What Is Betrayal Trauma & How To Heal From It?

“In 1980, the American Psychiatric Association revealed a new diagnostic formulation in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Third Edition (DSM-III). The new formulation was called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The diagnosis was intended to capture catastrophic stressors that were outside the range of usual human experience such as war, disasters, rape, and tragic deaths.

The authors of the DSM-III considered traumatic events to be different from more common stressors, even though those might still be very painful psychologically. Stressful life experiences such as illness, financial setbacks, divorce, and interpersonal rejection were considered “adjustment disorders.”

At the time, many of us considered this dichotomy to be a mistake when it came to rejection and divorce, especially when they involved intimate partner betrayal. In the subsequent revisions of the DSM, the traumatic stressor criterion has actually seemed to become even more narrow, focusing on threats of injury or death or vicarious exposure to severe injury or death. This has weakened even further the concept of intimate partner betrayal as a traumatic experience—which was, in my view, once again a mistake.

Betrayal as a Traumatic Stressor
It’s easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend. —William Blake

So what is betrayal? You certainly know it when you experience it. It is a gut-wrenching experience, a searing knife into your heart. You feel it before you even think about it. Then, when you start thinking about it, it plagues you day and night.

Betrayal is treachery, deception, and violated trust. It can appear as a broken promise, duplicity, lies, sexual affairs, and even affairs of the heart. The injury is so great that some people seem to never recover.

We are taught that to be truly happy in life, we must learn to trust others. So, sometimes reluctantly, we let down our guard and we trust. When relationships become psychologically intimate, we have put our trust in another. We have made ourselves vulnerable to another person. We believe this person accepts us unconditionally, believes in us, and “has our back.” We cherish such a relationship because we believe our partner is understanding, faithful, and devoted in good times and bad.

In a psychologically intimate relationship, powerful attachments and bonds are formed. Not only does the bond let us know that we are understood, appreciated, and unconditionally accepted, it says we are safe. So powerful is this bond that there is evidence that the presence of a psychologically intimate partner can positively affect blood pressure and stress hormones. Psychologists have long known that the deepest cravings of human nature are the desires to be appreciated and to be safe.

Betrayal by an intimate partner violates these core human desires and needs. It destroys the core assumptions upon which all enduring relationships must rest. Dr. Jeff Lating and I have written extensively about the important role that violated assumptions (concerning yourself and others) play in the development of PTSD (Everly & Lating, 2013).

Betrayal represents a traumatic death—not of a person, but of a relationship. As you might expect, individuals who have been betrayed by a partner in a trusting psychologically intimate relationship experience many of the symptoms of PTSD. They will often report guilt, depression, psychological numbing, suspiciousness, hyper-vigilance, withdrawal from others, nightmares, and continually—almost addictively—reliving both the positive moments (longingly) and the negative moments (painfully) of the relationship, especially the moment of the revelation of the betrayal. Again, as you might expect, the betrayal engenders a terrible loss of self-esteem, the rise of self-doubt, the inability to trust again, and the desire to avoid relationships in the future.


Why Betrayal Trauma Hurts So Much
Intimate bonding with another person serves an important developmental role. It enhances the chances of survival in an otherwise hostile environment. As a result, there are biological substrates that support the formation of psychologically intimate relationships.

The hormone oxytocin, for instance, increases the likelihood of forming an intimate relationship. Deep within the center of the brain, the cingulate cortex is believed to play a role in fostering attachment and bonding with others.

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Betrayal is likely to adversely affect these substrates. We know that violated attachments result in a rise in the immunosuppressive and catabolic hormone cortisol, along with an apparent hypersensitivity within the amygdalocentric fight-or-flight centers of the limbic system (see Everly and Lating, 2013). The psychological injury of betrayal is likely to create, in a sense, a functional physical injury within the brain that is challenging to recover from—but not impossible.


There are at least seven things that appear to foster the healing of betrayal trauma.

-Do not blindly blame yourself. Do not denigrate yourself. Avoid self-destructive coping behaviors. Do not compromise your integrity, the person you are, or the person you believe you can be.
-It’s okay to look back on the relationship to find things you would have done differently. But again, it’s critical to avoid the “blame game.”
-Avoid rebound relationships. They almost never turn out well. Resist the temptation to immediately fill the hole in your heart. Don’t rush to replace the loss. You need time to consider what happened—and being alone for a while is not a bad thing.
-Seek out success. Begin to focus on strengthening yourself and your self-confidence. Find something at which you can be successful. Start small, at first, if necessary. Remember Neitzsche’s declaration: What does not destroy you makes you stronger.
-Take care of your physical health. Avoid self-medication. Think about changes in your diet and activity levels. Exercise is a powerful antidepressant. Rest is essential.
-Think about keeping a daily journal. It can help you can track your ups and downs and can identify the factors that slow your recovery—as well as those factors that speed it up.
-In the final analysis, the best way to heal from betrayal trauma is to learn to trust again. It’s a risk, but anything worth having—like the chance to find a kind, compassionate, and unconditionally accepting partner—is worth failing for.”

Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/when-disaster-strikes-inside-disaster-psychology/201806/the-trauma-intimate-partner-betrayal

SPIRITUALITY: Path Of The EGO And Path Of Your Higher Self

Path Of The Ego And Path Of Your Higher Self

“by Dawn Bailey,
Contributing writer, In5D.com

There are two paths to take on this journey; the path of the ego and the path of your higher self. That is the freewill we have to choose our path. I am going to tell you how to know when you have detoured off your higher self path and fallen back on the path of the ego.

The path of the ego is about cycles of suffering. These are karmic cycles that we fall into. When things start to go wrong in your life, it is the Universe trying to redirect you back on your higher self path. If you stop seeing synchronicities, you have veered off your path. Synchronicities happen to let us know we are on the right path. The Universe will ramp up redirecting if you don’t pay attention to the signs.
It has happened to all of us. It happened to me a few months ago. I missed the signs and was redirected. As soon as I got back on my higher self path, everything got better. So, that string of bad luck isn’t actually bad luck, it is a redirection from the Universe.

The first sign is when you stop seeing synchronicities that you’ve always seen. Those repeating numbers that you always have seen stop. Think about whether you have been making the right choices. Have you been following your ego, which is full of fear, or have you been following the path of your higher self which is getting rid of the fear? Are you feeding your ego fear by what you watch, read, or think? The ego loves to be fed fear. Fear keeps the ego alive.

The path of your higher self is a much easier path. Things are going right for you. You see synchronicities everywhere. You think about something and it happens for you. The Universe is totally behind you and supporting you. Abundance starts coming to you the more you stay on your higher self path and you have less and less fear.

All of us have gotten off our higher self path. It just happens. Pay attention to how your life feels and the direction it is taking. Our higher self path was planned for us before we were born. All the bad times were lessons redirecting us onto our path. Once you start paying attention to the signs you are getting, it can be easy to stay on the higher self path.

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If suddenly everything seems to go wrong and you stop seeing your synchronicities, then think about which path you may be on and redirect yourself.

Love and Light,

Dawn”

Source: https://in5d.com/path-of-the-ego-and-path-of-your-higher-self/

What Are Psychedelics? The Basics

“What are psychedelics?
Psychedelics (from the Greek psyche: mind, delos: make visible, reveal) are substances that induce a heightened state of consciousness characterised by a hyperconnected brain state . The best known psychedelics are psilocybin (found in magic mushrooms), DMT (found in ayahuasca), mescaline (found in peyote and San Pedro cacti), LSD and 2C-B.

Why do people take psychedelics?
Studies suggest psychedelics could be a breakthrough therapy for mental health issues including depression, anxiety, addiction, OCD, and PTSD through their ability to work on a deep emotional as well as biological level. Matthew Johnson, who leads the Johns Hopkins University Psilocybin Research Project, says “Unlike almost all other psychiatric medications that have a direct biological effect, these drugs seem to work through biology to open up a psychological opportunity”.

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Psychedelics can also bring about profoundly positive and meaningful experiences for people who aren’t facing any particular issue or difficulty. In a study by the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, 80% of those who received psilocybin said it was one of the five most meaningful experiences of their lives; 50% said it was the single most meaningful experience. Many of the participants said they were left with the sense that they understood themselves and others better and therefore had greater compassion and patience – a change reported by their colleagues, friends and families too.

Psychedelics may also improve creativity and problem-solving abilities. Apple’s Steve Jobs said taking LSD was “one of the most important things [I did] in my life” , whilst Gregory Sams, co-founder of Whole Earth Foods, said “It was as a direct consequence of my brother and myself taking LSD that we introduced natural and organic foods in the UK.”

How safe are psychedelics?
The classical psychedelics are not addictive and, whilst they can temporarily induce powerful mental effects, they are not toxic to the body like alcohol is. Unfortunately, many unfounded scare stories in the media have greatly exaggerated the risks.

A 2010 study published in top medical journal The Lancet rated LSD and magic mushrooms as among the safest of 19 commonly used psychoactive substances; twelve times safer than alcohol and four times safer than tobacco. As for longer term safety, an unprecedented 2013 study of more than 130,000 people found that psychedelic use was not indicative of increased mental health problems . In fact, some use of psychedelics corresponded with lower rates of psychological distress.

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So why are psychedelics illegal to possess?
Despite thousands of years of use by humans around the world, psychedelics were abruptly made illegal to supply and possess by a UN convention in 1971 as a consequence of President Nixon’s War on Drugs.

Whilst the policy was framed as promoting public health, one of Nixon’s top advisors said in 1994 that the drug war was in fact a ploy to undermine Nixon’s political opposition :

“You want to know what this was really all about? The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

To this day, the UK government persists in claiming that psychoactive substances are classified on the basis of harm, but the House of Commons’ own Science and Technology Committee has described UK drug law as “arbitrary”, “unscientific” and “based on historical assumptions, not scientific assessment”, and the government’s chief drug adviser was famously sacked when he pointed out that classical psychedelics are far less dangerous than alcohol.”

Source: https://psychedelicsociety.org.uk/introduction