Effects of Betrayal on The Brain – 5 Facts to Know

Have you ever considered how dangerous betrayal can be? Can the betrayed partner experience serious problems? What are the effects of betrayal on the brain, and how severe are these effects? But before that, it is important to know what betrayal trauma is and whether it is only associated with relationships.

1. What is Betrayal Trauma?

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Everyone has experienced betrayal at least once in their life. A person feels betrayed when his trust breaks, or expectations aren’t fulfilled. When a person is cheated, he can be severely affected.

The pain caused by such a situation is similar to physical pain and is counted among the effects of betrayal on the brain.

Sometimes, a person is affected so deeply that they might require therapy to get over this betrayal trauma.

2. Types of Betrayal

Anyone can experience betrayal. Even the child who is abused either mentally, physically, or emotionally by the caretaker or a guardian he blindly trusts experiences betrayal.

Though partner betrayal is the one that strikes our mind when we think of betrayal, it isn’t true. There are other forms of betrayal, too.

Therefore, before discussing the possible effects of betrayal on the brain, we should first know the various categories of betrayal trauma.

2.1 Family Betrayal

It’s hard to believe, but many people are betrayed by their family members. It is difficult to overcome this type of betrayal trauma.

Just imagine how you would feel being cheated by your own family when the family should be your biggest support system. It isn’t easy to imagine any such thing, but yes, such things happen.

Examples of familial betrayal include a partner’s betrayal, emotional abuse or physical abuse by the trustworthy person, childhood trauma developed by sexual abuse by the partner, or a trustworthy person such as one of the good friends.

Childhood trauma is also associated with familial betrayal.

2.2 Institutional Betrayal

When an individual is physically or psychologically betrayed by others in their workplace, it is considered institutional betrayal. 

Emotional betrayal by co-workers is also an example of betrayal at the institution.

3. Effects of Betrayal

According to the betrayal trauma theory, when a person experiences betrayal, be it a partner’s betrayal or betrayal from a trustworthy person, he starts developing a feeling of insecurity or danger.

It is easy for the other person to move on. However, the betrayed person experiences many things that might affect his mental state.

Betrayal leaves deep scars on people that only the betrayed person understands. Following are the few effects of betrayal on the brain that a person might face:

3.1 Trust Issues

Trust, once broken, takes forever to repair. When a person encounters betrayal trauma, it is hard for him to trust anyone again. He stops sharing his feelings with anyone due to the emotional dysregulation he has developed.

It is seen that a person who has experienced betrayal trauma is afraid to trust others and thinks a thousand times before he trusts anyone again.

3.2 Development of Depression and Anxiety Disorders

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According to the counsellors, the majority of people who come to them for treatment are those who have experienced betrayal trauma. It affects a person’s mental health. He is at risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder.

Betrayal trauma impacts a person negatively. Due to this, he can develop several other disorders, consciously or unconsciously, which can affect him in later life.

He is at risk of developing anthropophobia (fear of people), social anxiety disorders, etc.

3.3 The Person Prefers to Stay Alone.

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When a victim experiences a series of betrayals, every time he comes close to another person, his brain considers it a kind of danger, and therefore, it is hard for him to go close to anyone.

As a result, the person loses interest in any relationship and prefers to stay alone.

3.4 Loss of Self-esteem

It is one of the effects of betrayal on the brain. Usually, when a person is betrayed, he can’t accept it. Due to this, he looks out for reasons for being betrayed, i.e., he tries to justify his partner’s betrayal.

In such cases, the betrayed partner develops intrusive thoughts and starts doubting himself.

He starts doubting himself and questions his ability. By doing so, he tries to cover up his partner’s betrayal to attain peace.

3.5 Overthinking

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It is the major effect of betrayal trauma on a person’s brain. The betrayed partner usually ends up overthinking. He tries to figure out the reason behind the betrayal.

Overthinking further leads to many other side effects, such as irregular sleep patterns, insomnia, loss of appetite, lack of concentration, and many more.

4. How to Overcome the Effects of Betrayal on the Brain?

4.1 Why is it necessary?

When a person starts overthinking, he starts developing a negative attitude towards things.

There is a chance he might try to harm himself when he is unable to control his feelings; therefore, one must be aware of the coping mechanisms to prevent any mishap in the future.

To live your life normally and to get over traumatic events, one must try to heal oneself from past incidences and start his life again with a positive approach.

Here are a few ways to overcome betrayal trauma that you might find helpful in your journey to overcome partner betrayal or other forms of betrayal

4.2 Express Your Feelings

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Dealing with betrayal isn’t easy. During the same process, a person may feel many things.

Unexpressed feelings and emotions have a lot of impact on us. When we try to hide our feelings, they affect us directly or indirectly.

It’s hard to trust someone once you have been betrayed. You don’t feel like sharing your feelings with anyone. Instead, maintain a journal and pen down your feelings in that journal.

You will feel much better and lighter once your feelings are out of your mind.

4.3 Meet A Counselor

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Meeting a counselor isn’t associated only with mental health issues.  When a person feels emotionally vulnerable, he can meet with a counselor.

The counselors work on enhancing the coping skills of the betrayed partners and helping them to get over their insecurities. They help to overcome the shame and guilt that the person develops.

The counselors help the betrayed partners to rebuild their self-compassion, focus on themselves, overcome stress, and develop strategies to speed up the healing process.

4.3 Acceptance

Sometimes people don’t want to accept that they are betrayed by their partner or trustworthy. This is called betrayal blindness. It is a harmful condition as the person tries to go back to the same person again and again despite being hurt and betrayed multiple times.

To avoid this situation, the victim must accept that he has been betrayed and cut off all his ties with the person who has betrayed him.

Once he accepts his situation, the healing process is easy.

According to mental health professionals, there are significant effects of betrayal on the brain. There is no particular treatment to heal from betrayal trauma instantaneously.

It all depends on the coping mechanisms and a person’s willingness to overcome the traumatic events. It is best to move on and start a new life.

5. Conclusion

In today’s fast, fast-moving world, experiencing betrayal trauma is a very common phenomenon. People cheating on those who blindly trust them to be successful has become a tradition.

One must respect their relationships, but what has become more important is to become rich, whether they have to backstab even the person who trusts them.

This thinking of people has emerged in a society full of insensitive and selfish people.

Nowadays, breaking trust is much easier than breaking snap streaks. This is how insensitive the world has become. If you are among those who are betrayed, don’t feel low, and stop doubting yourself.

Good things take time. Therefore, you need to be patient to heal from betrayal trauma.

If there are bad people, then there are good people, too. People who will never leave your side. So, being betrayed once doesn’t mean you can’t start again. You can restart your life again; all you need is a positive attitude towards life.

Last Updated on May 5, 2024 by Yashika