Understanding the Similarities Between Betrayal Trauma and PTSD

Women at therapy

When you’ve gone through a traumatic event, it’s natural and normal to experience lingering effects. Betrayal trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are two conditions that people often experience after specific traumas occur in their lives.

While these two conditions stem from different causes, research has shown that their symptoms and triggers are often remarkably close—so much so that the two conditions don’t so much just overlap as they do completely mirror each other. This is significant because it helps us better understand betrayal trauma and the intensity of its symptoms, as well as effective treatment methods.

Betrayal trauma is a condition that is specific to victims of betrayal, such as infidelity, financial fraud, or emotional abuse. PTSD is a condition that can be caused by any traumatic experience, including exposure to violence or death. If you are struggling with either of these conditions, it is important to reach out to professionals for help.

Criteria for PTSD

PTSD has five generally accepted conditions that must be met for diagnosis of this disorder. These criteria must be present for at least one month and cause significant challenges to the victim’s life:

  1. Life-Threatening Experience

The traumatic event must have included the threat of death or serious injury, including the threat of sexual violence, physical abuse, or serious injury.

  1. Reliving the Event

The patient relives the event in nightmares and dreams or feels like the occasion is stuck in their head; they struggle to think of other things, can’t get the event out of their mind, and relive the event over and over again.

  1. Avoidance

The victim avoids triggering people and circumstances. They may avoid or have difficulty being in public places, struggle to participate in hobbies they previously enjoyed, avoid sexual intimacy with their partner, or engage in behaviors that distract their thoughts, such as excessive reading, sleeping, eating, or drinking.

  1. Negative Mood and Cognitions

The victim suffers from depression or anxiety or both; has a distorted sense of self (is stuck in negative self beliefs such as “I am a bad person,” “I’m not good enough,” or “I don’t belong anymore”); or self isolates.

  1. Emotional Arousal and Reactivity

The patient has emotional reactions due to the trauma, such as overwhelmingly intense emotions, anger, suicidal thoughts, difficulty sleeping, or hyper-vigilance in monitoring their partner’s behavior.

Betrayal trauma often meets every one of these conditions, from the traumatic experience itself to the lingering emotional responses.

What the Similarities Mean for Treating PTSD and Betrayal Trauma

Those who experience betrayal trauma often don’t expect their loss to affect them so intensely; some women feel like they’re going crazy or having a meltdown when they can’t escape the symptoms of their trauma.

Our message to you is, first, that it is NORMAL and COMMON to experience these symptoms after a betrayal! Experiencing the death of what is sometimes a lifelong relationship in an unexpected and violent way can be just as painful and traumatizing as a soldier seeing their comrade die on the battlefield. Your trauma response is not merely an overreaction.

Second, although these symptoms are a normal response to suffering betrayal trauma, you don’t have to continue to suffer through them—there is treatment available that works!

Understanding the similarities between PTSD and betrayal trauma has helped experts to develop treatment methods that work to alleviate the symptoms of trauma.

Betrayal Trauma Treatment

Researchers have developed interventions for each of the criteria for PTSD and betrayal trauma that are proven to be successful. These interventions have been scientifically documented, and they’re what we employ to alleviate the conditions and symptoms of betrayal trauma.

The approach we use to betrayal trauma therapy is profound, rapid, and empirically validated. We take a systematic approach that gives you actual skills to better your condition. Solace’s Betrayal Trauma program softens the chaos you are experiencing. You CAN find hope and healing to move past debilitating symptoms!

We have an extremely effective and affordable betrayal therapy online group to help facilitate the healing process.

Seek Professional Help

If you are struggling with either of these conditions, it is important to reach out to professionals for help. Betrayal trauma and PTSD can both have a significant impact on your life. Treatment options are available, and you don’t have to suffer alone.

If you or someone you know is struggling with betrayal trauma or PTSD, please reach out for help. Professionals at Solace Emotional Health are here to help you through this difficult time.