How To Feel Safe Again After Betrayal?

How To Feel Safe Again After Betrayal?

Dear Beloved,

You asked, “How do I feel safe again after the betrayal?” Very poignant question.

It’s understandable that your sense of safety is completely shattered after the discovery of your partner’s sexual acting out and betrayal. In the aftermath, there are often overwhelming emotions, shock, confusion, and disorientation. The person that you thought was the closest to you ends up being the one who hurt you the deepest. Of course you don’t feel safe when you have been traumatized by sexual betrayal.

That being said, beloved, there are ways to begin finding safety for yourself, even if they seem slow and small at first. With the help of supportive care, you can move through crisis into stabilization, and even post traumatic growth.

Here are a three practical steps you can take:

  1. Breathe- As simple as it seems, breathing is a powerful way to regulate our nervous system. Oftentimes, in traumatic states, our bodies are either frozen or over-activated, as if “danger” (in this case betrayal) is happening all over again. As you begin to slow and deepen your breath, more oxygen can get into your lungs while you release tension and stress out of your body. One breath at a time, my friend.
  2. Movement- Just like deep breathing, moving your body is an effective way to release emotions that are “trapped” due to betrayal trauma. Whether it’s moving a few fingers, shaking the hands, or any other movement that your body is needing, you are actually shifting out from the stress response into a safer state. Go ahead, make a little movement now.
  3. Support- As hard as it is to share this painful reality that you are living through with someone else, it is critical that you find the support that you need. Do you have any “safe people” who will listen to your story with empathy and care? Are there people in your life that won’t blame, shame, criticize you, or label you as “co-dependent” in this situation? Please know that there are trained professionals through APSATS that would offer you supportive care in your betrayal trauma healing journey. You are not alone, dear one. Help is available!

Beloved one, healing from betrayal trauma is a long, arduous journey of piecing back your shattered sense of self and your world. It will seem like all consuming at times, and there is much more than the steps mentioned above in the process of restoring safety and stabilization. However, like Charlie Mackesy writes in his book “The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse”:

“I can’t see a way through”, said the boy.

“Can you see your next step?”


“Just take that,” said the horse."

Dear one, just take one breath, one movement, and one support at a time.

Cheering you on,

Coach C.