What is betrayal trauma?

Betrayal trauma is a term used by psychologists, therapists, and other professionals to describe the type of trauma one experiences when betrayed by a significant attachment figure, like by a parent or a romantic partner.

Betrayal trauma often comes as the result of infidelity in a marriage, other forms of cheating or sexual acting out (such as pornography use), and significant deception. If you have been in a committed or significant relationship and your partner has engaged in these activities, it is likely that you may be experiencing betrayal trauma.

Signs and symptoms of betrayal trauma

First, it is possible to be suffering from symptoms of betrayal trauma without being completely aware of the actual betrayal. For example you may be experiencing anxiety, depression, and confusion surrounding the relationship with that person long before you learn of their betrayal. Maybe there is that nagging feeling that something is “off” in your relationship with them. This could be a sign or clue of betrayal trauma.

However, if you have learned of a recent betrayal and were completely unaware of the situation, this is very common. This is part of what makes the betrayal so significant and hurtful. You trusted this person to be there for you and to be committed to you, yet they deceived you and broke your trust.

Dr. Barb Steffens and Marsha Means created this list of possible symptoms of betrayal trauma (this list is not all inclusive):

  • Helplessness
  • Sleeplessness
  • Immobility
  • Reliving the event
  • Hyper-vigilance
  • Anxiety
  • Nightmares
  • Intrusive images
  • Withdrawing
  • Avoidance
  • Mood swings
  • Panic attacks
  • Phobias
  • Flashbacks
  • Denial
  • Over-sensitivity
  • Depression
  • Restlessness
  • Confusion
  • Dissociation
  • Inability to eat
  • Overeating
  • Rage
  • Health problems
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Immune/endocrine system problems
How can I get help?

Here at Choose Recovery we specialize in helping people move beyond betrayal trauma to a place of healing and progression. Not only do we have plenty of free resources such as videosblog-postspodcast episodes, and more. But we also provide support groups and individualized coaches to walk with you on this path to recovery.

Here is a list of our coaches and therapists that specialize in betrayal trauma:
  • Amie Woolsey (*certified)
  • Hali Roderick (*certified)
  • Maren Simmons
  • Karen Broadhead (*certified)
  • Ashly Hunter (Therapist Intern)
  • Kim Brown
  • Luke Gordon (*certified)
  • Alana Gordon (*certified)

When looking for a coach or therapist, we understand the importance of finding the person who is the right fit for you. If you’d like to get to know our coaches a little more, read about them on our team bios page!


*When you select a certified coach with Choose Recovery, you can feel rest assured that your coach has worked hard to become knowledgeable and skilled to help you reach your goals. All of our certified coaches have invested over two hundred hours which include one on one supervision and multiple completed courses.

Your path to recovery awaits, schedule with us today!

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Do you know who you would like to schedule with? You can schedule you individual session online using the button below and take your next steps towards healing and recovery!