Betrayal Trauma and Relational Recovery

betrayal trauma

Although we are often not aware of it, the relationships we develop with our primary caretakers throughout infancy and early adolescence will shape our future relationships – often for the remainder of our lives. If we grow up in loving, supportive environments with caring, encouraging parents or guardians, we are more likely and able to develop healthy and beneficial relationships with others later on in life. If we are raised in neglectful and dangerous home environments, and we are not given the early nurturing and compassion we require, we may suffer from developmental issues and later relational difficulties. At Next Chapter, we focus on the role that relational trauma plays in the development of later issues, including substance dependency disorders. We work to identify all underlying trauma and therapeutically treat patients based on detrimental past experiences and relationships.

Relational Trauma and Next Chapter

One common variation of relational trauma that we focus on in depth is betrayal trauma. Betrayal traumas occur when someone that we depend upon and are significantly emotionally attached to either betrays our trust or lets us down in a detrimental and critical way.

There are two main types of betrayal trauma:

  1. Childhood betrayal trauma

Betrayal traumas that occur during childhood result from a primary caregiver significantly violating the vulnerability, well-being, or dependence of the concerned child.

  1. Adult betrayal trauma

Betrayal traumas that occur during adulthood result from significant incidents of broken trust or violation of vulnerability within a relationship with a trusted partner. Types of adult betrayal trauma include infidelity, sex addiction, love addiction, love avoidance, codependency, and sexual anorexia.

Suffering a significant betrayal trauma severely damages trust and safety within the primary relationship, and often leads to lasting psychological symptoms that somewhat mirror the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. While we at Next Chapter do focus on comprehensive healing from all types of betrayal trauma, we do focus more so on betrayal traumas that occurred throughout childhood.

Childhood Betrayal Trauma

Before we even become cognitively aware of who we are, we are being subconsciously shaped by our interpersonal interactions. When we, as children, are emotionally betrayed by our primary caregivers, we unwittingly internalize and adopt feelings of inadequacy, fear, and worthlessness. These early traumatic experiences may trigger recurring experiences of the initial trauma, setting us up for repetitious patterns of self-destruction and negative relationships. For this reason, healing from the initial trauma is especially important. Many of the betrayal traumas that adults undergo are actually directly related to unresolved betrayal traumas that occurred during childhood. It is exceedingly common for trauma survivors to turn to drug abuse and excessive alcohol consumption in order to dull the feelings of pain that go hand-in-hand with emotional abuse and neglect. In order for addictions to be successfully overcome, underlying traumas must be addressed and conquered.

Our clinical team of experienced and compassionate therapists utilizes a model of Post Induction Therapy first developed by Pia Mellody. During the 1970s, Mellody was working at The Meadows, a trauma and addiction treatment facility. She recognized that a significant amount of patients who identified their upbringings as less than nurturing later developed adult behaviors of codependency. These patterns of codependency later translated to substance dependency issues, physical ailments, and mood disorders. Based on these findings, she developed what is known as The Model of Developmental Immaturity. This model explores the relationship between early emotional trauma and stunted emotional advancement, which in turn leads to related issues later on in life. Children who undergo significant trauma (such as betrayal) will internalize relational shortcomings, and symptoms of early traumatic experiences will show up in numerous ways throughout adulthood. In order for these symptoms to be successfully overcome, the deep-rooted traumatic experience must be reconciled. Our clinical staff is specifically trained in Post Induction Therapy, and has extensive experience working with patients suffering from relational trauma of all kinds.

For more information on our program of addiction and trauma recovery, please feel free to contact us today.