Betrayal can be a serious physical and mental health hazard that needs special treatment for recovery. Despite what people say, time does not heal all wounds. We don’t move automatically to healing after enduring the trauma of betrayal. When trauma goes untreated, it only continues to worsen with time. The overwhelm of the first months may lessen, but the underlying jitteriness, distrust and hyper-vigilance continue, leaving you in an ongoing state of low-grade anxiety, depression and irritability.
Trauma Therapists, Practitioners & Trauma Centers
I recommend you find someone who is trained in trauma therapy. Ask specifically if the person has experience working with the psychological/ emotional trauma involved in relational trauma—abandonment,betrayal,infidelity and divorce.
This article by Michele Rosenthal, trauma survivor is a helpful guide: “Tips on Choosing the Right PTSD Professional”
Somatic Experiencing, developed by a pioneer in trauma studies, Peter Levine, is a proven trauma treatment and was helpful to me. SE teaches you to retrain your nervous system to release the fight/flight/freeze response associated with PTSD. Find practitioners here.
A simple and proven effective method, Rapid Eye Movement Desensitization (EMDR) is a short-term therapeutic technique that is said to help both sides of the brain thrown off by the trauma to synchronize and calm the nervous system. It is worth trying. There are many people trained in this technique, but again, it is helpful if they have experience with close interpersonal shock.
The International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation has a list of member practitioners that can be searched by country, state and zip code. If no results, try searching by your state only.
I am not personally familiar with any treatment centers for PTSD, as I only worked with local therapists and healers myself. But here are two articles that list the most highly regarded PTSD treatment centers.
Books and CDs
Bessel van der Kolk’s latest book The Body Keeps the Score (2013) is an important book for understanding trauma, accessible to practitioners as well as people seeking to heal their own trauma.
Bessel van der Kolk is a renowned trauma expert who has spent his professional life studying trauma. This talk is long (1hour&20minutes), but well worth listening to for his overview, experience and background reflections on treating trauma.
The classic, pioneering work on trauma Trauma and Recovery (1992) by Judith Herman is a must-read, especially for her discussions of domestic violence and rape.
Trauma and Beyond: The Mystery of Transformation (2014) by Ursula Wirtz
Takes Carl Jung’s “Red Book” as a map or template for working with loss and trauma. Recommended for clinicians and those with background in depth psychology.
Trauma and the Soul: A psycho-spiritual approach to human development and its interruption (2013) by Don Kalsched, another Jungian author who offers penetrating insights in this amazing book into the dynamics of perpetrator/victim in the traumatized psyche.
Another, more approachable, book I recommend is Overcoming Trauma through Yoga: Reclaiming Your Body (2011) by David Emerson and Elizabeth Hopper.
Yoga and meditation were essential for me for quieting my mind, reclaiming my body and having the physical and emotional stamina to work through the trauma past and present held in my body. Here is an article explaining trauma-sensitive yoga by the author of the book: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rob-schware/yoga-therapy_b_3586447.html
Belleruth Naperstak’s Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (2006) explains how helpful guided imagery can be for some people to help heal the traumatized brain. See the appendix for a more exhaustive list of trauma therapies.
I also recommend Belleruth’s powerful, soothing, transformational CD: Guided Imagery to Help With Heartbreak, Abandonment & Betrayal
You might also consider David Berceli’s, The Revolutionary Trauma Release Process either the book or one of the many CDs he offers. He outlines a simple, tested somatic releasing method you can do on your own that can be somewhat helpful. I found taking the one-day workshop that is offered by trained facilitators helped me get the hang of the exercises. Not a quick fix, but exercises to help release the freeze response.
There are many online blogs, as well as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram sites that are dedicated to educating about trauma, heartbreak and antisocial personality tendencies that can contribute to developing trauma bonds. I list only a few here.