issues, weight gain or loss, and auto immune diseases
Facing The Pain
If you, or anyone you may know, are experiencing Trauma Symptoms, professional therapeutic care may be needed. Partners who have experienced serious deception in their relationship or marriage may feel as though they are in a state of confusion or shock, as everything about their lives is suddenly brought into question. Betrayal trauma can leave partners afraid and hurting, buried under a crushing weight of questions about themselves, their relationships, their children/family and then the future. Other questions may surface, “How can I feel safe?” “Should I stay?” “What about finances?” “What else has been kept secret from me?” “How can I heal?” These life-altering questions may create disorienting chaos, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Partners with this kind of complex trauma will benefit from care based on the Multi-Dimensional Partner Trauma Model. Unfortunately, partners can be further traumatized by friends, family, churches, and misinformed therapists, who don’t understand the trauma symptoms.
If you have experienced the abuse of deception or sexual betrayal in your marriage, it is likely you have suffered a great deal of pain. You may have spent years struggling to cope with the devastating consequences of addiction. In families where addiction has been present, there is often guidance, healing, and growth needed for the children as well. Relationships damaged from addiction, betrayal, and unhealthy behaviors, can be healed and restored. With appropriate interventions and care, relational safety and trust can be established, and authentic intimacy can be developed. If you have begun to heal but feel stuck and unsure how to continue growing, you can continue creating a more peaceful and empowered life.
I hold space with partners who are hurting and choose to heal. I offer psychoeducation and support to partners. I value the importance of self-evaluation for growth and comprehensive healing. I am committed to the process necessary for clients to be still, surrender, and heal. As we work together, you will learn, set new goals, grow, find resilience, and celebrate. Let’s help bring you to a more joyful way of living.
Steps we take
- Stabilization and safety
- Dealing with strong emotions
- Self-care and self-compassion
- Addiction education
- Disclosure care
- Identifying and shutting down Gaslighting and Manipulation
- New communication and conflict resolution
- Understanding and identifying healthy recovery
- Choosing your path for the future
- Rebuilding trust, intimacy and joy