October 22, 2018
Effects of Sexual Betrayal: Are You Experiencing PTSD Symptoms?
Written by Rachel Eddins
You’ve found out about your partner’s sexual betrayal. And, of course, you are crushed. However, you also begin to notice other symptoms that don’t readily seem to connect to the betrayal. Feeling persistently on edge, lashing out, mood swings, and trouble sleeping is plaguing you recently. Believe it or not, these effects of sexual betrayal, which are typical for people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), can stem from sexual betrayal too.
How can that be? Consider the following…
It may be painful to think about but think back to the moment you learned of your partner’s betrayal. All at once, the person you considered to be the closest individual in your life betrayed you. All the trust that you had for your partner was instantly erased.
Thus, it should be no surprise that the moment of your partner’s disclosure was a very traumatic event. That’s normal. When you trust someone, you feel comfortable, vulnerable, and safe. But when that trust is ripped away, you feel the complete opposite.
It’s no wonder, then, that PTSD can be an effect of sexual betrayal.
Another common symptom of PTSD is mood swings. One moment you are feeling okay, the next you are filled with anger or overcome by sadness.
By themselves, these quick shifts in mood may trouble you, or even scare you. However, when put them into the context of traumatic sexual betrayal, they actually begin making sense.
The fact is, that you are still processing what happened and your emotions are raw, just lingering under the surface.
Many people who experience a trauma and the after-effects of PTSD will struggle with sleeping. Usually, they have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. They may have nightmares that keep them up at night. And during the daytime, it’s hard for them to stay focused and on task.
Having issues with sleeping is a big problem since your brain needs sleep in order to process what has happened during a typical day. The fact that you can’t sleep is another sign that you are struggling with PTSD.
When you have a flashback it means something triggered a memory. This trigger could be a word, something you see, hear or even smell.
When you experience a triggering moment, you are brought back to the traumatic event. You may even be triggered just by things that remind you of your partner.
Regardless of how it happens, when you are experiencing a flashback, it can be particularly distressing. You may even feel anxiety symptoms, such as sweating and breathing faster.
You’re suffering from obsessive thinking when all you can think about is the trauma of the betrayal and the resulting emotional aftermath.
Lamentably, obsessive thinking can make it difficult for you to function in your daily life. You are distracted by your thoughts and keep replaying the scenario over-and-over in your mind.
What to Do About PTSD Symptoms Due to Sexual Betrayal
When we think of trauma and PTSD they occur from experiencing a traumatic act. Usually, the image of war, a terrible accident, or abuse come to mind. However, the loss of trust and safety associated with your partner’s infidelity is certainly traumatic and should be recognized as such.
If you have PTSD symptoms due to sexual betrayal, what can you do about it? The best course of action is to be aware of the symptoms and begin working with a therapist who specializes in relationships and PTSD.
A qualified therapist can help you to better understand why you are experiencing these symptoms and to cope with them. Moreover, a therapist will be able to work with you to resolve your troubling thoughts and emotions associated with the trauma of betrayal.
Remember that PTSD occurs because your brain believes that you are still in an unsafe situation. This is true even for veterans who are many years removed from war. It is the same with sexual betrayal, even if it had occurred many years ago.
So, give yourself time and space to heal. At Eddins Counseling Group, in Houston, TX, we have qualified therapists who specialize in trauma and relationships. Contact us at 832-559-2622 for more information or book an appointment online.
Grounding & Self Soothing
Get instant access to your free ebook.