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Healing from Betrayal Trauma at New York Pathways

In Partners Recovery Group we explore what to expect from the healing process after relationship betrayal, whether the betrayal triggers the end of your relationship or a commitment to repairing intimacy and moving forward together.  Most importantly, we recognize that you are not emotionally unstable, crazy, or unlovable, and you are not alone in the process of recovery.


Understanding betrayal trauma is the first step in healing from your relationship crisis.  Betrayal trauma happens when you experience a betrayal in your relationship that damages the safety, trust, and security of the bond you have with your partner. 

Betrayal trauma doesn’t happen unless there was once a deep sense of safety and trust.  When you uncover an unknown addiction or infidelity in the relationship, you can experience devastating emotional, mental, and physical consequences.  Turning to someone or something outside your primary relationship be it chronic porn, sex, drugs, or gambling can destroy trust and a sense of safety, as they often include secrecy, omissions, gas-lighting, denial, minimization, risk-taking, and manipulation.  Partners in crisis and distress from discovering such realities are struggling with betrayal trauma.

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Here are things to bear in mind about betrayal trauma:

  • No one is prepared for betrayal trauma.
  • People in healthy relationships expect safety and security.  Betrayal is a breach of security and can destroy your expectation or belief that your partner is supposed to be safe, is true to the things he or she says, including commitment to you, love for you, and prioritizing you and the family.
  • Betrayal violates your trust in the person who betrayed you. The doubt and distrust can extend into other relationships, including trust in yourself and future romantic partnerships.
  • Societal norms can often make you feel ashamed and embarrassed about the betrayal, causing you to isolate or internalize your struggles instead of reaching out to others for help.
  • Many partners blame themselves such as,“Maybe if I was more emotionally available, attractive, sexual, loving, or more lovable then he/she would not have had an affair or continued the addiction.”
  • Your partner’s infidelity or addiction may or may not have anything to do with you.  
  • You may experience the betrayal of “gaslighting,” which is a term used to describe the act of someone convincing you that your reality is not real.
  • Symptoms of betrayal trauma includes low self-esteem, confusion, loss of identity, and—most importantly—an inability to trust your instincts.
  • You may be re-traumatized by your social support such as friends, loved ones, or even unprepared mental health professionals who despite best intentions come with their own biases.


In this Recovery Group we help you navigate the experience of betrayal.  To begin the healing and recovery process for partners and spouses, join New York Pathways Partners Recovery Group.

Betrayal Trauma
Partners Recovery Group
Mondays, 1:00pm to 2:30pm
Starting December 14th
Cost: $100 per session
Where: Online Zoom Group
To register contact:
[email protected]


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Estee Esses Primary Therapist – LMSW

Estee is a graduate of Adelphi University School of Social Work where she earned her MSW and is a licensed therapist in the State of New York. Estee works with individuals, couples and groups who are experiencing difficulty relating to problematic sexual behavior and intimacy disorders. 
Estee uses a variety fo therapeutic interventions including Coginitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Motivational Interviewing, Mindfulness-based practices, Internal Family Systems (IFS) and Psychodynamic Therapy to help people regain control of their lives, heal their relationships and ultimately thrive.