When it comes to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), many potential root causes exist. Some people may struggle with PTSD after experiencing violence. Others may notice symptoms after being in a near-fatal accident. Still, others may develop PTSD after growing up in an abusive household.
However, people can also experience symptoms of PTSD after being betrayed by someone they loved and trusted. For instance, someone who has been married for several years and has built a life with a spouse they thought they could rely on could find out that the person they loved most has cheated on them. The effects of this kind of betrayal are severe and long-lasting.
Are you concerned that betrayal has left you traumatized? You may notice some of these PTSD symptoms.
Your subconscious may replay the moment of the betrayal over and over again in your mind. You might wake up with feelings of anxiety that you can’t shake because you’ve spent the night reliving the events. Even after a relatively happy day, you may still have nightmares about being betrayed. It can feel like your subconscious is sabotaging you. Dreams are a common symptom of PTSD, and they can reflect your inner emotional pain.
Perhaps you think about the moment you were betrayed every day, even if you tell yourself that you don’t want to think about it. Or maybe you also catch yourself reliving the happy times with this person. It can feel like a punishment. But you can’t help yourself—you keep looking for some clue.
You hope that you’ll find a sign that shows you where you went wrong, wondering if there is a way you could have fixed it. Or perhaps you’re trying to catch the very first red flag and figure out what you missed. Either way, rumination is another prevalent symptom of PTSD for some people.
Being betrayed can lead you to avoid intimacy in the future. Many people with PTSD go out of their way to avoid places, people, or things that might trigger and remind them of their trauma.
For you, another person attempting to be intimate could be a trigger. You might worry that they will betray you, just like the last person you got close with. It’s tempting to put up walls around yourself as a way to protect your heart.
Even if you do let someone else into your life, you might feel like you always have to be on the lookout for red flags. Yes, keeping an eye out for red flags is necessary sometimes—but you take it a step further. You feel like you can never relax, open up, or genuinely let your guard down. There are times when a harmless comment or gesture sets you off and makes you wonder if you can trust the person.
PTSD can go hand-in-hand with other mental health conditions. People who struggle with PTSD deal with depression often, as well. You might have physical symptoms, like a loss of appetite or trouble sleeping, or you may feel numb and sad most days, regardless of what’s going on in your life.
If you find yourself struggling with depression symptoms after a betrayal, it could be related to PTSD.
Have you recently experienced betrayal in a formerly close relationship? Whether it was a relative, friend, or romantic partner who broke your trust, you may be experiencing symptoms of trauma.
You do not have to try to heal from this all on your own—therapy can help. If you’d like to discuss your options for your first session, reach out to us today.