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  • Writer's pictureDana Arcuri

Trusting After Betrayal Trauma

Trust is the core foundation of your relationships. This includes friendships, workplace relationships, family relationships, professional relationships, intimate relationships, and relationships on social media.

As a trauma survivor and a Certified Trauma Recovery Coach, I’ve come to understand the importance of trust within all relationships. It is a normal trauma response for abuse survivors to not trust themselves or other people.

After survivor’s have been deceived, gaslit, manipulated, abused, and betrayed by their own family and friends, they struggle with trust. Oftentimes, they don’t trust themselves anymore. Obviously, this seriously impacts them, their health, and their relationships.

What is betrayal trauma? According to Sanjana Gupta from, “Betrayal trauma describes the emotional impact a person experiences after their trust or well-being is violated, either by people or institutions that are significant in their life. This type of trauma usually relates to primary attachment figures like a parent, caregiver, or other important relationship from childhood.

In 1991, betrayal trauma was originated by Jennifer Freyd, PhD, an American psychology researcher, author, and educator. She states, “During trauma it is usually not safe or possible for individuals to consciously access their emotional reactions or experiences, awareness often emerges after trauma ceases.” According to Freyd’s theory, a person may experience betrayal trauma when:

  • You were terrified for your life.

  • You don’t feel physically or emotionally safe.

  • You were betrayed by someone who you depended on for survival, such as your parent or caregiver whom you relied on for food, shelter, or other basic needs. (This can pertain to your older sibling (s) who may have been your babysitter or caregiver.)

Betrayal trauma refers to the lingering pain and turmoil experienced after:

· Betrayal by your siblings

· Betrayal by your parents

· Betrayal by your relatives

· Betrayal by your spouse or partner

· Betrayal by your childhood caregiver

Trust Your Intuition

For over the past two years, during my coaching sessions with my clients, trust and betrayal trauma frequently come up for them. My clients have learned to not automatically trust other people. Sometimes, they struggle to trust their own self.

In 2023, this led me to launch my Intuitive Coaching business. The top reason why Intuitive Coaching is more powerful compared to Certified Trauma Recovery Coaching is because we take healing to the next level. The focus is on ‘taking realistic action steps’ versus ‘talking about their abuse to unpack their traumatic events.’

One recovery goal that we work on is for them to tune into their gut instincts. To learn how to trust their inner guidance. Setting boundaries is another goal we work on.

For Intuitive Coaching, I empower my clients to tune into their intuition and their body sensations. (Racing heartbeat, perspiration, feeling unsafe, being triggered, wanting to escape, nervousness, depression, tummy troubles, chronic pain, etc.)

Whereas with Certified Trauma Recovery Coaching (CTRC), we focus on discussing their past experiences. For CTRC, I am their mentor who assists them to calm their central nervous system, to reduce their painful symptoms, and to learn how to set boundaries in relationships.

Intuitive Coaching is an advanced coaching technique that is gentle and safe. This incredible practice integrates principles of traditional Life Purpose Coaching, Holistic Coaching, and Spiritual Coaching.

The Intuitive Coaching results with my clients have been remarkable. I am in awe. When we focus on how their body speaks to them and what their gut instincts reveal to them, my clients gain insight and clarity. They start to practice what I teach.

With their new intuitive tools for their trauma recovery, they aim to improve their health, their relationships, and they learn to trust their intuition. It’s been incredible for me to observe their effective results and to watch them soar higher.

In a nutshell, intuition is an inner voice inside of you. It’s a gut instinct, a 6th sense, or the ability to acquire knowledge without recourse to conscious reasoning or needing an explanation. Simply stated, intuition is when your soul senses and knows things that can be on a spiritual realm.

According to “Intuition is the power or faculty of attaining to direct knowledge or cognition without evident rational thought or inference. Immediate cognition, knowledge, or conviction gained by intuition.

Most people lean on their analytical mind when making decisions. Or they spend hours, days, or longer overthinking circumstances. The average person only focuses on their logical mind; not their gut instincts. The analytical mind and overthinking can prevent you from tuning into your inner guidance. In this case, it’s crucial to get out of your own way.

