One of the most difficult symptoms of betrayal P.T.S.D. and trauma are the triggers.  Triggers can be physical or mental and can wreck havoc on your health.  For a long time I had difficulty explaining what it was like having triggers day-in and day-out.  Below is the best way I could describe it.

You can start by imagining yourself as a small lake, the beautiful sandy shores are the barrier you built to protect yourself. You have existed for a long time with nothing disturbing your waters and the shores, but the occasional wind and rain (kids, family, work, etc.) until the unexpected happened.  A rare category 4 hurricane named Betrayal barreled through your waters and damaged your shoreline. Not only did Hurricane Betrayal spend a good amount of time breaking down your shores, it also broke down a rocky ledge 1000 ft above you. Within a day this ledge starts to crumble.  The very first piece to fall from the ledge is a boulder the size of a Semi-Truck. This boulder disturbs your peace and safety over a period of a few days reminding you of the hurricane. The next boulder that falls into your water is the size of a pick-up truck.  This boulder disturbs you for a day. The next boulder is the size of a compact car, you are disturbed a little less than the previous boulders but dislike how it reminds you of Hurricane Betrayal.  You have these boulders sporadically crashing down for a few months. They vary in size.  Every day you are unsure what type of rock is going to be falling into your water and what memories it will stir up.  It could be any size at any given moment.  This makes you worried, edgy, panicked, and nervous every minute of every single day. Every single pebble that comes down from that ledge reminds you of Hurricane Betrayal.

After 6 months of large boulders, rocks and pebbles disturbing your waters, you no longer identify as a lake, you are unsure what you are.   You become highly sensitive to anything that touches your water or shoreline. The wind and rain (children, family, friends, finances, work) pick away at your shores little by little even if just a minuscule amount. Everything that touches your water leaves its mark on you. You are in constant fear of no longer being a lake, of a boulder completely crashing down into your water destroying all the shoreline you have left after Betrayal hit.

Years goes by, you are exposed to the wind and rain. The ledge letting boulders, rocks and pebbles go is something you accept being there.   You are still a lake, like before. You have weathered through it all. You even made it through another hurricane.  Some days you would have a boulder and tiny rocks land in your water.  On other days the ledge would drop pebbles all day long.  Gradually over time the ledge stopped dropping the boulders and only dropped pebbles and an occasional stone.  Sometimes the stones would be significant and sometimes not.  There was a week where you didn’t have anything fall into your water.  The ledge you kept constant eye on no longer looks like a ledge.  You can barely see where it was. You will always remember what that ledge looked like right after Hurricane Betrayal hit. You will not forget the damage Betrayal and that ledge did to you, but you might appreciate what it made you become.

What Is Betrayal Trauma? — Fighting for a Future


The term betrayal trauma was first introduced by Jennifer Freyd in 1991 at a presentation at Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute. According to Freyd “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 […]

via What Is Betrayal Trauma? — Fighting for a Future

A Sunny Day or a Cloudy Day? Pick One.

On a recent trip to a neighboring city my husband and I decided to stop at a park and let our 7-year-old son play for a while.  I had driven by this park several times and always wanted to stop, unfortunately I was always too busy.  On this day I was more than happy to take the time to stop.  We had been cooped up for too long, our son needed to get some energy out and I needed to take in some nature and get grounded.

Some things about my husband I adore.  He is spontaneous, adventurous, loving, caring, protective and most importantly a good father. There are other things I dislike especially the things that have recently come to my attention.  Qualities such as lying, cheating, unforthcoming, amongst other things.   I never know which person I am going to get.  Am I dealing with the husband I fell in love with, the one who was consistent for 17 years or the other husband that I am unfamiliar with, the one who pulled the wool over my eyes for 4 years?   

Like so many in my situation I wish I could have the husband I fell in love with, the one I had for 17 years. The husband whom I know, the one before he fell ill.  I wish there was a way I knew for sure he could be the man I fell in love with. The one he promises to be in the future.  I wish more than anything I knew for sure this man was still in him and that is all he was ever going to be for the rest of our lives.  Unfortunately, there is no way to know.  You just never know.  You never really know anything in life.  This has been the hardest lesson I have taken away from all this.  You never know,  know anything in life.   

So, sitting here on this hill at a park listening to our son play in the background, looking at this beautiful view of the lake it comes down to this.  If the weather was crappy would I still enjoy the view of the lake?  The answer is no, probably not, but is it worth stopping and enjoying this park on a beautiful day? Yes!  SO, what brings me more pleasure, what is it worth to me to have this beautiful view.  Do I relish the days my husband is the loveable guy I fell in love with or do I focus on his bad weather days, the days that are said to be in the past? For today, for now, I chose this beautiful view with the sun on my face and the warmth it provides on a cold winter day.  For today I chose to enjoy this man that I fell in love with.  It really comes down to that.  Is what he put me through worth giving up all the good? Is it worth throwing 17 years of a beautiful marriage down the drain?  For now, it is worth it as long as we keep heading towards more sunny beautiful days.