I remember having flashbacks and uncomfortable feelings that would not go away. I realized that I was dealing with betrayal trauma. After experiencing trauma in childhood, the feelings of injustice of the abusive things people did to me came back to haunt me. In order to heal from this type of trauma it is important to understand the symptoms and how to overcome.
What is Betrayal Trauma?
Betrayal trauma is when a person that you thought you could trust, abuses or neglects your need for emotional or physical support. In parent and child relationships, the parent will usually betray their child by neglecting their core emotional needs which can lead a child at the mercy of being harmed.
Betrayal trauma shows up as emotional abandonment. When core emotional needs are neglected in childhood, a child can be susceptible to having a spirit (attitude or mindset) of rejection, shame, guilt, inability to self-regulate, victim-hood, and fear.
Signs To look out for after betrayal trauma
Soul Wounds-Betrayal Trauma
Soul wounds are injuries to the soul. If you are like me, you probably have faced painful experiences that left you feeling trapped, unloved, and most of all unsafe. I remember having a dream recently, of being trapped in a store by a store-keeper. I was so scared that I would not be able to get out. I finally escaped due to someone finding a key to unlock the door from the outside. I believe that the Lord was showing me through the dream that He was the KEY that I needed to heal from the symptoms of soul wounds and betrayal.
Soul wounds can be an indicator of betrayal trauma in your life. Here are some examples of souls wounds active in your life:
Abandonment soul wounds- Trust issues
Abandonment wounds usually starts in childhood when a parent fails to provide emotional nourishment or emotional support. Abandonment wounds can cause trust issues later in life and cause you to sabotage your relationships because of the fear of being abandoned again in the future. As an adult child, you may fear having deep connections with other people, being vulnerable and showing your authentic self.
Emotional abandonment is a subset of childhood trauma and is often looked over hastily when a child becomes an adult. I think this happens because of the expectation that society puts on parents and children that the strongest swim near the surface of their emotions and not in deeper waters. There is an emphasis to keep emotional matters hidden and internalized alone through secrecy and deep shame.
Rejection soul wounds- Feeling rejected
Rejection wounds are wounds that make you feel forgotten and usually begins in the womb of a mother ( rejection in the womb). The mother may say things to completely erase their child’s existence from their life due to an unplanned pregnancy or lack of resources and support to raise the child. As an adult-child, feelings of not feeling loved, appreciated, or accepted may spring up to trouble the soul.
Attachment soul wounds- Lack of attachment & Triggers
Attachment wounds are wounds that are formed when a child is not able to securely attach to a parent and is triggered by people who have two attachment style issues: avoidant attachment or anxious attachment.
Read related post:Abandonment Triggers that You Need To Know Now
Sexual soul wounds-Intrusive thoughts and flashbacks
Sexual wounds are painful experiences surrounding our sexual identity and how we perceive sex. In my childhood, I experienced molestation several times, and each time I felt tremendous pressure to subject myself to disgusting acts. I was afraid to speak up about what happened to me to my mother because I was often told to keep those experiences a “secret.” When you are pressured to keep painful sexual encounters a secret, it causes you to feel powerless and worthless.
Recently, I had several intrusive thoughts and flashbacks about being molested in childhood. No matter what I did to stop myself from seeing the images, the intrusive thoughts only became more prominent in my mind. There are times that intrusive thoughts can play in your mind like a broken record. Intrusive thoughts are usually unwanted and can come on suddenly to evoke anxiety in your body (leading to feelings of fight or flight and sometimes hyper-vigilance).
Flashbacks are when you are taken back to the traumatic event. You can feel yourself re-living moments with the emotional abuser. For some mothers, you may unexpectedly experience the flashbacks while washing clothes or dishes. It can be a smell, words, or sound that triggers the flashbacks.
Read related post:PTSD From Emotional Abuse: Heal Your Wounds Now
Emotional soul wounds- Identity issues
Lack of emotional support can prick the heart and cause it to be hard as stone or broken into shattered pieces. If you have gone through emotional trauma, you might not be able to understand who you are or you may identify yourself with the betrayal.
Betrayal of Emotional Identity
Emotional identity is being able to recognize your emotions, how it affects your emotional well-being, and your sense of how you see yourself. There are several core emotional needs that a parent should provide to their child. When a child experiences betrayal trauma, they usually experience the trauma in the emotional identity of love ( 1 Corinthians 13:4–8 ), acceptance (Galatians 6:2; Romans 15:7 ), or safety and security ( Proverbs 3:26-35).
Steps to overcome Betrayal Trauma
The truth shall set you free!
The Lord told me one day that the truth shall set you free!
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”John 8:31-32
To overcome betrayal, you must believe in God’s word. Jesus is the breathing word of God and in Him is total freedom from the effects of trauma on your life. When you seek God’s word, you will find freedom from the lies of Satan. God’s word says that you are no longer a slave to fear. Therefore, you are no longer subjected to the fear that you will be abandoned because the Lord said in His word that He will never leave you nor forsake you. God will give you emotional identity, sense of safety, acceptance, and love.
Journal with God
Write to God about the betrayal that you felt when your abusers caused you harm. Remember healing is an intentional and active process. It is important to seek the face of God and share your heart with Him. Jesus knows all too well about being betrayed. He will love your soul well if you let him:)
Read related post:The Truth about Healing from Trauma