A simple healing plan for a mother after betrayal trauma
Let’s be honest, being a mother is hard work. It’s no secret; many believe motherhood is the most difficult job there is. Frequently, mothers are the ones who make the most considerable sacrifices within the family unit.
What makes a good mother?
It’s a question many men and women have pondered over the years. To some, motherhood has apparent outward qualities and characteristics. Others learn and define the attributes of a good mother through life experiences. Thus how we recognize or define a good mother is personal on many levels.
Motherhood is a role that is continuously under our society’s microscope. With each passing generation, new acceptable society standards shift, and parenting styles change. As a result, the role of a mother continues to take on different meanings.
One quality or attribute society seems to expect all mothers to have is selflessness. Mothers seem to be misinterpreting selflessness as taking care of everyone’s needs instead of their own. Across the board, mothers are tending to others’ needs, forgetting about their own. This is true when it comes to receiving help with healing. Whether a mother needs physical healing or mental and emotional healing, her needs often come last.
“It’s really difficult for betrayed partners who are Moms. For most, they have always taken great pride in being a mother and now all of a sudden that has taken a damaging blow. They often feel less available, less patient, less attuned and struggle to find the energy they once had to be fully present and engaged. All leading to a deep sense of guilt and shame regarding what was once such a source of joy and happiness.” – Hal Stewart, LPC, CSAT, CMAT
What are the best methods for betrayal trauma healing?
We now know that trauma stores itself primarily in the body. There are different types and levels of trauma. While the type may vary, there is one common denominator; they each need healing. Unresolved trauma not only affects your mental health but your physical health too.
There are various models and approaches in therapy to heal a wide variety of trauma. There is not a cookie-cutter approach to healing because what one needs, another may not. There are, however, specific tools that help in healing regardless of the circumstance.
Betrayal trauma is trauma that occurs when someone has been betrayed by one who they rely upon for support or survival. As such, emotions can range from intense anger to confusion, overwhelm, frustration, and sadness. It damages the feelings of trust and safety. Untreated side-effects can range from low energy to sleeplessness, depression, and anxiety. Suicidal thoughts and complete hopelessness can also arise from such trauma.
“All of my life, I wanted to be a wife and mother, and I thought that my dream had come true. Shortly after our first child was born, my husband revealed to me that he was addicted to pornography. With those words, my heart was literally crushed. My father left when I was four, and now the only other significant man in my life had betrayed me, too. I could barely breathe, much less care for our new daughter. I have no idea how I survived!”
The need to heal from betrayal trauma is real. Yoga and meditation are practical tools used in treating the more simple forms of trauma. Another useful tool is having someone to confide in. Find yourself a support person and reach out to them. Using your senses can help calm anxiety. Thinking about what you see, smell, feel, taste and hear in the moment, can help redirect your thoughts.
If your trauma feels more complex, you likely need more precise guidance and support. More often than not, professional help is a necessary part of the healing process.
The earlier you deal with trauma, the better.
Recognizing the damaging effects of betrayal trauma may be difficult. You may feel as though you’re okay, but others around you may tell you otherwise. Trust that those around you are likely seeing something you are not. The sooner you’re able to get help, the sooner you’ll start feeling the healing you deserve.
“True healing happens in phases. First, we acknowledge that we are suffering. Second, we find a safe environment to begin our healing-we have to feel safe. Third, we deal with unresolved hurts and pains. Fourth, we begin to allow others into our world. Fifth, we experience the feeling of being nurtured. We allow others to nurture us, and we seek to nurture others.” – Dr. Kevin Skinner (Healing trauma from sexual betrayal)
Stand firm through the process of healing.
Healing is a process, and often a painful one. As you begin to heal, you will be the one who begins to break down the walls surrounding your trauma. As you mentally unwind the complexity of your betrayal trauma, it gets its own voice.
Your betrayal trauma story is an essential part of your healing and recovery process. A professional therapist can guide you through the process of giving your experience a voice. While the focus of recovery often turns to your partner, Bloom is here to validate your story. We understand the importance of sharing your trauma, experience, pain, and hurt.
Your betrayal trauma needs a voice.
Below are questions to help you think about your betrayal trauma story. It can help you to start defining its voice.
- Please describe how you found out. Where were you? What time of the year was it? Describe in detail what happened.
- The day you discovered what happened, how did you respond?
- Please write down what you were feeling and thinking.
- Next, focus on how you felt physically.
- Knowing what you do now, is there anything you wish you would have said or done differently on that day?
- If you could go back in time and give yourself any advice, what advice would you give yourself?
- As you reflect on your story, Do you feel compassion or negative and critical feelings towards yourself?
- Please write down why you are responding that way.
As you reflect on these questions, it is likely you will remember some of the hurt and pain associated with your betrayal trauma. Don’t be afraid to write down your experiences and thoughts related to what has happened. Your mind will begin to make sense of your experience. You will likely begin to be able to recognize areas of need and growth. A therapist can help you see where there is additional work for you to do. Ultimately, wholehearted healing can be yours.
Bloom specializes in Betrayal Trauma. If you or someone you know is in an unfaithful relationship and needs betrayal trauma help, Bloom may be a valuable resource for you.