Betrayal Trauma destabilizes your emotional, physical, and mental functioning, making it very challenging to determine whom to trust. While desperately looking for some solid ground to stand on in the middle of the quicksand your life has become, it can feel impossible to know who to turn to. After all, you thought you were on solid ground before and it turned out to be a sinkhole. Now it feels almost impossible to trust your partner, others, or even yourself.
During this time, finding a trained therapist with expertise in the typical stages individuals and couples go through in the aftermath of betrayal is important. Look for a therapist who understands the way in which your capacity to trust has been damaged and who can help you manage Reality Fragmentation – the struggle to wrap your mind around betrayal and to comprehend what has happened.
Be cautious of therapists who want to rush to repair the relationship before the whole story of betrayal has been disclosed. This will further wound the betrayed partner and create distrust with the therapist who pushed for vulnerability before it was safe to do so.
Finding a therapist trained in treating sexual addiction can be extremely helpful. Certified Sex Addiction Therapists (CSATs) have extensive training in how to handle the first stages after discovery. They are trained in helping betrayal trauma couples give and receive a full disclosure of the secret behaviors in a way that minimizes harm. A trained professional can also screen for the presence of sexually compulsive behavior and help to determine whether you are dealing with infidelity, sexual addiction, love addiction, or some other type of issue.
In addition to finding trained and experienced help, it is important to find safe friends to talk to during this stage. One of the ways to leave the hall of mirrors is by sorting out truth from lie. Talking through what has happened, what you know, and what you are finding out with others who will listen and offer support is incredibly important.
Another way to sort through what has happened is to journal. During this time, it is easy to become confused and not remember pieces of information. Writing things down provides a record to refer back to. In addition, journaling gives you a place to pour out all the emotions streaming through you and to put into words answers to the big questions that inevitably arise during this stage.