Betrayals are an unavoidable aspect of almost any close relationship. They range from the seemingly innocent flirtations with a co-worker to the not so innocent one-night stands and long-term extramarital affairs. If you’ve been the victim of a betrayal, you know the agony of feeling cheated on and used. Your world views are shattered because if you can’t trust your partner, who can you trust? Your dismay, pain, and despair can lead you to declare the relationship to be over. You throw the cheater out of your home and heart, but even then, the pain continues.
Abuse is another form of betrayal that can have long-term consequences for an individual’s adjustment. According to betrayal trauma theory, if you’ve been the victim of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of the person caring for you, you may repress or block the experiences from your memory in order to continue to survive. The closer you are to that abuser, the greater the degree of trauma you experience. and the higher your risk for long-term mental health problems.