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Understanding Betrayal Trauma

Being Cheated On Really Hurts!

If you’ve been cheated on and now you feel like you’re going crazy, you’re not alone. When your partner’s infidelity is uncovered, you can’t help but experience that as a powerful form of emotional and psychological trauma. It feels like you’ve been hit by a truck – but emotionally rather than physically. Because you love and believe in your partner, you rightfully and understandably feel devastated by the betrayal. As such, the rage, tears, fear, pleading, vindictiveness, and emotional instability you’re experiencing are a perfectly normal and expected response.

And this is not your fault. Research shows that betrayed partners, after learning that their significant other has strayed, typically experience stress, anxiety, and depressive symptoms characteristic of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). And yes, PTSD is the same debilitating disorder that we see in battle-scarred soldiers. Is it any wonder that you’re experiencing shock, overwhelm, anxiety, hypervigilance, depression, mood swings, and an inability to focus on and manage basic tasks of day-to-day life?

The Emotional Rollercoaster

Amazingly, your cheating partner might be pushing blame for the emotional rollercoaster you’re riding onto you. He might say things like:

  • If you weren’t so hostile, I never would have cheated.
  • I never know what to expect from you. It makes my life really difficult.
  • Why can’t you just forgive me so we can move on with our lives?

These responses ignore the trauma of betrayal. Your partner’s cheating has injured your ability to trust him. You are finding it difficult to believe anything he says or does in the moment, and anything he’s said and done in the past. And every time you find out another new piece of information, you experience the entire betrayal all over again.

Be Kind to Yourself

This is painful for you as a betrayed partner. It’s also normal. Try not to judge yourself about what you’re thinking and feeling. Instead, remind yourself:

  • You didn’t cause this.
  • What you are thinking and feeling is a natural response to the trauma of betrayal.

Don’t blame yourself (and stop letting your cheating partner blame you) for the emotional rollercoaster you’re riding. No matter how intense your emotions and actions might seem in the moment, they are normal reactions to the circumstances in which, through no fault of your own, you now find yourself.

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