What is the theory behind this Betrayal Worksheet?
Betrayal trauma is said to occur when people you are really close to or significantly dependent on for your care and safety violate your trust or cause harm to your well-being. It can occur in cases such as prolonged child abuse by a caregiver or betrayal by a romantic partner.
How will the worksheet help?
The worksheet will provide some useful strategies that can help clients who are going through betrayal trauma to cope with the resulting emotions. It will help them take the steps in the right direction towards healing and moving on from the betrayal.
How to use the worksheet?
This worksheet can be given to clients seeking help for betrayal trauma by the end of the therapy sessions to wrap up all that they have learned so far regarding overcoming their trauma. It can help both as an informative tool and a reminder that healing is possible.
Return to this coping toolbox whenever you feel you are being held back by your trauma memories. Let this be a reminder that healing is possible if you put your mind to it.
|Accept what happened|
As you are nearing the end of the therapy process, you must have realised the importance of accepting what happened as opposed to avoiding. You are on the road to recovery because you were brave enough to acknowledge your trauma.
Whatever happened has got nothing to do with you. It was not your fault that you were betrayed. Tell yourself this everyday if you have to.
|Remember your triggers|
Being aware of your triggers can help you immensely in managing and coping with the resulting thoughts and emotions.
Whenever you feel unexplained negative emotions coming through, take a deep breath and observe your surroundings. Think back to the event prior to this. Tell yourself the betrayal has long been done and you are powerful enough to not let its reminders bring you down.
|Acknowledge your emotions|
Do not avoid them. Do not feel guilty, ashamed or scared of them. Name your emotions. Feel those emotions in your body.
Dealing with negative emotions will always be a part of the recovery process. In the end what will always matter is your will to accept them as they come and do not let them control your thoughts or actions.
|Be kind to your physical self|
Exercise. Meditate. Eat right. Sleep right. Up your water intake. Maintain a regular routine. Do not let your trauma neglect your body’s health needs.
A healthy body nurtures a sound mind and helps you cope with mental stressors better than a sick body.
|Practice mindfulness and breathing techniques|
Practice mindfulness techniques when calm so can easily utilise them when you feel negative emotions building up.Make a list of techniques that work best for you and always have that list with you or placed somewhere easily visible as a reminder.
|Show yourself some compassion|
Do not bring yourself down when you are feeling glow. Sit with your emotions. Recognize them. Let them come without judgement or criticism. Congratulate yourself often on your progress no matter how small. Extend yourself the same compassion you would show to a loved one going through a similar situation.
|Tighten your social support|
Know your social support circle, the people who you can share your personal struggles with without the fear of judgement. Find social support groups online or in-person. It helps to know there are others going through the same struggles as you.
|Maintain a Daily Journal|
Use a journal to track your progress, jot down your achievements, your failures throughout your healing journey. Use your writing to empower yourself and move forward.
Freyd, J. J., Klest, B., & Allard, C. B. (2005). Betrayal trauma: Relationship to physical health, psychological distress, and a written disclosure intervention. Journal of Trauma and Dissociation, 6 (3), 83 – 104.
You can download this worksheet here.