What most people aren’t aware of is that each of us, no matter how young or old, have intuition. For those who are able to successfully use their intuition, it is an extraordinary gift. It can guide you, protect you, and assist you to make wise decisions in life.

Most people choose to work with me as an Intuitive Coach because they need clarity, reliable answers, and a better understanding about what’s holding them back from living up to their fullest potential. Or they have a variety of concerns, which they seek wisdom for:

· Relationships

· Physical Health

· Mental & Emotional Health

· Heal Past Abuse

· Improve Finances

· Brainstorm Creativity

· Spiritual Growth

· Traumatic Events

· Aspirations & Creative Endeavors

· Life Purpose

· Family Concerns

· Boundaries

Learning to Trust Again

Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.” ~ Stephen R. Covey

Abuse, triangulation, and alienation will influence your ability to trust others. The core problem isn’t your lack of trust. Rather, it is that you have experienced unhealthy dynamics, which broke your trust. You may have spent years or decades dealing with backstabbing siblings, friendships, or family relationships who lied to you, hurt you, and deceived you.

Betrayal isn’t by your enemies. Betrayal is by those who you had loved, cared for, and who you had trusted. Sadly, our own blood relatives have broken our trust by their cruel betrayal.

An enemy cannot betray you, as you already expect your enemy to try to bring you down. Only a trusted friend, acquaintance, or family member can betray you, and that is what truly makes betrayal so hurtful and sad.” ~ Bohdi Sanders

How does a trauma survivor trust again? How can you learn to trust yourself and others? Start by gaining more wisdom and insight into trusting your gut instincts.

Tips to Trust Your Intuition:

· If someone says something and it feels ‘off,’ trust that you are correct.

· Focus on body language. (Cues, such as crossed arms, pursed lips, or someone avoids eye contact with you are red flag of dishonesty.)

· Start noticing all that you can using your five senses. (Sight, sound, taste, scent, & touch.) It can raise your sensitivity to your sixth sense.

· Practice meditation. Messages from your intuition tend to be quiet. Spend time in silence. It can help you to hear and interpret intuitive messages from within.

· Pay attention to your dreams in your sleep. When the cognitive mind is busy, it may override the intuitive right brain and the subconscious mind; the wellspring of intuition. When you’re asleep, your cognitive mind rests. It’s open for the subconscious mind to signal you in your dreams. Become aware of the symbols, people, and divine signs that show up in your sleep.

· Test your hunches. Whenever you have a gut feeling about someone or something, test it out. Write down your hunches. Start tracking your gut instincts and what comes up for you. You may want to even explore creating an intuitive journal. List dates and descriptions of what you sense. This will help you to discover if and when you are correct about your intuition. And it can build your confidence and intuitive skills through time as well as through practice.

Intuition and trust are like a two-way street. Both are vital for healthy relationships. Both involve discernment, body sensations, awareness, and listening to your gut instincts. Each can be a steppingstone for you to trust yourself again. Each can help you to tap into your intuition to know who and what you can trust or not trust.

Trust is not simply a matter of truthfulness or even constancy. It is also a matter of amity and goodwill. We trust those who have our best interests at heart, and mistrust those who seem deaf to our concerns." ~ Gary Hamel

If you have experienced betrayal trauma and challenges with trust, there is hope. Through time, awareness, and consistent practice, you can trust your intuition. You can learn who is trustworthy versus who is not. This could be the biggest game-changer in your life!

Lastly, for your healing journey it’s necessary for you to first trust yourself. To trust what feels right, what feels safe, and what is good for your mental health. By all means, you are deserving of trustworthy, respectful, and caring connections with other people. You are worthy of having honest people in your life who want the best for you.

To learn more about Intuitive Coaching:

NOTE: This blog post is an excerpt from a chapter in my upcoming book, Toxic Siblings: A Survival Guide to Rise Above Sibling Abuse & Heal Trauma. Stay tuned for my book launch.

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