You couldn’t brace yourself, because you never saw it coming. You didn’t have your guard up because you thought you were safe. It never crossed your mind that the person you loved, you trusted, you felt safe with––would ever hurt you. You gave your heart, your love, your loyalty, and your trust. One day out of the blue, you make a painful discovery––and that one life-altering moment gets forever tattooed on your mind and on your heart.
It’s as if the person you loved, the one you trusted, just took a mask off revealing who they had been this whole time. You feel like you were sucker-punched, nothing makes sense so then you frantically start questioning everything, including yourself. That’s what it feels like to be blind-sided by betrayal. How do I know? That’s what happened to me.
I felt so sad, so hurt and so confused, the same way that you might be feeling now. That confusion sent me on a search for answers. I was desperate to figure out how the mind works, why we do what we do and how I could heal. That search led to a Ph.D. program in Transpersonal Psychology. While I was there, I did a study––I studied how we experience betrayal. What holds us back? What helps us heal? What happens to us physically, mentally, and emotionally when the people closest to us lie, cheat, and deceive. That study made three groundbreaking discoveries and Post Betrayal Syndrome is one of them. I want to share a helpful overview of what Post Betrayal Syndrome is so that you may recognize it in your life.
I define betrayal as the breaking of a spoken or unspoken rule. Every relationship has them. When those rules are broken, without our awareness or consent, it’s excruciating. The realization that someone violated those rules and behaved in a way that has you feeling disregarded, rejected, abandoned, unimportant, unheard, less than and so much more… creates havoc to the body, mind, and heart. It also leaves physical, mental, and emotional symptoms so common to betrayal, it’s known as Post Betrayal Syndrome.
We’ve been taught that time heals all wounds, that’s not always true. Over 15,000 people have taken my post-betrayal syndrome assessment quiz to see to what extent people are still struggling. Besides reading about all of the physical, mental, and emotional symptoms left in the wake of their experiences, there’s a question within that quiz that reads; “is there anything else you’d like to share?” People write things like:
“My betrayal happened 35 years ago, I am unwilling to trust again.”
“My betrayal happened 40 years ago, I can still feel the hate.”
“My betrayal happened 15 years ago, I feel gutted”
67% of people that take the quiz, prevent themselves from forming deep relationships because they’re afraid of being hurt again.
84% have an inability to trust
90% want to move forward, but they don’t know how
If you’re anything like me, this may be coming to you as a bit of a shock. There’s a name for this?! I remember turning in my research to my study chairperson who read it and said, “Debi, I believe you’ve discovered a process here.” That was the moment I knew that millions of people would find comfort in knowing that there is a systematic approach to healing from something they thought they would NEVER recover from. I am here to tell you it’s possible. I don’t want you to be stuck because of your betrayal. I am here to get you out. Let’s get you on that journey. I would start with the quiz that I’ve tagged above but if you’re still questioning if you might be struggling with symptoms of Post Betrayal Syndrome, I’d recommend also checking out my Instagram page so you can follow along with my journey!