Betrayal can bring such deep pain and lingering turmoil to someone who experiences it. The whole ordeal can be incredibly traumatic, affecting victims in more ways than one. The physical, mental, and emotional toll from betrayal can leave one exhausted and desperate for normalcy.
I am Dr. Debi Silber, and welcome to A Dose of Dr. Debi.
Today, I will delve into the life-altering mess of betrayal trauma. We will take the time to identify its possible manifestations, so you can better understand your healing journey.
In This Episode
- A discussion on the collection of symptoms that is common to betrayal
- Findings from the Post Betrayal Syndrome quiz
- An overview on healing from betrayal
Hi there, Dr. Debi here and welcome to A Dose of Dr. Debi. In the first episode, I talked about the three discoveries that were made in my study, which were about betrayal. The first was that healing from betrayal is very different than healing from other life crises like the death of a loved one, disease, natural disaster, so it needed its own name, which is now called Post Betrayal Transformation.
The second discovery was that there’s this collection of symptoms so common to betrayal it’s known as Post Betrayal Syndrome.
The third discovery was that while we can stay stuck forever if we’re going to heal–if we’re going to fully heal, we’re going, (and go from that place of Post Betrayal Syndrome to that place of Post Betrayal Transformation), we’re going to go through five proven predictable Stages.
So I went through that, in the first episode. Last time I went through those five Stages so this way you can see exactly where you land. And hopefully, that was, inspirational, on some level because you understand that you’re stuck, possibly, most likely in Stage three, which is the most common place to get stuck. But, now you realize, “Wow, there’s a reason for it.” And better news, there’s a reason out of it. So today what I wanted to do is dive into the Post Betrayal Syndrome quiz, and this way, you’ll see what’s so common to betrayal. This way if you have these symptoms, you’re going to realize, (as you’ll hear me say over and over), you’re not crazy, you’re not alone and you can heal from all of it.
So, just to back up a little bit, that with that other discovery of that there is this collection of symptoms (physical, mental, and emotional), so common to betrayal, it is known as now as Post Betrayal Syndrome. We’ve had over 18,000 people (at the time of this recording), take the Post Betrayal Syndrome quiz to see to what extent they’re struggling, you can find that at https://thepbtinstitute.com/quiz/. But besides asking all these different symptoms, so people can really get a sense of where they’re at and what’s left in the wake of their experience, there’s a question that reads; “Is there anything else you’d like to share? People write so many things. You know we’ve all heard “time heals all wounds” and I shared this last time. That’s not true, not when it comes to betrayal. People are saying in the quiz how their betrayal happened 20 years ago, 30 years ago, 40 years ago, and they still feel it, they’re still reeling from the effects of it, they’re still feeling that anger, that frustration that—that heartbreak, that—that grief, that pain. So, betrayal is one of those types of crises that you can’t just count on time to help you. Time can soften it a bit, but we truly and heal fully heal when we “face it, feel it, heal it” and that’s all we do within the PBT Institute community (https://thepbtinstitute.com) which I’ll share with you another time. For now, what I wanted to do was share with you some of the symptoms.
Every few months, I pull the stats from the quiz, just to see what’s happening there. So I want to read them—some of them to you, so you can really see what goes on after an experience with betrayal of a family member, partner, friend, coworker, self. Okay, so see if you have any of these symptoms, and this is, this is out of 18,000 people.
78% constantly revisit their experience. Think about how exhausting that is to go over and over and over and over and over it again. We need to do this in the beginning and that’s called rumination. You want to make sense out of it, but at some point, you go from ruminating to marinating, you don’t want to stay in there way too long. You know you’re in there too long if you’ve gone over it endlessly coming out of it, no better than the 100,000 times you’ve gone over it already.
81% feel a loss of personal power. 80% are hyper-vigilant. That means your nervous system is always on edge you’re checking phones, etc., you’re constantly looking, searching, you never feel comfortable, never feeling safe.
94% deal with painful triggers, and I know how those can take you down because that was the experience with me, as well as so many people that have moved through betrayal and you can—you can heal from those triggers.
64% say they struggle emotionally, I want to read you some of the most common physical symptoms now.
71% have low energy, 68% have sleep issues. I know nighttime is the worst time because you can distract yourself during the day with some of the things you need to do, work, kids, whatever, but at night, it comes crashing down on you hard.
63% extreme fatigue, so you can sleep the whole night, wake up, and you’re just as exhausted.
47% have weight changes. Weight may go down at the very beginning right after your experience. You may not be able to get any food down or keep food down. But then, as a way to cope, you may be doing some emotional eating and gain weight.
45% have digestive issues so that could be anything from irritable bowel, Crohn’s, it could be, diarrhea, constipation, .etc. You know what’s so interesting about digestive issues too, is this. You may have heard your gut as your second brain. Think about what the digestive system does; it absorbs, processes, and digests food. Well, it’s a betrayal difficult to absorb, digest, and process? Is it any wonder why the gut is off?
