What is infidelity trauma?
‘Infidelity trauma’ is distress experienced when there is a betrayal within a romantic relationship that can take the form of infidelity or financial betrayal which can also provoke a trauma response. The discovery of infidelity often leads to the loss of self-esteem and self-worth, numbness, anger, guilt, difficulty controlling emotions, intrusive thoughts about affair details, loss of faith in others, suspicion and hypervigilance, depression, anxiety, and other mental health symptoms, physical symptoms, including insomnia, pain, and stomach distress. While trauma can be physical, it is often emotional and psychological. If someone close to you has ever broken your trust, you’ve probably felt the sting of betrayal. This pain can leave deep wounds. Any type of betrayal can cause emotional distress, but you might experience lingering trauma when someone you depend on to respect your needs and generally help safeguard your well-being violates the trust you’ve placed in them. This trauma involves understanding attachment theory as your earliest childhood relationships are so significant because they lay the groundwork for later relationships. When these bonds are strong and secure, they pave the way toward secure attachments in adulthood. Insecure bonds, on the other hand, often lead to shaky or troubled relationships. Intimate relationships are meant to provide secure attachment and rest on agreements — the boundaries defining the relationship. Partners in a monogamous relationship, for example, generally have some shared understanding of what defines cheating and agree to trust each other not to cheat. A partner who cheats betrays the terms of that understanding.
When we experience trauma, we can become emotionally dysregulated as our anxiety and overwhelm increases. That arousal of emotions triggers our fight or flight mechanism, leading to panic/ fear driven emotions as our sympathetic nervous system becomes activated. When we become overwhelmed by this mechanism, we can often become frozen by it, dissociating, shutting down and feeling hopeless. Left unprocessed, traumas can also reshape our core self and make us unable to function. We might feel a host of emotions, some of which are explained in this diagram:
At Naked Infidelity, we deliver a structured and supportive 4-month coaching program to support the healing and recovery from such a trauma by teaching techniques to stabilize and deactivate that trauma response. Recovering from infidelity trauma involves both perspectives of the victim as well as the offender — both of which are the focus of Naked Infidelity. Run by Adele Theron, a highly trained Trauma coach, this coaching approach helps you to pinpoint and project manage the triggers from that traumatic time which continue to live on in your day to day life. Whereas therapy focuses on the trauma itself, coaching focuses on strategies and tools to move forward. Coaching is a forward-focused approach which builds healing strategies to deal with those triggers that come up in your day to day life, teaching you to deal with them proactively. This coaching approach is educational and builds insight, so you can learn how to support yourself to overcome the overwhelm mechanism using a host of techniques you will learn on the program. The program is not designed for people who have acute psychiatric conditions. Those conditions are better supported with medicalised support. If you want to check if the program is a good fit for you, book a Clarity Call with someone on our team to talk through if the coaching approach is a good fit for your situation.