Braving hope summarizes the core action that betrayed partners engage in repeatedly through the recovery process. We are braving hope anytime we risk doing something new and untried as we move toward healing. Braving hope is accessing courage and bravery after disappointment or heartbreak and allowing ourselves to hope for healing, transformation, and redemption.
When we brave hope, the result of daring to risk and long for more is that we get to experience authentic hope. Authentic Hope is grounded in the following four core principles:
- Our ability to choose our response to any situation is where our true power as human beings lies.
- We must always stay connected to our reality, even when our reality is painful and distressing.
- Deep, long-lasting personal and relational transformation is possible.
- Change that arises out of connection to our heart’s longings and desires is more transformative and longer lasting than change that comes as a result of pain and suffering.
The overwhelming experience of damage to the relational bond through sexual behavior that violates the trust and safety in the relationship.
A concept coined by Michelle Mays, Attachment Ambivalence is the relational dilemma that occurs when betrayed partners’ fear and attachment systems fire simultaneously in response to the threat of betrayal but with opposite safety imperatives. Our attachment system tells us to move toward the cheating partner to reconnect to find safety. At the same time, our threat response system tells us to move away and seek safety through distance. This creates chaotic and complex relational dynamics in the aftermath of betrayal.
Emotional and Psychological Injury
The confusing experience of being lied to, manipulated, coerced, and intimidated by the cheating partner in their efforts to protect their secret behavior.
The process of experiencing lying, reality manipulation, scapegoating and coercion from the cheating partner in an effort to protect secret sexual behavior or defend against shame.
When betrayed partners block out information and enter a state of “knowing but not knowing” they are dealing with a complex attachment-based phenomenon called betrayal blindness. This term was first coined by Jennifer Freyd PhD, the founder of Betrayal Trauma Theory.
A therapist-facilitated, carefully prepared and supported process where the unfaithful individual provides their partner with a fully honest account of their history of acting out behaviors.
The impact to the betrayed partner’s sexuality resulting from the cheating partner’s betrayal of the sexual agreements within the relationship.
Three Trauma Traps of Partner Betrayal
Fear, shame, and powerlessness are the three emotional states that trap betrayed partners in unhelpful coping strategies that often increase trauma symptoms and reactivity. Finding the path out of these trauma traps is the key to healing.
A common behavior pattern where betrayed partners spy, sleuth, and monitor the cheating partner’s activities to determine the scope and depth of the betrayal experienced.
This credential stands for Certified Sex Addiction Therapist. CSATs are credentialed by the International Institute of Trauma and Addiction Professionals after completing rigorous training and supervision in the treatment of sexually compulsive behaviors and partner betrayal trauma.