Understanding Betrayal Trauma

Don't Lose Hope

Jennifer Freyd was one of the first people to formally identify betrayal trauma. She defined it in the following way:

“Betrayal trauma occurs when the people or institutions on which a person depends for survival significantly violate that person’ s trust or well-being: Childhood physical, emotional, or sexual abuse perpetrated by a caregiver are examples of betrayal trauma.”

The effects of this are severe and long-lasting. In fact, the associated symptoms are similar to those associated with PTSD. They include:

– Repeatedly experiencing intrusive thoughts and memories related to the traumatic event. These memories and thoughts can occur spontaneously, as well being triggered by environmental cues.

– Experiencing intense and prolonged distress when the person is exposed to any stimulus that reminds them of the traumatic event (or which resembles the traumatic experience).

– Being unable to fall, or to stay, asleep. Having recurring dreams where content or feelings…

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