So now imagine you’re walking around with one of those symptoms, these are some of the most common mental symptoms. 78% are overwhelmed, 70% walking around in a state of disbelief, 68% are unable to focus, 64% are in shock, 62% are unable to concentrate.
So imagine having let’s say a gut issue and brain fog, and here you are trying to manage your family and your work and all your other obligations you have throughout the day.
That’s not even the emotional symptoms, ready?
88% experience extreme sadness, 83% anger. Now, when you just mix sadness and anger and you’re going back and forth between those two, having no other symptoms. That’s exhausting. So now add to it, let’s say, a gut issue, extreme fatigue, and brain fog. Do you see why you may be struggling? 82% feel hurt, 80% have anxiety 79%—
This is why I wrote the book Trust Again: https://thepbtinstitute.com/trustagain.
84% have an inability to trust, 67% are preventing themselves from forming deep relationships because they’re afraid of being hurt again. 82% find it hard to move forward 90% want to move forward, but they don’t know how.
Did you find yourself in any one of those statistics? Like I said, and like you will hear me say betrayal is one of the most painful of the human experiences. This was the person, or these were the people who gave you that sense of safety and security, and now this is the person or these are the people, to shatter that sense of safety and security.
I write about it Trust Again, https://thepbtinstitute.com/trustagain. and this is the book that walks you through the five Stages of betrayal along with the four-step trust rebuilding process. Around 250 studies that were cited, something like that in the book, this was basically my PhD dissertation made reader-friendly. This isn’t the kind of book you read, it’s the kind of book you do. Anyway, it’s all in there. I was mentioning the book because I talked about this analogy of a nest. Imagine here’s this bird, who’s building this nest for its inhabitants. Whoever or whatever is going to live in there. So, that bird is grabbing twigs and sticks and all kinds of things, (lovingly, I assume), to build this nest of safety to keep whoever or whatever is going to live in their safe and secure. Now imagine the bird who built that nest is the very one to shatter it. There are only two options here for those little chicks that are living in there. What are the only two options? You survive that or you perish.
Well, the beauty of what you’re going to learn here, and everything we teach you within the PBT community https://thepbtinstitute.com is not only surviving your experience but since you’ve been through it, why not transform as a result? So, the symptoms are also common. But what happens is because they’re so uncomfortable, we either tried to numb the symptoms or mask the symptoms. And you may be going to the most wonderful health experts, doctors, healers, or coaches to manage the symptoms. But at the root of it is that is an unhealed betrayal. You may be trying to mask it on your own, where you’re just using food or drugs or alcohol or work or TV you’re thinking: “This is just way too big. I don’t have the time, I just have to get through my day.” So you’re finding these ways to manage your symptoms, but you’re not healing from your betrayal. So, if at the very root is this betrayal and all you’re doing is finding all these different things to manage the symptoms. That’s like symptom relief, but at the root of it, it’s not being healed, that’s what needs to be healed and when that is, all of those other things heal. When you heal from your betrayal, that’s what happens is you—.
You know how I talked about the “small self” benefits that you get? You get your story, you get to be right, you get someone to blame you get a target for your anger, you get all those things. Well, when you let go of that story, you get a way better story! You get to be the victor, instead of being a victim. You get to be the hero or the heroine of your story, you get to be a role model, you get to improve your immune system.
Your immune system is like an internal army when it’s strong, it’s, it’s like this army is protecting its borders. When it’s weakened, it’s as if the army is fast asleep and invaders get through. When you’re under this kind of stress, invaders get through. So when it comes to your gut, (the good stuff), you may be eating the most wonderful diet there is, but the gut lining is loosening up so that it’s called leaky gut. And what’s happening is the good stuff doesn’t get to stay in. The good stuff goes out the bad stuff comes in. So you’re at risk of all kinds of gut issues and now you also have accelerated aging, you’re gaining weight. One of the things that cortisol will do (cortisol is a stress hormone), when things are working well everything’s going fine, then you eat, the nutrients are being stored and utilized appropriately. But when you’re under stress, fat acts as if: “Oh, I see you’re busy, instead of me going where I need to go I’m just gonna store myself right here, (usually in your belly), and I’m gonna be here for you when you need it.” And so if you notice, you’re like, “Where did this gut come from?” It could be because of the betrayal. So here’s the thing too. You’ve, you’ve been through so much already. And now to make yourself sick on top of it to be dealing with symptoms, illness, condition, disease, on top of it, because of this unhealed betrayal that’s keeping the stress response going. That’s not fair to you. It’s just not.
So we’re going to keep going with all of this, I’m going to give you tips, tools, solutions, and strategies to heal from all of it. So what I recommend right now is, if you haven’t taken the quiz. The Post Betrayal Syndrome quiz that may be a next best move for you, you can just find that at https://thepbtinstitute.com/quiz. So do that for now, and this way you can see, those symptoms and you may realize: “Oh wow, I thought it was just aging I thought it was just stress, etc.” No, it’s because of your betrayal. But either way, we’re going to heal from all of it, I gotcha. So we’ll see you next time and thanks so much, have a great day.