If you are involved or have been involved with a narcissist the probability is that you have or will have betray trauma at some stage. This betrayal can range from stealing ideas in the work place, making snide remarks behind your back to friends and family, being suddenly dumped by a partner that you loved and trusted someone who goes from being warm, caring and engaged to being a cold sadistic stranger or realising that you were the scapegoat in your family and that is why other family members are so hostile for no apparent reason, annoyed with yourself because you trusted them for so long, when there was no evidence at all of the “love” they claimed to have for you.
The intensity of the trauma will be related to the intensity of the relationship. Some acts of betrayal are just very annoying and can make us angry because it violates our sense of justice. Others however can have an impact that has both a psychological and physiological impact. Even the strongest of people are left feeling shattered after they have been betrayed and it takes time to heal from this trauma much more time than pop culture would have us think, you can’t just “move on”, you have to do some work first.
Here are some of the signs that you might have betrayal trauma:
- Confusion and disbelief
- Anxiety hyper reactive to stimuli
- Churning the relationship over in your head day in day out trying to make sense of it all
- Feeling worthless and empty inside
- Loss of self-confidence/socially very anxious
- Complete shift in your perception of the world at large
- Feeling of having been cut loose or unearthed
- Long periods of crying uncontrollably
- Insomnia even though you are exhausted
- Hyper sensitive to noise
- Rapid weight gain, or loss
- Nausea, headaches, dizziness and feeling weak
- Flu like symptoms, when every part of your body hurts
- Oscillate between crying and wanting to vomit
- Vivid dreams when you can sleep
- Grieving the loss of a relationship that was never really there or genuine
- You feel very isolated
- Life loses its meaning
Slowly you will rebuild a sense of self and your confidence will return again. When you have been betrayed by a narcissist there is a lot of self-criticism for having been so naive and gullible. It is important to show yourself compassion at this time, it is not your fault that a narcissist abused your trust as it is very hard to conceive that anyone could behave like that towards someone they said that they loved.
Recovery after having been betrayed does not happen in a straight line. There will be good days and bad days and sometimes it will feel like you have gone back to square one, but all the time your energy levels are rising and you might not notice your daily progress but your mind and body are working night and day to understand what just happened and then make the necessary repairs to make you feel whole again.